[Fiction] The Skype Call to Mr. Biswas
Category : Uncategorized
Mr. Biswas, aged 75, a retired Central Govt professional lives in Salt Lake,Calcutta. Life has been kind to him and he had an unblemished professional career, a very successful son ( IIT – Harvard and now a top executive in a highly respected Research organization), daughter married and lives in Canada. He has his pension and with the pension and the state provided subsidized flat in the metropolis of Calcutta, he is economically stable and can be said to be quite well-off.
He invested his middle age wholly on his children and thank God, the hard work gave fruit. He had a grandson, now around 18 and is preparing for College in the United States. He has learnt to handle skype – thanks to very loving care and training by his personal banker. She has been his confidante and when he visits bank, he spends more time in telling about his sons achievements and family issues than banking.
He is basically lonely and since the main part of his life was spent in raising the children and investing in their education, he has lots of time and sometimes time wears heavily on him.
His son and daughters visit him once in two years and he and his wife went there couple of times. He had found few weeks of staying there fine but continuous living was too strenuous for him. He was amazed by the success and opulence of his son and now the focus shifted to his grandson.
His grandson was quite like him in features. He was thinking that he will be a great doctor like his grandfather who flourished in Sylhet, pre-independence. The grandson, Shamik, called Sam by his friends was preparing to be a doctor. Mr. Biswas was expecting them this winter and he was excited.
24 hours back, something happened – a skype call and I am reporting this from there. A skype call but the universe of Mr. Biswas started reeling. He went to his confidante – the banker who gave him some consolation but it did not help much.
Last evening, Mr. Biswas as talking with his grandson over skype under a heavily misty Calcutta sky. He was wearing the headphone over his monkey-cap and then Sam or Shamik told him that he was not coming. “Why”, he asked.
“India is going backwards”, Sam said.
“But how, why and why now ?”, Mr. Biswas readjusted the headphone and asked urgently.
“Did not you see the judgement ? I am coming. “, Sam said
“What judgment ?, oh… I see.”, Mr. Biswas finally grasped the idea of the recent Supreme Court Judgment on same-sex.
“Yes, but what it has to do with your coming here”, Mr. Biswas was not comprehending.
‘Dadu, it has meaning. You will not understand. India is stepping backwards. I am not coming.”,
Mr. Biswas was still in darkness and he could not understand the connection between a supreme court judgment on an issue and his grandson’s coming to his grand-father across seven seas.
He called his wife, removed the headphone and explained. She listened and then with the antennae of a woman, she whispered something to Mr. Biswas’s ear.
The monkey-cap off now, the headphone put in, Mr. Biswas asked with a faltering voice : ” Shamik, are you a gay ?”
“Yes, I am and I am proud of it. I cannot come to some place where my freedom of choice is not respected’. The skype screen went black with a soft sound which only skype has discovered.
The skype dutifully asked : ‘There are some updates, do you want to install now ?’
His anti-virus said : The program you intend to download may have un-intended consequences. Do you still want to download ?