The family zoom meeting of siblings from across the globe was in full swing. They had decided to meet up to beat the blues of lockdown. So to accommodate everyone from different time zones, they chose to meet at 10 am (IST) Sunday.
As such, the four Rao siblings maintained a comfortable diplomatic closeness and always wished and greeted one another on birthdays and festivals. This was the first time they had planned an all-member zoom huddle. To catch up.
“Hey, how is it going?” the eldest brother initiated the conversation from his mansion in Portland.
“So good to meet up in these gloomy times.” His wife joined in.
“Let’s do some Chinwag.” interrupted the second brother from their London villa along with his wife.
Another sister and her family joined from their scenic farmhouse near Bengaluru.
While the last one to join the chat room was the middle sister from her modest apartment in Vishakhapatnam. “Hello, hello, sorry, sorry for being late.”
“No surprises…always maintaining the Indian standard time.” The American brother quipped to an explosion of laughter.
And thus started the family enthu zoom meeting.
Hey, what’s news other than the pandemic? The Bangalorean sister enquired.
Oh, spruced up my backyard. Spent a bomb, mate, on all of this…The Londoner couple went out to show the vast verdant backyard of their villa.
The other siblings encouraged and admired the beautiful lawns and garden with their oohs and ahhs.
Suddenly the American brother started a video tour of his mansion. “Hey, did I tell you guys about the new decor of our home? Cost us an arm and a leg, Buddies…smiley… Oh, Yes, did you see my black beauty?” He went on to show his latest Merc rattling away some of its exclusive and expensive features.
“Nice…Nice. Let me show our new organic farm yield…” The Bangalorean sister interrupted, cutting both the brothers, she continued. “But for this pandemic, we would have launched our products right away.”
Oh Wow…wow…so good to see you all…we hardly get together like this… The middle sister from Vishakhapatnam heaped some more praise and excused herself. All the home and garden tours had taken up almost an hour or so. “Hey, I will pass the baton to Hubbs while I go and take a quick look at Akanksha.”
After attending to Akanksha, she came back to see the Americans joined by their two reluctant sons. Big brother was animatedly explaining how their two sons are Ivy leaguers and how the elder one landed a plush job.
“Hey, I haven’t cooked lunch…you guys carry on. I will be the audience as I do my cooking…” She excused herself again and started preparations. Anyways, she was able to hear everything from their open kitchen counter… In between cooking, she ran to catch glimpses of her nieces and nephews. She could hear the Londoners talking about their teenage girl’s artistic achievements. And her Bangalore sister speak about their sons’ good results. Even their four-legged family members also happily became part of the Rao gathering.
The online family reunion went on for another good two hours. Everyone bid goodbyes with a promise to hang out more often.
“Hmmmm…huh…tchah.”…She closed the laptop.
“What happened?” her husband inquired.
“Go be with Anku. I will look at the sea to calm myself.
“No. first, let’s talk. I know what’s bothering you.”
A small tear trickled down her cheek…”You know … today, our entire family met…Such a happy, fun riot it was…It’s great to see my siblings and their families do so well. Because of the Pandemic, we were able to catch up with all the kids also…The only one missing was our Akku, and I doubt if anyone missed her….No even asked about her. Do they even remember that she exists? Is this how a well-educated family treats a quadriplegic family member?”
Published by Kalyani S Kakade
22, AshadhaKrishna Paksha, Saptami1943 Plava, Shaka SamvataSingapore, Singapore30July 2021