The bad times & unspoken words

I received a phone call from a known fellow. He managed my mobile number from someone and called. He did not call immediately after procuring the number. He was hesitant and called after few days. I knew this because the one who gave him my phone number informed me after doing so. I was expecting a call almost immediately but my phone rang after almost a week.

We are known to each other from childhood. So it was not amusing that he called. We talk once in a while and meet whenever we can. I met him about 4 months back. The man was in distress due to family reasons. And almost cried at his helplessness. I assured him of help financially which only I could do at that time and did help him with some money at that time. I also assured him not to worry and call me whenever he feels or needs any help, financially.

The call was short and ended almost abruptly. He exchanged pleasantries and before I could really start the conversation he was off the air. In fact, I was holding for a few moments before I realised that the line was dead.

Why he called? To know our well being, he need not call. There are enough common people we both know from whom he can gather such information. And as it runs in the family, no news is good news. In fact, an untimely call worries us. So really nobody calls to enquire about well being or whereabouts since such news is shared almost instantaneously.

So why did he call after all? From the tone of his feeble voice I could make out certain anxiety. Anxiety about family matters, anxiety about his own conduct and managing day to day business. I know this guy who is very helpful and ready to take certain responsibilities without really expecting any return. He has been exploited for this quality quite often. But he really never bothered. He didn’t have much of responsibilities so his lifestyle so far has been pretty ordinary. Though he was keen to take responsibilities but these were of mundane nature and didn’t require much attention and also were of no such serious consequences. He was happy with whatever he could earn and lived happily with his brothers and their families. Since his earning was meagre nobody really expected anything of him. But he was needed in the family due to his other useful qualities.

The bread earner of the family who was almost the fulcrum of the family suddenly expired leaving behind a small but sustainable business, 3 dependents and thankfully, no debts. Now the responsibility of running the business fell on our fellow since he was a bit aware of the nuances of this business. But he was out of tune for quite a few years and was ill at ease about the running the business. But he had no choice but to shoulder this responsibility since now he had to support the dependents that his brother left.

When I met him last time, 3 months after the death of his brother, he was finding it very difficult to run the business and blaming the circumstances all the time. I tried to reason with him and also to give him comfort, assured him of help whenever he needed. But I was certain that he was finding it extremely difficult to accept the changed circumstances. He is basically a shy guy and moves in a very small circle consisting mostly relatives and as far as I know no friends. For him dealing with the outside world is a cause of worry. To him the outside world is very harsh and cruel. He has not kept with the changed times. I found him fumbling with the mobile phone when a call got disconnected and he was finding it difficult to locate and call the same number. He handed the phone over to me to help him to connect to the caller. I could guess that the heavy burden which has befallen upon him has taken its toll on him. In easier times he might not be that shaky or puzzled. But the scene was different now and for him, it was extremely worrisome how to cope with.

Coming back to the call which he ended abruptly, I started pondering what he wanted to say. Was it a distress call? Did he require any help? Anything to do with the present circumstances that he was transiting through?

I got it! It was the mounting hesitance that kept him away. It is difficult to ask help if you are not accustomed to that. One may be weak physically; financially unhealthy, mentally not bold enough but definitely does not seek help at the drop of a hat. In vernacular we term it as though the tongue got stuck. It was not moving, you were short of words, ever-swelling timidity have got over you and you could not say what you exactly wanted to say. I can relate to this event as many a times I do not open myself to friends and others over certain incidents when I know it may help. It can happen with anyone.

As I understood his dilemma, I thought it would be prudent to call him suo motu and help him to open up with his confusions, his problems and help him to get over the present circumstances.

I called him and spoke. That is another story.


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