The Sea Beckons 2 – The Caretaker / Brother

Vishnu tiredly climbed the stairs to reach the third floor with his laptop bag over his shoulders. It was almost 7 ‘o’ clock. His client meeting had gone well. He had been traversing through the irritating Bangalore traffic for more than an hour. He was 41 years old and in the process of getting a divorce. His younger brother Velan was 37 and unmarried. Velan had little chances of being married in the condition he was in mused Vishnu.

He opened the door to his very small two room apartment and placed the laptop bag on the floor. He was juggling two jobs at once. One was as a businessman in his hometown and the other was a job as a sales and liaison guy in Bangalore for a small asset management firm that his cousin ran from Madras.

He received a phone call from his friend in Tuticorin port trust informing that his brother Velan was in a confused and inebriated state in the port. Krishna thanked his friend and called his family’s business partner Sridhar asking him to take Velan from the port to the Psychiatrist or shrink in the neighbouring town Tirunelveli. He asked him to admit Velan in a hospital. He knew trains were out of question in the last minute and decided to catch  a bus, any bus that would take him to his hometown.

The news pained Vishnu a lot. Despite this being an almost frequent occurrence now he could never get used to it. It pained for him to see his normally intelligent and active brother in his affected state. Velan showed no signs of relapsing the last time Vishnu met Velan. They were in the process of setting up a small restaurant for Velan in Tuticorin. Vishnu and Velan fought a lot. He knew he tried to boss around Velan but Velan was not someone who submits to being pushed around. Velan might be pigheaded, indifferent, irresponsible and uncaring but yet Velan was his brother.

Vishnu had suffered a lot in the process of separation from his wife. No one supported his move to divorce especially his father who vehemently opposed it. Everyone took the side of his wife. At that time he was staying at his home in Tuticorin. When his wife pried open his private stash of greeting cards from his girlfriend long past he knew the marriage was untenable. She had began nagging him and accusing him about it. She was not willing to divorce and his father supported her. That was the time he moved out of his house and joined his cousin’s firm. Now it was ancient story. His almost ex-wife has been sent back to her house and the divorce was almost done with settlement negotiations going on.

He was a partner in a vegetarian restaurant and also more importantly a partner in a very lucrative container freight station in Tuticorin. They had ancestral land worth a few crores now. Money was not the issue for them. He knew Velan got as expense money almost Rs.30,000 each month. He spent almost all of it on cigarettes. He was a chain smoker. If only Velan heeded Vishnu’s words and took charge of his life instead of drifting off like this. He decided he had to be responsible for both himself and Velan. He needed to focus on business and hope to enrol Velan in the process somehow. It irritated him beyond limits that Velan didn’t act like an adult. His primary goal in life was to somehow ensure the safety and security of Velan by making him grow up and handle responsibilities. He packed his travel bag and headed out of the door.

continue to the sea beckons 3

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