Calling (Family)

My grandparents and I have a weekly conversational schedule. We speak week-on-week, mostly on Sundays, and for the most part, this is how it’s been all of my life. International calling used to be expensive when I was a child, so calls were quite short, but I remember dialing their number on occassion and hearing the cheer in their voice that basically made the money immaterial. It was why we were so pleased when video calling over the internet became a possibility in our lives. I don’t recall communicating too frequently over Skype, or GTalk, but I do know that the possibility existing made for more real-time communication, and my maternal grandfather and I spoke on IM for quite a while.

Anyway, I’ve always spoken to my grandparents most weekends. As I’ve grown older though, I think there’s lesser I’ve spoken about: I’m not entirely sure why, but I don’t give away too much. Just the regular – I’m doing okay, I’ve eaten all my meals, and yes of course, I will dress appropriately for the weather and not allow myself to freeze. This is even when I am unwell. In fact, I genuinely believe that my grandparents have found out that I have been sick only through the blog. And then I’ve not heard the end of it on call over the weekends.

I spoke to them today evening. My paternal grandmother is with my parents at the moment so we speak more frequently, but I called home to Bangalore. It was a short call, but it clearly meant a lot to my grandmother that I had called at all. We hadn’t spoken for two weeks, and I had spent a little bit of time last week wondering what stopped them from calling me – before realizing communication works as a two-way street, and that I would take ownership to speak to them over the weekend. I didn’t really talk about anything special. My grandmother asked about my results and I deflected, refusing to answer anything marks-oriented. She asked about an internship stipend and I told her I wouldn’t be discussing anything financial with her. Finally, she told me about happenings from the extended family that I had followed on our family group: her gossip, and I acknowledged it. I didn’t crack any jokes or poke jibes at her. Yet, she chuckled in amusement anyway.

I spoke to my grandfather – him and I don’t speak and have long conversations unless he’s telling me a story or I’m telling him a story. We prefer texting or e-mailing to much else, and face-to-face interaction has always been the highlight of speaking to him (because of how expressive he is). I got to catch up on his health though, and then he relayed messages my grandmother wanted to relay (but knew that I’d get upset if she asked about them), which is always enjoyable.

I’m not sure what it is about these calls that make them special. There’s no khaas khabre, so to speak. They’re just ingrained in my routine and in my life: they always have been, and they always will be. Family, man, some things are just inexplicable with them.


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