Tackling problems

Urged by a sense of empathy for the victimised section in their locality, a preliminary meet was called by the core members — a group of five — to  decide on the venue, date, time and agenda on what they could do to alleviate its misery. As one member rather facetiously put it, ‘charity begins at home.’

The meeting was scheduled at 10 am, a civilised hour by any standards. The president, a stickler for punctuality, was at the local club on the dot of ten. He was not very pleased to note that the others did not share his sense of time. Being tolerant, he waited a while.

Then he took out his mobile and called each number in turn. ‘Number bust,’ ‘not reachable,’ ‘mobile switched off,’ ‘no answer’ flashed on the screen.

“In this age of science and technology, a mobile helps to stay connected,” his wife had said, gifting him one. Irritably switching off the mobile, “staying connected indeed!” he snorted. He took several deep breaths in an effort to calm his agitated brain, as recommended by his yoga guru. Not that it worked. He let out a frustrated sigh and waited.

By the time the others ambled in, it was nearer 11 am; inane excuses trotted out —  traffic jam, had to drop off granddaughter at the swimming pool, long queue at the ATM, unexpected visitor — taking up another 15 minutes. What option had the president except to grin and bear it, which he did, though it wasn’t easy.

He glanced at the other four and suggested that they should meet formally a fortnight hence. Immediately, a venerable member expressed his inability to do so. The reason? His family would be holidaying at that time. The arrangements could not be cancelled or postponed. Just as spring isn’t far behind winter, another gentleman asked to be excused as his nephew’s wedding was fixed about the same time.

That still left three, enough for a quorum, thought the president. He voiced his thought, looking at the two members who had previous commitments, seeking their approval. In unison, they said they had no objection. He was about to make an entry in his pocket book, when the third member’s mobile rang. Excusing himself, he answered the call. His brow puckered. He turned to the president and apologetically said he wouldn’t be free for the next three weeks. Something that was scheduled for the next month was brought forward.

That left only the president and one other member. So the formal meeting was indefinitely postponed. But that didn’t deter them from a coffee break over which nothing happened!

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