Uncle Uncle Uncle
Of late when I meet some married acquaintance of mine, I am getting a new tag – ‘Uncle’. When ever I visit his/her family, the kids address me as uncle. Or that friend will ask the kid to ‘say hello to uncle’. I remember when Papa’s friend Sanjay ‘uncle’ used to visit us, we would call him uncle only, and he used to be of same age as I am today, and he too was unmarried. In fact, there were lots of Papa’s friends who were uncles for us. So for my married friends, it’s perfectly fine for them to find an uncle in me for their kids. But I fail to find a fixed point in time line when I made this transition from ‘Bhaiyya’ to ‘Uncle’. Or was it rather a gradual transition? Whatever it may be, it hurts to feel I have aged. A ‘Chaachu’ might have felt pleasant and less age defining! But then it would have become a formal relationship in Indian set up, whereas ‘Uncle’ is a freeway relationship, you get in and get out as and when convenient!
But the uncle episode gives me one more reason to run away to US of A, where everyone other than father is uncle/sir. And when you are not addressing someone by uncle, you address him by his name, even if he is your step dad of twice your age, “Hey Bob, didn’t Mom come with you today?”