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?”
It was Saturday morning, I was goin back to home after a tennis game, when I saw Sandeep Laxmi Sri Pada, my colleague, getting down from a rickshaw. He addressed rickshaw puller as “bhai saab”. That was a first to me. I never heard any rickshaw puller being called ‘bhai saab’. I don’t know whether it was out of respect, or Sandeep would use this for any stranger. Nor do I want to generalize that all people of Andhra of south India are polite with others. All I am saying is that it was a pleasant sight. That rickshaw puller must have felt happy. In fact we should call every one – plumber, mechanic, waiter, maid – as bhai saab, and do away the north-indian, “Bhaiyya”, that way, Marathi’s in general and Raj Thakeray in particular would also not be offended as they keep complaining that bhaiyya’s from UP and Bihar intrude Maharashtra.
There are few situations of awkwardness which I face every now and then. Problem is one can’t get rid of them, you run into them almost everyday.
Firstly, if someone sings just casually and makes facial expression and looks or comes towards you or looks at you as if singing to you, although he might be in the mind emphasizing the meaning/feeling of song and least aware of me or the embarrassment within storming my mind. What the hell he/she is doing? Why can’t he sing alone? I never do that torture to anyone. I sing only in elevator when there is no one else. I wonder if in those times, I should sing with them, or sing along them – both these actions will make me feel even more embarrassed. Or should I ignore them, like they don’t exist. That might make them feel I am not attending them, or more busy in my work! What to do man.
Secondly, people cracking awfully pathetic jokes. How can someone do this to me? It’s tough to laugh. I just smile to give them some respect lest they should feel ignored and consider me rude. But it becomes a torture, when I am the butt of joke. I don’t mind laughing at myself, but the joke has to be funny by my humor. So now when I smile, people feel I am shying. Wht mother crap is that. I guess in future, I should smile or laugh only when I feel like doing the same, without giving shit to any social obligations. Like Sachin does. Yet everyone loves him.
Thirdly (and certainly not the last), grown ups asking me how much money I make. Do they not have least social manners? It’s so embarrassing.
I wonder what that girl with big balls with wanted ? Wearing a tshirt reading ‘I need Kisses’, what do they expect men to do. Similarly, tht girl with a t-shirt reading cool, but actually the two ‘o’ were mising there. She was supposedly to using her balls to make up for that, atleast the positon of ‘c’ and ‘l’ suggested tht.