Friday, May 20, 2011

The Important Things in Life

Susha Mama, my mother's eldest brother never sat me down for a 'lessons of life' talk. The things he did teach me are the practical tips I use nearly every day.

He taught me that one tilts a glass to pour a beer without getting a fountain of bubbles. That it is important to salt an omelette after it is set. That it helps to pour the egg into a vessel with vertical sides before going at it with a fork.

The closest he came to giving me marriage advice was when I was still young. 'Someday you will be grown up and have a house of your own, beti," he began. " you will be cooking for  your husband, and sometimes you might even have friends over." He patted my head before continuing." It is possible that you will be late with cooking, or it will not be good, and your husband will be hungry. You should then remember to quickly put an entire onion on the gas. The house will smell so good, noone will notice the lack of food." He beamed at me and waited for me to file that tip away. And you know what? It works!

He let me take a puff of his cigarette when my age was still in single-digits. The resultant coughing fit kept me away from them for the next three decades.

He was visiting us in Pune once, and asked me to mix him a feni and water drink. I mistook the bottle of vodka for his bottle of water. After my mum and I helped him off the floor, I expected a scolding. He wagged a finger at me, "now you know beti, what happens when you drink too much."

He introduced me to his collection of P.G.Wodehouses, and taught me to keep them back on their shelves when I was done reading. By telling me he bought them while waiting for connections, he got me addicted to browsing at train stations.

I am the woman who sits and reads a book on a railway platform, laughing aloud and not caring who sees her. I usually know where my things are. I am an okay cook, but can create fun supper parties with willpower and caramelized onions.  I mix decent drinks and am generally aware of when's enough. I only have had soda bottles explode on me a dozen or so times. Not doing too badly, eh?

Susha mam passed away last week in Mumbai. I was in Dun.

I miss him.


Anonymous said...

Heartfelt hugs to you for your loss, Chicu. I, too, had an uncle who made me laugh and taught me good lessons. I miss him, too. Thank you for helping me to remember the good things.

Blessings to your whole family.


nadi said...

And I am the neice who has inherited the 'drunk in the family' title from Susha Mama.
I was probably the last person to see him alive.
I told him that Chicu sends her love.
He was almost unconscious. His eyelids were kept closed with sticking plaster.
Two mucus-stained tears came out of those tired eyes when I mentioned Chicu's name.
He was very proud of, very fond of Chicu.

Unmana said...

I'm sorry, G. But I am so envious you had an uncle like that. Hugs.

Gina said...

just caught up on your entries after some time. sorry to hear about your uncle. lots of hugs to you; G

Zareen said...

Hi love, sorry about this. Big hug.

Ellie said...

So, so sorry. What a lovely tribute to him, though. Lovely.

Jo Chopra McGowan said...

Oh, Chicu! I'm so sorry about your loss.

My goodness, though. How he comes alive in your words! What a privilege to see him through your eyes.

Love to your Mom and to you as you move through life without him.