Sunday, February 10, 2008

Of Uncle

My move to the 2nd floor apartment in the ABC complex was uneventful.

The next morning was just the opposite. Inspite of having three bathrooms connected to three different water sources, there was no running water.

After cursing out loud for the walls to hear, I reached for my deodorant and kneaded its atomizer like a baker on his first shift. I locked the place to get to work and then my new neighbour told me why there was no water - a guy had fallen into the borewell in the compound and died.

This man told me the news with such ease that it made me wonder if such things happened here every other day. Apparently, the water needed to be pumped out and so all the pipes were closed.

'The guy' was a 27 year old bachelor who had recently purchased an apartment in this complex. He was yet to move in and was living with his elder brother's family in another apartment on the ground floor. This elder brother was married and had no children. An overdose of alcohol had made him walk right into the borewell. The rest was history.

All his relatives rushed in. The wife's father came first followed by the boy's devastated parents. They took the corpse away to their hometown, but we were given gruesome details on the different parts of his body that were partly detached and bled before he passed over.

Back to the wife's father. He stayed here awhile with the family. He was a retiree, rich and handsome. He was always presentable with his hair slicked back neatly and his shirt always ironed. Over time, he started talking to me - we were soon on Uncle and mole terms. He even stored my mail when I was away. He once told me about how only his daughter remained (and boy, was she pretty). Everyone else dear to him including his wife, son and siblings were all dead and gone.

About five days ago, his daughter died in her hometown because of breast cancer. A minor bout soon aggravated and spread to the brain,causing sudden death. She must have been about thirty years old.

When we came to know of the unfortunate incident, we were shocked. The family had kept her illness a closely guarded secret.

The day before yesterday, Uncle killed himself.

I would rather not analyze whether Uncle did the right thing, because he will never come back. His bloodline is now off the face of the planet.

I will miss you, Uncle. Your smile,your black-rimmed glasses, the black mole on your face, your spoft-spoken manner and your inevitable question 'Why are you late?'. The chair you always used remains in a corner of the lobby, quietly speaking volumes.

I hope you rest in the peace you so needed. I, for one, will miss you sorely.

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