Dal, rice and bhindi (lady’s finger) fry, mixed together in bowl of stainless steel fills the little tummy of my cute nephew aged a year and a half. He promoted me to the title of uncle, when I am just 13 years old. I play with him, cuddle him, trouble him and when he cries, I take him out on the road that converged three lanes from three directions, having a railway track on the fourth, we gaze at the trains churning their wheels, bid bye to the strangers, look at each other and laugh! I say “Kuu chik chik”, he reads my lips, imitates “kuu thik thik thik thik”
Oh! the best uncle and nephew couple we are.
As we grew, his cuteness lined spunk and charm while I bloated fatter and fatter. The little boy was taught to follow the footprints of his uncle – me. His parents, my maternal cousin brother and his wife, forced their expectations on their child in a disguise of inspirational figure they figured in me. My fighter would never give up. Scores in exams to scores in cricket, he ranked 1, even in the fun and gala. Dialogues from the movies starring Salman Khan were uttered by him with a tinge of acting.
Excitement, joy, liveliness were the traits of this little boy, who lost his father at the age of 10, lying besides him on the bed was his mother, both seeing his father die. In the body of a boy, my nephew was now a man. Taking good care of his mother, completing his home work from school by himself, attending guests, playing cricket, checking the doors locked before leaving his home, before hitting the bed. His father’s death exploded the love he had for him, as he did every deed his father had done.
I spell no courage to meet my nephew soon after his father’s death. I did meet him, to take him in my arms, to wipe his tears, to assure him of not letting him miss his father. A few months later was his 12th birthday. My Mom and I celebrated his birthday with a few other relatives in view of not letting him miss his father. Instead he felt his father’s absence as he had never celebrated his birthday before.
A few months later, life was normal until the night when my Mom and I were unpacking kulfis and my brother scurried inside the house announcing in awe that, “my nephew has fallen off a train and his chances of survival are lean“. He had fallen off a train, dwindling between life and death, blood gushing out of his head and hand, he was unconscious, not completely, he uttered, screamed words of help, crying in pain, hoping for someone to dress his wounds, someone to bring him close to life. The doctors did nothing to save him except for the suggestions of transferring the dying little boy from one hospital to the other, waiting for the police to register the case. My fighter gave up!
I cried, I wept, I sobbed. I cried and cursed the fate, the destiny. I continued crying, fell ill. I lost my nephew and myself in that accident. I didn’t know that “:the train that I am showing him everyday to see a smile on his face, will be the train that will take him away from me“. The scars of the wound are in my heart. The wound penetrating deep inside. Everything around me was normal but inside, even at this moment, I feel the pain. He had done no wrong. He was a young little boy, caring for his widow mother. He brought smiles to the face of everyone around. He danced to the peppy numbers, he prayed to the Gods of all religions. He celebrated Ganpati festival in zeal, shared chocolates with his peers, forced his aunts and uncles to eat with him, respected his teachers, he was exemplary. I remember every moment of the time we spent together, every tear, every smile, every word, especially the four words he mumbled when he was learning to talk, I remember the gleam in his eyes when he looked at me, the grandeur in his joy of buying me the best food when I went to visit him, I remember everything. But I won’t shed tears, not for the brave young boy. Yet, I don’t search for him in any other child. I live and I live happily, for He once said, (when his father died)
“Chachu, now that pappa is no more, I am your brother. I am always there with you 🙂“
Yes, He is with me, in my heart. I feel no sorrow when His thoughts strike my mind. It is He who taught me to move on from grief, if not for His own-self, but for the sake of others who love us.
(I had decided that I shall never teach any child Kuu chik chik……….. but then I shall not stop teaching the same to every child, to see them smiling)