Uncle Sam

Right In The Middle

Sammy here…”, This is how he addresses himself — the nickname he got in his long service in the Air Force. He is Dadanna, Swamy, Sam, Rao, but to me he’ll always be Rao Uncle. He is known for being his crisp, clear and comical self. Along with being a book of comics, he is also a walking encyclopedia!

His curses could only be matched to the Captain of the ‘Tintin’ comics. He cheats like hell in any indoor game we play… calls it making the game more interesting! If there is anything at all he lacks, it is his height which is made up with good measures of wit, charm and chivalry. Even today he opens doors, pulls a chair for a lady. We could spot my uncle and aunt from a distance as they form figure 88.

Vacations spent with them are memorable. One such day, I remember it was a Sunday, he hauled us all up ie my brothers my cousins and me and announced “me and wifey will enjoy the sun and you kids will cook lunch!” After lots of chaos in the kitchen, the food was ready to be inspected by uncle and aunt. And the verdict — “Oh these are rotis! I thought they were papads. The sabji, Oh what a massacre! Hey Lata you could make a lot of money selling your rasagollas to the golfers! This salad really needs some dressing down!” Then of course we would get our rewards, it was either ice-creams or a movie or both.

The same man in summers got up at 6 am every Sunday. He would make the morning coffee, then breakfast, lunch, dinner, do all the dishes, clean up the kitchen, everything exactly the way my aunt would want it. All this, without complaining, whistling and still ready to waltz with aunty.

Regardless of who the visitor was, a three-year old or a 73-year-old, a carpenter or CEO; all are made to feel like VIPs. The toddlers simply love him. They are thoroughly spoilt by him. “There should be only grandparents and grandchildren. The parents are a real nuisance,” he always says.

When it came to benevolence, I am amazed that he never utters a word about all the favours he does for people. Today, when I see some old people whining about everything in life, I love my uncle all the more. Sorry Sammy, I am calling you old. Next week you turn 85 and all I can say is God, wake up, hone your skills and make more men like Sammy please!

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