Saturday morning started off with sad news. My only surviving Maternal Uncle had passed away. It was the day after the Festival of Lights - and it brought back memories of a day 35 years ago. That too was the day after the Festival of Lights and about the same time that my father had passed away.
My uncle was a fun loving young at heart man all his life. All of us loved him dearly. Our children loved him just as much. He made every one he met feel special. He was genuinely interested in what each of us was doing, in our interests, in our family, in our city, in our relationships and in everything that made us feel important. I am not sure how he did it but he made everyone feel that their life was an amazing one. He never seemed old in his dealings with us even if he could not quite remember our birthday or when we last met. He invariably remembered what we had been passionate about the last time we had spent time together. Even in his eighties he put many of us to shame about everything and everyone he was in touch with.
Loving Chhoto Mama was easy. He was there if and when we needed and wanted him without ever interfering in our life. He was there to encourage us even when we were doubtful about things. He never hesitated to voice his opinions about things but he loved us even if we disagreed with him. He just made his displeasure clear and moved right on loving you. How can you not love someone like that? He was a good sport. If you wanted to party he was right there partying with you. Dinner, drinks, dance, games, jokes, stories - he participated in everything. We needed his advice on something and he would listen and put things in perspective - we came out clear headed and feeling like we had made a decision on our own. How can you not feel good being around someone like that?
It definitely helped that his life partner my dearest Aunt is such a warm and loving soul herself. She made it possible for him to continue being who he was. She was there by his side always - taking care of him, being his better half and loving us just as much. I hope we can be there for her as much as she has been there for all of us. She was a pillar of strength for me when my father passed away. Having her in the house and seeing her confident, smiling, caring, warm person there was my soft spot at eighteen. She has always had a very special spot in my heart and I smile everytime I think of her. I know she is there for me no matter what. I love her dearly.
As for my sisters - they mean the world to me. Both of them are chips of the same block. Loving, caring, warm and beautiful. I reach my hand out and there they are. I feel blessed to have them as sisters. I wish Mami, Bubu and Bonu the very best and know that Mama is looking down at us all with pride and joy no matter where we all are. He personified unconditional love and his soul will always be amongst us. Death must come for each of us - but it is a small moment and so I want to put death aside and truly celebrate Mama's life. I want to feel his soul, his love, his warmth and his magnanimity and I want to keep smiling. God graced us with this wonderful soul and I thank God for blessing us so.