An Admirable Personality

Familial Feasts    If you could dedicate a holiday to a more distant relative, who would it be — and why?

This post is in honour of my recently deceased Bisou Mamu-Aaja (Maternal Grand-Uncle), a kind, caring, fun-loving, affectionate, compassionate and accepting man.

Excitement is a crossword which runs in all direction. He can hardly sit still. He keeps fidgeting crossing one leg and then the other, tries to read the headlines on the front page of the newspaper and then lifts his head to look outside through the glass window. He pushes back the chair and gets up to his feet. He sails across the wood floor into the kitchen towards the granite kitchen counter. There on the counter sits a aged rust iron fruits basket. He picks up an orange, holds it to his nose, breathes in and says, ‘ Do you know how this beautiful orange smells?’

I stand close to the stove with a glass container of cut spinach and a few other green vegetables for the soup when I hear his voice. I turn my head, smile and asks, ‘How?’

A wide grin beams across his faceHe smiles richly and answers, It smells of sunshine, shiny green leaves and blue cloudless sky.’ Then he walks closer and says, ‘ Come, look outside through this kitchen window. Do you see the pretty blue sky, the cotton-ball clods and the delicate dance of the leaves in the light wind? Let’s go for a long walk, enjoy the weather then we will plan the lunch. Go get ready and I will ask your kids to join too.’

‘Sure.’ I say and switch off the stove to take a morning walk with him. We went for a long walk. During the walk he asks me,‘Do you know that your son is like a geode?’

I crane my neck, lift my eyebrows and ask,’ What do you mean?’

He smiles, the deep creases in the corner of his eyes stretches to his temples. He tilts his head and says,’ He is plain in the outside, gorgeous and intelligent on the inside; very brainy. Then he turns his head and looks towards my daughter and says,’ She is a Sea-glass, the pretty green kind. Everybody will love her’. His voice matches his eyes.

He is my grand maternal uncle; very tall, strong, long arms and long legs. He visited me for the second time when he was almost eighty-two. He was still very active at that age. He used to tell that,’Age is just a number but I am as energetic as a young kid.’

In the evening, we sit in the cozy living room in our beige color sofa. My great grand-uncle used to love classical music and piano. In the middle of the chit-chat he walks gracefully over to the piano that sits in one corner of the living room. He bends over the piano, head characteristically suspends just above the keys as he plays some notes and asks my daughter to play with the him. The wonderful music made the evening more memorable.

Next morning on the dining table he told us a few good old stories of his childhood; lots of fun, adventure and interesting stories, just after India got her independence. I loved his positive attitude and appreciation for life, his adventurous spirit, love and knowledge towards classical music. His approach to life was simple and honest. Everybody drawn to him for his innate kindness, his gentleness, intelligence He is the best great grand -uncle I had so I want to dedicate a special holiday in his memory.

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