My uncle died.
Normally, I wouldn't be so put out for I have a great many number of uncles – Indian family, what to do? But Baba Mama, as we all called him, was one of the precious four I actually cared about. Now I am left with three.
Come to think of it, he wasn’t even my uncle. Technically, he was my father’s uncle, but I appropriated him once I discovered how cool he was.
He was the first in our family to step outside India (he lived in Germany in the 1950s to be exact), first to become an engineer, first to travel around Europe, first to see the Mona Lisa, first to marry a career woman, first to live in an Indian metropolis, first to own a car and take my Dad out for a spin, and the first to get on to the computer and the Internet. Nothing was too new, too radical for him.
But the absolute crowning glory of his achievements was that he offered me my very first glass of wine, red wine.
I was 17 or 18, and guess what did I do? I promptly added ice cubes to it and gulped it down.
I hope he didn’t die thinking that I still drink my wine with ice.
To Mami, Vipul and Vaibhavi: