The smoke from his cigarette never fades out. Curiously enough his facial expression looks the same. Uncle Deepak has always been this way since the day I have known him. His well-built and suave looks always camouflages his seething health issues. A Major in his glory days ,now he can't even support his family anymore. Aunty and their three daughters live in a different home. They say they cant watch him fade away to emptiness. Surprisingly, he is quite soft spoken for a retired military personnel and has a tacit way of expressing things. He loves his wine and has a varied and blended collection.
He never refers to me by my pet name. I always thought he would make a great teacher if given the chance. Sometimes I wish I had the same insights about life as he has but never even for once desired to live the life the way he did. I would try to share a lot of ideas with him mostly about death , politics and war.
"It would be fair to say that death is a part of life."
"I haven't really understood why we go to war, I was doing my job." ,I could remember him saying each of these lines on two different occassions. I would ask what he thought about the army gradually losing respect esp. in the north east because of cases of human rights violation.
"It should not have happened." ,would be his curt reply.
"Uncle, were you proud of what you did in the army?"
"Do you consider yourself as a hero?"
"Then what else can you be uncle?"
"I am a survivor. "
Till this day, I have never felt there is a more majestic word .