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Babu Miyya (standard:humor, 1807 words)
Author: JuggernautAdded: Nov 16 2010Views/Reads: 1759/1043Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A funny story on family affairs
 



Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story

dreadful chore of massaging their father's feet whereas I was the only 
one caught up doing the dreadful chore. The massaging part was 
bothersome but the treats more than compensated the dreadful chore. 

My cousins, two boys and a girl were much older than I. Subhashini, the
girl inherited her father's traits particulary his genial personality 
and kindness. But the drawback with her was that she made me listen to 
her long meaningless stories for a glass of lassi, she purchased from 
Babu Miyya.  The other two cousins were more like their mother, never 
spent a penny on anybody. All three of my cousins had trouble 
graduating from high school, somehow with their father's pull and push, 
they went on to obtain post-graduate degrees- albeit paper diplomas to 
get meaningful employment. 

The position of my uncle entitled him to a free car and a driver named
Ishmael; a Muslim who lived in a shanty house at the outskirts of the 
city. The flip side of my uncle's genial personality was the use of 
foul language. 

Ishmael spent long hours chauffeuring my uncle on his trips.  A traffic
jam or a bad road or poor weather, all these beyond anybody's control, 
irritated my uncle and the poor Ishmael received the brunt of my 
uncle's frustration. 

Ismael was a habitual user of jaradha paan, a mixture of areca nuts with
a pinch of tobacco folded in betel leaves used as a mild stimulant.  He 
constantly chewed the jaradha paan and would spit the reddish saliva 
onto the road while driving. This habit kept his mind off the constant 
barrage of cussing by my uncle sitting in the back seat. On reaching 
the destination, my uncle would pat Ismael's shoulder for safe driving 
and reward him with some cash. The cussing and subsequent rewards by my 
uncle became a norm in Ishmael's daily routine.  At the end of the day, 
Ishmael would collect enough cash to buy gifts for his two wives, both 
lived with him in the same house. 

In our family circle, my uncle was known for his extraordinary skills in
manipulating situations to his own advantage no matter how it affected 
others. His priorities were his childrens' future and amassing wealth. 
His prosperous career spanning over two decades came to a sudden halt 
when he was implicated on corruption charges. 

It was a weekday during late evening hours, my uncle apparently had just
returned home from work to encounter agents from Central Bureau of 
Intelligence (CBI), the agency in charge of probing corruption at high 
levels waiting in front of his house. My aunt, generally a slow moving 
person quickly sensed the danger of her husband being caught red-handed 
with large sums of cash and expensive jewelry at home, quietly slipped 
into Babu Miyya's shop with a briefcase stuffed with valuables for 
safekeeping. 

The intelligence officers searched the entire house for valuable items
that could be accounted as wealth accumulated beyond his legal income.  
Among the various items found in my uncle's home were; several sewing 
machines which the government intended to donate to poor widows for 
making a living, yards and yards of pure silk fabric, several idols 
made from either sterling silver or rare rose wood, scores of shoes, 
and spare doors and windows of all sizes made from rare forest teak 
wood stacked up in the garage. His home was like a warehouse with 
assorted items, big and small. 

The incident became a headliner in the local newspapers. “High Level
Official Home was raided by CBI,” “From Shoes to Sewing Machines,” 
“Gifts Galore in Official Manor,” were headliners appeared in the 
newspapers on the following day. The episode embarrassed my uncle who 
was suspended from his job pending a thorough investigation. 

I visited my aunt in that difficult period not knowing the seriousness
of the situation. My cousin gave me a lengthy explanation for her 
father's debacle not knowing I had very little knowledge of what 
happened. I endured her grief hoping that at the end she would buy me a 
glass of lassi from Babu Miyya, but to my disappointment she continued 
her deliberations, and concluded that her father was totally innocent 
of all charges of corruption and it was a set up by his subordinate 
officers.  With no lassi offering coming, I fully agreed with her 
conclusions and ended up sharing her grief. That was the last time I 
met my cousin, since then she married and migrated to a foreign land 
where nobody would know her family corruption scandal. 

Babu Miyya, the poor Muslim who rented the storefront from my aunt, on
the night of CBI raids became a savior of my uncle's undisclosed 
treasures. Ishmael who had the first-hand knowledge of my uncle's 
activities in collecting bribes during the tour of duty over the 
20-year period refused to testify against my uncle, and thus saved my 
uncle going to prison. 

It was ironic that Babu Miyya and Ishmael both humble and insignificant
in my uncle and aunt's personal life, stood firmly on their side at the 
time of need. At the end of a decade long trial, my uncle was found not 
guilty on all the charges of corruption due to lack of evidence largely 
because of Ishmael's refusal to testify against my uncle. 

My aunt and uncle sold their house declaring that the place was as bad
omen and moved to a quiet suburb. With some financial help from my 
uncle, Ishmael improved his shanty house by replacing the roof with 
galvanized tin sheets. Babu Miyya vacated his milk shop since the new 
owners closed his shop for renovations. My uncle spent his free time on 
writing essays on human nature and assisting his wife in household 
chores. 

My visits to my aunt and uncle became sparse, as I grew older. During my
rare visits, my uncle still managed to make me rub his toes giving 
specific orders which direction to twist or turn his toes to suite his 
comfort while my aunt was sitting comfortably next to him operating the 
betel nut cracker. On one such occasion, while rubbing his feet, I 
wondered loudly what could have happened to Babu Miyya and Ishmael; my 
uncle unconsciously pulled back his feet from my gentle handgrip and my 
aunt suddenly stopped chopping the betel nuts looking at me as if I was 
too close to their comfort and that was the last time my uncle made me 
rub his feet. 


   


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