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|Babu Miyya (standard:humor, 1807 words)|
|Author: Juggernaut||Added: Nov 16 2010||Views/Reads: 1499/842||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A funny story on family affairs|
BABU MIYYA By Subba Rao The name Babu Miyya brings back fond memories of my aunt, passed away some years ago. Babu Miyya rented a small storefront shop from my aunt and uncle. He was an old man always dressed in traditional Muslim garb-baggy white trousers and long loose shirt with white skullcap. His gray beard trimmed in shape of a narrow projectile away from his chin kept his right hand busy in constant motion of grooming. The dark rings around his deep eyes could be a sign of poor health or just tiredness from standing in his shop from early morning to late evenings. Babu Miyy was a permanent fixture in his shop, always in standing position behind the greasy glass counters. He sold milk, yogurt, ghee or clarified butter, and lassi or sweet and sour buttermilk. It is the lassi that made Babu Miyya very popular in the area. People from various walks of life dropped by his shop at any time of day to get a glass of refreshing lassi. He was a man of few words; spoke very little with his customers, nothing more than what was needed to complete a transaction. Every time I visited my aunt, Babu Miyya was there in his shop behind the glass counter glaring at the street traffic. He seldom made any gestures of recognition when we made eye contact. Once in a while, I stepped inside his shop to order a glass of lassi, while sipping I would secretly stare at him hoping that he would strike a conversation, but never he did. The rancid smells emanating from storage of milk products perpetually occupied the air space in the shop. There was a small doorway at the back of his shop that allowed Babu Miyya to enter my aunt's front yard to collect tap water and supply milk and butter milk to her. My aunt, my mother's older sister, lived several hundred miles away from our town. I visited her only during summer vacation. I was very fond of her as she always had kind words for me. She was a short woman with very fair skin and fat abdomen, slept on her stomach while reading or listening to radio, perhaps her soft underbelly provided cushion like comfort to her. As a young boy, I was fascinated by a small hand held betel nut cracker my aunt used to chop betel nuts into fine flakes to chew all day long. Her teeth were turned brown from constant chewing of betel nuts. Once in a while I begged for few pieces of nuts to chew, she gave a few reluctantly, and made me to promise not to make a habit of it. In her bathroom, I saw for the very first time a large galvanized steel tub with water in which she relaxed after regular shower. “Can I use your tub,” I asked her one day as I felt like jumping into the tub filled with water. “You don't' have asthma and backaches like I have, only asthmatics like me need tub baths,” she said in a quiet voice. In several visits I made to her house, never had I heard harsh words coming out of her mouth. She always spoke with a smile and yet she never gave any gift not even a candy. Later on in my adult life I realized that my aunt was a penny pincher. She was very fortunate to have a husband like my uncle. He treated her like a doll with utmost care, provided her with a maid and a cook so that she didn't have to exert herself particularly with her asthma. Perhaps, she was too comfortable and with no household chores, became fat and helpless. My uncle was a high-level civil servant in-charge of inspecting and issuing operating permits to various businesses. This led him to travel and collect gifts from the business owners. He accepted gifts in any shape or form, such as shoes, clothing, cooking utensils, construction materials, home decorative items and even cold cash sometimes. In total contrast to my aunt, my uncle was tall, dark skinned and generous. Every time I visited their home, he gave me treats to eat but the only catch was that I ended up massaging his feet while he relaxed in an easy chair. His three children, my cousins always escaped the Click here to read the rest of this story (110 more lines)
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