Everybody's got their favorite uncles and aunts. I have had my fair share of them. But there are some people in your life who are more than your favorite. You are always in awe of them, observe them and try to ape them. When you were a child you even believed them to have superpowers. I lost such a person in my life this week.
He was my father's youngest brother. May be his being a deep-sea diver was the reason behind my belief of him having extraordinary powers, considering that I was petrified of water. I remember stories regarding his experiences under the sea water. His being bitten by a poisonous fish and surviving that. I still remember vividly looking at his diving gear with a sense of majestic pride and cooking up stories about my brave uncle among my friends.
He was the first person in our family who went abroad. My father in particular was very proud of this fact and used to talk about his kid brother lovingly to everybody. And, of course, never confessed his love for him. We are like that only. A man never cries, a man never asks for help and a man never expresses his love for another out in the open.
His trips abroad had special attraction for me as he would bring back coins for my collection. Saltenat of Oman, Bahreen, Sharjah and Dubai were names that crowned my proud collection of coins. I still have somewhere that Saudi Dinar he gave me when he came back from some Arab country.
As a diehard fan you like everything your superhero does. You like the way he talks, the way he dresses, the way he laughs and you try to imitate him in whichever lame way you can. Like jumping from the side of a bed pretending the bed to be an ocean and start swimming in that imaginary ocean. I am no exception.
And when you grow up your Superman also ages with you. It evolves as the time passes. You still believe him to have superpowers but of different kind. And these powers imaginary as they are do not actually help you out in your day to day life but the idea keeps your hopes alive.
God knows I was angry with my Superman for a period of time when I hoped that he would save me but he couldn't make it as he was not my Superman exclusively as it dawned on me. But even if he could not come to my rescue, I never stopped believing in his superpowers.
It's not easy losing your Superman. My father died when I was just out of college. It was not easy to lose him either. After all he was the elder brother to my Superman and he was my Superman for daily use. It's not easy at all. It challenges your beliefs and surprisingly these beliefs never die out even if they were buried in your childhood memories you thought you forgot long back.
Watching him losing the battle with Cancer was a blow to my idea of a man who was never defeated by anything. And actually he did make his point by coming out of this disease once before losing the final battle.
There were a lot of people at his funeral and they were saying plenty of fancy things about him being a wonderful person, which he certainly was. But at that time my mind went blank and all I could remember about him was his gold bracelet which I used to admire a lot and always wanted to wear one just like that myself. For me that bracelet was equivalent to the cape of a magician that hid his magical powers. Surprisingly, it does not sound silly to me even now.
I have lost my Superman. And I am too old to look for a new one. So goodbye my Superman. Sleep with peace.