I am an Indian. The original, not the American variety. We tend to build temples for our heroes and heroines and worship them as deities. Luckily for me, I was and still am not, quite that emotional.
I have had two characters from history as my heroes though, I never quite got around to worshipping them. Kattabomman and Spartacus. Both captured my imagination when I was a young lad and for many years I identified them with the film stars who portrayed them on screen, Sivaji Ganesan and Kirk Douglas.
As a young lad in school, rather than worship heroes from the world of films, I worshipped cricket players. Since most of my readers will not know them, I shall not list them but, they were there for me to emulate in my club level participation in cricket. Then came music and Elvis Presley became a hero as did Harry Belafonte. Later on standing on my own feet and living alone, the rat pack became heroes to emulate and even today I have a soft corner for the music of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
I suggested this topic for today’s 5 on 1 weekly Friday posts to pay tribute to a man I miss terribly even today. He was my mentor, friend, philosopher and guide from my childhood to his death.
That only and lifelong hero was my uncle, my father’s younger brother who came into my life when I must have been around four or five years old. He was then a bachelor with his own motorcycle. Every time he came home, he would take me for a ride on his bike with me sitting on the petrol tank. My mother would be pacing up and down till we returned. He was more of a father to me than my father who had other priorities in his life. For me and my siblings, our uncle meant the world as he spoiled us silly and gave us the love that the father demonstrably did not or perhaps could not.
He was a dapper handsome man who stayed my hero till his death in 1996. He hosted my younger brother and me on more than one occasion in his home and would give us enough pocket money to have a grand time in our mid teen years. He taught me to play golf and allowed me to borrow his car whenever I wanted to have larks. He arranged for the foundation for my youngest brother’s career and my younger brother’s engineering skills were encouraged by him by setting up a business in partnership with him. He thought the world of all of us and we in turn returned that without the slightest hesitation.
He taught me the greatest lesson of life when his entire world collapsed around him when his business failed and he went bankrupt. The fortitude and patience that he showed during that adversity and cheerfulness that he displayed even during those dark days are still etched in my memory like writing on stone. As he started to come out of penury as his sons grew up and started to earn and contribute to the family, how much he meant to many people in his life came to be known to me, about which none of us had a clue as he never boasted about them. Some of those people and their children still remember him with much affection and that is the measure of that man’s character.
He died as he lived fighting dacoits who had invaded his farm house in the outskirts of a big city and he fought them till they tied him up and choked him to death by gagging him with some curtain cloth to stop him from shouting for help. He was ever the gallant and the way he looked after his wife in the latter’s later life due to dementia laid the foundation for my own caregiving life later.
I still remember some of the greatest lessons that I learnt from him in sales, marketing and people management which, helped me in my own fairly successful career.
No, dear Fossil, I don’t intend to be nor want to be a hero for you to worship. Please do not be afraid. I just hope that the others in our group have some such heroes to write about in their lives.
This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, Padmum, Shackman and Conrad. This week’s topic was suggested by me. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.