Last week it was my friend’s marriage, and so I was supposed to visit Gorakhpur(a district in eastern Uttar Pradesh) . Four of us had decided to go,tickets were done,but we couldn’t GO as, one of us had an important meeting the same day. We decided to join  our friend for the reception. All over again tickets were done,and we got the final GO for GO-rakhpur.

When we were halfway through, I got a call from an unknown number. Person on the other end was giving me clear instructions,in chaste urdu, but unfortunately in a weak network. I could get only half of what he was saying, and to our dismay it was that we had to travel a 100 kilometers more from  Gorakhpur .We were being sent a vehicle to pick us up. Later, it was clear that it was my friend’s father. One peculiar instruction that we got from him was: the name of driver is Sabir and you guys should call him uncle. 5 minutes later my friend sent us a message,specifying all the details of our further journey and emphasized we should call the driver as “Sabir uncle”.

There was something uncanny about being reminded a trivial fact several times . And so we waited eagerly for Sabir uncle,even more than we waited for Gorakhpur. Finally,we exited Gorakhpur station through the first class gate as instructed and started looking for A-star(the car that was to pick us up), to meet our The star- SABIR uncle…

Suddenly a guy came from behind us and said-“babu log you must be looking for me”. Stood in front of us a stout man with mustache,with nothing peculiar about him. He informed us we were supposed to go to KUSHINAGAR with him. Although it was unexpected,yet I was happy with the detour, for Kushinagar is the place where the Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana,or in the word of atheists; he died . Kushinagar is the only place in the world,where there is a statue of the Buddha sleeping. Its such holy place for the Buddhists that they try to come to kushinagar at least once in their life-time.

We called the Sabir uncle, as we were instructed- Sabir UNCLE. I had imagined him to be finicky, or some kind of boss or some other negative adjective. But he was none of the above,  he was rather, a down to earth,will do as you say, kind of person.

On our way,the first thing he told us about himself was that he was uneducated. But  had traveled abroad by the grace of his bhaiya.He had been working at our friend’s place since last 20 years. He always referred to our friend as Babu and his father as bhaiya. He told us about how much the family liked him and how it was his responsibility to take care of us.

He got dizzy while driving as he hadn’t slept since last 5 days . We made him rest for an hour hour or two and he loved us too. He got very emotional when he recollected the school days of our friend. How he would drop him to school and our friend would start crying. How he used to turn around his head to pick him up later. It was a great day for him-his Babu was getting married.

By the time we were coming back we understood why were we being emphasized to refer to him as uncle. It was because every long standing relation requires mutual respect. Sabir uncle repected his bhaiya and babu and were ever ready to do anything for them. To calling him uncle was somehow,a due!