white bu shirt, white trousers, white shoes, a glistening bald head, black shades and a charm that caught attention – those are the first memories I have of this man. Going back 24years in time….
It was a bright sunny afternoon and I along with my parents used to stay at a far off place from Jammu as Dad was posted there. We were expecting someone to be at home who was a fan of Thumbs-up because since morning Pritipal (the helper) was being asked multiple times by Mom to go get cold drink from any near or distant shop possible.
It was such a rural setup that finding stuff for regular consumption was tough too. Most of the cooking happened at home. And today seemed special. Samosas were being made. I was curious and happy as a 5 year old kid that I already loved this person whose coming meant celebration and feast. Suddenly a car stopped and from the slid of the curtain we knew Mausa was here and Mom screamed ” Samosa tayaar hai” I found this nice rhyme: Mausa and Samosa and this is how I gave him this name Mausa-Samosa 🙂
And after that I have some vivid memories with this man – be it a bhootna ceremony of another Massi (which is quite famous among our families), holi celebrations where he would drop by and fill the ambience with love and laughter. I have this vague memory of all of them coming over and leaving while it was all so foggy during winters. In fact till date that is my benchmark of explaining how less fog are we receiving these days. I still tell my Dad every 31st Dec that “aaj itni fog nahi hai jitni un dinon hua karti thi“.
It always meant a lot of eating while going to their home. He would shout “Meenu, khaane aaste la kuch (in dogri, to Massi)“. And his children would get my favourite burger and sister’s favourite chicken instantly. There was a point of time when I started believing that UncleChips and Thumbs-up were symbolic representation of his coming or us going to their house. I became so sad when Uncle Chips stopped their production for a while, I wondered in my head that it was his business. It is amazing how we start associating different emotions, things with a particular person.
It always meant a lot of talk on planning trips together, outings, and laughter whenever we were together. Today when he has left us – all I have is these memories which we will cherish forever and laugh (and not cry). Because he was not that person. I remember meeting him last few times when he was not keeping so well. He was always as passionate about guests being treated well and being asked. The generosity which is rare to be found these days. I was touched by the last time when we met and how he got restless because I was not in his direct line of sight. There are bonds we develop which are beyond blood.
For me, he was my party-man, whose presence would lit up all celebrations and gatherings. The one who taught us ‘life is a celebration itself’. No matter what, whatever worse it turns out to be, never give up on zeal and enthusiasm for life. Each moment brings with it some experience and relish that. Remembering him today and always as a lesson for life. Mausa-Samosa, you will be missed!