Sona uncle & the Charm of Real India -Part(III)
Self less Sona Uncle
Charity- first love
Once a friend had entreated Sona uncle for money which he badly needed to marry his daughter off to a prospective groom. As usual the proposal was gladly accepted but the friend did not specify when he would borrow the money. Perhaps more than the friend he was becoming increasingly impatient to lend the money for such an auspicious event. But the friend who was also a colleague was not coming to office at that time for a few days. It was then not the time for cell phones or computers and Sona uncle began to enquire about him from all possible quarters and at long last he lost his patience and decided to reach his friend’s residence with the money since he had felt that the man was in dire straits and not in a position to turn up and collect the money himself.
Confirmed Bachelor Yet Bereft of Money
Such unusual behaviour caused more harm to him as many habitual borrowers found in him an ever willing lender and his meager savings began to be depleted in no time. He would be available for any services for free. Generally bachelors were considered to have amassed huge wealth which they did not know how to use. But confirmed bachelor that Sona uncle was he was utterly bereft of any property and could retain only his monthly pension which he would dutifully distribute among the destitute and poor people leaving only a small amount for his own self. He had no Bank account, ration card not to speak of having any sort of insurance for he loved to live among the masses and never looked for his self interest while always eager to support others.
caressing a cow
Focus on gardening
He was especially fond of gardening. Living with the rural folks particularly farmers and artisans he had already had a good working knowledge of farming and horticulture. Cultivating seasonal flowers and maintaining a proper cultural system was his primary consideration. Nevertheless he would like to stick to only few types of flowers which seemed to gladden him. But since he could not remain in one place being driven by his sudden urge to travel to far flung areas accompanied by friends or even unknown persons willing to give him rare company for that would entail incurring the entire expenditure by none other than our Sona uncle, he had to abandon his horticultural pursuits some times. Often it so happened that he would plant a new sapling only to see its flowers being plucked by his neighbours when he had time to return. He had extreme attractions for the Himalayan beauty which took him to the mountains quite often
Passionate about animals & birds
His love for the animals was beyond measure. He never differentiated a street dog from a trained dog and was always ready to share his own meal with them. Even when there was dearth of his food he would straight away go to the local shops and collect eatables for the poor animals. They would love to surround him with a loud yell but he never bothered to examine if there was any such animal as would strike him in vengeance causing harm to him. In one such case he was brutally attacked by two warring groups of street dogs who bit him badly so much that he had to be rushed to the local clinic for treatment. But nevertheless his love for such animals never showed any change. He would equally treat the birds as well. Whether in rural Bengal or Bihar or in the urban areas he would be encircled by such birds as crows, parrots to be offered generous food stuffs and water. It was a wonderful photogenic scene to watch how he would carefully treat the birds that seemed to reciprocate by different sounds of approval and ecstasy.
Someone asked me once whether he had any permanent residence since he had a railway job. Actually he could not dream of having any such immovable property for he did have no aspiration for the same. Further he could not afford to have one as he had run out of fund being a very charitable person that he was. He opted to live with a colleague’s family which was run mainly on his income which could be considered more than the average. He had no qualms about mixing with any type of people or even living with un known unsophisticated poor families. He decided to leave that house permanently to return to our house in Kolkata when he was old and could not reside there any longer. Unlike any other human being he was averse to the idea of possessing any properties and was lured by the life of the nomadic tribes.
That he was a super human being was perhaps best illustrated by a story told by his friend who was a longtime companion. Once invited to attend a lunch hosted by a dignitary he was found not to be treated well by the attending waiters who were perhaps not eager to serve him properly as he was not smartly attired. As he would always share his food with the animals and birds he preferred to pack whatever little was given and left the scene only to distribute among the roving cows. dogs and birds. Noticing this from a distance the friend later asked as to why he sacrificed his lunch for the sake of the animals when he replied” Look I can go without food but I can never allow my animal friends to starve when I have at least something to feed the poor creatures”
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