Desai Uncle- The Silent Man #A-ZChallenge2018

Desai Uncle was my neighbour but he used to never speak to us. He lived alone and had a maid who used to come in the morning to run his errands. Uncle was frail looking and a chain smoker. I used to often find him in the corner cigarette shop on my way to work. Whenever he met me in the elevator he smelt of cigarette. One day I just started a conversation with him and said: “Uncle at your age you shouldn’t smoke so much”. Uncle gave a meek smile and said almost assuring me ‘Yes, I will stop” but the next day I again saw him standing in the cigarette shop. He gave me a guilty smile.

Gradually, we started exchanging small talks in the elevator. One day he lost his door keys and was locked out of his house. He rang my bell and asked for help. He looked tensed and nervous. I assured him that I would call the key maker and solve his problem. Since that day he always smiled at me with gratitude. As if I had done him some BIG favour.

Things were going on good. Desai Uncle even started coming to my house for tea. One day, he happily informed that he was going to Dubai to visit his son. He went for six months.  The day he returned he excitedly rang my bell and gave me dates, chocolates and a souvenir of Dubai. He showed me his Dubai photos. He was excited like a schoolboy.

Within a month, his son and family shifted back to India. Initially, he was extremely happy but soon things started getting grim. Every day I started hearing the noise of fights from Uncle’s house. On some days the noise used to get so loud that we used to feel like intervening. In most days I saw Uncle leaving the house whenever there was a fight. Many days I saw tears in his eyes.

One day I met Uncle in the elevator. I asked him ‘how are you, Uncle?’  He smiled feebly and replied ‘Beta, I am going to Bangalore, I am shifting to an old age home.’ I was shocked. In India even now sending someone to an old age home is a taboo. I wondered why after all these years he was going away.  I couldn’t resist and asked him. He replied ‘my son and daughter-in-law fight a lot. I do not want to create any problem between them and so I am going away.’

I never met Desai Uncle after that day. He was shifted to an old age home in Bangalore and within few months he left for his heavenly abode. However, his memory remained and many a time I could smell cigarettes in the lift and often felt it was Desai Uncle.


Image: Shutterstock



59 thoughts on “Desai Uncle- The Silent Man #A-ZChallenge2018

  1. Moon says:

    A very touching story, Balaka. It’s so lovely that over a course of few conversations, Desai Uncle became such a good friend. Beautiful last line.


  2. Surbhi Prapanna says:

    Such a heartfelt post, it is true that nowadays so many old people are bounded to live in old age home, despite having a family. the harsh truth of our so-called modern society. very well written balaka. #BlogchatterA2Z, here is my post


  3. Akshata Ram says:

    That was a special bond you shared with Desai uncle. Talking about old age homes I always feel it’s not a taboo in fact rather than staying together and having issues, people should think of moving in with others their age and live peacefully


  4. Vasantha Vivek says:

    Can’t control my tears while reading your post. There are so many Desai uncles being created in India too. It’s so saddening and alarming too. May the soul of Deasi uncle rest in peace.


  5. Pr@Gun says:

    Lovely and touching post. Sad to know that ppl have to be in old age homes that too coz their sons are fighting to keep them.


  6. says:

    Is it the way this generation was parented or rather not parented that they are tempted to move their old parents to old age homes. Wonder!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Balaka says:

      But at times Old age home is a blessing. Trust me.. even old people love going and living in a place away from the chaos of home. They want some peace at the end of their life.


  7. mammaspeaks says:

    That’s sad, Balaka! But, I am happy you introduced Old Age home as a getaway place for Desai Uncle. I often think that I would go and stay in a fancy old age home when I grow too old to take care of myself. I don’t want to be a burden on my child, and would be in the company of oldies like me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Natasha says:

    Oh that’s such a sad end to Desai Uncle’s life. I wish children would be more empathetic, caring and loving towards their parents and not drive them away to old age homes.

    Poignant, heart felt tale Tina. Thank you for sharing. Praying for him to be at peace wherever he is.


    April Anecdotes
    Destinys Child

    Liked by 1 person

  9. writershilpa says:

    I had goosebumps as I read this story, Balaka!
    I really fail to understand why and how children do this to their parents! You know, if I ever uttered one word against my MIL, I would feel so guilty, I would find ways to make up to her. And, there, on the other hand, you read almost everyday in the news how kids throw their parents out on the streets!

    My heart went out to poor old Desai Uncle. May his soul find peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. pratikshya2 says:

    This story is so sad. I wish his life had ended on a better note. Can’t imagine this still happens in India. The characters from your life story are so lively… I was thinking of all the uncles I have known who were chain smokers, and good at heart…
    Love this series. Your words make them come alive for us readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Shalzmojo says:

    What a heartbreaking story! Poor man. He was happy on his own, happy to visit his son and happy that they came back to live with him. But then that’s where his troubles began and the poor man decided to leave to let them live happily. How do we become like this toward parents- our own or out spouses? What is it inside us that makes us so?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Miss Andi says:

    Bittersweet story, too bad he was left alone in the end. I loved the last paragraph though, you keeping his memory is a good gift of his life.

    My blogs in the A to Z: Self discovery via travel and a separate Interactive story.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anagha Yatin says:

    Desai uncle left a void in my heart. I am at loss of words to express what I am feeling after reading this sad story. Wish it was a fiction, Balaka.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ruchie says:

    This brings me in tears …not only Desai uncle but so many parents in old age home because of their kids whom they raised..I am against this as I love to be in the shelter of their blessings!!

    Liked by 1 person

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