“Oh my god! He looks like Kabir Bedi, ma!” I told my mother later that night when we got back from dinner. We were invited by an army officer who had recently been posted to Jamnagar.

I was used to my parents interacting with a lot of people in the Army, Navy and Air force because Jamnagar is a small place with very few people. But little did I know then, that these dinners would become a habit in the following years. The dinner was the usual. It turned out they had kids who were the same age as me and my sister. So for a change we weren’t left in some corner of the house with the T.V. You may wonder why it was necessary to go to this dinner in the first place, considering they were going-to-be friends of my parents. Well it’s called small town life. Your friends are children of your parent’s friends most of the time so it’s one big party always.

Coming back to the Kabir Bedi look alike – I was so fascinated with- there was something about him. The first time I saw him I was intimidated. He had that don’t-mess-with-me sort of look in his eyes and it was hard to believe cracking a joke with him is a possibility. He wasn’t grumpy or anything but just extremely formal. May be it was the way he was dressed, this army touch he had or the way he introduced himself. I can’t be sure. Anyway my first impression of him lasted 20 minutes because the minute everybody got settled with their drinks- it was party time! He was loud (just like my dad), chatty, interesting and had that spunk in him. By the time we wound up it was past mid night. My sister and I were satisfied with our company. Everybody had a good time. This was the first of the many dinners that were to come.

“How is kite runner doing?” he would ask me whenever we met. For all those who don’t know, kite runner is no person. It is the title of a book written by Khaled Hosseini. One of my favorite stories and a gift I got from my ex-boyfriend. The first page of the book was signed by him. It said, “ To Vidhi, there isn’t enough space to write in here, from you know who.”

At first glance Viru uncle would never come across as a reader. At the most you would think he may read a few sports magazines or some such. But to my surprise he did. He borrowed books from my mom occasionally. I told him about Kite Runner. I was so excited to make him read it that I lent him my copy. The minute he saw the first page he knew. And after that I was teased and teased and teased forever. The day I told him I broke up all he said was “At 18 if you aren’t falling in and out of love you aren’t living!”

Somebody very rightly said it’s extremely easy to criticize. I don’t know about anyone else but I for sure spend 25 hours a day cribbing and condemning everything and everyone. It just comes so naturally. It’s so much easier to spot the bad in something than to make the effort to look for something good. And by the time I realize I should look past the flaws and appreciate, it’s too late.

I never got to tell Viru uncle what a great spirit he had or how much I liked his easy going nature or how much I enjoyed his stupid jokes or that his jokes were stupid for that matter. I never got to tell him that…

…That I was glad to have him around.

He loved my blog and was so encouraging even if I wrote crap! He won’t ever know how it made me feel to know that at least one person in this big bad world believed in my writing. Ayn Rand is my favorite author and he never missed an opportunity to tell me that he thought someday I would be a great writer like her.

I am not saying good things about him because he s gone. I am just saying things I never got to say. Things I could have said when I had the time.

He had a heart attack. And he’s gone. Just like that.

He may have been a great legend in the Indian Army and his stories are a great source of inspiration for all till today, but to me he was my parent’s best friend, somebody we could never get together without and somebody who I love forever and will miss dearly.

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Viru Uncle on one of our holidays in Srinagar.