So one Superwoman was virtually chatting with me the other day and cribbing about her life. Her mom thinks her boyfriend should be on the cover of magazines for some reasons while she works on her shopping related emotional disorders. But that’s not important. What’s important is that she was upset. Normally in movies and comics Superwoman never grows old, but in reality, quite unfortunately, they do. A child at the park called her Aunty and she went into depression over the next few weeks making a few shop owners richer by a few grands.
I empathize. As much as I would love to believe I am the reincarnation of Peter Pan, I show tell tale signs of aging. But I have learnt to age gracefully. You have to learn it if your greatest competitor has been your dad. I remember when dad and I used to walk down together; the kids in our locality would call out to him as ‘Kaku’ (uncle) and me as ‘Dada’ (brother). Within two to three years, I had been promoted to ‘Kaku’ while dad surprisingly remained ‘Kaku’ too.
So now a days a father and son walk down the road and the future Souravs of Calcutta call us both ‘Kakus’ and of course they call my dad more often than me since they know who’s the fitter one. I don’t blame him though. He’s a super stud, lived his life on the principles of honesty and plain living and high thinking and has a head full of hair against my life of receding hairlines. While I hope I will remain honest to my heart till I die, I do not know if my thinking will outgrow the current preoccupation over “what women want!!!”
So I have accepted that kids and even college students will call me uncle. But there was one fear lurking behind my mind. Most of my friends are married or will be getting married within the next few years. The deal I have struck with my friends is that I will decide what their kids call me. You see, Banjo is just not a name. It’s an idea. It’s a way of living. It’s a theory of life. I can’t be called Banjo Uncle. Banjo can never be an uncle.
But then it happened. I have this really nice elder colleague of mine. I think he likes me and so when he introduced me to his daughters at an office get together he said, “Banjo Uncle se milo beta”. The earth shattered. The sky spewed blood; my ears echoed “Banjo Uncle, Banjo Uncle, Banjo Uncle” I held myself against the railing, wishing the can of Pepsi in my hand turned into Old Monk.
Then I saw through the reality. The kids were not kids. They were assassins sent out by Lex Luthor to kill the Superwomen. They had taken me as their first victim. It was sort of a net practice. Men are always weaker. So they had targeted the Man of Man, reversed Jo-Ban. (Sad poetry but what the hell it rhymes!)
I saw them smilingly enter the hall and start calling all the women in my office who were at the party as Aunty. Let’s assume one of them is called Superwoman Tulsi. And this is how the assassins destroyed her.
So the kids walk up to Tulsi and say, “Hi Tulsi Aunty” Tulsi was nibbling at the first piece of paneer she had picked up an hour ago. She chokes, gasps for breath, her knees give way and she wobbles and falls. Her last words ring through the night, “Tulsi didi bolo beta.” Clinically the assassins kill all the Superwomen and walk towards the ice cream. They have done their task.
Banjo Uncle in retrospect doesn’t seem that bad.