“I’ve burnt it in that fire uncle, everything that was holding me back!” I could watch the glittering fire in Joshi’s eyes! After a very long time, I could see the smile on my son’s face. So far he was just an automaton! Eating, going to school, moving with friends, everything!
“Thank you uncle, you have shown me the light!” with great enthusiasm, he embraced Dave, his uncle.
Though my brother Dave was fifteen years older than Joshi, they were behaving as equals. Dave carried him on his shoulders when he was a baby. He taught him the first words . They enjoyed walks on the streets. They were one soul in two bodies!
To my son Dave has been someone more than an uncle. They shared eating, playing, sleeping, everything until Dave got married! For every move Joshi was dependent on him. Dave cleared his doubts, encouraged him in his studies, made him cheerful, and what not! But when Dave got married and settled in a far off place in Chennai, Joshi began to feel the separation.
Even after his marriage, Dave visited us often which gave great consolation to both of us. They were the times of smiling to Joshi.
But that didn’t last long.
On a stormy day Dave lost his beloved wife in an accident. It was a fatal thunderbolt in his life. In Joshi’s life, too. Nothing could console them. To make things worse, unbearable loss of his wife made Dave leave the country on a dark day without informing any one.
We all searched for him for days and months. We couldn’t trace Dave. All our efforts to find him out ended in despair!
It was only a shock for me but a for my son Joshi, who he had been much attached to his uncle, Dave‘s absence was a living death . He became a wingless bird. His adolescent petals withered without blossoming. He lost himself during the critical period of his life when he needed Dave most. He buried himself in his own dismal world.
He couldn’t eat. He couldn’t study. He couldn’t smile at anybody. Everything of his life was buried in obscurity!
Everything was in vain. Our memories became deserted and dry. We were buried in our lifeless daily routine.
It was in this situation that Joshi brought his uncle Dave into our house.
After five years of ascetic wander , on a cold morning in January, Dave entered our house like a mountain hermit! His stay with the ascetics of the Himalayas had changed him completely both in and out! He talked like the Buddha of Enlightenment!
Dave’s homecoming was a resurrection for Joshi! Within days things became normal. Joshi turned cheerful and active. He had a lot to clear with his uncle.
The country was getting ready for the harvest festival celebrated in the middle of January. The first day was the Bonfire. All the waste things were thrown into fire and burnt.
“Uncle, is it not a stupid idea to burn things like this and spoil the atmosphere?” Joshi asked his uncle who was sitting across the bonfire. He didn’t agree with all these religious ceremonies. Flames were soaring high and the shroud of smoke seemed to suffocate the whole sky.
“What’s the use of dumping all rubbish in front of the house and cause the whole place stinky?” Joshi was insisting that the religious rituals are meaningless.
There was only a smile on Dave’s face. He was looking curiously deep into the eyes of Joshi. Joshi was trying to stress that all these old ideas and religions should be thrown out.
After a few quiet minutes, Dave asked, “Joshi, tell me, what are you afraid of?” A straight question!
“Me, what do you mean uncle?” Joshi was confused.
“What make you suppressed? Your studies? Your friends? Your parents? Your own self? ”
There was a glitter in Joshi’s eyes.
“Yes, It’s my own struggling self!” Joshi caught his uncle’s hand.
“Burn them all! Rise up from your pyre! Like the phoenix bird!” words came louder.
A bundle of scraps fell into the fire. The fire rose higher. Joshi had a lightning in himself!
“Gone, your fear, your doubts, all your inferiority complexes!” He threw more rubbish!
“Gone uncle,” shouted Joshi embracing his uncle!
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