I have been wanting to introduce 'Ram Avatar' on this platform for past few days. After writing my blog on 'mirror maze', the picture of 'Ram Avatar' came to my mind which was taken by my husband a few years back.
'He must be here', I thought.
I was just waiting for finding some time to pull out the picture and write. So here he is - 'Ram Avatar', pronounced as 'Ramautar'. As a small child, I used to call him 'Chacha' (Uncle). He used to stay at my place.
Ramautar was youngest one of the seven sons of his parents. His parents used to work at land that my grandfather owned. That was the time when people used to have these relationships for generations. So was the relationship that my family and his family had. Slowly, we have migrated to city and the land was given and sold. A piece of land was given to his family by my great-grandfather. Some part of land was acquired by government as well.
My grandfather, even after moving to the city and being in a government job, still used go to the village to during certain seasons or weekends to keep track on what's happening and looking after the matters. In city, we got well settled, my father and eldest aunt were born before the birth of Ramautar. As a small child, he and his family visited our house in the city. Gradually, his parents had become sick and only lived on for a few years. Ramautar was about 13 years old when they both departed from this world.
My grandmother was called to the village when his mother was dying. She went to fulfill her last wish, and before death, she gave Ramautar to my Grandmother and said, "I am leaving him with you. Please take care of my son". For next one or two years families of elder brothers of Ramautar took care of him, after that he was sent to our place and since then he stayed there, at my place. My father went to study medicines by that time.
Years passed - my father got married - started his own clinic - I was born - a few years later, my younger brother was born - I started with my school - that is the time that I remember about my childhood and home, and Ramautar. Rest is all story for me as well :)
Ramautar never wanted to get married, though he was asked many times by my family and his brothers. He wanted to be free and he was happy being with us. He would call my father as 'Bhaiya' (brother) and mother as 'Bhabi' (sister-in-law). And my grandparents were 'Chacha' and 'Chachi' (uncle and aunt) for him. He was very proud to feel like a brother to my father. And comforts for my father and grandfather were important to him.
He had a proud personality. He used to be at home. He would do a few tasks and coordinate with other servants. But, thats not all, he always had this entrepreneurial side of him, where he wanted to do something by himself. And he would come up with ideas and my father would help him in his side-businesses.
At times, my mother would get irritated with him as he used to find reasons to not to do tasks on the house front. Such as, going for grocery shopping. My mother was tired of his optimizations. Though I feel that it is characteristic of lazy programmers. The one who doesn't want to work hard, works smart :)
My younger brother was three and broke his leg while playing. He was put on with plaster and Ramautar was allotted the task of taking care him as he couldn't walk. But as a child, he would not want to sit idle and with smartness of Ramautar, they figured out a way to walk with the plaster on. And very soon my brother was back to jumping and playing.
Ramautar liked recognition, and he used to take opportunities to be recognized. Once he wanted to buy a cycle-rickshaw. He wanted to start with one and then multiply. My father invested in his first rickshaw. He also used to take me to school in that. And in case of someone being ahead and blocking the path, he would scream out loud, "Don't you know, I am taking the family of 'Doctor Saahib'?". In a small city, people know each-other and certain families do get respect, and Ramautar knew how to cash on it.
Once my aunts and us kids wanted to go for a movie. I think 'Maasoom'. Ramautar was the one to accompany us as a male member, and we also went on his rickshaw. A few guys started to tease my aunts. Ramautar cashed on his favourite the family respect coin, to sort the matter. Though, we didn't continue watching movie fully and came back half. I remember Ramautar feeling bad for not being able to provide us the experience.
The rickshaw was sold when my younger brother had put his hand in the chain of it and started to bleed. Ramautar didn't want to anything that harms our family.
Ramautar tried a few more ventures and during one of his crop export venture, he got connected to a few guys who work on clothing. He finally decided to relocate to Soorat, in Gujarat. He tried his ventures. Got some success as well. But, then freedom and displacement made him addicted to drinking etc. He lost - not only the business but also his health.
He was brought back. He stayed with us again for some time. Finally, he decided to go back to his village and try his options with his land. He does farming. He stays in Raghopur, a village in Uttar Pradesh. Still alone, and all his brothers treat him nicely, probably because of his land as well.
However, his entrepreneurial aspirations are not dead yet. He is always on a lookout of what he can do next. His land keeps changing its 'legal heiress'. The youngest female member in my family is nominated by him as heiress of his land. Previously, it was my aunt, then me, then my younger sister, then now it is my niece.
Ever since, I have completed my degree in computer science, he is trying to figure out a good combination of my knowledge and his land. As business ethics are different - Ramautar, many times tries to bribe me with his land so that I can start a 'Computer' factory on his land. For fame, he can change his heire. During one of our visits to my parents, he had a brainstorming session with my husband as well, that is when these photos were taken.
Last time, when I visited my parents, he came to see us before we left and brought fresh milk from his village for my daughter for the journey. I was busy packing to rush and could hardly speak to him for 5-10 minutes.
He also calls me up at times enquiring on our well-being. First time, when he called up, I never expected him to call me. I asked him if the number was his own and I should save it, then he said, "It's ours, and I can ask him to be called". That is how a mobile phone is shared in villages in India.
I tried calling up and following up missed calls a few times. Last time when he called, he asked how my husband is doing. He also said, "Ask him to speak to me when he is back in the evening".
I guess in our day-to-day life, I even forgot mentioning this as an event to my husband that evening. Today, all this comes to mind and I want to share it with all of you and also would ask my husband to speak to Ramautar (Of course! I have to figure out his contact number).
I am sure Ramautar would feel happy and talk about my husband calling him up with his people for the next few days. Lots of stories would be remembered. Probably, I am also doing the same.
India, truly, is a land full of diversities.