So, Biju (B) goes to this birthday party of his uncle who is 80 years old and still going strong. He is quite the “hahaha” type. Except that he is also a man of note in church, a respected campaigner for everything in the Syrian Christian calendar of events. He participates in annual general meetings with glee and robustness. B goes with some trepidation because this uncle can be sweet as well as nasty at times. Like the time he criticised B publicly for his ignorance of church matters. That’s another story, for another time.
When B enters expecting to be treated like a very important person, the hall is full of people. And all of them are singing hymns at the top of their voice, which is quite disharmonious. There is no place so B is given a chair by the toilet. Hm, B thinks so this is the special treatment to a nephew. So B sings some hymns. Then the preacher preaches something, which he forgets when the ordeal of the cake cutting starts. There’s the “Happy Birthday” song and then everybody takes out their mobile phones, and the show offs they are, go click, click, click.
That over, the loud blandishments start. Everybody is all praise for uncle. Uncle also praises everybody except B. So there goes B’s self confidence, for a toss. B knew uncle did never like him, so it’s not new. Uncle holds forth, “I was this, I was that, I was there, I travelled here, I went there,” till one of his daughters says, “sit there and keep quiet.”
Uncle’s daughters Siji, Sinu, and Sony don’t know B, or, remember him. It’s so long since they met. So it’s okay, B thinks. B is sure if uncle had a son he would name him Shiju. Not surprising since one worthy in God’s Own Country named his son Shit. What must have he said to his son, “Shit, poo, poo, no son?”
When party is over, the payasam has been drunk, the party-goers find that their footwear have been mixed up. There were a few of them milling around in the narrow foyer hopping around like penguins on hot rocks. Luckily B found his footwear intact, at the place he had kept it.
“That was one hell of a party” B said to his wife.