Updated date:

Sona Uncle and the Charm of Real India

Hi,welcome to my Hubpages profile. I am Arun Kanti Chatterjee and live in Kolkata. My mission is to share experiences etched on my memory.

The Selfless Man

sona-mama-and-the-charm-of-real-india

Introduction to My Uncle

Believe me, when I first saw him at the age of 12 years I considered him nothing more than a mendicant clad in a torn shirt stained with snuff all over, dishevelled wearing a Hawaii chappal somehow held together by a safety pin, around 45 years totally oblivious of his appearance. As my mother asked me to bow down to his feet in respect I was hesitant but did so as she gave me a gentle nudge and I got introduced to the man whom I came to know for the first time as my uncle.

He was my Sona uncle as we fondly called him, a cousin of my mother brought up in my grand father’s house in Dacca now in Bangladesh. Losing his mother at the tender age of only 4 years he almost became an orphan when his father married for the second time. His struggle for existence had already started but with an indomitable spirit, incredible endurance and unusual sharpness of intellect he accepted all the troubles in his stride and successfully passed out of college with distinction.


Huddling Around Sona Uncle

sona-mama-and-the-charm-of-real-india

A Self Made Man

With such qualities my Sona uncle became a self made man and procured a railway job easily. But he wanted to remain a bachelor perhaps to extend helpful services to all without looking for his self interest! At this his relations and friends became very worried and arranged to find him a suitable bride. Once he was taken to see a rich man’s accomplished daughter. Everything went smoothly and his friends who had been arranging such match making exercise many times were pleased at long last that their friend had acquiesced. But their joy was short lived when Sona uncle addressed the would be bride as Didi(elder sister). In another similar incident that followed he chose to call a more prospective bride respectfully as Ma(Mother) frustrating his friends and relations.


A Confirmed Bachelor & His Antics

So with his incredible sense of humour coupled with wit and great conviction he could keep at bay any schemes against his wishes. But on the other hand becoming a confirmed bachelor he began to fritter away as much as he earned. “What shall I do with my savings?. I have foot paths to sleep and government hospitals to look after me when I am old and sick” was his stock reply. A part of his earnings would always go to cater to the destitute. Whatever little was left went to meet his only luxury of travelling to far flung areas, mostly Santhal Parganas in Jharkhand inhabited mostly by brave yet unpretentious tribal people with a companion.He seemed to strike a chord with such like minded simple, broad minded and fun loving poor persons.

His life always remained unusual, single and yet interesting. Once during such a trip in an interior Bihar village he had heard of an eye operation camp being conducted by an Iris physician. He had at that time cataract problems and met the doctor alone.” But I need to see you escorted by someone after the operation” .The physician told him clearly. He walked off, grabbed a santhal boy who had been working in the fields and lured him away to the camp offering monetary benefits. “Your job will be only to stand by me as long as the operation lasts” He assured the impatient boy who was unaware of the proceedings. On being released after the operation Sona uncle immediately let him go after paying his dues. He was also soon off alone leaving the physician and onlookers totally baffled.


Need For Minimum Comforts In Life

After his retirement from the services. I felt called upon to bring him back to my house in Kolkata to offer him the basic comforts of life which he had so long avoided- partly to shoulder his responsibility as a nephew after his retirement from service and partly to atone for the grave sin I had committed in my child hood in mistakenly taking him by his appearance only. He came to live with us after much persuasion. We were careful enough to see him enjoy the minimum possible comforts lest surfeit of that should annoy him. As days rolled by we were happy to believe that our long lost uncle would at last throw away his obstinacy and accept the city comforts and be safely ensconced amidst his dear relations. A few months flew by and one day I received a phone call from my sobbing wife informing me that our uncle had almost run away like a child . Grief stricken, I could not give solace to her.

My Sona uncle returned after a few years when he was found to be not his usual self as he had begun to contract old age ailments.Despite our best endeavour and much to our grief, death snatched away his precious life at 85 years. Such selfless men do not care for their own comforts while looking for the well being of others. They detest the idea of publicity yet help the destitute by their yeomen’s services. I have realized, much to our sorrow though, that to him charm of rustic life is much more that what we can offer from the urbanized society.

To read the companion part you may click below-








Comments

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on December 25, 2019:

Chaitali

Thanks for your positive comments.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on December 10, 2019:

Soumya Basu

Thank you very much for reading the tribute leaving positive comments.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on December 10, 2019:

Chandan Kumar Roy

Thank you very much for your wise comments which have enriched my hub.

Have a great day.

Soumya Basu on December 07, 2019:

Very apt and well articulated piece of writing uncle!! Thank you for sharing the story with readers.

Chaitali on December 03, 2019:

An excellent piece. I have read most of

your stories which are interesting and

absorbing. I have shared them all.Please keep up with your good works.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on May 05, 2019:

DreamerMeg

Thank you very much for your input which has enriched my hub.

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on May 04, 2019:

What an interesting man he must have been and he enjoyed a long life despite very few comforts.

Sanjib Talukder on January 08, 2019:

An honest and simple man who sacrificed his whole life for the downtrodden people without any vested interest which creates an great example nowadays for our selfish society. The article is enriched by strong writing.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on December 17, 2016:

Thank you very much for your visit and very apt comments.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on December 16, 2016:

Very nice hub portraying your uncle's simplicity and his care for downtrodden.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on December 15, 2016:

One may learn from such austere life style with lofty ideals. Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving such apt comments which have enriched my tribute.

Robert Sacchi on December 15, 2016:

A very touching story about your uncle. Sorry for your loss.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on December 15, 2016:

In our society we come across such selfless persons very rarely. They are born only to be of service to others. I have already written 4 hubs to pay tribute to the great man. Thank you for your nice comments.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 15, 2016:

Nice story, Arun.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on August 07, 2014:

quildon-Even in our Indian society we come across such selfless person very rarely. They are born only to be of service to others. I have already written 4 hubs to pay tribute to the great man. Thank you for your apt comments.

Angela Joseph from Florida on August 06, 2014:

Very lovely, Arun. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your dear uncle. In today's society, especially western society, such selfless people are hard to come by. I'll be back to read part II. Voted up.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on May 26, 2014:

@Anita-The life of Sona uncle was what an amazingly simple yet exemplary concept. It still bewilders me that how such men can forgo everything, yet be so much happy! Our overdeveloped western lives have so much to learn from such austere life style with lofty ideals. Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving such apt comments which have enriched my tribute.

Anita Saran from Bangalore, India on May 26, 2014:

Beautiful tale. I applaud you for looking after your wonderful and unique Sona Uncle who was so selfless and had the courage to remain single. This tribute to him is well deserved.

livingsta from United Kingdom on May 27, 2013:

I am so moved by this story. Thank you for sharing this with us. We do not find many people like your uncle these days. Voted up and awesome. Sharing this!

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on May 27, 2013:

Thank you very much for your visit and comments which are encouraging. Wish you all the best.

Mike Robbers from London on May 27, 2013:

Very nice story, Arun that I enjoyed reading.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on April 30, 2013:

Denise Handlon- I am overwhelmed by your positive response and feeling that the story has touched you so deeply! Thank you very much for your visit and leaving such appreciative comments.

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on April 29, 2013:

What a lovely story, and a candid account of a young boy's arrogant first impression. You have helped your Uncle on more than one occasion, despite his insistence of living a life alone. The companionship that you and your family offered him when he was elderly is a compliment to you. I rated this account UP and Interesting. :) Thank you.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on April 17, 2013:

Tanveer Badyari-I am very glad that my first and so far the best hub has been lauded by you. Encouraged by such success I have planned to publish the second part of the great man's story which, I am sure, will attract worldwicde attention as well. Thank you

and wish you all the best.

tanveerbadyari on April 16, 2013:

thanks for sharing the amazing story of sona kaka, it is difficult to find people like him now.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on February 05, 2013:

@PoeticVine- Although you may have many works in progress your already finished goods are quite good no doubt. I hope you will find my other stories /write up interesting and of different taste. Thank you and wish you all the best in your literary journey.

Leanna Stead from North Carolina, United States on February 04, 2013:

Arun, this is lovely. Thank you for sharing -- you do have a gift for storytelling. You've given me a lot to think about tonight, too... and I am grateful for the gift. :)

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on December 19, 2012:

Although my mother tongue is not English I have a natural penchant for expressing my feelings in the language which I like very much for its richness. Your wise comments may only give me the needed impetus to contine my endeavour to narrate my lifelong experience simply. Thank you very much.

Jim Higgins from Eugene, Oregon on December 19, 2012:

Such a different way of life than we see in this country, he is maybe a real holy man in a way. Though I do not pretend to understand, I certainly admire.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on November 12, 2012:

@Ken Wu- So nice of you to stop by. I thank you for your kind words.

Greatly appreciate your comments. I am sure my other hub will impress you as well.

KenWu from Malaysia on November 11, 2012:

Interesting story about your Sona Mama. Hope that he is fine now.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on November 09, 2012:

@ Prasenjit Sarkar - So nice of you to stop in.

Greatly appreciate your comments. Many Thanks

Prasenjit Sarkar on November 09, 2012:

Nice story uncle...looking for you to share more of your experience and stories ahead...keep it up.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on November 07, 2012:

@ Piyali Joshi-Thanks for visiting my hub and such kind words.The engaging hub is based on a real life incident and intended to reach out to every section of viewers

Piyali Joshi on November 07, 2012:

Very touching story and excellent writing. Look forward to more such interesting stories

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on November 05, 2012:

@DDE- Thank you for spending your valuable time to read my hub and give wise comments thereon.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 05, 2012:

Another good one and a unique write up thanks

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 29, 2012:

Thank you very much for spending your valuable time to read my hub and comment so nicely.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 29, 2012:

Very kind of you to stand by and comment so nicely.Thanks

Simon Joseph on October 29, 2012:

It is a very nice story well written. Thank you Sir.

Tony Seth on October 29, 2012:

Excellent. We want more of such write ups. Keep it up Thanks.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 25, 2012:

Mellyunplugged -

So nice of you to stop in.

I thank you for your kind words,

Greatly appreciate your comments. Many Thanks.

Melvin Augustine from India on October 25, 2012:

Very well written !! Appreciate your grip over the language and vocabulary. The flow of the content was maintained well till the end. Enjoyed reading it :)

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 25, 2012:

@Carol7777- Thanks a lot for reading the story and effective comments.

I shall try to follow your wise advice.

carol stanley from Arizona on October 25, 2012:

I enjoyed your story a lot. Well written. I tried to find a place to email you.. Trust me I am not expert..one thing. Add some photos if you can. It makes the reading easier and pictures often tell a good story. Keep writing..and I will be reading. Voted UP.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 23, 2012:

@Bishalrokz- It is refreshing to hear your positive comments.Looking forward to seeing your Hubs. Happy puja ARUN KANTI

Bishal Ghosh on October 23, 2012:

a very nice story :)

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 21, 2012:

Thank you very much for your wise comment Koffee Klatch Gals and for taking a time to read my hub.

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on October 21, 2012:

Beautiful story. Up and beautiful.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 20, 2012:

Greatly appreciate your comments. Many Thanks.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 20, 2012:

i am extremely thankful to you for your kind words.Happy puja

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 18, 2012:

I am extremely thankful to you for your kind comments

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 18, 2012:

i am extremely thankful to you for your kind words.

Shampa Sadhya from NEW DELHI, INDIA on October 18, 2012:

Voted up and interesting!

It's indeed a good one. From beginning to end it's a gripping write up. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

ARUN KANTI CHATTERJEE (author) from KOLKATA on October 18, 2012:

So nice of you to stop in!

I thank you for your kind words, sir.

Greatly appreciate your comments! Many Thanks!

BK Chatterjee on October 18, 2012:

Wonderful story,

Please keep it up !

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on October 17, 2012:

A very beautiful story and an absorbing read. You have a knack for story telling my friend. Voted up.

Related Articles