Today is my Uncle T’s 60th birthday. He’s a pretty awesome uncle. T grew up in India, with his family and many cousins, aunts and uncles. He was a mischievous little guy – my Mom still tells the story where she chased him around the house because he didn’t follow the rules. He would take off his school uniform pants in the middle of the room, step out of them and run off. He was one of the youngest of the bunch so he often got away with things.
T sometimes talks about the discipline that was ingrained in them. There was no such thing as an allowance for the kids, and if they ever received a paisa or a rupee it was carefully hoarded and you would spend a lot of time figuring out what exactly you’d buy with it. Sweets and other bought snacks were the rare exception. T tells the story of how he’d walk back from the school with only one peanut to eat. Which we’ve of course modified to “walking uphill both ways, in the snow, with only one peanut to chew on.” I should add that he grew up in South India, where there was no snow around.
Apparently his school and college days were fun party times as well. Oops, guess his sisters will find out now that he had plenty of fun driving across borders to … uhm, we’ll leave that open-ended.
After graduation – at least we think he graduated – T wasn’t quite sure what to do with his degree when my aunt suggested that he look into computer related jobs. After some work at larger corporations, he branched out on his own, and together with his business partner he started up a company. He’s really disciplined or otherwise he wouldn’t be able to work out of his home office. He’s a busy guy – he’s even busier now than he used to be, and he has to deal with calls from India and telephone conferences at random times during the day and the weekend. His golfing time has been dramatically reduced.
T is like the glue that holds the family together. He keeps track of all the random relatives, including the second and third degree cousins, various aunts and uncles, and other random people. Of course, he talks to you while working away on his computer, so you’ll often hear him tap away. You might have to repeat yourself once or twice.
Of course, T may just as easily repeat himself. He especially tends to repeat his wife. Here’s an example:
Question to T’s wife: “How did you make the scallops?”
T’s wife gets the recipe and reads off the instructions.
T will start talking at the same time as his wife: “And then she takes the scallops, and she dips them on one side, and dips them on the other side, and then she fries them. And just like that, just like that she does it. Just have some wine with. Open a couple of bottles of wine. She does it nicely.” All accompanied by lots of hand waving and gestures.
T is generous to a fault and a born philanthropist. He believes in helping the needy and combined with his generous heart, he sure is a favorite in the family. He’s the kind of guy that buys shoes for 50 rupees in India and pays 200 rupees to help the little corner store out. Or after taking over a pub celebrating the holidays in Germany he generously handed out a 50$ tip to the waitress. He supports charity, especially an educational foundation in India that includes various school programs. He generously donates, and makes sure to fundraise among family and friends, and anyone else he can think of. He is a very fair and tolerant person. He always has an open ear for you – you just have to get his attention away from his work. He has a large circle of friends that he loves spending his time with. And he’s pretty darn active – he has quite a social calendar, more than many 20 year olds.
T is also the one who sends out the Christmas letter – well, sometimes, whenever his wife or kids don’t keep him from it. He can ramble along with the best of them – he has that from his mother. For example, he “educated” us on how to make a left-over Chinese food omelet. This was done by comparing the separation of the egg yolks from the egg whites to the separation of church and state. Yup, that’s a direct quote. T is also a jokester, though not as good as his kids. T tends to use words like “dipdoe” (his version of idiot), “what-you-may-call-it” and “thingamajig,” leaving the rest of us to interpret his words. He’s also the kind of guy that can go to his son’s bachelor party and still hold his own with the 20 and 30 somethings.
I hope you got a sense of what T is like. Check out the slideshow for more T fun. Happy 60th, T!