Helicopter

It was in the winter season when my uncle would usually visit my family. My brother and I were always thrilled to have him over because every time he visited, he'd bring us a carton full of toys and gifts. He loved us dearly. I don't clearly remember his name, as we were too young so we always called him 'chachu'.


He was my father's half-brother. Definitely older than my father; he also had butterscotch skin and white hair. He always wore a gold chain around his neck, a very typically Sindhi thing to do. I remember him wearing red shirts, extra large in size because his stomach stuck out. He was old, even then.


But he had a phenomenal relationship with my father. I remember them joking, laughing, hugging and patting each other's back. He'd often come home and my mother would cook something for him. It would usually be barbecued chicken with a dash of coriander leaves and lemon juice on top. But the barbecue would be spicy. He and my father would sit on the maroon sofa cum bed we had in our living room, with two jugs of beer on the matching coffee table. My brother and I would join them and hear them talk like old friends.


We would nibble on some fried snacks, usually, potato chips tossed in some red chili powder and salt with a glass of Pepsi. We were not allowed more than a glass. I took the first sip of beer from my dad's jug. It was a habit. I still do it when I and my dad sit together for a drink. My mother hated it though. I didn't like drinking some bitter-flavoured alcoholic drink that was made from yeast-fermented malt either. But it was just one of those silly things that happened that made me feel that I was getting closer to my father by every sip I'd take.


Before he left, he'd hand over a carton to my mother full of jewellery, and toys and showpieces. He'd gotten me a helicopter and my brother an aeroplane that, for some reason, made sounds of a siren. He then told me every time you see a helicopter in the sky, wave at it and I will wave back.


Flash forward to a year or so, we met my uncle again, but this time in his hotel room. We went to see him at sunset. After we greeted him, he quickly surprised me and my brother with two jugs full of strawberry milkshake which he had ordered from the room service. My parents weren't happy about it for they thought something cold and sweet at night would make me sick. I didn't really care. After we downed our drink, I shamelessly asked for another.


I remember that day very well because that was the first time I spoke to the room service in my life. Not that it turned out fruitful. I didn’t get the milkshake after my parent's rant about cough and cold. Even I gave up. After we said our goodbyes, it was the last time we saw each other.


My parents split up in the following years and a lot had happened to contribute to the reasons why we never met again. I don't miss him or anything of that sort. I don't even remember his name. I'm not even sure if he's dead or alive. But every time I see a helicopter in the sky, I remember him.

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