Major V.K.Nair is my uncle ,he was fondly called kunhikannan amamma which meant the” little eyed kannan uncle approximately .”
In my young days he was “Dubaimamma .”to us children as he lived and worked across the seas in the Middle East.
Those days Dubai was not infested with Malayalee expatriates nor was it a posh smart city as it is today.
It was all deserts, sheiks and camels and life was tough.
But uncle was a man who rose to challenges and he was like water in fish there, probably one of the earliest malayalees in Sharjah his stars rose with the city and soon he was one of the rarest persons owning a villa in the desert kingdom and on back patting terms with the local sheiks.
Uncle was always a whiz kid and stories of his naughty acts are abound in our family, how he used to palm off hoarded small currencies from amnesic uncles and spend it on fireworks to give the scare to errant headmasters.
He was a mischievous imp and the grand master of the joint family veliyamamma V.G.Nair textile engineer from U.K. sharpened his canes on kannans fleshy posteriors.
In college too he was his true self, once when a student came with a shaved head due to some vow and a lecturer ridiculed him Kannan the leader saw to it that the whole class including himself had shaved scalps and dared the lecturer to make sarcastic remarks, he was promptly bundled out of the college after this valorous act ..
Veliyamamma siphoned him off to his nephew in Bombay ,kuttamamma and told him to have a special eye on this grand nephew of his who spelt trouble with a capital T .
In no time kannan became a bombay natural and with his Goan friend Godfrey had a whale of a time.
Smartly decked they would visit restaurants and appease their massive hunger pangs, while one of them walked out nonchalantly the other would saunter behind looking for his friend and his wallet, they talked their way out of many tight situations with the ease of professional conmen and had their fun.
College in between this busy schedule was the last option and soon the principal confronted my uncle and asked him why he was absent for past few days, without batting an eyelid Kanan said his uncle expired, the principal who knew the uncle felt very sad and consoled him and asked him to take his time to come back to college.
The fun came when principal met Kannans uncle in the market, and as he didn’t believe in ghosts but did believe in the existence of lying students he narrated the whole story to an infuriated uncle.
Kannan was ticked off in royal style at home.
He just disappeared, none knew where he went ,my grandmother arrived in Bombay and the uncle was blamed by all for being so bad to the poor little boy who sleeked solace with him!
Months flew and none knew where Kanan was, Bombay was searched and so were surrounding cities, astrologers lined up in thekkepat kovialkkam with their solutions and grandmother was inconsolable.
On e fine day with the rains came the postman bearing happy news from Kannnn in
Yes he had befriended a sheik visiting Bombay and accompanied him back and got a small job, slowly steadily he studied , rose in stature and became the major in administrative wing of the British army stationed there and later on in Sharjah s forces.
He got married ,got children and helped so many in his native place, and filled the coffers of temples.
Years flew and a seventy -year-old uncle settled down at Manjeri with my aunt, he dived deep into the local temple affairs and led an active life.
He used to love eating good food, so it was sad when he got a sickness which denied him that , slowly he lost weight as he went through the surgery and treatment that followed but his spirits never died, he used to drive his quails for long distances, jog whenever possible,
he had a wonderful and neat way of cataloging and classifying, he took many photographs of places he visited and kept meticulously dated albums, he bought a computer, read books and was full of life till his end which took him away from all of us suddenly but surely
this is in memory of my dear Kunhikanamamma .