He was a short man ,indeed old age had hunched him a bit a retired school teacher from the local degree colony he had come to settle in the. Colony almost 25 years ago .I was a very young man the only twenty or so . He. Was our neighbour , good friends we were my dad liked him for his simplicity , and his other was a house wife like mine . Our families stayed good neighbours for more then twenty years . Babu ji the good old common mine at times with his vest and wide Panama’s he did indeed look like the man from the R.K Laxman cartoon , the common man always bemused and perplexed with the goings on around him .Babu Ji , I sue to see him on his white Kinetic scooters , he would ride it around the area , no doubt to do the house hold shopping or doing the local bank work . Babu Ji he spoke Hindi and had very little teeth left , many a times he would sit nest the gate in a bamboo chair sipping small cup of tea reading the local Hindi daily newspaper .He was also a great help when some one parked their car outside our house , or a maid threw some rubbish outside our gate . He would shoe people away and fight with people to keep our part of the road east and tidy free from parked cars and other traffic .In this regard he was the model citizen and neighbour , he would always remind me to get my engine check done and my pollution done for my car . We were use to him , he was some one around us like guarding our house when my folks use to be away . He would also receive. Mail on my behalf at times , he would even deliver to us courier boxes that had accidentally landed in his house .He would love to roam around the front garden in a bush shirt and long white Pyjama’s , he would troll around the garden sometimes it on the bench and talk to fellow oldies at times even crack a joke or so . Maybe discuss the latest political situation or news on the TV . Share the story of the latest Bollywood blockbuster he had seen on the TV . He was good at that kind of homely Saas Bahu gossip , after all he had two sons all in their thirties with wives and children . He was a grand father , all this in-front of my very easy as my parents aged so did our beloved Babu Ji .
His son’s both worked in the IT sectors they had two small cars , which was used by the Bahu worked in HR department of a firm . But Bubu ji had retired long back , I never saw him not retired .He was one of the first residents of the colony , this use to be the teachers colony . Soon it became a Getto of Jain and Baniya shopkeepers . Ou Bbu ji still stood out for his humility and his plains , he had no pomp or show , he was simple as they come . I still remembered the days I had a fight with my servants after. My dad’s death , it was Babu Ji and his family that gave me moral support, they would often visit me and guide me . H was a re assuring old man and was a help after my dad passed away ,a s he would collect all my mails and parcels when I was way on my travels .He had gotten oral and a bit stiff , he would still be roaming around and driving his scooter , he was very active and had the same toothy grin thats as so typical of Delhi men from the Chandni Chowk area .
The thing about Babu Ji was that he had advice for you on almost everything , he wanted me to get married , he would advice me on where and how to pay my gas and electricity bills , he would also shut my main gate at time so that the dogs would not start eating out of the rubbish bags . Babu Ji was helpful without asking for anything in return he was a good old man . You would miss him in a crowd ,you cant see him easily his simplicity and plainness. Is his great camouflage .He wore rubber slipper and pried bata shoes , never saw him smoke or drink even once , he did enjoy his eating tea and biscuits , apart from that he kept himself busy with the TV and the house hold chores .But he was still up and about and looked in good health to me , I had just bumped into him and exchanged pleasantries he had asked me about my travel to Dharamshala and we greeted each other . That is why it came as a surprise and utter disbelief to me when my maid announce dto me in the morning that “ Babu Ji wo ! Ab nahi rahe .” She said Babu ji passed away in the early hours of the morning .” Heart attack , wo floor par gir gaya .” She explained to me .
I walked to my door and opened it to see , their were some people around Babu Ji’s house , no doubt family and well wishers . I could see his elfder brother talking to people , everything looked dull and pale . Yes ! Indeed the news was true that our Babu Ji had passed away with a stroke , he had passed away .” I felt a deep sense of hurt and warm feeling of pain ion my heat , he was some one I had seen around for decades , it was like loosing someone you had got accustomed to seeing around .Babu ji had passed away more then thirsty years we had lived as negators and today hew as no more . No more to hand me my letters or parcel , no more to watch over my pavement , to keep my side of the house clean . I would never see him zipping past me in his scooter wearing his Pyjama’s grinning into the sun . Or sitting on the bench in the garden just sipping tea and gossiping with the old fellows of the colony .No more seeing him take his leisurely rounds around the park lately he had started using his cane stick to help him around but he still had long strides , he looked like a cop who was obscure and could easily get lost , but he wanted to live , his quite life .The crowd outside his house was a bit restless as water was served to all . His son’s and taken him to the local heart hospital but he passed away before they could do anything all his arteries were blocked the doctors gave up mid way .Both his son’s looked baffled one also complained that he never had his heart check up for decades , e did have high sugar so though he fainted because of that . Indeed it was true Babu Ji had passed away and it was sad day , especially when a dear neighbour with whom you have shared a common wall just passed away like that , just like a bubble . I did not have the heart to see his dead body and stayed away from the funeral , but I felt sad . Wit his receding grey hair and short vest he was thin of waste and limb , very thin patlu , Mr Patlu .He never renovated his house or build an extra floor for his family , the house. State as it was build occasionally he would get it painted , the rest everything even the doors and beds remained the same for all eternity .Babu ji the simple school teacher the commonest of all fellow passed away today , to me it feels like an own has departed , the warm fuzzy feeling of his obscure protection will never be available to me . His love for the street dog’s at times who would feed them and at times keep them at bay . His long conversations with the Kachra wala or the newspaper delivery guys will never be seen again in my life time . Neither I see the astute bargainer , hackling the vegetable vendor to give him the lowest cost vegetables .All will be lost , my side of the lane has lost a champion a Guardian able and watch dog for our side of the colony .
It seemed like yesterday he was walking about talking to the washer women trying to fix a tap outside his house and today his body was being cremated , his life as obscure as his death . No one would miss him , he was that insignificant , even his family will forget him after a while , he would just be a painting with a garland on the wall of the house .But for me he will be my Babu Ji and I have lost something today I am sad and in mourning as my babu Ji just passed away .