Uncles of India are the most astonishing creatures for a child. Uncles, lots of them, 'Bagal Wale Uncle', 'Upar wale Uncle', 'Peeche Wale Uncle' etc.etc. Not only known by geographical location but also their professions gives distant names to them like, 'Pani wale Uncle', 'Bijli wale Uncle', 'Dukaan wale Uncle'. Here's some more, 'Tofee wale uncle', 'Khadush Uncle' and more and more.
My father has a transferable job so I was exposed to all these vivid variety of Uncles, every one was unique in his own way. When we were shifted to a place, Narnaul [ A little known town in Haryana ], I encountered my first typical uncle. Bald, AH! not being so rude, almost bald, 6 feet tall, bones scratching muscles to come out, equipped with two most notorious kids of the world and a 'Good for nothing' Pomeranian. He was my 'Makaanmalik Uncle'.
On the day of our arrival in his house, he took me to a 'Mithai Wala' and fed me with the world's most delicious dessert 'Ras malai'. I was a foodie since the day my tongue started recognizing the tastes so, that 'Ras Malai' was enough to invert my introvert attitude for my 'Makaanmalik Uncle'. In the colony of screaming small monsters, i was the most silent kid. My mother never allowed me to play with those kids simply because according to her, games of those 'roaring mini giants' were life galloping so 'Makaanmalik Uncle' was the only one i befriended. He was the one I played with, and watched India Vs. Pakistan cricket matches. (I must had watched other matches too but i didn't remember.)
Transferable job of my father lived up to its promise and this time it landed us in 'Delhi'. Big city with excessive pollution, sky high buildings and an unending construction work which keeps this city always under suffocating dirt blanket, became our new home. 'Screaming Monsters' were now got replaced with the bunch of highly sophisticated city kids (I am calling them 'sophisticated' because they might not even heard of few 'desi' games like 'Gulli Dandaa', 'Kho kho' and all, where almost every game used to end up with a brawl. For these poor, video game ridden, city kids, ramming dirt on road beneath their bicycles tires is most adventurous). My father pushed me in one of the finest schools of Delhi to which most of our colony kids belonged to. This didn't help me get any fast friend either.
This time another uncle who was friend of my father became my 'Saamne Wale Uncle'. (His house was just in front of us.)
Talking about city's education, it was alright. A brilliant student of English had turned into a mediocre one. I suffered most in computers. Notepad, Paint, Word pad, these all were no less than torture for me at school but not for those butter driven kids. Firmly holding a mouse and then frequently clicking on icons to launch what they actually asked to was not challenging for those techno freaks. In my town school, I was only taught to somehow open the computer and launch C-DOS to see date, time, calender etc etc. with all the mouse work was headache of teacher. Taming computer's mouse was seeming tougher than living mouse and then 'Bagal wale Uncle' came to my rescue.
One day when I was going home with my bicycle i stood in front of a computer center noticing bike of my 'Samne wale Uncle' parked in front of it. I had heard from my father that uncle owns a computer center near my school and i took no time in guessing that it is his. I parked my bicycle too and peeped into the building. I entered into a small compound through a black door. There were almost 7 to 8 computers, much less than computers in our giant school lab. A theory class was going on a separate room. I found my uncle sitting on a chair as feathery as our school principal has had. He called as soon as his eyes got me.
"So kid, wanna play games on computer?" he asked after my few minutes stay there.
So this torture thing (computer) has something good too, I thought and nodded in reply. (Remember, i was an introvert. So a confident yes didn't sound good to me.)
He switched on a computer and clicked on an icon. No notepad, fortunately it wasn't paint too. It was 'Roadrash', the most addicted bike racing game of that time. With a proper knowledge of controls that he gave me (except those one for kicking fellow bikers) i almost learned the basics. This was enough to ignite the fuel of addiction inside me for that very same game. I inquired in my colony about 'Roadrash' and almost every one already had this game installed on their PC's. Few had completed it too. I sneaked into the house of one of my almost friend 'Mridul' to play 'Roadrash'. He didn't allowed me to touch his new P.C. and himself demonstrated the way to play.
"See, I stood first" he announced.
"It's not you. He's Head Popper who came first" i replied
"It's my name, 'Gadhe'"
"Your name is Mridul"
"Head popper is the name i had given to me as player's name, so in the game i am Head popper" He finally elaborated.
I nodded and left.
Next day while coming from school i again noticed my 'Saamne Wale Uncle's' bike. Curiosity clicked. Again i parked my bicycle and ran to that small compound. This time almost all PC's were booked, just as in our school lab where students not even let a single P.C. respire. My uncle finally made my way to a neglected computer.
First thing i did was changing my playing name aka player's name to 'Street Rocker'. (I had been thinking over the name since Mridul told me how to do so). After almost an hour , I completed my first race. It had been late for home so i paddled my bicycle with all my effort but wasn't enough to fill the void of late.
'Where were you?' my mother asked.
Wasn't intended to tell a lie, I told her the reason. To my surprise she behaved normally, the reason might be my mingling with computer which i hatred of.
Now with passing days i became regular to my uncle's computer center and i almost perfected till level 3 of 'Roadrash'. 'Street Rocker' was ramming his fellow bikers with side kicks (Yes, I learned it too) and achieving the highest feat. Only thing which kept degrading was my uncle's response. Now, he had stopped coming to my seat asking me how's all going. He had stopped patting on my back too which he used to every time when i got a rank. Might be I was uselessly using a computer which should be given to a paying student coming for his computer course there. The feel of negligence forced me to stop going to his center.
I told all this to my mom. She felt bad for a kid which now wouldn't tell her the stories of 'Street Rocker's' success. She promised me to give a new computer as soon as possible. (It isn't easy for a middle class parents to give his child a gift worth half a lakh). For me, it was never easy to pass from the front of that "Roadrash" spot, neglecting it everyday while coming from school, where I was having my finest hour of day. 'Street Rocker' was no longer ramming the fellow bikers.