A key characteristic of Delhites (I mean people of Delhi and its satellite towns like Noida) is their penchant for calling people “uncle”, even when they are calling people who are at most 10-15 years older than them.
Now I am in my mid-30s. I came to Delhi around 8 years back, and soon found myself to be an “uncle” for people in the age group of 18-30. I understand that I already looked much older thanks to my (then) bulky physique and baldness. Nevertheless, it was shocking to find how smartly people of even 30 years of age were calling me “uncle”.
As my age increased, it also resulted in the “expansion” of the age group of my “nephews”. Now I find even people apparently in their 40s (including the ones in late 40s) calling me “uncle”. And now I have stopped getting shocked, as now I am used to it.
But the other day I simply could not help getting shocked again. In fact I was dumbstruck.
I was traveling by Delhi Metro Rail, and was about to get down at the Rajib Chowk station. The train was crowded, and I had somehow managed some space to stand just in front of the gate. There were many other passengers standing there, with a gentleman leaning against the door. When the Rajib Chowk station was about to come, a passenger requested that gentleman to move a little, as he was about to get down at Rajib Chowk. The jolly looking gentleman readily agreed, when he noticed that I was also trying to approach the door. He immediately asked me, very politely, “Aapko bhi utarna hai, uncle”? (You will also get down, uncle?)
And how old was he? Well, a man with a number of grey hairs, he appeared to be at least in his early 50s.