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by Ashima

Sumati Huber celebrates Uncle Claus in this Christmas edition of Nama-Slay. 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for all the good Indian boys and girls! With his flashy floral shirt and tailored pants, Uncle Claus is here to make sure you’ve been nice even if he’s been a bit naughty.

This uncle doesn’t want your milk or cookies. Well, maybe cookies much to the chagrin of his wife who is always trying to put him on a lemon-water-only diet to help with his big belly. Give him an open bar and buffet any day with his uncle friends and he’s happy and jolly.

Don’t expect too many presents from Uncle Claus. Instead he will tell you how expensive things are and to work hard to earn things yourself without depending on anyone. He knows the price of every item and it’s his favourite thing to discuss when you say you want something. He will remind you that he pays your phone bill and college tuition which is gift enough considering that he believes everything is a rip-off.

Uncle Claus can be spotted all throughout the year with his black hair and white beard. That’s because his wife makes him dye his hair but forgot to tell him he needs to keep up his facial hair as well. He’s often found at the office or watching cricket at home (sometimes at the office too). He isn’t really bothered by too many things and has never once given his wife a suitable answer when she asks what he wants to eat for dinner. If someone asks if something is tasty, he will respond with the very unhelpful “It’s OK” instead of definitively saying whether it was good or bad thus you don’t know what he’s thinking.

He is not particularly fond of attending unnecessary events like weddings or children’s birthday parties, but once he finds the bartender who will keep his whisky and/or beer topped up, he will happily stay on and mingle. He will find you and share his collection of cheesy jokes, especially about his wife: “My wife’s name must be Google because she can always find me!” He loves telling you stories from his childhood and how much cheaper things were back then.

His workshop in Sampheng consists of elves only doing 50 per cent of their jobs, hence the reason why he is always stressed out about business and how bad it is. He can tell you about every type of fabric and has rolls ready for you to examine. His office may not be the most modern because he has trouble figuring out WiFi and keeping up with technology in general but he always has a knack for knowing when you come home too late.

He takes pride in sharing yesterday’s news today because he still gets a newspaper subscription and reads every article each morning. He adds his own commentary to all the news events which generally can be explained by someone being corrupt, incompetent or part of some conspiracy. His version of the news is largely exaggerated and recounted as a way to prevent you from ever leaving the house because everything outside is dangerous.

Uncle Claus, with all his lovable quirks, makes our lives festive and joyful. But what’s the one thing he wishes for this season? His best present of all will be not having to listen to his wife complain about the house help as soon as he walks in the door from work.

An unreformed party girl and mother of two, writer, editor and observer Sumati Huber tries to make sense of our unique Thai-Indian society and the aunties that she will one day become.


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