Tribute: To My Uncle

It started with a phone call. 4:30 a.m. Then another at 5 a.m. Wednesday 14th January 2015.

My beloved uncle, Maniram – my father’s brother – had passed away in Mauritius.

It was my first day back to university since the Christmas holidays. I was woken by the phone call, but I didn’t know yet what had happened. I stayed in bed for another two hours – since I was due to wake up by 7 a.m. But I couldn’t fall back asleep.

I found out, when my sister – after having her breakfast – found me bleary eyed and barely awake.

“Dad’s crying downstairs”.

“What? What do you mean he’s crying?”

“Nan died.”

It was by now 7 a.m. and by the time I had gotten downstairs, I could hear my father clicking away at the computer. He was trying to find a last minute ticket to Mauritius – the island where I was born, and had spent the first two years of my life.

I slowly walked up to my Dad, sitting in the computer chair, and unaware of my presence.

“Dad…” I began, before clenching my jaw shut to stop the tears.

I had never seen my Dad cry before, this was something different. I hugged him, as tightly as I could, but I knew that I couldn’t change things.

I cried a few more times that day. In my mother’s arms, in my sister’s and again in my brother’s. But somehow, I managed to get to university – promptly – for my 10 a.m. lecture. By then, my uncle had been dead for 5 hours.

I don’t know how I got through the day. But I did.

By the time I got home, my Dad was on his plane bound for Dubai, before changing to get another plane to Mauritius. He would arrive on Thursday morning.


I am writing this now – a month since my uncle’s death –  mainly because I can and because I want to.

My Dad has been back home for a few weeks now and I only realised that it was only until I had my own father back home, that I could feel ready to move on.

In the weeks that my father was gone – the days he dealt with the funeral, and would call home every so often and let us hear his voice and that of our relatives there – I grieved. I had spoken to my uncle – Nan (as the term is in Mauritius for one’s uncle) – a few days before to wish him a belated Happy New Year. We hadn’t managed to call him earlier, since a cyclone meant that their telephone line was unreachable. He greeted me with his usual, “Hello my Mauritian darling”, and I with my “Hello Nan” – trying to hold back a laugh. He had called me that since I was old enough to talk. I alone out of my siblings, was born on the island that my father, my uncle and my two aunts were born on and lived. Some days, I can still hear his voice saying those four wonderful words and that threatens tears once more.

I miss him. And I miss the fact that he will not see me again. Nor see my graduation photos. Or my wedding.

Although my uncle, my Nan, was ill for some time, I thought he would be around for longer. He was 65 when he died.


My Nan was a fisherman, with a boat named Claudia. The boat was named after a dear Italian friend of my parents, and my uncle, who had died of breast cancer. When I was born in 1995, my parents made her name my middle name. I had never had the chance to meet this wonderful woman, but my uncle did. It goes to show how much he cared for her to have named his boat after her. He took many tourists, who visited Mauritius, out in this boat – on the lagoon and beyond – that lies near my hometown of La Gaulette. When I visited Mauritius in 2010, my Nan took us out in this boat several times. I could felt and saw how much he loved the sea, and sharing that love with the people he brought out with Claudia.

The boat, Claudia, is now being sold. My uncle has been buried with my grandfather.

I don’t think I can say more. I know, no matter how much I want it, my uncle won’t be coming back.

With that, I want to leave this poem by Dylan Thomas as something to console us, who have had loved ones pass away this year. Thomas wrote it for his dying father, and it was most recently used in Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The Hardships of the Yard

The Hardships of the Yard

I realise I haven’t posted anything on my blog in a while, so I apologise. But I had to share this post about The Globe.

The Globe is a wonderful theatre in London, showcasing Shakespeare’s plays in an authentic and sometimes, unique way. I visited last year to watch ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for my – wait for it –  Shakespeare module for university, and it was both a pleasure to watch as well as a great educational tool for students, like me, to experience the play physically rather than to only study it via its printed form.

The stage at The Globe.

As the post I mentioned (and linked) states that The Globe On-Screen DVDs are a must to watch, there’s also been the newly-introduced feature of Globe Player – think of it as a Netflix for all things Shakespeare and Renaissance-related. You can rent, or buy outright, plays that have been performed at The Globe, for a very reasonable price.

I would recommend The Globe to anyone – it’s not just for regular theatre-goers, or university students, but anyone who enjoys a good laugh, or bloody historical re-enactment, or even a tear-jerking drama. I certainly will be visiting again, but this time to watch ‘The Merchant of Venice’.

Our Generation – Jordan Nichols

Our Generation – Jordan Nichols

I’ve been subjected to some pretty abysmal post-modern poetry (despite recently finishing at Poetry module at uni), I never really managed to connect with some poems on a level I would have liked. Books tend to better  at – to use the cliche term – “open my eyes and soul” than poetry.

But this? It takes the biscuit, the whole goddamn cake and the entire bakery. Absolute genius and a brilliant message.

The Word in Edgeways

So I haven’t made a post in a month but on seeing this unbelievable fucking incredible poem, I simply had to share it.


This got posted on Twitter by the author’s older brother. I wish more poetry out there was innovative like this rather than postmodern fragmented wankery.

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Review of ‘Rivers of London’ by Ben Aaronovitch

Review of ‘Rivers of London’ by Ben Aaronovitch

Hey all.

Hope you’re all having a great week! I notice that I haven’t posted a review of a book in a while and so I present to you my latest review of the wonderfully funny ‘Rivers of London’ by Ben Aaronovitch. 

To make up for it, here’s funny picture:



And if you’re interested and would like to berate me for not posting more, have a gander through my other reviews.

Happy reading! 🙂

– Julia