November 30, 2007

Memories of Dada

Today there are three living members of Kale family who have lived with Dada in Durgadhiwas. Shrini is the oldest. I, Subhash (born 1939) and Vishwas (born 1945), both sons of Dada's son Shripad, lived in Durgadhiwas with Dada. By the time I arrived on the scene, Shrini had moved out of Durgadhiwas. I have only a few but distinct memories of Dada.
Dada used to be on the first floor of the house most of the time. He had a huge arm-chair (called "elephant chair by us") in which he sat in the library, located in the centre of the first floor. The walls of library were lined by wooden shelves full of books. In the window there was a telephone- a novelty in those days. In the hall upstairs there was an easy-chair made of bamboo, painted blue,and a stand of reading lamp stood behind the easy-chair. Dada used to do his reading here too.
I have a clear memory of a day when Dada is coming home probably from his morning walk. He is wearing a dhoti, long coat and his "rumal" round the head, has a walking stick, comes from the eastern side of the house, walks round the "ota"-platform outside the kitchen, goes towards the door. I am playing on the ota; he affectionately but briefly (as was his nature)speaks with me and goes inside.
The final scene etched in my mind is of Dada's last day. He had the south-west corner room upstairs as his bedroom. The balcony on the western side was fitted with retractable blinds made of bamboo strips. This was to keep away the sun. Dada occupied this room during his last days while he was ailing from cancer of stomach. The day he passed away, in the morning hours, I was taken by my parents to Dada's bedroom to pay my last respects. Later I was taken to the porch downstairs to have Dada's last "darshan.

November 29, 2007

Home Economy

D-Was basically an upper middle class household,but set up of households has changed so much that a brief description of those times may not be amiss.There was very little of ready made things.Clothes,food,pickles,papad,even milk were not readily available packed. D-Dhiwas had a buffalow for milk and a bhayya used to look after her and also milk her.So there was plenty of fresh-DHAROSHNA milk,warm as it came from the animal.We grew lentils,gawar, bhindi,rajgira and dried and kept in sealed tins.Variety of the market was small.Tomato, cauliflower,gobi were rare(Older people did not eat tomato because it was blood-red!)Suran, Lal Bhopla,were always kept on the shelf,for use when required.There were four families in the BORI colony,road not made between D-Diwas and Pawar Quarters,so we were isolated.
Mrs, Belwalkar, Joshi, Kale and Talpatrikar used to get together once a year to make papad,and pickles.Except the cheapest, all clothes were custom made by tailors.Car tyres were repaired and pumped by hand by the driver.Most footwear was made to measure.The only ready food was bread,which a baker called S.Wyse delivered.His bill said,on top 'By appointment to the Tsar of Russia'!

November 28, 2007


Prof.Kale s wife was Savitribai.She hailed from the Rajwade family.Her brother was a staunch Satyagrahi,and spent most of his life in jail,for patriotic reasons.In her younger days when Dada was struggling to earn,she worked hard,under the supervision of Durgabai,who I understand was a strict mother-in-law.Dada s first real home was a bungalow at the Fergusson College,the first bungalow when one enters the main gate of the College.After Dada built Durgadhiwas(1926),things were easier.Savitribai,whom everyone called VAHINI,then had plenty of time for religious rites.Both Dada,and NANA,his son were 'rationalists',and never participated in any pooja or other observences.Shrini was therefore very handy to all the poojas.The family had a retained brahmin,who ran the poojas.Shrini has now forgotten most of the poojas,except one at which a wonderful thing called kayaras was served!Vahini went with Dada to most of the films,marathi ones,shown in Pune.He had a permanent 'Box" at Prabhat theater.

November 27, 2007


Dada found employment as Reader to Justice Ranade.Ranade s eyesight was not good since his job entailed lot of reading,he employed a Reader.A couple of rooms at the back of the Judges house, was a perk of the job.It enabled Dada,to complete his education,and then he joined the Fergusson College as a lecturer.He was also the Rector of the hostels,which brought him contact with students directly.One of the students,Chintaman Vinayak Joshi started writing some humorous stories.One such effort,brought him to Dada s attention,which led him one day to remark 'thats our CHIMAN !' The name did not stick to C.V.Joshi,but he made Chiman the character around whom his stories revolved.Thus was born Chimanrao,the most famous story hero of those times.C.V.Joshi wrote many books,and many of his stories have been serialised on TV.
There was an unexpected sequence.Chiman s sister,Vatsala Joshi married another Chintaman,and became Sagunabai Kale,Dada s Bhabi and Shrini s mother.

November 26, 2007

Sangli and Pune

When things got a bit out of hand,Govindbhat decided to get out of Konkan and go to Desh.He came to Sangli,where he had relatives (Bhide s). In a while he decided to go to Pune, and set off without telling his wife,Durga.(Yes, the same as in Durgadhiwas!)
When Durgabai, a formidably able person,I am told,found out, she put Vaman(Dada) and herself and took a bullock cart to Pune.There were of course no buses or trains. It appears the journey took about three days.
Durgabai knew very well how to find her husband.She went to various Ganesh temples, his favourite haunts.Finally she found him at Theur,a place on the eastern outskirts of Pune.Theur Ganapati is one of the Ashtavinayak Ganapatis.

In all of the above musings, based on what older relatives have told me, there is a conspicuous absence of dates.Even Dada s birthday, it appears is a guesswork.The year is probably right,but the day and month,iffy.

November 25, 2007

Who am I? and Nandivde.

Shrini is Prof.Kale s brother s son. I lived and grew up in DADA's (Prof. V. G. Kale) home, Durgadhiwas. my father,Chintaman(Kaka)was in Sind, looking after the construction of the Indus left bank canal.(Sind was a part of the Bombay Presidency in those days.)

I was in D-was till matriculation.I am a B.Sc.with Chemistry and B.E.(Elec). I am probably the only living member of the Kale family to have met and lived with Dada.

Now Nandivde. Dada s father,Govindbhatji,hailed from Nandivde,a small village on the west coast,which is connected to the Karhateshwar temple,by an Elephant path paved with dressed black stone,something like the path upto Parvati temple,near Pune.

Govindbhat,who,it appears,was something of an eccentric,did not get along with the main family who lived in Nandivde-the Jogs.