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.


Vishwas said...

I wish I had seen and met Dada. I was too young, just afew months old when he passed away. His impact on Kale family is evident even today.

VISHWAS said...

More on his personality.
I had gobe to Bank of Maharashtra, Khadaki branch, a few years back for some work. I spent some time with the branch manager, and after completion of my work, I started to go. He accompanied me not only to his cabin door, but all the way by the staircase leading to the main door at the ground floor! I was a bit taken aback by his such extreme polite behaviour. I told him so.

The manager said, I did not walk along with you but with the grandson of the founder of this bank, Prof V G Kale. This is my small way of paying respects to him.

This was Mr Mahajan.

Vishwas said...

I was in school in Kolhapur. As the annual gathering was being planned, it was decided by our Principal that the entire event will be handled by students, such was rather very new and unknown in those days. He called me and said you would be in charge of this! I possibly showed nervousness or something like that on my face. He said, " Come on, you are grandson of the great Economist Prof Kale and you should do this " And I DID it.

Vishwas said...

Dada, being a visionary economist, always insisted to buy the best. I am told that whenever his car gave first trouble, he used to replace it! His pen ( as per his specifiations )was brought from UK through post in early 1900s and he used it, then Nana used it, then I also used it for writing exam papers.Such was the pen!

He used to listen to gramophone record ( possibly one of three minute duration ))after dinner. No more no less. For exercise, he would cut logs of trees.All this was narrated to us by Nana.