Day 85 #100sareepact. I called him Bee -unique name for a unique father. Nobody could explain why I called him that, but he gracefully accepted it and eventually the whole neighbourhood kids called him Bee. He fed me cadbury chocolate piece by piece, burst pomegranate seeds in my mouth and as I liked mosambi juice, squeezed some with his own hands and then held the glass to my mouth coaxing me to drink. All this when I was very small. We loved books and reading was a passion, in Maa’s words an addiction as both of us forgot to eat, drink or the surroundings with a book in hand. When young, he would read to me the stories from Amar Chithra Katha, or any other comic, even after I learned to read.
He loved fruits and would get the first mangoes, whatever the price,as both of us ate mangoes at the beginning of the season. He filled our homes with fruits mine after marriage too. He would keep in mind whatever anybody liked and feed that thing to that person not just us. His choice in clothes was great, and we would want him with us while shopping. He never asked us for anything, but that we respect everybody and maintain relationships with love. He did not brook bad behaviour and comments on anybody on religious basis. He respected all women, whether family or a vegetable vendor or a maid. He was soft spoken, never raised his voice(though I did try his patience sometimes, and then generally he would tell me I am locking you out). He has given us everything we have today- a good name and reputation, lots of love just because we were his children, lots of blessings and good wishes again just because of his deeds, a very extended family which is our strength, good morals and principles(he thought us by his behaviour that self esteem is much above money-this wealth which is immeasurable is our real wealth.
To my father Bee on what would have been his 79th birthday yesterday. I am proud to be your daughter, Deepa Umesh Kolwalkar.
The saree I am wearing is my first jute saree and first half and half,I bought it at Adi Dhakeshwari,Kolkata, during my visit in July. It has the colours both my parents liked-white was my fathers colour, he never wore coloured shirts and purple was one of Maa’s favourite-but the reason I picked it up though, it just beckoned me as it was displayed to someone else. They made the mistake of setting it aside and I picked it up.
The saree pic credit Manisha Sardesai, my father’s cousin.
The black and white photo is the only one of my father with both of us. The only one of just the three of us. I was around eight years old and my sister was around three at that time. It was captured by Bapu, his maternal uncle at Lonavala. My father’s expression is of one who is satisfied with his lot. He was always-his satisfaction was getting a good deal for his clients and being around his loved ones-the whole family-especially his uncles and making everybody around him happy. Money he said was a necessity for living which had to flow through our fingers- don’t try to hold money as then it rules us. He wanted simple things in life- the table could be laden with exotic food- he would be happy with bread and banana or bread and pickle. A man who loved to go and get things from the market, who loved to read, who loved gardening was house ridden for the last three years of his life, his reaction -he accepted it with a smile, no complains. He loved classical music,Bhimsen Joshi and Kishori Amonkar were his favourites in vocal, he would put on a record and listen to it and that was the one thing he could do till the end.