Bauji


It was my paternal grandfather’s birthday on 27th September. He was born in Afghanistan. Lived like a pathan, went through a whole lot of experiences in life. This included the partitiion trauma and his father (my great grandfather) being murdered during that phase. He left all that was his, in what is now called Pakistan. Everyone still talks of the palatial marble and glass house that they had just got constructed barely in May’47 and partition happened in August just when the house had become a landmark for locals. After getting his family to Delhi, he restarted life from a bare scratch. He started a poultry farm. My dad remembers an abundance of poultry products and milk during those times. My grandfather was on duty with the police when Gandhiji was murdered by Nathuram Godse. But I don’t know why I never discussed this historical incident with him. He was a very powerful man. Even when he would be really ill, his lungs would somehow find the strength to bellow. He would always raise his voice against injustice. No wonder we are still fighting the cases against poultry farm land encroachment by the government. Bauji is what we addressed him as. I remember how I used to trudge along with him as a kid, to get his urdu paper. He used to read and write Urdu (and not punjabi, even though we are punjabis) and of course English and Hindi. But his main love continued to be Urdu. All his diaries, personal or with various important notes are in Urdu.

In old age, ppl go through a sort of reversal of life. A lot of it resembles childhood. They become dependent on others. Their reasoning is still stuck in their own times and thus they fidget at almost everything. They also get pleased easily and with some small insignificant things too. My grandfather had this habit of “rewarding” whosoever made him happy. He used to give us some cash as a token. But this used to happen very rarely. I remember wishing that he would have a real long life and live to see his greatgrandchildren (through me). Although he had seen several through other cousins. But that wish of mine can never be granted. He left us 2 years ago.. just 2 years short of his 100th birthday.


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