Leela Kolhatkar Remembers “Daddy”

I have very fond memories of my grandfather – we used to call him Daddy. For a while we lived with us. He taught us some games to play at the dinner table! The Prince of the Palace has lost his cap, some say this and some say that – but I say it’s the red cap, sir! The one who red cap answers – not I sir, it’s the blue cap, sir! And so the game goes on. He told us many Bible stories and one could see his strong faith in the Lord Jesus – whom he served since his conversion to Christianity.

Later he went to live in a one-room cottage by himself – very near us. He used to have parties and invite all his grandchildren.

He had glaucoma at some stage – in those days there was no cure for glaucoma, so he was blind, but had learnt Braille so used to read a lot. He was always immaculately dressed in a 3-piece suit. He had a Braille pocket-watch which used to intrigue us. I suppose as little children we kept asking him the time and very patiently he used to take it out of his pocket, open it and tell us the time. My brother still has this watch.

One day he was telling us some stories from the Arabian Nights and I was very naughty and kept acting out what he said – the others started to laugh – it upset him and I was sorry I had done such a naughty thing.

Maybe I was 7 years old and we had our exams – one question was Fill in the Blanks – with ‘whole’ or ‘hole’. When I came home I told my mother the question, she said go and tell Daddy, so I ran over to his cottage and told him what I had written and he told me that ‘hole’ means like a hole in the ground and ‘whole’ means complete. I had written the wrong word.

He was a linguist. He spoke English, Marathi, Urdu, Persian, Gujarati and Hindi very fluently.

Some time later I had typhoid and was very, very ill in hospital, in and out of consciousness. My Daddy also became very ill and the doctors told my parents that he was sinking. He died soon after on Sept. 30th 1942, I never saw him again, but the memories still linger on.

At this time my aunt (maushi) had a dream she met Daddy at the Railway Station and I was with him. She asked him ‘Where are you going and why are you taking Leela? Her mother will be very sad.’ So he said, ‘Alright, I’ll take someone else.”

Published on March 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Leela, I loved your memories! I hope this is the first step to writing your memories about our ancestors. We have a great legacy & must pass it on to our children & grand-children, so the “Fabric of our lives” will become real & alive for them.

  2. I taught my kids the game of “Prince of the Palace” & I believe they passed it on to their kids-but we didn’t know that Daddy had taught us the game-now it is more meaningful!


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