Decluttering the mind attic (part 1)


My mom had told me that she wants to declutter her attic with my help when I am visiting her this summer. My mom’s attic is one of my favourite places in my maiden home. All the articles kept there are a reflection of some incident of her life. It’s as if her entire 40 years of marriage is locked up in there and since my childhood is also attached to it, I too find something that gives me a chance to reflect on my past. Each time she opens some loft and removes an article carefully wrapped in layers of newspaper or polythene, it opens the doors to the other attic, that part of her brain, where she keeps her memories. Decluttering the attic is one of the toughest jobs on earth. Trips to the attic are always a splurge of emotions. It was on one such trip that she found my old toys and took me for a ride back in time.

Last rakshabandhan, my sisters, together with me, decided to give a surprise to my brothers and bhabhis. We thought of preparing a slideshow of pictures from our childhood. Another reason to visit the attic of the home and the mind. So all three of us got busy digging up old albums, and I can’t put in words the euphoria all of us felt while going through the pictures. I am so glad that I was assigned the easier job of sending all the pics to my sister and she took up the difficult job of deciding what goes in the slide show and what not. For me, each picture was worthy of a well deserved place in the final show. Each picture had a story behind it, maybe the dress worn by us, the place where it was clicked, the occasion, the tear rolling down the cheek or the smile spreading from one ear to another.

Every thing that is stored at the deepest, darkest corner of the home attic is capable of lighting up the darkest corner of the mind attic. A pickle jar that still smells of the pickle that my grandma used to make, some cameras which helped freeze each frame of our life, some sarees of my mom which were spun with the thread of love, sofa covers and table mats that have adorned her drawing room furniture for umpteen kitty parties and family get togethers, a radio which kept her company while she cooked delicious meals for us, embroidery and crochet threads, needles and books that have helped weave emotions and feelings in her bed sheets and design masterpieces one after another.

Each time I mentioned doing away with it because she is not using them anymore and it’s using unnecessary space, my mom clinged on to it more tightly. Perhaps, maybe because it meant doing away with the memory associated with it. Somehow feeling those articles in her hand and touching them, gave her flashes of incidents related to them, some bitter, some sweet, some tugging at the strings of her heart and still urging to be set free.

“Let us go, it’s time to move on. You have looked after us well, wiped us, dusted us, treasured us, cared for us, now let us go. Make space for new articles which will make new memories for you. As it is, we have a permanent place in your mind attic, no one will object the amount of space we are using there, in the attic called the heart of the mind. It’s time to part ways so that we can make new memories with our new owners or breathe our last in the corner of a dumpyard with other obsolete articles. Let us be one with the many of our kind where we can talk about our experiences with each other, how we touched the lives of our owners, shared a life with them and how enriching it was for both of us.”

My mom has somehow understood the importance of giving away. She has mustered the courage to take the first step. She has decided to declutter the attic- of her home and mind, let’s wait and watch how far she is able to go.


Why can’t I have my cake and eat it too?

2nd April 2016

It’s Pratham’s summer break and he was packed off to his favourite aunt’s house in Mumbai on 23.3.2016 for the remaining holidays. My younger one, Diaa, was told that her brother had gone on a school trip with school friends or else she would have been inconsolable about being left behind and not being included in this trip with an aunt and a little cousin sister who happen to be her favourites too!!
On 28.3.16, my mom-in-law whisked her away to join her brother leaving just me and my hubby behind. They planned to return after 4 days. With both my kids off my radar and having full four days to myself, I was already planning on how I am going to make the most of these four days. Lot of things were on my mind, the movies and books I would like to catch up on, friends and relatives I would meet, of course not to forget, 2 afternoons were booked with my beautician in advance. The anticipation of being back to my carefree leisurely days was making me so happy that I could hardly contain my happiness when I bid goodbye to my daughter.
The next three days were absolute bliss. I was doing everything at my will, without any interruptions, without worrying about having to check on my kids, without being answerable to anyone, without being responsible for anyone. I was so relaxed that I didn’t cook even a single meal at home. My hubby was so accommodating that he told me he will eat lunch in the office canteen and for dinner we can order online whatever I wanted to eat!! In fact for someone who has to have a good hot breakfast every morning and who doesn’t like eating out unless its unavoidable, this was a very lovable gesture to make his wife feel loved and to become a part of her happy days. So to return the love, I did make him his favourite breakfast everyday and lunch and dinner happened as per agreement.
Then came 31st march 2016. My kids were going to return today with their grandma. I knew that my carefree leisurely days are coming to an end but I was still happy about my kids coming back. It was also my daughters open day in school. I was full of pride after hearing all the good things told to me by her teachers. I was very eager to share them with my daughter because I knew she would be happy to hear all the accolades showered on her unlike my son who is least interested in report days. By the way, it was his report day too on 26th march 2016, when he was busy holidaying in Alibagh and he has not bothered to ask me anything about his marksheet.
I was thinking about what they would want to eat for dinner when my hubby’s phone rang and he announced that the kids want to stay longer and are in no mood to come back. So the stay has been extended by 2 more days. At this point of time, I thought I will be overjoyed about my vacation getting extended and I will start planning about what to do in those 2 extra days that have fallen in my lap out of the blue, but nothing of that sort happened. I became sad and disappointed. I was really very eager to see them after so many days, give them a tight hug, listen to their stories, their complains, their adventures(ok, this is a little far-fetched, they just went to their bua’s house not some hiking trip!!) I wanted them to come home, running to me and fight among themselves who is going to reach me first!! I wanted them quarrel about whose stories am I going to listen first!! But on the contrary, they didn’t want to come back to me. They didn’t seem to miss me as much as I was missing them. I didn’t want to be the carefree young girl anymore. I just wanted to be the mother of my kids again!!
While I was trying to explain myself that it is just two more days and they will be here sooner than I know and my phone buzzed. I got a Whatsapp written by a mom. It talked about how she as a mother cribbed about her kids habits, messy house, toys on the floor, clothes on the bed, books out of the bag, lights never turned off, doors never closed, half eaten lunches, noisy arguments, etc, etc. But now that her kids were grown and leading their own lives, independent of her, she missed the same things around her. Somewhere, reading this post I got a feeling as if its me who the lady is talking about. I got a taste of what my life would be once my kids grow up, decide the careers they want to pursue, choose the person they want to date or live in or marry, whether we will be in the same city or not or maybe different countries with totally opposite time zones, depending on Skype or Whatsapp or whatever the technology may have to offer for communication!! My house would be clean, everything in its rightful place because the inmates would be no longer living there. No shouting or screaming because the ones who called out for me would be gone. Dinners would be peaceful because the ones who cribbed about the veggies or the spices would be eating elsewhere. I realised I have just another 10 or 15 years with my first-born and a little more with my second born before they also embark on this journey called life. It’s not that I wont be happy for them but suddenly the realisation that they wont need me as much as they do now, is making me feel lonely already!!
On the 5th day since they were gone, I went about all my daily chores, the same chores which were so boring a few days back and I was so happy to not do them. I packed lunch for my hubby, folded the blankets, ironed the clothes, and to my surprise I was enjoying being a wife and a mom again in spite of having the choice of being a i-am-as-free-as-a-bird, maiden again for a couple of more days!! The few days off that I got was definitely a welcome break and I always crave for such opportunities to unwind and get the spring back in my step. But at the same time, I wish time would stay still and I can just start from where I left without losing anything in the bargain!!! I guess this is what they mean when they say,” you can’t have your cake and eat it too!!”
At the time of writing this post, both of them are back in my life and I can’t seem to have enough of them!! Right now they are sound asleep and the calm on their faces brought back the peace in my life!!

I am 39. I weigh 149 pounds.

I am 39. I weigh 149 pounds.

Repurposed Genealogy

I am 8.

I’m waiting for my mom in the Lamont’s dressing room. I hear the hum of florescent bulbs. I am only in underwear in front of the full length mirror.  My reflection blurs as tears fill my eyes.

I hear her asking the salesperson for a larger size shirt and skirt.

“Those are the largest sizes in  the children’s section.  You’ll have to try the junior’s section. I don’t know if we have anything else that will fit her here.”

I want to melt into the burgundy carpet.  Back to school shopping brings awareness of my shape and form. I am round and soft and curved. My body is one more way that I am different than the other girls my age.

My mom returns with different options. A plaid skirt.

“An all over pattern is slimming.”

A button down shirt.

“This color brings out the blue of…

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Mom, it’s my vacation!!

Vacations, the sweetest song to a child’s ear. Endless hours of playing, unlimited fun and masti, quarreling with friends and then making up because even if one is missing it feels incomplete, lot of planning, instead of mom calling out to come home and study, mom calls out to remind that you do have a home and you need to eat.

My son’s exams got over on 14th march( the last of all his friends)and he has a short summer break before school resumes. This 20 day break is such a relief for not just him but me also. When I packed his lunch that morning and set him off in his school bus, i felt like dancing there itself. My morning jog was also very refreshing since i couldn’t contain my smile and it is said that if you smile while exercising, it releases some chemical in your body which makes you feel energetic. On other days i find it difficult to do so but today i had a reason, no more early morning dabba packing, no more blackmailing my adorable son to sit with his books and study, no more bribing my sweet little daughter  so that she will let her big bro’s books intact. Ahhhhh!!! there was something magical about this morning.

It’s vacation time!!!!! yiiipeeeee!!!

But wait a minute!! vacation also means he will be home the whole day!! Which also means that the leisure i had when he was away in school will be gone!! Blistering Barnacles!!! And what about his frequent fights with his little sister?? I will be more of an agony aunt or  a referee than a mother!! And the constant hunger pangs, the insatiable desire to munch, chew and gulp!!!Billions of blue blistering barnacles!! How can i forget about this? Quickly i remember the various summer camp notifications i got in my local whats app groups and as i searched for them to find something suitable, i realized that they are all the usual ones, art and craft, dance, music, chocolate making, personality development, handwriting improvement, brain development and all the works. Pratham will never agree to any of this. According to him, he doesn’t want to be TAUGHT anything in his vacation time. He wants to do things which he likes. And it could be anything from creating art out of paper boxes or just cycling till it hurts his legs.  Summer classes are boring and it feels like school. Cant argue with that!!

So it boils down to just me and him!!I will have to think up of ways to keep him occupied and entertained so that we can co-exist the coming vacation!! But some ground rules are laid!! He has to wake up in the morning latest by 9, an hours nap after lunch and lights off in the night by 11. His meal times should be constant and if he has any special requests then it has to be told a day in advance.Quarrels with friend will have to be sorted on their own and little sister has to be included in his games if his friends are coming over to play. After some negotiation afternoon nap is traded in exchange for no chilled water,juices and no chewing gum. Looks like I am ready for this.

At the time of writing this blog, its been nearly  a week since his holiday started and so far its been good. There are a few reasons for it. The first one, I very firmly believe that vacation is the best time to introduce healthy eating habits. In everyday life, between juggling school, classes, play time and all that, somewhere nutrition gets lost. Most of the meals are packed and handed over. After that how much is eaten by the kids or it went to the friends, I don’t know. If the tiffin comes home empty, I have to be content that its been eaten. But in vacations, I have the pleasure of seeing them enjoy fresh, hot, home-cooked food and watching them take baby steps towards a healthy lifestyle.

Another observation is that well fed and hydrated kids are easier to handle. Well, this is no discovery that I have made now, after 10 years of motherhood but what i did discover in this vacation is that well fed and hydrated mothers are better equipped to deal with kids and their hyper activeness. So while we all think about what our kids like to eat and plan our meals according to that in their vacation, it’s also a good idea to stack up on some munchies and drinks of our choice. There are times when I feel hungry but have so much on my to-do list that I wish for some quick bites to put in my mouth. Usually i would have got the fried and salty indian snacks like mathri, chakli, bhujia, banana wafers and all that to munch. But since i am on my way to changing to a healthy lifestyle, i got some nuts, dry fruits, chikki, khakhra and fresh fruits of my choice along with my kids preferences and kept them within hands reach, where i can easily just pick them and eat. This not only satiated my hunger but also kept my energy levels up to deal with two kids. Also the food you eat has a lot of effect on your mental health. Switching to a carrot instead of biscuits, helped me stay calm and keep my cool. Also, my daughter wanted to taste everything i was eating. That is an added bonus. She is introduced to healthy snacking just by watching me. I wish i had done this earlier.

Lastly,  this year I didn’t try to influence Pratham on how he should spend his day. I just let him free with his friends and they all decided themselves what they want to play, where, at what time, with whom, etc, etc. In  other words, i didn’t think of controlling his every minute of the day and that also worked wonders on how our relationship was developing. I only expected him to follow the ground rules laid by me which i think are very basic and in turn i give him the freedom to be himself and explore what he likes and what not. This was a welcome change for both of us since he is going to be a teenager soon. Although i feel he is already one.

Lets hope this vacation lays the foundation stone of a friendship between the two of us.

And inches to lose, before I am slim

Itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki khwahish ki hai, ki har zarre ne hume milane ki saazish ki hai
This very popular dialogue from a very popular movie came true for me in my life. And no, it’s not about the universe conspiring to bring me and my hubby together!!! Then Mr. Manish kedia would say the conspiracy went wrong:-);-)
It holds true for me and my weight loss!!! Yes, after just thinking about it for nearly two years, finally I am treading this path now!! And the reason is that in the past few months, some incidents happening around me made me realise that nature was conspiring to make me go for it. It was a big conspiracy of a few elements who either prompted or whispered or shouted at me, “hey Neha, it’s time to get back in shape, you have kept it waiting for too long, but now we will make you do it and there’s no looking back.”

First conspirators are the shoes. I had just gone to buy some groceries at big bazaar and a big ‘SALE SALE SALE’ hoarding at Shoe store next to my destination drew me to enter the shop. I was just shopping with my eyes, scanning the big heap of discounted sandals, high heels, low heels, pumps, peep toes, wedges, etc etc when I just wandered in the fitness footgear section. From amidst the Inc5s, Rocias and catwalks suddenly Adidas, Nike, Sketchers and Puma were screaming for my attention, tempting me to just try them on once. I told the attendant there to show me something in my size. He came up with a shoe and when I was slipping it in my feet, he told me, “Madam, ye bahut accha hai, high on comfort, grip, apt for walking or exercising, anti skid……”, I interrupt him thinking “ya ya ya, they are all the same, what difference will it make?” and ask the price because buying these meant I would have to give up on the wedges and ballerinas which I had scanned earlier. “Only 8000rs madam.” Normally, the price would have boggled me but today it did not bother me. A quick calculation in my mind told me it will be around 4000rs after 50% discount, so the ballerinas and wedges will have to go. I boldly ask him,” discount ke baad kitna??” And he confidently told me,” no discount on sports shoes madam, discounted stuff is in the middle of the store. What is displayed on the walls is fresh stock.” OUCH!!!! There goes my shopping, not just for this sale but for the next one too!!! I put up a brave face, quietly remove the shoe from my feet (which I had assumed to be the owner of from then on) and told him to show me something less expensive but still high on comfort, grip, anti skid sole and best for walking!!! After a few more trials, I finalize on one which will allow me to shop in the next sale season. I bid goodbye to my other choices and head to the billing counter. The cashier there asks me,” madam, sale me se kuch nahi liya!! Bahut accha stock hai, kuch dikhaon Kya, heels, flats……” Again I interrupt him and tell him,” No thank you, next time aaongi.” His asking me that was like rubbing salt on my wounds. Looking at my purchase he continued,” agar aapko gym wear bhi lena hai, then go straight from here. The third shop has good stuff and it’s on discount!!” Why did he emphasize the word discount? Is he mocking me or genuinely trying to help? Anyway, I was too injured by this impromptu and unexpected purchase that I had made to think of anything else. I quickly finish off my grocery shopping and head home wondering why did I need sport shoes in the first place???

Next conspirator is my local milk man. Usually my mom-in-law buys everyday milk but that day, there was none in the house. So after packing off my son in his school bus at 6:40 am, I headed to the shop to buy milk. The milk van had not arrived. I asked the shopkeeper,” Bhaiya, dhoodh kab aayega?? Baad me aaon kya??” “Nahi, nahi, bhabhiji, abhi dus minute me aa jayega. Aap tab tak Ek walk le lijiye, sub aisa hi karte hai.” OMG!!! What in the world did he tell me to do?? Did I hear him correct??? Did he advise me to take a walk?? Another conspiracy by nature!!! Well, what he said actually made sense. Instead of just waiting outside his shop, staring at the distant road for a slight glimpse of the milk van, it was better that I go for a stroll. It’s just a stroll, couldn’t hurt much. And I started off. After a few steps, the calmness of the morning started whispering in my cold ears as if welcoming me. Contrary to that, The cold winter chill had its arms wide open taking me in its embrace as if asking me to give up. I tugged at my sweater, buried my bare palms under my arms and kept walking. After two rounds, I saw the van coming. When i went to grab hold of my requirements, suddenly I noticed that I was feeling a little warm and the same me,who was digging my palms in my sweater to prevent them from getting cold, had already rolled up my sleeve to let some air inside. I thought if I had taken one more round, maybe I would even remove my sweater!!!The winter chill had lost this fight or rather I defeated her. Next morning I was wearing my ‘impromptu, unexpected purchase’ on my feet and I told my mom-in-law that from now on I will get milk everyday after being done with my MORNING WALK.

Next party to the conspiracy is cricket. Yes, cricket. The sport cricket, the national craze cricket, my son’s first love cricket. I live in a society with many buildings, row houses, bungalows and shops. One of the residents, a cricket lover, thought of bringing this sport to life and having our own small version of the IPL. He named it Empire Premier League after the name of our society. In the winter edition of this tournament, When the notice was put out, I read it quickly, just scanning it for major details like the dates, teams, etc etc. Then my eyes chanced upon something. I wondered if I had read it correctly and started scanning it again. There it was, written very clearly, Women are also invited to play. Suddenly a thousand things run through my mind, Cricket….a chance to make new friends….an opportunity to bond with my cricket loving son…brand new, used less sneakers …..running after the ball……weight loss…..that’s it, I have my reasons to be a part of this sporting extravaganza and I am going to learn to play. There were two aspects to this conspiracy. First one,the participants in my team were aged 15-20 years apart!!! (Not to mention, I was in the senior category) and second, I had never participated in any sporting events before in my life. The youth, the energy, the zeal in these young girls motivated me to do better and playing a sport made me realise that this is the best form of workout. Participating in this event gave me the much needed push to go after my aim and not give up.

After a few weeks of walking, getting milk and playing cricket, I started losing interest in my little fitness routine and Just when I was starting to get bored of my new schedule, and about to give up on my weight loss thing, nature was ready with another conspiracy, organizing free health check up camps in our society. I went there for my mom-in-law’s check up and ended up getting mine also done.
A body analysis instrument marked me ‘Obese’ after the analysis. Wake up call no.1. The check up revealed a few minor hitches in my health which were mainly related to my weight, sedentary lifestyle and mental health. A minus mark in the bone density and blood pressure column. Wake up call no.2.
The various flex boards put up on display propagating the eight principles of healthy living namely nutrition, water, exercise, sunshine, fresh air, rest, temperance and trust in good karma. I couldn’t say a yes to following even 2 out of these 8. Wake up call no.3.
I walked out of the camp with a form that said at 35 years, my health age was in the middle 40s and in the suggestions it was written, LOSE WEIGHT.
I started my routine again with added enthusiasm and determination.

And now for the final culprits, the innocent souls who I call my friends. Knowingly or unknowingly, even they were a party to this conspiracy. The absolutely fab figures of most of them, their amazing pics in the most flattering dresses, their being active socially or excelling in their jobs and many other things made me want to be one among them. But you can only flaunt what you have!! And it will not be long before I do that.
My childhood bestie, Mona shah Bhalavat, settled in the states, watsapped me to start a weight loss program together. She will follow it there and I will follow it here and we will keep motivating each other to stick to it. Didn’t work for too long, but we are still trying. Another classmate, added me to a Facebook group where women from all around the world share their experiences on their journey from being fat to fit, workout schedules, healthy recipes and ‘Before And After’ pics which are really motivating. She even gave me many tips about incorporating healthy eating habits in my diet which are quite easy to follow. Thank you Mansi. Hugs to you!!

So, “That’s all folks.” like bugs bunny would say. That’s my story of experiencing how sometimes, if you really really wish for something dearly, whole-heartedly, then He makes sure that you get it. Thank you God, for being the master mind of this entire conspiracy. You have shown me the path, in your own little signs but now it’s up to me to prove myself worthy of your kindness. I know it’s going to be difficult, but I hope I don’t stumble upon the obstacles and even if I do, I am able to stand up again, brush off the dust and continue my journey, at the end of which, I can see the real me, pretty me.
On a back note, I need to mention here that my team won the cricket tournament and we are etched in history as the first ever Women’s EPL Champions!!!! Yaaaaaaaaay!!!!!

To dadaji, with love

I don’t think of my dadaji too much but recently some things kept happening in my life that just made me instantly reminiscent of him. Some pics, some incidents, otherwise very trivial, but off late it made me draw a connection to him and I would just start thinking of him.

My sis, Prerna Bagaria, laid her hands on a tiny glass case while helping her dad clean his cupboard. When she saw it closely, she noticed that it had six rice grains in it. On a more closer look, she was amazed to see that it had names of all of us six cousins engraved on it. When I saw the pic, almost instantly I knew that this was made on one of our trips to Nathdwara or Srinathji, as we all used to call it. My dadaji and dadiji lived in Bombay and would visit us in Ahmedabad very often. And Srinathji would always be on their agenda. I have some very faint memories of these trips. What I distinctly remember was that I used to dread going in the temple for darshan fearing I would be crushed in the crowd or that I won’t be able to hold on to my mom’s hand and would be separated from her for life. Then one day, things changed. We were heading to the temple but something was different today. We were being leaded by a man in a white dhoti towards the backdoor of the temple. All the security people would salute him, some even bent down to touch his feet. And before I could realise what was happening, we were all standing in front of the idol of Sri Srinathji. My dadaji had met the temple mahant and arranged for a special darshan for us before the curtains open for the people at large. From that day, my dadaji was a different person for me. I thought of him as someone very influential.

Another aspect which I noticed was that whenever they would visit us, things used to change in the house. Their room would be cleaned throughly leaving not even a single particle of visible dust. Crisp and clean bed sheets would be spread and the small table would be cleared of all articles to make a makeshift temple for them. My mom and chachi would start covering their heads. They would enter or exit the house from a side door if my dadaji was sitting in the hall. They would not sit to watch tv with us. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, every meal was cooked after asking my dadi’s preferences. We were not allowed to play in the house coz we might disturb their sleep. Every possible effort was made by my mom and chichi so that they don’t feel like visitors.

I don’t remember my dadaji buying us any gifts but instead he would give us 10 rs or sometimes 20 and would say, “chocolate, goli, le aana, tujhe pasand hai wo”. If I remember correctly the boys got more than the girls!! And he was always dressed in the same attire. If he is at home, he will wear a white dhoti and half sleeve banian. If he went out, it was always a light grey safari suit. I haven’t seen him in any other colours except these.

If I am talking about my dadaji, I can’t forget to mention HAJMOLA!!! He was very fond of this khatta churan and all of us cousins have inherited this from him. I would ask him for these and he would give me one. But not being satisfied, I would sneak into his room and remove two three golis, without making a noise. I think he knew I am doing this but never stopped me. And this craze for HAJMOLA is not limited to my dadaji and his grandchildren but has passed onto his great grandchildren too!!! Smaira, Diaa and Pratham are living proofs of how much we love our hajmola!!

My dadi is a foodie but my dadaji knew how to control his temptations and would always eat in fixed proportions. He had a very sensitive throat and wanted everything to be served warm to him, even dahi, chaas or fruit salad. My mom would very carefully and skillfully heat every item on his plate and then tell me,” jaldi se thali dadaji ke paas le ja, thanda hone se pehle, nahi to wapas bhej denge” and my dadaji would touch everything to ensure that it is warm, just the way he likes it. He also wanted us to serve him food with a lot of agrah or manuhar. It means insisting the person to have some more even after he says he is full. I didn’t know this art when I was small. One day, while serving him lunch, I took a second chapati for him and he refused it thinking I will insist on giving it to him and then he will take it. But I started going back to the kitchen when he stopped me and said, “Chori, dubara puchh liya kar, Ek baar me wapas nahi le jate…..” Lesson learnt dadaji.

Also, he was born with a sweet tooth. Everyday he just had to eat sweets, after lunch and dinner. If nothing was available, he would take jaggery or his favourite chocolate, mango bite, but his meal ended with a sweet dish. He used to take so many spoonfuls of sugar in his tea, soup or rice that when my mom told me,” Chawal me Shakkar de aa dadaji ko” I would joke and say,” Chawal me Shakkar nahi, Shakkar me Chawal Lete hai dadaji!!!”

Today when I sat down to write about him, I didn’t know I will have so much on my mind. Every memory that I have of him is leading me to a new one and I am just too overwhelmed that I remember him so distinctly even today. I don’t have too many memories of him after my marriage. I just remember that he had slipped in the bathroom once and after that his health kept on deteriorating. My dadaji who used to travel alone, on his own, to Chidava( our native place in Rajasthan) to Vrindavan to Ahmedabad to Bombay and lot of other places was now afraid to even go to the bathroom on his own. He had once come to Ahmedabad and when he wanted to return, he choose to go by plane so that the journey would be short. My pappa took him to the airport well ahead of his flight time so that he can arrange for a wheelchair and anything else that may be needed. But the moment they reached there, word spread that “bagadiaji aaye hai” and within minutes he was surrounded by the staff eagerly willing to escort him to his plane. Such was his goodwill and reputation!!!!

Even today I don’t know what my dadaji did to earn a living for his family and it doesn’t matter anymore but I do know that he earned a lot of respect and good name. If people did any favors for him, whether it is the special darshan at Srinathji or the attention at the airport, it was because he gave them love, kindness and help when they needed it. As I grew up I realised that my dadaji, who I once thought to be very influential, was a simple man with limited needs, who with his simple gestures touched many lives!!! Even today if I am introduced to someone as his grand daughter, the immediate reaction is, “ohhh!!! Bagadiaji ki poti hai!!!” and I swell up with pride.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s my dadaji from my eyes…..
That’s Shri Radheshyamji Bagadia for all of you.