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Thursday, March 30, 2006


A couple of weeks have passed since the day when Nanaji left us. Hindi has different words for grandparents. Dada means your fathers father, while Nana is your mothers father. Ji is a mark of respect. If my blog fills you with respect for me, then you can call me Bloggerji.

I was his eldest grandchild and I learnt a lot from him. All his life he was always polite, alert and disciplined. He loved the finer things in life and though a teetotaller had a really nice wine collection. He started out in business in Calcutta when India was yet to be free, and the British ran most of the businesses. After trying his luck in various trades, from film producing, to candle making he finally found his calling as a steel trader.

He was particularly suited for this business since he was very presentable, dressed impeccably, talked politely, listened attentively, went out of his way to make new friends and keep old ones, was meticulous in his accounting and disciplined in his expenditure. Ever since I remember, his day would start at 6 am, with a prayer, then a hearty breakfast and off to office. Evenings he would return, bathe, dress for dinner and preside over the dining table.

He once told me how he got his first break. As a young man with no capital and little technical education, he went from office to office asking for work. He didnt ask for a job, but met the people in big industrial houses, told them that he was in the trade and if they had any local requirements for materials he would be glad to try and help. Finally, one englishman at a electrical equipment manufacturing company, looked this young man over, and told him, Young man, if by tomorrow you could come with a few tonnes of a particular grade and size of steel, the order is yours.

This was his first break, and as soon as he left the office he searched the city, called at everyone he know in the trade, talked to the people working in warehouses and the next morning at 9 o clock he met the factory manager outide the factory gates. The manager thought that he would hear another excuse about how its taking a few more days....and was pleasantly surprised to find the young man asking him where should the goods be delivered, since there was a truck loaded with the exact stuff, standing right besides them. Since then he never looked back. The electric equipment factory was his client for the next 50 years and so were almost all the major manufacturers in Calcutta.

A rented apartment in a nice neighbourhood in Calcutta and a rented office in the business district were his base. From there he built up his fortune and those of his friends and family. He never bought any property or dead assets, preferring to keep all his investments in the stock markets. Once when he had to undergo a heart operation, he was able to just sign a piece of paper and pay for all the expenses himself. Till his last he attended cultural evenings, ate out in style and dressed expensively and correctly, all from his own pocket. He lived and breathed his last in his own house, in his own bed, early in the morning, without troubling anyone. Just called out once and then left surrounded by his wife, daughter, son, grandchild ( my sister) and greatgrandchild ( her daughter ). He left us all remembering someone who all his life wished to be a gentleman and a good human being and succeeded magnificently.

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway;
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Regrets, I’ve had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course;
Each careful step along the byway,
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried.
I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.

To think I did all that;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
No, oh no not me,
I did it my way.

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows -
And did it my way!

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