A True Daughter to my Bauji

the Ridge Benches, Simla

This is my Bauji…a tall, handsome and an honest to the core person, my hero!!! But you can have some reservations against your Bauji as well, I did have one. I was, always, enamoured by the smart girls going to Tara Hall, flaunting their stylish English, when I would go to Lady Irwin. I wanted so much to be admitted to that school and perhaps told it to my Bauji every year during the time of admission to the next class but he would always tell me that I had to be where my elder sister was.I would put my arguments, “But I want to speak English, the way these girls speak.” And he made it an everyday practice to make us read from different story books in English, and would translate that story into Hindi for us. We would put a mark at the point where we finished reading and next day would start from thereon. It would give my hyperactive mind to think of what next till we resumed reading it next day. We would wait eagerly for him to come home and resumed our reading stories. Next he introduced me to Dictionary where to find the meanings of the words that I found difficult to comprehend. It became a very exciting game for me. He had one English to Hindi dictionary which he introduced me to. Next was a pocket dictionary with dark maroon faux leather cover, with fine print on delicate paper. He gifted that to me. It became my personal encyclopaedia. I started to read on my own…and in all humility may say that by the time I was in third class, could read Story books, on my own, without any help. I forgot about Tara Hall and my ardent desire to go to that school. Life went on after that in its routine way. I got married, had a job, and my Bauji left us in 1989. It was, while, I was going through some annual issue of Kalyan, a thick old book, my Bauji’s favourite read that I came across a hand written letter in Bauji’s handwriting, his representation to the Postmaster Head Post office Simla, dated March, 1947. I looked at it, read it, and again looked at the pay scale that was mentioned therein. And I cried lamenting how I carried a grudge against my Bauji for not sending me to Tara Hall. How could he with that salary…even School fee of my elder sister was some 13 rupees and mine a little less. A big amount even at that time. And I could feel with a new understanding the hard work he put into making us what we are today…good human beings!! 

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