Nana

Nana was a translator of legal documents from English to Marathi. When Hyderabad became the capitol of Andhra Pradesh Telugu became the official language for government transactions. Nana got himself transferred to Bombay in the state of Maharashtra where the official language was Marathi. Nana and Viju settled in Bombay.

The newlyweds had rented an apartment in a complex in the Cotton Green section. It was in an industrial neighborhood. There were multiple multi-story buildings with apartments. The buildings were close together with lawns in the front. Nana acquired furniture with space-saving features. For example the beds had compartments under the matrices to store sheets; the kitchen had overhead, wall to wall shelves for placing bulk items. Nana and Viju had to manage the small space in the apartment the best possible way. Just like any other big city, life in Bombay was expensive and a rat race. Nana’s frugality and money management skills came in handy.

It was not that Nana became frugal when he settled in Bombay. I had heard that his father, whom everyone called Anna, was never around to manage the household. I was too young to understand what he did upon retiring from the City College. All I was told was that he was sick and stayed in the Osmania hospital. He used to visit home sometime only for a day or two. When that happened a couple of Afghan Pashtuns would linger outside the front door, waiting for him to come out. They were tall, had long beards, and wore loose, white, billowing pajamas, black vest and turbans. I was always scared looking at them. I could only surmise that Anna owed them something.

It was obvious Nana had to suffer hardship when he was growing up. Anna was a superintended at the City College, in charge of student activities. There was a student, Satyanarayana, whom Anna supported as a guest in his house. Satyanarayana later went to London for studies and upon return had a successful career, rising to the position of Vice Chancellor of the Osmania University. He was always grateful for Anna’s help. I remember once when his wife was visiting Nana’a mother, she stated that now that they had money they wanted to know how to manage it well.

“Perhaps Nana should make our budget and manage our money,” she said.

Nana and Pankaj always had opposing views on everything, especially on spending money.

“I challenged him on everything in my adolescence and questioned his many theories of living,” says Pankaj. That upset Nana.

“You should stay away from risky ventures,” he would say.

Nana Mama with Pankaj

Pankaj with Nana

Nana maintained a ledger of his spending and never gave up living frugally even when he was well off later in his life. He never got over his “lifelong money fixation” according to Pankaj. Pankaj also thought that Nana was risk averse, obstinate and believed in denial and as a result he suppressed his passions and hobbies.

9 thoughts on “Nana

  1. नानांबद्दल वाचून मजा आली ,छान लिहीलेत। गीता वहीनी

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      1. Hello Achunana
        Your write up on Late Nana mama is interesting. I too remember the incident mentioned by you in the article. When he was in translation dept. he used to occasionally drop me at keshav memorial school en route to his office . Your article is best tribute to Late Nana mama.
        Regards
        Dinu

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  2. My eyes welled with tears on reading this. As Oscar Wilde’s quote on parents, I did judge him and later understood where he was coming from. He used to think I am like his father and would spend all money and be penniless in the end I proved him wrong on this! He saw me succeed in life , following a different path. In the end, he used to ask me to be always thankful to god for all the personal success , not take credit personally, as I used to do. Anyway thanks for writing with such compassion and in detail regards Pankaj

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Pankaj: I understand. Sometimes we are quick to judge people around us. Especially in youth. Over time we have a different perspective. It is never too late for redemption.
      At first glance I was surprised to see a comment on something I wrote two years ago. I am glad it is you. Take care.

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