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.
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.