A famous poet said once (in Urdu) that the sum total of one`s life are memories. And he concluded that when he dies all that will remain will be some letters written to him by beautiful women and a few pictures.
I think that will be the sum total of my life too, photos and letters. Having lived away from family for more than half a life,the relationship is only evident in letters and in pictures. But it is good, I can indulge in a trip down memory lane anytime I want. I can look at my the pictures of my grandfather and my parents and marvel at the looks,his wonderful moustache and his out look on life.
He was a famous lawyer, an special attorney to the Nizam of Hyderabad. He lived a regal life , an army of servants, a fantastic house and a thumping practice. He had been to Cambridge to read law, and that is why he wanted my father, his only son, to go there too. And I thought how proud he would have been, when my son,his great grandson, went to the same university to do his Phd, and is living and working there.
There was a huge amount of protocol and ritual involved in being the personal lawyer to the ruler of the city, the Nizam,one of the richest men in the world.
Every afternoon, my grand father had a ceremonial lunch sent to him from the Nizam`s kitchen. Row upon row of men dressed in the colours of the state would carry trays of food,silver trays covered with red cloth which had silver edging, and tassels hung which had pearls in them. This procession will be led by a man leading with drums,which he beat with sticks. and shouted that the “Khasa”,(cusine) for the honourable lawyer saheb was being now delivered. I remember watching it as a child, while these men came in, stood in line and one by one delivered the trays on the table. My grand father will only touch the top of the trays, and they will be dispatched to the kitchen, while the men walked backwards, bending and wishing my grandfather a good day.
Here is a picture of my grandfather. As you can see he was a very handsome man. Tales of his generosity and honesty are still told. It is a rare quality in India that people are honest,when they are in a position of power. As a lot of money can be made by recommendations and other means.
My father on the other hand was a very fun loving and happy go lucky man. When he was in Cambridge, he talked of the opulent life he lived. He had a man servant, a maid and a cook,while he lived in a rented accommodation as a student. He had a yacht and a Bentley and a chauffeur! He took himself off to travel the world in the summer holidays and lived life to the full. He lived in Jesus Lane in Cambridge,where there is a Pizza Express now! Here he is to the right in his college tie. Looking rather handsome I thought!