by Nuggehalli Pankaja
Tears come unrestrained as I pause before the area which contained our childhood home. Tatha, the figurehead of our clan looms into view, embodying all the values and affection families of old fostered. The red magnificent building flaunting a spacious garden was the first of its kind in that placid lane tapering into a mango grove displaying luscious fruits-laden boughs (my hideout for flights of fantasy).
Alas , flats have displaced all that, birds and boughs wafting the heady aroma a dream of past…only reminder being, name of street- - my tatha’s name.(N.S.Iyengar street). Tall, with ever smiling face, dignified demeanor, he was both father and mother to his children in spite of his commitment as a high official in the then Mysore-government (Paati having died young, leaving a house-full). Tatha seems to have made a good job of it, since most of the children did very well in life, enhancing the prestige of the family and community by.helping out the lesser fortunate. His house was an open one, kitchen–fire ever burning, laughter brimming.
Tatha had a great sense of humor which was imbibed by all! If today I have contributed anything to humor, credit goes to that jovial atmosphere.
Picture of that ‘Morte de Arthur—round table’ in the hall, with all the members seated around at tea-time cracking jokes-sharing thoughts, enliven me even today. It was a sort of counseling therapy! Tatha paid much emphasis on interaction between members, and dinner-time being the next communication-point, is it any wonder that a unique rapport and communication existed between all of them till the end, acting as life-line?
Tatha liked Kannada dramas and music. He took his entire entourage, aye, even Mr and Mrs. servant, and the cook with the big tiffin- carrier of snacks hurrying behind. Yes, he had to do everything on a mass-scale, be it purchasing of vegetables, apparels, or jewels! Before the commencement of feasts, the tailor would come to our place with his sewing machine, and stitch clothes for all, consequently, a sort of uniform!
Before concluding, I should mention an interesting incident I have heard from authoritative sources—
‘Once the famous Zafarulla Khan came to Dewan Mirza’s office. Dewan being busy otherwise, our tatha- as chief secretary, had to engage him.
Zafarulla Khan was so impressed by tatha’s persona and intellectual caliber, that he sent word to Mirza “ Wait, I am with a very Interesting person…………..” *****