In the years when daddy was in the army, one of my finest memories lies in the time spent with all the "dajus". Here is an account of some of the special ones.
Chete - daju :- He was with us when I was about 2.I had just learnt how to speak and I was making very good use of this new found ability. But mind you, there were just a few people or "things" who or which could experience the pleasure of listening to my constant blaberring. Others I guess just simply lost patience. Well to elaborate clearly, I used to put forward my opinion either in front of my mirror[which could never protest, if it was bored] or to Chete daju. Chete daju was my companion throughout the day[I am not sure whether he enjoyed it or not, but I guess he dint have much choice.]. We lived in tiny cozy little place called Bakloh, in Himachal Pradesh. With not many companions around, I found solace in being with Chete daju. For me he was the best guy in town and I preferred having lunch with him and used to end the day with a cute peck on his cheek. He used point to his cheek and say "Kaju, pappi?" and I planted a peck on his cheek.[Now that I think, he must be missing his children terribly...a soldier's life is tough indeed].Many years later,when I had grown up enough to speak nonsense in a sensible manner, he came to visit us and tried reminding me of things which I never remembered. Well to describe it exactly, I felt like "Mini" of Tagore's Kabuliwala...the part where Kabuliwala meets Mini after many years and a term in jail and tries reminding her of things which she never remembered. Am sure daju felt as helpless as the kabuliwala. :).
Ghale daju :- He was with us when I was around 7 yrs of age. He was simply our[me and my sis] hero. A constant source of entertainment, whatever he did was just too cool. He crooned "Papa kehte hai bada naam karega", playing the papa's tennis racket as a substitute for a guitar. He created innovative games for us, like hitting a target,which used to be a half made lamp shade. Ma was trying to make a lampshade with ice-cream sticks.Mom, there are better uses of ice-cream sticks!!. Anyway, sorry for diverging from the topic.When Ghale daju went to Nepal on leave, he asked us what would we like for a gift. Me and my sis after much thought decided on some furniture for our dolls. We had a tough time making him understand the kind of wooden chairs and tables that we wanted for our dolls.Daju on returning got lovely colorful slippers for us. Well it was a little difficult hiding our dissapointment, but the slippers were very pretty. Thank you daju. For the time being I guess Barbie had no choice but to sit and sleep on Papa's Oxford dictionary.
Prem daju :- Dressed in the best of brands and with an awsome pair of glares on his eyes, we thought he could give Salman Khan a run for his money. Only thing which we never figured out,....why did he wear full shirts during summers and half sleeved tees during winters. Well never met him again to ask him.
Pune daju :- But the sweetest of all, was Pune daju. Though I was never very close with him, but there was a special bond. I learnt to speak Nepali from him. He was strictly instructed by Papa not to speak to us in any other language. A fifth member of the family, Pune daju was one of the most caring persons I have ever seen. More than us, he shared a very special bond with my parents. Through out the 6 years that he stayed with us, we were touched by his concern for the well being of us "Behnis". We being away from home and staying in hostels, he used to constantly enquire Ma, how we were managing with our food, about our studies and when we would be home on leave.
Oh by the way, those who are a little confused about all the technical terms used above, heres a glossray. "Daju" literally means "bhaiyya" or "Elder brother". Papa being in the Gorkha Regiment in the Indian Army, we came across many daju's. By profession they are soldiers but for us they are very special to us.They stay with us, as a professional obligation but are no less a part of our families. And they are really really special to us kids. Away from their families, they shower all the love on us and leave behind a lot of lovely memories.
"Jai Gorakh" is a common salutation used in Nepal. Literally it stands for "Hail Lord Gorakh" and is used as a greeting in Nepal.
"Behni" - nepali for "sister".
Salute to all of you.
Jai Gorakh Daju.