Bai Ji… I know in punjabi the word BAI means Brother.. But I have a very high relevance of this word in my life, My Nana Ji, I use to call him Bai ji, Funny isn’t it. Well he was eldest in his family so everyone called him Bai Ji, I was born in my village and growing up all the time I heard him being called Bai ji, I started calling him the same too. He never stopped me so it just got of stuck with it.
Bai ji passed away a few years ago now, I was here in UK at that time I could not go to see him, there are so many things that we regret in life, I too have loads this is one.
Bai ji was a very good person as far as I know, remember, I know everyone says the same about their family, But I can’t stop saying he was a good person. When he was young he moved out of his family house built his own house in the land that was allocated to him by his father. Then his younger brother followed, slowly a few more came so a small little village was created of 50 odd families settling there, the village is now named after Bai ji.
I distinctively remember to this day, we use to have a typical village house at that time all rooms in a row on one side, the other side would be a big room for the animals, then another to keep the fodder for the animals a BIG iron door on each side. Bai ji use to sleep in the last room, early morning he would get up I am assuming cause by the time I got up, he would be ready, Have his Off White Turban on, a White or Cream Kurta and His Chadra, My nani use to make sure there was a clean-washed-ironed-starched by his bed every day. I have some old pictures of him He was a Handsome man, obviously when I was born he had white beard, which was always nicely tucked in… Not a hair this or that side.
Then my nani, or my mum or her sisters would run helter skelter, they were so afraid of him, god knows why, I have never seen him raise his voice or shout ever, so one of the ladies would have a BIG HUGE GLASS (made of Pital (Bronze I think or Nickel))
of Lassi for him, he would drink that then go about his little chores, check on the animals, Open the hen cage, let them out, feed them daane AND then the most important chore go and See his pair of OX, oh he loved them, he cleaned then washed them, fed them Himself, though we never used them cause tractors were in use, he still had a pair, he would say
“BALAD (Bullock) di tandurasti ton pata lagda how good your household is running”.. (The healthiness and strength of your ,Bullock told how you are running your household) I could never understand that..
check on other stuff, by then breakfast would be ready, the Paranthas with makhan, he would polish 4 -5 of them easily. About 9 AM he would get his famous Bicycle out GOD I HAVE BEEN SEEING THAT Bicycle so much.
The nearest Town was about 15-20 Kms or maybe more, he would cycle there almost every day or at least every other day. I don’t have that much stamina and he would do it regularly. The reasons he gave of going was
1. Blah blah person had problem getting a tube well connection needs sorting
2. Blah blah person needs good seeds
3. Blah blah person had to go to hospital
So on and so forth… I am sure you get the jist of it. Always for somebody.
I remember the local ministers, and the Chief minister at times would come to him for support, I also remember when I went for my holidays he would love it cause I could drive when I was in my 10th class, he Did not know how to drive and my Mama ji was always busy with his work, So Bai ji would the very first day I arrived have all the plan ready, he has to go to Bhatinda, he has to go to Malout, I was the DRIVER.
I remember meeting all these ministers etc, Bai ji proudly telling them I am his grandson and I study in a Public school and I know English.
I use to get bribed by sweets (Goliyaan) we called them, 10 for 10 paisa at that time And with being allowed to go to the sugarcane field to get the cane to suck on… and also allowed to go into the orchard to get the mangoes… No one else could he he so I got bribed by others to go and get them. I was having Fun of my life.
I have been thinking of Bai ji a lot, because a few days ago I got a letter from Mr. Brar who lives in Glasgow, England, asking me if he could send me a chequw, for the money he owed to Bai ji, I phoned up Mr. Brar he told me how a decade ago, Bai ji was cycling back home, found Mr. brar unconscious by the road side, no one had stopped to look at him, Bai ji took him home, looked after him, apparently Mr. Brar had been robbed of his money and belongings , he was on way back to his village when it happened, he had got UK visa for immigration anyway to cut the story short Bai ji gave him money so he could do whatever he was to do.
I was surprised by the effort made by Mr. Brar to get hold of me and remember Bai ji, I mean in today’s day and age how many do that. I have been thinking of Bai ji a lot he was such a good person, why does God take Good people so early when corrupt people live for so long, Makes me wonder what all good things Bai ji had done in his lifetime. Which makes me think People around us what all good deeds they do, do we ever get to know what all they did and also how many people are there like Mr. Brar who acknowledge it.
Bai ji had his Bad habits too, drinking was one but then I must say I never saw him drunk, he would buy his own bottle and always drink at home, Never seen him drink out in public other then weddings or parties, everyday at night about 7:30 he would get his bottle out, along with MOOLI, PYAAZ, SHALGAM, all from the fields, make a salad, have his quota of drink, Eat food and Go to sleep. I can’t remember him talking or debating with anyone after he has had his drinks.
I remember a funny thing, the first time I went back to India, I had bought a mobile phone handset for him, I gave it to him he was so pleased and happy THAT HE NEVER USED IT.. it is still lying in his room at home, he would say “Main ki karna eh”, I also took some nice Thermals and long coat for him, he never wore it, in winters too he had his same attire , Kurta-Chadra , a small jacket (called basket I think) and a Loi (men shawl).. He could not walk when he put the long coat on and Thermals were a big no no, I wonder did he not feel cold.
This post is dedicated to my Bai ji. God rest his soul and I just want to tell him, I love and respect him a lot, I am a better person cause of him, learnt a lot from him.