This family group is an interesting photograph. Saw it first time. The tree in the back ground is famous NEEM tree very very old and famous in Rampur as it had a kind of creep growth on it with high medicinal value. Just six inches of it boiled in water used to be medicine for so many ailments. Entire Rampur when in need of it, used to come to Dewan House, even though they were shouted upon by Thakur Baba, care taker of Dewan House who was not all the time so generous specially if you did not address him with respect.

Dewan House history will be incomplete without mention of Thakur Baba, Maharaj (Shyam Lall) and Achey Mian. They all served at least four generations at Dewan House.  Thakur Baba could scold even Papa, such was his place in the family. Only Dadi he used to address properly being ‘Malikan’ rest were all younger to him and by virtue of his seniority and Dada’s chief man no one dare misbehave with him. Otherwise very very affectionate, Rakesh specially was his favourite whom he addressed as Basanti Babu, as he was born on Basant Panchami and played maximum with him, Thakur Baba put up with all his activities like dirtying his clothes wetting them and so on but he was never angry, such was not the case with other kids.

He used to go to Kosi  river Ganges every day to take his bath walking miles and miles and used sand instead of soap to clean his body. He was very fond of money would lay bets and see to it that he wins irrespective of the consequences. He drank carosine oil and won the bet. Moradabad was 17 miles away from Rampur, Babu had an urgent letter to be delivered, he gave Thakur Baba train fare up and down, Thakur Baba pocketed this money and marchingly went and returned in the evening. Such were the stories. For  trimming the beard barber used to charge one paisa. He will get his beard trimmed and for months will not pay him. Each time barber came to collect he will hide inside DH and tell us to tell Barber “Thakur Baba ghar main nahin hain.” (Thakur Baba is not at home)

Bari Bhabhi  and Neelam Gege were the most trusted by him as he gave his kothri  keys to them only. On his death when kothri was opened he had all his salary savings of silver rupee coins and all imported Thans etc. material given to him by Rampur State, as uniform for his Safa which he saved and kept using same old one most of the time.  Bhabi/Neelam Gege got a dream that he as a snake was supervising his assets. Immediately all his last ceremonies, Daswan etc. were performed and his nephew who used to stay in Kathghar was called and handed over all his belongings.

More later
(Robi) Chacha/Mama