Daniel Trevelyn Joseph

Rookie - 2 Points (21 December 1945 / Mumbai, India)

Homes We Made - Poem by Daniel Trevelyn Joseph

I brought her to the house in Gadhinglaj
With two bedrooms in 1972 July,
Within the compound we had another house
Where lived Principal Madgaonkar
Whose brother was the famous Marathi poet.
The house had the toilet outside away.
And yet my 21 year-old wife didn’t ever complain
In that town of 12,000 with one cinema theatre
Where we saw every change, and next day
Rushed off to Ajra, or Chandgad, or Gargoti,
All beautiful places, some with sandal trees!
In spare time, my wife would write Kanna, Kanna
Hundreds of times, and once in a while,
A short story or a poem on forgiveness!

Then we went to Bhir as it was spelt then,
And got a house in the colony of officers,
When Lalit Doshi got Dist Supply Officer
Shifted to give that house to me. I was
Additional Collector, a new post to tackle
The 1973 famine situation in Marathwada.
House was hot, nothing in the house,
Till on loan from Bank of Maharashtra
I bought a godrej fridge through Marathwada
Development Corporation officer’s help.
And here she was on way to become a mother,
Though we did not know when the journey began!

Came to Satara as Chief Executive Officer
Of Zilla Parishad with a lovely bungalow
A new two storied house next to Collector’s:
In this house I planted 100 silver oaks
Brought from Panchgani, and later planted
Groundnut, and even Basmati rice,
After having built a storage tank in corner
Watered from the President’s house.
Fulfilled ambition of naming it “Vikas” -
Work I did, that is, Development in Marathi!
We had dinner on open balcony on full
Moon night. Joti came here as a 20-days old,
After my ‘paternity’ leave of one month in Chennai.
We celebrated here her first birthday, cutting cake
In the presence of Mendonca, Rita and Rashmi:
He was Superintendent of Police, and had
The only color TV in the region! On Govt loan,
We bought our used car Fiat for 14,000 rupees,
I drove it always badly according to my wife.

We moved to Kolhapur, and entered the Residence
Where the British Resident ruled till 1949.
Great house overlooking the Chhatrapati’s
Palace. Crow will not make noise in Collector’s
House was the saying in town!
We got fancy 9999 car steel grey, first staff-car.
Wooden floor, dancing hall, marble pieces
Durbar hall, carpets and to boot
A beautiful piano made by the Makers
To the British Sovereign, and Michael Pinto
Played on, when he came home once.
During Emergency days, we lived there
Happily, entertaining Lata Mangeshkar,
And Sunil Gavaskar. Club was the place
Every evening, when we were not out on
Tour to the talukas, or to Pune. In Kolhapur,
Joti used to be scared of the camera flash
And would be seen crying in most photos!
The sisters of Holy Cross took her to school
When she was barely two and a half years old.

Then we shifted to Municipal Commissioner’s house,
All four bedrooms in ground floor in a park
The front had a lovely short mango tree,
Built up around it, as round sitting place,
And where junior engineers of the Municipal
Corporation I had invited once for dinner!
For neighbour, we had Lt General Thorat
Who was Commander in Tokyo in 1952
Of allied forces, flying both the flags,
And Tokyo, according to Mrs Thorat,
Came to absolute stop, when their car moved!

Then we came to Mumbai, then Bombay,
And settled on 15th Floor in Buena Vista
Stone’s throw from Mantralaya,
Owned by Almeida the Police officer
Who worked on deputation in North East?
We had visitors like Bayas, and Sureshkumar,
And Joti grew up to be a student of G D
Somani in Cuffe Parade, for St Anne’s school
We were late: and Mother was strict,
Despite request from BMC and Govt
Saying, “You pray for the transfer of one
Of the existing students’ father, so that
We can accommodate your child! ”
I was MD of Development Corporation
Of Konkan Limited where I got to know
Page, an early MBA from Bajaj Institute
A creative, knowledgeable individual
Who took me abroad first time in my life
To Italy, UK, Scotland and the Netherlands.

We then moved our home to Flat No 5
Of Yashodhan opposite Brabourne Stadium
And lived there for 15 years with a one year break
To Raj Bhavan in Pune as Training chief.
Yashodan had huge bedrooms, close to office,
Where both my mother and father spent their
Last few months, and breathed their last.
This is the home from which Tilaka sallied
Forth to Rajabai Tower to do B Lib Sc
And got employed there in 1983.
I ventured as OSD in the University from here,
And set the exam and result schedule back
On rails, by calling examiners to paper, not vice versa.
Then off we went to Manchester for a year,
And stayed inYMCA, Alexandra Park there.
When the location is excellent we don’t realize it!
Within Yashodhan, we shifted to 4th floor
To a bigger one on promotion as Secretary.

When Joti shifted to Fergusson College in Pune
For her twelfth standard without a murmur,
We lived in sylvan surroundings, playing TT
I was swimming in next compounnd, I leart
Computer in 1990, and got Dr Erach Bharucha
To lend me his telescope and studied
Astronomy and even taught participants
Along with Leen Mehendale who was
Additional Director in MIDA
Now renamed after Yeshwantrao Chavan.
My father-in-law, a civil engineer came for summer
Holidays, and got hay on roof-top
And watered it to make the inside tolerable,
Since we did not have air-conditioning at all
In any house I lived in as a Governement officer
Till my superannuation! and then on return from Pune
Back to first floor of Yashodhan. From the window,
We would have lush gulmohur flowers burning red,
And the coppersmith would come and sit so low
To make his low boring sounds!

Then to Manek an iconic building on the steep curve
Of Malbar Hill, where we had a huge swimming pool,
And Table-tennis room in the society itself,
Which of course charged us for maintenance heavily.
It was shipowner’s building but I had it as
MD of the State Investment and Industrial Corporation
Of Maharashtra, one post which I didn’t really enjoy
Because I was not taught to make money
Either for myself, or for the State!
Important work was to dropp wife in University,
And pick her up in the evening while going home.

Soon I landed as Director General of Shipping of India
And was given a house in D Block
Of Hyderabad Estate, originally owned by Nizam
Before Independence! Nice complex, with garden,
Temple, cooperative stores, and close to
Priyadarshni garden where I have walked
Six kilometres by sea every evening!
This is the home, where tables turned,
And I gave up leadership of home
To my wife completely without any reservations!

Then, my home moved to C1/1 Lodhi Garden
In Delhi. Nice house since I landed in Cabinet
Secretariat in Rashtrapathi Bhawan as
Secretary Coordination to assist Vimal Pande
As Cabinet Secretary. The house was in a corner
With ground plus one, and huge with two mango
Trees, and one huge parijaat tree, six orange trees,
One drumstick tree, and plenty more!
On Sundays I'd see two hoopoes, pecking ground.
Lodhi Garden originally named Lady Willingdon Garden
Is the best in Asia, reeking of the flavor
Of the pre-Moghul emperors, their tombs,
And building with even then-rare blue marbles,
Still in a ruinous state, keeping company
With Oriel windows, making me wonder
Whether in those days before electricity,
Somebody walked through and fell dead!
Tilaka my wife had a nice room with all
Specially designed bed, and table
And butterfly chair but spent not even
Fifteen days there out of the thirty months
I lived in that house.

Now, we live in Jasmine in Bandra East
Close to Airport, but away from South Mumbai
First time in our own home,
And with six stray cats who are, and behave like,
VIPs in the house. One without an eye, another
With defective tail, and the rest spastics,
With a newcomer whose defect has not been
Revealed yet! Wife runs the show,
While daughter keeps putting appearances
On the dining table more with laptop than food!

Life is closing down, but when I recall the homes,
Me and my wife have made,
I have nothing to regret, in fact am happy.
The recent visit to Orange County, where we got
A private pool villa in the 300-acre hilly
Coffee plantation was in keeping with homes
We have made through our career of 40 years!

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, December 13, 2009

Poem Edited: Saturday, October 2, 2010

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