Pramila Desai is the great-grand-daughter of Shriram Jatar and granddaughter of Balasaheb Jatar, the son of Shriram Jatar who passed away early, from T.B., leaving behind his daughter Kumud Borgankar (nee Jatar) and widow Ramabai Jatar. Pramila is one of Kumud’s four daughters and presently lives in the USA.
The following write-up and photos have been contributed by Ranjan Desai, Pramila Desai’s son.
Pramila Desai nee Borgaonkar is the oldest daughter of Shankar Rao Borgaonkar and Kumudini Borgaonkar (nee Jatar) and the grand-daughter of Bala Saheb Jatar and Ramabai Jatar nee Khandekar (also called fondly as Dudhai).
Pramila married Kishen Rao Desai and has four children – Revathi, Swaroopa (Rupa), Sunita (Ruma), Ranjan, and 7 grandchildren (Arjun, Achyut, Deepali, Amrita, Nisha, Rina and Aditi) and 4 great-grandchildren (Shaila, Naveen, Anishka and Anvitha). Her 90th birthday was recently celebrated in California, USA.
The erstwhile Hyderabad was ruled by the Nizam which was an independent state. Nizam ruled Hyderabad and served as the client king even under British rule. Her father Shankar Rao after completing his studies as Barrister-At-Law in London choose to return back to India and settle down in Hyderabad.
Pramila was brought up in Hyderabad at the Borgaonkar ancestral home. She was encouraged by her parents to study and served as a role model to all her siblings. She graduated with honours and finished her Bachelors in Arts (B.A.) from the famous Nizam College (which still exists in Hyderabad). In the olden days in Hyderabad when very few girls used to study, all her siblings also graduated in different fields of study.
Pramila often spent time with her Jatar cousins in her childhood days and has very fond memories.
She used to ride her bicycle to go around when she was very young in the erstwhile Hyderabad where very few girls ventured out alone. She grew up to be a bold, strong and independent woman. She was very active in sports, learned swimming in the swimming pond at home and played tennis. She even represented the district level tennis tournament from Sangareddy district. She was interested in acting and took part in a stage show.
Both Pramila who stayed at home to take care of her children, and her husband Kishen Rao Desai, worked hard to make sure that their four children got a good education. They both valued the importance of education and hard work to do well in life and that proved correct for their children. Unfortunately, Kishen Rao Desai passed away while he was in the mid-’50s due to a brief illness caused by Hepatitis B virus which was not diagnosed properly in time to cure it. Moreover, the vaccine for that Hepatitis B virus came a couple of years later. Undaunted, Pramila continued to encourage her younger children to complete and finish their graduation.
After moving to the USA, the India Community Center (ICC) in the Bay Area, California has become “a home away from home” for her. With a handful of enthusiastic volunteers, the ICC was started around the 1990s. Since the last 2-3 decades, Pramila has actively participated and conducted many programs at ICC. She helped start many programs at ICC which still continue to date. One such program was called “Chajju Ka Chaubara” at ICC and she managed that program for a couple of years where all the seniors would talk about their experiences, tell stories or read the poems. She actively participated in a program called FOSWL (Friends Of Same Wave Length) which now has chapters all over the world. Look out for a chapter in your city !! They invite a well-known good speaker to talk on a topic which is attended by many enthusiastic audiences. She helped many members in learning to stitch sweaters and comforters in the arts and crafts program @ ICC.
Pramila’s 90th birthday was celebrated in the United States in 2018. The photo below is of the celebration at home.
Another celebration took place at the ICC.
Presently Pramila actively attends ICC twice a week while keeping herself busy the rest of the days by reading books, doing exercises – yoga, walking and watching TV.
Additional input contributed by Pramila’s daughter, Sunita (Ruma):
What a grand age to achieve! That itself is an achievement in itself. We are hoping to celebrate it every year from now on and reach a century. She has always been very sophisticated and distinguished.
The celebration began with Puja in the house. Mummy recites and does many aartis.
The next was a celebration in her center where she goes 2-3 times a week over the last 20 years. Special music program and lunch was arranged. Many of her friends felicitated her with shawls and gifts.
She and her friends felt very, very young when the evergreen song of “zohrajabeen” was sung. She thanked everyone and joined in singing her favorite song. It was very well arranged by center and Ranjan.
Over the weekend the celebration continued in the clubhouse for friends and family. Overall our mother was very happy, elated and in good spirits and is calling up everyone to thank everyone individually