Today is Madhav Krishna Joshi’s birth anniversary. May his soul rest in peace.
27.04.1912 — 24.09.1991
Born in a family of a modest background, Tatyasaheb, as he was known, was the eldest of the siblings. He had two brothers and one sister. Unfortunately, his parents died at a very early age and he was brought up by the Bhave family. [cousin]. Thus at an early age, he had to accept the responsibility of looking after his siblings. This possibly moulded his personality to become a serious-minded boy with a goal of catering to the needs of his siblings.
Tatyasaheb, because of his intelligence, hard work and the desire to succeed, completed his Civil Engineering degree from COEP Pune and took up a job in MES. Khadki. The marriage between Madhav Krishna Joshi and Nalini Jatar was a registered marriage on 8th May 1938. The difference between the status in the two families was unimaginable but perhaps in those days, the only thing that would be seen in a marriageable boy was whether he was educated, presentable and had a job.
Tatyasaheb had a good education and a good job. Most important, he was a good-looking Kokanastha Brahmin i.e. very, very fair, with good features. The fact that the family was an old respected family set the seal to the marriage.
From the start, I think, my father’s goal was to provide for my mother and give her the sort of comfortable life she was used to as a Jatar. There was no looking back as he rapidly moved on with promotions, finally to be Garrison Engineer in Mumbai.
His greatest quality was to encourage my mother to learn more and do more. He took to sports and encouraged my mother to play. Basically a man of few words, he was a contrast to his wife who was an extrovert, social and very talkative. My mother would despair that he rarely spoke and people were under the impression that my mother ruled. But without saying much he effectively got his way. Circumstances had made him cautious and he rarely rushed headlong into any activity. He was very patient as I remember him painstakingly teaching me Maths which I hated. Vidya would try to teach and land up losing her temper and yelling “How can you be so dumb!” But my father would sit quietly, patiently, helping me understand the concept.
He was understanding and never had a word of complaint. I remember my mother had gone to visit my sister when she was on a posting abroad [Vidya was with Air India] and our maid Dwarka bai was on leave for a few days. Poor Kaka as we called him had to bear with my cooking. The chappatis were horrific and I’d be ashamed but he would without complaint stoically eat the same and say it was OK.
He was very systematic, organised and disciplined in his habits. He had totally stopped eating rice as it was fattening. Any work to be done like the renewal of licences etc was all done by him for us even after we got married. There was never any need to remind him.
He was self- effacing, undemanding always giving. I don’t think he ever bought anything for himself. He was simple, never caring much for luxuries. But he gave in to all our desires including getting my mother her diamond mangalsutra and kudis. As his daughters, I don’t think we or my mother wanted for anything in life as it was always provided for us. We grew up in real comfort.
My brother Vijay‘s death was a shocker. The only noticeable difference was that my father’s hair grew white overnight. He was extremely religious and had faith in God. He would visit the Shani Temple every Saturday.
He was extremely fond of Suresh, Vidya’s husband, and was dependent on him. Suresh laughingly would say that he was welcomed by him in the family as otherwise, the house was full of three dominant ladies: my mother, Vidya and me.
The car was always there for us as Kaka preferred to walk or go on a scooter. His routine of exercise, walk and diet continued till the very last day, when even in the hospital before his prostrate operation, he woke up in the morning and completed his yoga.
His only weakness I think was cards. He too loved playing rummy and bridge but as he was unlucky he would often go to the club and watch people play.
A complete teetotaller, he would attend naval parties but never touch a drink. His values were so strong that my mother would often tell him to hold a glass of water in his hand and pretend for people would always urge him to take a glass but he steadfastly refused.
His priority was always to work and work hard. Even after retirement from MES, he
took up consulting jobs one of which was the construction of Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai. He hated sitting idle.
A person who literally rose up from nothing, he was a self-made man who looked after our requirements including living in the prestigious Oyster Apartments on the seafront at Afghan Church in Mumbai.
He served us all his life never giving us a chance to serve him. He was taken for a prostrate operation on 24th September 1991. He died immediately after the operation even though the operation was a success. Undemanding in life he died undemanding always following the motto Service before Self.