Around 2015, Nita and I had talked of putting together some Jatar family recipes for the blog. I thought I would get the ball rolling by contributing some from my archives along with a few associated memories. It is a special feeling to be able to share some vintage recipes, some over a hundred years old now.
I grew up in a family where good cooking was relished and appreciated. My mother, Neelima Raddi, and grandmother (Indira Bhajekar née Jatar) were busy women with careers outside the home, but also seemingly blessed with magic powers by the goddess of food, Annapoorna. They could transform the simplest of ingredients into a delectable meal in minutes.
When I was in college I decided to write down some family recipes, starting by asking my beloved grandmother. We had a grand old time laughing together as she dictated them, especially at the sometimes baffling instructions for amounts of ingredients, which had me pestering her for specifics. Like all seasoned cooks (couldn’t resist that one!), she rarely needed to measure anything and everything was by “andaaz” or approximation born of experience. I would sternly tell her that “a bit“ and “a little” and “plenty” were not exactly going to be helpful directions to a novice. One recipe included cinnamon sticks. How much? As much as you can afford – came her quick, mischievous reply.
Whenever I visited her home, I loved looking through the collections of old photos and letters. Exploring an ancient cabinet, I came across one of her notebooks filled with handwritten recipes Continue reading “JATAR ANNAPOORNAS”→
A poignant poem by the eldest son of Shriram and Janaki, KS Jatar, otherwise known as Bapuraoto his mother Janaki (also known as Aaisaheb) after she passed away in 1912, when she must have been nearing the age of 70 (she must have been born in the 1840’s). Janakibai or Aaisaheb survived for almost 20 years after her husband (Shriram) died at the age of 61, and looked after her large family of four sons and three daughters with a lot of love and care. Her loss was keenly felt by the whole family.
Her eldest son was 41 when he wrote this poem but even at that age, he was broken after his mother’s death as can be seen from this poem. He writes of the tragedy of her loss, remembers the variety of food she used to cook, and the love and support she provided to various members of the whole family.
A particularly poignant moment in the poem is when Bapurao writes that “you” (meaning his mother Janaki) promised to look after your daughter-in-law after “Bhau” went abroad, but your untimely death dashed all hopes. Here he is referring to Bhausaheb’s first wife Bhagirathi alias Durga, who unfortunately died prematurely in her early twenties.
This poem is on two sheets of paper written in Marathi and posted in two separate images. People from the Jatar family are all named here. It is sure to bring a tear to your eye.
This is the house that Aaisaheb grew up in. She belonged to the Deo family and this wada belonged to the Deos, who by the way are not Deshashta Brahmins as the name suggests, but Karhades, like the Jatars.
Aaisaheb is the last known female ancestor of the Jatars and thus can be considered the mother of all Jatars! The matriarch of the Jatar brood.
This wada has long been torn down. She did not belong to a rich family, but definitely a cultured one.
These photographs were sent to me by the wife of a cousin of mine from the Deo family, a cousin three or four times removed. His great-grandfather was my grandfather’s first cousin – Nita.
Jankibai, Yamutai Dev before marriage was married to Shriram Bhikaji Jatar, the patriarch of our branch of the Jatar family. Jankibai, popularly known as Aaisaheb belonged to the Dev family of Poona. Her brother Rambhaumama was our family’s religious advisor and astrologer, much respected by Bapurao and the entire family. His two sons Ganpatrao and Gajananrao were also popular figures in the family. The date or year of birth and even the marriage date of Aaisaheb are not known. She was not educated beyond primary school but she was a pillar of strength to her husband. She was mature, wise, kind hearted and yet strong willed, with a religious bent of mind.
There was a poem written on her by a family member which was given in a newspaper. Here it is: