By Hirkani Padhye.
Jayant Jatar (1932-2018) was the fourth child of Vasudeo (Appasaheb) Jatar. Appasaheb was the son of Bapurao and the grandson of Shriram Jatar. Jayant was one of six children, with the eldest sibling being Nalini Joshi. She was followed by Vinayak (Sharad), Sudha Dhawle, Jayant, Diwakar (Madhav), and the youngest is Urmila Belur. They all grew up in the Shriram Wada in Narayan Peth in Pune.
The Jatar family also farmed on nearby lands. Most of the vegetables were sold directly from the farm and whatever was not sold was then brought back to the wada.
Here is a photograph of Jayant with siblings and nephews and nieces.
The grandchildren claimed responsibility over the leftover share and set up their own vegetable stall in front of the wada and sold the remaining produce to those passers-by. During the summers, the Jatar grandchildren also loved performing plays for the rest of the family, which all the elders enjoyed.
Jayant was one of Bapurao’s favorite grandchildren. All the Jatar grandchildren spent their summers at the Jatar Wada creating fun and lifelong memories.
One of Jayant’s fondest memories was when Bapurao would carry a sleeping Jayant to bed. Jayant would be jostled awake when Bapurao lifted him up. As the other grandchildren followed Bapurao as he carried Jayant, Jayant would open his eyes and tease his cousins for having to walk up all those stairs by themselves.
Jayant attend Nutan Marathi Vidyalaya, along with his close friend Jayant Pundale, who lived across the street. They were passionate about physical fitness and attend the local vyayamshala. They enjoyed swimming, which they also excelled at. Being a thrill seeker, our Jayant even dove into the greatly flooded Mula-Mutha River, which many of the elders from the Jatar Wada witnessed first-hand.
Upon completing his matriculation, he started a job at a paper mill in Khopoli. Due to health reasons, he decided to move to Mumbai with his elder brother, where he decided to further his studies in catering at the newly opened Catering College in Dadar. During his time at the Catering College, he developed a life-long friend with another Jayant, Jayant Yande.
When he graduated, Jayant then joined the catering department at Air India in 1956. In 1959, he married Sheela Pandit and moved to Vile Parle in 1962.
Also in 1962, Jayant received his first overseas posting in Melbourne, Australia. In Australia, he received news that Sheela had delivered their first baby girl, Hirkani.
In his 30 plus year career with Air India, he received multiple posting across the world, where he accompanied many dignitaries like President & Vice President of India, Honorable J.R.D Tata to name a few. His last posting was in Rome, Italy, which lasted for 3 and a half years. During his posting, he welcomed many family and friends to visit in Rome.
Jayant was very proud of his family roots and this article cannot be complete without mentioning his greatest influence as he was growing up – that of his grandfather, Bapurao. He was always intrigued by Bapurao’s towering personality. Bapurao was an exceptional individual with outstanding intelligence in our country’s pre-independence era. It was not an easy task for a person of Indian heritage to rise to the ranks of “District Commissioner” and Bapurao was not an exception but with his undeniable talent the British government had to promote him to well deserved position, “Commissioner of Akola District”. During his term, he was recognized for his outstanding ability to govern which resulted in an area named “Jatar Peth” after him. Bapurao had travelled extensively and was a visionary with a very progressive mindset. After retiring from the job, Bapurao moved to Pune. He was very well compensated with a pension of Rs. 500 per month, which was considered to be a great deal of money at that time.
His exposure to the western world was impactful and he decided to venture in to the areas no other Brahmin families had ever ventured into. He decided to pursue poultry farming as well as developing a tobacco plantation on a commercial scale. Although the plantation didn’t reach the success that he had envisioned, his courage to explore a new venture was commendable. His progressive mindset made him run a social program to abolish the stigma against young widows by giving them a chance to remarry and be contributing members of society. He was a progressive thinker and must have believed that women were equally capable and that must be the reason for him always consulting his wife prior to taking any major decisions. Jayant must have inherited that quality from him and that’s why he was so supportive of the idea that his wife Sheela get back to college and pursue her dream of getting her Ph.D.
His father, Shriram Bhikaji Jatar, had left the sprawling “Shriram Wada” to all his sons. However, Bapurao purchased the Jatar wada from his brothers in 1927 for ₹20,000/- which was an enormous sum at that time. This property was sold in 1951, after Bapurao’s death.
After his death, Jayant went through the extensive collection of Bapurao’s writings such as letters, diaries and other artifacts.
After retirement, Jayant started going for morning walks to maintain his health and wellness. One day, he noticed the Laughter Club happening at the nearby playground. It piqued his interest since many participants of the club were in his age group. He decided then and there to join the club. He looked forward to attending the Laughter Club every morning. Jayant also noticed an overall improvement in his health which he attributed to the Laughter Club. When the person leading the Club could not continue for personal reasons, Jayant volunteered to lead the group, in fact the other participants demanded that he become the leader of the club. His dedication and passion to the club was evident, especially since he took initiative to educate all members of the health benefits, arrange holiday functions, one day trips and yearly seminars which occurred across Maharashtra. Jayant was so beloved by all members of the Laughter Club that members came to visit him and offer respects every year on Guru Poornima.
Jayant and Sheela’s second daughter, Sanhita was born in 1963. Following her birth, Jayant was received new postings in Delhi and Calcutta. where the family stayed for a few years. They returned to Mumbai when Hirkani and Sanhita were ready to begin school. After a few years, Jayant transferred from the “Catering Department” to the “Commercial Department”.
As the saying goes, “Behind every successful man there is a successful woman”. This saying was especially true in Jayant’s family’s household. Jayant stood behind his wife and daughters as a pillar of strength, as Sheela pursued her PhD, Hirkani completed her Occupational Therapy program and Sanhita completed Medical School. He took charge of the house and the housework. With his background in catering and his mom and three sisters being expert cooks, he taught his daughters the art of cutting vegetables, cooking and garnishing.
Jayant’s oldest daughter, Hirkani and her husband Avinash Padhye, an electrical engineer by profession, live in Braintree, Massachusetts, a suburb outside of Boston. Hirkani practices Occupational Therapy in Massachusetts – specializing in the geriatric population. Their daughter Ira is currently in Richmond, Virginia, and is working as special education consultant for the Virginia Deaf-Blind Project and also completing her PhD in Special Education and Disability Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Here are some more family photos:
Jayant’s youngest daughter, Sanhita, a general physician, married Avanish Rajan, who is also a physician and a renowned photographer. Their eldest son, Priyank is completing his MD in pediatrics and is married to Vishesha, an OB/GYN. Sanhita’s has twin daughters, Rhuta and Divita. Rhuta has a degree in Hospital Management and assists her parents in the Nursing Home in Mumbai. Divita is currently pursing her MBA at Symbiosis in Pune.