Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Great Ancestors - Part V

Dasarathi Mama

How a chain of thought enters the mind? This morning, when we saw actress Radhika on some TV channel, my husband commented that Radhika has come a long way from her first movie Kizhake Pogum Rail. This reminded me of the movie and when and with whom I saw it etc etc, leading me to ponder about my mama (maternal uncle) Dasarathi.

When I think of Dasarathi, I think of his ever cheerful attitude, craze for movies, very positive outlook and the list goes on.

Dasarathi was born on 10 July 1947 as the 4th child to my maternal grandparents – Ramanathan (Ramu thatha) and Seethalakshmi.

My mother says that Ramu Thatha became prosperous after Dasarathi’s birth. Thatha had bought a huge beautiful Tanjore painting of Ramar pattabishekam just before his birth and hence named him Dasarathi, after Lord Rama. This painting is still in Dasarathi’s house in Thane.

Dasarathi had a polio attack in childhood and one of his feet used to be a little smaller than the other. I never saw him crib about this. He always used to walk with a little difficulty, but a lot of walking he did.

He was a very very loving person with great affection for all his siblings and their children. He had a special love for my mother, his immediate elder sister and all her children. When we were kids, we used to look forward to Dasarathi’s visits because it meant many outings to movie theatres. My mother used to tease that all her brothers spent days together in theatres watching show after show! When I was in 9th standard, Dasarathi came to visit us and I remember him taking us to 10 movies. Going to 10 movies in a span of 15-20 days was an unheard of thing in our household! He used to be a great fan of Sivaji and I remember him cajoling my Thatha, who seldom went to films, to watch a Sivaji movie – Pilot Premnath in Safire theatre. A gang of about 10-12 of us went for the night show in Safire.

Dasarathi’s interest towards cine music including statistics of who wrote the lyrics, composed the music and did the playback for Sivaji and MGR movies rubbed on to me, that I used to try to compete with him and my chitti Revathi in guessing the song/singer etc. when played on TV.

I started reciting Kanda Sashti Kavasam only on Dasarathi’s advice during one of his trips to Chennai. Though I must have been to Tirupathi a couple of times in my childhood, the first trip I can remember was with Dasarathi.

My father does not have the habit of carrying cash in a wallet and I used to be fascinated with Dasarathi’s wallet with many rupee notes neatly lined up. Seeing that I wished to have a wallet just like that when I grew up!

Dasarathi’s cheerful attitude was very contagious – he had an ever smiling face and helpful nature. He used to talk very teasingly, but never hurt anybody. He always used to wish well for everyone. We sisters used to have a rack full of glass bangles and he used to bless us saying, “let the rack be filled with gold bangles!” Whenever we visited him at his place, he used to shower us with gifts.

He never failed to attend any function in our family and was always a moral support to my parents!

Not only mental attitude, he used to present himself so well. The kind of clothes, perfumes and goggles he used were very fashionable!

Amma says that he had a very keen brain right from childhood. Sitting inside their house, he used to identify the makes of cars on hearing the sound of their horns even at the age of 7-8 years.

This was how Dasarathi looked during my parents wedding in 1958

He had a great name and was very popular in his workplace – Ulka Advertising. As the saying goes “you come to know how good a person was by the number of people who attend his funeral” - Dasarathi’s funeral was attended by numerous people from his office. They all praised how he used to have all official figures and statistics at his fingertips. He never used to boast about the name he had in his office and we all came to know how great he was at his job only after he passed away!

Love you Dasarathi and still miss you!


  1. A nice tribute to an uncle who was adorable in many ways.

  2. I love you Dasarathi. Wonderful piece of work, Lak! As usual. Great writing comes naturally :)

  3. i really miss our mama

  4. I have known all your family members since we all lived together in the same house for more than 14 years -but somehow I have spoken very less to Dasarathi. I wish I had spent more time with him.

  5. Hey great to knw so many things about appa which I did not..Thank you so much..attai told amma about this...Savithri (Kuchulu)