A Old Mukesh song said Duniya sa Jana Wala Jana Chala Jata hain Kahan…..
This is what I will say for my great, great grandfather Father Faramji Contractor & great, great grandmother Cooverbai. M great grandfather Pestonji Contractor & great grand mother Jerbai Contractor. My grandfather Pirojshah Contractor & grandmother Shehramai Contractor. My great grand Uncle Nadirshah Contractor, our grand uncle Manekshaw Contractor & Alamai Contractor, my parents Rusi & Pramila Contractor. Our grand aunt Gulbanu Wadia & Feroz Uncle.
This entire people were just amazing. In today’s age it would be a rarity to find straight people like them. They all have contributed towards the society. If one was to write about this legend one will be writing volumes. His wife was a very mild mannered lady the hall at Agyari was named after her.
Coming to his son Pestonji I think he was the most fair minded person. He did justice to all. I specifically remember a lawyers comment about the will which he had made & I quote “Only a Parsi can make this will. Its so evenly balanced taking care of the future generations”. Again he had made for each other relationship with his wife Jerbai. His most significant donation was at the Sayaji Hospital (SSG). Here I remember that he was a permanent invitee in the court of Sayajirao Maharaj. He was Raj Ratna.
This brings me to my grandfather Pirojshah & my grandmother Shehramai they both were amazing & kind hearted. My grandfather was like a HUMAN computer while handling his distillery business auctions & business with railways on loading & unloading of coal. He was known as the best paymaster in those days. My grandmother was so kind that I believe even she used to pay rent of the tenants who could not afford to pay rent. This she was paying to her own husband. The most significant social contribution he did was the statue of Dadabhai Naoroji & the badminton hall at the University.
His brother Nadirshah our great grand uncle was a man with sweet tooth he had an amazing appetite for sweet food. Can you imagine a man who would put crushed sugar & syrup in a ice cream to eat. He was harmless soul he was the first in the family to visit England to study engineering. That is where he lost on the health. However he also played long innings & the best thing about him was his passion for reading when his eyes gave in he started his papers, magazines & books read by youths.
Another brother of my grandfather was Manekshaw. I think both husband & wife (Allamai) were people who had a very sacrificing attitude. They were a contended lot & in spite of limitation gave excellent education to their children’s Jeru & Pessy. I remember that whenever I proceeded outside country Alla aunty would offer prayers which I presume were prayers of best wishes & NAJAR NA LAGA.
This brings me to my parents Rusi & Pramila. They were just born for people. Today whatever my publiclife contacts are because of them. My mother remained a councilor for 10 years. My father was a lawyerwho practiced for the poorer sections of the society. Still remembered for his agitations of price rise & students agitation, suffered a lot during the emergency dark days. I think they are the BEST PARENTS one can ever have. My father always used to say that we have not earned the property we have inherited it & hence preserve it. But never forget the man on the STREET.
Last but not the least the un-beatable Gulbanu Wadia whom played a long innings of 103 years old. She was so impressive that one of the press reporters once told me & I quote “She must be the most elegant woman in 1920’s”. She had an enviable memory power & I was surprised when she told me that she made my mother a social worker. I had the fortune of holding her hand many times & my eyes are always wet when I think of her son Firoze Uncle. A man of TOTAL COMMITMENT who gave un-limited time to our AGYARI…