Just the other day we were coming back from school. I was changing the radio channels, “chalte chalte ” from Pakeezah was playing…

Chalte chalte yuhi koi mil gaya tha…chalte chalte.”

This beautiful melodious song reminds me of my Paternal Grandfather, Jaswantlal as We call him Jasu dada…

He worked since he was 12 years old or may be earlier  to help his father and his elder brother to set up the Bidi business and due to his hardwork we have everything and so many extra things that we don’t even need at times.

I have never met him as he died when my father was in college. It is quite painful to loose a father at such a young age, I always feel my father’s pain when he talks about him. 

Thus for  me Jasu is like a character from all the stories.  My imagination has painted a picture of his from all the stories I have heard from all the elders of my family and of course dad.

Thats my grandfather posing for our family bidi brand, he was very handsome. I believe I have got his lips and eyes.
He was a strict and a disciplined man, everyone would be very afraid of him, very fair, honest, almost a workaholic. I do not imagine him to have much of a sense of humour. I think he was a well dressed man just like my father, he would probably speak very less, his conversations might have been to the point. As per the stories told to me he was a very generous man and when festivals and weddings would come, he would go over board to let his family enjoy them.

He had a dhaak as we say in Gujarati, everyone would be in attention positon around him.

I remember when we were younger and  lavishly spend money, mom and dad would complain about our spoilt ways, I would butter my father, “well dada has worked very hard so I could enjoy, so its ok dad, I think he would be happy to see us enjoy our lives.”

So immediately dad would point out,”if dada was alive you would come to know, all this fun would stop cause he was very strict and he would definitely not approve your short clothes”
Well I doubt that!  I imagine him to change for his grandchildren.

He lived a short life, he did lots for us in that short span. He himself could not enjoy as the years when one decides to take it easy, stop running around retire and enjoy his own life, he did not live that long to see those years

When I think of his life it was totally dedicated to earn, organise and fairly distribute everything to his children. Its been more than 40 years since he passed away, even today all of us thank him, bless him and remember him for the unbelievable things he did for us.

One of the last projects he did was our family dharamshalla in Ambaji..Reva Prabhu Sadan. Jasu dada travelled  to and fro from Ahmedabad to Ambaji so many times to set up this dharamshalla and in the car he listened to songs from the movies Pakeezah and Umrao Jaan throughout his journey. I always remember him when I listen to those songs.

This is no advertisement of Reva Prabhu sadhan as the whole world knows it is the best, cleanest and has the tastiest food in ambaji, no doubts, its not me, people say that, I absolutely agree with that!

When I was a child we use to go to Ambaji when we had 2-3 days break. Everyone went there to do dharam, we went to do araam. I don’t remember going to the temple more than once but I remember the wonderful food that we use to hog down there. I always put on weight when I go to Ambaji. 

The thali at our Reva Prabhu Sadan dining hall serves generous quantity of food sabji’s, farsan, dal, rice, papad, roti soaked in ghee, salad, buttermilk… the list goes on. I always have this gravied potato sabji, roti and salad along with so many other things. Over eating is a ritual there and after eating we take a long long nap… 

I always feel dada’s presence more at our Ambaji dharamshalla as the place is the same as he had put up. I feel him in the rose garden where we played hide and seek as children, on the swings where we bossed the other visitors and never gave them, in the gardens where we played cricket making the stump of the board that says, ” aiya cricket ramvani manayee che ( not allowed to play cricket here) with dad and my uncles, at the reception counter  where I assisted our manager. I always felt he looked at me from his photo hung at the reception area along with all the other deceased members of our family.

I am proud to be his DNA, I am proud to have such an aspiring grandfather who has put a business sense along with his strong morals and deep sense of  caring for the family in my DNA. One of major regrets in life is that I never got to meet him in person. 

As chalte chalte got over, I was lost in my grandfather’s stories,  I notice my son too was enjoying this song…well I guess its also in his DNA!

As the song get over I lost my train of stories…

I hear on the radio

Yeah vividh bharti ka manchaya program hai…

Yeh agla ganna farmaish hai…

Mangal bhidha se Rajkishore chauhan Munna

Bhojour bhilla se Makal kumar Sadhu 

Mugulsariya Uttar Pradesh se Daulat khan aur sharmaji

Raukat se Mahendra kumar Sarkate

Sher Azziz Tapaspur se Yebatmal

Siddhi Campa cola se Sipayee Mohan aur Sunanda Karamchale

I have never heard these places or names..

channel change…

Char ganne chippak che…

Tu tu tu… lets nacho…hone laga sunset… bhai tera full set…tu tu tu..

Ok back to today’s dinchak songs.. 

me and son start dancing on our seats…soon we are home..

This bowl (vadki) has my jasu dada’s name inscribed on it, it was given to my mother when my grandmother died who gave me this bowl and I cherish it forever.
This is the recipe of the potato sabji cooked in our kitchens and also served in our dharamshall Reva Prabhu Sadan.

Jasu dada took great care and effort in setting the menu, taste, quality of dharamshalla’s dinning hall. Till today the taste is the same and it is a drive worth going to ambaji just to have our thali..

Recipe :

Recipe courtesy: Vardhishankar mahraj, Raghu mahraj, Ambaji’s Jawahar mahraj and all the cooks of our bidiwala family household.

Serves 4


4 medium size potatoes cut into big squares ( do not peel)

1 tomato chopped

2 tbsp jaggery

2 kokam

2 tbsp oil

2 tsp mustard seeds

1-2 whole dried red chilies 

3 tsp red chili powder 

1 tsp turmeric powder 

2 tsp dhanna jeera powder

1 tsp hing

Salt to taste

Had this potato sabji just like reva prabhu sadan, only thing I could not put ghee on my roti like ambaji..

In a pot, heat the oil, add hing and mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter add the whole red chilies.

Immediately add the red chili powder, potatoes and tomatoes. Add the turmeric, dhanna jeera powder. Cook for 2 minutes till the dhanna jeera is cook. 

Add 4 cups of water, kokum, jaggery and salt.

Cover the pot let it simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes or till the potatoes are done.

The water should reduce and become a gravy . taste for flavours. It should taste sweet, sour and hot. 

Serve with roti, bhakhri, puri or kichadi or anything Gujarati you can get your hand on.


  1. Natasha pens down family bio graphy alongwith interesting events in every recipe she offers. Words and sentences are enjoyable always ! Looking forward to more and enjoyable dishes from Natasha !

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