Bade Daddy


Sat Pal Sethi

Born in 1922, Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan)

Mr.S.P.Sethi is my most affectionate uncle . As a child I remember him calling me ‘Kangu’ while planting a big kiss on my cheek. I call him ‘Bade daddy’ as he is my father’s elder brother.

In the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan, the family had to move from Rawalpindi to Srinagar, J&K. Bade daddy had four siblings, one being my dearest father. Times were difficult and they had to live in a houseboat on the river Jhelum, in the initial years.

A major life event…

On being asked about a major life event, his face lit up and with a glint in his eyes, he said it was when he became the captain of his school cricket team in 1934. He spoke about his passion for the sport and how he gave it his all.

Joyous moments in various stages of life…

Naturally, if the major life event was becoming a cricket team captain, for Bade daddy that was something that gave him immense joy during his childhood.
He loved having his family around him and spent a lot of time outdoors; picnicking, fishing and golfing. As his niece, this is what I have seen over the years.
What gives him immense happiness now is savouring chocolates and ice cream. I found it hard to believe that it is something so simple, soon to realise that as we grow older the child in us comes out.

The most challenging time in life and how it was overcome…

Now is the hardest time of his life as he finds it difficult to move around physically. Having had such an active and sporty life, he feels that this is very painful. “No one should be old”, said Bade daddy. I asked him how he deals with this. What he shared is that there is one factor that gives him joy and keeps him going, that is, the presence of children and loved ones around him.

Something special that makes the heart beat with love, now……

Extremely precious are his children and family.

The present desire…

As we conversed, Bade daddy desired most to give a message to all of us. With his eyes full of emotion and blessings, the message followed.

A message for all…

“Make the most of your youth and achieve as much as you can while you are active so that you have no regrets in your old age.”

On talents, individual qualities and sharing…(As told by my sister Mala Broca)

My sister Mala told me how Bade daddy has been a super cricketer. He has been known amongst friends and family to be a great listener and someone who would give sound advise and guidance. Meticulous, neat and well organised, he could fit in lots of things in small packages. He wore socks stitched by himself and also knitted pullovers for the family. His mother had taught all the sons to repair and stitch their own clothes. A senior member of the Freemasons Lodge, he mentored several young masons, sharing his skills and gifts.

Watching cricket on T.V was his passion and he would get totally absorbed in the game.

A man of great determination and self restraint, he was very fond of sweets but when he found out that he was diabetic, he gave up sweets and was never tempted to have it again. Similarly, he was a chain smoker and once, he had a terrible bout of coughing. One fine day, he just decided not to smoke and from that day, never looked back!

He helped around in the house. Would even wash his own clothes when there was no help.This is true even in his old age.When his wife was confined to bed, he would make the tea, stand in the kitchen and boil the milk and do other small odd jobs in the house.

-by Kangan Badhwar

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