From the moment of his birth, Vasantrao seemed destined to lead. Not just in the world at large, but at home and hearth as well. An affectionate tribute to the grandfather and patriarch by Akshata Virginkar.

Though Goa had been long known for its scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage, this geographically small state is not merely a boost to tourism but also setting a dynamic pace for production-oriented industries. I am proud to say that my grandfather, Mr. Vasantrao Dempo, fondly known as Bhau, had a conscientious effort in this direction and really succeeded in it. The 9th November, 2000 was the day when dark clouds shadowed my path of happiness. It was the day I lost my  most precious possession, my Bhau. Time happened to pass so rapidly, since he departed from us for his heavenly abode.

Having Bhau for a grandfather has been one of the nicest blessings in my life. As for me, he was a special person who thought of others first and gave generously his valuable time and energy, and yes he did it all, expecting absolutely nothing in return. He was someone really special because he tried to bring sunshine into everybody’s lives with his own endearing ways. His friendly concern and sweet smile made everything seem worthwhile and that is why he is thought of ‘today’ with such fondness in our hearts.

Whenever I think about the people who actually mean a lot to me, my thoughts always turn to him. Bhau was confident and courageous with firm convictions. He was ambitious and industrious and left no stone unturned to achieve his ideals and goals. Bhau was imaginative and innovative. He was humble, social, selfless and self sacrificing. By his acts he inspired people to follow him. To him work was worship and duty a deity. As for my Bhau, no work was below his dignity. He always understood the problem of his workers and was ready to do any kind of work that wouldn’t cause harm to any living creature. In fact I can say that Bhau was an enlightened person. He always identified himself with his people and never simply stood alone and aloof..

Bhau was unselfish in everything he did but yet there were people who somehow misunderstood him. He also forgave people for certain things they said or did and stood beside them in order to help them choose the right road to success and thus acquire happiness. As for me, even though he was my grandpa, he was a true friend to whom I could always turn. Now that he is no more, I don’t have to turn back because I know for sure that he is right beside me, in fact with me, guiding me in my times of difficulty. He was like a treasure to me from above and meant much more than any thing else in this world to me. But most important of all, I would say, because of his warm hearted words and deeds Bhau was Love.

As for me my grandfather Bhau was

G — Great fun to be with
R – Revered
A – Absolutely Adorable
N – Numero uno!
D – the most Dearest of all
F – Fortunate to be with
A — for Allowing me the freedom to follow my dream
T – for all the precious Time I spent with him
H – for all the Help in preparing me to be the person that I am today
E — for being an Extra Ordinary person
R — for being the most Rarest of all the treasures

This is what he was! People like him really made the world a better place to live in.

When I was small, I always wanted to be like him and till date I still do. From deep within my heart, I thank him for all his words of praise. He surely and very well knew how to brighten my days. Bhau was the one who helped keep me on the right track. He always helped steer me in the right direction that leads to true happiness. His small acts of kindness showed me that he cared a lot for me. I sincerely thank Bhau for all the pats on my back, for all the hugs and the kisses. Most of all I thank him for just being there for us, the way he was. I thank him for just being his true self.

One thing I find strange among people is that they account for the position or the chair that a person occupies and not the person himself. But Bhau was least bothered about such people. He would never speak out his feelings to anybody, but would express everything through his eyes. He was much too great to bother about people who would not be able to even qualify as human beings. From his example, I have learnt to live life. He was a man of patience and had an enormous stamina. In fact I can say, he was a man with exceptional qualities. Bhau was fond of neatness and due to his generous nature was loved by all his staff members. He will always be remembered for his selfless service to society.

I appreciate Bhau for teaching me right from wrong, for showing me how to be strong, for all the time to listen to what I had to share, and above all for being the only one who could always make me feel better. Bhau was the one who wiped my tears when I was sad, it was he who made me feel good when my best wasn’t good enough. In a sometimes cold and heartless world, it was Bhau who loved me and always made me feel special. He had plenty of love, but even more, unending patience. I am grateful to him for his uncompromising love, for his loyalty, his trust, for lending me a shoulder to cry on and for also realizing that I am a work in progress.

Even though Bhau was rich, he knew money itself couldn’t make one happy. He very well knew that wealth was no good if one had no health to enjoy it. For him, to be truly good to others was to be really happy. He loved travelling which taught him that there was unity in man’s diversity. He always opened his mind and heart to the endless variety of nature around him. He always kept sincere friendships but unfortunately most of his friends turned out to share his prosperity and pleasure only and completely deserted him in his hours of misfortune. When he worked, he worked with his head, his ‘always ready to help’ hands and above all a pure and kind heart.

His contributions have really immortalized his place as one of the chief architects of Goan industry. His name will forever be etched in golden letters in the history of Dempo’s and Goa’s growth. It is a fact that I can no longer see Bhau, and this really fills my eyes with tears and chokes my heart too. He was the one most closest to my heart; one could call him my dearest friend too. Whatever shades my life may be coloured in, however many years may pass by, I will always love and respect him the way I did and cherish the memories of the times I spent with him.

Leaves may change from green to gold, the sky from blue to grey. People change, places change and so do the times. But one thing that will always remain constant is the love I feel for my Bhau. He will always be my sunshine and my reason to live. Just as the tide recedes but leaves behind bright seashells on the sand and when the Sun goes down it still leaves behind its gentle warmth lingering on the land. Just as the music stops yet it echoes on in sweet refrains… for every passing joy there is something beautiful that remains… the memories.

While there is a heart in me, Bhau will always be a part of me.