Glossary of characters & other names in the story “The Tawaif of Gandevi”

Bharat / Baba                        A little school boy studying in Mumbai

Baa/ Lalee,                             Bharat’s mother

Chhagan Mama                     Son of Baa’s phooi (Her father’s sister)

Ichha phooi / Phooibaa        As above, Baa’s aunt, the ‘Baa’ added after the relative’s                                                      name is out of respect

Torangaam & Ajrai               Two mid size villages on the banks of the river Ambica                                                        that runs from Dangs into the Arabian sea

Gandevi                                  The Taluka to which Torangaam and Ajrai belong; about                                                     2- 3 kms east of Torangaam

Kakuji/ Kasanji/ Bapa          Baa’s father – the eldest in the joint family;

My maternal Grandpa

Lalji                                         The grand father of Baa; Kasanji’s father, long dead;

The entire family is referred to as Lalji family / clan

Kaki                                        The wife of Mohan kaka, Baa’s middle uncle; Kakuji’s                                                           brother

Mohan Kaka                          As above Kakuji’s younger brother who was married

Nana/ Nana Kaka                 the youngest brother of Kakuji who remained a bachelor through his life

Bhimbhai / Nayak                 Bhimbhai, Bharat’s father in Mumbai, typically                                                                      addressed  as “Nayak’ by all, All sons-in-law of the village                                                    are addressed as ‘Nayak” respectfully

Dikraa                                     Common expression for ‘son’ or sometimes even for                                                             daughter – roughly translated as ‘my dear child’

Manu & Ashok                       Two of the countless children of Mohan Kaka and Kaki –                                                    I  had to address them as Mama, officially though they                                                        were much younger to me

Bhagu/ Bhagu fua                Ichchha phooi’s deceased husband


Lalu                                         Neighbor’s boy who lived opposite Chhagan’s house

Dudheli                                  A solid sweet made out of cane juice and milk

Ravji                                        The bullock cart driver

Allu kaka                                An elderly eccentric man living across the street opposite                                                   Kakuji’s house

Pali                                          Allukaka’s aged wife

Satish                                      Allukaka’s young son of the age of Bharat

Ganpat                                    Cobbler at Gandevi bazaar

Ajit Desai                                the local General Practitioner Doctor at Gandevi

Chotra                                    a round raised platform, under a huge pipal tree, serving                                                    as the bus depot in the heart of the taluka town of Gandevi

Gadat                                      Name of another village close to Gandevi town

Reva                                        The taawaif of Gandevi, who was secretly married to                                                           Chhagan mama

Vijay                                        Son of Reva & Chhagan mama

2 thoughts on “Glossary of characters & other names in the story “The Tawaif of Gandevi”

  1. Excellent story again from you, Rajendrabhai.
    You created an excellent ‘maahol’ of a village. I remembered my childhood days when I and my mother used to visit my ‘masi’ in a small village in Saurashtra during school vacation. I always looked forward to this visit and enjoyed my stay there every moment. There was no electricity. However, I loved the evenings after dinner. Masi allowed me to play her harmonium. She and my mother sang bhajans while I played harmonium. Masi was a master harmonium player. Village folks used to gather and enjoy bhajans. There are many other memories………

    1. I am so overwhelmed with the kind of response I am getting to this particular story. A lot of respondents describe their own memories of childhood visits to their respective villages. Thanks Vyas Saheb. Didn’t know you play harmonium! We can have a jugalbandi then!

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