My Father, The Jewel Thief

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My Father, The Jewel Thief

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza/ Arré

I

n my childhood during the early ’80s, we had a lot of visitors at home – people who would turn up to demand charity. Every time such a bunch of people landed up at our door, my father would politely refuse, and then shut the door and say, “Maan na maan, mein tera mehmaan.” I didn’t figure it out until later in life, but my father had picked up the piercing one-liner from his screen idol, Dev Anand.

The loose-wristed, silk scarf-wearing dandy was a constant presence in my father’s life. He modelled himself after Dev sa’ab. He wore his hair in a puff for most of his youth. His mouth and slightly crooked nose were reminiscent of the hero. But most of all were his floral-patterned orange and pink shirts that Dev sa’ab showed a penchant for, especially in films like Hare Rama Hare Krishna, when he was still at the height of his popularity.

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