N. P. Upadhyaya
We were known to each other since long. But yet a sort of distance we both have had maintained for a variety of reasons. Such a distance stretched for long over two decades plus. Yet we met.
We used to meet at diplomatic receptions and during some Nepali functions.
We talked and talked but never met in private for having private talks.
Neither he invited me to his office nor did I make any calls to him asking for such a private meeting. I generally ignore those who do not invite me. Sorry this is my habit. I am helpless.
In the process, some good twenty years went in vain for both of us.
He was amicable. He was flexible as well. Above all, he was a strong nationalist, at least this much I could get as and when we met on some occasions. He was also a man of action who believed in accomplishing great thing but with a different style. “Little things we do”, this he used to say which had meaning underneath.
On my part, I too was not that easy stuff who could be lured by anyone for nothing. I am flexible enough but not to the breaking point. I have charted out my own ethics which I stick to even as of today and will continue till I count my last breath. No compromise.
Yet our meeting continued.
Finally, a day came when he bluntly told me, (sic) “So many Nepali journalists drop at my office…why don’t you too make similar trips and meet me…we will have talks”.
My reply to his request was a bit arrogant one. And look what I said, (sic), “I never visit any place without having invitation…Have you ever invited me?…I will definitely honor your call”.
That was of it all.
We parted each time with such conversations. No bending. From both the sides. That was really an interesting phenomenon.
Finally, a small event brought us excessively closer.
It should have been 1998/1999, that I had accompanied the then Sri Lankan Ambassador Pamel J. Deen to Biratnagar in the capacity of the Chairman of the Nepal-SAARC Journalist Forum.
The envoy made several speeches in Biratnagar and even talked with the local media there.
Upon completion of our targeted “interaction” jobs, I together with Ambassador Pamela came to the Biratnagar airport to board a flight to Kathmandu.
Fortunately, we were only three passengers on board the aircraft.
We were seated close to the cockpit. We did not see as to who the third man was behind us. Nearly after twenty minutes of our flight, I suddenly looked behind. To my surprise he was none other than the same man with whom I used to talk and talk but had never met. Nor he had invited me at his office.
It was a pleasant surprise for us both. As a matter of courtesy, I introduced Gajananda Vaidya with the distinguished Sri Lankan Ambassador. We were flying at 12, 000 feet altitude. Both exchanged their visiting cards and became, later I knew, very very intimate friends.
I don’t know how Vaidya took the entire event happened while being in the sky but what I now feel is that Vaidya must have changed his feeling towards me. Perhaps he liked me.
Yet it took several months and years for his invitation to come to me. Finally it did and as promised I honored his telephone call.
Since then, say beginning 2006, we met several times. Each time he met me, we talked about the sorry state of our own motherland.
He was a strong nationalist, I concluded. I may have published countless of Vaidya’s articles in my paper which must have been still hanging on my website-the telegraphnepal.com.
(The last one I reproduced just after his death).
Very freshly, he left this material world for his heavenly abode. That he was a man of strong will power became abundantly evident that late Vaidya counted his last breath only upon listening to the happy news that his elder son, Mr. Suraj Vaidya, was declared elected as the new President of Federation of Nepalese Industries, the FNCCI.
He was suffering but yet longed to listen to this happy news. He must have struggled with death for some days.
What else remain now to talk about this super nationalist?
Rest in peace O! Ye! Great soul. We at this paper will miss you. May the Almighty provide the needed courage to bear this irreparable loss to the bereaved family members of late Vaidya.
Hope that junior Vaidyas will handle his empire with dignity.