Brij Gopal Pallod: Family Guardian Fulfilled Every Role He Played with Grace

Brij Gopal Pallod with his great grandson Veer.

HOUSTON: On December 25 2022, our family lost our historian, our guardian, our mentor, our cheerleader… our Birju Seth.  He left around  4.30 in the morning while his son was giving massage to his legs and his bahurani  watching him.  We hold such bittersweet emotions at his passing, knowing that he left this world feeling fulfilled and without great pain, but feeling immense loss for all the richness he brought to our lives.

Dadaji, formally known as Brijgopal Pallod, was born in Zaheerabad in 1938. Born into a large joint family, Dadaji managed to make an impression not only on every member of the Pallod Family, but on every single person he met. He greeted everyone from bouncing babies to dignitaries with the same respect-filled “Jai Shri Krishna”, and his sharp wit, big smile, and general warmth are the hallmarks of his interactions with all of us. Though Dadaji didn’t get formal education past 10th grade, he was on a constant quest to learn about the world, and read newspapers in 3 languages every day. That he could say puns that left us all with laughs that made our bellies hurt in so many different languages was a testament to his wit. As he would say himself, he was 84 years YOUNG.

While Dadaji was born before World War II into our very traditional family, his ability to connect with everyone, young and old, gave him a progressive worldview that allowed him to champion all of his grandkids. Radhika remembers him making sure to correct a Panditji who discriminated in his blessings by gender, and we all know how proud he was of all of us for pursuing an education that he couldn’t. We’ll always remember the trip he made to celebrate Kavita’s Doctoral graduation fondly, and how he regaled everyone he met with “Bharat ka rehne wala hoon, Bharat ki baath sunatha hoon”. That his last trips abroad were to celebrate Kavita and Radhika’s achievements says a lot about the love and pride Dadaji had in all his grandkids, and how loved his granddaughters in particular felt.

Brij Gopal Pallod at the graduation of his granddaughter Kavita.

We saw Dadaji fill every role he played with such grace. He was a steadfast and loyal husband, especially when Bai was sick. He was a devoted brother, and serving as Raju Dadaji’s eyes when he could. He was a firm father and also one who told everyone that his kids were the pearls and diamonds of his life. We knew him best as our dadaji, and our hearts ache at the thought of not having his warm hands massage ours and assure us of our fortunes, his classic chadi step to celebrate all of our milestones, and his melodious voice to teach us about who we are and where we come from.

In his last “innings” of life, Dadaji seemed to smile even more as he infected us with his jovial nature. One of his favorite movies was “102 not out”, and he embodied the idea of enjoying life to the fullest. Exactly a year before his passing, Dadaji had his swarna sidhi aarohan ceremony, where he symbolically climbed a golden ladder to heaven after seeing his great grandchild, Veer.  While we miss him immensely, there’s a comfort in knowing that Dadaji himself would say that he experienced everything he wanted to, and left the word reassuring his beloved son Kamal (who was massaging his feet at the time)  that he was alright, his last words being “aaram se, main theek hoon.” ( by grand daughters  Kavita , Namita and Radhika)