‘He was fiery, formidable, but funny too...’

Remembering his last public interaction with Thackeray earlier this year, Gadgil said he had the opportunity to read out a speech written by the Sena supremo. "It was a public speech and Balasaheb was not well those days. He told me that he might run out of breath while reading the speech. He gave me a copy of the speech and asked me to continue if he stopped. And so he began and I had the opportunity of sharing his speech twice," says Gadgil.

Uddhav Thackeray had called on Gadgil in November 2011 to request him to interview his father for a private archival video. "Balasaheb was comfortable with me and that's why Uddhav asked me to interview him," said Gadgil. "Balasaheb told me that he liked to read autobiographies and that he listened to P L Deshpande's dramatised reading cassettes every night before he slept," he added.

'Balasaheb was fond of biryani and fish'

Saturday was as sad a day for the Vadke family here as it was for the Thackerays in Mumbai. The family shared a strong and emotional bond with Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray who died on Saturday after a cardiac arrest.

Pandurang Savlaram Vadke, popularly known as Kaka Vadke, was among the first Shiv Sainiks in Pune and his association with Thackeray dates back to days when Shiv Sena was yet to be established. Vadke had been Shiv Sena's Pune face for over three decades — till his death in 2000.

According to his family, though Vadke was the Sena office-bearer in the city, the relationship between him and Balasaheb was beyond that of a party worker and its chief.

Snehalata, Vadke's wife, reminisces, "Their relationship was not limited to the political needs. It was a more profound one. There was a brotherly love. Whenever we went to Mumbai we used to visit Balasaheb. Whenever he came to Pune he would visit us. He was fond of non-vegetarian food. While in city he would convey to my husband that he would drop by to have food. He liked biryani and fish. As he was averse to spicy food, we had to be careful while cooking."

... contd.

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