Bal Thackeray’s last journey
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Thapa would tail Thackeray around his house and be present at each of his public appearances. He would often be on duty from evening till morning. A resident of the Terai region, he was fluent in Marathi and helped Thackeray learn a smattering of Nepali during their decades-long association.
Earlier this year, when Thackeray travelled to Thane to address an election rally, Thapa helped him up the stairs and stood behind him and handed him, as necessary, a handkerchief, a glass of water or papers to read out from.
A Sena leader recalled how Thackeray often liked the simple staple of dal khichdi that Thapa cooked. Often during tours outside Mumbai, Thapa would reach the location a day in advance and oversee the preparations. Over the last few years, Thapa would religiously help maintain Thackeray's medical routine.
Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe recalled that in June 2011, when Baba Ramdev was arrested in Delhi, the party wanted to issue a statement and she had to speak to Thackeray. "I called up and spoke to Thapa. He immediately got me to speak to Balasaheb. It showed his understanding of issues," said Gorhe.
Thapa is part of the Nepali Shramik Mazdoor Sangh, an association of Nepalis under the Shiv Sena.
3 who won't celebrate
Dilip Kumar, who will turn 90 on December 11, has ruled out a birthday bash. "Yash Chopra was by my side when I blew out the candles on my birthday cake last year... We are deeply grieving the passing of Balasaheb Thackeray who I always thought was not a tiger but a lion... Rajesh Khanna, who was with us at our party last year, is no more with us. Dara Singh, who wished me so warmly last year, is not with us... I am missing N K P Salve... With so many dear friends gone, how can we even think of a celebration?" the actor said.
Hema Malini has postponed her annual dance festival, Jaya Smriti, as a mark of respect for Bal Thackeray. The actror-dancer has organised Jaya Smriti every year since 2010 in remembrance of her mother Jaya Chakravarthi, who encouraged her to take up Bharatanatyam.
Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh has postponed his daughter's wedding reception scheduled for Sunday in view of Bal Thackeray's death. The wedding reception was to be held at SRPF Ground in Goregaon. "From constables to top officers, all are on duty on Sunday... even I am on duty," he said, apologising to the guests he had invited.
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