I received a letter from Sureshwarsinh in 1963-64 asking me to come to Rajpipla, and assuring me that the days spent there would be remembered by me all my life. Yes, now I can definitely say that the days I stayed in Rajpipla have been treasured in my mind. Even today I enjoy remembering those days which I spent with Maharajkumar Indrajitsinhji (Billy Dada) in the famous ‘Indrajit-Padmini Mahal’, also known as Vadia Palace.
Of course, there was also Sureshwarsinh and the Parsi gentleman Soli there. I know royals from very close quarters but Maharajkumar was different. A great soul, calm and quiet. During my stay I never heard him speak ill of anyone. In the evening, drinks would be served and Lajar, the chef, would serve us the most delicious meals. Maharaj would retire in his bedroom while the three of us would sleep on the terrace.
Sometimes Maharajkumar would show us some of his shikar (hunting) films. His elder sister Princess Mohinikuvarba would also join us. Afterwards she would go to her newly-built house ‘Ambika Villa’ opposite Vadia Palace.
One evening I told Maharajkumar, “Maharaj, on your way back to Dehradun, please visit my house in Baroda (now Vadodara).” “Yes, I will come,” promised Billy Dada.
I knew Billy Dada’s programme, so I headed to the Baroda railway station and went to see him in the retiring room. Dada had gone for a bath, but Soli was there. I told Soli, “Please request Dada to come to my house which is nearby.” Soli said, “Its almost 10 in the night and Dada is tired, so it may not be possible to come to your place”.
Meanwhile Maharaj came from the bathroom. I reminded him of his promise and the great man said, “Soli, I have promised him and we must go”.
Both of them came to my house, and my mother welcomed them with milk. I have treasured this meeting in my heart.
But after few days I heard the most shocking news that the great man had passed away in his farmhouse. Even after 50 years I remember this noble soul.