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Lala Hargopal came to Mussoorie on the 12th of June 1948 and stayed with Shri Nathji after much persuasion by him, and only on the condition that he be allowed to leave a monetary gift when he left. Lala Hargopal scrupulously observed the custom that a father-in-law should never stay at the house of his son-in-law, and not take anything from him.
While Lala Hargopal was at Mussoorie, a mishap occurred. He slipped and fell on the steep slope at Kulri Bazaar Mussoorie. This resulted in his being in bed for a long time with a fractured leg. Shri Nathji would tend to him ever so tenderly and ask after his welfare all day long until the time he recovered fully.
Lala Hargopal was given the room next to the children’s bedroom on the first floor of the house, and Shri Nathji would frequently come there and sit for long hours with Lala Hargopal.
In his role as father, Shri Nathji had often played chess at home with his children–and lost, until the children caught on that he was losing deliberately each time, and stopped playing with him!
There were the very interesting chess contests between the children and Lala Hargopal. The children would enter the bedroom of Lala Hargopal, and engage him in a game.
Priya Nath in particular had developed a great fondness for chess at a very young age and had become fairly adept at it. He would play with Lala Hargopal until he was on the verge of losing, and then he would cry out, “Pitaji!” and go rushing into the bedroom of Shri Nathji to bring him to the chess board so that he could help him!
It was a difficult situation for Shri Nathji. He was loathe to defeat Lala Hargopal out of respect for him, and he was loathe to lose on behalf of Priya Nath. He would choose the only way out – and end the game in a draw!
Priya Nath would ever amuse Shri Nathji with anecdotes on his grandfather – and how he would sometimes capture his own Wazir by mistake, and then say in a sing song voice to Priya Nath: “Wazir mar gayaa! Wazir mar gayaa! The Wazir is dead! The Wazir is dead!”
There were the times when Lala Hargopal would come into Shri Nathji’s bedroom and listen to the PYE radio there, which had a volume so low that he had to cup his ear in his hand and hold it close to the radio. Priya Nath would at times mimic his grandfather and listen to the radio in a likewise manner.
On seeing the playfulness of Priya Nath, Lala Hargopal would say affectionately to Priya Nath: “Chooaa hai, chooaa! He is just like a mouse!”
Lala Hargopal had reason to observe that both the children ate very sparsely. He would say to their mother: “Whenever you place food before them they appear to become lost in thought! Inke saame khaanaa rakhte hee ye kuchh sochne lag jaate hain!”
Shri Nathji had always said that grandparents had a special love for their grandchildren. And this was in strong evidence in the relationship between Priya Nath and Lala Hargopal.
Shri Nathji had seen this love in evidence when Shri Babaji Maharaj would play with the child Pran Nath in his lap in 1940.
Shri Nathji would say:
“Daadon ko poton se barraa pyaar hotaa hai! Paternal grandfathers are generally very attached to their grandsons!”