Daddyji is a biographical portrait of Amolak Ram Mehta, a distinguished Indian public-health officer, written by his son Ved Mehta. As the story unfolds, it also becomes a re-creation, in crystalline detail, of a whole world the everyday life of a family in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century India. Growing up in Punjab villages, Daddyji moved to Lahore (which he had always heard was the educational center of the world ) and encountered running water for the first time. Completing his studies in medicine there, he sailed for London to take degrees in Public Health and Tropical Medicine and returned to India to do notable work in cholera and bubonic plague. Many journeys later, he succeeded his father as head of the Mehta family and joined the Punjab Public Health Department. Along the way, he married, built a house in Lahore, flashed about on a motorcycle on medical errands, became a rationalist and an irrepressible gambler and raised a large, talented family. Ved Mehta has written about his father with objectivity and filial affection. He has written about India with pure magic. Forthcoming titles in the Continents of Exile series: Mamaji; Vedi; The Ledge Between the Streams; Sound-Shadows of the New World; The Stolen Light; Up at Oxford; Haunted by Harvard; Remembering Mr. Shawn's New Yorker: The Invisible Art of Editing; All for Love; Dark Harbor and The Red Letters.
Ved Mehta was born in 1934 and has lived in the United States and Britain since 1949; he became an American citizen in 1975. When he was nearly four, an attack of meningitis left him permanently blind, and he was educated at the Arkanas School for the Blind, and then at Pomona College, Balliol College, Oxford, and Harvard University. He has written twenty-six books, along with hundreds of articles and short stories, and was a staff writer at The New Yorker between 1961 and 1994.