A Tale Of Two Sisters

Once upon a time, there were two sisters, Beant and Guddi. The photo on top was clicked some time in around October 1966, when Beant was 26 and Guddi around 22 years of age.

Together they survived through the horrors of India’s Partition in 1947, life as young refugee children in Delhi, braving Delhi’s extreme weather conditions of winter and summer, taking care of younger siblings while their parents scraped and saved to give their children a better future.

With strong determination and blessings of their parents, they grew up, studied hard, and turned into bright, strong, talented, and extremely good looking ladies. Beant became a Nurse while Guddi a Maths teacher.

A few years later, being the elder one, Beant got married first and soon after, Guddi too settled down.

Like in so many other stories, the ruthless, callous wheels of time, however, pulled the two sisters apart. With hardened hearts and separated by thousands of miles and many oceans, caught up in their peculiar circumstances, they never imagined they would meet again in their lifetimes.

But as fate would have it, Beant and Guddi met again in around 1985. What they said to each other when they were alone, we, their loved ones would never know. Or perhaps their feelings were so deep that they just remained silent…

Since then till 2017, the two sisters met often in Delhi, always at Beant’s home, as Guddi had to keep shuttling between her home in Delhi and USA where her children lived. It was almost like the old times…

Well, like all stories, this one too ended. Beant expired on 16 November 2017 in Delhi and Guddi on 17 March 2020 in USA…

Rest in peace, Mom and Guddi Aunty…Your families miss you.

The Apocalypse – A Poem

Like last year,
This year
Delhiā€™s spring flowers,
The semals
Are in full bloom.
But their sensuality, Voluptuousness,
Riots of dark, passionate colors,
Their thick, exposed flesh
No longer give any joy.
They bring on a lump in my throat,
Bringing forth images
That I keep kicking
Into the dustbin of my mind.

Last year
Many Semals fell everyday,
Making way for more.
Those that went, returned.
And those that returned, went.
No gain, but no loss either.
So it was easy to accept
As God’s will,
Mother Nature’s special way of rejuvenation.
Their sight aroused great joy and elation.
But this year, their blooming, falling, getting swept aside
Forces me to dwell on the hidden meaning,
The horrors lurking around surfaces, around corners.

Well, who knows.
Next year, the semals
Might be the only ones
Freed from the forever greedy, tormenting human eyes.

—Jasbir Chatterjee

This poem is now on poemhunter.com also. https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-apocalypse-7/

Sunder Nursery, Delhi’s Paradise

Until recently, when popular writers like Mayank Austen Soofi wrote about it, Sunder Nursery was not a must-visit tourist destination in Delhi.

Way back in the late 90s, neither its name nor its outward appearance ever gave the slightest hint of its huge historical importance and natural beauty hidden inside. It seemed to be little more than just another ordinary nursery of plants commonly seen all over Delhi.

Inspired by Mayank’s article in Hindustan Times on 14 February 2020 and what our friends told us, my husband Sukhangshu and I got into a cab on 23 February 2020 and visited Sunder Nursery, a Sunday. The entry ticket was not very costly, just Rs.30 per person. It was just like the old times, the two of us out together on a date…

To our utter amazement, as soon as we entered the premises, vast, open, dreamlike spaces opened out in front of us with lots and lots of different kinds of flowers interspersed with several Mughal era monuments. Just like the movies.

On closer look, we discovered that the old, ancient monuments have all been aesthetically renovated without destroying their originality. The before-after pics outside each building showcase the incredible work being done by various individuals and organisations like Aga Khan Foundation in preserving our ancient heritage.

By the time we decided to leave, the sun had turned into a huge orange ball in the evening sky with its gold melting into the little lakes all over the premises…The birds too were settling down on the trees. Quite a filmi ending indeed to a glorious day…

Here are the photos.

Sukhangshu and I, grabbing a selfie before heading home…