«Edited by Govindjee Urbana, Illinois, USA and Shyam Lal Srivastava Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India i The Cover A photograph of Krishnaji (Dada), 1980 ...»
Every time we were about to leave Allahabad, mama would say to my mami (his wife), “What have you bought for Anju? Only one gift, No, No, please go on and get her a few more gifts. She cannot go back to her home like this”. Later, I learnt to anticipate, what he would say or do on my/our departure from Allahabad.
When I first visited Allahabad with my husband Ashok in July 1978, we were welcomed at the station by a party that included mama, mami, Deepak Bhaiya, Ranjan Bhaiya, Chitra, Manju Didi (Manjudi for short) and many more members of the family. Unfortunately, Deepak Bhaiya, Ranjan Bhaiya and Manju Didi are no more. We were showered with love and affection and embraced in the family, not to mention the numerous gifts that we received. No one questioned our way of life, our set ways, our thinking, our failings or our idiosyncrasies that are many.
When Ashok was travelling abroad for the first time, mama was in Delhi. When I was travelling with my daughter Neha for the first time, mama was at the airport and he made sure that we didn’t have to worry about anything. The truth is that every time I have travelled from New Delhi, I depended upon Mama. His contacts were many and people rallied around him with respect and affection.
Such are the memories of my mama and my childhood. Memories filled with overwhelming love that I feel and have received from mama and everyone else, a reality that stands true even today. I knew that I could always go back to Allahabad then.
I am a student of Arts. Both my parents (professors of Hindi) established exceptional artistic footprints on me from my very childhood as they themselves come from an exceptionally talented background of Art and Literature. Hence, the influence of their joint talents was a natural phenomenon that has been an integral part of me for as long as I can remember. Nonetheless, I have been deeply inspired by the scientific background of my maternal family and my three maternal uncles. Krishnaji, of whom, I am writing about was a scholar of Electronics/Physics with a clear mind. He was an authority on Microwaves in India and received the Sir C.V. (Chandrasekhar Venkat) Raman Award for his pioneering work, from the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. I was fascinated by his knowledge of Science and Physics.
A Subtle Reflection: During my last visit to India I met mama in New Delhi with my husband. I remember asking him about “Quantum Physics” and his explanation mesmerized me. He spoke to us for over an hour and then suggested some readings. Later, he presented me with a book to keep that he had co-authored that I will treasure always. Regretfully for me his company for such occasions was rare.
Moreover, my life has also definitely been influenced by my other two maternal uncles, Gopalji, also with a Physics background, and an Executive Director of Engineering Projects, and Govindjee, a scientist of repute and an eminent figure in the field of Photosynthesis.
All of them have helped me understand science and its practical applications in their own individual ways. I remain indebted to them all.
I was shocked when I learnt that my eldest mama (Krishnaji) had passed away after a stroke on August 14, 1997. His loss is felt immensely. The vacuum created by his death infuses only sadness in me whenever I think that he is not going to be around when I visit Allahabad next time. I will always remember my mama with special fondness since the memories associated with him are poignant. He was a very special person and a super human being. I have remained and will remain deeply influenced by him for the rest of my life.
The circle of life rolls again, only this time there are new players who are joining the bead game.
Papa (Professor Krishnaji) and Mummy (Mrs. Bimla Asthana) Purnima Ranjan G-49, Ansal Executive Residency, Sushant Lok-II, Sector-56, Gurgaon-122001, Haryana, India Telephone (mobile): 91-9999021407 A s I write about Professor Krishnaji (whom I call Papa), I am overwhelmed with respect for him. I love and respect him so much that I can’t explain it in words.
I am the wife of the late Raj Ranjan, the second son of Papa and Mummy. I saw Papa at the Allahabad railway station for the first time. The talks of my marriage had just started. I was going to Delhi with my Papa, my Mom and Putty Mami (maternal aunt). I met Ranjan’s Papa, his Mummy (Bimla), his elder brother (Bhaiya) Deepak (Deep Ranjan), his sister-in-law (Bhabhi) Madhulika, and his younger sister Chitra, all at the same time.
Papa After my marriage, when I went to live with my in-laws, I found that all my in-laws were very nice. I liked them very much and I felt the new home to be my own home. I received so much love from Papa that I never felt the pain of leaving my mother and father. Papa was open- minded and was a very friendly person. Mummy was a distant elder cousin; thus, Papa used to tease me by calling me “sisterin- law” (Sali). Papa used to talk with so much love and openness that I never had any hesitation in discussing anything with him. I used to have long discussions with him and he used to tell me stories of the past, like the marriage of Govind Chacha (Govindjee). Papa told me about Amma (his mother).That a son can love his mother so much, I came to know for the first time. He loved his mother a lot and used to say that everyone should love his/her mother.
I don’t know who told Papa that Mummy will not live for more than two years. He used to tell us to take good care of her. This was in 1995; he believed in horoscope (Janma Patri). When he went to Maharshi Nagar (where Mahesh Yogi lived), someone there may have told him that Mummy will not live long. Papa used to take good care of Mummy; he always took care of her conveniences, never forgot to give her medicine at the right time. He used to say that if something happens to your Mummy, I will live with my children. But, as fate will have it, he passed away in 1997, before Mummy did.
On 7th of February 1993, we had a car accident. When I got back into senses, it was Papa who told me about the loss of Ranjan (my husband). It was Papa who helped me face this loss and he was my biggest support. He took good care of me when I came back home from the hospital. He himself used to give me medicine on time.
Mummy, Papa and Meenu Bua (Ranjan’s older sister) all took good care of me. I can’t express their love in words. It took months for the doctor to make me stand on my feet and when I was able to walk, it was Papa who used to hold my hand. I could not gather courage to hold anyone else’s hand than Papa’s. Papa helped me to walk daily in the mornings and evenings. Soon I was able to walk on my own.
Papa at that time had just come back from Maharshi Nagar. He didn’t go back to work and told me that he will look after us. We stayed one year in Lucknow and then came to Allahabad where he and Mummy looked after me, my daughter Tanima and son Sanket.
When we were moving from Lucknow to Allahabad, Papa personally directed the loading of our belongings and our dog Bruno was also going to Allahabad in the same hired truck. Just around the same village (Harchandpur) where, one year ago, we had our accident (10 km from Raebareli), Bruno jumped from the truck and ran towards Lucknow. The person from Ranjan’s office, who was also in the same truck, searched for Bruno everywhere; he even announced to the people around that there would be a reward to the person who finds Bruno. But, Bruno was not found. Next morning in Allahabad when Tanima and Sanket found out that Bruno was lost, they were very unhappy; Tanima cried a lot as Bruno was her pet dog. Hearing all this, Papa promised to bring him back. After a week, Papa, along with Mummy, went to Raebareli. Mummy stayed with someone at Raebareli, and Papa hired a Tempo to Harchandpur, where Bruno had jumped from the truck. After inquiring in the village, he found out that a young boy had found the dog and had kept him tied at his home; this must have saved Bruno from being attacked by other stray dogs. Papa returned, sitting, with great difficulty, at the back of the Tempo, as Bruno, being scared, was scratching Papa with his nails.
Papa showed his true love to our kids, and kept his promise by bringing Bruno back to Allahabad.
Papa gave me lot of support but he wished that I become independent and be able to take care of my 2 kids. My younger brother (Rajey) used to live in Delhi. He wanted me and the kids to stay with him in Delhi. But Papa told him that he wishes to see me independent and develop self confidence. Papa told me to stay in Allahabad till kids grow up, then I can live whereever I want. I stayed in Allahabad.
On 12th of August, 1997, Papa and Mummy took me, Tanima and Sanket to an Eye specialist. We talked till it was late in the night;
he told me that he will get me spectacles (glasses) the next day. The same night Papa fell ill and was admitted to the hospital. On the 14th of August 1997 in the morning, he passed away.
After the demise of Papa I felt lonely and helpless for the first time. But Papa had already filled enough courage in me; my both kids were able to complete their education. My daughter Tanima is now working after completing a course in Computer Engineering.
She is in USA right now. My son is working on his BCA (Bachelor in Computer Applications) degree. Papa and Mummy are not with us anymore, but my kids and I have their blessings.
Mummy Mummy was a very simple and lovely person. One can see her and tell how lovely she was. She used to be a quiet person; she spoke very little. I don’t remember that she has ever called me for anything, even a glass of water or a cup of tea. She didn’t have the habit of asking anyone for anything; she used to do everything by herself. I used to knit a lot with Mummy. When we were together in Lucknow and Allahabad, we knitted a lot of sweaters together. She loved knitting and used to knit many sweaters every year.
What Mummy did for others I don’t know but she helped me a lot. At the time of Sanket’s birth I had some problems during my pregnancy and the doctor told me to rest for sixteen hours a day. At that time Mummy came to Lucknow and lived with me. She took care of the household. She used to water the house plants, and bring milk from the neighborhood store. She did all this for three months.
My neighbors could not believe it; she was my mother-in-law, not my mother. Doctor had told me to lie still and not change position, which caused great pain in my back and legs. I never knew that to lie down can be really so painful. Mummy used to massage my back and legs; when I now think of it, I feel enormous respect for her. She was truly my mother. Mummy did so much for me and I could do nothing for her except loving her.
When I came back from the hospital after the accident, I couldn’t stand for a month; only much later, I started walking. Since the house in Lucknow was old fashioned, there was no attached bathroom, a makeshift commode was made and placed in the room for me.
Mummy used to wash it herself and didn’t let anyone else to do it.
What else can I say: she did so much for me that I don’t have words to express my regards for her. There has always remained love and respect for Mummy in my heart.
First in Lucknow and then in Allahabad, Papa and Mummy remained with me in the beginning. Then they shifted to the upper floor of the home (M-40 Govindpur) of my brother-in-law (Late Deep Ranjan, who sadly passed away in 2008). When they were there, they used to come nearly daily to my place (M-100 Govindpur).
Mummy used to come alone after the demise of Papa in 1997. She used to go to market with me when needed. Madhulika (Madhu Bhabhi) was teaching in a school and, thus, didn’t have enough time for other activities. I was at home and, thus, could go everywhere with Mummy.
When my kids grew up, I came to Gurgaon for their studies;
then, Mummy was very sad. She remained with Deepak Bhaiya and Madhu Bhabhi. When Mummy fell ill, Bhaiya and Bhabhi took care of her. Then Deepak Bhaiya took her to Delhi at Meenu di’s place in Delhi. Meenu’s husband Dr. Suresh Chandra is a doctor, and, this was helpful. I, together with Tanima and Sanket, could visit Mummy only once during that period. It was as if Tanima had just come to meet her Dadi (grandmother) from America. She had to go back to America after meeting Mummy and the day she reached USA, Mummy had passed away. That was on 18th of April 2007. Mummy loved all the kids.
My Childhood Memories of Dada and Bhabhi Rita Sinha P.O. Box 39265, Deira, Dubai E-mails: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org I was born on 18th of December, 1958, at 14B Bank (Ram Narain Lal) Road, in Allahabad, where my parents (my father (Papa) Gopalji and my mother (Ma) Nirmala) were living in a joint family in the house of Prof. Krishnaji, my older uncle; all the family members fondly called him Dada whatever their age or generation may be. My father left for USA for higher studies immediately after my birth and my mother and my elder sister (Late Manju Didi) were looked after by Dada and my aunt, whom everyone called Bhabhi. Never did any one of us felt at any time that we were alone and the love and affection bestowed on us was great.
We also called them Dada & Bhabhi from the time we can remember and even their children (my cousins: Meenu, Deepak, Ranjan and Chitra) used to call them Dada and Bhabhi; they started calling their mother Mummy at a later stage. We stayed in Allahabad till 1963 when my father returned from USA and then we shifted to Delhi and then to Kota in Rajasthan. Our bonding with Dada and Bhabhi was so strong that we used to visit Allahabad every summer vacation for long stays. I remember a story: I used to have a big “fight” with my cousin Chitra (Dada and Bhabhi’s youngest daughter) for just cooling, with water, the Aangan (courtyard) in the summers, of course; we had decided that we will each water half of the courtyard, but one of us watered it more than agreed and we would start fighting over it and pull each other’s hair; then, Bhabhi would come and separate us.
I am also told that when I was born on the 18th of December at Allahabad, it was very cold, as all of Northern India was. The ritual was that no clothes are prepared for the unborn child till he/she arrives.
So Bhabhi knitted a full sweater for me overnight. I was also told that Bhabhi has breast fed me when I was very small, so I always had a biological bonding with her.