MY FATHER’S LAST PHOTOGRAPH
Till sixteen a son is a son.
After that he is a friend..my father used to say..
He remains..one of my best friends ever,
Many a time, when in doubt or crises, I think, how he would have reacted..what would he have told me to do.
This is the last photograph of my father Brigadier Prem Narain Bhatt, with Sagar on his -left arm and Divya on his right arm, on his 60th birthday, on June 25,1999.
The shirt he is wearing is the one I had gifted to him, bought an evening before from Sri Aurobindo Market, Green Park.
The next day, he was no more.
Not forever does the song of the bulbul last, in the gardens of life.
They know not life, who know not this.
Old Hindi film songs were his passion..Here is a page from his diary-note book of 1989
MY FATHER’S SONG DIARIES
JUST MARRIED- JANUARY 30,1967
Just married- January 30,1967
My Parents-Prem Narain Bhatt (born-June 25,1939, died June 26,1999) and
Nirja Bhatt nee Uniyal-(Born December 8,1944, died June 29,2011)
Bhawani Shankar Bhatt- Born 1914, Died April 1969.
My paternal grandfather, he was son of Shri Brahmi Dutt Bhatt.
BSB first shifted to Delhi from Shimla in the 1930s.
He was a lover of gardens and monuments and would take the children to exhibitions and trade fairs.
“When the first double decker buses started, he took us for a ride in them,” Indu Didi told
me one fine afternoon, sitting in Bengali Market after we had done a round of the National Museum.
“The Pragati Maidan trade fairs were another regular place to visit.”
BRAHMI DUTT BHATT
Shri Brahmi Bhatt-around 1925.
He was father of Bhawani (my paternal grandfather)
Shri Brahmi Bhatt’s father Rama Bhatt first came to Shimla from Garhwal in 1890s.
We are a family of priests and traditional healers, originally from Vaid Gaon-near the Kirti Nagar, Srinagar bridge on Alaknanda in Pauri Garhwal. Then the family shifted to Uphalda village.
Rama Bhatt and then his son Brahmi developed House number 4, Upper Kaithu Bazaar, Shimla . Links with Tara Hall, Kali Bari temples and walks around the hill temples of Shimla-Jakhoo,Tara Devi are part of our family tradition.
She taught me about the Dignity of Human condition
Naniji-my maternal grandmother- Mrs.Kamla Uniyal nee Bahuguna
Moscow, former USSR, in the mid seventies.
After retirement from Banaras Hindu University, my grandfather and grandmother went to Moscow with my uncle-Rajendra Uniyal.
Their life was centered around taking care of their son, and this took a large part of their physical and mental energies. Born in 1953, my uncle was not able to care for himself, and died at the age of 26, in 1979.
There weren’t many support structures available in India at that time.
The way the family is affected by the chronic illness, was one of my first impressions in childhood, as I saw some of the struggles of my grandparents.
Keeping dignity in the face of adversity, pain and suffering is an important part of the human condition. My grandmother taught me that, in her own simple but profound ways.
ME-PRASHANT BHATT-AROUND 1975
When I was around seven years-Pune 1975. I used to study in St.Vincent’s High school then.
Pune camp has it’s charms, smells, and we used to have a board where the cricket scores were put up
We would go to watch the score during the break time.
Now there is internet and multiple television channels.
At that time, our colony had only two televisions-both black and white, one in the Officer’s Mess and one in the house of an officer who had come from UK.
Ours was the third house to get a television, when my grandfather GPU brought one from Moscow, a Black and White National Panasonic.
“Chitrahaar” the Hindi movie song program on Wednesday 8.30 pm and the Sunday movie used to be the two regular events with some friends from the colony coming in.
THE UNIYAL FAMILY-BHU CAMPUS-1960S
The Uniyal family-E 10 , Banaras Hindu University Campus 1960s
GANESH PRASAD UNIYAL-Oct 1913 – March 6,1983
A Fellow Walker
My maternal grandfather-Professor Ganesh Prasad Uniyal-
Born-October 1913 …Died March 6,1983
He was professor of political science and retired as Head of Department,
Banaras Hindu University.
He was also founder head of Political Science of Sagar University, MP
One of the first persons to introduce me to the wonders of morning walks, at the
magic hour when night turns into day.
“Panthi Hoon Mein Us Path Ka..Anth Nahin Jis Ka..”
I am the walker of that Path..Which has no end.
ANASUYA PRASAD BAHUGUNA
One of the first lawyers of the Garhwal Himalayas, my great grandfather, (father of my maternal grandmother Kamla Uniyal nee Bahuguna) was associated with the Freedom struggle in British India
HISTORY WALKS- TAJ MAHAL OCT 2011
MY SISTER -SHAILAJA RAWAT-WITH SKR-JI (Dr.Shrawan Rawat), DIVYA, MAYANK
History walks are part of our family tradition.
The monument gardens in and around Delhi are a favorite.
The paintings of Thomas Danniels (Company School) which are in
National Gallery of Modern Art -Jaipur House Delhi are also reproduced
at the gate of Purana Qila (near the Zoo)..many lovely hours
spent appreciating these nuances.
The Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri group of monuments are another
area where we have visited over generations.
The best time to view these are in the magic hour when night turns into day.