Around Mother’s Day-2017

“India was the motherland of our race, and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages: she was the mother of our philosophy; mother, through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics; mother, through the Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity; mother, through the village community, of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all”.

Will Durant-American Historian

I went for some walks to -Thinking Places-and reviewed some Mother Energies.

My father lost his mother when he was around five years old, and his elder cousin sisters- Padma Buaji and Saraswati Bua-ji being the most memorable amongst them, shaped his thinking and family life in many ways.

So, as I look back on these past months,when their grandsons got married,  I reflected on the  many Mother energies which went into shaping the family .

REMEMBERING I-611 AND B 1260..AND House number 4-Upper Kaithu

On 28.2.17 my nephew Rohit got married, on 18.4.17- my nephew Mudit got married and on these occasions I remembered some places associated with their grandmothers- Padma Dobhal and the Dobhal Family of 1-611 Sarojini Nagar and Saraswati Dabral- and the Dabral Family with their journeys through Moradabad, education, and B 1260 Palam Vihar.

They are my father’s sisters- and the mind’s eye went back to the time when the Bhatt family would stay in House number 4, Upper Kaithu Bazaar- Shimla and pray at Kali Bari and Jakhoo Temples of Shimla..

28 2 17 Rohit Dobhal marriage

28-2-2017-Delhi-My elder brother Shri Yogendra Dobhal and Nirmal Bhabhi-ji blessing the newly married couple-Rohit Dobhal and Prabhjeet Kaur-Dobhal


My father's sisters -Saraswati-Laxmi

MY FATHER’S SISTERS…….2015-At Taj Mahal-Saraswati and Laxmi Bua-ji, their links with Agra and Meerut and the many family discussions and teachings we all gained over many loving meals at B-Block 1260 Palam Vihar


MY FATHER’S SISTERS ……..2012- 4-UPPER KAITHU BAZAAR-Bhatt family memories-my father’s sisters-Savitri bua ji on a visit-pilgrimages to Upper Kaithu Bazaar with Surendra-mama ji and my sister Priti Dutta nee Thapliyal

1999 C 1804 PALAM VIHAR

MY FATHER’S SISTERS……1999…C 1804 PALAM VIHAR.. Padma Bua ji ,(Padma Dobhal) with my mother and Sanjoo Bhai’s son, and Bhabhiji and Mamta-Sagar

MY MOTHER’S SISTERS- C 1804 PALAM-1999-October

1999 C 1804 PALAM VIHAR.JPG 1

1999- MY MOTHER’S SISTERS- PALAM VIHAR with Abha and Meena mousi-jis and Smarika and Shounkie Nawani


18-4-17 B1260 PALAM Vihar (1)

Family prayers-B Block 1260-Palam Vihar-18-4-17-marriage of Mudit and Nidhi, with Shashi Bhabhi-ji and Saraswati Buaji.


APRIL 2017 ..Prayers and family gatherings- Mudit and Nidhi Dabral wedding-18-4-17


Places, persons, and family memories associated through generations came to mind- as I recollected the many mother energies which go into shaping the family legacy.


Delhi-1968- me on the lap of my Dada-ji-Bhawani Shankar Bhatt-with Jeevan Chacha-ji, my mother-Nirja Bhatt -nee Uniyal sitting beside him and my father Prem Narain Bhatt standing in background.

Remembering some conversations with Guddu-Bhai- (Shri Yogendra Dobhal) in Lodhi Gardens -Delhi..we have met there over the years, whenever I return to India, we embrace each other with tears in our eyes, and he lightly scolds me- Return-what less do you have in India- in a way which only an elder brother can scold..mixing rebuke with great affection

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Every Object has a story



Click on image to see bigger version

At the same time, we have retreated from public spaces of our old neighbourhoods into the private spaces of our automobiles, the anonymity of our high-rises, the security of our gated-communities, and the isolation of our urban homes. Because of almost total reliance on the automobile, we find it inconvenient to ship and live in our older neighbourhoods, and we too often use their streets as one-way speedways to get us everywhere else.

Bill Manson- Local historian of Hamilton

in Foreward to –Footsteps in Time,

Exploring Hamilton’s Heritage Neighbourhoods.

The false fire-alarms at the Art Gallery of Hamilton- AGH- got us talking and Bill Manson told that he has written four books on the local history of Hamilton, which he says he started exploring a bit more closely since he retired sixteen years ago. His talks on Expanding the Circle: Robert Davidson and the Ancient Language of Haida Art and Sara Angelucci: Piece Work were well researched and informative and give a window into what it means to be a Canadian living in the 21st century, in the year of celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.


By living in an area-one gets associated with many aspects of that region.

As examples- have shown the videos of Dhari Devi temple and Alaknanda in Garhwal Himalayas- an association which comes with our family base in Palam region of Delhi

Or the Maltese Chapels and Museums which came with our association with the Sweiqi-St Julian region of Malta.

Walks through the Toronto Zoo, Royal Ontario museum and Port Credit area came with the association with Mississauga.

As Canada observes it’s 150th birthday, here are two slideshows –Royal Ontario Museum and Art Gallery of Hamilton



Ganga- Shivpuri region-Garhwal Himalayas… Uttarakhand, India                                            See Blog-
What is Satsang

Touching base with the Garhwal Himalayas-when I visited my father’s cousin sister, she took me to the Dhari Devi Temple, where our family has been associated for centuries and many generations. She remembered the time when her children were small- and they used to come for a picnic to Dhari Devi. Now both –Divyanshu and Mitali are studying in Dehradun. Joshi-ji is preparing for his retirement next year, and he told his children to first secure base with one qualification which will earn them some stability and later build on that and buttress one’s academic portfolio. Both children are following that realistic bottomline approach and slowly expanding their Horizons. Our families go back a long way, and many associations over the decades , which add depth and perspective and identity came alive as we spent a quiet evening. The Alaknanda flows nearby. This is where our ancestral village is. In the Garhwal Himalayas, before the Ganga is formed- at Devprayag. Meditated on the meanings of Satsang, over the years.

PRAYERS AT DHARI-DEVI- 12 km North of Srinagar –Garhwal Himalayas

ALAKNANDA- Chamoli region –Garhwal Himalayas

I went through parts of the books –Footsteps in Time and History of Transportation in Hamilton, with my sons, and we decided to have a relook at some of the Neighbourhoods with whom we have been associated with before coming to Canada in 2012. As many chronic immigrants tell – Five years is regarded as a new immigrant here. It takes a few years to figure out life over here.
Because of our association with the Sweiqi- St Julian Neighbourhood of Malta , we were associated with some art movements of Southern Europe and got a feel of European civilization first hand. Living in a place is different from visiting it for a few days. Getting into the system of schools, transport, housing made us explore the layers of community involved in the St.Edward’s college Cottonera, the Museums and Theatres of Malta.
Malta-Museum of Fine Arts

The Chapel of St Edwards, Cottonera

Gozo Citadel

As I thought about the words of Bill Manson, a life long educator, who used to teach theatre, about the anonymity of the lives, and the works of artists like Sara Angelucci which give voice to the anonymous worker, her meaning of Alchemy came to mind.

“I think of the hands of the sewers in Piece Work as mano d’oro [hands of gold]. Like alchemists they transform one element into another; their exacting labour turns fabric into dollars, dollars into bread.”
Sara Angelucci

These intimate works, made me recall some walks in different neighbourhoods I have had over the years, and connecting with our ancestral village in Garhwal Himalayas, or the landscapes and chapels of Malta and the associations which come with our life in Mississauga, Ontario

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Reflections-through architecture, learning, talks

The home is the lens, through which we get our first look at marriage and all civic duties. It is the clinic where , by conversation and attitude, impressions are created with respect to sobriety and reverence, it is the school where lessons of truth or falsehood , honesty and deceit are learned, it is the mould which ultimately determines the structures of society

Perry Webb-quoted in Today Matters-by John Maxwell

Around the birthdays of my nephew Mayank (27.2.2002) and son Sagar (28.2.1999) I went through some walks and conversations of yesteryears, with architecture as a focus.

2011- mayank-doing-rolly-polly

Mayank doing Rolly Polly-Purana Quila-Delhi-October 2011

Some journeys-Click on Images to view larger versions-comments




Chapel-St.Edward’s Cottonera

2014 10 NIAGARA 1



Purana Quila-Delhi





Gjantija Temples-Gozo-Malta- 19th century drawing-Source-Wikipedia

The Rolly Polly my nephew did in the garden tombs of Delhi region- Purana Quila- in October 2011 when I visited Delhi after an eventful year, staying in Libya-through the NATO backed civil war, and losing my mother, is still fresh in my memory.

That was the year, I deepened my connection with some institutions in Malta, through my sons studying there, the St.Edward’s college-Cottonera- and the Maltese Indian Community through their Yoga Satsangs at the San Gjwann Centre. (Sukh Sagar). The architecture of Gjantija temples of Gozo-the oldest free standing structure known to man, and the Chapel of St Edwards which was earlier a storage during the times of the Knights of St John came to mind. I had met Sagar’s mother for the first time, in a World Heritage Site-the Victoria Terminus of Mumbai- in 1993.


Last year, Sagar learnt how to read-write-speak-listen to Gujarati, while studying the weekend classes at Rick Hansen School. This was something he was not able to do, despite many years in India, because he grew up in his early years in Delhi region, where we used to talk Hindi, and then shifted to Tripoli (where he picked up some Arabic) and later stayed in Mumbai where his grandparents would talk in Hindi. Canada gave him the opportunity to revisit his roots in a different way, as he explored the nuances of his mother tongue, and also the temples-spiritual traditions of Gujarat, the Dwarkadish temples and the Palitana temples. (these were part of the presentations which the children made on the final day of their course)

That brings me to the Kaagad Mat Phado- Do not tear away the paper (of immigration) decision which we made in 2012 and decided to give our children a chance and go at Canadian citizenship, though as mid career professionals we had some idea of the rampant unemployment, under employment and accreditation issues which professionals face in the Canadian system.


As the children enter their teenage years, the immigration cycles and high school cycles being completed, looking at some architecture which we discussed, visited, and recalling some conversations around our decisions and journeys, made me see the Big Picture in a different way.


Recall some conversation, place you were associated with, reflecting on which gave you a window at different aspects of life, society.


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New Memories Project

“Maintain your relation with your sister. If someone returns after 20 years, and wants to then rebuild that relation, he will find that people have moved on in life.” Roughly paraphrased from a discussion with my friend and chartered accountant Mr.Vijay Kumar before leaving for Canada in 2012-July. Vijay-ji is my friend and guide in many ways, he knows me more than anyone else in a way.  He told me long ago- there are things you tell your CA, which even your family members will not know. Over the years and decades, I have found the truth in his assertion.

Applying his words in my context, I have maintained a –New Memories Project– with my sister and extended family in India. This is an area in which I am still growing, have many weaknesses, and limitations, but do an effort in that direction. Talking to my sister, following the life of her children, and also meeting-and sitting in the park with my father’s sister, helped me develop a perspective of the way life has shaped up.


B block-Palam Vihar-December 2016-Saraswati bua ji-my father’s sister. With her we talked about Shimla, Meerut, Kankarkhera, Delhi and many family journeys and associations. I met some of my mother’s friends, who used to sit with her,                                         in the evenings in the park at B Block


Around the birthday of my sister, 10.2, I got a request to write about some personal memories related to my father-a Cardiac anesthetist. Sifting through the notes of yester years, I found a series of articles I had written for my sons, in which I had written about the different facets of life in the different decades of his life,from pre school-early school years in Shimla, high school-premedical and medical college studies in Delhi-Agra and the graduation from medical college-joining the Indian Army Medical corps and marriage, and going into specialization and superspecialization.


1970-Bhatt Family-with my sister

PERSONAL MEMORIES– In the blog- Their eyes were my eyes- (August 2015) I had gone through some aspects of generations, See link )

As my sister celebrated her own birthday, now seeing her own children go through the high school years, the mind’s eye goes back to the Delhi of 1980s when we were high school students. We shifted to Delhi from Pune, where we did our preliminary schooling-and were associated with schools organized by the Pune Diocese. The culture of Delhi, a much larger city than Pune was different, and being North Indians we had many direct links with our extended family here.


In the blog-Journeys together(June 2016) we examined some journeys in India, Egypt, Canada and the talks with my sons, using the occasion of the birthday of my father, reading some works of literature and trying to relate these to our contexts.

See blog – Walkers at Lullanagar (August 2008) to get an idea of the rich tapestry of life in Pune region, and the many things my father introduced and encourage me into.

PERSONAL MEMORIES-JOINT JOURNALS– In November 2016 went for some further walks with my nephew Mayank- and brother-sister-stood at the Ashoka Pillar, where our parents had brought us when we were children.

In remembering the Banaras, Pune, Delhi years of my parents, and trying to see them in the framework of destinies, hearts, homes, histories and seeing how these relations developed the family, and continue to influence us to this day, I came to know a bit more about the word Legacy.


MY GRAND MOTHER- who passed away when my father was around four years old, had a brother- Mr Khanduri. I went on a pilgrimage to Dhari Devi temple-Srinagar Garhwal with Shri B B Joshi and Kiran Joshi-Kiran Joshi being the daughter of my father’s Uncle-Mamaji

Finding and nurturing these contacts with sisters-has added a richness to life.


Legacy is something handed down to you by a predecessor.

There are some civilizational and psychological constructs which are passed on by the life processes. Reflecting on the processes of family, career, relation of my parents in that phase of society, I think of the different resources which were available then and which are available now.

Character—who you are as a family, part of a group.

Relationships—who you know through your extended family and how that shapes you.

Knowledge—what you know about handling dynamics

Intuition—what you feel as conveyed by females and males.

Experience—where you’ve been in this journey of life with your partner.

Past success—what you’ve done with the educational, relational base you have built.

Ability—what you can do to develop a lasting platform, pass it on to next generation.

As I remember my parents I remember the many tangible-physical and also abstract-conceptual things which they passed on to me through their examples, experiences, energies. Thought about within the framework of family, I realize more than ever why family is supposed to be one of the most powerful words in the English language.


Riverwood-Winter Walks-Canada-2016-December

The writer John Maxwell talks about Thinking Places. In the past few months, I revisited some Thinking places-in Delhi and Mississauga regions to develop the new Memories project.

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Walks and conversations-Year end notes-2016

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”



Hitkar Himalaya Society- Mr.Sudhir Ranjan Bahuguna, Dr Panwar, Dr.Shrawan Rawat-Nagarasu-Chamoli-Uttarakhand, November 2016


Was going through some walks, conversations, experiences of 2016. Here are some video journals with Himalaya Hitkar society, in Uttarakhand, Garhwal Himalayas, India.

Mr.Sudhir Ranjan Bahuguna explains the origins of the Himalaya Hitkar society around 25 years ago, when there was an earthquake in Uttarkashi (1991).


“We are Pravasis- immigrants- living in the plains, in Delhi region, but our love for the hills brings us back here,” he explained, sitting over a cup of tea in Nagarasu , Chamoli a few kilometers before the Gauchar area. “This area served as a base for relief in 2013 when there were flash floods,” he told of more recent natural calamities.


About Hitkar Himalaya Society

He talked about the influences and inspiration of his father Shri Ram Prasad Bahuguna- a journalist-publisher of “Devbhoomi” a weekly which he ran from 1950 to 1990. His sons Mr.Sudhir and Mr.Sameer Bahuguna completed the vision of their father to run this weekly for 50 years. Many journalists and social activists were mentored by his father. The Uttarakhand government has instituted a yearly award for journalists in the memory of Shri Ram Prasad Bahuguna. He was inspired by his uncle Anasuya Prasad Bahuguna, who was one of the first lawyers of the Garhwal region.

Anasuya Prasad Bahuguna

Shri Anasuya Prasad Bahuguna-               18.02.1894- to 23.03.1943- one of the early influences on Shri Ram Prasad Bahuguna.


British India- around 1940- Shri Anasuya Prasad Bahuguna with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijay Laxmi Pandit


British India- around 1940- 

About Shri Ram Prasad Bahuguna

Listening to these experiences, the truth of the above mentioned words of Plutarch came to mind.- “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

About the Gauchar Fair

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Around Christmas 2016

Amidst the downward tendency and proneness of things, when every voice is raised for a new road or another statute or a subscription of stock; for an improvement in dress, or in dentistry; for a new house or a larger business ; for a political party, or the division of an estate; will you not tolerate one or two solitary voices in the land, speaking for thoughts and principles not marketable or perishable?


Around Christmas 2016, went to some churches in Mississauga, and remembered some sermons and Churches of Tripoli region. In these places of spiritual regeneration heard some thoughts, principles which were not marketable or perishable.


The Midnight mass of 2006 at San Francisco Catholic Church-Dahra Tripoli, headed by Bishop Giovanni Martinelli. The congregation which grows around a church has many manifestations. Here I met Nigerian footballer Carlos, who told about the different facets of community work, through making papers for illegal immigrants, visits to elderly, trying to help brothers caught up in prison system of Libya, to sisters who have been exploited. Through Carlos , I learnt about many things of the San Franscisco Church, which was established around 1937.

Here is a video of a Franciscan Friar-telling of the Bishop’s coat of Arms. When he became Bishop in 1985 Bishop Giovanni chose two words to guide him, Humility and Patience. These are inscribed in the Bishop’s coat of Arms.

The site of St.George Orthodox church has served as a Turkish prison, a school, an art gallery. It is here that I talked in depth about the Civil war in Balkans, to get a perspective of the Serbs, who felt that that they have been wrongly targeted. Over the years, as NATO Bombed Libya, and seeing the ensuing chaos-five years on- we have no stable government, no army, no banks, one gets an idea of what NATO sponsored nation building amounts to.
“We were Europe before anyone dreamt of Europe” One member of the congregation of St.George smiled as we discussed how the EU will not give membership to Serbia.
In Medina, the Anglican Church has a different dynamic. One remembers fondly the many sermons prepared by Father Vasihar, which tell of who one can reinvent the body and resurrect the Soul.

These made me reflect on the different manifestations of the church.
The Choir, the food Harvest festival. Here is a Video of the different food stalls at the Anglican church-Medina-Tripoli-2015-November.

Having lived for long in historically Biblical lands (Libya, Malta) now seeing the churches in Mississauga, I could relate to the way these narratives have been linked.

This year, I visited Malta and went to the Cathedral at the Citadel of Gozo and the Chapel of St.Edward’s Cottonera. (Click on photographs to see larger version)


Cathedral-Gozo Citadel


Chapel-St.Edward’s Cottonera


Remembering Sister Violet Briffa


Chapel-Building built around 1700




Gozo Cathedral


Gozo Cathedral


Views from Gozo Citadel


1864-Photograph of Bishop Buttugieg

Here are some churches-and the displays of the Saints and the Nativity story
In these Churches-Around Christmas 2016-I turned them into Reading Places- and went through the works of Brother Lawrence.

Click on images to see larger versions

BROTHER LAWRENCE-Went through the works of Brother Lawrence-written by Nicholas Herman of Lorraine, a lowly and unlearned man, who , after having been a footman and a soldier, was admitted a Lay Brother among the barefooted Carmelites at Paris in 1666, and was afterwards known as Brother Lawrence
Brother Lawrence told in his first conversation on 3rd August 1666, that GOD had done him a singular favor, in his conversion at the age of Eighteen. That in the winter , seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul.

That in the winter , seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul.-BROTHER LAWRENCE-1666

That in the winter , seeing a tree stripped of its leaves, and considering that within a little time the leaves would be renewed and after that the flowers and fruit appear, he received a high view of the Providence and Power of God, which has never since been effaced from his soul.-BROTHER LAWRENCE-1666


Being associated with the narratives of the Church- I went through the sermons given on North African Christian Spiritual traditions-by Father Daniel-about St Augustine of Hippo in 2012 and the discussions on Charles Freer Andrews with Father Vasihar.

Those interested can see these blogs

2012-Musings around Easter-Remembering St.Augustine of Hippo

2012-5-Ta Pinu Monastery-Gozo

2014-March-Remembering Charlie Andrews

2014-9- Intimate Links

In better times, we have visited many cemeteries across Libya.

(we also used to visit the museum-now closed and zoo –now closed and the Theaters-Temples at Sabratha-now limiting non-essential travel as much as possible)

Albert Schweitzer said- “The Tombs of young men, are messengers for peace.” I saw this inscription at the gates of the German cemetery of Tobruk (where the elected House of Representatives now sit instead of the capital Tripoli, safely away by over a thousand kilometers!).

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The Adaptor

Views from Gozo Citadel, Malta-5.8.16

Views from Gozo Citadel, Malta-5.8.16

16.12.16-Mississauga Diary- went to the Discount store at Dundas-Hurontario and found the adaptor for the European plugs, made a toast with a toaster gifted by a friend in Tripoli, and now have put on the Computer which I had got from Tripoli.

Diary writing- I have been a diary writer for over 33 years, right from the days of Pratap Chowk, Delhi cantonment, when I used to log the number of kilometers run, in how much time , and the subjects studied, what time, and how much revision is required.

Journal writing– A journal is different from a diary-which records day to day events, while a journal expands, analyzes, questions, transforms, specific topics.

Year End Notes-of a Travel Journal

Started the entries in the past week, in the spirit of a joint journal.

MISSSISSAUGA VIEWINGS…as I looked back into the journeys and walks of the year 2016, I remembered by friend from Tripoli- Dr.Moftah Hadeed and how we had gone to the Old Medina of Tripoli and visited Tripolis restaurant. Then in coming months, we came here with different friends. The beginning of the year also saw the start of the Abosita walking program, the scent of fresh sea breeze, in the morning hour, before night turns into day.

GOZO MUSIC…In August this year, recorded this from Gozo Citadel with lovely views of the sea, and the beautiful island of Gozo


Gozo Citadel Museum

BOBBIN LACE at the Citadel

PERPSECTIVE NOTE: Wondering how getting this adaptor, sparked off so many nice memories.

This is one of the joys of diary-journal keeping.

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