Anusha S. Yadav is a photographer. And she runs a blog called http://www.indianmemoryproject.wordpress.com.
I remember going through her blog and really wanted to submit a photograph. So I called her up and asked her if I could send her one. She said “Of course Juji” (Don’t ask) but she also told me that I would have to write a little about the photograph. And that made me nervous. I had never written anything before. And her blog is so……. cool. So I spent about 6 hours on 25 lines and I edited and re-edited it and then in frustration finally just hit “send”. She called back and said some stuff which will always stay with me. Stuff that makes me smile because I know it’s genuine (Anusha is bad-ass and her approval was like getting knighted. You all can call me Sir Juhi from now on). She made me un-shy about writing. When I started this blog, she was the first person I called and told.
Here is the photograph and article.
This particular photograph was taken in Etawah, Uttar Pradesh in 1977. My mother (right) had finished her Post graduation and was teaching in a school. My masi, the bike rider, (mother’s sister) was in her 12th standard. They lived in Etawah, a town by the river Yamuna, with their father, Dr. Krishna Kumar, a Chief Medical Officer.
My maternal grandmother, also Dr. Krishna Kumar (yes, they shared the same name) at that time was incharge of the Dufferin Hospital in Raibarreily and they had all come on holiday to Etawah. There used to be a local mela (fair) every year, which the entire city would attend, because that’s what you do when you’re in Etawah. There were food stalls and rides and balloon & air gun shooting galleries. And then there was this photostudio where one could take dashing, avant-garde photographs. So, of course Soma & Rashmi climbed aboard this cardboard bike and posed. I can almost hear Rashmi’s laughter once the picture was developed. I feel you cannot entirely be pretty unless you are a bit silly.
My mother and my masi were born four years apart. But that’s just a technicality. Soulmates is a very vanilla word when it comes to them. Born to doctors, Soma and Rashmi lead a very nomadic life till their twenties. Moving from one city to another every couple of years meant that they mostly had each other for constant company. Growing up from little girls to stunning young women I feel that they started to think alike yet maintained such different personalities that it was remarkable. I genuinely believe that they can read each others minds and I know they have a certain ‘look’ for their children, which not only freezes our blood but also paralyses our bones. I feel I love Dhruv, my brother, just like Soma Loves Rashmi. And I know it’s genetic. My masi Rashmi, now lives in Germany and my mother in Mumbai.
This is one of my most favorite pictures. Ever. For everything that it says and for every thing that I long to have over-heard.