Narrative Excerpt :
This is a photograph of My grandfather with my aunts, and my grandmother, (his wife) Jyoti Chowdhury (sitting right) and my mother as a little girl, Lipika. It was photographed in Bombay around 1959.
Even though my grandfather Salil Chowdhury died when I was 12, I never really knew him. He was a famous music Director in the Indian film industry.
Bapi Dadu, as we called him, was an infrequent visitor at his wife- my grandmother's house in Bandra. And It never occurred to me to wonder why he didn’t live in this house. The walls were plastered with his photographs, posters, awards. His songs drifted lazily from my grandmother’s trusty companion, the radio transistor, the sound often muffled by pillows.
I remember watching Bapi on TV, on one occasion talking to Asha Bhosle, on another – talking about Kishore Kumar. I remember numerous videos of him conducting a choir. I remember the twinkle in his eye, his proudly bald head and the way his hair always curled at his nape.
One day, in our Bapi-bedecked hall, my older cousin told me in conspiratorial tones that Bapi had another wife and he had other children and that is why he lived in Calcutta and that is why we rarely saw him. I don’t remember being particularly affected. I do remember the puzzle pieces rapidly fitting into their places, but the complete picture, to me, was just a piece of delicious gossip. Like the happily stupid child I was, I didn’t think of our mothers’ devastation, nor the stigma of my grandmother being a single
Full Narrative link in bio
Contributed by Aurina Chatterji, Bombay/Toronto
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