Mission Delhi – Jyotika Bhaskar, Sector 53, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
She has never experienced serious problems adapting to the super-sprawl of a residential complex.
As an early riser, Jyotika Bhaskar is likely to spend the first couple of hours on her drawing room settee sipping flavoured water zeera paani, laung paani—and planning the day. She’ll often hang out in town with friends. Or perhaps take in the local multiplex on her own.
“I’ve finally learned to enjoy my own company!” declares the 52-year-old.
When she first moved into the complex in Sector 53, Gurgaon, back in 2006, “the neighbours told me I didn’t look like a divorcee!” Passing over a plate of ham sandwiches, she reflects: “What was I supposed to look like? Weepy and disheveled?”
Over the years she’s worked hard “to regenerate my post-marital life.” And now Ms Bhaskar is living in this spacious four room apartment filled with appealing art. She’s happily perched on the 11th floor in a tower at Vipul Belmonte: A residential complex comprising some 300 families and two dogs, Rani and Shahrukh, who love to sit on residents’ cars.
An immediate joy is her daughter Mahima, 20, all set to leave for summer studies at the prestigious Sciences Po in Paris. Then there are other reasons to live at peace with the world around her. “I’ve finally got the dignity of living on my own while still being loved by my family.”
This was a long process for Ms Bhaskar. She married young and later divorced when Mahima was only four. She then received generous support from Delhi-based parents and siblings, eventually earning her independence by sloughing through the various jobs.
And “after some years of living with parents I convinced my family to permit my share of inheritance to be invested in getting myself this apartment.”
To be certain, the end of a marriage, also involving a child, can be traumatic and messy. She noted that “you suddenly find that a part of your social circle has drifted away from you, because friends and relatives of a separating couple are forced to take sides.”
But Ms Bhaskar has worked hard to renew her life, with this gorgeous apartment reflecting an essential harmony. The coffee table bowls are filled with rose and mogra flowers, while walls are decked with original art. The study is lined with eminent books, including the first edition of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy.
As a movie buff, she no longer feels awkward going alone to multiplexes, using the Metro when needed. “I no longer feel odd having a coffee or watching a movie by myself…I think that’s my big accomplishment.”
As a regular at the local multiplex her presence has become so routine that the manager may well call on the phone when she doesn’t turn up for a good number of days. The staff even knows that her favourite seat is J3.
Early evening now sets in. Ms Bhaskar and her daughter step out onto the balcony–startling a pigeon perched over the air conditioner. In the distance the traffic lights on “the very prestigious” Golf Course Road glow like distant stars, but otherwise the skies are an astonishing chalk-black.
The ladies quietly contemplate the glistening scene before retreating back into their sanctuary.
[This is the 157th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
An apartment of her own