Mission Delhi – Yaad Ram, Sadar Bazaar, Gurgaon
One of the one percent in 13 million.
[Text and photo by Mayank Austen Soofi]
His slightly swirly moustache renders the 66-year-old ironing man in Gurgaon’s Sadar Bazaar in the National Capital Region with a certain measure of awe. Even more remarkable is his name. “Yaad means remembrance,” Yaad Ram confesses the fact shyly. This hot steamy afternoon, Mr Ram recalls that he left his village, Mator, in Alwar, Rajasthan, more than 40 years ago. He agrees to summon five memories—or “yaadein”—of his native place that he holds dear to his heart.
1. We had a talaab (pond) near our village. It was as large as the chowk here in Sadar Bazaar. I would swim daily with my friends during the afternoon hours. The water used to be chilly even in peak summer. Our companions usually happened to be the village’s cows and buffaloes. In the winter, though, nobody dared to step into it because of freezing cold.
2. Our village had only one temple and was dedicated to Ramchandraji and Seeta Maiyya. It was very small and did not even have a full-time priest. I often went to the mandir to offer prayers but would never ask Ramchandraji for anything. We had all we needed. My father operated a tonga in the village and earned enough to support the family.
3. We had hills close to our village. Sometimes our whole family would wake up at four in the morning and, along with neighbours, make a trek towards the jungle situated up there on the slopes to collect wood. We would return home four or five hours later carrying the bundles on our head. Mother would use that wood to fire the chulha (stove).
4. Our house was made of stone. It had five rooms and a large courtyard. We called it haveli. But actually only one room was inherited by my father in which I grew up with my six brothers. The rest of the rooms belonged to my uncles.
5. My father Shri Parshadi Ram died 15-16 years ago and my mother Shrimati Imarti passed away some six years ago. We cremated both of them in the village’s shamshanghat called Roopshali. But we immersed their ashes far away in Garh Ganga in UP. That was the only holy river closest to our village.
[This is the 195th portrait of Mission Delhi project]
Remembrance of ‘Yaad’ past