City Moment – Offering a Rose to Villy Sorabji, Parsi Cemetery
Remembering a loved one.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
The graves are arranged neatly about a red brick structure here in the small Parsi Cemetery in Central Delhi. No other visitors at the moment. Gardner Manoj Mishra is working on a flower bed. His shy colleague, Kuldeep, is scrapping off the weedy grass growing beside a very small grave (perhaps it belongs to a child).
The Delhi Walla is looking for Villy Sorabji’s tombstone. Earlier in the day her son, a reader of my work, had messaged an unusual request on Instagram from his home in California. He wondered if I could place his mother’s favorite flower at her grave—a rose. It’s the tenth year of her death, he confided, informing that the grave is home to her ashes.
Mr Mishra, the gardener, quickly reads the message on my mobile and knowingly darts his eyes about the cemetery. He walks over to a rose plant growing on Dr (Mrs) Aban Tavadia Bhatia’s grave, plucks off two pink flowers and silently leads the way to the grave we are looking for.
There are already white flowers lying on the black stone slab. We place the two roses by the grave’s inscription:
Villy R. Sorabji
Born Nargol, Bombay, 2nd June 1943
Passed Away Stanford, CA, 23rd January 2010
A very loving and charitable soul,
Who touched the hearts of countless people,
Lives on forever
She is loved