Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Grandmother and a Love Story..(1918-1990)

My earliest and most vivid memories of my Grandmother is her reading the Mahabharat to me. I loved this time with her. I peered over the large book to look at the pictures which were fascinating and colorful. The book was in Bengali and so my "Dadi" translated it into English and explained it to me. Its been almost 19 yrs since she passed away.The past few years I have been trying to get to know more about her. She was an accomplished writer whose work was published both in India and abroad.

Its very heartening for me as recently an article came out about her life written by a renowned columnist Nilaksha Gupta who also happens to be her Grand nephew. I quote "Monika Varma , the youngest daughter of Justice Lalit Mohan Banerji of Allahabad High Court grew up in the Banerji residence next to that of Motilal Nehru. Motilal and Lalit Mohan were friends. Monika grew up playing with Vijaya Lakshmi and Krishna Nehru. Having lost her mother early, she was brought up by a British governess. The Justice’s son Prabhat was sent to the Dehra Dun military academy in childhood and joined the army after passing out from Sandhurst.

Now for the love story :-)

When Krishna Kumar Varma, scion of a Chattisgarh zemindary and a fellow regimental captain, came to see Capt. Banerji in Allahabad in 1938, he fell in love with Monika. He proposed on the Allahabad-Phaphamau Bridge one evening. Shortly after this, the two, while driving out of the house, were so busy looking at each other that Capt Varma (eventually Brig) hit an electric pole opposite the front gate. That wrecked the car and Monika got a tiny scar on the face.

Inter-cast and inter-community marriages were taboo at that time. So the Banerji’s sent the couple to Coventry where Monika flowered as a free-lance journalist, poet and author. A.N. Dwivedi in his Papers on Indian Writing in English: Poetry (Atlantic, 2001) wrote she was head and shoulders above many Indian woman poets and close to some Indian male poets. I, however, am yet to come across a better Indo-Anglican poet."

It makes me proud to be the granddaughter of such an accomplished lady. Stories of my grandparents love story is a fairy tale come true in my own home. All of us ie the four grand kids cherish this wonderful legacy and yearn to know more! My grandmother's photograph below epitomizes her beauty and elegance. Today as I write my blog I wish she was here with me. It would have been wonderful for me to have known her as an adult. However my childhood memories of her will be mine to treasure forever.


Image: From my Family Archives!

9 comments:

Patricia Torres said...

Indeed you grand mom is a truly inspirational woman and one to be proud of!!! She looks amazing as well.. You must be so proud...

And if she was here... reading your blog... she would be so proud of you as well!!

Shalini said...

What a beautiful story! She looks so elegant and sure of herself.

I love digging up old family history too. I found a book in Simla which mentions my great-grandfather in glowing terms.

Anuradha Varma said...

Thank you Patricia and Shalini. I am a huge fan of my grand mom and find her life fascinating. Shalini..good luck ! Diging up on family history is an interesting and fruitful pastime!

Juliana said...

your grandmother was amazingly beautiful woman! Thanks for your story! )

Germaine Ferrao -Lenn said...

Looks like a formidable woman, for her time!! She also looks beautiful!TFS the story!

Sudha said...

Fascinating story...loved her picture...so elegant and beautiful :)...glad you shared the story about her life and love

Yamini Kaur said...

She's so elegantly beautiful. Amazing story and I am sure you carry her legacy forward.

Richa said...

love the picture and the beautiful story! I remember my grandma as this well spoken lady too. she made it a point that all her kids went o good schools, could speak english as well as hindi very well. The values and beauty of those days seems lost in todays crazy world.

Lakshmi -Celebrations said...

getting to know more about you anu,wonderful...lovely to have a great legacy behind you

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