The fashionable soul sisters of the 70s

My aunt Rashmi and mother Soma, at the annual town fair of Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, 1977

Image and Narrative contributed by Juhi Pande, UK / Mumbai

This particular photograph was taken in Etawah, Uttar Pradesh in 1977. My mother (right) had finished her graduation and was teaching in a school. My masi, the bike rider, (mother’s sister) was in her 12th standard. They lived in Etawah, a town by the river Yamuna, with their father, Dr. Krishna Kumar, a Chief Medical Officer.

My maternal grandmother, also Dr. Krishna Kumar (yes, they shared the same name) at that time was incharge of the Dufferin Hospital in Raibarreily and they had all come on holiday to Etawah. There used to be a local mela (fair) every year, which the entire city would attend, because that’s what you do when you’re in Etawah. There were food stalls and rides and balloon & air gun shooting galleries. And then there was this photostudio where one could take dashing, avant-garde photographs. So, of course Soma & Rashmi climbed aboard this cardboard bike and posed. I can almost hear Rashmi’s laughter once the picture was developed. I feel you cannot entirely be pretty unless you are a bit silly.

My mother and my masi were born four years apart. But that’s just a technicality. Soulmates is a very vanilla word when it comes to them. Born to doctors, Soma and Rashmi lead a very nomadic life till their twenties. Moving from one city to another every couple of years meant that they mostly had each other for constant company.  Growing up from little girls to stunning young women I feel that they started to think alike yet maintained such different personalities that it was remarkable. I genuinely believe that they can read each others minds and I know they have a certain ‘look’ for their children, which not only freezes our blood but also paralyses our bones. I feel I love Dhruv, my brother, just like Soma Loves Rashmi. And I know it’s genetic. My masi Rashmi, now lives in Germany and my mother in Mumbai.

This is one of my most favorite pictures. Ever. For everything that it says and for every thing that I long to have over-heard.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Nanya

    What a wonderful, wonderful piece.

  2. Ruchita

    “For everything it says and and for every thing that I long to have over-heard.”
    :) :) I have a soulmate sister, 4 years apart and your description makes me feel that I’d want our kids to say the same when they look at our pictures someday!

  3. sumanyav

    “I feel you cannot entirely be pretty unless you are a bit silly.” love that line!

  4. mychronicledlife

    “I feel you cannot entirely be pretty unless you are a bit silly.” Nicely put.
    Also, you gotta love those bell-bottoms :)

  5. Rajesh

    By looking at this picture I go back to my memory lane of childhood days in UP ofcourse where this form of photography was very customary.This was the same time when Rishi Kapoor and Neeu Singh created the magic with their movie ‘Bobby’.The motor bike was named bobby and had become the object d dezire among the youth of that generation.Must be late 70’s.But now this form is hardly visible.

  6. Lt Col (retd) Dr G Kameswara rao

    Such make believe photographing was very much in vogue in all fairs and melas.Ms Juhi Pande’s attachment to her mother and masi is expressive and is highly appreciable in these days when such sentiments are not found in the gennext et al . A nice post.

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