[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
First I went to the Jewish graveyard, Delhi’s only Jewish graveyard. Then I walked out, strolled straight to the left, and turned left again. The air was humid and warm; it had rained in the morning. Flowers were being sold outside the brick-red wall of the city’s Christian cemetery. I ignored the florist and stepped inside where the traffic sound was subdued and Taj Man Singh Hotel was hidden behind the trees. I seemed to be the only one in the graveyard.
The slippery pathway was mossy. The overgrown grass whispered with underworld life. The monsoon sun shined sharply in honeyed hues. I stepped over several grave-stones to reach the one that was freshly made. All six candles on it had died except one. Scared of snakes, I jumped ahead, leaping from one grave to another.
There were broken vases and stale flowers on headstones. Quaint flower hedges skirted the boundaries of many graves. Some tombs, in the middle of flooded rain water, were like islands. A few baby graves had cherubic stone angels as guards. “Our Little Darling” Lucrezia Maria was born in 1949 and died two years later. Alison Jean lived for 18 days. Baby Anne Grace, daughter of Alice and Chacko, was fondly remembered by “Sorrowful Mummy Daddy.”
Not far from a Japanese grave was a headstone chiseled with “Mom We Love You.” Somebody’s “my one and only wife” rested nearby.
“Beloved son” Aman Anthony Choudhury’s mother grieved his death in these helpless words: Let death not part us. Thomas Ponter’s daughter, son, and son-in-law noted on his gravestone: A beautiful memory is all that is left. Molly George, wife of Jose, from Edathua, Kerala, lived for 56 years and is hopefully well remembered by her “sorrowing children” - Dolly, Jolly, Yury and Polly.
Suddenly I turned into a corner and discovered two kids hovering around two men one of whom was painting a grave. I had imagined I was alone but I was not. Disappointed, I immediately left.
Where Prithviraj Road Timing 7 AM to 7 PM