Dayalbagh - Garden of Kindness
In Agra we lived several miles from the city
in a beautiful self contained community called Dayl
Bagh. Dayal Bagh was developed by people who believe in an offshoot
of Hinduism called Satsanghis (those who keep good company). Their principles
were of simple living, vegetarianism and no distinction of people by race,
class or religion. We were one of the few people there who were not a part
of their group but we were always treated with kindness and courtesy.
It was like a large gated community with a
guard in the front, a small store, a little restaurant and a gathering place
where they could hear their Guru speak every evening. We lived in an area
called Prem Nagar, literally City of Love, in a home with a nice veranda
and blooms of Rangoon creepers, Morning Glory and Gloria vines.
My husband was a professor of Mechanical Engineering
at Dayalbagh Educational
Institute which was associated with Agra University. On our first day
there arriving from the train station, we were invited to lunch by our neighbor
across the street, a colleague of my husband, Ragubir Singh Metha.
Mr. Metha was a widower with six children
four of them girls, who immediately put me at ease by telling me I was like
one more of his daughters and that my Hindi would soon get better. In no
time we were laughing and having what for me was the new experience of a
lunch of Roti and Sabji.
After lunch I was persuaded to stay behind
by the girls who were excited to find out that I could sing many Hindi movie
songs, including those of the very popular Latha
Mangeshkar. We all became very good friends and as I got to know their
friends and relatives, the girls would always introduce me as the Madrasi
(meaning a girl from South India) who could sing Hindi songs so well.
So I began my new life far from home but with
new friends and adventures.