Mummy, tu bhi bach gayi!


“Mummy, mummy, mai bhi bach gaya, tu bhi bach gayi”, the little boy sang doing the



The story goes back about 30 years when the boy’s grandfather along with all male

relatives were massacred in Pakistan in 1947; his grandmother survived due to the

incredible bravery of muslim neighbours who hid them. Having escaped to India with her

small children, the unlettered young lady was thrown from her middle class existence as a

bank employee’s wife to penury at the mercy of distant relatives,


The elder son took up a petty job with the relatives, finished schooling through night

school, rising through the company’s ranks. But he insisted that the younger brother

study in a school & later college to get the advantages he had missed. The younger

brother however hated studies but was passionate about music and art and the limits of

his ambitions were to become a drawing master or music teacher. He bunked college

and used the money for fees and for watching films for their music to buy a harmonium

and art materials. After being debarred from college for non-attendance & payment his

elder brother got him a less ambitious job and also got him married so he could imbue



The frustrated and bohemian younger brother could not hold down jobs and all his rage

found an outlet in constant abuse of his wife and only son. The traumatized boy was

a disaster at school, attracting further retribution from his dad. Thus when his Class V

results were due, his father sent him with the statutory warning that if he fails neither he

nor his mother would survive the day.


That evening the boy came dancing back as, against all expectation, prayers alone had

seen him through – he had passed, thus ensuring thus ensuring the survival of both his

mother and himself – “Balle balle Mai, tu bhi bach gayi, mai bhi bach gaya!”

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