In loving memory of those who lived with us

‘Dedicate a Bench’ is a programme at Sunder Nursery that raises public memorial for people to commit a bench to honour the passing of a cherished person

Park benches are beautiful spectators of everyday life, reflecting on the history of the place they are situated. Lovers might have sat there, a father might have cried, a worker might have taken some respite, or an artist must have realised his true inspiration. The stories around benches are endless – both mundane and extraordinary. 

A good bench triggers a gust of nostalgia or sudden anticipation. When it carries an inscription, it becomes an epitaph of belonging. A feeling of community engulfs the heart in what would otherwise be a solitary sojourn.

In Delhi’s Sunder Nursery, the programme ‘Dedicate A Bench’ – where Delhiites dedicate a bench to their loved ones as a part of public memorial – commemorates evergreen love. Sadly, some of the inscriptions on these benches tell the tale of those who died in 2021 – the same year the deadly second wave of Coronavirus hit the national capital.

Two alternate benches are dedicated to “beloved Biku” aka Ashish Yechury. The inscription on one of the benches reads: You left us bereft but with much to discover of the season and the times captured by your camera…And the quirky touch that remains forever you.

Another bench dedicated to Yechury ends with a poem by Nigerian poet Ijeoma Umebinyuo: “So, here you are too foreign for home, too foreign for here. Never enough for both.”

The two benches in the loving memory of Ashish Yechury

At some distance, one of the benches is dedicated to Isher Judge Ahluwalia who “loved Delhi and its parts.” 

The bench dedicated to Isher Judge Ahluwalia

For Vishnu Lal, who passed away in 2012, the love for plants made him a visitor of Sunder Nursery. The inscription is an honor to his weekly pilgrimage “come Winter or Summer.”

For Vishnu Lal, who visited Sunder Nursery every week

The inscription of Shri Bhupen Sharma, who comes from Assam, reads: Family patriarch, lawyer, politician and social worker — a man with a passionate zest for life, who lived life by the motto.

Shri Bhupen Sharma passed away on 21 January, 1989

The bench dedicated to Adarsh Shrivastava (1985 – 2021) says “Those we love don’t go away. You still walk beside us everyday.”

Bench dedicated to beloved Adarsh Shrivastava

Aruna Rao, who passed away in 2021, was an artist “beloved by everyone who knew her.”

In the memory of Aruna Rao

 

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Shehwaaz covers community, sexuality, gender, and other social issues for Patriot.