Stories About Men

Memories of Independence Day and Grandfather by M. P. V. Shenoi

M.P.V. Shenoi, a civil engineer and MBA, rose to the rank of Deputy Director-General of Works in the Indian Defence Service of Engineers. He has also been a member of HUDCO’s advisory board and of the planning team for Navi Mumbai. After retirement he has been helping NGOs in employment-oriented training, writing articles related to all aspects of housing, urban settlements, infrastructure, project and facility management and advising several companies on these issues.


15 August 1947, the day India gained real freedom, after centuries of alien rule. At that time, I was in my early teens, and a first year student of Maharaja’s High School, Mysore. Mysore was a Princely State, the third largest after Jammu & Kashmir and Hyderabad.

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Jal Pappa by Arzan Khambatta

Arzan, an architect by training, makes public sculptures from metal sheets, straps, rods, pipes and various other sections that are twisted, beaten and textured to give the desired effect. He lives in Mumbai. This contribution reflects his Parsi lineage.

My maternal grandfather, Jalejar Engineer, was called Jal by friends and Pappa by his grandchildren.

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Nana Ji’s Resonance by Shruti Gupta

Shruti is currently an undergraduate student at Yale University, where she is studying to become a doctor. Though she resides with her family in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, she returns to India every summer to visit her relatives.

When I returned home from college for Christmas break in 2004, I found a blue, 35 cent, wire-bound notebook — creased along the edges — and a prayer book that still smelled of my Nana Ji’s tiger balm and aftershave. The notebook, with my grandfather’s prayer book hidden between its pages, lay dusty and abandoned in one of the boxes that we forgot to unpack after we moved into our new house in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

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