Vignettes from the golden past

Updated - November 16, 2021 08:41 pm IST

Published - June 16, 2013 09:53 am IST

Minaz Ali -- Chief Cook

My grandfather worked for India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and my father followed in his footsteps. I grew up in Teen Murti Bhavan, where Nehruji lived and I recall watching television in his living room. At about 8 p.m. every night the living room used to transform into a cinema hall, the staff and we children would all congregate to watch TV and no one ever objected; there were no restrictions.

After Nehruji died, the staff from Teen Murti was shifted to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Rajendra Prasad was keen on providing education for the staff and their children. He started a school in the Dalikhana, which continues to the day.

Shree Bheem -- Garden Staff

My father, who was also a gardener here, told me that every morning the gardeners would wake up at 3-30 a.m. and rush to pick the blooms that they had selected the previous day to decorate the rooms in the Bhavan . Those days flowers were not bought from the market, but had to be plucked from the gardens.

And to outdo each other, the gardeners would spend hours spying on buds, waiting for them to bloom and make a mental note of where they would need to rush with their shears before the sun rose to collect the best that the gardens had.

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