New Delhi- As Amitabh Bachchan is celebrating his birth day with his friends and family members, there are many in posh Gulmohar Park in Capital who talk about his close association with their area. In fact, Amitbah’s parents used to stay at their Gulmohar Park house till late 80s.
Other members of the family too visit and stay at ‘Sopan’, their beautiful abode. It is an elegant house in B block. Unlike ‘Prathiksha’ and ‘Jalsa’, now ‘Sopan’ wears a deserted look. It has seen many memorable sessions of poetry and debates in 70s and early 80s.
Both Harivansh Rai and Teji wanted to stay back in Delhi, but it was Amitabh who forced his parents to shift their base to Mumbai.
‘Sopan’ was perhaps the first house that was bought by the Bachchan family and had witnessed many lively poetry sessions under the guidance of Harivansh Rai ji till the late 1970s. But after the couple moved to Mumbai, it was only during Diwali that lights were seen in ‘Sopan’. No caretaker has ever taken care of this place.
The original allottees of Gulmohar Park still recall the time when Bachchan ji and Teji ji used to stay here like any other resident. Eminent Hindi poet and journalist Satish Sagar says that Harivansh Rai used to organise poetry sessions very often at ‘Sopan’ and the couple were very good hosts. Apart from poetry sessions, debates were also held. Poets, writers, intellectuals and teachers attended those debates in large numbers.
Dev Krishan Vyas, veteran journalist and a neighbour of the Bachchans, says that even though Gulmohar Park was meant for journalists, Teji got the membership of the Gulmohar Park Society because during those days there were not many takers.
When Gulmohar Park and ‘Sopan’ were coming up in the early 1970s, Big B was not a star of Bollywood. Bachchans were an upper-middle class family with political connections. Harivansh Rai and Teji used to visit the area very often to see the progress of the construction of their house. Vyas said that a security man used to follow the two during their morning walks. Asked about the reason, Teji said: “Munna [Amitabh] fears that his parents may be kidnapped”.