INDIRA VARMA’S POIGNANT, EVOCATIVE AND MOVING AUTOBIOGRAPHY IS UNPUTDOWNABLE, BECAUSE IT DESCRIBES, SPANNING SEVERAL GENERATIONS, THE EVOLUTION OF THREE SISTERS, BEFORE AND AFTER THE TRAUMA OF PARTITION, AND HOW THEY REBUILD THEIR LIVES, TO ULTIMATELY TRIUMPH.’ — PAVAN K. VARMA ‘India is being divided,’ Didi tried to explain. ‘Like a cookie? Whoever gets the smaller half will be upset,’ I nodded wisely. Indira Varma was six years old when she first heard of the impending partition of India. Soon, it would sweep her and her family up in its wake. They would leave behind in Peshawar a fabulous house and vast lands, their horses and cars, in fact, an entire way of life. A family that had gifted the Peshawar Clock Tower to Queen Victoria would go on to live a life of poverty as homeless refugees in India. Like the millions it affected, for Indira Varma too, the Partition was a scar that would remain, even as the wound healed with the passing of time. In Lest We Forget, Varma lets her memory stretch as far back as it will—to its beginning set against the Partition. She recounts her family’s years as refugees, her life shuttling between cities and towns until she finally settled in Delhi, and her journey to building a successful business in travel. Against all odds, Varma weaves for herself a life rich with poetry, family and friendships. This is the story of one life upturned by the Partition, but it is also an ode to the power of love and that thing called hope. It is, ultimately, both a record of, and a guide to, a life well lived.
Lest We Forget: How Three Sisters Braved The Partition
Westland Publications Limited
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24 October 2023
Indira Varma (b. 10 October 1940) retired from active 9-to-5 jobs in 1986. After having worked with Citibank, Thomas Cook and a stint as Honorary Director, Travel, Festivals of India, she became an entrepreneur.