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The Four Sisters



This is story of four sisters, born and brought up in a tiny village in upper Himachal. The name of village is Talai and it is two kilometres away from Fagu. Britishers named it Fagu as it is engulfed in fog for most part of the year.


Height of Fagu is 7600 feet and it comes under Shimla district. The four sisters are daughters of Nisha and Naresh Sharma who run a guesthouse in Talai by the name of Aastha Homestay. I and my wife Uma first visited this place in 2010, almost 14 years ago. Of the four sisters, Amritanshu, the eldest was just 8 years old at that time. Aastha, number two was about 7, Ashima number three, six and Youngest was a baby doll, just two years old.


We have  been witnessing their growth from childhood into youth. Well then, this is their story. 


We visited Talai this time in 2024 after a gap of two years. Nothing had changed. Snow-clapped mountains, majestic deodar trees, apple orchards covered with white nuts, and deep valley with lush green flairs and fauna. Some changes took us by surprise. A lot of construction had taken place in and around Fagu.


A number of new hotels and home stays had come up. Traffic on Fagu Talai road was heavy. The place was by and by losing its old world charm. Our hosts had also completed their new house with wooden interiors. It was spacious, modern in outlook with all facilities. Our  hosts, Naresh and Nisha Sharma were still living in their old Himachali house while their four daughters had shifted to the new house. This time, we stayed in new house.



We were in for more surprises. Nisha and her three daughters had learnt driving and could drive effortlessly in hazardous hilly terrains. Quite an achievement by women belonging to a small remote village. Their village Talai is two kilometres from Fagu, a beautiful hill station in itself.


The youngest daughter, Manasvi is in class tenth and has to wait for two years before she can be eligible for a driving licence. Ashima, who is elder to Manasvi, drives a car to her college. She is a pretty good driver and me and my wife can vouch for it.


We were in Talai on our 53rd marriage anniversary. Manasvi came to our room and enquired if we would like to visit a temple to get blessings of Devi ma. We readily agreed. Ashima drove us all the way to Dharech, where famous temple is situated. She drove like an expert giving way to impatient drivers who seemed in great hurry. You could see surprise written all over their face. Dharech is in the interiors where spotting a girl in driver’s seat was more of a shock than surprise. Aashima’s Sanskrit college is on the same route and as such, she felt at home with driving.


Manasvi also accompanied us on this trip. My wife Uma was a teacher and has a knack of getting along well with youngsters. Journey to Dharech was pleasing as we passed through Deodar forests, one of the biggest in Asia. We stopped Enroute at a view point for a photo session. View was enchanting as you could spot the entire village and temple in the valley below. We visited the temple and  prayed our obeisance to the divine mother. As we climbed down the stairs, there was another small temple, a part of main temple where another Himachali family had stopped for Pooja.



A girl child with the family wanted to go inside this temple but was stopped by grandma who said, women are not allowed inside this temple. Well, that is the custom and tradition. But why? No one knows . 


Amritanshu is eldest of them. She is girl with cool demeanour, logical mind and hard working. She was a brilliant student at school. She came third in humanities in class twelfth, throughout Himachal. One day, we were discussing something and I expressed my preference for hills  saying, I love mountains and open air.


But uncle, I love plains, she said. I was shocked. You know beta, cities are highly polluted , overcrowded and with high crime rate. She started laughing and said, I know all that uncle but still, I have a fascination for plains  May be , I was born and brought up in the hills. Maybe, change is the law of nature. Amritanshu is now preparing for competitive exams in Civil services, both at central and state level . 


Aastha is younger to Amritanshu by about a year. Their home stay is named after her. She is a dreamer, emotional and temperamental. But she is strongest of all sisters. She can easily carry a gas cylinder from ground to first floor. Even in winters when it is snowing, she refuses to wear socks and moves barefoot in the house. She is good at studies. She has completed her graduation and now wants to learn tricks of business management. She would love to take over business from her father. At the moment, she is busy preparing for Master’s course either in philosophy or Hindi. At one time, she wanted to be forest officer as she loved animals . 



Manasvi is youngest of four sisters and has her own ambitions. She wants to peruse a career in animation. Quite surprising for a village girl. She practices animation and even knows where best animation institutes are in India. She is enamoured by the north east and its people and feels best animation institute are in Assam. Two years back, she wanted to be an entrepreneur. A joke doing rounds of the family is that when result of class 12 came,


Amritanshu grabbed all the attention. Manasvi did not quite know how to react . She confronted her sister and said in Hindi, "tumne third  ake koi Pahad nahin phod Liya. Jyada Akkad main aane ki jarurat nahin." In English, it means coming third in 12th  is not such a great deed, do not show such attitude


Once we were sitting in drawing room discussing career options for girls and choices before them. All the four girls opened up and poured their hearts out. Common refrain of talks was that parents cannot understand aspirations of children. They want children to follow the treaded path.


If children come up with new ideas, parents refuse to budge due to their limited knowledge of scope in unconventional career paths. All of a sudden, Ashima was in tears and said, she wanted to persue a career as a chess player. But her parents never thought chess could be a career. She was made to join Sanskrit college against her wishes. All her sisters agreed that Ashima was a brilliant chess player. I think both Ashima and her parents had a point. Both her parents were from village background and had never heard of following chess as a career . 


Here is an anecdote about ignorance of simple village folk like Naresh Sharma. He was under the illusion that channels like Netflix and Disney Hot star are being aired on his television free of cost. He thought he is paying only for Internet through WIFI. As a matter of fact, my wife asked him this question and he was certain all channels were free on his TV.


His youngest daughter came to drawing room and I asked her the same question. Her answer was of course we are paying for these channels. Amritanshu also entered drawing room with a smile, uncle, we get enough pocket money to afford such small luxuries. Their father felt embarrassed and surprised. But that is what is generation gap .


The four sisters manage the new house. They are highly obedient and efficient in managing household work. There is no servant in the new house. They jointly manage sweeping, dusting, cleaning and utensils. They are well mannered and well behaved and respect their parents.


Some beautiful quotes about sisters :

To have a loving relationship with a sister is not simply to have a buddy or a confidante ,  it is to have a soulmate for life.” -Audrey Hepburn


She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling even in the dark.” – Barbara Alpert


Sisters are like flowers in the garden of life, blooming with love and nurturing each other’s growth.” – Unknown


Nobody fights you like your own sister; nobody else knows the most vulnerable parts of you and will aim for them without mercy.” – JoJo Moyes


Depending on the day, the mood, the weather, or the time of day, a sister can be a companion, an adversary, an enemy or a soulmate.” – Bonnie Louise Kucher


Sisters may drive you crazy, get into your stuff, and irritate you. However, if anyone else dares say so, a sister will defend you to the death.” – Unknow


I think gap between cities and villages is closing. Modern technology is bringing the two closer. Spread of Internet is the major factor. Even most crucial information is available to kids on the press of a button on mobile, laptop or I-pad. Both cities and villages now have a level playing field as for as access to information is concerned. Yes, city kids have advantage of best educational institutions as well as study circles.

 

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8 comentarios


Thanks dear for your comments . God bless

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Invitado
13 jun

Ohh very nice, how can i forget when i stay in Aastha homestay it was awesome exprience i never forget. Naresh ji nice person. Even i stay in your another one room i.e in down in jungle woww it was awesome. Thank you awesome family. God bless you all. Will meet again one day. Bieeee TC. Regards Nitesh sharma - Panchkula

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Contestando a

Thanks for your feedback . God bless

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Invitado
13 jun

I amm Muskaan😁( Aashima's bestfriend since childhood❤️)...All four sisters are good...I know much about Aashima....she works on her mistakes..she is a good supporter ,a good motivator for me and of course a good chessplayer😎...i have lot to say about her but fall shorts of words....just a conclusion line for her that she is a good person.


Best Said about " four sisters"

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Contestando a

Thanks for liking the story . God bless

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Invitado
13 jun

Both Naresh Ji and Nisha Ji are the lucky parents blessed with unmatchable daughters. I don’t find words to express and explain this wonderful family. We stayed in Aashtha guesthouse and visited their own house.

Love to visit again

Satveer,Gurmeet,Gurtej and Harinder

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Contestando a

Agreed . Nisha &Naresh are blessed to have such children

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Invitado
13 jun

Thanks sir for bringing such a beautiful blog about our sisters. I am SP Sharma "भांजा" of Naresh. All four are my sisters as per relationship chart.

I have seen the hard work and group work during marriage of their cousin brother last year. The famous "Four" were managing all activities and attending guests.

I know Naresh Mama as he is one year junior to me in age and school also. With due respect,he can shot any time.

I have great honour and respect to Mami Nisha. The lady behind bringing up these four. Her unstoppable hard work and dedication towards bringing up daughters is remarkable. So simple and humble women. She is God gift to mama Naresh.

I pray…

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