Thursday, April 09, 2009

Story of a refugee

These days I am reading Ramachandra Guha's India after Gandhi. The book is a perfect read during a time when country is preparing for elections. The book is a story of India's democracy and how it came to its fruition, right from partition to the creation of our consitution to the first elections to the present Great Indian Tamasha that our elections have become. As I was reading a chapter on refugees who came to India from present day Pakistan, it reminded me of the story of a refugee that I knew very well, my Nanajee (Grandfather).

My Nanajee was a shop-owner in a small village in the Rawalpindi district of West Punjab (present day Pakistan). These were the times when Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims were living in harmony and infact inter-religious marriages between Hindus and Sikhs were very common. My Nanajee was a Hindu and he married my Nanima who was a Sikh. The story about their marriage goes like this. One day my Nanima's father came home from a marriage and told my Nanima's mother that he has arranged my Nanima's marriage during the wedding. When my Nanima's mother asked him, who the boy was, he replied "I didn't see him, only saw his back, he was wearing a turban and the turban looked very good" (Punjabi Hindus also used to wear turban during those times although different in style from Sikhs, something like Balraj Sahini wore in the movie Waqt). My Nanima's mother was horrified at hearing this but somehow went along. My Nanajee and Nanima got married and my Nanima still hadn't seen the man whom she had married as she was in a ghoonght all this time.

We would often ask Nanajee about their Honeymoon and he would always tell the same story to the amusement of all kids. He went to the room where Nanima was sitting, picked her up and took her to the rooftop. As he put her down on the mat on the rooftop, he gave her a jar of honey and said, "Ek reeya tuhada honey and uhh reeya moon, tusi manao honeymoon tee main chala sone" (Here's your honey and that's your moon, you celebrate honeymoon and I am going to bed)

My Nanima was one of the sweetest person and never asked my Nanajee for anything in her life but so was his love for her that he decided that all his sons and daughters will grow up as Sikhs. This was his gift to my Nanima for all the love and joy she had given him (even though the conventional wisdom of that time suggested that children took the religion of their father). If this is not the greatest love story then what is.

Then 1947 happened and suddenly Hindus and Sikhs from Western Punjab (and Muslims from Eastern Punjab) were told to leave their lives behind and go to the other side of the border.

(pic courtsey:

My Nanajee like most people didn't believe that partition would succeed. How can one day someone draw an invisible line and call it a border. But things were getting worse day by day, thousands of people were being butchered on both side of the border. My Nanajee decided to send Nanima and their kids to my Nanima's brother place in India. He told her that he will stay back and if things improve will call them back. Nanima moved to India with the kids and as we know things didn't improve, infact got worse day by day. For one month there was no trace of my Nanajee and everyone thought that they may never see him again except my Nanima who always knew that he will make it. And he did. But when he came back, he was in a pretty bad shape and didn't talk to anyone including my Nanima for atleast a month. Its obvious that he saw some things during partition that are better not talked about. With time physical and emotional scars healed up and he again worked hard to make a life for himself and his children.

My Nanima passed away before my Mom got married so no one from my Dad's side ever saw her. But Nanajee made sure that his grandchildren will never forget the love of his life. Whenever we would visit him, we would follow the same ritual every evening after dinner. All the grandchildren would go and sit on the floor in my Nanajee's room. He would first tell all of us a joke in Punjabi, some of which are legendary in our family, then he would tell a sakhi (story) from the life of Guru Nanak and finally end the katha-session (story-session) by telling us a story (or an anecdote) about our Nanima. He kept my Nanima alive through his stories, so much so that sometimes I feel that I know my Nanima better than my Nanajee. He was truly a remarkable man in every sense. His story is a story of one of the many millions refugees who left their lives on the other side of the border to create a new life on this side of the border.

He passed away more than a decade ago but his sense of humor, his love for his wife and kids will always remain with me as an inspiration.


Blogger MoonStruck Tempest said...

Okay...this has to be probably one of the most touching stories I have heard in a long time. After I finished reading it, I realize it is more than just a story. It's a life lesson that all of us could learn something from.

Thank you for posting this. It makes a great read :)

9:13 AM  
Blogger Sum said...

Very touching..... and nicely written.....

10:56 AM  
Blogger sid said...

The way you kept me interested till the very end was very good. How sweet, the people used to be. I wish, I could achieve half as much as our ancestors did in those circumstances.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Chandu said...

Loved this post Ricky bhai. You are right when u said "inspirational". Reminds of the tales described in "Train to Pakistan". what a lovable grandpa u had

8:09 PM  
Blogger Chandu said...

BTW saw this new TATA sky ad-

9:21 AM  
Blogger Rain Girl said...

wow. so, so sweet... :)

9:59 PM  
Anonymous red said...

true love story.Our life would also be time stuck at partition.

1:20 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

wow... no other words for this one...

4:52 AM  
Blogger Pinks said...

hey ricky dats a gud one...very nice...btw chk out my short story on my blog..pls give ur honest comments...i will be really glad..bye tc

11:02 PM  
Anonymous Marlee said...

Hey this was a nice read esp since I'm here after such a long time...

Take care

5:17 AM  
Blogger Mrinalini said...

am almost goin to shed a few tears in my workstation and your story would be the reason :')
touching..and very very beautiful..

10:53 PM  
Blogger Corinne Rodrigues said...

Beautiful - thank you for sharing.

5:33 AM  
Anonymous preeti.prasad said...

we all think that we can define love, but the truth is we just can not...its deep yet simple..but still can not be explained.. stories like this make us realize that love is not 'give' and 'take' but
'give' and 'receive'. kuch kisse aise bhi hote hain, jo hamesha yaad rehe jaayenge..

12:25 PM  
Blogger Anjali said...

its one of those stories which one wouldn't mind listening to over and over again :) absolutely lovely!

11:59 PM  
Blogger Corinne Rodrigues said...

Hi - Thanks for stopping by on my blog Ricky - looking forward to reading more on yours!

3:08 AM  
Blogger Khamakha said...

tht almost brought tears to my eyes. beautiful indeed:) thanks for sharing ricky.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Think.......... said...

wow, this is one of the coolest love stories, and i used to think this used to happen only in movies :)

I'm sure your nanaji was a great man and ur nani the luckiest lady :)

Very well writeen!!!!!!!

2:47 PM  
Blogger Riddhi said...

I love this story of your grandparents, Ricky. It made my month! I should come to your blog more often, but you definitely don't write as often as you should anymore! (neither do I, for that matter)

10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since coming into existence online casinos have made quite the splash. For the most part people are no longer held back by the boundaries of where they live and the laws that govern the area. Now pretty much anyone who lives in this world can take part in all the gambling that they desire without having to leave the comfort of their own home. There are however several things that one needs to look for when they are seeking out the online casino of their choosing.
[url=]casino[/url] casino Internet casinos offer the same games you can find at land casinos, including but not limited to; baccarat, blackjack, craps, roulette, slot machines, and video poker. Some only focus on one or two games, and some offer other games. Whichever you want to play, search around to find the best for your needs.
[url=]casino[/url] casino Betting is still very much present, even when playing online casinos. You will be required to place your money on an account, and this will be transferred to the winner via PayPal or Neteller. So before handing in cash, check out the website, first! If they have more members and a good reputation, you can almost be assured that you get your moneys worth. Make sure that before downloading any of software an online casino is offering, there has to be test run of the product first. You have to be able to play for free before you download the software, since this may help in protecting you from fraud in the end. An example of this software is the Cryptologic, is safe and can be trusted, since it is listed in the Nasdaq. [url=]online casino[/url] casino [url=]casino affiliate program[/url] Bingo is a beautiful game of luck, which involves patience, rapid coordination between hearing and searching out the numbers and lots of fun. [url=]bingo[/url] [url=]bingo[/url] bingo bingo Bingo is usually played in special halls where many players can play at the same time. The actual fun is the tension building up seeing other players closer and closer to the finish line. However, with the advent of the Internet, BINGO has gone online as well. There are many ways to play on the net, though the basics remain the same. You will have to complete a given pattern before anyone else in order to win. Over the net, you need not shout the computer will flash it out for you. Some online games also have chat attached to the games where you can speak with other players online and have fun right from your home, office or any other place where you can get on the net. Chatting is a great way to meet new people and pick up the tips and tricks. [url=]phentermine[/url] buy phentermine

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of the sports that are being bet online are horse racing, greyhound racing, and football.Online betting works the same with all the betting websites on the net. These businesses have grown for years. You can play with it by using a single account. Some of these websites also offer gambling online, you are just like playing at the casino and you can bet using the same account. [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]apuestas[/url] [url=]jouer en ligne[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] [url=]bet online[/url] It is estimated that over 100 million Americans wager about $100 billion on sporting events every year. What are you missing out on? Many people enjoy betting on sports but not everyone can compete at a high level. It all adds up to taking risks and how much you are willing to give in order to gain. Today, the stakes are not as high as they used to be, but that action has evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry. You can wager with money and when you win, you still get that tremendous rush.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

rykMMhe , [url=]Asian girly fucked from the ass[/url] , sBpLqByFn, Spouse unfaithful with fitnesscoach , LhobLKYsc, Cumshot by Nubia , DqwdAVNak. tVAurVrnQO , [url=]Beautiful Blonde Banged Tough[/url] , vdwVPlc, Alicia Rhodes wishes the complete team , IwZTnIe, I would like the idea heavy , jmuLJaq.

12:08 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home