Life, In General!, Uncategorized

A Home On The Other Side

Pakistan. No, this is not exactly my home, but a home in Pakistan. Yes, you read it correct. It is in Jarranwala, Pakistan. It is the house where my paternal grandmother grew up.
Yes, it is still there.
No, I haven’t been there.
A kind hearted photographer named Abid from the neighbouring country aligned with my brother Mandeep Singh, went to the city, and searched the records. He sent those records back to us. My father, who had recently learnt the Urdu language, studied those records, got clues from my grandmother, and gave the information to Abid, and finally that guy was able to figure out the said house. It still stands there. There is still a shop in front of it. It is still the corner house. And the tree still stands on the crossroad.
It is the home of my grandmother. And so is there a home which belonged to my paternal grandfather once in Layallpur, and there might stand a house in Rawalpindi, which once belonged to my maternal grandfather and his family.
Is this my house? I wouldn’t say it is. But ask my grandmother, and that is her own house. I saw her excitement on seeing the pictures, and happiness while being in touch with someone from ‘that’ side. I wonder… Was it fair to them? To ask them to leave their lives, their homes, their fortunes, their assets, and their everything, and come to this land, which was ‘the other’ side for them? History says, yes. But that generation’s pain, and longing, and horrendous memories, all tell another story. Politics, and history have stolen so much from that generation.
No one can understand this pain except them. I do not know why I relate to it so much! I wonder why I cry every time I think of the injustice. Maybe some old ties which I don’t know of.
We have heard numerous stories of Partition, some of which seem to be too hard to be true. But they are. But I wonder if the people who have not seen anyone reminiscing that period, someone who has gone through it, even know the extent of it. No, they don’t. But being from a family, whose both sides have suffered the pain of Partition, I do understand all of it.
And then I feel, why is the world so! Why can’t there be love, and peace and harmony!
The only wish of people like my grandmother is, to visit their ‘home’. But we know how tough it is to take her there. I do plan to visit Haridwar soon, to trace both sides of my family back, as far as I can. Haridwar is where Hindus go to submerge the ashes of their departed family members. There was a time before the reform moments in Sikh religion, that even the Sikhs used to do the same. There are ‘pandits’ (priests) in Haridwar, who keep records of all the deaths in a particular region, caste, or family. These records go back to generations. It is surprisingly not difficult to find the one you need, who has your family history. Anyone who goes to Haridwar gets the deaths registered with the pandits, along with some other important details of the dead.
I do not know why, but I want to trace my family. My effort is to do it before the ‘Partition Generation’ gets wiped out. My paternal grandmother is 93 years old. My maternal grandfather and his brothers and sisters, save one younger brother and sister, have already passed away. I need to hurry to trace them back, so that if luck allows, I can go and visit the place from where my ancestors came.
P.S. I miss having an ancestral home or a town, or a village. I do not have any. I do have, but I can’t visit. I do not know where I came from.

20 thoughts on “A Home On The Other Side

  1. Oh so nice! Beautifully written. My paternal grandfather came from Pakistan too. I remember he used to write letters to his friends back there in Urdu 🙂

  2. Home is a very sacred place. While reading i did felt a very bit of how you and your grandmother wish to visit this home. This is one of the hardest feeling but who knows what this mankind gonna change in future. We all dream and wish for a happy world full of love but these sudden circumstances (like partitian) changes everything. I pray you and everyone in your family get a chance to visit this soul home again.

    1. What history calls correct and fair is often so only through the viewpoint of the rulers of the time, and not for people like you and me. Thank you for your kind words!

  3. a very nice touching account of what’s mine and what’s not,,? How do we decide? Can man-made boundaries really take away these memories from us? No they can’t. If only the world was not governed by political motives.
    Awesome. . . touched a cord somewhere.

  4. I could literally feel the emotions running down your grandmother and appreciate your efforts to find the roots back.Truth narrated in captivating way. Great narrative and wish you keep sharing next development.looking forward to it. keep writing keep smiling ..

  5. The impact of this ‘casual’ piece is heightened by its being straight as an arrow, and one that pierces through the layers which separate us from the Holocaust of partition. The simplicity of her desire provides the power to her narrative. Below the structured approach adopted by her and her brother to learn the truth about their ancestral home is the inextinguishable desire to connect to the roots. Should we stoke the embers of our past ? But can we allow it to die?

    Very touching narrative. I sincerely hope that more will flow from her pen.

  6. Soul-stirring. I never believed in boundaries. They are man-made and pointless. Humans are a species created to live together despite differences. That’s where the term humanity originates.

    Thanks for sharing and narrating so beautifully ❤

  7. I have tears in my eyes thinking about what your grandmother must have felt seeing pictures of her house which is now on the other side.. I remember my grandfather used to tell us stories about his Muslim friends who had to move to the other side at the time of partition. It was a very painful time for our ancestors.

  8. I wonder they still preserved the infrastructure and u were able to find your grandma ‘s home..but Also wondering if someone from other side wants to find their home over here in India…will they be able to???

    1. I highly doubt that proposition! I have seen so many cases vediographed and present online, which show people from the other side coming here in India, and not being able to find their ancestral homes. Some have been demolished, some have been rebuilt…

Leave your thoughts!