17 December 2021

Following in my mother’s footsteps – chapter 1

“Upalati gram to kon dikey?”

After 3 hours of driving – mostly weaving thru village roads (long live Google Maps), my brother and I arrived at a place that we thought should be very close to my mother’s birthplace. We saw a few elderly people gathered around the road and enquired where the village called Upalati was.

We were obviously very close since instead of giving directions, one of the gentleman asked us

“Whose house are you looking for?”

“Well, my grandfather – Harendranath Pan – used to live there. But I do not think it belongs to his family any more”.

Realizing that I was not making any good connection in his head, I rattled off my mom’s name and and then all her five siblings’ names. With each name, the head nodding became more vigorous. He knew what I was talking about!!

But instead of giving me directions, he told me that of course, he knew the house. But none of them live there any more.

In my mind, I was going “No s***, Sherlock. I belong to that family”. But I told him that I just wanted to visit my grandpa’s house.

Soon enough, I was standing outside the humble abode that my mom was born in – circa 1944. It was surreal to realize that this is exactly where my mom came to this world. Four fifth of a century later, there is still a goat tied to the pillar in the house and the poster on the wall advertises a mobile number to call to clean out (“pressure wash” is what it says) the latrine.

Sometimes I let myself forget my own humble beginnings and how much I owe back to this world.

Posted December 17, 2021 by Rajib Roy in category "Family in India", "Vacations

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