When I was 3 years old, I spent nearly a year with an aunt and uncle who I love dearly. However at the time I had very mixed up feelings towards them. I was petrified of my aunt and loved my uncle accept when he came home drunk and violent towards my aunt.
He was orphaned at a very young age and married off when he was not ready. He and my aunt were childless and lived very very far in a place called Tinsukhia (3 at peace…) in the Far North East of India. This region is called Assam, famous for its teas.
It was not a life of three at peace. There was poverty, violence, and my broken heart. I remember feeling hungry a lot of the time… and wishing I was back home in my mother’s lap with my father’s tender gaze on me and my siblings.
In those days it took about a week to get to Tinsukhia by train from our ancestral homeland, Punjab and five days to get to my hometown in Bihar. I felt so abandoned, lost, vulnerable, alone.. words cannot explain my feelings, or sum them up. However something deep inside told me my parents had not really abandoned me and I would see them one day. But that one day seemed an eternity away.
The seed thought regarding the type of man I wanted to marry took root in my being then. My utter dislike of alcohol took seed then too.
I would recall how respectfully my parents related to one another and I felt sorry for my aunt and uncle, their unity seemed hollow, their “house” was not a home..
This period of my life was in some ways amazing too. The train journey to Assam went past the area near Darjeeling and continued along the borders with Tibet towards the East. The scenery was breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL. Assam was ok. The tribal people called the Nagas lived here. I loved watching them. They were very different to anything I had ever seen! They were very similar in appearance to the native Indians of America. Their dances and songs seem very similar to the Native people of America too. I saw a five headed snake one day as I was playing in the sand… Before anyone thinks that can´t be well my aunt saw it too before the men came and killed it… That experience made a big impression on me. There was much to be fascinated by, in this strange far off corner of India.
I spent much time just daydreaming/thinking about all the things my mother use to talk to me about daily, like: fairness, kindness, love and this very nice man called Guru Gobind Singh Ji who had died but I believed that he now lived up in the clouds along with many many good people. They watched all humans below on Earth while seated above the sky. I would daydream of flying up to the clouds with a pair of scissors ( to cut through the clouds) one day to visit them. I also dreamed of the day when I would feel my mother’s embrace.
After what seemed like years, ( 9 months) my aunt told me I was going back home. She bought many nice clothes for me and I persisted that she gets just as many nice things for my big sister who I had missed like crazy. She had knitted me a pretty red cardigan and I insisted that she knit one for my big sis too. Her´s was a stripey green cardigan. The green looked like two shades of foliage, where one shade was lit up by the sun.
Before I left, my uncle said, ” when you come back we will have a beautiful house for you to stay in.”
I have still to visit them… and yes they have a very beautiful home now and I am glad to say he put the alcohol aside decades ago after his children were born and their family have gone from strength to strength 🙂