On the 10th day of my journey, I met had breakfast with a dear friend Lissa Chazot’s grandmother. Lissa arranged for one of my night stay in Ahmedabad at her family house.
As I woke up on 21st August morning, the grandmother made me tea and shared following stories with me over breakfast.
1952: I was 10 years old and used to walk to the school with a friend of mine. Everyday we used to walk bungalow of one of our classmate. One day on the way back home from the school, we saw a man lying opposite of the the bungalow. No one was there to help him and may be he was drunk or ill. I decided to went inside my classmate’s bungalow to request for help. I knocked the door and met the mother of my classmate. I explained her the situation and requested her to lend me some money to pay for house carriage ride to hospital. The mother hesitate to lend money, not because she didn’t had money or we were kids. But maybe because she was not willing to help random person lying on the street. I was talking to myself and thought, “They got so much money then why are they thinking to just give away 10 paisa!” Somehow, we managed to convince her and able to get the man ride to the hospital.
She set an example of kindness without any age bar. She also shared a story from the times of India-Pakistan partition.
1947: I was 4 years old and we had to leave our hometown Lahore during the partition. Before the partition was officially announce, my family was able to come to Central India sound and safely. There were two women in our extended families who were pregnant – my maternal uncle’s wife and my father’s sister. Both of them were still in Independent Pakistan. And they had to deliver their children in the process of crossing the border. My father’s sister was able to proper delivery and able to carry her child to Independent India safely but the case was not same for my maternal uncle’s wife. She gave birth to two kids and it was not possible for her to carry both the kids and cross the border safely. She had to leave one child behind in the hospital and till today she remembers about the kid who was left in Pakistan.
Before 21st August, I never knew anyone from Lissa’s family personally but her grandmother never made me feel like I am stranger to her. She hospitality and the way she was sharing the stories made me feel like I am part of the family.
I was not able to send much time with Lissa on the day (20th August) she arranged for my night stay but she made me interact with the staff and kids of the school where she is a teacher – Mahatma Gandhi International School. It was interesting to counter the questions of the young curious kids and made me feel that I am learning more by sharing my experiences of the journey with them.