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From Partition to pandemic

Travel restriction abstract made of tourist in form of of luggage with face mask, sunglasses and hat.  

At 81, whenever my grandfather recalls his childhood years back in the 1940s, he will be revived with fresh energy and fun. Sharing memories of his heyday back then with his grandchildren is so much relaxing for him.

Born in present-day Pakistan, my grandfather still remembers the days of Partition. At just seven, he left with his parents and his six siblings for India. The journey on the train was scary. The chaos made them panic the whole way.

After the train and bus journey, they reached Ambala. Since his parents had no acquaintance in the new city, they took refuge in a large empty house, left vacant by a rich Muslim family which might have left India for Pakistan.

For a seven-year-old boy, finding a meaning and sense for Partition was impossible. He thought it was a trip to a new city and therefore he went out to explore nearby gardens, temple and mosques. During his stay in Pakistan, he had learned a little Urdu, but after the shift to India, Hindi became a new challenge for him. He was admitted to a school at the age of eight, where he made a lot of friends. India became his new home with a new environment all around.

After finishing his 10th standard, he started to work in his early teenage years. He used to sell clothes with his elder brother in the weekly fair in the nearby villages and town. What he learned from selling these clothes served as a practical experience for him to deal with clients and learn to manage work and study simultaneously. The menial jobs he did during his childhood benefited him in his entire career. Life was not so fancy and status-oriented in those days. Life was so real and peaceful.

After the COVID-19 pandemic struck, my grandfather is locked inside home. Now he calls up his friends and video chats with relatives. When he sees the children around our house and nearby apartments, he finds that most of them are not allowed to play outside with their friends. They are made to attend online classes, with even children aged three or four busy watching YouTube videos.

Childhood has changed so much in these past 80 years. Earlier there were just children, but now there are smart kids. Unfortunately, these smart kids are far from the life children of the 1940s enjoyed. Life is so hasty now and has become more troublesome after the deadly COVID-19.

kirtidimple3007@gmail.com


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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 11:54:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/from-partition-to-pandemic/article34797636.ece

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