My Grandmother's Memories

My Grandmother's Memories

3 mins 83 3 mins 83

Whenever my grandmother tells me stories, I feel, we as a generation are lucky to be born in this era, after the period of independence in 1947, after the separation of India-Pakistan strongly based and biased over religion, after Bongo-Vongo- the division of Bengal into two separate countries, one is West Bengal, a part of Independent India, and the other is a country wholly, named Bangladesh. Bangladesh was called as East-Pakistan before it got independent in 1971. 

Since my childhood, I heard stories about the united Bengal before its game of separation. II heard stories from my mother which she heard from her mother about how they were forced to escape from their motherland Dhaka, which is now the capital of Bangladesh. I heard stories about how they left all their belongings, no matter how rich or poor they were, once they escaped, they were all residing in the same line of life, starting life all over again. I grew up listening to the terms “ghotis” and “bangals” which used to confuse me when I was too young, but as I grew up, I understood those terms. GHOTIS are those Bengali people residing in the Indian part of Bengal and BANGALS are those Bengali people who stayed in Bangladesh pre-independence and then came to India. These two groups are always competitive mood with each other.

My grandmother told me, she was from Dhaka; her father was a JAMINDER who was both reputed and respected by people of all religion. I could see her eye lit up whenever she tells me about her childhood in Dhaka, in their JAMINDER bari. She told me about various festivals that used to be held up. As she grew up, she witnessed several luxurious festivals and events and obviously, the greatest festival for all Bengalis DURGA PUJO, used to be held in their JAMINDER BARI and a large number of people were invited.

“Best sculpturers were hired by your great grandfather every year to make DURGA-PRATIMA (Idol) and were paid sufficient enough for the wonderful work they did every year”- said my grandmother to me, with her sparkling eyes as she recollected her childhood memories.

“There used to be huge celebrations, and our houses were decorated with pradips. An uncountable number of people used to come and join us at the biggest festival. No matter from which caste or religion they belonged, everyone was welcomed with generosity” – she completed.

“How old were you then?” – I asked her.

“I was nine years old, and the youngest sibling. I was pampered a lot. My elder sister was ten years older than me, more serious she was, with admirable personality” she said.

Yet again, I started imagining my old white-haired wrinkle skinned grandmother as a nine-year-old beautiful small girl, but there’s a difference in my thought, that I saw a photograph of her before she got married, a black and white photograph where she was wearing a saree. 

Time flies and people change, my grandmother has no idea about her paternal house’s present situation, it’s condition, she still thinks of it as she left it. But often think, is it taken over by the government, or occupied by the locals, or it has been broken. Does DURGA PUJA is celebrated at the same place? I don’t know, and never shall I know cause with changing time, the names of certain places have been abolished and such JAMINDER BARI has been occupied. All it remains is those within my grandmother’s memories.

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