A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

‘…the bonds that define us and shape our lives, and how the choices we make resonate through history’

Posted by Pepper on August 26, 2013

“Will you learn to speak my language? My ‘mother tongue’?”, I ask Mint, every now and then. He has answered that question numerous times, so I don’t quite know why I keep presenting him with the same query. His response is simple – He will learn if I truly want him to, though he sees no sense in learning it, because we hardly speak the language amongst ourselves. Heck, my own sister cannot speak what we call our ‘mother tongue’. So what utility value does it have, he asks me. I cannot really answer that question.

Growing up, two questions always made me feel very unsure and to be honest, embarrassed. The first being – “What is your mother tongue?”, the second, “What is the name of your native village? Where do you come from?”. How I would struggle to answer those. Growing up in India, most of my friends either spoke Hindi, Marathi, Gujrati, Sindhi, Katchi, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam, Kannada, Tulu, Konkani or Bengali. I spoke none of those. The language we spoke was not recognised, or even heard of. And this made me feel like a misfit, more than once. When it came to linguistic or regional bonding, there was no one particular group I belonged to.

When I do peep into history though, I see a heritage so rich, it makes me proud. My community hailed from two districts close to Balochistan in Pakistan, I am not going to name the districts, because together they constitute the name of the language we speak. The language is exclusive to our community. And considering how very small my community is, any mention on the web will mean a guaranteed end to my anonymity. The language is a mix of Hindi, Sindhi, Punjabi, Urdu with a uniqueness of its own. It also has a Multani dialect.

Some say an earthquake caused my whole community to migrate from their current location close to Balochistan to Karachi. Karachi, is where my whole community thrived and flourished. My grandparents from both sides were born there. Some of my mom’s elder siblings too, were born in Karachi. People from my community set up businesses of their own, did well, earned riches and established a name for themselves.

My childhood is full of real life stories set in Karachi. My grandparents would tell me with pride, about the huge mansions they owned there, the streets on which they played, their education and growing up years and all of that. But the best story was that of my great grandfather. I could see the pride with which my grandmother spoke about her father, how he studied and went on to become a reputed judge in that area. How famous he was! I would hear this story almost every afternoon.

They have terrifying memories of the partition. How they left behind their land, their mansions, their riches, and how they were forced to flee. Imagine leaving behind all that you owned, being forced to move to an unknown land and start afresh. My grandparents told me stories of the horror they faced when men chased them with shining swords in their hands. How they tried locking their gates so that angry mobs could not enter, how they hid behind doors with chili powder in their fists, how they sought refuge in their Muslim neighbours’ homes. I am unable to imagine the terror my grandparents underwent.

And then, people from my community, including my grandparents, moved to Mumbai. Some made it via sea, some covered the journey sitting on the roof of the train – owing to lack of space and availability of tickets. But yes, they came to Bombay. My whole community moved here. They started afresh – with no belongings.  It is because of this move that I have all my relatives in this city. I had my grandparents here, my uncles, aunts, grand aunts, and my parents’ siblings and cousins, everybody is here. Not only me, but my parents too were born in this city. This has been our home. So when kids in school asked me the name of my native village, I didn’t know what to say. Bombay, apparently was never an acceptable response. Everybody had to originate from some other place. Calling Karachi our ‘native place’ would never have worked either, because my classmates would then be aghast by me not being an ‘Indian’. Ofcourse, I know better now.

Like I said earlier, we are small in number. The older generation that actually lived in Karachi is dying. There are very few surviving aunts of mine who have actually witnessed the partition. Those stories are dying. My language is dying. A lot of people have married out of the community. We’re a liberal lot, but at the end of the day, it makes me sad to note that my people and the language will become extinct. And this is more because the language has not been passed on from one generation to another. People in my community choose to speak to their kids in Hindi and English, instead of teaching them the beautiful language that we can actually call ‘our own’. My parents are guilty of the same. I have always been spoken to in Hindi and English..that is just sad. When I question my parents now – they don’t even know why they did it.

I did manage to learn the language though. Just because I grew up hearing my parents conversing with my grandparents. I am not very fluent, but I can manage to speak. The sister on the other hand, can only understand. She fumbles too much while trying to speak.

We have a rare and precious possession in my ancestral home. A picture of my great, great grandfather!

the past1

I’ve wiped out his name. The text at the bottom says, ‘Died on Monday, the 6th October, 1919’. Many times, I’ve looked into this picture. He represents my past. You can see my image in this picture – quite symbolic, isn’t it?. I wonder who he was, what his life was like, and how he were to feel looking down at his great, great grand daughter. How very different our lives are.

And this is my favourite evidence of the honourable man that my great grandfather was. This book belongs to the British era. A rusty copy is owned by my community.

the past 2

the past 4

It takes me back in time, to an era that was so different from the one I live in. This is my history. I am proud to have inherited those genes, and definitely proud to be the great grand daughter of this man.

The title of this post has been taken from the snippet of  Khaled Hosseini’s book ‘And the Mountains Echoed’. Because what they say is true. The bonds of the past shape us and define our lives, and the choices we make do resonate through history. So when I ask Mint if he will learn my language, I can’t deny the fact that it has no utility value. It really doesn’t. But perhaps I want him to learn it just to preserve that culture, that connection, those memories, those people and my history. He is the only person I can hope to acquaint. Because at the back of my mind, I do know that my future children will not have an opportunity to learn the language. They have English, Tamil and Hindi to learn. Forcing another language on them does not seem right. Beside, they will have almost no exposure to the language. It is a choice I made by marrying somebody who comes from such a different culture, caste, region and background. I don’t regret the choice. But sometimes, when I do think of my past, the realisation that it may not be passed on makes me feel a pang. A strange pang.


59 Responses to “‘…the bonds that define us and shape our lives, and how the choices we make resonate through history’”

  1. Hey Pepper, I am so glad to read the post bout ur family. Ur grandfather is quite a looker and handsome, dude:) I salute him. I bet you are Sindhi, right?! I see no harm in learning a new language but to each its own. yeah, it’s unfair to force a language on us and it’s we should be happy of the choices we make in life. Glad to get a snippet of ur family. Keep the faith

    • Pepper said

      Hey no, I am not really Sindhi. That was the point of my post – my language is not known or recognized. I am not spelling out the name of the language on the blog for reasons I stated in the post. I’ll just say it sounds like a mix of many languages.

      No harm in learning a new language, ofcourse! It only takes a lot of time and effort. And at the end of the day, you wonder if the time and effort are worth the results. In this case, there is no significant use of the knowledge. That causes the confusion.

      • Oh! Cool! Well I would be interested to know bout ur language, Pepper. But, respect ur choice:) Yeah, we need to pick up and start learning. But, point noted as it may lead to confusion heehe..though debatable. Me too my Indian connection is quite a story:)

  2. Ashwathy said

    Whoa!! Yours roots go all the way to Karachi??? Seriously!! Wow!! I’d have never guessed! 🙂

    I understand your pang though. One of the reasons I am happy about having an arranged marriage is that I married someone of my own community and I know for sure that the customs, tradition (not to be confused with religion) and language would get passed down. Well provided I have kids of course. That is not to say I don’t support marrying out of community (you know what I mean).

    There was a brief moment in history where I considered settling down with a Christian. We belonged to the same region though. But at that time I had felt the same pang because I knew the differences that would significantly affect what got passed down to the next generation. Yours is similar, but of a different nature.

    Won’t your sister be able to learn it? Hmm but it’s true I guess you both should have started earlier…….

    • Pepper said

      Thought I’ve mentioned the Karachi connection on my blog before.. not sure 🙂
      Yes, I know what you mean. Like they say, our choices truly go down in history. If I had to pick between marrying within my community in order to pass on the language and heritage and being married to somebody I fell in love with, I’d pick the latter. Just like I did. I do not regret that choice by any means, and I know I would make the same decision if I had to do it again. When I weigh the pros and cons, I realise choosing my own partner, one I am in love with is more important to me than passing on a language and its roots. But that pang, that will remain. Maybe because as humans, we want it all.

      My sister will be able to learn the language. In fact, she kind of knows. Just that she needs to polish her knowledge. It is Mint I wish I could pass it all on to..

      • Ashwathy said

        True. The choices we make define our life for the future. You win some, you lose some. Like they say, you can’t have everything together.

        Pass it all to Mint? That wouldn’t make sense, would it? Not sure. Now if you were talking about passing it on to kids, I understand.

        • Pepper said

          Really? That’s not how I saw it. In an arranged marriage, both partners come from the same background and languages and history do not need too much of passing on, because they are already a part of the individual. So the couple can pass it on to their children. In my case, I would like Mint to be touched by my culture and my past. Only then would I be able to successfully pass it on my to kids, no? Or I’d feel a kind of disconnect if my children were impacted by my history, language and culture, but Mint wasn’t.

          It is also why I am trying to learn Mint’s language – Tamil. Won’t make sense if our kids can speak and I can’t, right? Infact, it will be a lot harder for the kids to learn a language if both their parents do not converse in it. So I think it is important to pass on some of your heritage (including language) to your partner, before you even thinking of passing it on to your kids.

          • Ashwathy said

            Yeah I guess it applies more so when the two people come from two different backgrounds 🙂 Never had to think too much about it. Guess if I had ended up marrying someone else, the story would have been different!

  3. NG said

    Do you speak Saraiki ? 😛

  4. This is such a new facet of your personality. All that family history and never a hint of it !! I think its very brave and mature of your family to have moved on from those memories, or in your case, visions of what your grandparents went through and establish yourself in today’s world. Though I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for them, I’m sure it wasn’t easy – fills me with huge admiration and respect for them. Would it be possible that some of you come together and start language classes for the younger generation? Just a thought…

    • Pepper said

      Language classes? Yes.. That would be a good initiative. Learning it in a systematic manner may not be easy though, because the language doesn’t have a script of its own.

  5. My roots go all the way to Sindh in Pakistan. After independence my great grandfather moved to India in same manner as you mentioned.. they moved to Bombay via sea & some family members via trains.
    My grandfather still tells us all the story of what all happened, how they left all their houses, money, treasures & just moved to India when he was 12 years old… My grandfather’s cousins are still based in Bombay while he decided to move to western part of India..
    My great grandfather’s pic is also in same attire Pepper, sachi.. same black coat, black cap/hat..
    You know what I am thinking Pepper?? Maybe your great grandfather & my great grandfather would have been friends?? who knows.. 🙂

    • Pepper said

      TPL, you’re Sindhi? I am surprised..considering your family is based in Gujrat.
      Oh yes, that is highly possible. We should find out sometime.. 🙂

  6. Boiling said

    I made some guesses about your language (from Google of course) but I will keep my keyboard shut because you want anonymity.

    I differ in viewpoint that the reality is empires rise & empires fall – that includes rituals, languages, clothes, countries everything.

    I want to shed the past rituals & traditions because they represent shackles to me – you know how people use traditions and culture to control women 🙂 That said I can understand nolstalgia – I still go & visit the places I grew up in, foods I ate etc etc, that is recreating things from my own childhood right, so I can understand your need to preserve your past. One of the primary reasons, I am not so into preserving my rituals/customs of my people is because my skills at my mother tongue are not great, I barely identify with it – I am distinctly uncomfortable & nervous in weddings/functions because I know shit about anything going on & feel like a fish out of water. So, shedding my past culture/traditions/whatever is liberating to me. ]

    Since, I shed things & choose what makes sense to me, I want the same to be passed on – Let them choose whatever they want, whatever makes them happy.

    • Pepper said

      Hey, I’m not sure you fully understood all that I was trying to convey. I am definitely not talking about rituals and traditions that shackle us. Had you been reading this blog for a while, you’d have come across the numerous feminist posts I have written. I have defied convention in every way by choosing to marry outside my community, not changing my last name, making my husband move to a location of my choice, not submitting to norms like cooking, etc. There is no way I would ever consider picking up a tradition that oppresses women.

      This is more like creating a window that allows my childreen to view the past. Food and distinct recipes that have evolved, jokes that are only shared within a particular community and language, people and their stories, I am talking about that kind of stuff. Stuff that tells individuals where they came from. Sure, our children should choose whatever they want, but that choosing can only come if they are given choices to pick from, right? I was ruing over the fact that my kids will most likely be exposed to only one culture and will not have the choice to pick from the culture that I come from, mostly because they will have little to no exposure of it.

      • Boiling said

        I did know your feminist side 😉 Window to the past, I can get that ( many people I know talk about that) but somehow I lack that need which is why I find it a bit difficult to understand! I don’t have that need, I don’t know why. In some way, you identify & are connected with your history, I don’t feel connected, perhaps because I do fit in. And because I did not fit in & chose whatever I wanted from anywhere, & created my own rituals in life – that includes everything not pooja paat, I do not wish my kids (if I ever want them) to know those cultures. Maybe when I get older I may change ha ha

        • Pepper said

          Yes, so I guess that is where we differ in perspective 🙂 Again – I hope you know I am not talking about ‘rituals’ as such. I follow none at all, much to the disappointment of my inlaws. But those little sounds, senses and memories of the past, I want to pass them on. I’d love to sing to my kids the songs my grandparents and mom sung to me. I’d love them to savour the delicacies I relished while growing up..There is so much more I would want to recreate, but not sure I can..

          • Boiling said

            Na na I am not referring to rituals. I often have discussions on this & my friends say I want to pass on this this to my kids, I want them to know ……..but I don’t have those feelings.

            I think because I am so different in many ways & do not fit in, & have defied everything that should have passed down onto me & it clearly did not pass onto me, I don’t have expectations from my kids coz they might be like me & they may not take it coz I clearly didn’t. And, I lack the passing on gene maybe 🙂 Somehow, I have no urge to pass on.

            Food & music would be easier to pass on. Make a sat/sun ritual – lunch (certain dishes) & always play those songs in kitchen/ weekends. It would get into kids brains & they would always associate that with mommy ha ha

          • Taa's mom said

            Pepper, i am surprised that you are so aware and thinking so far ahead. Before kids, i was exactly like Boiling,but after kids i just turned a complete 180 and the thing that Boiling mentions about not knowing things at functions – before i used to be like ‘why the hell should i want to know all these things, but now i find that only i have given up my traditions along with all those people who wanedt to give it up and find it a as a handicap when i want to participate in all the fun things like marriage and festivities. Now i go out of my way to learn all the things my mom wanted me to learn but i hated to, so i can pass those on, and my children don’t live in the bliss of knowing things. It is easy to live without tradition, the difficult part is to live with them when needed – i want them to know to put kolams, to celebrate the festivals like they are supposed to, know to tie the madisaar and cook up a sadhyay when the need arises. But once they are out of our house, then it is up to them, like it has been up to me ever since i left house.

            • Pepper said

              Taa’s Mom, you know, I am not sure I have it in me to follow traditions the conventional way. I am too lazy and most traditions/rituals don’t seem important enough to be followed. But somethings just do, even if they wouldn’t be cared for conventionally. I guess it is about how much importance you attach to what. Also, this thing about choosing for your kids – I agree. Afterall, aren’t we supposed to choose for them in the initial few years? We choose the amount of TV they can watch, what school is good for them, what values we should imbibe.. so why not choose what tradition and culture they should get a taste of? Once they are capable of thinking for their own selves, they can make a call about what is worthy and what is not.. So yes, fully agree with you.

  7. R's Mom said

    Gee! you have an awesome history with you dont you? I am imagining the next generation of yours..they would have so many stories to be told right?

    And honestly Pepper, now a days, the mother tongue or the language doesnt really matter…Tamizh is supposed to be my mother tongue but I can speak it too well right? look at R, she speaks more Hindi than Tamizh! She speaks a total khicidi right?

    I loved this post..this is how history should be taught to children I feel!

    • Pepper said

      Agreed, mother tongue or language don’t really matter. Obviously I’d agree, I have grown up not speaking my mother tongue, so I know. But this is different RM. For example, from what I have seen, you do talk to R in Tamil intermittenly. She speaks a total khichdi, which is fine. The point is, atleast she is not a stranger to the language. She is familiar and understands it, even if she doesn’t talk fluently.

      You do get my point when I say my kids will hardly hear the sound of people talking in my language? 🙂 That is what makes me a wee bit sad. Also the fact that my community is so small, I can see the language becoming extinct. You can’t have the same fears about Tamil, with such a vast population conversing in it. My tiny little community and unknown language however, is a different story.

  8. I am in a love marriage and I surely understand what ‘pangs’ are you talking about. We don’t really regret the decision but somewhere, deep down, something we are born with is becoming a less important part of your life and is vanishing pinches somewhere. But I have learnt, it is easier to take on and learn something new, but you cannot simply let go something that is imbibed in you since childhood. So, I am just glad that we do have the independence of following both.

    BTW, still can’t get my had around being anonymous. Is there a reason you have mentioned anywhere on your blog???

    • Pepper said

      No real reason. Just that annonymity gives you more freedom. I am not audicious enough to write about my personal life and my opinions if everybody knows who I am. I think there is some comfort in anonymity. Also, I am a private person. That is why I make it a point to never share my blog link on Facebook, emails, or give it to friends from the offline world 🙂

  9. ferret said

    I loved this peek into your history pepper. I think what passes on to the next generation really comes from the mundane, things we probably don’t even pay attention to. Like you picked up the language from your parents talking to your grandparents in the particular language. If the language is not part of your regular conversation, it’s difficult to imagine the kids will pick it up. Even if mint learns the language, i wonder if that is going to become your conversational language in any measure. I guess if your sister and you spoke to each other in that language, even if mixed with other languages, there would atleast be a familiarity with the language that would get passed on. Maybe you should write something in that language for the future (with a translation maybe :). That will become part of history, something that the next generation can look at to get a peek into their history.

  10. Taa's mom said

    too touching. there is nothing more primal than passing on the mother tongue. you can do it pepper. keep the faith.

  11. paatiamma said

    Such a nostalgic post Pepper. It is fair enough that you want to connect to Mint with your language.In my case, the partner grew in Mumbai and is much more comfy communicating in Hindi / Marathi and I being a typical southie feel the bond while communicating in Tamil. For practical reasons I had picked up a bit of Hindi and am continuing improving my skills in the same.But believe me the romantic best that we share are the priceless joy in his face when I make baby steps with my dubakoor Hindi and the connect when I feel when he attempts his heavily accented Tamil. 🙂 Children..I have no worries..They will pick up Hindi/Marathi only and if they are heavily influenced by me (Which I barely think is going to happen) they would want to learn Tamil . Any interest in language and culture should only come from the heart!It cannot be imposed.

    • Pepper said

      Hey the combo of Tamil, Hindi, Marathi sounds like us. So does talking in accented Tamil. Yes, a language or a culture should not be imposed. What I’d like is to my kids some exposure. That’s all. So they can pick their interests on their own. But like I said, even that exposure seems unlikely..

  12. GM said

    So fascinating. Forced migration narratives are so tragic and yet cause for hope with the lives that they worked hard to rebuild. Do you ever feel like wanting to visit your ancestral place? To see for yourself what your roots were all about? Not sure how practical it will be because I am sure it is not as easy as catching the first train out, but how do you deal with those urges? I am not even remotely connected either by ancestry or geography to the partition history on either the west or east, but find myself always very absorbed with narratives of displacement from the subcontinent. The literature from that part of the world is so rich and poignant with their stark tales about loss.

    On a related note, I wonder if you know of this http://www.1947partitionarchive.org/ Have been following their work for a long time now. You are so right about wanting to pass on or record what ever exists about your culture for posterity. It is always a shame to lose a culture. A way of life, a way of doing things, a way of thought. We lose so much of lived experiences, of what it was to be someone during a particular space in time so that we can make sense of the present. I do hope you are able to do something about your heritage. Good luck!

    • Pepper said

      You’ve no idea how much I want to visit Karachi, GM. It has been an old dream, to walk on those streets my grandparents grew up in. Recently, somebody from my family visited the place and brought back lots of picture of the street, the old school my community members studied in, the buildings, all of that. I keep pouring over those pictures, imagining my past..

      Thanks so much for the link. I didn’t know that. And thank you for understanding all that I have been trying to say. I am not sure all others did 🙂

      • GM said

        Well, I hope you make a safe trip someday 🙂

        I was reading the comments on your post and feel children from a mixed linguistic background have the chance to experience the best of both worlds if their parents are up to the task of at least speaking to them in their respective languages. Even without emotional bonds towards culture, languages serve such a practical purpose in navigating so many situations. I have my roots in one state and grew up in another. Due to various reasons, I don’t speak my mother tongue as well as I want to, but am so thankful for the little that I know of it. My world is that much more richer because I have the perspective of two cultures and and can make my way comfortably around two different states especially given that Tamil Nadu where my roots are is not the easiest to get by if you do not speak the language. Given my cinephilia, I can enjoy films in a language that is exclusive to one state without relying on subtitles.

        I find it sad how my neighbor, for instance, is determined not to let her children learn her husband’s language because of an ego tussle with her in-laws. So short-sighted! What if they grow up and begin resenting her for excluding them from such a rich culture. On the other hand, I have a friend who picked up fluent Gujarati simply because her neighbors were Gujaratis and there is so much she can do with that knowledge. She bagged a prestigious grant because she can do field work in Gujarat where the project is based. Given the diversity of India, knowing anything about any language is always an advantage. We recognize this when it comes to much sought after foreign languages and pay a pretty packet to learn them, but are willing to let go of things closer home which have as many advantages if only one would realize them.

        I don’t think I would experience any sadness at settling with someone without the same linguistic background as me. Cultures and languages evolve anyway and they are never static. As long as parents encourage their children to be in touch with the language in some way or the other I think children benefit from it. It is actually easier these days to do this if you speak a major Indian language. Publishing houses such as Tulika are bringing out children books for all ages in regional languages to encourage their use. I just wish they were around when I was growing up.

        • Pepper said

          Very true. Children from a mixed linguistic background have the chance to experience the best of both worlds if their parents are up to the task of speaking to them in their respective languages. Like I said, I don’t see that happening with my kids. Both Mint and I realise that English is not a choice for our future children. They have to know it. Other than that, we agree that we can both add one more language to the list, one from each side that is. For him, the language he would want the child to know is Tamil. For me, if I have to pick one language, it is Hindi. It will be most useful since it is the other language we converse in. So other than English, Tamil and Hindi, I don’t know if they will have room to pick up another language. Perhaps they will, but for that I will have to work very hard. And I know I am lazy, so maybe I shouldn’t complain..

          Your neighbour does sound very short-sighted indeed. I often wonder how a parent believes he/she has a right to snatch away something like that from their child. Just because you gave birth to them does not mean you own them. And like you said, languages are something that will only benefit you.

  13. Deboshree said

    What a warm post, Pepper. While the number of idle thoughts that haunt us is ever increasing, we often miss out on dwelling on our roots. My Granddad used to live in Bangladesh and moved to Delhi post the partition. In the way he talks about his childhood there, I can almost find his village come alive in front of my eyes.

  14. DI said

    Hey! I have a Karachi connection too 😀 My Grandfather spent most of his life pre-independence there ! So yay!

  15. Saanjh said

    Hey Pepper..

    I can so so soo connect to your post.. Ever since I started my blog I always had it in the back of my mind to once post about my grandfather, how fascinated I was about his stories of his childhood at Pakistan,stories of their ‘havelis’ at Pakistan, their riches, their respect in their land.. I can’t tell you how much I wish to just go once and see what is actually “our” ancestral village. Though I don’t have that missing-language link, they spoke punjabi, urdu and arabic all, but yes I do regret that I didn’t learn urdu from my grandpa.. He used to say learn it from me, no one else will teach you or speak it in future, but I never did..
    I do feel a pang that yes even our roots will lose their links.. Our future generations will always think they are from Chandigarh, we are from Chandigarh, no one will remember that village, those stories.

    Thanks to you, that atleast I wrote a part of whatever I wanted to share in the way of this comment. Needless to say, I loved it to the core.A very very special post..

    • Pepper said

      Pakistan, you too?! That’s wonderful. Thanks for sharing all that you did. As far as the stories go, maybe you can try and keep them alive?

      • Saanjh said

        Yes, pakistan.. 🙂 🙂

        Stories, I surely will… Hope you can do the same too.. If not the complete language, but still some insight into their past.. So that atleast they know about it… Expecting much from them will be foolishness on our parts.. 😉

  16. Whoa…so that mysterious eyes do have an equally enchanting story eh? Glad that I could see in person both the eyes and the rest of the body parts that tagged along with it :mrgreen:

    It seems my ancestors were from Persia and I remember asking my grandpa why I didn’t inherit their blue eyes…. I can still hear his laugh ringing in my ears 🙂

    I tried googling about the endangered languages in India and had to shut down the window quickly. I was shocked to know that there are more than 100 languages in India alone 😦

    • Pepper said

      Persia? Now that sounds very interesting. I’d love to know more 😀
      Yes, I googled for endangered languages in India, and as expected, even the name of my language is missing from the list. We are such a small lot, most people have not even heard of us. Anyway, sad to note how so many languages are under threat 😦

  17. me said

    Hi Pepper, I have reading your blog for a while now, not sure if i ever commented. I loved this post, not related to partition (except as an Indian..:)); i have keen interest in partiton related stories and history. Have been reading quite a few books on that. I can completely understand what you are trying to say above….we have a similar situation at home; husband and i , though belong to the same state, have a very different dialect/ language of communication. I know mine, he doesn’t even understand his mostly. And the kind of life we live… i doubt our kids would ever understand leave alone speak our languages….it does feel bad at times. Though i have this at back of mind to have at least my language passed on to my daughter…lets see…. and thanks to GM above to share that wonderful link,…thanks a lot!!
    I googled a lot after your post…:D…Siraiki etc i guessed…but in vain…:)

    • Pepper said

      That’s how I feel me. Even if I can’t pass on the language to her, I want my child to be familiar with it atleast. I’d hate it if she/he were a complete stranger to it. GM’s link is wonderful. I’ve been going through it since morning..

  18. D said

    Hi Pepper, very nice post. have been reading your blog for a while now. I loved this post. And thanks to GM for sharing the wonderful link!..

  19. Miru said

    Hey Pepper,

    I’ve been following your blog since ever but I’m the silent sort so never commented. I absolutely love your blog! This post of yours really touched me. I’m from the other side of the border and have grand parents who’ve told me similar stories of their life before partition in India, so I can really connect to all you’ve said. I wish it was easier for people from both sides to visit their ancestral places and really see what the roots are all about. Sadly, the world doesn’t work like that.
    Anyhow, I’m from Lahore but if you ever plan on visiting Karachi I’d be more than happy to be your tour guide/host. 😀

    Much love from Pakistan!

    • Pepper said

      Hey Miru! Your comment made my day. So good to hear from people belonging to the other side of the border – especially those who have been through a similar turmoil. You’re right, wish we had easy access to each other’s lands, so we could go back in time and see the places our ancesters grew up in.

      Karachi for me sounds like a distant dream. If I do get an opportunity to go there, I am going to take it up in a heartbeat. I even have the address / name of area and locality that my ancesters lived in. I really would want to go there and see what kind of buildings/structures and life surrounds it now. Those places contain so much history, so many memories..:)

      Thanks for breaking your silence today. I do hope to hear from you more often. Love and best wishes to you..

  20. Whoa.. That bit of your history needs to be treasured for eternity. I hope you get to go to Karachi. Ancestral places hold an enticing charm.
    I sometimes wonder if my future kids would be able to pick up Tamil given that we both converse mostly in English and Hindi and with very very few Tamil words interspersed.

    I hope your language flourishes.

  21. MoRS said

    Hey Pepper, you may want to share this with http://www.indianmemoryproject.com/.

    P.S – I am not affiliated with this project. Just came to know of it and found it interesting

  22. Ash said

    I may be a little late to the party but just read this blog post right now. As someone, who also lives across the border, I can relate to the feeling of nostalgia as my paternal grandparents, uncles and aunts also migrated from Indian Punjab (Jalandar). There are so many stories that have been told about their time there – their haveli, business, friends etc – no one knows what remains of all that now and it would be such a great journey to undertake to see. I, too, hail from Lahore and should you ever find yourself on this side of the border please do NOT hesitate to send me a shout out – would love to show you around and show you that while Karachi may be more cosmopolitan, Lahore, Lahore hai ;).


    • Pepper said

      Hey Ash, very happy to see you here. When people from across the border land in this little space of mine, it brings me a lot of joy. If I ever find myself in Lahore, I will surely shout out to you 🙂

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