The Bangladeshi aunty H and her husband A had moved here only two years ago. The thing is, the house they live in now was owned by their son B but two years ago he passed away in a car accident very close to home. So H and A moved here in an attempt to sell the apartment that no one wanted to buy because of the brill economy. Now they have decided to keep the apartment and let their college going grand daughter to live. Three weeks ago I saw H aunty outside getting off someones car.
She asked me if she could spend the night with us. She just wanted to sleep and nothing else. I muttered a sure and asked her what happened. She told me that A uncle had been admitted in the hospital and she tried to sleep alone the previous night and she could not sleep at all and was super scared especially since this was the first time for her to live alone after he son passed away. I told her that this would be a non-issue and she was welcome anytime. She spent two nights with us. Very non-intervening she was. She came in and slept and woke up before we did and left. Uncle is now back home and she wanted to have me and G along with Babs over for dinner. We tried our best to get away from it but she insisted. She wanted to thank us and I really have no idea for what but she insisted and we could not disrespect them and we agreed to meet them last night in their house.
G was looking forward to a boring uncle-aunty evening and I was not expecting anything at all but when we got there aunty had cooked up a feast and the best part we heard stories from them. Stories that no one in our family could tell us because we are from the South, where the partition was a tale that people had heard of. We learnt from them that uncle was born in Calcutta (Kolkotta) and aunty in Delhi and they moved to Bangladesh during partition. uncle told us how different life was then and how the politicians had messed up their life. We spoke about their tour around India where they visited all parts of India and had fun. He told us about Jinnah about Nehru and about his student life at Aligarh. We spoke about movies and soaps. I did not think that I would run out of asking them questions when Giri reminded me that we had to leave because it was almost ten and uncle would want the rest. Uncle was slightly gasping. We took leave but we could not stop thinking of them and their past. Of India and Bangladesh, of his love for India and not so much love for Pakistan. He had hated everything they had forced upon them, he told me that he was indeed happy that Indira Gandhi had carried out the 1971 war which created Bangladesh. I was proud of my country again...
I kept thinking of a young uncle and aunty eating barely anything and living as refugees during the partition of their home land. I felt so bad for them that they had to go through such turmoil but what will always remain with me is uncle and aunty repeating many times to us with a very far away look in their eyes, "I love Calcutta, I miss Calcutta. I would love to go back there."