Back to where it all began...

Trip Start Jan 15, 2011
Trip End Apr 15, 2011

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Flag of India  , Punjab,
Monday, March 7, 2011

Today we took a tour of Aman's Fathers birthplace. It’s a 'pind’ (in Punjabi a village is known as a ‘Pind’) called Kilaraipur (pronounced kill-a-rye-poor).  In total there were 8 brothers and 2 sisters who were born here and only 3 are left permanently living in India.  On this particular occasion we were able to get Aman’s Dad and 2 of the brothers to take us on a tour (incidentally while we were here there were 6 of the brothers in India as a wedding in the family had just happened).

On the drive to the pind we passed many green fields filled with wheat and Buffalo’s bathing in the lakes.  As we drew closer, the roads became more and more narrow until we had to just stop our car at the side of one road and get out and walk the rest of the way.  As we walked further into town the locals kept popping their heads out of their front doors to catch a glimpse of the foreigners.  We had a few people swing open their front doors and invite us in for tea or water.  We saw many locals playing cards on their veranda’s and the kids were all playing with marbles in the streets.   

Our first stop was Aman’s Great Grandfather’s roadside shop.  He used to sit on the veranda of the shop and sell opium (in today’s world he would be considered a drug dealer but back then opium was legal).   Aman’s Uncles recounted tales of them waiting to get money from their father and also packing opium in little pouches to be sold to ‘customers’ (in today’s world these customers would mostly likely be drug addicts).  A little further down the street we met a local shopkeeper that happened to be their  83 year old cousin.  Although they had met him on a prior trip back to the pind about 7 years ago, prior to that they had not met him in 20-25 years.  We also saw places where they had played marbles, ran and played tag, and also the water wells where they had dived into and learned to swim on their very own with no parental guidance whatsoever.

We walked further into town and many people came out of their house and asked us where we were from and who we were.  Most of them knew Aman’s Dad’s family and if they didn’t, they had heard of them through their parents.  They were all very friendly telling us stories of where different families had all moved away to, and ALL of them offered us tea and snacks to which we had to politely decline over and over.  The whole area had a very family oriented feel to it with the village seeming to be like one big happy family where everybody knows everybody.  Our final stop was the area where their old house had once stood and there was only a pile of bricks and one wall left standing (one of the brothers actually had 20,000 of the bricks carted to a different town to build the foundation of his new house).  We also met the neighbours and went inside and chatted for a little while as their father was still living and was the same neighbour that Aman’s Dad had lived next to.

The family left Kilaraipur in 1966 and moved to the city of Ludhiana and after that the entire family dispersed to different locations across the globe.  To think that the entire family came from this small village with barely any electricity and roads not wide enough for a car, to where they are now is somewhat unfathomable.  Some took 8 day trips on a Cargo Ship from Mumbai to Mombasa crammed in the underbelly of the ship with just a cot to sleep on.  The boat trip cost $400 Rupees at that time while the trip by air cost $1200 Rupees.  At that time $1200 Rupees was a YEARLY salary so making the trip by air was ridiculously expensive and you had no choice but to make the trip by boat.

The whole tour of the village made us think that our generation looks for adventure by way of travel  while the last generation had adventure just by living life on a day to day basis…The experiences and hardship they encountered to get to where they are today is something I don’t think we can even imagine no matter how many stories we are told.  The trip to the original birthplace of our Father gives us an even greater appreciation for all the hardwork and dedication our parents have done to get to where they are today and give us the lives that we lead…
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Sandy on

Storyline brought it all back for me! I remember the kids of the village being shocked at digital camera technology as we showed them how it worked!

Mom on

Great observations with awesome comments. Love you.

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