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Earliest Memories - Part 15 - Sick And Tired, Decision To Leave Amritsar

Viewed 360 times 2015-1-3 19:18 |Personal category:StoryTeller|System category:Life| Sick, And, Tired

Sick and Tired

The mother was feeling really tired and sick from her condition and general exhaustion. She complained bitterly to the father, who could not be home for long spells. She was gradually getting mentally drained and depressed. She was well aware of it. She tried to sometime be artificially cheerful.  She had heard countless times that pregnant women should be happy and healthy for the child to be born happy and healthy. Any stress in her would affect the unborn child in addition to the two around her.

In her heart, she had been shaken by the plane crash nearby and the events regarding the capture of the enemy pilot. It scared her and gave a premonition that a great disaster was approaching ever closer. This was not the condition anyone, particularly a pregnant woman, should have been in. She felt that at any moment she could lose her family or they could lose her.

Life in Amritsar and the general area was getting difficult. Families were trying to leave in their hundreds of thousands, but could not do so easily. There were numerous bombing raids all around that area.  Some railway lines, highways and some roads in the city were bombed out and it was no longer possible to drive on them anymore. There was repair work done on an emergency basis but there would be another bombing. Municipal water supplies became very low and restricted to only some areas. Water pipelines had been bombed or sabotaged. Well water was the last resort. People took to guarding their wells even at home.  Supplies and shopping opportunities or goods available were very low. People were starting to hoard. Many were getting more irritable, nerves were frayed, tempers flared even while great examples of camaraderie, sharing and sacrifice were seen. Overall, life became progressively more difficult as the days went by.

The mother of the little boy felt a strong urge to go back to her hometown, far away from the war front, safe for her children and the new one coming into this world. At the time the new baby was expected, things would be even worse. She felt at the end of her tether and nearing a breaking point. The father too became evermore busy at work as the war went on. He was not around to help as often as she or he would have liked.

 Ironically, as the war got worse, his job took more of his time away from home or even a normal day’s rest. It got riskier too and there was never any guarantee that he would return home anytime he went to work. Logically, it seemed to them that they were waiting for a big catastrophe to put an end to their growing misery.

The Decision To Leave Amritsar

The parents talked it over and came to a decision. The mother would risk it and leave with the little boy and girl to Delhi where the family had friends who promised to put them up, as a first step. The father could not leave or desert his official duties. He would stay behind in Amritsar. They would vacate the portion of the house they were renting. The father did not see any need to rent when his family was not there. He would and could remain at his office itself, since he was working or needed virtually 24 hours a day.  There were beds available right next to their desks and many did sleep there in between shifts.

Their house owner’s family tried to suggest, briefly, that they consider living and perhaps even dying together as a family, knowing the risks of travel, but did not persist too much. They knew the mother wanted to go to her parents with her kids even if meant some risk on the way. If she made it, she and the kids would be much, much safer. There were reports of a couple of trains and tracks being bombed, but they had been fixed somewhat. Trains crawled slowly at night and sometimes did not move at all during the day. In the past weeks, trains had taken between 2 and 5 days to reach Delhi from Amritsar, a journey that normally took about 12 hours or less by rail in those days. There were no regular, scheduled trains from the Amritsar railway station. All trains were special, one-off or something planned at the last moment. The railway station and the entire area around it had turned into a sort of refugee transit camp.

Nevertheless, the decision was made and they decided to pack the next day and set out as soon as possible. The father went to work and tried to gather as much information about the situation along the way to Delhi and let his colleagues know that he would need to take some time off to help pack and see his family off the as soon as possible.

To Be Continued

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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