The Beginning of the Quest

(Picture: Raunak in front of one of his ancestral houses. It was quite a task to locate the house and establish that this was the one we were looking for. The house is in a depleted condition but we found someone still living there. We could not get through the language barrier and did not quite understand who they were but they were kind enough to give us a tour of the house and let us click some pictures.)

Ranjit and I courted for about 5 years before we got married. We did not have the consent of my family for the marriage and so my parents and my in-laws did not meet until Raunak was born -- 3 years after our wedding. In fact, they met for the first time outside the operation theater half-an-hour before I delivered Raunak.

A year after our wedding, I was helping my mother-in-law to cook dinner when she started talking about her childhood and I felt a strong sense of deja vu. I shook the feeling off, but every time the topic came up, which was often after the first mention, I had a dizzy feeling that I knew the setting and people she was talking about. After almost 6 months of dealing with this uneasy feeling, I finally asked the question that was about to unlock the mystery. I asked her the name of the place she was describing and she said "Kharagpur". I know that my parents-in-law stayed in Bilaspur for many years before moving to Hyderabad (my father-in-law was a football player and used to play for Bengal. He came to Hyderabad to play a Santosh Trophy match, loved the city and impulsively decided to settle down here). I was hearing about the Kharagpur connection for the first time.

The reason this became the key was because I knew that my mother was born in Kharagpur and was brought up there until she was some 12 years old. The people my mother-in-law was talking about were my mother and her elder sister and the place she was describing was the backyard of my mom's house!! My mom told us stories of her childhood in bits and pieces and that was the dizzy deja vu I was experiencing.

We all found out that my mom, my mother-in-law and my father-in-law were next door neighbors. My parents-in-law were neighbors and fell in love, got married and moved to Bilaspur later. My mother-in-law, it turned out, used to play with my mom and her elder sister regularly. The families were quite close. My father-in-law and my grand father were very good friends. 40 years and 5 cities later, Ranjit and I fall in love and get married. We did not realize all of this until then, and we later had a fantastic reunion when Raunak was born. It is a small world!

I am obsessed about understanding how the family moved from their native villages to Hyderabad on both sides because the story ends with Ranjit and I getting married. This is one of the reasons why I took the trip to Orissa and Bengal to trace our roots.

I have told these story many times to friends but it is time I document it somewhere and I choose my blog for this. The main stars of the series are going to be the Indian Railways, Religion, and Football. I am going to pen down my genealogy trail and other anecdotes in random order under the label 'My Love Story' because...that is what it is.

Labels: My Love Story