From Quetta to Delhi: A Partition Story
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
This story is a cameo set against the backdrop of Partition - a decision taken by political leaders in Britain and India that shattered the lives of ordinary people like the family in this narrative who at that time were living in Quetta, Baluchistan. Viewing victims of the Partition of Punjab in the light of post traumatic stress has been long overdue.
The narrator's mother's method of coping with the traumatic present was to escape into the past by reliving her memories of Quetta and her beloved Pathans along with the mundane, insignificant little details of the women's daily lives. Her recall hinges on the drama of the trivial, on food,rituals, clothes, religious practices and neighbourhood bonding. It was a syncretic culture, of multilinguism - Urdu,Punjabi and Seraiki, Persian and Sanskrit, of multiple identities through the biradaris - caste,mohalla and religion. The author's grandmother kept the Guru Granth Sahib at home, her mother and sisters practiced Hindu rituals, while her husband was an agnostic. And everyone made pilgrimages to Sufi pirs.