This post was written in January of this year. I was waiting to publish it at the right time but Sage decided to end her podcast before my story could be released. Now this post is an ode to my grandfather, who died barely a week after this interview took place. My maternal grandfather, Daljit Singh, was an exemplary man with strong core values and plenty of grit. He was a true inspiration to everyone in the family, and the kindest and most loving soul I have met (these may sound tall claims, but if you knew him you’d agree). His legacy lives on, and he’s terribly missed.
With my grandfather, Daljit Singh, at one of my wedding functions
The digital age has introduced unparalleled ways of connecting to people. Six degrees of separation seem closer with the use of social media and the internet. I’ve been writing my blog since October 2017, and many people from various parts of the world have read it and connected with me. After I published my posts related to the 1947 Partition Archive, Sage got in touch with me to record my grandparents’ stories of the Partition of India.
Sage Tyrtle is a storyteller. She hosts a podcast where she collects people’s true stories and presents them to the world. Based in Toronto, Canada, she conducts workshops where she teaches the craft of storytelling; and performs live. When she reached out to me, I was completely unaware of this medium of telling stories, so I jumped at the chance!
A podcast is a series of digital audio or video files that a person can download and listen to. Podcasts have become popular as they are easy to listen to while doing other tasks. The concept is still new in India but I’m sure it’ll gain popularity with time.
An Animated online discussion on the partition of India
Through email correspondence, we set up a date and time for the interview- not an easy feat considering the 10.5 hour time difference between Toronto and Delhi. On a cold evening in January 2018, we conversed about the traumatic events of August 1947.
I was surprised that she reached out to me, since I felt so far removed from the actual event. I strongly believe everything happens for a reason though. My ancestors belonged to Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan), and I’m deeply interested in this period of history. My grandparents didn’t migrate from Pakistan to India, as their families were already settled in Delhi/Mumbai; but they lost all their lands and ancestral homes during the partition. Strangely, I was reading the book “Remnants of a Separation” by Aanchal Malhotra, when we recorded the podcast. This book relates stories of partition survivors through the material objects they had migrated with. As such, the partition weighed heavily on my mind.
I was nervous but Sage had a calming effect. She started by telling me a little about her background and allowed to me ask questions. I was very animated during the interview. My husband walked in at one point and thought I was about to cry! I feel very passionately on this subject. Since I studied History at the graduation level, I’m privy to knowledge that a layman isn’t. Speaking to an interested person allowed me to be candid. I probably said some very controversial things!
Being able to tell one’s story is very empowering. It allows you to explore your own feelings and shows you a different perspective, as you view the story in its final form as an outsider. I’m very honoured and thankful that Sage reached out to me.
Buy Aanchal Malhotra’s “Remnants of a Separation” here.
If you’re a history buff/ partition nerd like me, you may enjoy these other posts of mine:
The 1947 Partition Archive: Preserving a Forgotten History
An Evening with The 1947 Partition Archive
Review of Ashis Ray’s “Laid to Rest: The Controversy Over Subhash Chandra Bose’s Death”