Big and small

My story is about the big and small migrations made by my family over time which somehow all lead up to me being born in this country called New Zealand.

In my family's history, my family has had to migrate. Sometimes for reasons they couldn’t help, like the partition between India and Pakistan and the war related to it. Or to settle at a place where there were more job opportunities.

My family’s earliest memories of migration was when my great grandparents were forced to leave their homes in 1947. They were compelled to move from the various places where they lived in Pakistan, which then became an independent country. Because of the disagreements between the two different religions war had started. The only civilized way to stop this kind of behaviour that was thought of at the time, was to separate the two different cultures, and give it its own land. That is why the partition took place between India and Pakistan. But because of this, many families suffered, and faced lots of tragic experiences. A lot of people died during fights that occurred during the partition, and also when people traveled from India to Pakistan and vice versa.

When they were packing up to move they had to leave a lot of their land, houses, personal belongings, and wealth behind in the hope that they would return one day. They had to walk for long distances, and carrying so much was impossible. In this chaotic time of everyone moving, war and disagreements, my great grandma (maternal) was one of the people that had something very special taken from her. As she was in the overcrowded train traveling from Pakistan to India, she had to leave her box of jewelry and other precious belongings on the train so that they could find a better place to hide for safety. She had some real strong family connections with some of those items. The loss of those items, really scarred and traumatized her for life which led to her being partially deaf. One of the memories that my mum has of her, is that she would talk to herself about what she had been through during the time of partition. It seemed like she was reliving that moment all over again, which was really painful for the whole family.

My great grandparents arrived in India from different parts of Pakistan. My Dad’s granddad lived in one of the worst affected cities Lahore, before the partition. Then he moved to the Indian side of Punjab afterwards. He married my great grandma, after the partition in 1948 in Jalandhar (A city in Punjab). In the same year they both migrated together to Delhi for employment opportunities but on the way to Delhi in the train, a terrible event took place. All of my great grandma’s belongings from their marriage got stolen.

My mum’s (paternal) grandparents,were married in Pakistan. My great grandad was from a place called Sargodha, and my great grandma was from a place called Chiniot. After the partition they migrated to a place called Haryana in India.
Both families and many others, had to set up their lives from the very beginning.
Another migration that took place in my family was my maternal grandad who moved from Haryana to the capital of India Delhi, in 1959 at just the age of 18. He migrated to Delhi to find a job and to start his living. He also earned to help educate his younger three brothers, which would surely have been a challenge. Then in 1965 my grandad got married to my grandma whose parents lived in a place called Kalowal, before the partition. They moved to a place near Haryana, known as Rohtak after the division.

Years Later...

In 1994 my dad Varinder, migrated to New Zealand in the hope of a better job and lifestyle. He was successful, and he got a job in the first Indian restaurant in Lower Hutt as a chief. He went back to India, was married to my mom Neetu and returned to New Zealand with her in 1997. My parents were the first people to migrate overseas in our family. I was born in New Zealand in 1998, and my sister was born in 2006. My dad owned a restaurant in Wellington over time, and had many articles written about him in the paper.
This is me and my families history of migration. Amazingly enough if even one of these migrations didn’t happen, then I may not be sitting here on my comfy couch writing this right now.

By Mrinali