A time to depart for Saat Samundar Paar

Joginder Anand


Dr. Anand - an unholy person born in 1932 in the holy town of Nankana Sahib, central Punjab. A lawyer father, a doctor mother. Peripatetic childhood - almost gypsy style. Many schools. Many friends, ranging from a cobbler's son (poorly shod as the proverb goes) to a judge's son. MB from Glancy (now Government) Medical College Amritsar, 1958. Comet 4 to Heathrow, 1960.
Widower. Two children and their families keep an eye on him. He lives alone in a small house with a small garden. Very fat pigeons, occasional sparrows, finches green and gold drop in to the garden, pick a seed or two and fly away.

It was the 29th of January, 1960. My parents had insisted that I spend the day with them and my maternal grandparents in Karnal, before departing from "India". Yes, India as it then was. Not the India I had been born in. "My India" was really Trans-Ravi. One could stretch it to Trans-Sirhind Canal. Sometimes, we Punjabees regarded Sirhind Canal as the boundary between the Punjabi speakers and Hindi Bhasha speakers. It was often just fun, but sometimes ended in anger and in quarrels.

On the evening of 30th January, I caught a flight from Delhi's Palam airport to London's Heathrow airport. (London was Saat Samundar Paar - seven oceans away.) In those days, the airport was very, very quiet. The check-in was very civil. I hugged my parents and my uncle (my father's sister's husband). Shook hands with my cousin. Then, went in through the Departure Gate. Literally on to the airfield.

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