Friday, May 8, 2020

Bambroos, Akura, 1960s




My mother's maternal grand uncle in his village Akura (Okur), Anantnag. 1960s.  Govind Joo Bambroo (Gund-maam, for my mother) was youngest uncle (mama) of my Nani. Gundmaam was a lover of Kehwa, loved it loaded with dalcheeni and elachi. Okur, when it crops up in conversation with my mother, is always remembered as a village paradise. Apparently a stream snaked silently under the wooden old house which was my nani's matamaal. Okur is the place from where my nani and her children, my mother, her sister and brother get their nose.

The family had a lot of cows, in 1990 when the family fled, the barn's gate was kept open for the cows to walk out and find new homes. 

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Photograph from 1950s. Seated on chair: My Nani's mother. Her name was Yamberzal. After marriage she was renamed Umrawati, wife of Tarachand Raina, of Chattabal near Batte Booyn (Pandit Chinar). Tarachand was store keeper for British Bungalow at Gulmarg. Later the family moved to Karfali Mohalla. 

Chattabal is where my father's family comes from. The two families knew each other. Tarachand Raina's brother's first wife was sister of my great-grand mother. She died due to pregnancy complications. She had two children at the time, a boy named Radhakrishan Raina and a girl (mother remembers her as "kamjigri"). It is said she had Tchaman (Paneer) and died of colitis. This would be in 1930s. Radhakrishan Raina was stuck in Sialkot in 1947. He never returned. His wife, Radhikarani (my mother remembers her Chotey Bhabi) was pregnant with second child at the time. The family lived in Chattabal, my grandmother was friends with here. Radhikarani died in 2018, my grandmother was in Kerala with me at the time. When the news came on the phone, she cried and remembered Radhika Rani's life. Radhikarani's original name was something else, perhaps Shyama, she was renamed after the name of her husband.  She was great at making tablecloth out of used rugs. I heard how even as late as in 1965 war there was talk that Radhakrishan had survived, in prison, or converted. There was hope. Turned out to be rumor. 

When my Nani was pregnant with her first one, Radhakarani was also expecting. They were visited by a wandering saint, perhaps Prath Mout (Prath the Madman), a mercurial ascetic who would forecast future, say it out load, even if it was bleak. Mout told Radhakarani that she would deliver a boy, but he asked that the child better be given to him after birth. Radhakarani knew this meant something bad was about to go down. To my Nani also, he forecast a boy, but he said, you can keep him as you will need him.

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