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Doing Time With Nehru

Voices of Deoli


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Voices of Deoli

Posted on May 20, 2015 at 12:22 AM Comments comments (117)
There's a lecture tomorrow at Stanford U. at noon about the India-China Border War of 1962; how the Chinese Indians lving in Indiai were affected, including internment. I believe it may the first of its kind here in the U.S. 

Dinner with Calcutta/Darjeeling Chinese

Posted on May 11, 2013 at 2:17 PM Comments comments (209)
Dinner here at home last Tuesday with a group of Calcutta/Darjeeling Chinese was a lot of fun. For most of us, it was the first time that we met together since living in India. Peggy and Cyril came down from Canada; Joy and Effa live in San Mateo; Alice lives in Hayward; Nicole lives in San Francisco; Noel and me in Berkeley. There was so much animation and joy in getting reconnected, exchanging of personal accounts of the '62 border war, life in Calcutta during that time, and the effects of the internment. There were also heartfelt stories about my parents. 

And what did we have for dinner, you ask? Indian food of course! Rice and dhal, chicken curry, eggplant with peas, aloo dum, spinach, cauliflower, and raita, For dessert, we had laddoos — Peggy had to bring them because of the "laddoo" chapter in my book! Joy brought her version of mishty doy—delicious, and not too sweet. Alice brought meat pasties and a couple of Chinese dishes thrown in, just in case...All in all, we ate a lot and had fun!

We'll have to have a repeat!

New Begiinings May 2013

Posted on May 5, 2013 at 7:28 PM Comments comments (149)
A few weeks back I was recently contacted by a young man living in Palo Alto named Daniel. He told me his mum just read my book and it had really resonated with her. He thought it would be nice if the two of us met. He told me his parents were coming to visit him from Canada in early May and would I be open to meeting them, perhaps at a restaurant. He told him I would be delighted to meet them, but I thought it would be nicer and more relaxing if we had dinner in our home. I also invited two other women, whom I had met briefly shortly after my book launch last October, to join us.  One person named, Joy, was actually born in the camp! and Alice, who was in the camp were one of the internees who had opted to go to China after release. She read my book and then came by the house and bought half a dozen more to give away to friends. 

It will be the first time for me to have a meeting of "ex-internees." The dinner is going to be this coming Tuesday. Ten years ago, I would never have entertained this idea, but now I'm really excited and looking forward to it. 

Last event in 2012 in connection with "Doing TIme With Nehru"

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:49 PM Comments comments (0)
On December 7, I was intvited to be the guest speaker to a friend's extended family gathering in New Delhi's Gymkhana Club. I talked about my family living in Darjeeling and about Chinese Indians being put into an internment camp during the 1962 India-China Border War. Few, if any knew of this episode. We had a good exchange afterwards and then two members of the younger gerneration had an Oxford style debate on "Is Internment Good or Evil?" It was a lively debate and in the end the audience voted on who was more convincing. Of course, the person who chose to defend the theme that "Internment is Evil" got more votes, hands down. It was a delightful evening. Thank you Harry and Robin for setiing this up! Much appreciated.

Train from Kolkata to Delhi

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:33 PM Comments comments (121)
On November 30, 2012, we took an overnight train from Kolkata to Delhi. Ramesh dropped us of at the train station and came onto the train to make sure we got the compartment and right seats, etc. We finally said our goodbyes and the train started shortly afterwards. 

We shared our first class compartment with two guys. We had hoped to have a compartment to ourselves, but it was not to be. The train was totally booked. One of the two fellows was in his mid-forties and the other guy was a retired MP who had represented the State of Bengal, who got on after the train had been going for an hour. We thought that we, PC and I, both had the tickets for the lower berths, but apparently, since the older man was an ex-MP, and older than me, he had priority. So, I had to climb up to the upper berth which was not the easist thing to do. The ladder was very narrow, stuck on the edge of the berth, and you barely get your foot onto the rungs. It also tended to swerve outwards as you climbed up. You had to hang on tightly or fall off. I only had to come down once after I settled down to sleep. Thank goodness!

The younger fellow was an engineer, a Bengali but living in Delhi. Very nice to talk to and we had long discusssions about the Indian government prior to the ex-MP boarding the train. He told us that MP's, and particularly Bengali MP's, tended to be very long-winded. They were intellectual and smart and had many interesting ideas but were totally ineffectual. The young man was correct in that the ex-MP was a very long winded. He was a member of the communist party and talked on and on, and and barely gave himself time to eat his dinner. The younger man finally got impatient and told him he should eat his dinner because it was getting cold! Luckily, the ex-MP was interesting to listen to.

Last Day in Calcutta

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:06 PM Comments comments (0)
Sorry it's taken me so long to write another blog.The years of writing, then going through the editing process, publication, and promotion, and then taking the trip to Burma and India. I felt totally burned out and after the holiday season, I put everything related to my book on the back burner and couldn't' find the energy to get back into promote it again. My last event connected with the book was a talk I gave to the Berkeley Breakfast Club on January 11. There were probably about 150 people and it was certainly the biggest group I've given a talk to so far.

Well, I now feel I am ready to get active again. Here is my first blog in three months!

There were two events that took place in India in connection with my book that are worth mentioning. The first one, of course, I mentioned earlier in a previous blog, was a talk I gave to a group of students at the Institute of Leadership Entrepreneurship in Tangra. (Tangra used to be the district where leather tanning took place.) 

As the Director had explained earlier, none of the students knew anything about Chinese Indian interned in India. My talk included a brief history of the events leading up to the war and my own involvement. After the talk I asked if there were any questions. There was silence for quite a few moments, then the President of the Institute, who also was present at the talk, stood up and said, "Even though the Indian government has not as yet made an apology or acknowledgment of what happened to the Chinese at the time of the 1962 India-China Border War, I want to be the first one to apologize." It was very touching. Moments after, a student stood up and said she wanted to be the second person to apologize. Then a third person stood up and said, "Can you give me your Chinese pancake recipe?" I had to laugh out loud. I had read a chapter where I was making Chinese pancakes with my father when he was suddenly taken away never to return home. That question was very endearing and it broke the ice. We had about 20-25 minutes of Q&A after that.

It was a most enjoyable talk.

Calcutta journey continues..

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM Comments comments (1)
November 27
We met PC's friend from Darj. days. Even though I have heard my sister talk about Legjin over the years, I think the last time I met her was in Darj. when I was 7 or 8. Ever since she's read my book, she's been very supportive in trying to promote my book. She took us to lunch at her favorite Bengali restaurant called Kewpie's. We met the owner, Rakhi, who ordered for us. The food was delicious. We met her husband who is Director for the School of Media and Journalism at the Institute of Leadership Entrepreneurship & Development in Tangra. After hearing that I had recently published a memoir of Chinese internment, he invited me to give a talk to his students at the Institute. We set a time for Nov. 29 as we were leaving town the following day.

Journey in Kolkata continues...

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 10:31 AM Comments comments (109)
November 26
We looked for the shoe shop run by Kwai Li's nephew. She had suggested we do that if we had time. We did find John Hing's shoe shop and met her nephew. We also had his wife's dumplings, which Kwai Li described as "the best in town". They were indeed delicious!

book Journey continues in Kolkata...

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 10:28 AM Comments comments (0)
November 25
On the introduction of Hsieh Ming Tung we went to the Sunflower Beauty Salon to meet his sister-in-law, Patsy, and to have a haircut. PC had a massage while I had a haircut. Patsy's sister who is married to Hsieh Ming Tung once worked for my mum at her beauty shop in Darjeeling which was located above Park Restaurant. Small world!

That afternoon PC and I met Paul Chung, President of the Indian Chinese Association for Culture, Welfare and Development. I had met him online in September so it was a pleasure to meet him in person. He gave us his perspective on living in India now as an ethnic Chinese. He and his organization as well as others, like myself, are seeking for an official apology from the government of India for the wrongs they had inflicted on the Chinese in the aftermath of the border war of 1962.

Arriving India

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 10:24 AM Comments comments (124)
Arrived Kolkata on November 22. We were picked up by Pu-Chin's friend, Ramesh. They put us in a guest house not too far from them, comfortable, twin beds with our own bathroom. It came with breakfast every morning with tea, toast and omelet. It was a good stay, like being in someone's home. Also very affordable. Since Krishna, PC's classmate from Loreto, just had a hip replacement we spend most of the days visiting her in their house.