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Hardships of a Sikh Family: Chapter 4

 

To read the previous chapters, click here.

 

***NOTE: I realised I can never overcome my dad’s death. Nobody can. Death is not like any other event in life where one can simply move on. Death is something different. The memories of the dead linger on, and as you see illusions and hear whispers of the past, the memories slowly eat you inside out leaving you empty.

I’ve woken up many times half asleep imagining that my father’s awake in the hall. Probably reading the paper or sitting outside the porch twiddling his thumbs and observing the surrounding. And that’s when reality sets in and I realise he’s long gone. People say talking to people who you know about your dad might help you in some extent. I beg to differ. It doesn’t work that way. It only makes me miss him more. And when I start missing him, it makes me feel very sad.

However, we can only come to terms with death. It will always be painful to lose the ones you love. No one knows this pain except you and no matter how hard you try to describe it, in the end, only you know how painful it really is. People can only sympathise and be all melodramatic about it. But if there was a choice of accepting the pain of death, I doubt anyone’s really brave enough to accept it on behalf of me.

 

And I think that’s where I’ve excelled. Accepting the fact that people come and go in my life.

-Chapter 4

 

After 1 and a half year my second brother was born. Jagar Singh. That is on 28/7/43. When we were staying in Lobak there was another family staying as our neighbors. He was a police sergeant major named Havaldar for sergeant major in Punjabi, Late Chanchal Singh.

 

His wife was then Late Gulab Kaur. Since they too had many children, my father decided to shift house to Port Dickson’s Sikh Temple, where he rented a room in the temple. This room was not a big room.

 

Then again my father decided to shift to Kampung Gopal Raju in Port Dickson. There was a long house. Kind of a house. The roof was of atap and it was a plank house with mud flooring. There were holes on the floor. My mother used to take clay mud from the drain, by the side of the house, add cut shot lalang grass, add the clay mud, add some water, make it like a dough and paste the ruts and holes in the house. Poor people could not afford cement that time.

 

We did not have electricity then in this house. So we used to light kerosene light. I and my brother used to study under the kerosene light.

 

As my father used to drink alcohol, he used to come home drunk. As he was also hot tempered, he used to shout at my mother and beat her sometimes. This was because my mother lit the lamp too early and for wasting kerosene.

 

Eventhough my father was drinking yet he was very hardworking. For drinking we collected water from a ground pipe and we only had to pay $5 a month. For bathing we used well water, for washing clothes my mother used to carry clothes in a tin tub. She used to walk with the tub on her head for almost 3/4 mile. Then, and after washing the clothes, she used to walk back with the tub and clothes on her head.

 

There was a well near our house but the water was muddy and was not suitable for bathing or washing clothes.

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