At some point in one’s life, a journey emerges that grips you. In my case, it was a need to seek out and reclaim a part of our family history that was rapidly disappearing. I needed to make my first trip to India to find my paternal grandfather’s house. In the process, I realized that I was a foreigner going to a land that should not be foreign to me. It was A journey to find my past and myself. This is how the title: ‘Lost and Found: Seeking the Past, Finding Myself’ emerged.
This was no easy search. All the research I did was coming up with dead ends and all I had was fragments of information and a faded photograph. I was searching for a needle in a haystack, but I was not sure where this haystack was. This book is written in a way that has the reader walking along side of me as I discover India for the first time. I am introduced to the highlights and the low lights. I think the poverty and the mass amount of people was difficult for me to comprehend; however, there was also contentment. Not to say that they were happy with their situations but rather they were able to take their life and squeeze out much. I think the word I use is resilience.
The first edit, re-write and re-work is done. It is now in the hands of Page Two Strategies – Page Two Strategies who will polish this up. PageTwo have been amazing to work with as they are putting great care into my book. I would like to share an excerpt as a sneak peak of what to expect. I hope you enjoy it:
In Chapter 1
The challenge about finding my grandfather’s house was that I only had a faded photograph and very little information on what and where this village was. The photograph was taken by my father’s older brother decades ago but he passed away before we could gather then relevant information. All I knew was the name of the village as Chodauri. The post office where letters were sent by my father, on behalf of my grandfather, was Gharshankar and the district was Hoshiarpur. It should be easy enough to find and with my finger, I traced along the small map, the northern region of India called the Punjab, and looked at where my journey was going to take me. It was a huge region and I was not sure if I was prepared. On the one hand, this was a daunting challenge because the people were so foreign to me but what I had on my side was persistence and the need to find this needle in a haystack.
I have always appreciated a challenge and this one was substantial. I have always said, “Give me something that is dysfunctional, non-existent or needs to be built. If something is easy, I don’t want to undertake it.” This is because there is a part of me that enjoys taking a huge challenge or risk and trying to problem solve it. As a result, while sitting there in the semi darkness, I did not want this to be as easy as getting off the plane, getting into a car, driving for hours and knowing where this village was. It had to be challenging!
I took the photograph out and looked at it. This image was an old square photo about 3 ½ inches square. I pulled it closer and studied every corner. The image had an orange tinge to it and seemed faded. It had a few people standing there dressed in traditional north Indian outfits with children and seated in the back was an older looking gentleman. I could barely make out their faces as they were standing back from the photo. The people and very little information, was all that I had to go on to find my grandfather’s house. I stared at the image and wondered who they were and if they were still around. I had based everything on such limited information and my thoughts were conflicted. Was this journey to find my village a ridiculous adventure? And was I foolish to even try? On the other hand, what if by some remote chance, I happened upon the village and my long lost family, what a significant discovery that would be. All I knew was that the odds were against me and perhaps I should concentrate on the trip as an experience to appreciate a country that I had never visited and only read about.
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