During a visit last year to my parents in India, my mother mentioned repeatedly how she wished that I would write about our memories of life in the ‘gunj.’ With all the interesting stories of the village and our farm, it would be a pity to let it all go into the big void of nothingness once we are gone.
What is a ‘gunj’ you might ask. Loosely translated it means small town or village. Our ‘gunj’ is more formally known as McCluskiegunj, a small hidden village in one of the jungles of the Indian state Jharkhand, one of the newer Indian states to be precise after it seceded from Bihar. It was a small settlement of some Anglo-Indian families, many small tribal ‘busties’ or clans, a number of vacation homes, and local Biharis and other assorted Indians. The town was originally started as a home for Anglo-Indians in the early twentieth century. If you are interested in the history, here is a very good link.
This was to become our home in 1984, after my parents bought a house on about 5 acres in a run-down, dusty but picturesque village. Surrounded by deciduous forests, and linked to the outside world by telegraph, railway, a road consisting largely of potholes and populated by robbers, it was very isolating and utterly primitive to three people from Germany. Oh yes, I didn’t mention that yet, did I? My father was originally from India. But he had lived so long in Germany that he was German in his thinking and dealing. My mother a born German, and then there was me, a teenaged girl who turned fifteen three days after reaching India.
I will try to write down what I remember. It won’t be chronologically accurate, but at least it won’t be forgotten. The stories will be about events, about people, about animals both domesticated and wild, and a few about our family and family life in the butt-crack of no-where.
And I sincerely hope you enjoy them.