Jallianwala Bagh

It’s April 13, 1919. It is the festival of Baisakhi, a harvest festival in Punjab celebrated by people of all faiths. You are perhaps a Sikh farmer from the hinterlands of Punjab and you have come to Amritsar to visit the Harmandar Sahib. Your visit to the holy site...

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The Children’s Encyclopedia

If I was to conduct a census of the population of books residing in our cupboard in the late seventies and early eighties, I would find an interesting mix of books.  There were a few permanent residents, chiefly books that we had bought or had been gifted.  A few...

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The Ties that Bind

On my recent trip home, a good friend of mine who was a classmate in high school presented me with a necktie.  This was no ordinary tie, it was the tie that we wore on special occasions when I was in high school.  In keeping with my school’s colors,...

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The Lonely Mughal

As a subject in high school, History was a seemingly limitless study of various dynasties of yore.  The lessons focussed largely on dates of events, conquests, administrative reforms and either largesses or depredations of the ruler in question.  The Mughal dynasty, given its prominence, spanned a few chapters.  Akbar enjoyed...

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Coming to America – Part 3

Hari was at the station to pick me up.  Wait there were three others.  Brief, quick introductions – Bipin, Vish and Manish.  Bipin and Hari, my new roommates, walked home in the rain, while I settled myself at the rear of Manish’s 2 door sedan with my luggage.  A...

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Nagraj

We were introduced by a mutual friend in the bus on my way to school.  I was probably in 8th grade and the boy introduced to me shook hands with a firm handshake.  He was alert, fit and the corners of his mouth appeared as if they would break...

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Coming to America – Part 2

“There are a few things to remember in this country”, said my cousin.  We were walking along the banks of the Mississippi.  I had risen in the morning, the effects of jet lag if any, didn’t show on me.  We had an omelet for brunch.  The onion, that I sliced,...

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A Heritage Walk Through Amritsar

“This walk will focus on the humble dwellings of Amritsar but it will showcase its heritage and culture,” said our guide, Gurinder Singh Johal.  We were standing in front of the imposing Town Hall, a Colonial building designed to project the might of the British Empire.  “Look at me, I’m strong,...

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Pul Kanjri

What would you do if you were an all-powerful ruler and your favorite dancer was upset that she lost one of her silver slippers while fording a canal? You would build a bridge of course!  The ruler was the Lion of Punjab – Ranjit Singh, the dancer was called Moran...

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Lessons from my Father

  “You have no idea how easy you have it, back in my time…”.  Chances are that if you are a parent, you have uttered these words before.  I have and I don’t know about you, but when I start a sentence with anything remotely like this, my teenaged...

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