I am writing down my mother’s memoirs for her grandchildren to read especially about her life with my father who never got to meet his grandchildren. This post is based on the questions I asked her and her answers.
Q. Can you recount an interesting story from your childhood?
A. My father was posted in the army as a doctor in Singapore during the World War 2. I had started school by then along with my elder brother. While coming to India on a luxury liner during the World War my brother and I heard what we thought was a warning bell to signal that the ship was being torpedoed. My elder brother put a life belt on himself and on me and we were about to jump into the water when our mother arrived in time to tell us it was just the dinner gong!
Q. Did you get to meet Dad before you got engaged?
A. No, but as a young officer in the army, once while going in a tank, the tank went into a ditch and he was thrown off and on the ground. He kicked against the tank and pushed himself out of the way, otherwise he could have been trampled under the tank. He hurt his eye and was in hospital for a month. While in hospital, I was also admitted in the same hospital for bronchitis. We were yet to be engaged but his family had shown their interest in the match. He asked the English matron what I was like and she replied “She’s like a peach!” referring to my pink and white complexion!
Q. Did Dad meet any famous personalities during his army years?
A. Yes, in Feb 1961 as a Brigade Major your father met Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh who had come to visit the country. He also met with the then Prime Minister of England Harold Macmillan.
Q. Describe your experience of the war.
A. In the 1971 war with India, your father was selected to spearhead one of the main counter-offensives with an armored brigade. At that time, while he was away I was at home with two small children. Trenches were built outside our home and we were instructed to black out our windows and not use the lights. But I never used the trenches.
Q. Did Dad travel and did you accompany him?
A. As a young officer in 1958 your Dad did a course of 4 months in Fort Knox Kentucky USA. He would write every day to me. Later before retirement he made a trip to Paris. That was just before you were born! After retirement he worked as a Consultant and made several trips to Europe and two trips to China. In 1987 I accompanied him to one of his trips to China. We visited Shanghai, Beijing and Hangzhou. However we could not visit the Great Wall of China due to bad weather.
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