THE long journey to India
8 April, 2018, 12:00 am
SAT Narayan grew up at his home in Ba many years ago longing to visit his place of origin, India.
It was a dream that came to reality at 85 years of age when the Ba farmer who now resides in Lautoka finally decided to give it a go, visit his family and at least witness himself what life in India was like.
Despite being sick for some time, Mr Narayan was determined to take on this journey despite India being thousands of miles away from Fiji as he was looking forward to meeting his family and most of all relook the journey his grandfather embarked on from India to Fiji.
The struggles of the girmitiya to live a good life was an account of life that was always related to Sat by his grandfather growing up as a young boy at his Ba farm home which was about 21 kilometres from Ba Town.
When his grandfather died at the age of 104, he had a good grip of history, his family history and was therefore determined to take the long journey home sometimes later in life.
Mr Narayan’s son and Lautoka businessman Keshwa Prasad Sharma said the stories related by their father was what prompted him to travel to India.
“When they were all staying together as a family, grandfather used to write letters to his family in India back then and the letters used to be just posted to the police post,” Mr Sharma said in recollection.
“After some time, there were relocations and we lost contact of each other but it was in our high school days that we started writing letters again and this was how we managed to get a hold of our family again in Basti, India.
“Our uncle (dad’s brother) visited India with his wife and this was how the correspondence started again.”
It was a long journey to India from Nadi International Airport.
“Luckily we are in the social media era, before dad left, we sent a picture of him on Viber to our family in India and they were waiting for him at Bombay Airport.
“They took dad to Bombay for a week before they finally took him to his village of Bargadore and the feeling as dad explained was just like in Fiji.
“Each and every member of his extended family welcomed him and to show respect, they had to wash his feet because it was his first time to his village, it is a village in the highland and dad stayed there for one month, enjoyed the food there, every food was just homegrown.
“They still have the village court where those who do not follow village rules go to the court, cases do not go directly to police.
“Our family from there is planning to come over to Fiji and visit us and we are so looking forward to visit them again in India at the end of the year where there will be a huge family wedding.”