16th May 2019, perhaps today is the biggest day of my life.
For the first time ever I spoke to my brother in Bangladesh. After the partition in 1947, my father, then a very young boy, left newly formed East Pakistan and entered Independent India as a refugee, leaving behind his elder brother and his father in Sylhet, now in Bangladesh. My grandfather and my uncle decided to stay back in East Pakistan for reasons they best knew. Due to various post-partition related atrocities and socio-political infections, my father eventually lost connection with his family there. My father died and after that whatever little evidence was left got diminished. It's been 10 yrs I have been trying to find information about my grandfather's house in present Bangladesh and if any surviving family member there. Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter - each one of them failed to find me a clue to my immediate family in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. This is what partition has done to me and my family. I have never seen my grandfather's house. Never !! Neither my paternal grandfather's house nor my maternal grandfather's house. But when you try something very seriously, it is believed that the whole universe conspires to help you. Three days back, after years of FBI like investigations, I finally found someone who is related to my cousin sister in Sylhet...after last three days of struggle and numerous ISD calls, I got contact numbers of my cousin brother and 3 sisters (son and daughters of my father's elder brother). Just an hour back, I had a WhatsApp video call with my brother and we all were almost numb.....and in tears. That was, of course, the happiest part of this finding but there is a sad part attached to it too. One of them, one of my cousin sisters is under paralysis attack and she is not in a situation to talk to me. I m having goosebumps as I m writing this status now. Can't wait to visit Bangladesh. But unfortunately, that's not the end. My next mission now is to find my mother's family in Kolkata. I often visit Kolkata but I put up in hotels there, whereas my mother's only brother's family has a house there. That's the only information I have, zero contact details. I don't know whom to blame. The fathers of our nation, the leaders who reframed this independent India or should I blame my own fate? But life is great, all these have definitely made me a global citizen today and hopefully a better filmmaker tomorrow.