India | Patiala: April 18, 2009

April 18th, 2009

This past week when we had gone out to shop and run the tailor and jewelry errands, we made sure to stop by a store to buy chopsticks. So last night we ordered food from Yo China! again and realized that having food from the boxes is not all that exciting! But at least we got to experience it.

Today we got picked up by our taxi we had arranged to take us to a city nearby called Patiala. Patiala is where Penny, Nik and ma/pa lived before they moved to Toronto.  We wanted to check out her old school and the house they lived in, and also visit some family friends.

We arrived in Patiala and Penny was amazed at the changes the city had seen since she had last been there in 2003. We picked up some sweets to take for the families we were going to visit while in Patiala and headed over to our first stop, the Sohals. Mr. Sohal worked with Pa and him and his wife are still quite close with ma/pa.

It was good to see them and chat with their daughter who does research for people making documentaries in India. We talked about our travels, and heard their stories about the good old times they had with Penny’s parents while they lived here. We had lunch, and then headed out.

We stopped off at Pa’s old office, as Penny wanted to show Karthik where he worked and how his office was located right on top of a liquor store and a bar which made a few people who didn’t know pa to conclude that he was a drunk. He had an aquq blue coloured car, quite unique for that time and so recognizable anywhere. Since the car was parked there, in front of the liquor store/bar all day, people thought that he was inside drinking! The office is still there, and so is the bar!

We then headed to see Penny’s old school, St. Peter’s Academy. The school was closed as it was a Saturday, but the security guard let us in. The school hadn’t changed at all since the time she studied there. While Penny was checking out the buildings, Karthik noticed a rooster near the Father’s home (within the school compound) and decided to take a close shot of it and the hens. The rooster didn’t respond too positively to this photography and jumped up and bit Karthik’s thigh!

We then drove to check out the house Penny lived in. 124-C, Model Town. We reached there much sooner than Penny had expected. Guess that was mostly because we were in a car and not riding a bike like she used to with Nik. And also because she was much younger and smaller, so distances seemed greater back then! The house looked almost exactly the same.

Our next stop was to visit Dr. Tandon, the family doctor who lived just down the street and still ran his practice there. He didn’t recognize Penny at all, but was happy to realize who she was after introductions! We stayed there for a bit, but mostly talked about how his son could immigrate to Canada, etc.

Our final stop was visiting Mrs. Gambhir and her son Niku. Penny and Mrs. Gambhir’s daughter Pooja were best friends growing up. Pooja and her father, Mr. Gambhir had passed away in a car accident a year after Penny’s family moved to Toronto. So we had decided to spend the most time with them in Patiala. We sat there, chatted about our lives, the past, and

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