2014-12-30 18.26.20

Penny (second one from far right) with her immediate family

I am from India. I was born and raised there. But I was born in Karachi, now part of Pakistan, before it was partitioned or divided.

In 1948, after partition, we moved to India because my parents wanted to be in a secular social system. We were forced to move but I wanted to stay. Although I was a child, I vividly remember being very angry with my parents for moving because I loved Karachi. In particular, I loved my school in Karachi and all my friends who remained there. At the time, people did not move around as often as they do today and so you made life time friends with whom you would be educated through high school graduation. Our move meant that I left the comforts that I had acquired by being in school. We moved to Bangalore, which is now the Silicon Valley o f India, but at the time it was very much considered a sort of paradise; a place where people used to retire and we thought, “Oh, this is a dead city!” People would go to sleep at 8:00 pm. We were used to living near a lot of traffic going back and forth and in our new home we felt you could hear a leaf drop. I was very upset. I don’t know how my siblings felt. Eventually I got used to my new life and learned to appreciate it because I could ride a bicycle and I was independent.

Later, we moved again to Bombay. People compare it to Chicago but I compare it more to New York. Its got that kind of feel; cosmopolitan, a cultural scene, very diverse. And I loved it! I went to school in India, and even college! I loved it and didn’t want to leave. I was part of the new India: very nationalistic because we were the first generation coming out of college to be part of the new (post-partition) India.