Dadaia on the Move

Ruana Pal

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Ruana Pal

"Dear Bijoy, how is life in the U.S.A?" my Dadaia (grandpa) wrote to his friend from Minnesota, U.S.A. They used letters in those days. "You should think twice before considering coming here!" Bijoy replied. "I know you already got selected at the University of Minnesota, but there are things that you will not like here!" "What are they?" Dadaia asked. "You will not get your Shukkto!" (Shukkto is a Bengali vegetable dish) "Also, it would be hard to go back to your Indian root!" Bijoy said. "Oh, I see..." Dadaia thought. And he chose not to pursue his American dream anymore.
Your reality
May be a grand dream
But dreams could be real
My Dadaia was born in a small village named Kaitha, Birbhum, India in 1937. He was from a lower middle-class family. They were small farmers. They grew rice to supply food for the family. The rice must have been fresh! His family also owned a small grocery shop. He had many siblings to take care of.
His first move was to a nearby town called Nalhati to attend middle school. He could afford to go because he got a scholarship. The money came every six months, and with the saved money, he used to buy snacks and tea. He stayed in the school hostel, where they would only serve lunch and dinner. So, he would buy extra snacks (tiffin) from a nearby shop with the scholarship money. After school, he would play soccer with his friends, and before his game, he would get a tiffin. The tiffin was typically delicious rice puffs. After tenth grade, his second big move was to Kolkata, a big city, where he joined the prestigious Presidency College based on his merit. But... he did not like it! It was too much of a big city environment for him. So, he moved again to attend a small-town high school in Jangipur, Murshidabad, India. And after graduation with a master's degree in applied physics, guess what? He wanted to join Indian Military! But alas! He did not meet the weight requirement. Instead, he settled for a government engineering job. They decided to send him for technical training to USSR for a year. He learned how to speak Russian and he picked up their manners before he left. He adjusted to the cold winter in Moscow. Although, he had an opportunity to stay back, he decided to go back to his warm home country. After his return he married Ammu, my grandma, and settled in Kota, Rajasthan, a faraway place from where he was born.
My baba (dad) was born in 1969 in Kota, the same year when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. Eventually, Dadaia left his job to pursue his own business and they all moved back again to Kolkata. Baba followed in the footsteps of Dadaia to become an engineer. My Dadaia did not but my baba came to the U.S.A as a graduate student. Dadaia was proud to see that baba made his American dream come true.
Dadaia was always on the move, working hard so we could pursue our dreams.
The reasons to move
Might be learning or growing
Like a sprouting flower

Age 8-9 category | Fall into Fiction Short Story Contest 2023 | San José Public Library

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