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July 2017, vol 13 no 2

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Kala Ramesh

Burmese Evacuation, 1942

Mother slipped into another era as she began, saying, “I thought this incident was long forgotten, but I remember it as clearly as if it was yesterday. I was just twelve years old then; it was the Burmese evacuation of 1942. Half a million of the Indian community fled Burma into Assam, mostly on foot. Madras city was also evacuated, with families sent off to their villages while the men stayed in the city to work.

"My mother, who was barely 33, took us, her six children, to Thiruvaalangadu and we stayed there for over a year with our grandmother. The cousins also poured in from Madras."

moonless night
. . . the village temple
flooded with devotees

"In those days families were huge, not like your days," Mother quipped. "It was a fun time for the war to us was too distant and of no immediate concern. Now, when I look back at World War II, it seems so ominous and scary and how I went through that war in my own innocent way is intriguing." Mother smiled, but to me, it seemed like she was dazed by the magnitude of this thought.

how the earth
bears the beating . . .
delayed rains