16 June, 2021

Without Apologies

The state cares little about the lost years of our ethnic Chinese

Sandipan Chatterjee
Without Apologies

Not too long ago, I visited a restaurant called Beijing in Tangra, Calcutta’s Chinatown, for a Sunday brunch with friends. The Cantonese noodles and pepper chicken, served in square, white plates, were so delicious that half-way through the meal I wanted to compliment the owner. But Monica Liu, a waiter informed me, had not returned from church. She turned up in a pantsuit while we were savouring our dessert. “You are a God-fearing woman providing excellent food to his hungry children,” I remarked. “You are welcome, sir,” she replied. Then she muttered under her breath: “We have a lot to thank the Lord for. I have come a long way from the concentration camp where I was baptised.”

People rub their eyes in disbelief. I couldn’t believe what I heard. Concentration camp? “I am so sorry, but were you in a concentration camp in China?” I asked Monica confusedly. “No sir. We are Indian citizens. We were picked up from our home in Shillong and dispatched to a concentration camp at Deoli in Rajasthan by the Indian...

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