The intent behind Kulwinder's death seems clear. It almost feels like a statement, to show not just Kulwinder, but any woman, who the boss was in the face of rejection at the wedding. Today, Kulwinder becomes another name, another face, and another body to be added to the ever-growing catalogue of women killed for saying 'no.'
I don't know why you have been on my mind so much lately, it's twelve and a half years since you died. Perhaps it is watching your small, wobbly granddaughter achieving her small significant steps, and hurting that you never met her or knew of her struggles. Perhaps seeing her adoration of her own doting Daddy.
The remote, unexplored, tribal region of North East India, tucked away in between Bangladesh, Tibet, Bhutan and Myanmar, consists of 7 sister states - Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura which all have different cultures, tribes, languages, food and scenery that are just heaven for intrepid explorers!
My parents agreed to visit us in India, once the retreat was almost completed. I was keen to drive them around, so decided to embark upon Indian driving lessons and a test. I had to take my 'provisional test', before I was allowed to sign up for lessons, so went along to the Road Traffic Office in Mysore.
Maybe, just maybe, if we stopped worshipping national flags, stopped considering dying in the name of a flag as anything other than a shameful waste - maybe if we instead valued a child's comfort blanket or toy a little bit more - we might finally move beyond the curse of partition. Until then, I, for one, desperately need a comfort blanket of my own.
When the new Indian family moved in and bought the shop, I was selfishly very happy. As a seven year old, I was over the moon that 'proper' Indians had moved in and my mother and I were no longer the only 'Pakis' in the village. They had two children the around same age as me. They were darker than me, they had Indian names, they were Hindu and they owned a shop.
As a sector, we've been burying our heads in the sand and hoping that the negative press and public opinion will soon subside but it's been a year and the angst and anguish doesn't seem to be getting any better. The longer there is a misconception about the work we do, the fewer funds there are being brought in and, as a result, fewer lives are being changed.