Family History

For almost 3 years, I have been writing a post everyday on my blog. And since today I have nothing special to write (or cut, copy and paste), let me bore you a bit with my family history.

My ancestors came from Ambala, Haryana where we had a small furniture business. My grandfather, who was the first person in my family to complete his high school, was the Panjab state rank holder in the matriculation exam. Since there was no college in the district, he went to Monga, Punjab to pursue his higher education on full scholarship.

There, he unfortunately fell ill and was misdiagnosed by a local hakeem, who made the conditions worse. The household was run by his grandmother, who became a widow at the age of 20 and was hardened with the hardships of raising her kids and grandkids alone and protecting the family from scheming cruel world. Plunged into the debts and in absence of any male family member capable of running the family, my grand father had to discontinue his education.

Due to spiraling interest costs and the expenses of his sisters marriage, we had to sell off our furniture shop. Without any education, without any money, one of the brightest students was forced to pick up a job as an apprentice at a ration shop.

This was probably the lowest point in our family history, but we did recover. In the free time, he self schooled himself to learn English and soon joined the GoI as a lower division clerk. Promotions were hard to get for high school drop out and he had to work for 17 years after his retirement, but he did succeed in imparting the best education for his kids and married his all 3 daughters off.

My father, the only son, secured an admission in IIT Roorkee where he topped his class of Mechanical Engineering and joined Indian Railways. He is now an Executive Director at CAMTek, a subsidiary of Indian Railways. He has 2 sons. I, the first real IITian in the family, who topped his class of Aerospace engineering at IIT Kgp and is now working with Broadcom for the past 4 years. And my younger brother, who finished his Chemical Engineering from IIT Delhi and is now pursuing his MBA at IIM Calcutta.

Another interesting aspect of my family is the diversity it has. My paternal grandfather is from Haryana, my paternal grandmother is from Himachal Pradesh, my maternal grandfather is from Rajasthan, while my maternal grandmother is from Uttar Pradesh. And I have lived in 9 different states and was schooled in 7 different schools.

The diversity did not end here. My grandfather did his entire schooling in Urdu (a variant of Arabic). If you have noticed, my father, my mother and we kids have different last names. My father hated the division of the country on lines of caste so much that he dropped his last name and adopted ‘Kumar’ (a generic last name which spans across all castes) My mother continued her family name (a very rare move at that time) while we kids adopted our original family name and never bothered to change.

37 replies on “Family History”

You have surprised me Ankur.Your posts indicate some kind of finance or economics background.9 different states and 7 schools- must be an enriching experience.It is a pleasure knowing the real you.
Urdu is not a variant of Arabic as far as I know.It has lots of words from different north Indian languages and Arabic.The script is Arabic.Correct me if I am wrong.

urdu is basically the language used in Pakistan and by Muslims of India. Its script is Arabic, but the words are a hybrid of hindi and arabic.

Sometimes, blinded by our own success, we tend to forget the sacrifices which our parents and grandparents make. This post is a small token of thanks to my grandfather, the most hardworking man I have ever met.

i have had no formal education in economics or finance, isn’t that the whole idea of blogging. Learning from others experiences and refining your own thoughts

Urdu aka Rekhta itself is a Turkish word and was originally spoken by the Mughal army contains words of Persian, arabic and turkish language. the script is Arabic alright but it can be considered as a variant of Persian then Arabic. for example Pepsi is spelled Bebsi in Arabic because the syllable ‘ب”Be’ doesn’t exist in Arabic unlike its existence in Persian and Urdu language.

@ Ankur

You and your family has impressed me a lot 🙂 one learns not to give up no matter what from the story.

That was a good reading and a turbulent record. Life in the previous generations was not so easy indeed. For me, the striking point in your narration was the way you feel a collective ownership of assets, its SO Indian! e.g. we had to sell off our furniture shop, etc. now that was your grandfather’s shop 😉

Hey, good that you thought of writing this post. Really nice to know more about you and your family. It brings us a lot closer.

[Any hidden motives behind this post? Intended for a specific someone? ;)]

//Any hidden motives behind this post?//
even after writing about 900 posts, answering to over 5100 comments, and 156,000 page hits, very few people know the real me.
so i thought why not write about me.

// Intended for a specific someone? //
unlikely, although i have made a lot of friends over ENagar. but haven’t met any of them in real life.

u might be surprised to know, but i have no idea who the 2 of the 4 authors of ENagar are and what do they look like.

he is 🙂 very proud of their success. and the best part is that even though he is 85 years old, he is strong enough to take care of himself, regularly goes on morning walks and can solve Sudoko faster than I can.

u fly a thousand miles for a breakfast meeting, because the girl’s father (just the night before) suddenly wanted to meet you.
you are greeted with the girl’s mother tossing flying broomsticks at u… and then u see the dog barking….
now u tell me… won’t u be scared?

Hi bhaiya ,
A really inspiring blog ……..never knew so much abt ur family n also that uncle is frm IIT Roorkee …..
U hv got a really hardworking n inspiring grandpa …….
sry if i leave u a bit confused 😛

well i am in South Korea right now (will be here till 4th) and seeing all the wonderful places, meeting new people and working my ass off. the life here is so different, that i would have a tough time getting adjusted to it
sorry I cannot recollect how u r related to me. can you help me out in this.

hehe …… thats wat i was waiting for …u to realize that i know u already……but i never claimed that u know me ( so i can forgive u for not being able to recollect how i m related to u )…….well my dad also works in railways …..if u can recollect ‘Mr.S.C.Singhal’ …….he was e in kota ……well vaise aap priyank bhaiya se pooch sakte ho as maine unhe recently bahut pain mara hai 😛 but unki opinion pe mat jana (i m not as dumb as he feels)……sahi hai yr aap donon hi India se bahar ho ….. hope u r hvng a gr8 time there …..hv fun …….

thanks for forgiving me… but unlike my bro, I did not stay in Kota for a long time…. are you by any chance in IIT M?
which stream and how is the city life treating you?

well both of us r pretty much Indians who want to stay in India… my bro is on a short term visit to Boston to present in a seminar… while I would be back next weekend.

Wohoo…….how did u guess that i m in IITM? well i m an aspiring Chemical Engg. , 1st year, ….Chennai is treating me really well n i m loving d ppl here :)……well,as i m in my frnds house ,a few kms frm Chennai presently, u can easily make out how much fun i m hvng ……..
I too like India a lot n hv all plans to stay here throughout my life ……
well it is my duty to warn in d beginning that i m a very deadly n painful creature so u better b careful :P…..
well wishing u a very happy time n career ahead ……hv fun…….

cool chemical engineer in Madras… wow you must be really bright. usually people from hindi belt have trouble adjusting to to the southern way of life + home sickness, but i guess u have found your way out of this trouble too and its good to have friends around.

btw how was the ragging in college like?

and thanks for the wishes 🙂

hehe……i m not that bright ……..its just that i m luckier than many other ppl…..n i don’t think u hv a problem in adjusting with ppl if u really accept them d way they r n try to like them d best u can …. smtimes i really feel that it is better that i m here as i like meeting diff ppl n knowing abt their culture n traditions …….n trust me nyone can enjoy being here as d ppl r really sweet n innocent 🙂

well luck favors the bright and favored one… and now since u have joined the ranks of the elite, the world would see you as a briny kind..

well i know its sometimes hard to adjust in a new culture, but what i have seen is that if you take a step in embracing their culture, they will take 10 steps in accommodating you

I agree totally :P…… also all my frnds r so nice to me that it seems i hv known them for ages …..only think u shud not do is hurt them or their traditions …….respect them n they r all urs 🙂

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