Sorry – this comic is a few days late! My production time in the past couple of weeks was taken up by the podcast. Editing audio is a bit of a rabbithole. And once the drawing begins, I’m doing constant visual rewrites & redraws as I try & consider different ideas.
This particular storyline – or rather, my family history – is new to me. Nobody in my family talks much about the past except the same stories over & over again. (If you meet my mom & speak at length, eventually she’ll tell you about my 4th birthday party where a bunch of us kids decided to clean her bathroom.)
Now I didn’t want to dwell on the details in the strip but there are things you should know. For one thing, India was – and still is to slightly lesser extent- an extremely sexist society. Let’s be honest – in many quarters it’s still downright misogynist. The prospects for a widow were not good – remarriage was not an option (neither was divorce at the time either). So the situation for my grandmother was dire indeed – especially with 3 children to raise.
She decided to go to Kolkata for better opportunities for the kids (they could all be schooled in one city without being miles & miles away). And she had support, from a family friend who housed her for 2 years and her sister who lived in Kolkata as well.
When she left Jalpaiguri, her eldest stayed behind in his boarding school (you’ll meet him in the first podcast). It took 2 years to get all 3 kids into local, Kolkata boarding schools. Until then, she stayed with an old friend of her husband’s – an old bachelor. Since my dad & his sister lived with her, it was acceptable; otherwise, it would have been scandalous.
Once she all 3 kids were in boarding schools, she had to move out. She lived in the Salvation Army (Gidney) Hostel for Young Business Women at 38 Dharamtala Street (the street has since been renamed Lenin Sarani from when Kolkata was run by Communists). As an older resident, she had her own room; otherwise she would have shared living space.
It’s also been interesting from everything I’ve learned so far due to research. I had to check out maps (and just realized that I used a modern map instead of one from the 1940s for the first panel :/), trains, clothing, etc. I’ll get started on the next strip sooner to make sure it gets out on schedule – and squeeze in podcast production somehow as well.