“I was living in Afghanistan as a Hindu Afghan. However in August ’92, when the Islamic government took over, my family and I were obliged to leave the country: Hindus had started to be troubled because of their financial business and because of their religion. We started to be seen as Indian migrants and it was common hearing people saying: ‘go back to your country!’ When I arrived to India though, I was considered an Afghan refugee, so I was treated as a stranger both in Afghanistan and India.
Life in Afghanistan was peaceful, but when the civil war started it became too dangerous. I was 22 when we left through Pakistan. We hired a big truck for five families and we all left. The trip took several days. There was dust everywhere, our clothes were dirty, and we never really rested. Although we had visas for passing though Pakistan, we were stopped everywhere and we were obliged to pay….We paid so much money during the trip.
When we arrived to India, we took a train to Delhi from Amritsar, in the state of Punjab. We were slightly relieved, and exhausted, we fell asleep. Only when we woke up we realized than the train porter had robbed most of our bags. Unfortunately this was the way that we were welcomed in India! However India was better than other places: it was the only country issuing visas for Afghans. Also Muslim Afghans came to India.
I came to India with my parents and my sister. My uncle and my other sister were already here. In a way we were lucky because we already had a place to stay but it was very tough at the beginning. We were four in a small room and my mother was seriously affected by all the changes. Her health rapidly degenerated.
For me it was slightly easier. I gradually settled in. I started working and learning computer. I was working and studying at the same time. I then married an Indian man who’s a very supportive husband. He encouraged me a lot with my studies. I now have a bachelor and I am very well established: I have a small business; I am a freelance interpreter for refugees coming from Afghanistan, and I work on the radio as a news anchor.
I like helping people. I got through a lot of difficult time and I am now happy to be able to give advices and support others. There are always ups and downs and one has to learn to accept them.
Sometimes, as I do not look from Afghanistan I happen to hear Afghanis people making jokes about Indians. When that happens I find it funny making them realise that I do understand their language.
When I got my Indian citizenship, I decided that I wanted to be happy and I did not want to be uprooted for a second time. “I miss everything from Afghanistan: the weather, the fruits, the big houses…almost everything! but I am happy here!”