21 May 2019
Bhubaneswar: An Indo-Thai man in a small tattoo shop in Phuket was disturbed greatly when he heard about the calamity which struck the pilgrim city Puri in the form of Cyclone FANI. Bim, a tattoo professional born and brought up in Phuket, Thailand has his roots in Odisha and speaks impeccable Odia relating his connection with Jagannnath Dham.
“My father was an Odia had fought in World War II. When the war ended, some Odias along with my father settled in a village near Bangkok. My father married a Thai and I was born and brought up here. Though I never visited Odisha during his lifetime, but he was strict in teaching me Odia. We used to converse in Odia at home with him. After some years, some of his friends went back to Puri, but they were not received well. So they advised my father not to go back. Therefore, he continued to stay here even after the death of my mother,” told Bim reminiscing his childhood.
Bim has taken up tattoo-making as his profession and has a small shop in a busy street of Phuket. Married to a Thai lady, he is happily settled in the alien land.
“I have visited Puri once in my lifetime few years back. It was my father’s last wish to immerse his ashes in Puri Sea, and therefore when he died few years back, I went to Odisha with my wife. As my father never divulged about his relatives or address in Puri, I didn’t know anyone there,” recalled Bim on his visit to Puri.
“When I heard about FANI and the destruction it brought in Puri, I was highly disturbed. I don’t know, but I still feel a strong affiliation towards the land. It is my homeland after all,” he said.
Though many Indians have immigrated to Thailand for different purposes from different parts of the country, when one hears Odia from a Thai man in the streets of Phuket, it seems music to ears.