I was born on June 9, 1968 in the town of Durgapur, Bengal. My Asian Indian father went to a sage and asked what his fourth child and third daughter should be named. He told my father I should be named “Komal,” which in Hindi is an adjective to describe something soft. It also means “tender-hearted.” When I was two, we moved to a village that is a few hours from the city of Jaipur, the largest city and capital of the state of Rajasthan.
Memories of my time in the village include having numerous puppies squirming together to seek the warmth of my lap. Another memory is that of strolling in the streets after playing with my gang of friends, watching the moon above me as I wandered home. It seemed to be following me – like it existed for my pleasure. I welcomed a warm meal before sleeping on a cot under the stars, either in the courtyard, or on the roof.
On one particular day, I was so busy looking at the moon and noticing it moving with me, that I fell in a sewer ditch near my home. I recall my mother bathing me in the courtyard afterwards. I have an image of playing one of the village sports and feeling like the queen of marbles in the village. I remember how they felt in my hands. I was a tomboy and felt I could surpass any boy in the village sports and marbles. There was no TV, and the radio was fascinating, where I could hear “Twinkle, twinkle, little star…”