She doesn’t know how we know her but she has gotten used to all the strangeness that strangers bring when they come to find her as if she were an artefact that they must see while they are in the McCluskieganj. A woman who is the signifier of a new nation surging ahead and, in the process, alienating those who are outsiders or remnants. Kitty is defiant. Also, she is the antithesis of all that they wanted to claim and preserve. She is almost a feral woman. Frail, agile, and delicate. Her spirit stands in contrast to her exterior. It is that of a survivor.
Kitty memsahib doesn’t know where else she could have gone from here. People around her have left. Her mother, Marjorie Roberts, was born in Shillong. She was Anglo-Indian and her father was Welsh. She married what they called a “half-caste”, who was of Portuguese descent from Goa called Texeira.
Kitty was born in 1952. They then moved to the Gunj. The Texeiras had invested all their money in the shares in the company that ran the Gunj and lost their land. Marjorie’s husband died and she was left alone with Kitty. They say she wielded a gun and would let nobody come near her daughter. While Marjorie was a typical Anglo-Indian who read English authors like Shakespeare, Kitty could not attend school and had to sell fruits to provide for her mother and herself. Marjorie died in 1988 and Kitty had four children from an Adivasi man who was already married.
Kitty remains the most photographed person appearing on the covers of books and in photographs in articles written about the Gunj. Her children are now grown up. Kitty still lives in the same house. “This is home,” she says. Unlike her mother, who Ian Jack quotes in his story saying that her birthplace was an accident and the world to which she properly belonged lay elsewhere, Kitty entertains no such delusions. She got assimilated as they would say. Kitty doesn’t carry what she calls the nostalgia nonsense.