‘Photo Speaks…’ by Junior Win



It was taken in front of the old house of number 31, ThanDaTar Road, with my grandparents and my parents. I saw the middle was an old woman; PhwarPhwarGyi(as similar means to great grandma) Daw Thay Thay.

(P.S – We called PhwarPhwarGyi(as great grandma) or PhwarPhwar(as grandma) or Uncle to older people although they were not our relatives. These names showed how our relation warm and closed.)
The photo I found at my grandmother’s album, was taken in front of the old house of number 31, ThanDaTar Road, with my grandparents and my parents. I saw the middle was an old woman; PhwarPhwarGyi(as similar means to great grandma) Daw Thay Thay. I learnt that she kindly welcomed to my grandparents for giving a shelter at her house in war time. I know why my grandmother kept this photo preciously. We twins were in the right of the viewer, at that time we were too young to understand how their attachment meant so much. Here the story began…..
‘Yesterday Is But A Dream’
During Japanese regime, when my grandfather was working in the Foreign Office there was a young woman whose name was Ma Than Khin (now we called her PhwarPhwar(as similar means to a grandma) Khin), worked as a typist. She was at that time barely twenty and she had been forced by circumstances to go out and work. In those days going to work was not safe for a young woman, what with the air raids and Japanese soldiers everywhere.  As her home was on the way to office six miles away. My grandfather and other members of the staff made it a point to pick her up at her place as they walked to work.
They saw her home on their way back, so it made matters easy for her and saved her family much anxiety and worry. This young woman Ma Than Khin, became a good friend to my grandparents. Ma than khin’s family consisted of her widowed mother (Daw ThayThay at the photo stood at middle) and four sisters and one young brother. They had a pretty big house which they had managed to keep intact all through the war years. 
In those days, my grandparents tried a place to live in since they could not possibly continue living at their present place. Since the housing problem was acute and they looked in vain for a place to live in until Ma Than Khin‘s mother (Daw ThayThay) offered my grandparents a room in her house. 
‘Today, We Lived..’
We sometimes visited the beautiful grand big house that I mentioned on the above paragraph, I met many aunties and an uncle (who are now adult women and man as I mentioned as four sisters and one brother of (PhwarPhwar) MaThan Khin), I also met an old woman (a widowed mother of the great house, Daw ThayThay), but at that time I did not know how their attachment was so great between them. I only knew that they were old friends of my grandparents. Moreover I thought they became friends during war time. I did not know exactly how they met or they were our grandparent’s kindly friends, since the war time. Yes, those happened were long time ago we were not born yet. 
‘Look Well, To This Day’
Now (PhwarPhwar) Ma Than Khin reached to 88 years and her sister (PhwarPhwar) Tin, 86. But their sisters (PhwarPhwar)Yin, (PhwarPhwar) Sein and (PhwarPhwar) Than passed away some years ago. The only youngest brother (Uncle) San Tin still lived with his family happily. He was as an elder brother to my father and as an uncle to us. They were still so kind to our family. Their relatives and ours still made friendship since then.
By the way, (PhwarPhwar) Sein’s written as her diary and her short stories in Burmese found by his son, U Soe Gyi published his mother’s book in 2011 in the memory of his mother. It was her own creation of her life story by the background of Burmese going history. Some short stories she drew on her experiences growing up with her four sisters in war time. I truly say it reminded me the novel ‘Little Women’ of Louisa May Alcott. 
‘Makes Every Yesterday A Dream Of Happiness’
When I translated my grandmother(Khin Myo Chit)’s works into Burmese, when I reached the lines from the chapter of their meeting with (PhwarPhwar) Ma Than Khin, showed me in details that how she became my grandparent’s compassionate friend and her mother who gave shelter for my grandparents when they met a problem of living in war time. At that time I just remembered my grandparents said about this old woman as their loving kindly lady of their time, also I remembered their warmly attachment within their heart. Their words now slowly entered into my mind and I wrote down what I had learnt in my memory.

 However their life in wartime hard and difficult, however they had met harrowing experience, they found this warmly friendship that was now hard to find nowadays. I believed the true of heart was like a star in the dark sky, it shone to eternity.