It's hard to realize or even be aware of congruent events in one's life until hindsight makes them clear. One of the things that I can recall about being a child in 3HO was this feeling of foggy confusion around what grown-ups were doing and discussing, and around big international events that seemed to be relevant to our "way of life".
The biggest and scariest event while in India was the assassination of the Prime Minister Indira Ghandi by her Sikh bodyguards. This took place on October 31, 1984, and from our perspective (the 3HO kids at GNFC) it seemed like the beginning of World War Three. Much confusion and fear revolved around this incident for us as kids, and most, if not all, of the facts were concealed from us. When we wanted to know why "our people" would do that, I remember being told that they weren't really Sikhs, they were just dressed up like Sikhs.
One of the facts that strikes me as particularly scary is that in 1982 and 83 (the same time those photos below were taken) we were housed literally in the very same hostel, Nanak Nivas, as some seriously controversial and leading figures in the Khalistan Separatist Movement - the very same folks who plotted her assassination. One such character was Jarnail Singh Bindranwale, who resided there from 1982 until December 1983 when he and his "army" then took residence in the Golden Temple/Akal Takht, ultimately leading to Operation Blue Star, a move by Indira Ghandi that quickened the spiral of upheaval in Punjab. After her assassination, we were not permitted to travel to Punjab until 1990.
If it hadn't been my very first visit to India, and if I hadn't been so young, it's possible I'd be aware that being in Amritsar full of armed guards wasn't the normal way of life. But because the adults had been told they were in good company, I think I and the others disassociated from the possibilities of real violence and came to accept that India was simply a volatile place, and that's the way it was going to be, "It's better than America". (as a footnote, the armed militia and policemen were little threat compared to the onslaughts and harangues of Nanak Dev and his goons).
Our coping mechanisms during that time shaped many behaviors and coping mechanisms in the coming years. We knew how to survive, but we disassociated from trying to know what was going on on the political front. I've had to search my own memories and juxtapose them with the events of the time - but all I remember is confusion. I try not to become totally angry all over again at how our parents could have not only placed their children in the care of such a diabolical, manipulative, troll, but then willingly and knowingly plunked us down into a war zone and kept us there for a decade longer!