February 16th, 2016
Source: Humans of Bombay
“I first met him when I was at my sister-in-law’s house somewhere around 1930 in Lahore. In those times, we couldn’t even talk to someone without feeling scared, but I was so comfortable being around him that I didn’t even realise how time went by. The rare moments that we were together, he would hold my hand and I used to feel on top of the world. As time went by and Independence was around the corner he asked me to marry him saying that ‘war was inevitable and he couldn’t bear the thought of being separated from me.’ We were married in 1947, just when the war between Hindus and Muslims was at it’s peak.
Those were terrifying times. We’ve seen trains full of dead bodies cut and thrown into the sea. We knew that eventually we too would be killed, so we decided to escape. We ran away at night, just the two of us with nothing but the clothes we were wearing and two rotis for the journey. There were men with swords on every street, looking to kill whoever came their way. We knew a Muslim chacha who drove the tanga and agreed to help us. He drove us through the streets of Lahore, and whenever we were stopped he said that we were his family. He dropped us to the station, we took the train to Amritsar and never looked back.
When we came to Amritsar, we sold off some of the jewellery I was wearing to start a new life. We didn’t even have a house to live in but he was such a smart man that he found work easily…and we slowly started rebuilding our life. A few years later, he bought back all the jewellery we had sold…because he felt so guilty that I had to sell it in the first place. I’ve seen the world with him because he loved to travel, but my one wish was that I wanted to go back to Lahore and see the home I grew up in.
A few years ago, he told me – ‘we’re going home’ and I burst into tears when I saw our train tickets to Lahore. We revisited all the places we’d seen in our younger days and I even found the neighbourhood I grew up in!
Really, he made my every wish come true. He passed away a few years ago and I miss him everyday in the home he built us with so much love… but we have 5 children, 15 grandchildren and a lifetime of memories to keep me going.”