They were meeting after thirty years. For them, the sun was rising again after a long winter. Thirty years! Their love was strong enough to bear these thirty years in isolation. He came running from above the hill; she was waiting downside the hill. Heels cracked, skin wrinkled, body scarred, but love still as pure as the holy water. On the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, he was left behind in India and taken as one of the prisoners by Indian army, just like many of Indians were taken as prisoners by Pakistan. The war had separated them, right after their wedding, exactly on their wedding day!
They were told that their village would be safely merged with Pakistan, but it didn’t. Millionaires were turned into paupers, their factories and houses were burnt down, leaving them completely empty handed and penniless.
He was running to the downside of the hill, stopping various times to catch a breath, and to make sure his old knees get some rest. As he reached the place where she was standing, he saw her. Dressed in purple and pink gown, wearing a red stole over her head and brown Peshawari Sandals, though her skin had been wrinkled and blemished but her eyes told him that she was innocent, her heart was as young as a sixteen year old. Fixing her red stole again and again and looking here and there for him, she finally caught a glimpse of him. Smiling brightly at him, she had a flashback of him as a young boy, flashback of that horrible day when most of her family members had been slaughtered mercilessly in front of everyone in the name of religion.
How much she missed his smile, his presence, his personality, his lovely voice. They both came closer to each other, laughing and crying at the same time. They couldn’t recognize each other properly. She touched his cheek, his skin felt so rough and patchy, showing her the cruelty he had to face in all these years. She almost thought it’s a wall scraper instead of his skin.
30 years! He thought to himself. 30 years of immense trauma and torment. The pain of knowing your beloveds were killed mercilessly without a cause and the torture of not having someone close to share this sharp, incurable pain with. They had been married, and right after Chanda’s brothers held up her doli, they came. ‘The unknowns’ as everyone called them. Killing their families just for a little piece of land, in the most inhuman way, and taking Jugnu with them as a prisoner. Jugnu remembered the shrieks and cries of his family when he was being torn away from his own family after a cruel beating.
He held her hands and took her in his arms. Chanda made him vow to his life that he won’t go anywhere without her, ever again. They cried the tears of joy and walked together to the village, hands in hands, smiling broadly.
It was the end of their hardship and the start of their life as newlywed couple.
And not to forget,
It was their ‘happily ever after’