FRIENDSHIP – LOST AND FOUND IN WAR ( PART 2)
PART 2 of 6
Thoroughly disgusted with the work, Rohitash wanted to pay no attention to the paper at first although the feeling of fear built inside him. He walked away wondering when his ordeal would finally end. He took a few steps forward when something struck him. The unmistakable red and blue colours of the paper, laminated with a thin film, reminded him of something long back. He said to himself “ No way ” and moved ahead. Coincidences are a part of life but this was way too much even for a man as thoughtful as him. He started to feel uncomfortable and sat on a small hillock nearby. He tried not to think of the past but could not avoid going into the memory lane.
The village pond was the favourite meeting spot for all the children of Kartarpur, a small village near Amritsar which was very close to now Indo-Pak border post of Wagah. They would swim, play hide & seek and dream of a world without the British rule, which under Gandhiji’s leadership seemed to be coming to an end. The English had began to leave the Indian soil for their homeland and country seemed poised to begin a new chapter. Ahmed, a young boy of six was very fond of Rohitash. They would play and dream and create their fantasy world. Their parents found it difficult to separate them. Once, Ahmed went eight miles to bring a wooden wheeled toy which Rohitash’s parents could not give him on his birthday.
However, they had to tearfully split when partition saw the division on religious lines. The country was split and the families preferred to stay within their religious communities, hopeful of being safer there. They both promised each other to meet after twenty years. As a proof of their pact, they got a red and blue coloured paper laminated, then tore it off and kept a half each. Those memories of friendship still haunted Rohitash and he thought he would never see his friend again. That paper among the litter had just made the wounds fresh again. Fearing the worst, he went to the site where he had seen the paper. It was still there, dirty and partially torn but the triangular shape reminded him of the scissor and frail hands of Ahmed who had helped him cut it two decades back.
Could this really be true.
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