Almost everyone I knew in Alha had left. They managed to carry all that was necessary for sustenance on those fragile bullock carts; however, they couldn't carry what they wanted to the most. Their homes. The place that was brought to life by their ancestors and all the memories that were engraved on its walls. The veranda where Hamza and Shiv played everyday without fail. And also, that tree, near the chaupal where Laxmi used to get a sweet by Maulvi Sahab each time she completed her home work.
They left it all behind.
I was well versed with the news of women being abducted, raped, & even forced to marry the abductor; eventually being converted to their faith. Men with saffron headbands & swords eagerly awaited the arrival of the few of us left in Alha. All these thoughts sent shivers down my spine. I couldn't stop my tears. I was sure this man was no different. I knew he was taking me to someplace where he'd gratify his needs and then kill me. Honestly, I had no will to fight, I couldn't even feel my bones, I could not even stand properly. Abbu had just been brutally murdered and I was sure partition had nothing different for me in store. I actually wished I'd be dead sooner.
An hour later, I could hear voices, shrieks and cries. Intriguingly, I looked at this man who had carried me in his arms for miles. He looked at me and whispered, "hum refugee camp aa Gaye, aap Yaha salamat rahengi, dariye mat, Mai Saath rahunga jab tak aap theek na ho Jaye" .It's been so many years and this man never left. Its been so many years since I married Srajan. I learnt madhubani while we were settled near Mathura.I found Srajan a lot like abbu. A man of self defined ideals, not adhering to norms. Srajan never entertained the idea of me turning to a Hindu, but can you see the vermilion on my head? I put it because I'm thankful for him. "Kehte hai na, Woh naimate bhi deta hai, aur aazmaish bhi leta hai"
- Kuhu Srivastava