Meeting Point5 mins 24K 5 mins 24K
Pre-retirement, all the colleagues of our office whose retirement was due within six months planned for an errand to North India. We wanted to enjoy with our people of same age group, away from the hustle-bustle of city life and feel the serenity of nature. A group of eight people, we started from Delhi with our journey planned by a travel agent taking care of the tickets n accommodations at destinations of Punjab & Haryana.
We deliberately got our travel tickets booked by train in first class AC, for a change, we were bogged down with the air journey been frequent flyer; we craved to travel by train and were sure that train journey would be enjoyable in group wherein we can share our words & be at ease.
We started site seeing from Chandigarh Rose garden n our trip the last point of was Wagah border Amritsar. The trip was a thorough fun and we all were refreshed & rejuvenated in the lap of nature.
While I was strolling near the fences of Wagah border, a teddy hung on the wire in one of the isolated corners drew my attention. I walked towards the spot and seeing it from close quarters, I felt a sense of belonging with the teddy and the spot.
Memories of past flooded in front of my eyes taking me into the times when I was in my teens soon after the partition of India & Pakistan by few nationalists who partitioned this land in the lust of power and the sufferer were the common man as history holds since its advent.
Noor & I were neighbors and we were good childhood friends and our mothers were good friends, so we spent most of the time together. The announcement of partition led to the separation of our families. Been a Hindu, we moved out of Pakistan it wasn’t our decision; circumstances compelled us to leave. The instances of moving away from Pakistan was traumatic and more of a nightmare for all in the wake of partition.
Till we were together, we didn’t feel a longing for each other; the day I was moving with my family, emotions upsurged, ripping my heart into pieces.
Noor locked herself in her room and in spite of calling her thousand times, she did not turn up. I banged the door to get a glimpse of her before leaving the place, but she did not pay any heed to my repeated requests.
I had no choice & had to leave the place forever with a heavy heart. I gave the teddy to Noor’s mother requesting her to give to Noor as a gift from my side as a token of friendship.
The border of the two countries India & Pakistan was demarcated by a wire fence and heavy patrolling was on both the sides.
Every day in the evenings before sunset, I used to stroll near the fence with a hope that Noor might come someday to meet me. After a fortnight, she came. I couldn’t believe my eyes but yes, she did come.
I was overwhelmed to see her and storm of emotions roared within me. Dressed in a pink suit, she looked more beautiful. She approached near me embracing the teddy close to her heart. My happiness knew no bounds.
“I love you Manpreet, I love you” Noor whispered coming near me without wasting a moment further.
“I love you, Noor more than anything in this world.One day, I will bring you with me with full honors.” I said.
Tears rolled down our cheeks profusely venting out the unsaid emotions bottled inside our souls since long.
I saw a crowd approaching towards me and I sensed trouble nearing.
“Go back Noor, Run fast else you may be caught” I wailed.
Her face went white and she sprang back to the fields and in a rush, teddy fell from her grip near the fences.
With a heavy heart, I picked the teddy and hung into the fence as a symbol of our meeting point with a hope that Noor will come often to meet me at this point.
Before the crowd could reach near, I slipped between the bushes and hid in else it would have been a wild torment for me.
I waited each evening for her, but she never came back again. I knew her bindings but still the heart longed with a hope.
A group of torch bearers and a sound of the shot of air gun broke my trance and I was back to present.
I leaned forward to take out the teddy from the wire but an unknown yell stopped me from behind.
“Don’t move; don’t move" yelling he moved towards me.
"Sorry Sir, I want to take this teddy back. There are numerous memories entangled with this pricey possession, please Sir, do me a favor." I pleaded with a hope of mercy & my eyes were moist taking toll of my emotions.
I was taken into custody and after heavy interrogation, was released and the humble officer handed me the teddy with a warning not to barge into this barricaded No Entry Zone ever after.
I heaved a sigh of relief and thanked my stars, waving above to the Almighty with the teddy in my hand and felt a fragrance of Noor near me & prayed for her welfare wherever she was.