Time and again, I’ve made an attempt to write about the peculiarity of this place, sometimes resorting to humour, sometimes to pain, and sometimes I’ve narrated things just the way they were; in every way I’ve tried to be truthful to myself and this place.
This incident is in the light of a recent event, a personal one yet worthy of mention.
I was being deported to the parents’ house.
We all know why.
With a hurriedly packed bag and a painfully abrupt goodbye, I was transiting through the capital. The journey didn’t seem to end and I wasn’t complaining about the delayed flights. People out there were really trying hard to make things okay so the least we could do is hold our patience.
I approached the airline desk to collect my boarding pass and handed over my ID. While he was taking a good look at it, his colleague joined him and I read his name (I always read names and try and remember them).
He looked at me and smiled.
And then he said “Jai Hind, Ma’am. Thank you for everything”. I welled up but tried to smile. I’d collected my boarding pass and was ready to leave when he thanked me again, only this time his hands had moved to a salute. I was overwhelmed and in tears by now.
I thanked him and walked away. I was slightly embarrassed for I had done nothing to deserve this; the women and men who deserve it were away.
I kept thinking about the husband and those I have known in the course of time. I kept thinking about the cancelled leaves, the women and men being recalled to duty, the coffins coming back wrapped in the tricolor, and the families left behind.
As I end, I’d urge all of you to please be judicious and sensitive about sharing any information. Let’s not add fuel to the fire, let’s not share any more “How’s the Josh” two-liners, let’s not make a mockery of people’s lives.
Because some are still awaiting the safe return of their own.