Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An encounter of a different kind

I walked out of my office to take an Auto to the bank.Since the bank is less than a km away it is difficult to find an auto rickshaw.One really has to haggle sometimes to get the right fare.I saw an auto standing outside the Satyam Cineplex.A pleasant looking middle aged Sardarji with a saffron Pagri said, come in please.I asked how much he would charge.He said pay me only after you get to where you want to go.Aap se hee bone hogi(You are my first customer for the day).
We had hardly traveled 200 meters when my phone rang.It was Masood Taing,my friend from Shopian,Kashmir.The decibel levels of traffic at the Nehru Place traffic signal were so high that we could hardly converse.Soon the light turned green and the auto turned towards GK-I.The Sardarji stopped the auto rickshaw on the side of the road so that I could talk properly.When the conversation finished I asked the Sardarji to move.He was smiling and said in chaste Kashmiri”Aaz booze varraye veher pannen zaban”(After many years have I heard my mother tongue today).I asked him which place he belonged to and he said (again in Kashmiri), I am from Barrahmulla(Varmul).He too was a refugee like me.He had a small spare parts business back in Kashmir but was now drawing his sustenance from driving an auto rickshaw .He and his family lived in a rented room ,in Kalkaji.
We arrived at the bank.I got down and paid him his due which he proudly accepted.Like long lost friends we talked about our land,our shared past and an uncertain future. I felt as if we knew each other for a long time and this meeting was just that, we were meeting after a long time.In meeting him, there was a strange sense of excitement & sorrow,pain & pleasure. We hugged each other and I kissed his hand.
As he drove on, he kept looking back and I stood there till he got lost in the maze of the traffic

3 comments:

Sunil Ji Bhat said...

ohhhh.....wt an emotional moment it must have been!!!!
I know how it feels when u meet someone who is the victim of the same tragedy of which u are!! I myself feel like that whenever I happen to meet a Tibetian or 47 refugee...
Did u and Sardar Ji exchanged ur respective numbers??? I hope both of u must have.....

Aditya Raj Kaul said...

It was touching, Rashneek. I couldn't hold back my tears somehow..

Today, I just by the way managed to visit your blog; and just then; such a brilliant post. Graet friend.

I had a similar instance a few months back at Saket...

Our ROOTS are intact at our homeland. We'll get there soon; in our own Kashmir...

Pooja Shali said...

What a surprise it must have been! :) for both of you...

Dead End

Dead End
The road to what was once my home in Kashmir....zuv chum bramaan ghare gachehae..