Wednesday, February 2, 2011


She remembers that August to be the hottest summer ever in Delhi. They were happy and carefree school girls looking forward to a prosperous free nation. With dreams in their eyes, my mother, a 15 year old Hindu girl, and her best friend, a Muslim girl, spent all their waking hours together. On August 14, 1947, they decided to go watch the celebrations of August 15 together. At nightfall, the servant of the house informed my Naniji (my maternal grandmother) that something terrible was going to happen that night. She asked them to lock the doors and windows and be prepared to escape. My Naniji ordered all 6 children to wear three sets of clothes. She handed each child some jewellery to hide in their clothes. The whole family sat in their store room, turned off all lights and locked all doors and windows. The whole night was spent hearing loud chants of “Har Har Mahadev and Allah Ho Akbar”. They could hear people screaming and calling for help. Not a soul slept that night. In the morning, my Nanaji (my maternal grandfather), went to check on my mother’s best friend’s family. No one was to be found. On my mother’s insistence her brother searched for her friend’s family until 1950, but no one knew anything. She has found many of her Muslim friends from childhood now; some in Pakistan, some in the U.K., and some even in the U.S.A. but not her best friend. My mother still mourns her loss.

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