Tuesday, August 4, 2015

'Jab We Met' Again in Rawalpindi

Maijnjit Singh Ahluwalia and Haji Gul Zaman in Rawalpindi
This is the voice of Rawalpindi – a city which has a lot to tell about its history and heritage— but only to those who commit themselves to the listening to the tales of this old city.
And I am one of those lucky souls of this city.

Mainjit Singh Ahluwalia and Haji Gul Zaman standing at the top of an old haveli somewhere in a narrow street of Bhabhra bazaar, Rawalpindi. But this is the climax of the story.
Mainjit Singh was just three at the time of partition. He visited his ancestral house and city 30 years ago and he is visiting his ancestral house once again.

We started out journey from Saidpuri gate, moving towards Chan bazaar and then Bhabhra bazaar. Maihnjit Singh randomly asked me how much is the distance from Saidpuri gate to Bhabhra bazaar. I said 'quite a distance' and he replied "aewein marda minnu pata" and started quickly moving towards the bazaar.

He kept on moving, taking quick steps. People were amused to see a Sardar ji with blue turban moving around like a kid in the streets. Whoever asked him "kidhar jana Sardar ji?' and he replied "apnay kaar jaana" and then started explaining him his family history..."Koocha Tara Singh ch kar ae, Parchhatti alli galli ch, kithay ae?"

And it happened again and again. Finally near Sujan Singh Haveli, a middle aged lady helped us. She was so nice and I am really thankful to her. She knew where we really wanted to go. She not only told the way but walked with us around 500 meter till the corner of the street.

In a street of Bhabhra bazaar area, Rawalpindi
As we enter entered narrow lanes, which were so complex I lost contact with Mainjit Singh, he was moving so fast. Now my quest began to relocate him as he didn't has any contact number or mobile. I asked people in street about Sardar ji and each person told me he went this way, he went that way... and finally a man on bike told me that he dropped him at the haveli with a parchatti, connecting both parts of haveli with a bridge.

At the gate of haveli I asked the man did you see him and man told that 'he is sitting inside", I mean what?

When I went upstairs Haji Gul Zaman and Mainjit Singh were gossiping like school fellows. Amazing!

Words are not enough to explain the feelings. They laughed, cried and hugged.

They went on the roof and here they were pointing at different areas and buildings, who were who and who lived where. "Eh Koocha Tara Singh, Eh Boota Singh da kaar, Eh Bhagat Chand da, Eh oh, Ethay oh" etc etc.

And then Haji Gul Zaman presented a brick of haveli to Mainjit Singh Ahluwalia and I believed this brick is not just a piece of stone.
Mainjit Singh Ahluwalia and Haji Gul Zaman

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