ek shaam judaai ki- free choice

Ek Shaam Judaai Ki

(An Evening of Separation)

A creative piece inspired by Faiz Ahmed Faiz and broadly retold true events

 

I can’t remember what happened this morning. All I remember is that my family coaxed me out of the room I had locked myself in, and now I’m dragging my feet on the walkway in some park. I can’t seem to remember if I ate anything today. I can’t remember if I even took a bath today. The only thing that I remember for certain is that one day. 24th August. The news came that they were finally doing it, they were separating as if they were two lovers being divided by social construct. No, they weren’t lovers, not anymore. They were like parents who decided to separate because they think they are too different and leave the children to bear the repercussions. The Hindus shall live in India whereas Muslims shall go away to Pakistan. 

 

I was in the part of Punjab that was to stay as a part of India after partition, just like we had planned. However, it wasn’t the notion of being separated from the birthplace that had catapulted me into my current state. It’s because my love was too stubborn and had stayed in what was to become Pakistan because he wanted to tie some open ends. For now, he was physically trapped. Me, I was mentally trapped.  

 

I walked further down the stone pathway and finally look up to see some flowers, they appear to be grey and wilted. It was as though my presence had saddened them. I raised my head higher and saw the Sun setting in the distance, as if unable to bear my dreary company. Soon, the stars spiral into evening and even they don’t twinkle as happily as they used to. The wind rushes by me and whispers words of love into my ear, mocking me with hope for something that might never be again. Sensing my bitterness, the wind makes fun of me with the trees who sway with taunting laughter.

 

Tears fill my eyes, and unwelcome thoughts return to my mind. Everyday news comes in of the Pakistani nationalists harassing and killing their Hindu brethren. To think we were once neighbours. A little voice in my head whispers that he might also be dead making me want to end it all. There is no purpose in life without him. I looked down once again and feelings of guilt overtake me as I caress my swollen belly. I do have a purpose in life, more so if he were to be dead. A part of him is growing within me and I can’t afford to be selfish in my actions. I can’t.

I don’t know how much longer I have to wait for him to come home, but I must, for our little one. With watery eyes I looked up to see the sky to see the moon scattering light with generous hands. I small smile edges its way onto my face. With quivering hands I reach up to feel it, I’d forgotten what it felt like to smile, it feels soft like the muslin his kurta was made of. The moon acts as a consolation for me. No matter where he is, what he is going through, we look at the same moon before we go to sleep. We will be together even though we are apart because they cannot extinguish the moon. So, as long as the moon shines down at us, it will fuel the flame of hope in my heart.

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This piece is a little creative emulation from Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Zindan Ki Ek Shaam. It is also a little personal because my great-grandmother was pregnant with my paternal grandmother when the India- Pakistan partition took place and my great-grandfather had been stuck in Pakistan for close to 6 months. So, this was my creative interpretation of an evening in my great-grandmother’s life while she was facing this separation.

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