In a series of poignant stories, one of them is about a Pakistani going to back to Jullundur and visiting his ancestral home that was left by his family.
Sometime in the 1970s, I went back to see my old house in Jullundur. It had been divided into four, the grand mansion that I used to run the lengths of as a child had been partitioned, just like the land.' 'The section where my bedroom was, now housed a Thakurain and her family.' 'The old woman was very unwell but asked me to come inside and see her. "Andar bulao, maine milna hai," she said.' 'By the time I went into her room to see her, everyone from the mohalla had gathered around to see what was happening and who had come from across the border.' 'As I sat down next to her bed, she held my hand and the first thing she asked me in Punjabi was, "Puttar, mainu dass, tussi khair naal pahunch gaye si?"' 'She was enquiring whether we had reached Pakistan safely. She said she had heard stories of people from Pakistan coming back to the mohalla to see their old homes and retrieve belongings. But no one had come back to that palatial mansion.' 'All these years, she had been waiting for someone to come, and then, still holding my hand, she asked me what had taken me so long.' '"Beta, aan mien itni der laga di..." Imagine that, she had been concerned for our safety.' 'These were the values of those days. This was the kind of love and compassion people had for one another, regardless of religion.