Thursday, December 29, 2022

Latifpura Christmas

It has never been about chimneys in this part of the world. So, I come and go using whatever means available; as long as it’s a quick stop (much distance and many wishes to cover in one night!).

It had been a very productive night so far. My next stop – Latifpura, Jalandhar - a colony of 50 homes. Only three little girls waiting for me here. They have been good this year. Good to others. In school. In home. In their hearts. In their prayers. And they didn’t ask for much. A doll, a sweater, a storybook. This will be a quick stop.

I am where the first home is supposed to be. I only see torn down walls, broken doors and windows, damaged household items. The other houses in neighbourhood seem to be similar condition. I didn’t hear of any earthquake in this region. And the houses on other side of the road seem to be in good shape. Only this colony looks like a storm brought it down and that too in a hurry.

Where will I find the girls?

I see few tents. A group is gathered around the fire. My tiptoe generally goes unnoticed.

“Beta, we survived the bloody riots, left our homes, land and villages and settled here after partition. And to suffer this at the hands of our own govt.”

“Bhaji, 75 years this has been home. And in one day they made us homeless.”

“Baba ji, Veere, they don’t care. When you all settled here, this was a wasteland. Now this is prime property. 1.5acre worth 150crores. That is very valuable to them.”

“Beta, was there no value of our homes? And what about the value of our dignity? Our little children witnessing the demolition of their homes, our women pleading, begging with police, and to live in tents. Tents you volunteers have setup for us. For us homeless people. In this freezing winter.”

I am not made to know such cruelty. That is for my more real and more relevant friend - death. I know cheer. I know joy. I walk away.

I find their tents. I leave their gifts. A doll, a sweater, a storybook. They had been good this year.

#HWR #FDC10 #prompt12

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