The evening sky looked gorgeous displaying a beautiful shade of Orange and Red. It looked unusual for me. There was something peculiar about the sky pattern. I rubbed my eyes and sprawled my legs. Looking at the sky shade indicated that it was evening. I looked around and saw that the train was empty. There was no one in sight. It was dark.
I lolled on the train seat and wondered what had happened suddenly. The 14001 Samjhauta Express was a ray of hope to some people across the borders. I still remember that Kareem Chacha from Lahore used to regularly travel to India to meet his Khala who lived in Kanpur. Baljit Uncle from Amritsar used to travel to Pakistan using this train to meet his best friend Ahmad Khan who lived in Islamabad. The train was a breeding ground for so many amazing stories. I fondly remember the good old days where people used to chit chat with each other and talk about their Indo-Pakistan memories. The Samjhauta Express displayed the friendship between people from both the nations. It was the government of the two countries that had a poor relationship but not the people. It’s on this train where I and few of my friends used to steal Delicious Biryani from Nafeesa Chachi’s food bag and consume scrumptious Aloo Parathas from Amrit Kaur Aunty. That was our way of adventure. But they embraced us with an open heart, at least we felt so. I slowly walked inside the bogey to check if anyone was there. Alas! the train was empty. It was waiting at the Attari Station.
Strolling inside the train, took me back to the memory lane. I reminisced the wonderful bygone days where I used to listen to the India-Pakistan partition stories narrated by older passengers travelling in the Samjhauta Express. I used to narrate those stories to my parents and even they used to wonder about the bond. There is no hatred between the people of these two countries but like I said earlier, its the government that’s sowing seeds of hatred.
” Motherfuckers! Not even a single fucking person on this train.” I yelled at the top of my voice.
Devastated and Disappointed, I returned back to my seat.
That was when I eavesdrop on a discussion between two Indian railway officials. They were standing outside the train.
“I don’t understand when will these Pakistani’s stop killing Indian soldiers.” The first guy said to the other.
The second person took a sip of the chai and said, “I heard the Pakistani Militants had killed 9 Indian sepoys.”
“True. And I don’t understand till when will India remain silent on such issues and keep condemning such attacks.” The first person said to the other.
I listened to the conversation with complete alacrity.
“I think it’s high time India should drop a nuclear bomb on Pakistan and regain it’s lost territory.” The second person replied.
“Holy Fuck! War is not a cake! It will kill innocent people.” I murmured.
I moved my head and turned around to see if I could get hold of someone. But the train was still empty and these guys were talking about wars.
“I actually see no meaning of this train running too and fro between Lahore and New Delhi.” The first person said and continued,” There is no Samjhauta between our two countries.”
“The train name is an irony. ” The second person said and laughed.
“That’s why this train is lying here like an orphan at this border town.” The guy said.
I almost freaked out. “What!!”
As per the discussion, it seemed that the Indian government had decided to discontinue the Samjhauta Express train running between India and Pakistan.
Sad, I sat on my seat, resting my chin on my hand. I am definitely going to miss the wonderful stories between the two countries, I thought.
By now, the evening Sun had almost vanished. The moon, full and bright looked mesmerising.
My eyes aimlessly wandered around as I looked for those two guys outside. They were not to be seen.
I walked towards the footboard. I stood there and spotted those guys again. Their political discussions were never ending.
“Oye Sukhwinder, sunne, just got the news from our station master,” The first person said to the other.
“What news, Boobinder?” The second person asked.
“That our government is planning to reuse this train for some other route,”he said and continued, “We need to clean it and make it ready.”
I keenly listened to whatever they were talking.
“Oh Wait, Sukhwinder!” Boobinder, the second person looked at me.
I freaked out once again. I soon ran and hid beneath the seat.
“Let me get that Black HIT right away.” he continued, ” they are such a menace.”
He got vexed after he spotted me. He angrily walked to the Office to get the Black HIT.
Once I got to know his future action, I kept running. My life now was in my hand. I had to save myself. I kept running for my life. As I ran, I saw the virtual images of Ahmad Chacha, Kuldeep Uncle, Shana Begum and many other passengers. How beautiful this train once used to be!
But now ,the train was empty! And I kept running to save my life from Boobinder!