By Aurangzeb Wattoo
Large gathering in wake of killing-Hindustan Times
Fire set upon vehicles in Kishan Ganj-Times of India
MLA lit candles among crowds of Dallits in Aurangabad-The Hindu
Why that cold blooded murder? Didi asked in Calcutta-The News
No more peace in UP-Muslims chant in Deobnd
Thousands gathered at Jantar Mantar,people demand answer-Delhi Radio
Shahi Mosque issued statement, peace should prevail-Delhi
Bhagwan Das declared “not another Pakistan”-Merrutt
Curfew violated in Kashmir, internet disconnected in Aasam-DD National
Maratha Mandr turned into war zone-Zee News
What’s going on in India? Where is Sarkar?-Aalmi Sahara
Riots broke out in India on death of Shahrukh.Muslims have vowed to avenge the murder,Hindus are also ready to fight.There is a law and order in North India,things are heading towards extremes.There are news of Pakistani jihadis to help Muslims in holy war against Hindus.Everything was fine just a day ago and then suddey things changed to the unimaginable extent in next 24 hours.۔
Shahrukh and Gauri were at home that night.They had a long tiring working day and couldn’t find a single moment of relief in last 12 hours.The night has reached to small hours when he sent a message to his wife,
Weather was pleasant and exciting that day.He put on his old worn out blue jeans,Gauri decided to take white shirt with Patiala trousers.
A wild panorama of images,voices,moments falashbacked in her mind when they left for Maratha Mandir to watch their all time favorite picture in cinema.They had a plan to take an auto.They always found themselves in love with a rickshaw ride.They tried to relive the moments that still haunted their imagination. It took an hour to reach Maratha Mandir.Auto was making way between the narrow streets and deafening noise of city. They could count on finger tips, all the years,all the days they had passed travelling tirelessly,wandering aimlessly and loving passionately.28 years ago,when he almost everyday found himself hanging in packed corridors of Mumbai public buses,she worked for 10 hours a day in a cosmetics store to earn enough to pay for her hostel and humble meals.They more than often talked abot the day when this city embraced them with all their failures and faults but it never let them die their passions to live and build a temple of their own love.
They had the same plan.At 11.20 Central Mumbai Railway Station
At 11.25 Ice cream from Natural Ice-cream Parlour
At 11.30 Seat number 995,996 in 1000 seated cinema and very first dialogue in iconic voice of Amrish Puri”This is London”.
This had been their faviorite love-date for two decades.They loved Bombay,the city that gave meanings to their life.Bombay was the city that gave them an identity,a sense of existence,a feeling of pride.The city was a home to millions,always greeting everyone whole-heartedly,with open arms.It was an ocean of human faces,coming from different faith,culture,caste and creed.It wasnt only this city,it was India that had thousands of colors,like the colors of Holi.For thousands of years, this country had been attracting the imagination of poets,the armies of invaders,the caravans of traders,the ships of explorers.Shahrukh and Gauri loved each other,loved from their hearts.Though their beliefs were not same,yet their prayers were always similar.They were proud of their “great India”.
Those three hours in cinema were indespensible for them.One hundred and eighty minutes,Ten thousands and eight hundred movements of time.They always felt themselves back in their college years and that feeling in darkness of cinema hall,sometimes, brought a strange urge and they entered into each other with such a passion that they felt themselves melting in some ethereal substance and joining each other in some other world.
In interval,they decided to take coffee.Sitting around their faviorite table,they smelled rain in air.
I think it’d rain.
So,we were right in coming today.
We’d regret if we’d missed the day.
How could we miss?Mumbai darling,this is gonna be another lovely day.
Now just rise,your highness.Its time to go back to DDLJ.
Holding each other’s hands,they once again entered the hall.The story was rising towards climax when they heard the noise,a noise rising and rising.Soon the noise became louder than the sound of music.Couples sitting inside the hall started whispering,noone was interested in climax anymore.Shahrukh unlocked his phone and the scene on his wall sent a chill inside his bones.Deafning sounds of headlines,draconian faces of news anchors,distorted videos and images filled with smoke and human flesh,naked abuses,violent hash-tags,hilarious slogans of patriotism,his phone had become a battlefield.He held her hand and almost dragging her behind, came out of the hall.
What’s going on? Tell me,please.
Oh God, but what to do with riots?
I am a Muslim.
No more questions please.I am a Muslim right now.This
is the only point you should keep in mind.Nothing else.
They took a cab and almost dragged themselves to fell into seats.They felt that weather had changed suddenly .The darkness they had left inside the cinema hall seemed to descend from a narrow sky,to engulf their city.
Taj Muhammad had two roads to take.The one led to Pakistan,his native city was also there,and better prospects too.All his friends had quit India.They told him to quit India as hard times were coming.His great expectations had betrayed him.Things were falling apart so quickly that there was no centre to hold.
“Hmm,so I should Quit India.So I should go to Pakistan,the Pakistan which was India yesterday.Today Delhi is India and Lahore is Pakistan.Dont you find it a bit funny.I may save my life,might prosper there,might live a rich life,but what about those who are lying in graves.Those who are dead for centuries,who would answer them for this betrayel?”
So he took the road less travelled and didnt quit India.
Shahrukh took out his phone as they left for metro station.There were news of riots but no killings were reported.Driver took a short cut, left the main road ,and now they were on a single road.
What is going on the roads?
A snake is always snake.As we sow as we shall reap.
What do you mean?
Mam,death is in the air.Some old spirit is coming to avenge the old crimes.That picture is no more for cinema anymore.
What is the issue with that picture?
No,no.Not with the picture.But the names.Some traitors are real problem.There is a Khan too on other side,you know in Pakistan.
They remained silent throughout and driver spoke without any pause.He dropped them near Metro Station,they bought tickets and settled themselves in large queue.Soon the station announced that their was no arrival today.Metro service was closed till further orders.
They decided to eat something before taking another cab.They ordered the food,but soon they realized that something was wrong with the place.A couple of jeeps stopped at the entrance of restaurant and a dozen of youngmen entered the dining place.They were asking people their names,checking their identity cards,smelling their food.Shahrukh tried to avoid them but they decided to inspect them as well.
Whats your food?Beef?
No,we are vegeterian.
My wife is a hindu.
Oh its a case of Love Jihaad.
No,its not.We are leaving.
Leaving? Where? Is there any train to Pakistan?
I am Indian.
Indian? Okay then you are indian.Then sing a song for us.No,just say Jai Sri Raam and leave.
Jai Sri Raam.
Good.Jai Bajrang Balli.
Jai Bajrang Balli.
Good boy.Bajrang Balli and their Ali….
He couldnt hear anything and they left for their home.Late night,probably At 2:35 AM,he typed a message on his phone,sent it to Gauri and left for the mosque.
Taj Muhammad was sitting in front of Nehru,first Prime Minister of Independent India.Nehru pointed towards him and adressed the whole crowd, “these people are real builder of our nation.They would make us a great nation.Our hopes are restored,our faiths are prevailing due to people like him.Our great india is our great discovery,it is our great destination.”
Taj Muhammad was honoured for his loyalty.He never wished to Quit India.
February 30,Early Morning 4:05,2020..
Hundreds of carspassed but nothing to make any difference to Shahrukh who was lying across the road.A coach bound to Haji Ali first spotted the body,stopped,carried the dead body and took a turn towards nearby police station.