Chapter 2:

They married a day after Valentines Day, 1977.

It was a small wedding, not more than 50 people, hurriedly organised by a handful of family and friends. She was 18 at the time. A delicate and somewhat naive soul, oblivious that on this day of 15th February, her future timeline was being defined, the pages of her destiny were being written. She did not fathom, in her uncomplicated innocent mind, that once the covenant of love was sealed, the pages in her book of destiny could never be unwritten. But a new bride-to-be seldom thinks about such deep philosophies. She was entangled in the bitter sweet ceremonious arrangements.

Jolly was brimming with multitude of emotions – of excitement and nervousness, swimming deep in loves pond, thrilled that her family had accepted him, albeit reluctantly at first. Still, regardless of her family’s assent, there was a dull nervous ache at the pit of her stomach, she couldn’t place a finger on the root of this nervousness and simply disregarded it.

There was also a sliver of guilt gnawing at her heart, for she was defying cultural traditions and getting married ahead of turn, before her elder sister. That guilt was soon dessicated by her sisters blessing and excitement towards the wedding. Perhaps it was the blatant awareness that their time together would be temporary – he had to depart Dhaka in a few short weeks as per visa requirements, but the bigger worry was his impending departure to America for further studies, his MBA. It was an important step towards their collective future, she knew that, but the resounding doubts kept knocking. She kept ignoring. Her priority was him, she wished to devote every single passing second in is strong arms, like any newly-wed bride.

Those few short weeks of glorious bliss came to an abrupt end sooner than she anticipated. During that time, her family had showered them with unending love & blessings, put him on a high pedestal, he was treated like royalty, but it was now time for him to leave and both of them had to deal with reality. They had to discuss and develop their future plans. The sharp stab of reality was beyond her pain threshold – they would have to separate until such times he organised her to join him. Jolly must wait. But waiting for him was the least of her worries.

Their first challenge as a married couple was the customary meeting with his family in Lahore, Pakistan. Little did she know that his family was oblivious of their first-born son’s recent union with the Bengali beauty – they were too busy with ‘Ahmad’s’  upcoming wedding preparations.

Their eldest son was betrothed to their closest friend’s daughter, a blue-eyed beautiful girl called ‘Farheen’.

© as|fa 2016




Chapter 1:

It’s 1976. A handsome Pakistani Punjabi gentleman falls in love with a most stunningly beautiful Bengali girl. So deep is the pull of love that he, endangering his life, relentlessly pursues against all odds, breaking all norms, the heart’s desire of a union, all the way to Bangladesh. All eyes are fixated on him; he is considered an infidel, the son of tormentors. The blood gushing through his veins are West Pakistan, his loyal grass roots, the nation of the ‘Butcher of Bengal’. He cannot be trusted. The Bangladeshi intelligence monitors his every move, but remarkably allows him to set foot on their soil in pursuit of love.

In Dhaka, the flesh wounds from the 1971 Pakistan-Bangladesh liberation war are still raw. Families are still grieving from the death, destruction and carnage caused by West Pakistan army. The youths of East Pakistan were mercilessly executed, the women were brutally raped, and the men were sentenced to tortuously indescribable deaths. Recovery from remnants of any war is soul shattering, but recovery from a war waged by your very own people is shockingly beyond belief. The sentiments towards Pakistan are remarkably ambivalent, happy to be separated, but also a dull ache of sadness in severing the blood vessels, somewhat like the aftermath of separating conjoined twins.

Within this icy cold environment, the Pakistani gentleman unnervingly handles fluctuating emotions, navigates through the endless questions, and constantly proves his enduring love, his rock solid commitment to the family of his beloved. How can they trust this man, the son of a Punjabi soldier? Their memories remain vivid, of Punjabi soldiers tearing through their front door, searching for their daughters to use as subjects of carnal terrorism. God saved them that day. Their daughters were hiding in a neighbour’s house which escaped the carnal rampage. That day sealed the fate of this Pakistani gentleman, who walked through the very same door 6 years later, not with the intention of terrorising, but requesting permission to marry their beloved, most precious, youngest daughter.

The pot-pourri of emotions burning through this family was nerve wrecking – this Punjabi man was standing between their patriotism and the endless love for their precious daughter. These violent fluctuating emotions caused havoc for days to come within the family; they lay divided on their stance. How can they betray their nation by allowing a Pakistani, that too a Punjabi man to integrate into their family, their bloodlines forever intertwined for generations, on the other hand, could they destruct the life of their precious daughter by leaving her love unrequited? Could they accept this man, love him, respect him, look beyond his roots, not penalise his heart for the actions of his nation..

They eventually resigned to the love story, succumbing to their daughters destiny. They accepted him. They found it in their hearts to bury the resentment, bring to surface that dull sad ache of separation and transform it into acceptance. They showered him with love, respect and attention. They gave him her hand with an open heart.  All for the happiness of their beloved daughter. A Bengali beauty, she unknowingly weaved together the bloodlines of Pakistan and Bangladesh…

© as|fa 2016