It was a usual cold morning. The bright autumn colours were fading away, withering in dismay while grey winter gloom was taking over.
It was chilly, dry cold like a serpent that glides in through any possible unsealed coating. Harbajan had finished his night shift of driving his heavy vehicle to transport goods.
On one hand, he enjoyed long driving through less busy roads at night, where the silence helped him speed up. Yet the treacherous weather, slippery ice conditions and darkness had not always been a great combination.
Harbajan came home with the feeling of delight on the weekend. No more stressful driving over the next two days. Having the luxury to sleep at night and awake during the day.
He opened the door and stepped inside his house. A much relieved laughter of his family surprised him. They were all sitting around the dining table. He could hear the clattering of the teacups on fancy saucers, smell the aromas of freshly made parathas and piping hot curry.
In a tired sleepless state Harbajan heard an announcement that his grand father was travelling on a bus, all the way from Canada to Pakistan for the opening of Kartarpur corridor.
Harbajan was not completely ready for such surprise. He had always been very attached to his grandfather. With his parents being away as flight attendants Harbajan grew up in the company of the most loving and caring grand parents.
After a quick breakfast he went to sleep. In the afternoon after tossing and turning for a while he decided to come out of the bed and make a cup of coffee.
‘Harbajan, I am here’, he heard his grand father’s voice whom he often called Lucky.
Lucky sat on a leather rocking chair listening to Sikh devotional music. His eyes had a shine, an unexplained mirth and joy written all over his face.
‘Lucky, why do you want to take such a long tiring journey? What makes you take such a sudden decision.’ Harbajan couldn’t wait to show his concern.
Lucky smiled. ‘Don’t make a hasty judgement son, you don’t know my story’.
‘Story doesn’t matter, it’s your health. You are too old’. Harbajan continued, ‘just look at your age’?
‘Na puttar, look at my wait, I can wait no longer’.
‘It’s too long journey’, he argued.
‘It’s a holy pilgrimage puttar’. Lucky nodded.
‘Into a country we don’t hold friendly ties with?’ He insisted.
‘Na putter, in a country that has opened its door with warmth, concern and hospitality’. Lucky answered with the same calm tone.
‘Can you not do Darshan on the tv. Why do you need to be actually there, far far away, is it that important? Harbajan couldn’t put his mind at ease.
‘Na puttar, shall I tell you my story? Perhaps you could understand my notion better.’ Lucky paused and after seeing an affirming nod of his grand son continued with much excitement.
‘I was a child. I grew up in a loving environment. We had friends, families, our places of worship and a complete sense of belonging. Being close to roots and origin makes one original, a very content and happy person puttar.’
‘Then an evil eye effected our happy lives where people of all religions lived together. There was a sudden animosity amongst inhabitants. The friends became enemies. Lines were marked and boundaries were placed. We felt helpless to realise we had to migrate to another country, leaving behind our roots, our heritage, our culture and our holy shrines.’
Lucky took a deep breath and rolled his eyes. ‘It was not as easy as it sounds puttar. The hollowness crept within, we felt empty handed. I still remember that yearning that my parents felt. For many years we used to go to the border and do darshan of the holy shrine with binoculars. ‘
‘Still’.. harbajan insisted.
‘Na puttar, don’t take it lightly, it took seventy years for that corridor to be opened. Seventy years for the politicians to feel our pain, our yearning, our longing. It’s a gesture of peace, hospitality and good will. I accept it open heartedly. I can feel I have got wings, as if I can actually fly. Time has given us all a reason to celebrate, to look forward the divine journey’.
Lucky stopped, he undoubtedly had put across all his source of excitement with as much power as he could. He had no more words to convince his grand son, to assure his concerns and tell another story. He looked down when he heard his grand son speak.
‘You must be needing a driver on the journey, I will see if I can do a few shifts on the way and back. Let’s be together in this legacy lucky’.
He put forward his hand with love and care that was equally reciprocated.
‘High time puttar.. to the corridor for peace’, lucky answered in a booming voice.