Anwar Chacha, one of the most respected persons of Kullu; known for his charming wit and flamboyant poetry. He ran his family business of textiles while reciting poetry as a pass time; a hobby that stayed with him for over three decades now. Despite being a fifty five year old, he never looked anywhere closer to his age. His daily walks and exercises have kept him hail and hearty, thus keeping the youth alive in his eyes. He was Ram’s best friend since childhood. It was he who helped Ram and Sita get married, that to against parental wishes. It was a scene of havoc then but Anwar had managed the situation quite well, allowing everyone to adjust and return to normalcy. He stood by Ram’s side, rock steady, during the past five years, never allowing him to drift away from his sight. It was a difficult phase for everyone, especially for Anwar who was seeing his friend fade into oblivion. And the worst thing was the sheer helplessness he felt to do anything about it. Anwar would visit Ram every alternate day; most of the time during their meet would be spent in silence with a few exceptions that catered to formal courtesies.
It was the month of September, Chacha had walked in his friend’s office with a glittery card in his hand. His eldest son was getting married this fall, and Chacha was in no mood to hide his excitement. The first card, as both had promised years ago, had the name of Ram Shankar Bisht on it. Bisht took a long look at the card, closely examining every detail and finally breaking into broad smile.
“Faizal has grownup so fast. I still remember his first day at school like it was yesterday. Even Sita was there…” He stopped in middle, to finally smile again as he looked upon his friend, Anwar Sheikh.
“Ram Bhai, it’s okay. We can’t change what has happened in the past but why curse the present and spoil the future for things we can’t do a damn about. You need to move ahead, my friend. You need to.”
Ram got up from his seat and walked towards Anwar, and sat on his knees, looking Anwar right in the eye.
“I know Anwar, I know. But some people get so etched in our lives that he don’t find our existence to be true without them. After they leave, it all feels like a blur, a constant painful blur. But let’s leave that for today. It’s a time for celebration. Our boy is getting married. What more can we wish for!” He tightly hugged his long time friend, while placing his hand over his shoulder as they made their way outside for their beloved walk. It was the first time in five years that Ram had looked so cheerful, he spoke at length about the past, about memories of their children and of course Sita.
A week before the wedding, Faizal was returning back to Kullu from Aligarh, his workplace. He was the youngest professor of the university and he taught Sociology to his students. He was one of the most beloved teachers of the university; there were hardly anyone who despised him, not even by mistake. The last day at work, his students had gifted him a Sherwani for his wedding. It was richly decorated with small red stones while the design was carefully hand stitched which broke into life in patches near the chest till the waist, in short a flamboyant cream coloured sherwani. He loved it so much that he made up his mind to wear that for his wedding.
His train was stationed for arrival at 11:00 P.M at Aligarh. He waited patiently at the station, holding the sherwani carefully in his right hand while carrying his lone suitcase with the other. He looked at his watch, there were another fifteen minutes for the train to arrive. The restlessness, the feeling of excitement was catching up on him. After all he was getting married to his college sweetheart, Noor. It was the time when he wished there was a teleporting machine that existed which could teleport him home in no time. But it wasn’t the case, so he stood his ground waiting. What happened in the next ten minutes looked like a haze for everyone at the station. A few people with religious head bands and swords in hand appeared at the station and what followed next was carnage. No one was spared. The cream coloured sherwani, the flamboyant one, laid at an extreme corner with red speckles all over it. Next to it, was Faizal.
P.S. Sherwani means a type of clothing worn during marriage; Chacha means Uncle. Both words are from Hindi Language.