Prompt : Tryst With Destiny
Title : The Trust
The cerculean sky had already changed its hue, it was sometimes purple and sometimes orangish and now almost drenched with blood , ever since man had turned barbaric and behaved worse than animals. There was a strange look on everyone’s face . Each face was full of horror and doubt on the dawn of 14 th August , 1947.
The grand Haveli of Kripal Singh in Rawalpindi , was also affected by this .The previous night , those masked men ,simply killed a dozen of Kripal Singh’s Hindu and Sikh neighbours.
The air , the leaves of the trees, and the flowers smelled of nothing but blood. None of his two children , his wife or his parents had managed to sleep for nights. They hid in the underground passage beneath the grand Haveli’s basement.
Kripal Singh , had been running a flourishing business. He had a cotton mill in Rawalpindi.His bulk load of spun cotton of finest quality were supplied to different parts of India including Amritsar. His distributor and suppliers were impressed by his quantity . They bought the materials in bulk order from him over the past six years. Amongst them was Zunaib Sheikh, who lived in Amritsar with his family.
Known people had turned violent .Zunaib Sheikh was an exception. He was amongst the first few people who decided to inform Kripal Singh to be prepared . He wrote to him just a fortnight back that read
” Dear Kripal Singh ji
Times are really, not going to remain the same . All of us are getting geared up for the unpredictable future, as you must have started witnessing the horrifying change in the attitude of people around you, so are we witnessing the horrible experiences in Amritsar. I want you to send me a bulk ordee. Do send it to my address at the earliest. This time , I would not be able to pay you right away , but will pay you in full , once I have received the entire order. Hope you stay safely and securely with your family in Rawalpindi.
Kripal Singh , still held the letter in his hand on the dawn of 14 th August and then hurriedly looked at his family members. “Lets run away from here , those terrorists have already damaged the Haveli and there is nothing left for us to look back. They have burnt the mill too. I have no savings, if someone can save us , it is Zunaib Sheikh. Lets go to Amritsar,” Kripal Singh told his family members .
By noon that day they had been able to reach till Gurudwara Panja Saheb in Hasan Abdal. They took shelter in the Gurudwara for a while and again continued with the never ending , tiresome journey.
By the time the golden sun set across the horizon on that fateful day, Kripal Singh and his family ,along with those thousands of immigrants entered India , through the Wagah border at Amritsar. The weariness of the tedious journey had taken its toll on each member of his family . They only hoped Zunaib Sheikh would help them.
It was around six in the evening , when Kripal Singh walked ahead leaving the members of his family , to rest under a huge banyan tree. He headed straight to Zunaib Sheikh’s address. Upon reaching the address in which , he used to send his materials in bulk, Kripal Singh realised that Zunaib was not staying in that address any longer. Even the house appeared to have been damaged.
Feeling desperate , restless and frustrated with everything , Kripal Singh sat down in front of a godown of rice and dal merchant and broke down . He had no where to go now . He had lost everything . His last resort of hope and trust seemed to be lost forever.
Meanwhile , his family kept waiting for Kripal Singh. They saw the entire city burning in flames. They didn’t even have a drop of water for hours and felt dehydrated. Mentally they were shattered, shocked and absolutely devastated .
” Darji , who are you ? Where have you come from ? Why are you weeping like this? ,” a strange voice made Kripal Singh look around. A middle-aged man introduced himself as Lala Keval Rai. ” I am the dal and rice merchant here, you seem to be new here . Have you come from Pakistan?
Kripal Singh spoke between his sobs , ” I am Kripal Singh , I was the owner of a cotton mill in Rawalpindi, but now I am absolutely penniless. I have just reached with my family here . I only knew of my suplier Zunaib Sheikh here and I trusted him the most. He had advised me to send a huge order of printed cotton fabric . He had promised me to pay the whole amount on receiving the order. Now upon arriving here, I have not been able to trace him . “
” Kripal Singh ji , can you please show me a proof of your identity or even a document which shows that you have sent the goods to Zunaib Sheikh?,” Lala asked him .
Kripal Singh promptly took out the documents and was about to show it to Lala , when he said , ” Yes , these are my documents , but why are you asking me for these details?”
“Zunaib Sheikh , has left for Pakistan last morning , but before he left , he came to me and left this money with me. He said , give it to Kripal Singh, when he arrives here. He has trusted me and I can’t break his trust. “
Kripal Singh held the envolope and his eyes lit up with a new vigour , a spark of victory. ” So he did trust me! ” , Kripal Singh spoke with a sigh of relief.
Kripal Singh had already left with the envelope and headed near the Banyan tree to share the reason of his new found happiness and reason to begin a fresh chapter of their life during the hours of India’s Independence.
Meanwhile, Lala could not tell him that Kripal Singh’s order never reached Zunaib’s address. It was burnt near the border.
Event Sponsored by Kasturi Patra, Published Writer, A Mother’s Goodbye
Can a woman be a mother at the cost of being herself? Can circumstances force a child to be a mother? To know the answers, do read Kasturi Patra’s A Mother’s Goodbye, a poignant tale of a woman, her children, and a mother who said did not say good bye.