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Pavitra Mohan

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Chapter-1

On May 9, 1948, Gokuldas and his family arrived in India. When the train stopped at Mewar, the erstwhile kingdom in Southern Rajasthan, it was midnight. Gokuldas, his parents, wife, two sons and two daughters disembarked at the Mewar railway station and into a new world, never to see their homeland again. Outside the railway station they engaged a tonga set out for the dharmashala that offered shelter to families fleeing Sindh. Those seeking refuge in India from persecution in their homelands needed a permit to stay in temporary dwellings that would house them till a more permanent place of residence was arranged. Gokuldas and family did not have to worry about this as his brother-in-law had already procured their permits from the resettlement officer. Their tonga soon reached the Dharmashala in town. At the gate, they unloaded their luggage: A large hold-all, eight or ten utensils in a canister, and an iron case - this was all they could bring from their motherland, home of their ancestors for centuries. All the rooms of the shelter were filled with Sindhi refugees. In two large halls, space was created to house four families each. Those coming in later were accommodated in the verandah. Gokuldas and family were allotted a seven-by-twelve piece of space in the verandah where they spread their bedding and settled down. On getting up in the morning, they faced another hardship of the displaced living: sharing the toilets with many other families. Gokuldas and family queued up outside the community toilet complex which consisted of 10-12 toilets. Later, his brother-in-law took Gokuldas to the estate’s resettlement office, where after waiting for some time, he received a ration card that included the names of all his family members. They then went to the ration shop, where on displaying his card, he received a week of ration: flour, pulses, oil, soap and some cash. While collecting his family’s share of the week’s ration, Gokuldas looked at his brother-in-law awkwardly. He felt a great sense of shame. This was the first time in his life that he had accepted free food. Gokuldas felt like a beggar. From the cash he received at the ration shop, he also bought some coal and a sigree. With the rations, coal and sigree, Gokuldas returned to the dharmashala. On returning back, his wife took over. She lit the sigree and started cooking. Gokuldas looked on, without really looking. He was lost in his thoughts. He hoped they would be able to manage this period of transition somehow and put up with the difficult times. These times would also pass, he reasoned. One day when the situation improved, they could all return to their birthplace: beloved Sindh. Gokuldas heard from his brother-in-law that almost 10,000 Sindhis had already reached the town, and many more were likely to follow. All the dharmashalas, schools, Panchayati guest houses, and community homes were filled with Sindhis. The next day, along with his parents and brother-in-law, Gokuldas went out to meet other Sindhis who had sought refuge in town, hoping to meet a relative or an acquaintance. He also went to meet his sister and her family. His father was very happy to meet his daughter and her in-laws, comforted that they are not alone. In the ensuing days, much like they did in Sindh, the men would gather in the town’s large park in the evenings, make new acquaintances and play cards and Chaupar. While the men chatted or occupied themselves with games the children would run around or play kabaddi and hide-and-seek. The daytime was spent in visiting the palaces, lakes and historical places. They were enthralled by the lives of the kings, the armies, the fights with swords and spears, and the respect and loyalty of the subjects to their rulers. The men and women of these refugee families seem to be in two different camps. This was because of the way the responsibilities were divided among them. Women were restricted to cooking and taking care of their households, while the men were starting up their businesses. Like the men, the women in the households would go out too, but in groups, leaving behind a family member to take care of their belongings. They would go to see the lanes, bazaars and lakes of the city. By evening, they would return in time to arrange for dinner. The men continued to believe that they would be able to return to Sindh. That is why they did not work towards setting up stable businesses. They also started spending on food and clothes using up the cash, gold or silver they had brought with them. But gradually those dreams fell apart. Slowly, everyone realised that this is where they would have to settle down; this is where they would have to marry, to live and die. Local residents assisted them in many ways - they rented them shops at low rates and loaned them things to sell. Those who were still hoping to return, started buying small things and selling them at reasonable margins – not really thinking or dreaming big, just enough to keep going till the day they could get back. This is how their daily earnings started in India. Shopkeepers would sell clothes, groceries, soaps, pens and other assorted items. Some others would sell vegetables and fruits like mangoes and bananas on the roadside. Yet others would carry peanuts and gram in a barrow and ice cream pans on their shoulders. When their earnings became stable, the government gave them loans to help grow their businesses. With the tremendous support, their self-confidence grew. Some of them, who discovered the whereabouts of their family members and relatives, left the town to join them. Some others shifted to places which they thought may be good for their businesses. As time passed, the refugee families stopped taking rations. Gradually they started leaving the temporary camps, and depending on their capabilities, moved to rented houses. Gokuldas now lived in a rented house. His sister’s family had moved here before 15th August 1947, and had been living in a rented house since then. As they had moved before the Partition, when they were free to bring whatever they could, hey had brought along beddings, utensils, clothes, jewelry, money etc They supported Gokuldas in every way they could, but he never accepted any financial help from them. With support from the government, some of the richer people and engineers formed a committee to build a colony for Sindhi refugees. The government’s contract worth lakhs of rupees to build five hundred houses, set the construction effort going. Since Gokuldas used to receive contracts for houses roads and ponds in Sindh, he was offered a contract to build houses in the new colony. His business started off well. And Ishwar, his elder son, started going to school. Seeing the career trends of the time, Gokuldas had dreams of his son studying to become an engineer. After a long time, Gokuldas and family were somewhat settled. By that time the schools, dharamshalas and community guest houses were mostly vacated. The Sindhis who poured into India as refugees were now self-reliant citizens of a new land. They had found their means of living. The city parks that were till recently an evening hub of entertainment for gamers, playing children, people sitting around and chatting, were largely empty now. Someone would occasionally drop by to sit for a while in the evening, or take a stroll - that was it. Houses in the colony started coming up sooner than anyone could imagine. The government had given a lot of money to the committee overseeing the work. The committee in turn paid the contractors based on the completion of the work. Slowly, the rented houses also started getting vacated as people moved into the newly constructed houses in the colony. Schools, bazaars, hospitals and essential offices sprung up in the colony. The colony slowly took the shape of a newly inhabited township. The acquisition of money, position and fame often changes people, and the acquisition of even one of the three is sufficient to corrupt them. The committee continued to receive government money. The fame of the committee members also grew and some of them were even given public positions by the government. Their thirst for money grew. In the beginning, they were driven by a sense of service. Along with the desire for their own well-being, they also aspired for the well-being of others. But as time went by they started thinking and working for themselves alone. One day, most of the committee members who were in executive positions, left and moved to other cities. Construction work stopped, and with that, payment to the contractors stopped as well. The contractors had invested their own capital to pay for the labour, cement, bricks, iron, wood etc. They were waiting to be paid, when they heard that the office bearers of the committee had encashed the government cheques and left the town! Gokuldas had started work by mortgaging gold and everything he had. He was devastated by this turn of events. When he first heard the news of the committee members decamping with the money, he kept standing still, as if frozen. His sister and brother-in-law reassured him saying the money would be recovered and he would be paid “Do not bother about food and clothes. Plan starting some other business.” They said and this support helped him recover from the shock and get back on his feet. At the time, his elder son, Ishwar was studying in the ninth standard. Ishwar could understand what was going on around him and the impact it was having on his father and the family. He told his father: “Baba, you rest for a few days. Dadaji and I will work and earn. We will set up a small hawker shop on the roadside and sell peanuts, toffees and biscuits.” Gokuldas was horrified as he said: “No, you will not leave your studies. I will beg on the streets, but will support you (to study). An engineer, you will become!”, Ishwar replied, “Yes, Baba, I will surely become an engineer. I will not quit my studies. While I am at school, Dadaji will sit at the barrow, and after coming back from school, I will” Gokuldas was a bit relieved to hear this. The next day, Ishwar went out with his grandfather and bought a barrow made of a wooden plank measuring 2 x 3 feet. They also arranged for unroasted groundnuts, roasted grams, one weighing scale, and measure-weights of stones. They set up “shop” at the corner of their street. The money was not unsatisfactory. Within a month they made enough to run the house. They still had to arrange money for the remaining expenditure, but were saved from destitution. Ishwar did not discontinue going to school. He still studied hard and with diligence. He returned from school at 12 noon, and then after lunch, would send his grandfather to rest. He would run his street-side enterprise for the next four or five hours, doing brisk sales. Meanwhile his elder sister would help her mother with the cooking as her grandmother was often unwell and couldn’t help out in the house. Ishwar’s other sister and brother were very young at that time, and were unaware of the situation at home. Gokuldas would often sit at home and reflect. They had all moved well ahead of the days when they first came from Sindh to post-partition India. Almost everyone had started working and earning. They had removed the word refugee from their lives. Now they did not have to and would not take doles from the government. They earned their livelihoods with sheer hard work, ran their households and raised their children. Schools had opened and the children had started studying. The educated among them had started working in government departments - public works, education, mines, irrigation - choosing departments and work according to the opportunities and their abilities. Many a times, Gokuldas felt he should be managing the barrow rather than his father, but something kept stopping him. He had a firm belief that his claim would be passed soon. And that he would get the money to restart his job as a contractor soon. Meanwhile, the government asked for details of immovable property that those coming from Sindh had left behind in what was now Pakistan. Based on these details, they could estimate and provide compensation. Gokuldas also gave detailed estimates of his house and the shop that his father owned, along with the necessary documents. Otherwise, he continued to spend most of his time at home. He still found it inappropriate to take over the street side barrow. One day when his sister visited him she asked how long he could continue like this? “Besides meeting the expenses of food from day to day, you also need to earn to make some savings. The children are also getting older. If you have some savings, it would be helpful to meet the expenses of their studies. Ma does not keep well, Baba is also growing old,” his sister said. “I understand Raami” Gokuldas replied. “I have heard that we will soon receive the “claims” money. We should also get the colony claims in 2 or 3 months. Didi, what do I do? I do not like to sit at the barrow. I have never kept a shop. Baba used to manage the shop there, so he has some experience. God is helpful, we are able to meet the expenses of the household.” “But there are also other household expenses…you do not even have enough bedding, nor enough utensils. The clothes you have will also get torn in a few months. You would need money for all of it. Ma’s medicines come from the government hospital, but if she could get some tonics, she may gain some strength and be able to walk around. You require so many things to manage a full household, no?” The room was filled with silence for a while. Raami was sitting with Ma and Baba. Gokuldas’s wife, Suri, also came in. Ishwar was at the barrow, and their elder daughter was in the kitchen. The younger children were playing in the courtyard with pebbles, broken glass bangles, empty matchboxes and anything else they could find “Raami”, Gokuldas said, breaking the silence “What has befallen us? Look at Baba, he used to run a cloth shop there, and here he has to sell groundnuts. I have always been a reputed contractor, and moved around with big-time officers. I was always addressed as Dewan in our village, and here I cannot even provide for my family.” “This fate has not befallen you alone. All the Sindhis who have come here, all of them face the same fate. Those who were surrounded with servants and mounted on horses, would order them around, are today driving trucks to make ends meet. You are still likely to get money from claims made to the government, many others do not even have any documents to stake claims. How will they be passing their days, just imagine?” She rebuked him She continued, changing the topic, “Yesterday a girl from my family came over. Her in-laws are from Bombay. She informed me that your parents-in-law live in a camp there. Someone has told them that you and your family live here. They have invited Bhabhi and all of you to visit them there.” Gokuldas said he had heard this “Someone also informed me that my parents-in-law and their family live in Kalyan camp, Bombay.” On hearing about her parents, Suri’s eyes welled up. Wiping her tears, she asked: “Where do they live?” “Bhabhi, I do not know exactly, but I will bring this girl here tomorrow, you can ask her. After talking for a while, Raami left. The next day, she came back with the girl who was visiting them from Bombay. She told Suri that her parents live in camp number three, near the temple. Her father had started a sweet shop. “He misses you a lot”, she said. “Your mother has invited all of you to come there.” Suri was overjoyed to know that her parents were alive and well and calling them over. She had no siblings and had received all their love and undivided attention. She asked her: “When will you return to Bombay?” Before she could reply, Raami said: “Bhabhi, we are also going to Bombay for 10 to 12 days, for the wedding of my husband’s nephew. I will meet you before I go.” In two or three days, Gokuldas and Suri decided that they would send their younger son and daughter with Raami to their grandparents’ place in Bombay. They would be raised in Bombay and this would also make their grandparents happy. Once he started earning well they could bring them back. Before going to Bombay, Raami came to meet her mother and father, and pick up the children. But they refused to go and Gokuldas and Suri did not force them to go either. When Raami was leaving, she hugged her mother. Her mother’s eyes welled up. She kissed her forehead and said “Raami, if possible, come back soon. I am not going to get better now. The illness has seeped in my body”. The next day Raami and her husband left for Bombay. One day when Ishwar returned from school, he saw Kundan talking to his grandfather, sitting next to the hawker-basket. He could not believe his eyes. It had been a whole year since they shifted to this town, but he had not found Kundan’s whereabouts. So when he met him unexpectedly, he was very surprised. The two friends embraced and in that instant, Ishwar felt he was not alone any more in this town- he now had his old friend, with whom he had grown up in Sindh. Kundan told Ishwar that after leaving their village, he and his family had come to the city of Karachi. Within 15 days, they got the permit, and came to Okha by sea. From there, they were sent to a camp in Gujarat. When his parents died, he came to Mewar estate with his Mama and now helps him in his milk trade. “As soon as I reached here, I searched for you. I knew that you would be studying in a school here. You had left the village when you were studying in 8th standard. Here you would be in Standard VIII or IX I guessed. The boy who shifted next door to our house studies in standard VIII and he told me you were a year ahead and gave me your address. So, I came straight to your house!” Kundan said. Ishwar told his grandfather to go home and rest. After he left, the two friends continued to chat with much affection... “Where does Mama- ji live?” Ishwar asked. “Pratap Nagar”, Kundan replied. “Oh, that is almost 8 miles from here!” “It is indeed very far, but in front of love, the distance doesn’t matter” Both of them embraced each other again. Kundan recalled with tears the fatal accident that had orphaned him. Ishwar recounted the problems his family had faced since they left Sindh. With a tinge of anxiety, he said his father sometimes becomes very philosophical, and sometimes even strange speaking about life, God, the moon, sun and elements. This makes him feel unanchored, Ishwar said. While they were busy chatting, Gokuldas came over. Kundan touched his feet. He was very happy seeing Kundan and gently ordered “Ishwar, close your shop early today. Both of you go home now”. Ishwar looked at his father with surprise and fondness. “Yes, yes my son, the world will move on, it won’t stop whether your shop runs or not. After you have had your lunch, the two of you should just go out and roam around”, he said. That day, their hawker-shop stayed closed. Ishwar and Kundan kept sitting in the park, chatting. They talked of their village, the school, their classmates, the villagers, their Muslim friends. Kundan filled him in about several of them and their whereabouts. He knew about some of them - many were working for a living. None of them were studying anymore. All of a sudden, Kundan asked Ishwar: “Do you remember Ambi?” Ishwar smiled gently, “Shall I tell you the truth Kundan? She is always on my mind. Even in these difficult times, I always remember her. If I ever find her, I will bring her here. I will then be able to surmount even a mountain of troubles.” “Childhood love is mystical love. The love of Krishna and Radha also started in childhood, and survived and flourished throughout their lives. They became one form and merged into each other. Where there is Radha, there is Krishna, where there is Krishna, there is Radha - the two make each other complete.” You have become a philosopher too, Kundan!” Ishwar exclaimed. Now it was Kundan’s turn to smile. “What does the love of childhood want?” Ishwar asked, watching Kundan smile. “How do I know? You are the one who is in love, no?” Kundan replied, smiling back. “I also do not know for sure my friend. All I know is that there is something I want.” “They say it is a serious ailment. Abandoning oneself, one runs towards the beloved” After waiting for a while, Kundan asked “What if it seeks a union of bodies alone?” “No, no Kundan. That is business. In business, you aspire for profit-if there is no profit, there is no love. Everything is destroyed then.” “Oh, besides being a philosopher, you have become a wise man!” “What philosopher, which wise man? I am your friend Ishwar!... leave these discussions. Tell me one thing, you will keep coming from Pratap Nagar?” “Some days you come, some days I will come…It is really late. I will have to leave now to catch the last bus” Kundan gave him his Pratap Nagar home address. Ishwar accompanied Kundan to the bus stand, and returned home after Kundan left in the last bus. Life sped by after that. The two friends kept meeting. Ishwar also visited Kundan’s house at Pratap Nagar. When the two friends met, it seemed as if their miseries had receded. From their village to the universe - they chatted about everything. Ishwar and his grandfather continued to manage the hawker-shop. Gokuldas would largely stay at home, waiting for his claims money. Ishwar’s grandmother continued to be unwell. His younger brother and sister played at home. Whenever Ishwar had exams, his grandfather would take care of the shop for a half day. The household was inching ahead. During those days, Raami visited Bombay a couple of times. Suri’s parents would send some money through her for Gokuldas. They would often invite them over. But Gokuldas and Suri could not leave his ailing mother and go anywhere. In between Ishwar wrote his exams and passed easily. In fact, no one in the class failed in local exams. After that it was vacation time before the school re-opened in July. Kundan came over to meet him frequently. The two friends became fully familiar with the streets, gullies, markets, gardens, lakes and palaces of the city. They would visit the beautiful places in the neighbourhood. And when they chatted later, their conversations would often drift towards Ambi. That day, Kundan did not come. Ishwar was sitting alone at his barrow. The sky was laden with clouds, and rain seemed imminent. He would have to carry the barrow home if it rained, he thought. He had brought a torn durrie with him. This flat woven rug would cover the peanuts and chickpeas in case it rained. His grandfather stayed at home that day. Ishwar was free from exams and anxiety. At such times he would remember Ambi. The elders often said that the person you remember, remembers you too, wherever she may be. He also harboured the belief that Ambi thought of him too. In the whole village, the two of them were the most loved children. Ishwar’s family was a bit more affluent than hers. Ambi’s house was in front of Ishwar’s house. She was an only child and lived with her father. Her aunt would call her kambakht (one with less fortune). Fortunately, at that age, she did not know what it meant. Ambi was at Ishwar’s house the whole day, playing with other kids there. Ishwar’s parents adored her and felt happy when she was at their place. In the morning before going to school, she would come to their house first. Ishwar’s grandmother would churn the curd and make butter. She would put the freshly made butter on a thick Jowar roti, sprinkle some cane sugar and give half each to Ishwar and Ambi. Both of them would eat it before going to school. If Ambi was still hungry, she would give her more with a smile. Sometimes, Kundan would also come, and Ishwar’s grandmother would give half a roti to him too. If Ambi was not at home, her family knew that she would be at Ishwar’s. Everyone in the family was happy about their friendship. They studied in the same school. Their class had only four girls. In the classroom, Ambi sat with the girls. Both of them did equally well in studies. If someone in the class could not answer a question, one of them would answer. Kundan did not like studying, but that did not bother Ishwar or Ambi, who considered him a very dear friend. One day, Gokuldas brought home three kurtas, three pyjamas and three Gandhi caps. When Ishwar asked why, Gokuldas told him “On Sunday, there will be a procession. The Quit India movement has started. Mahatma Gandhi has asked the British to leave India and return to England. The government has jailed Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other big leaders. We will also oppose the government here, in our village.” The three children were around the same size and height. On Sunday, the three of them wore the kurta, pyjama and Gandhi cap that Gokuldas had bought and went to school. The other children were also wearing similar clothes. Khan Bahadur, the village headman called the senior police officer and told him “There should be no harm done to children or adults who are participating in the procession. The procession will be peaceful, that is my responsibility.” He referred to the students and the teachers who were supporting them. Khan Bahadur was a highly respected person. His words, people held, were etched in stone. The police officer knew this. He also knew that the village was peace loving. And that the Hindus and Muslims here lived like brothers. The procession had two long queues waking parallel to each other. In the first row, Ishwar and Ambi carried a banner saying “Quit India, Mahatma Gandhi ki Jai, Pandit Nehru ki jai” The procession finally moved to the large village parade ground. Here Ishwar and Ambi sang “Sare jahan se accha, Hindosta Hamara, Ham bulbule hai iske , yeh gulsita hamara” (Better than the World entire is Hindustan Ours Bubbles are we hers, she is our home of flowers) While they were singing, Ishwar glanced at the policemen and found that they were singing along. The program ended peacefully. They were studying in the third standard at that time. After returning from the procession, Ambi ran to Suri and said. “Kaki, (I am) feeling very hungry!” “Where is Ishwar?” She asked. “He is with Kundan” “Bring them along, I will serve khichdi in the meantime.” Ambi went and fetched both of them. Suri gave them the khichdi in a large thaali. The three ate together. Life went on like this. Suddenly, raindrops soaked Ishwar’s thoughts. He was covering his barrow with the torn durrie, when his grandfather joined Ishwar. Both of them carried the barrow home. Rains and roasted chickpeas make a great combination drawing a number of neighbours to Ishwar’s house. The chickpeas and peanuts sold quickly. It rained heavily for about 15 minutes, flooding the roads. Customers stood around, nibbling chickpeas and peanuts. He made good money that day. Ishwar felt that remembering Ambi was always auspicious for him. The next day, when Kundan came home, Ishwar shared this thought with him. Kundan laughed and said “For sure, Ambi remembers you too. She will pull you towards her one day.” “If we see better times, I will search for her across India. I will surely find her one day.” “My good wishes are with you, Ishwar. I will also help you” “First, let Baba find a good job - when he has nothing to do, he starts talking philosophical stuff.” Kundan was listening intently. “Yesterday, he was saying: Why are we born? Why is anyone born? Why do we fight with each other? They say that God is a sculptor? A sculptor does not destroy his own sculptures. Why is He then intent on destroying this beautiful world?” Tell me Kundan what do I reply? His questions have no answers..” Both of them smiled gently. “Okay, leave this stuff. Let us go to the market and buy some raw peanuts and chickpeas” The friends went to the market. A lot of things were being sold in the open. Wheat, maize, rice, chilly powder, salt, potatoes, onions and garlic were lying in heaps. Shopkeepers were using small scales to weigh them. Some shopkeepers had iron measure-weights, others used stones. Their customers seemed to have full faith in the shopkeepers - faith that they were getting full measure. Ishwar and Kundan glanced at each other. It was the first time that they had come to the market together. “Kundan! I sometimes wonder why, when we human beings can have so much trust in each other, why do we fight each other? Why is there so much of killing, fighting, and looting? Why has the country been divided? Lakhs of people like us have lost their homes. Innocent people got killed, destroyed. We Sindhis are left with no land of our own. Bengalis and Punjabis could go to other places in their own States. We are scattered across the country - someone is at one place, someone else is at another. Brother has separated from his brother and sister. We are separated from our family, our relatives. (We) don’t even know where they are, under what circumstances they are living? Are they alive or not? “ “Ishwar, I do not know all this, but I know that misery has befallen us. And there will be more misery if we continue to harbour such thoughts; then we will be like living corpses. We have to work hard. We have to stand on our feet. Everything is in God’s hands - whatever he has to do, he will. Come, let us go home. Kaki will be waiting.” The next day, it rained heavily. Ishwar could not take out the barrow, and could not set up the shop. He, his grandfather and father stayed home. Ishwar was filled with joy looking at the rain from his window. The sky was laden with clouds. The day seemed like evening. When the raindrops touched his face, he felt as if the cool shower also cooled his heart. As if his heart, a friend of the clouds, was standing in the village pond and splashing its waters. As if by splashing the water on Kundan and Ambi standing near him, he was making them joyous. When Suri got up to give her mother-in-law medicine, she saw her son smiling. At first she was scared. What if he had become like his father, a bit lost? “Ishwar” she called him. “Why are you smiling?” He got up from his sleep, and realising the situation, turned to her and said “Ma, I am feeling hungry?” His mother was relieved, thinking that he may have been lost in daydreaming. “Okay, let me see what is there” she said. She forgot to give medicines to her mother-in-law. She opened the straw pod, and placed a roti on the plate. Handing over the plate to him, she said “There is no saag, but eat this with sugar.” She placed a small pot of sugar close to him, and left to give medicines to her mother-in-law. Ishwar took out a fistful of sugar from the pot, and placed it on the cold roti. All of a sudden, Ishwar felt awful and he started crying. His tears wet the sugar. By this time, Suri returned, she was dumbstruck to see him cry. Her child, who was smiling a few minutes ago, was now crying. Tears were flowing from his eyes “Why Ishwar?” before she could finish, he said “Ma, I am missing Ambi. Grandma would give us both maize rotis with butter and sugar. Seeing the sugar on the cold roti today, revived memories of grandma, butter and sugar. It seemed as if Ambi was sitting next to me.” “You remember and miss Ambi a lot, don't you? I also remember and miss her a lot. When good times come back, we will go and look for her. I wonder where she is now? “ Ishwar saw that his mother's eyes were also moist. Ailing mother-in-law, unemployed husband, old father-in-law, small kids, poor state of the house—all of this seemed to reflect in her eyes. The burden of the entire family was on her and Ishwar. Bearing this burden, their shoulders seem to be drooping. Uncertain future, impermanent place, temporary earnings - how would they face life? To hide her tears, she went to the open courtyard outside the room. On seeing his mother in this state, Ishwar’s despondency receded. He went and embraced her without saying anything. Suri held her son close. They let the tears they had held back, flow, and were soon soaked in the deluge. The tears seemed to help cool their bodies and souls. Hearing their whispers and sobs, Gokuldas woke up. He watched them and was pleased to see his son and wife sharing some intimate moments together.