I grew up listening to my grandmother, Sanyogita Devi, tal about her school days in pre-partition India, of her father sending her to a convent school where most of her classmates were British. The classmates loved her lunch of aloo, gobhi or methi paranthas and they constantly mispronounced her name.
She also loved telling me about her visits to Murree, a hill station near Rawalpindi, the air, the trees and her walks with her sister in the hills, you must go to Murree when you are able to cross the border. ”
My father, Mohinder Pal Bhalla, was thirteen years of age and already inclined to become a writer when partition was announced. And his childhood visit to Lahore continued to fascinate him even when he had settled in India. Sometimes, while contemplating on his novels and unfinished memoirs, he would often say aloud ‘ Lahore should have become the capital’.
Then he would stay silent.
I am still waiting for my time to cross the border!