Navjot Altaf

My parents lived in Lahore. When trouble started brewing in the city, my father’s older brother, Arjun Singh Kalsi, a magistrate in Moga came to Lahore a few times to try and take my mother and family to safety in Ludhiana – to our ancestral home. She refused.

It was only when the situation got very bad that their dear Muslim friends who were neighbors convinced my mother that she should go. She left the keys of the house with them in hope that soon they will return. They took her safely along with my grandmother and my one-year-old sister to the railway station, ensuring that they boarded the train. My father joined my mother and family after about a month My parents often talked fondly about Lahore. They dreamt of visiting the city again, but they could not.

It was when I was to go to Karachi in 2005 for the Vasl workshop that she said to me ‘Lahore ja kar Lahore nu mera Salaam kehna’ (give my salaam to Lahore when you visit).

Since I could not get a visa for Lahore. I bought a postcard in Karachi, wrote my mother’s message on it, signed her name “Ripudaman’ at the end of the message and posted it on the address she gave me of their ‘Home’