“Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong, and laughter never ends.”
It was the first time that Madhav saw her, a tall and frail figure in her late teens. Her brown almond eyes complimented her warm ivory skin. Her long black hair was tied loosely in a rubber band. Her face bore a grave expression that was hard to miss. Like Madhav, everyone else in the village was curious to know about the newcomer, Meera.
In a matter of days, the reason for her sadness was known. She had lost her parents and had to leave behind the home that was once hers. Her maternal uncle, Bansi Kaka lived in the village Madhav resided, and hence she came here to stay with him. Twenty-two-year-old Madhav felt a tug in his heart. Having always lived a lonely life, he knew how it felt to be an orphan.
Bansi Kaka was very fond of Meera and loved his niece dearly. However, feeding an extra mouth in a family of six was not easy. It was not long before the villagers saw her next to Bansi Kaka, in his small village shop. She sold tea and biscuits to whoever stopped by. This didn’t go unnoticed to Madhav as well. In the pretext of drinking tea, he started frequenting often. He would watch silently as Meera poured the steaming hot tea in the small colourful clay cups. She had made those cups and drawn intricate designs on them with her own hands. Madhav found those cups as beautiful as the young girl herself.
There was something about Meera that attracted Madhav strongly. He had an innate desire to soothe and comfort her, and provide her with the home she so deserved. A home that would have love abound, where there would be no sorrow; their home, where beautiful memories would be made!
However, reality had something else in store for him. The quaint little village of his was soon caught in unrest. The war that was waging the big towns and cities, had turned its ugly head towards the smaller hamlets. Houses were being burned down and people started fleeing for the fear of their lives.
On one such day, upon hearing that Bansi Kaka had left the village with his family, Madhav rushed to the nearby railway station. The small gloomy station at the outskirts of his village was crammed with people. The lonely train that stood there was overcrowded with the villagers, for whom it was their last hope of survival. Their entire home was packed in cloth bundles of various sizes and colours. Anticipation of a new life and a new home laid on the other side of the border. Madhav looked around fervently for Meera in the overcrowded compartments of the train, but in vain.
As the train started rattling slowly out of the station, he jumped into one of the moving compartments. After many hours when it finally stopped, the refugee camp glistened in the morning sun giving hope to its potential residents. For the next many days the cloth tents would be the home for all these people who were left homeless because of the ongoing war that tore their house into pieces.
Madhav trudged along from tent to tent, holding his tired body and soul for the hope of finding his love. Outside one such tent, his eyes fell on a beautiful blue clay cup with intricate designs on it. His heart skipped a beat as he realised that not all was lost.