Aapa Basheeran, one of the four women guardians of a mohallah in Lahore called Aahata Bakhshi Ram, and my grandfather last met at a funeral. She and my grandfather were neighbours back in the village of Suniyar Heri, somewhere at the outskirts of Patiala. Before the partition, that is.
Both, now in their early 80s, were quite happy to have run into each other despite the fact that it was a funeral. They sat next to each other, holding each others hand. We even joked that it looked like they were on a date. They asked about each other’s health and learned that they have both lost their partners. It triggered Aapa Basheeran into remembering each of her siblings who had passed away.
“We are all dying one by one, Suleman,” she said in a sad voice.
“Assi te osay din mar gaye si jadon ethe aaye si,” he remarked, remembering the time they both lost their houses, village, homeland, and many relations.
I learned yesterday that Aapa Basheeran also passed away last week.