Is this the same crossroad? Two years back, from this very same spot I was given a grand farewell with Aarti and garlands. I am the first boy from our village to become a soldier in the army, and go to the border to fight for our country. Today, my heart sank when I saw the sinister silence at the junction, which used to be so lively and bubbling with activities.
The ticket collector at the station had forewarned me,
“Dheeraj, there is a curfew in the village, be careful.”
We had heard about it, howbeit we hadn’t experienced it or seen it’s effect on the border. Covid, Corona, Lockdown. New terrifying words are now added to the dictionary of life. Moving my eyes around, very few people appeared, but I wasn’t able to identify them in their masks. All I could see were sad, fearful eyes. Ironically, today every individual is fighting with a new enemy, which doesn’t require them to become soldiers.
With a heavy heart, I dragged myself towards my house. I was well aware that nobody was going to embrace me in their arms. The only welcoming greetings would be that mom will do my Aarti. Anyway it was futile to hope for a joyful reception. Tragically, this pandemic has destroyed many emotions. Taking a deep ragged sigh, I mentally prepared myself for a fourteen day quarantine and knocked on the door.