I think I am a child of Border Areas, deprived of that certain sense of belonging which comes with living in the mainland. Our world lies sequestered between the barbed wire of the enemy on one side and the picket fence of the society on the other. That vaunted culture doesn’t run in our blood, for it has been shed too often. We don’t like to waste our evenings listening to lifesaving hymns but would rather drink and dine to the glory of those who entered Valhalla from here. The rumble of tanks at Patton Nagar of Khemkaran, the clinking of grenades unpinned by Havaldar Abdul Hamid at village Assal Uttar and the sonic boom from the aircraft dogfights over Tarn Taran still reverberate in our souls. We have chosen backwardness over backing out.
There are three symbolic routines that a man will keep on exhibiting in his actions, repeating them for his whole life: reclaiming the land, rekindling the love and reliving the memories. The land he may never have owned. The love that wasn’t even realized. Memories for which there could be no precedent at all. In Majha, these primal emotions start influencing me too. I feel like putting my ear to the ground or grabbing a fistful of that red soil. I begin hearing the faint tunes of tradition, traces of culture start rushing through my veins. A notion of identity and belonging firms up, as destiny beckons me to chart my own course there.