We hoped it would be only a short journey and we would return. We never returned. We became refugees. Your father had been the rebel. They first chased him down to the mountains of Rasna; from there they forced him to flee to Pakistan. From Pakistan, he arranged for us to be picked up under the moonlight, leaving everything behind but our family.
Our lives turned upside down when you were approximately two, and Abdul was about five months old. Your father had befriended Nasim, Abbas Karblaye’s son. He frequented our house, and he was like a family member to us.
One late evening there was a knock on the door. I asked who it was:
Nakhchi, I am Nasim. Open the door.
I opened the door but to my surprise there were two other people with him. He said they were his and your father’s friends. I let them in. They said they had come from Pato.
I instructed your mother to serve them dinner. After tea, they said they were tired and had to leave. They said they had been sent by your father to pick up the weapon.
We have no guns.
The looked at Nasim and then said they had clue given to them by your father:
Mamoor said the gun was concealed in the chimney.
I was astounded. That’s where it was. Only a select few knew that. I believed them, and that is how they managed to get the gun from me. I did not know they were the commander’s men.
Unbeknown to me, Nasim had betrayed us. Your father had befriended Nasim and entrusted him with the locations of the weapons. It was all Nasim’s handy work … perhaps he had been forced to reveal everything. That beghayrat!
My son-in-law Aatay Ali Jan had been beaten beyond recognition. His skin had turned dark red. He had been forced to hand over your father’s hand-gun. They had also visited Moallem-e-Jaar and had taken away some weapons from them. I thought my baby son would be next. I sent your uncle to Jaar and had him hide for weeks in Ishaq’s winter shed. He was only a child. I made him go away, far away. I sent him over the mountains with Aatay Ali Jan one night, on foot, through the mountains, eventually all the way to Pakistan.
Your father found out. He sent us a secret message to take the bare minimum of our belongings and flee to Pakistan. That’s what we did; under the moonlight, leaving everything behind, hoping that it would be only a short journey. We never returned. We became refugees.
*Nakhchi = Auntie
*Beghayrat = Dishonourable