This is no longer their home[Refugee Camp, Jammu city (Summer,1990)]
The heat is unbearable. There is no electricity. In a small room, the young girl lives with her old grandparents, parents and her three-year-old brother. The grandfather is very ill. He coughs throughout the day. He can't manage the harsh summer of Jammu. The father of the little girl, who is a senior officer in J&K Government, has got posting in Jammu Secretariat, but without any work. Her mother has been managing the household work in the very dingy neighbourhood of the refugee colony of Kashmiri Pandits.
After long last, the girl falls asleep. She starts dreaming.
The air is pleasantly cool. She is playing just outside their white single-storeyed bungalow with her friends. Her grandparents are watching them. Her young brother is learning to walk. The family is visiting Kheer Bhavani Temple. She takes the 'prasad' from the priest. The priest is blessing the family members. They are sitting on the bank of River Jheelum.
Suddenly she hears noise. Noise of gunfire... People are shouting. Others are crying. Fire engulfs the surroundings...
[25 years later: Summer, 2015 (Srinagar)]
The Air India plane touches the runway. The thirty-something lady executive comes down. Her aged mother accompanies her. Both of them come out of the airport and hire a taxi. The taxi reaches the outskirt of the city in twenty minutes.
The young lady gets down from the taxi. The single-storeyed bungalow is still there. But the walnut-wood doors have vanished. The pristine white colour of the bungalow has been replaced by dirty green. There is no sign of the apple orchard beside the bungalow. The manicured lawn has vanished. The present inhabitants of the bungalow are not welcoming her or her mother. She notes the sign of hostility in their eyes.
The young girl of 1990s, now a young lady executive, realizes that this is no longer their home.
[Competition entry: Topic based monthly TOW contest]