472 East Lane,
Kolkata - 99.
Dear Hussain Bhai,
Merry Christmas to you and your family. Now you must have reached your home in Lahore and probably having breakfast with my lovely Bhabi-ji. Please convey my loving wishes to her and the children.
I can never thank you enough for what you did for me and Mom last night. Without your help we would have been in dire trouble. My father allowed me to participate in the programme only after getting assurance from the organisers that a car would be provided to us to drop us back home. But once the programme was over we were completely forgotten! The artistes, organisers and their guests jumped into three of the four cars and left in a hurry to attend their Christmas parties. None of them gave us a second glance. Mom was getting paranoid as it became apparent to her that we would have to return home by our own. It was nearly eleven and getting a cab would be impossible so late at night. Then you emerged from the green room and your eyes suddenly fell upon us. You stopped in your track and asked why we hadn't gone home yet. Your caring words sent Mom almost into tears. She narrated how everyone ignored us and left us to our fate. Your expression showed how shocked you were at the selfishness of these people. You took us with you and managed to arrange two seats for us in the remaining car. My eyes got moist when I saw you squeeze in on someone's lap in the front seat to accommodate us. Before getting down at the airport you told the driver to drop us home. It was only because of you that we reached home safely last night. Hussain Bhai, you're not only a great musician but also a great human being with a heart of gold.
I don't know if my letter will reach you or not. Who knows, may be your secretary will throw it into the waste bin along with your other fan mails. Nevertheless I decided to write this letter to convey my heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude to you. I pray to Lord Sri Krishna to fulfill all your dreams and shower his blessings on you and your beloved family.
Mom sends her love and blessings to you. Her earnest desire is to invite you to our home during your next visit to Kolkata and treat you to some famous Bengali delicacies. Considering how busy you are I don't think her dream will ever come true.
Thank you again.
With best wishes and warm regards,
15-B Shalimar Road
Lahore - 75.
Happy New Year to you and Auntie-ji. Hope both of you are doing well. See, your letter did reach me after all. Ha ha...
Thanks a lot for your loving wishes. My wife, who is a devout admirer of Lord Sri Krishna, sends her love and new year wishes to you. But you really made me feel sad my dear. On one hand you call me 'Bhai' and on the other hand you speak of gratitude for doing my duty towards you. That's not fair. What I did last night was something that every chivalrous man would have done, had he been in my place. But no, I shall be truthful to you. The reason was more than mere duty or chivalry.
That night I felt a strange pain in my heart when I saw you and Auntie-ji standing forlornly in that corner. Your helpless, pathetic faces reminded me of my Ammi and sister who were nearly killed in the communal riot of 1947. I was quite small then. Abbu was working night shift in his office on the day the riot broke out in our locality. Ammi was extremely anxious about our safety and the honour of my teenaged sister Saida. Living in a Hindu neighborhood further heightened her tension. Suddenly we heard the sound of gunshots and people shouting 'Har Har Mahadev' in front of our house. Ammi and Saida stood shaking in one corner of the drawing room, helpless and forlorn, not knowing what to do. Ammi's hold on Saida's shoulders tightened as we heard loud bangs on our front door. We knew that the door would give way any moment. Suddenly the banging stopped and Mahadev Chacha's voice was heard from outside. Our neighbour Pandit Mahadev Sharma and his wife Parvati Chachi were like second parents to me and Saida. They were retired teachers who had devoted their lives for social welfare. Both were reverred to by Hindus and Muslims alike. Mahadev Chacha reprimanded the rioters for targetting helpless women and children and ordered them to leave. Most of the men were his former students who did not have the guts to disobey him. They quietly left the place. Later that night the Sharma couple smuggled us out of our house in their own car. They left us at my Phoophi's house which was in a Muslim locality. On their way back they dropped at Abbu's office to inform him about us. This was how a Hindu couple saved a Muslim family from inevitable death.
You know sister, religion divides people. Hence I believe in only one religion, that is, the religion of Humanity, which teaches us to love and empathize with each other overcoming the barriers of religious faiths, social hierarchies and geographical boundaries.
Convey my best regards to Auntie-ji. Why do you think that her dream will not come true? It will. Tell her that I love Bengali food and will definitely visit your home during my next visit to Kolkata. It's because of loving people like her that I love your country so much. Love begets love, doesn't it?
All the best.