We had met once earlier during the couple’s trip to India. I am from Indore and I came to know that she is from Ujjain. We would exchange smiles when our paths crossed. This time as soon as she saw me, Noori Khan burst into tears.
To my surprise, my eyes became moist as well. Maybe he saw in me a brother, a companion, with whom he could share his thoughts and his pain. He is an India traveler, whereas I am only covering the journey. There were traces of tension and exhaustion on his face and his toe was tied.
When she spoke, it was clear that she was upset at home. But she said she would keep going when the yatra passed through Ujjain and would resist the temptation to come home early. Her kids, Sofia and Rehaan, undoubtedly want her to spend some time at home, but she can’t stand it, she says; This will weaken his resolve to walk till Kashmir.
She says that there is pain in the body in the evening and often there is pain in moving the legs too. Some of the toe nails are gone. But it all feels like a dream, she says, as if she were participating in history as it unfolds. ‘I feel like I am on Gandhi’s Dandi March’.
She admits that being greeted by thousands of people, smiling and waving hands towards passengers, was encouraging. ‘We don’t speak each other’s language but their eyes express so much affection that we don’t need words.’ The political tide is turning, it is flowing. In Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath will again become the Chief Minister and the Congress will return to power at the Centre.
Can be guessed, from a Congress worker and an India traveller. But the autorickshaw driver in Kollam also reiterates his belief. When he learned that I was covering India’s visit, he said in his broken Hindi: “Sir, Modi”. Will go and now Rahulji will come,