This city always gave me good memories. My visits to my maternal house are always gala and momentous. I never cease to forget the fragrance of blooming green grasslands and fields as these fill my heart with fondness for Punjab.
After a stay of one night and two days at the maternal house, I had my bus tickets reserved from Dinanagar to Chandigarh at a restful time band of 5:40 a.m.
Along with my cousins, I headed towards the local bus stand and realized I was early, ten minutes prior the scheduling time. The driver was busy tidying the bus and my cousins stood with me and all the other passengers, talking about the serene morning. Suddenly, we heard a bursting noise hitting the area after every 1 minute and unable to hold my apprehensions inside, I asked my cousin who was burning crackers at this hour of the morning and then his expressions conveyed that it was the sound of gun fire.
Then it struck me that we were in a terrorist-prone area and with no time to safeguard ourselves, we saw a white Maruti 800 making its way towards the bus stand from a narrow lane and in it were three men in army uniforms, slightly different in colour from the Indian army uniform.
Dropping my bags onto either side, I hid myself under a half broken wooden counter and closed my eyes to the terrifying view in front. All I could hear were the sharp shrill cries of the victims and the bullet shots.
Amidst the tension, having my cousins and uncle safe gave me a sigh of relief and again I saw the driver in same posture tidying the mirror of the bus. He stood still when gunshots began because if he had moved there were more chances of being killed and also the shot was close enough as it hit the bumper of the bus.
Unwillingly, I remember a face with no expressions and a revengeful mind that aimed and shot a man and hit his leg. When the car passed the bus stand, and everyone had confused and terror stricken faces, our bus driver showed his quick presence of mind, and told us to be on board since the terrorists were by that time in the police station, and road would get difficult to lead.
This was the last bus from Dinanagar to Chandigarh and reaching back safely, I now recall that the District Gurdaspur terror attack taught us much more but having seen our death in front of us, we realised that no matter how our life treats us, in the end we still plead for a little more of it.
By Ravisha Ranga