In our country, it takes an incident like the Nirbhaya case or a terrorist attack on Pathankot for the whole nation to join and ask for necessary actions. Just like others, my family was also following the media coverage of the Pathankot attack as the events were unfolding. As I watched in disbelief, I felt a strange pain in my chest. It was as if someone had taken away my soul. What was this connection? Why was this happening?
This was the city where I grew up. This was where I went to school and where my best friends are from. It was not the city, it was my heart that was under the attack. The attack was happening precisely at the place where I had written my board exams.
Even if I’m blindfolded, I can tell you where we are just by feeling the surroundings. I know every street and corner. When one has such a strong emotional connection with a city, it’s difficult to fathom as to why would it come under the radar of terrorists?
Though the attack was unsuccessful, we had to pay a heavy price for the victory. We lost 7 brave soldiers. My city has risen and nothing can break its spirit! After all, it has the strongest Army base in the whole of Asia and the city is as resilient as its Armed forces.
Like every other important city, Pathankot has seen changes over the years. Flyover, malls and big fast food chains have all spawned up since I left the city in 1999. But it still retains the old city charm. The tight streets, famous sweet shops, kids flying kites, women sitting on the roof top and gossiping over tea, the traffic in Gandhi Chowk and, of course, the pride of the city, my school, Convent School. Everything here reminds me of my childhood.
My family and friends cannot understand my love affair with the city. Why I jump up merely hearing the name and drop everything to find out what’s happening. I laugh and cry inconsolably with the good and bad news. When their eyes question, I reply back dramatically,
“You can take me out of Pathankot, but you cannot take Pathankot out of me”.