NEW DELHI: When Mohammad Aamir Khan woke up on Monday morning, there was a song in his heart. "It is my first Eid at home after 14 long years. I have dreamt of this day for years," he rejoiced.
His excitement was palpable as went about cleaning his one-room house.
After all, he was spending the festival with his family after
languishing in jail for a long time, fighting the tag of a 'terrorist'.
After getting things in order, he gently woke up his ammi, taking great
care in dressing her in the new salwar kameez he had bought her. The
pampering didn't end here. He treated her to a wholesome breakfast
consisting of omelette, tea, bread and butter. "I know exactly what to
do because I have imagined it for years," he laughed, before hurrying
off to Idgah in Jhandewalan to offer his Eid namaaz in the morning.
On his way back home, he stopped to buy two slender metal bangles for
his ammi. "These are made of artificial metal. But if allah wants, I
will have enough means one day to buy her real gold bangles. That is my
hope," he said with a smile.
At home he was joined by his elder
sister and her four children. Coming from her home in Chandni Chowk,
she had brought biryani, sheer khurma, sweets and fruit. Her children
clamoured around uncle Aamir for their eidi. Overwhelmed, Aamir smiled
as he looked at the scene around him. His ammi could be seen nodding
away, slightly disoriented — it has been a while since she has been
surrounded by family.
Through the day, some neighbours dropped
in to offer Eid greetings. While not everyone in the locality has
welcomed Aamir with open arms, they stopped to smile politely, with some
going one step ahead and giving him the customary warm embrace. For
now, this much is enough, said Aamir. As he offered us special masala
kachori and sevaiyan, a look of contentment and ease settled on his
For the 32-year-old, life finally seems to be returning
to normalcy. He has applied for admission in undergraduate studies in
political science and sociology from IGNOU, has a steady job at NGO
Anhad, and is writing a book on his life ever since he was picked up by
cops under allegations of being a terrorist. Six months ago, a mobile
phone was a mystery to him. Today, he's active on Facebook and email.
"The outside world is exciting," he said, with a sparkle in his eyes.
However, the best was yet to come. Taking us shyly to a corner, he
proclaimed, "My marriage has been fixed. She's an English graduate from
Delhi University, and teaches girls in a community school in Walled
City, encouraging them to continue their education. I am very lucky."
The date has been fixed for later this year, and preparations are
already underway. "There is much to do — wedding cards have to be
printed, venue has to be fixed — this has really been a blessed Eid. I
have a lot to be thankful for," he murmured, looking off at the
As we got up to leave, Aamir helped his mother rest
against the wall. The crack in the wall that had come up as the family
fought the legal battle to free Aamir was hard to miss. However, it has
been roughly plastered; the room marginally repaired. Perhaps, the real
wounds will heal soon.