By Natasha Badhwar
I was single at 31.
I was married at 31.
I was Sahar’s new-born mother at 31.
I had nightmares at 31, I had dreams at 31.
That year I went to Trinidad and Tobago, Kazakhstan, Spiti, Adilabad and Port Blair.
That year I went to Gujarat.
We went to the Registrar’s office together, we took my parents with us later.
I was beautiful at 31.
I had a lot of ice-cream that year.
I saw a lot of fish.
We packed and moved home.
Chris visited from London, first in Delhi and then in Port Blair.
I was very ill.
We heard a lot of music together.
It was 2002.
People burnt alive in a train, Muslims chased and massacred in Gujarat.
I walked over freshly burnt floors with my camera in Baroda.
A charred refrigerator, a swing, still in the lawn.
I listened to people, I focused on them.
I was in Ahmedabad.
A baby scooped out live from her mother’s womb and dangled at the edge of the warrior’s sword.
My fingers trembled, my spirit choked, I rolled camera.
We returned to our hotel rooms.
Afzal went to Ahmedabad later as a volunteer, working at a Hindu refugee camp.
He did not tell them his name.
He did not tell me he was there.
We got married. Just like that.
Natasha Badhwar is a film-maker, media trainer and Columnist for Mint Lounge.