It was a bright Sunday morning in the month of December 1975 when squadron leader Aran Gandhi, after a period of four years in the Pakistani prison as a prisoner of war, set foot on his motherland. He was greeted at the airport by the top brass of the defence services and the diplomatic corps, with an army of newsmen trying to capture the historic moment. His strained eyes, trying to peer through the blistering light of the flashguns, as if searching frantically for someone. The newsmen thrust the microphone before him, asking him questions which he answered almost mechanically.
It was at the press conference, that he related the sequence of events which led to the crash of his MIG 21, well inside Pakistani territory in the 1971 war. The last four years were almost hell and he had given up hope that he would ever be back home. However, here he was, thanks to God almighty. On being quizzed as to why there was nobody from his family to receive him, he was non-plussed murmuring probably they did not know.
After the welcome, he left immediately by train for his home at Lucknow. On knocking the door of his house he was greeted by an old unfamiliar gentleman, who informed him that he had purchased the house from Geeta Gandhi a couple of years ago. She and her daughter had moved out of Lucknow, to an undisclosed destination following the news of his death.
So stunned was he by this piece of news, that he stared at the gentleman with utter disbelief Collecting his wits he trudged along to his friends house close by. It was there that Rohit informed him about Geeta, who had lost her mental balance on hearing of his death. Her parents had therefore sold the house and taken her to the mental asylum at Agra. They had also passed away last year and in all probability, Geeta would be there in Agra.
Arun and his friend set out for Agra in his car. Throughout the journey the smiling face of his wife and daughter troubled him tremendously. He had feared something bad, when there was nobody at the airport to receive him, but that events could take such a turn had never crossed his mind. The eight hours journey seemed like eternity and by dusk they had reached the mental asylum at Agra. The superintendent of the asylum was very cooperative and arranged for a special meeting with Geeta, warning however, that she was prone to get violent. Being an acknowledged psychiatrist he suggested that Arun should remind her of something touching enough to prod her memory.
With bated breath they waited for Geeta, who came supported by a maid. She had paled considerably and had a blank expression. On seeing Arun she looked at him questionably. Seeing this Arun gave her the chain, which she had lovingly presented to him. She took the chain and on opening the locket saw their snap together. Her countenance softened, as memories came rushing back to her “A…Arun,” said she, tears running down her cheeks as she rushed towards him. There were tears in many an eye that was witness to this union.