The decades-long wait finally brought fruition when the now 90-year-old Reena Varma set foot in her ancestral home at Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Varma was just 15 years old in May of 1947 when amid the rising communal tensions her family decided to take a longer than usual break or at least that is what she was told and visit the relatively safer valley of Solan near Shimla.
But the break which was initially supposed to be a few weeks long, turned to months and months turned to years, and now all that is left of the family which came to the present-day Indian side is Varma herself, as her parents and siblings who came with her during the period are long gone from this world.
The lady had been trying to visit her home in Prem Gali area of Rawalpindi which her father built and where she along with her siblings spent their maximum childhood. Varma initially tried to apply for a visa in 1965 but due to sudden outburst of war between the two countries, her visa was denied. Nevertheless, she didn’t lose hope and kept on trying until recently when she was finally able to obtain a three-month visa.
While still trying to get a visa, the now granny posted about the house and her desire to visit the place on a Facebook group during the pandemic which caught the attention of a local from Rawalpindi who managed to track her house and sent her some photos and videos of the house.
On getting to know about the house, she again applied for a visa with the help of her daughter Sonali, but the application was rejected yet again. The mother-daughter duo kept on trying and made a video about the whole ordeal and fortunately for them the video was watched by Hina Rabbani, the minister of state for foreign affairs in Pakistan who ultimately helped her to get a 90-day visa.
Reena Varma with the help of many whom she met on social media through the ‘India Pakistan Heritage Club’ finally visited her home in Rawalpindi. Amongst many Dr Mumtaz Hussain’s family who now lives in her home and Sajjad Haider who traced her house and has been helping her all this while had their roots on the Indian side as their families had also migrated to the other side during partition.