My mind is not ready to accept that she is dead, even while I watched the last rites being performed on the remains of Sushamaji with teary eyes.
I couldn’t sleep the whole night after hearing the sad news. All the time I kept thinking back the warmth she showed, the care and closeness with which she greeted me when I met her for the first time after returning home.
One can imagine how terrifying it would be for a young Indian man to be able to survive in Pakistani jail. Nobody was ready to listen to me.
Nobody believed me. The feeling of having no protection... that vulnerability sets the terror deep into your mind. I was in that state of mind even when I was released from jail. I was told by my parents, after returning home that we have to meet the Indian authorities and the minister the next day. That brought up the deep fear within me once again. I was sceptical of the visit. I thought whether the same questions, which I had been facing for previous six years, would be posed before me and I’ll have to face what I did on that side of the border.
However, when we entered her cabin the next day, it was a completely different scene. She probably had sensed the deep fear that had set into my mind and undone it in simple gestures.She never came across to me as the minister of foreign affairs during that visit. She had slipped into the role of my mother. She hugged me. I can still sense the warmth.
She called me son and said I now need to forget whatever happened in the past and start afresh. Those were the most reliving words for me. I felt as if someone had removed a huge stone from my chest. That moment she became my second mother.
I had briefly heard from my lawyers in Pakistan that the Indian authorities were making a great effort to secure my release. I later learnt that Sushmaji had written 96 letters to Pakistani authorities for my release.
I’ll forever be indebted to her for her efforts.
She was always just a tweet away for any needy Indian national anywhere in the world. She was a source of great strength and support to the global Indian diaspora.
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She cared for each and every Indian national all across the globe. It is a personal loss for me. But, it is a greater loss to our country.
All I can say is; may her soul rest in peace.
Hamid Ansari - Mumbai man, who was jailed in Pak for six years