| Zarin Musharraf and Bilal at Indraprastha College. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha
New Delhi, March 17: When Zarin Musharraf stepped into the family's ancestral home here, she couldn't help but recall her sons Pervez and Javed as small children.
'Pervez was always a naughty child. I remember once there was this huge fight between Javed and Pervez,' the Pakistan President's mother said.
'Javed said the train makes a 'pak-pak' noise and Pervez said it makes a 'chak-chak' noise. How they fought over this, literally tearing each other's hair out. All we could do was watch them.'
Pervez Musharraf went on to fight real battles as a soldier in the Pakistan army and rose to become its chief.
Zarin, elder son Javed and Musharraf's son Bilal arrived here yesterday on a private visit.
'My children Javed and Pervez were very small' when 'we had to leave our haveli in Daryaganj' to go to Pakistan, Zarin recalled. The memories came flooding back as she toured Naharwali Haveli in Daryaganj that 'used to belong to my husband's grandfather'.
'Everything seems to have undergone a change here. There is a new sky here,' said the wheelchair-bound woman, who was visiting her old house after 23 years.
The emotions carried over to her alma mater, Delhi University's Indraprastha College, as she stepped in for the first time in 70 years.
'I have lived half my life here. All my friends were here. I did my matriculation and was studying for BA here. I still have those beautiful memories,' Zarin said, the pangs of Partition returning to Pakistan's first family like with so many other families there that come to India for a feel of their roots.
'It (college) has obviously changed. But it was a fun place. We used to be this group of six and would call ourselves the chagadha party,' Zarin said, remembering friends Balwant Kaur, Josephine Thakur Das and Fatima. 'We used to come to college in a bus. But I lost contact with my old friends after Partition.'
She recalled being naughty and pulling pranks but didn't remember any scolding. 'That happens only in school, not in college.'
The college garden with its mango trees, she said, was her and her friends' favourite hangout.
One of the students interacting with Zarin piped up: 'You should tell our principal (Aruna Sitesh) because we are not allowed to step into the garden anymore.' There was laughter all around.
College officials, who presented her a shawl and tried in vain to find her name in the old registers, invited her as an alumnus to the institution's 81st anniversary next year.
'If I am alive, I will definitely come,' said Zarin, moved by the reception at the college.
She favoured people-to-people contact among the future generations of both countries by way of an exchange programme for students.
In her final message to the college as recorded in the visitors' register, Zarin said: 'I am touched to be back here in my beloved college. It made me indeed very proud to be associated with this great institution. All the best to everyone and good luck and goodbye.'