As a news report explains, this is a new era for India because the British have finally ended their rule over the country. With this happening, Pakistan has been demarcated for Muslims and an unprecedented migration has begun as people make their way across different borders. However, with these new shifts, violence and riots have broken out across the country as people flee, and to really understand what’s happening, we’ve got to go back to 1942.
That’s where we find Aisha running away from a British soldier. Finally gaining on him, she turns and throws a dagger square into his chest (So Aunt Ruby What right, she did once kill a man). Aisha arrives at a village center to find a man outside explaining to his neighbors that this is their home and if they have to fight for it, they’ll fight for it. His speech is interrupted by a bunch of soldiers who break up the crowd and send everyone home.
Aisha wanders away and eventually finds a field of roses to sleep in. She’s jolted awake by the same man from the village who politely asks her to stop sleeping on his roses. He asks if he can help her with anything, but Aisha is short with him, refusing any aid. However, he still offers her food and a place to sleep inside, inviting her into his home. Aisha hesitates, but that night she takes him up on his offer.
The man asks if Aisha has a name or if he should just call her “hungry.” When Aisha doesn’t respond, he presses more, remarking that he knows she’s not British and she’s not from this village so what is she doing here? When Aisha says she likes his roses, he launches into his favorite poem: “When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. What you seek is seeking you…” Something in Aisha changes, and she cuts him off and tells him her name, and he finally tells her his: Hasan.
Some time passes, and Aisha and Hasan are living together as a happy little family — with a baby on the way. When their child, Sana, is born, Aisha spends her time tending to the little one, and Hasan notes that their newborn looks at Aisha like she’s “magic.”
Time continues to pass and Sana begins to grow up, but considering all the changes happening around them in India, Hasan is nervous for the family’s future as Partition looms. When one of their neighbors stops by, Hasan’s emotions bubble over as he yells that their village is divided and no one will buy roses from him anymore or sell Aisha milk. As the neighbor leaves and Aisha shuts the door she spots a shadowy figure outside and she knows exactly who it is: Najma.