Nearly 10 years later, my grandfather was overseeing box office sales at a cinema in a small Indian town near Agra. A hand came in through the window, asking for a ticket. My grandfather instantly recognized the voice. He grabbed the hand and said, “Stay where you are.” He ran outside and found himself face to face with Yash. When their families reunited, the elders arranged a marriage between my grandfather and Yash’s sister—my grandmother, Chandrakanta.
Now Google’s India office has created a tear-jerker ad that is deeply resonant for Indians and Pakistanis with family stories like mine. It shows an aging Hindu Indian man waxing nostalgic to his granddaughter about his Muslim childhood friend in Lahore before the partition. The young woman then uses clues from the story to track down, via Google, her grandfather’s childhood friend in Pakistan. The ad culminates in a gut-wrenching reunion between two old men, more than 60 years after they were parted by history. A series of subsequent ads shows them re-establishing their friendship, finding shared cultural experiences, and trying to set their grandchildren up with each other.