Braving scorching heat, thousands of people from Bangladesh and India met their relatives from either side along the border at Amarkhana in Panchagarh Sadar upazila on Pahela Baishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year, on Friday.
The five-km border between boundary pillar 744 and sub-pillar 7 turned into a human sea for several hours with the gathering of Bangla-speaking people irrespective of caste and creed across the barbed-wire fence.
People from different areas of Panchagarh, Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Nilphamari and Lalmonirhat in Bangladesh and those from Jalpaiguri, Shiliguri, Uttar and Dakkhin Dinajpur, Cooch Behar districts thronged the border to meet their near and dear ones who are now separated.
Filled with emotion, love and affection, and with their faces glowing with happiness, they enquired about the wellbeing of each other and exchanged greetings and gifts among themselves.
Things they exchanged included hilsa, fruits like apple and orange, saris, lungis, biscuit, juice, cigarettes and other daily essentials.
However, they could not hug each other as the barbed wire stood as a barrier. Many failed to hold back tears while taking leave for at least one more year.
After separation of India and Pakistan in 1947, many got separated from their relatives.
However, they enjoyed the chance to visit their relatives' houses on either side of the border even till after Bangladesh's independence.
But the direct communication came to a halt following the erection of barbed-wire fence along the border.
Following requests of relatives from the both sides, border forces of the two countries have been arranging this get-together for the last one decade.
"How are you? How are mother and others at home? Who are doing what?" Promila of Birpara village in Jalpaiguri district of India was asking these questions to her brother Nikhil of Pamuli in Debiganj upazila of Panchagarh.
In reply Nikhil was only saying 'well, well'.
Bijoya Rani, 55, a resident of Goreya Gunjargarh in Thkurgaon, came to the border to see her two sons - Niranjan and Dinesh - who reside in Boubazar in Shiliguri.The two sons presented their mother a sari and fruits.
Sarthi Devi, 60, of Amlahaar Kaleshwar in Boda upazila, along with her son Suresh, 40, came to meet her two other sons Prahlad and Dinbandhu of Shibmandi in Shiliguri.
"Perhaps, this is out last meeting," Sarthi said pointing to her age.
Amarkhana union parishad chairman M Nuruzzaman said the get-together is held at Amarkhana on Pahela Baishakh every year.
Commanding office of BGB Battalion-18 Lt Col Hakim Al Nawshad said people from both sides gathered at the no man's land to meet their relatives from the either side.