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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The trip 'Abroad'!

Ever since I read about Venice in my 5th grade English reading class at school, I dreamt each day of going to Italy. But as for me, as near as I could get to going abroad was accidentally stepping to the other side of Indo-Pakistan border. How I got there is a story I hold close to my heart!

‘Wagah border’ is the border between India and Pakistan, near Amritsar. India and Pakistan being one entity before 1947, this majestic road led us directly to Lahore! Alas for us, who have been second generation ‘migrants’ to India, will perhaps never see the beauty of ‘that’ place! But I can feel its beauty in the moist eyes of my grandparents who recollect their ‘good old days’!

It was a hot late afternoon and few visitors were seen near the border. We walked up to the magnificent Wagah border gates, where security guards had lined up. Their uniforms were bright in colour. Indians wore green and Pakistan’s uniform was black in colour. I couldn’t help but notice that height of guards from both the sides was extraordinary and they held a serious expression all the time. Did they ever talk to each other? I wondered. There were two flags fluttering in the wind on either side of the gates. Is that how you differentiate between two countries?

As we moved up towards the point-zero pillar or No man’s land area, my eyes remained fixed on the people of the other side! I had to find out what they actually looked like! Today, there were not many to be seen even ‘that’ side.

Just as we were about to return, my grandmother who had been reminiscing her old days, suddenly slipped. I rushed to get to her side. But before that, a young lad of about 17, caught her from getting hurt. He was from the ‘other’ side. We together helped her stand and regain her balance. The very moment we heard a whistle and some guards approached us. Lo and behold I had crossed the line!

Immediately I returned to my side and muttered a ‘Thank You’ under my breath to the boy. ‘Dhanyavaad ki kya zarurat hai Humshira?” (What is the need of a Thank You sister?) He said. We exchanged smiles! It was a smile exactly like my brother’s.

The routine evening parade began. The thumping of the feet and smart march-past by Guards on both sides drove frenzy in the small crowd! The guards saluted each other; flags were brought down and folded neatly. The gates were then closed!

Late evening, I returned home with warmth in my heart. The gates might get closed but the hearts can never till we keep doing what we are best at-being Human!  

As for my travel ‘Abroad’, Venice might as well be my destination one day. Back then, it would have remained a dream, but today we have Expedia where a click on http://www.expedia.co.in/ would make my dream come true.

3 comments:

  1. What a lovely accident ! I have a friend in Pakistan and my grandparents lived in Karachi till partition. It is my dream to visit that country, partly to recreate the nostalgia that I have heard, but more to visit my friend and her family. Both governments willing, I hope to make a trip there in the near future.

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  2. haha indo pak boarder :D I will find myself lucky to be back alive from such a place Great post :)

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