Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Before 2 years I went to see Republican Day celebration at RAJPATH. I was very fortunate to witness an extravaganza.......Along with me Raju, Pranay and Ravi were there.

I managed the passes at 10:30PM on previous day (Thanks to my friend Chand, who is working in Army). On the Republic day I had to wake up at 4:45AM. But no regrets. We took a metro at 6AM from Sikanderpur Metro Station... On the day of Repulican day for security reason few of the metro station were closed so we had to get down 2 stations before the central Secretariat and walk from there.Finally we reached at the Rajpath around 8:15AM. Rajapath is the 1.5Km to 2KM road which connects Parliament to India Gate. Generally for Independence Day flag hosting will be at Red Fort and for Republican Day it will be at India Gate.
It was huge crowd..More than 30,000 people were there. Aunties with full make up on face as if they have come to wedding, Girls did not forgot to use perfume, patriotic old people- may be  they wanted to remember FREE INDIA, kids with their fathers...All age group people were there..Long queues for security check, with lot of chaos for finding empty seat, but thanks to security people who were helping everybody... Finally Me and Ravi found a seat which was used by birds as a restroom…Its color has been changed from green to whitish…We heard two girls saying in typical tone, "eeee what a dirty place..". Me and Ravi saw each other , laughed and sat there..   

It was fully patriotic scene (atleast on 15th August and 26th January Indians become patriotic).
The day started with Presidents arrival on RAJAPATH. She came in black color Meredeze. Windows of car were transparent, so one can see her very easily. First time in my life I saw India's president live. The distance between my seat location and her car was not more than 5 meters. She was waiving hand to audience. It was one of the great moments for me (Frankly I have a very less respect to Pratibhatai Patil. But I have to respect her, as she was our president. I would have loved and bowed if APJ Kalam would have been in her place). Her car was followed by Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh’s Car (who was waiving hand like a programmed robot is moving his body parts like digital clock. May be Sonia Gandhi told him to do the same way…)  and which was followed by Indonesian Prime Minister, who was a guest.

It was time to hoist the flag at India gate. I could not see as it was around 1 KM away from the place where we were sitting. (They could have installed big screens, so that the people who are sitting at the other end of RAJPATH can witness that. Sometime Indians will invest money on big award ceremonies like Zee awards, Apsara awards, Zalak dikhalaja etc. But they can’t spend money on such national festival.).
After that real fun started, the march of our brave soldiers for which everybody was eagerly waiting. Gorkha Rifles, Jat Rifles, Maratha Rifles, Rajputana Rifles, Punjab Rifles, Asaam Rifles etc. I don’t have words to explain their march. I told to Ravi that some time operating System in computer also will fail to synchronize processes, but those soldiers can’t. Their walking style, dressing sense, discipline was awesome. After seeing this nobody has to tell you, that guys it is time to solute them. Automatically my hands went up and words came, "Hats off to you guys. You guys deserve this. We all Indians must bow infront you". You are there on the border that’s we are here…..It was followed bye the Horse and Camel marching. 

After this Indian defense power was coming on Rajpath. The defense equipment, which we have powered. Bramhose, Tejas, Mig25, Indian Radars etc. It ended with Airforce exercise.. that was just highlight. (It was ok not bad. I had seen Aero show in Bangalore. I saw Germal eurofighter, Mig 21 etc. So felt today’s airshow was not so great.).With fighter planes they threw colours from the top and made Indian tricolour in the air..It was good to see.


   After that there was cultural highlight of each state. Delhis Lotus Temple, Kashimr' regular lifestyle, Kerlas classical dance followed by Marathi Lawani troup (folk dance) was walking on Rajapath and they were performing. Marathi nau wari saadi, matching blouse, ear ring, nose ring, ahhhhhhh........ I could not control myself myself... started shouting ...atlast .. "maza maharastra".....Good presentation of most of the state culture. 

 Like this RD celebration ended. But I was not feeling to go from there. Me and Ravi stayed there for some more time. Once again President and PM Manmohan Singh were going back towards Rastrapati Bhawan from India Gate. It was nice to see the robot live once again
In childhood we used to see the Republican Day parade on television. It was a visual treat to see the RD celebration live.

Mobile and Camera  were not allowed there. So I could not catch them in snap. But sure those moments can be cherished throughout life.

One Joke at parliament Gate:
After RD celebration, I and Ravi just thought to walk towards that Rastrapati Bhawan from Rajapath. At the gate one security asked for identity card, I showed him PAN card.
He: "bhai mai ID card mang raha hun"
Me: Sir jee o PAN card hai na.
Security: O muze bhi pata hai. Tumahare pass ID card nahi hai kya.

He asked to Ravi.
Ravi: Sir DL chalega?
Security: Ha bilkul DL chalega. Tum andar Jao.
Me : Sir thoda adjust kar lo na...PAN card bhi to chalana chahiye.
Security: Dekho bhai isbaar chod raha hun. Agali bar ID card leke aana
Me: Sorry sir agali bar jarur le aunga.

He was so arrogant... Still I have utmost respect for him, He has his finger on trigger so I am safe and writing this blog. Sometime I feel that in Indian circumstances he has to be bit strict. We Indians have habit of not obeying to polite people…

The irony is PAN card was given by Indian government and that was not valid at Indian Parliament itself.

In the month of September 2012 I was in Berlin. History of world will not be completed if we remove Berlin from the book. It has witnessed World War 1, World War 2, cold war….loads of gunshot, lot of bombing, Crazy officers, overzealous soldiers…Cruelty of Hitler, innocence of civilians…. .Berlin wall which divided world again two part and was the indication of world war 3…. Fortunately it did not happen…   For 2 days I was living in the era of 1914 to 1990…..I was trying to save all the places in my memory and my brain was trying to match incidents(which I had read in history book) to the each corner of Berlin….It has historic touch to each road of lanes…

Parliament of Germany is a tourist attraction. They call it as Reichtag.
The notable thing is they allow seeing Parliament from inside to a tourist of any nationality. If anybody want to see Reichtag, they have to reserve the seat online one day prior. It is free of cost. Only the thing is one has to go through the strict security check. They have made sitting arrangement for tourists on first floor and tourist can see the proceeding of Parliament. There is only day in year, on which tourist can see Parliament from Ground floor also. On that day tourist can get the direct entry, it is not needed to reserve. I was fortunate to be in Berlin Reichtag on that day .

It was amazing for me, because in India for civilian, access to Parliament is till main gate only.
German Reichtag, It has its own charm itself. It was Sunday so there was holiday in Reichtag. There was bombing on this building in second world war it seems. Fortunately there was not so much destruction. Once we entered in the Reichtag, we saw that security guards and other people who were working there were welcoming by saying: Sir Welcome to Reichtag (with smile)….

It was allowed to roam anywhere inside Parliament, only sitting on any senators chair was restricted. I could not believe myself that I am in a Parliament of a Germany… I asked lot of questions to the security guys who were standing there. Like about Angela Morkel, Daily Proceeding of Parliament, European Union…. And even about the world wars also.. Trust me They were aware of lot of things….I was impressed….And they were so polite while telling all the details… I am sure most of tourist whoever visits Reichtag, they would ask the same question what I asked to them… They were so calm and even not a single line of irritation was there on their face…It was amazing to see their politeness..

We got a free souvenir from the officials…I would keep that with me forever….we asked so many questions to the official who were working there. While coming, one of the official asked:

Official: Sir if you don’t mind then could you please tell your nationality?
We: We are from India..
Official: Are you having nice time in Germany..
We: We had and having great time…
Official: Did you like Germany?
We: We not only liked Germany, but we loved Germany….
Official: Thanks for your compliment about Germany….

Ahhhhhhhhh…. We spent almost 3 hours there.. I came out of Parliament, with lot of memories and one big question…..What is the secret of their politeness………

Friday, November 9, 2012

An Evening of Hospitality.......

That was the biggest swimming pool, ever I have seen. More than 500-600 people including young, oldies, boys-girls, kids were there. It was nice to dive from 25 feet tall springboard into water. It was nicer to see the young girls swimming in bikini. 

After sometime we saw two guys of age 26-27 years old were walking towards us. They came and asked, are you ASIAN (in Hindi with Punjabi accent). I and Sunil thought they are Indian. They told that they are from Gujarat in Pakistan. I was confused, later they told they are from city called Gujarat in Punjab of Pakistan. They introduced themselves as a Bilal and Kashif. I was very happy that I got few more guys to speak in Hindi. Soon we became friends.

I, Sunil, Bilal and Kashif swam for some more time. Then we went to beach volleyball (in the same campus of swimming pool). We requested some Deutch guys to allow us to play with them. We formed a team of 4 guys, in our team (2 Indian and 2 Pakistani) and in opposite team 4 Deutch guys. We won the match with fair difference. Those guys said if ever India and Pakistan unites then we can rule whole world. It wise nice gesture by Pakistani friends.

It was already 4PM in the evening. I and Sunil thought to go to our Hotel as it was getting cold. But Bilal invited us for tea in his uncle’s house, who stays just walking distance away from swimming pool. Frankly I was uncomfortable to go to his Uncle’s home because, we didn’t know his uncle and apart from that they were Pakistanis. But he insisted with so much love that we could not refuse. We went by walk to his uncle’s home, who was waiting for us already. Bilal introduced me to his uncle Bisharat Ali. As an Indian tradition I touched his feet, and as a Pakistani, uncle hugged me. It was good, as I was following my tradition and he was his.

He prepared nice cardamom tea, uhh I must say it was one of the best tea I had in recent time. Initially it was awkward for me, to talk with them. In home I, sunil, Kashif, Bilal, Bisharat Chacha and his friend was there. So I and Sunil only two were Indians and rest were Pakistanis. So I did not know from where to start and what to speak. Finally Bisharat chacha started speaking, “Beta apana hi ghar samajh lo, koi dikkat nahi. Waise hum log to padosi hi hai aur dono mulko me jyada farak nahi hai. India aur Pakistan to ekhi maa ke bachhe hai”. It was a nice to hear.

Then communication went on for long time. We discussed on various topics like Current Politics, problems in Pakistan, India and Pakistan’s relation, the expectation of Pakistani people from their government and from India as well etc. 

It was 7PM; I thought to leave to our hotel. I told to Bisharat Chacha the same. He told that,
Bisharat Chacha : “Beta aap pahali baar ghar aaye ho, aapko khana hi padega”. 

Me: Thank you chachaji. Kisi aur din aayenge hum. 

He insisted so much that we could not refuse. But as a vegetarian I was not comfortable to have a food in his home. I knew Pakistani people prefer to eat non vegetarian food. But I felt that if I tell them that I don’t have food here then he will feel bad, as it is natural in subcontinent if guest doesn’t have food then host will feel bad. At the sametime I did not want to have nonvegetarian food, because I respect my religion. So I told him that, “Chachaji”, aaj mera upwaas hai mai khana nahi kha sakata. Sunil ka upwaas nahi hai o khana kha lega (as he was non vegetarian)…

Chachaji: Beta muze pata hai aapake majahb me ghosht nahi khaate.. aapke liye mai gobi di sabji bana lunga..

I was very uncomfortable. As I don’t like to trouble anybody… So I said chachaji thank you, but mai kisi aur din aunga khane ke liye.

Chacha: Beta aap khana nahi khaoge to chacha ko kitna bura lagega…to aap mere liye khana khayiyega..
That kind of statement would have said by my mother, that kind of statement would have said by my sister and that kind of statement would have been said by a father who is desperate to his feed son. I could not say no. I could see in Chachaji's eyes that  how desperately he is missing his family which is at backhome in Pakistan. Chachaji is staying alone in Germany....

Me, Bilal, Kashif and Sunil…chatted on lot of things. They told how they are big fan of Tajmahal and ow desparate they are to see it. They told Pakistani people love Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachhan, Shahruk Khan, Salaman Khan. They told me they regret the 26/11 lot and hate those people who have done that. 

Within half an hour food was ready….uhhh Hot Rotis, Gobi di subjee for me, Chicken curry for Sunil…Chawal…Curd…

He served the food and we all together had dinner.. Interesting thing is after long time I was having food by hand…. After long time I felt that I am having food with family. I remembered my Parents… It was one of the best food ever I had. This was not because it was yummy, but it was prepared with love. After the dinner I was taking my soiled plate to kitchen.. He did not allow me..

Then again he prepared tea for us, as he learnt that I am tea freak person. We had tea and told them that we will leave. He asked me how you will go to hotel. We told we will go by walk, as it is just 2KM from this place. He dropped us there by his car. And told us feel free to knock the door at anytime.
In this artificial world everybody is there with fake smile on their face, But still I am happy that people like Bisharat chahcha still preserved the culture what our forefathers have taught us.
I had read few books on Pakistan previously. I heard they have best hospitality in the subcontinent. That day I experienced it. I had read that, If enemy also comes to home, Pathani people treat them as brother till he is in home. 

After that I went few more times to his home, neither his love changed nor the hospitality.. I know the political issues between two countries, I have the idea extremist groups in Pakistan, there are differences in two countries. But one thing is common, that is love, hospitality. 

Even condition of common people in Pakistan is same as in India. I met many Pakistanis, everybody was of same opinion. They also have been crushed down by the wrong policies of government. The common people there also want peace. They also hate blood as we do in India. Only things have gone up cumulatively, that it is very difficult to bridge up the gaps between two countries. Lot of people have relatives in India, they want to visit them but it is very difficult to get the Indian Visa. I found one common thing among all whom I met was they also regret for the extremist group what they have.
I don’t want to urge anything to anybody here, just I wanted to convey what I had felt. I am sure it will take decades to unify minds of both the countries, or It may not also….And I hope one day it will bridge up… If border needs to be melted then both the countries need to work together, probably more from Pakistan side..