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..

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