Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Travelling with a militant

Travelling to India for my vacation. I had booked in emirates flight from newyork to Cochin via Dubai. I Boarded emirates flight from JF Kennedy Airport NewYork. A huge Boeing 777 jumbo jet was the one i boarded. Man, it is like a castle in the air. The interiors were top class, depicted the middle east luxury craved people. And airhostess, i better not write abt them i need another blog to cover that. My fellow passenger was a middle aged man who was complaining about each and every thing from the tv to the blanket or food they provided. He spoke to me in a very friendly manner though. His name was Jibrael Ahmed and was working some place in west virginia.
This was a small conversation we had and the deep imact it made in my mind;
Me: So where are you going from dubai?
Jib: I am flying to Multan. I have a connection flight from Lahore.
Me : Multaan..hmmmm inzamam's place. (inzamam-ul-haq, pakistan cricketer)
His face brightened up and he started.
Jib: Acha, tum kahaan se?? Karaachi??
Me: Arre nahi bhai saab, mein hindusthan se hoon. Dakshin me kerala karke ek jagah hein..mein waha ka hoon. Whaan jaa raha hoon.
As everyone knows India and Pakistan have been rivals for years. I expected some thing strange i dont know what, but expected something different expression from him.

But he said,
Jib: Kerala meine suna hein...tho inzamam ke baare me ithna kaise jaanthe ho?
Me: Imran khan, wasim akram se lekar shoaib akhthar sab ko pasand kartha hoon..
I think he was impressed by that he was more interested,
Jib: These politicians have made a big barrier between our countries. But saale jaanthe nahin hein aakhir insaan sab ek hein. Ek din sab theek ho jaayega..

I was born into a miltary family. Grandfather Major in army, My dad Office in Airforce, Uncles in Army, BSF etc. The very word pakistan was and is a big vice in my family. My grandfather's war stories, we knew he is adding masala here and there but we liked his narration skills. In all his stories the villain wil be a pakistani, characters ranging from tank drivers, gunmen etc etc. So imagine me seated next to a pakistani for next 16 hours. But his word touched me, sounds like a cliche. But many people would not be able to understand this situation.

But i was mum for a moment. Then he continued,

Jib: Sab theek ho jaayega, yehi dono deshon ke liye behthar hein.
Me: Mein kya bolu? uncle...sab bhagwan dekh raha hein..wahi kuch karega.
Jib: hmm...
Then we kept on discussing about bollywood, pervez musshraff, bob woolmer.
He seemed tired and he went for a sleep. I was thinking if everybody in both our countries had big hearts like this. Our countries would have been in a better postion by now.

Long time before, Pakistani's were equal to militants for me. My lame understanding before was, all pakistani's are either militants or crcketers.

The Cricket Arch Rival's, Hockey Rival's, Kashmir..reason were plundering for me to hate pakistan and people there. I felt patriotic and powerful when i badmouthed them. But now My exposure to world, friends and some good reading made me think otherwise. This conversation with a fellow passenger has changed my theories drastically. I feel vindicated to say the least.

I understand, However educated and well read you are, sometimes you need a layman to make you understand certain things. After all a silly apple changed our understandings on gravitational forces. My friend Fazlunnisa used to say "Hindustan aur Pakistan are like two brothers". Hell it took me a lot of time to understand her one line. I hope some incident like this might help cleanse all those corrupted minds in both our countries.


Sandhya M said...

Reminds me of something Rabindranath Tagore wrote long time ago...

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

I find we Indians in general tend to hold on to our prejudices for a little too long. Be it Pakistan or Britan..It is time atleast this generation moved on. I do believe we are on the right track..

Vijay said...

Its a common human err to generalize people based to nationality. religion or color, but the invariable truth is everyone are as different as possible from one another. We tend to hate a group due to a few people, and then the hate spreads. Politicians thrive on hate coz its easy to generate hate than love. A nice work... But theres always room for improvement keep up the good work

Unknown said...

I adore what you have written...
well said brother...

Anonymous said...

eda evidae enthu india enthu pakistan. You come here near my office there is a very good pakistani restaurant and if you need there is an afgan restaurant too. I like food from both. They are very good people and have a very good knowledge of Bolywood. Even one pakistani who was taxi driver was talking to me about mamooty and rajani and all and also he was a Rajani fan

Anonymous said...

Thanks For The Posting

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