Monday, February 29, 2016

The difference between an Indian and a Pakistani

It was a cold night, and we were lost. We had wandered too far away from our hotel and other than the hotel name we didn’t know a thing. “Do you know how to get to Punt Hill Hotel?” my father asked a couple of passer-by’s. Unfortunately, none knew where it was. All we got in return was a complimentary “All the Best”. We Indians were in a foreign land, in the dead of the night with no idea of how to get to our destination. While we tried our best to retrace our steps, my mother had a prayer on her lips with the hope that someone would help us. But who, when and how? Suddenly, an Asian man, somewhere in his late twenties, came along. Seeing us fellow Asians in despair, he gave us a curious look. My father approached him. “It’s slightly off the way to the place I’m going. However, no worries, If you’ll follow me I could lead you’ll there. ” Finally, we had a reason to cheer. We were making a move to our destination and away from the cold. My father struck a conversation with the man and introduced himself. The man told us that he was a student in the university. The city was vast and hence it was very difficult to know the directions to a place unless you knew the complete address.

After a good twenty minutes of walking, we were there at the foot of our hotel which seemed brighter than usual. Was it the lighting or was it that the hotel was happy to see us back? Before we could part ways, my father thanked the man and asked him his name.

“Nadeem”

“Where are you from?”

“I’m from Pakistan”. At that moment, it was as if time had paused, and it was no longer cold. An Indian and a Pakistani, the famous arch-rivals were shaking hands.

“Thanks a lot once again.”

“Most welcome, enjoy your holidays”, said the man as he walked away.


That night as I lay in the warmth of the room and the comfort of my bed I wondered how much of a difference does it make whether you’re an Indian or a Pakistani in a foreign land. In fact, they find comfort in each other. A common Indian or a Pakistani is not interested in the fights, the swearing during cricket matches, mud-slinging and one-upmanship the two countries have been involved in since partition. He is only interested in having an atmosphere of peace where he can provide for his family’s needs and bring up his children in the best manner possible. All other non-family issues are trivial.
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