IT was one of the usual hostel trips, and this time I had a chance to have a personal encounter with the Golden City of India, Amritsar. I had been there with my family before but this time I was big enough to experience the flavor of journey once again with my friends.
After visiting Jallianwala Bagh and certain other places, we decided to pay a visit to Wagah Border. I had mixed feelings. Something deep in my hearts of the hearts wanted to jump out of the bus and rush to the place where I could see this LINE OF SEPARATION between two neighbors- India and Pakistan.
The bus stopped miles away and we had to walk a certain distance to finally reach the place that I longed to see since my birth. I could see the crowd of excited people who had painted their faces with flag of India and sang the songs of patriotism. We stopped at the gate and people lined up in queues to maintain discipline. My friend was talking to me and I paid scarce attention to her words. I told her I just want to see the people across the border. We started walking inside the area in queues and frequent frisking by the Border Security Forces was little bit irksome. Finally the time came where the demarcation between me and the green people was just a staircase away that I had to climb. I climbed it like a squirrel with a speed of cheetah and stood there.
AT THE BORDER
The first thing I did was to sit at a place where from people across the border would be visible. I sat and there I could see them, people dressed in Kurtis and Abayas waiving green flags and singing their Qoumi Tarana.
Tears rushed down my cheeks and still I do not figure-why. I raised my hand and with full might and waived to the people sitting on the other side. Physically I was in India, but mentally in Pakistan.
I wanted to run, bump into the gate and reach there. Not once did I fear about the bullet hitting me. Such was my enthusiasm. I was imagining all the beautiful things a human brain can imagine. A peaceful life where there is no demarcation between them and us. I questioned myself time and again. If I want to be there, why on earth am I here? Who has set such rules for me? Finally the time of reunion came, when gates were thrown open and people from both the nations saluted their respective flags.
They shake hands with each other and then salute the flags with full energy. It was splendid, spectacular and kaleidoscopic! People in Indian territory danced to the tunes of “Jai ho” and on the other side I could hear the Tilawati Quran-e-Pak.
At last the time of separation came and my fancy ended. I stood there alone, isolated and dejected, still trying to figure out…”Why am I here, when I want to be there”.
Azra Mufti, a regular contributor to Kashmir Observer, is Assistant Professor (Finance) at the IUST, Awantipora.
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