“Summiya was the only friendly face that welcomed me in class”: Story of two school friends Ketki (India) and Summiya (Pakistan)
As part of our initiative to share stories of friendship beyond the Indopak Border, we share the story of two school friends from India and Pakistan – Ketki Kanitkar and Summiya Nizamuddin and how their friendship has survived the ravages of time and in this case, political problems between the two countries.
Ketki Kanitkar (India):
“Summiya was the only friendly face that welcomed me to my new class in standard 7 at Ideal Indian School Doha in 1994. We seemed to hit it off instantly since then.
Our conversations as teens were really all about asking inquisitive questions about each other’s traditions, cultures, customs and clothes. After high school, I left for college to Pune, and Summiya went to Medical School in Karachi. We met again in 2006 after I got married and came to Karachi for a visit. Our conversations later progressed to how our lives changed, how countries were playing dirty politics, and how it is the people who suffer. We never had any clash. Our countries had been at loggerheads since forever but that really made no difference to us, as our friendship went way beyond borders. Whatever hardships everyday people face in both countries are the same on a daily basis. We were sympathetic towards the mis-governance in our respective countries; we never disrespected each other’s cultures, faiths or even traditions, and in fact had a deep interest to know more and be a part of each other’s celebrations.”
Summiya Nizamuddin (Pakistan):
“We must have been 12 years old. Ketki had moved to Qatar from India and joined my school. She sat next to me on her first day at school. We have been together ever since. We practically grew up together through those awkward teen years, and though we are in different countries now, we still keep in touch
We talk about what best friends would usually talk about. Initially it was about school and how we hated math; growing up issues, things at home; clothes and music. Later it was about grown-up issues such as getting a job, getting married, and in-laws’ issues! Alhamdullah in all the time we have known each other, there has never been a clash. Never. What really mattered was that we were together and we were there for each other at that point in time.
A clash on the border never brought up a clash between us, none whatsoever. As I said, the fact that we were together was more important. It did not matter if the two governments could not handle issues amongst themselves. Things were working fine for us.”