Category Archives: Stories of Friendship

Pakistani girl’s dreams turn into reality – with some help from Indian company

Shifa is like any other girl – a life full of joy, dreams, goals and a passion for doing something. After the death of her grandmother (dadi ammi) whom she loved a lot, she would often see her in her dreams where her dadi would talk to her and share a few memories of India.

In 2018, Shifa, who was a chemist by qualification and loved to indulge in social welfare, thought she should try her hand at a small business. This is where her real journey started – she learnt that establishing a business is always more difficult than the daily routine of a job.

But since she was ready to take on the challenge, she started exploring ideas based on her own observations and calculations such as the risks involved, cash flow, need for a certain type of business, capital involved etc. Like any other entrepreneur would do.

The idea of opening her own laundry instantly clicked and she started working towards it. When she talked to her friends and family, most of them rejected the idea, mainly because she had no experience of a washing business. Shifa narrates:

Shifa_Owner_WashHub Pakistan

Shifa (Founder-WashHub, Pakistan)

“In 2018, mujhe business ka junoon tha. Laundry start karney ka idea aya. Hoon to mein chemist and social worker. Par ek dam sey yeh idea aya to bas sab ne bohat sunai, guide karna to door ki baat hai. Mein subha se raat tak laundry companies ko mails bhejti thi. But no response.”



But Shifa did not give up hope and instead became ever more determined to take up the challenge and make all the effort she could to bring her idea to life. She looked up all the laundry businesses on the internet and started writing them e-mails for guidance. She did not even count the number of emails she had sent. While she didn’t receive any response to her mails, she did not feel defeated and sent more emails to more companies.

Her effort bore some fruit when she received a surprise response to one of her emails. But wait! This reply was from an Indian company! And they were ready to guide her on how to open a laundry business. Shifa started taking tips from WashApp, the Indian company, collected resources locally and, finally, succeeded in opening her own laundry in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

She says, “Ek din meri aankh khuli and I saw an email from India. One of the biggest companies in India. After that daily unn se baat hoti thi and they guided me at every single step.”

WashApp Team India

Washapp Team (India)

While narrating her story to Aaghaz-e-Dosti, she says that the entire process sounds like a dream and makes her so happy. She believes that people living on the other side of the border have a good heart and we just need to stretch our hands towards each other to become united. She said “I wish ke mein sab ko bata sakoon ke border key uss paar bhi hum jaise log baste hain jo hum se pyar karty hain bas hath barhanay ki dair hai. Ek bar koshish to keejiye.”

Aaghaz-e-Dosti learnt that her business started with providing laundry services initially to domestic users and students, but after positive feedback and trustworthy relationship with customers, it has grown significantly into a firm, called WashHub, and now provides services to industries, hospitals, restaurants and many other commercial users.

She never forgets to say thank you to the Indian company that guided her about how to set up her own laundry.

Her message to young entrepreneurs is:

“Never give up on what you really want to do. Anyone with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts.”

(Send your Indo-Pak stories, experiences, poems, travel blogs, articles etc at to publish with us)


With an unknown traveler in London, I didn’t realize we were from different countries

During my visit to London in Feb 2016, I was very friendly with a young Sialkot native Nadeem ( Name changed) who was very close friend of my host at London Atul Jain and both were colleagues at a big mobile store at South Hall. They used to have good time together on Sundays.

I found Nadeem a very lively and emotional person, who was too attached with his family based at Sialkot and used to send most of his earnings to his native place. He was the sole bread earner of the family.

He felt happy with my company on that Sunday and desired if he can get a good Pakistani life partner at London only. He had a second wish that to get married at his village in Sialkot only. He specifically invited me to his village to attend his marriage. Those were touchy moments for me!!!

On the very next day, on South Hall railway station when I was waiting to board a local train, happened to meet a Punjabi young girl and we both start talking in Punjabi. I was with a wrong impression that all the South Hall area belongs exclusively to Punjabi Sikhs so start talking with the girl in Punjabi with an impression that she is from my country, a sikh girl. And with a similar thought, she was thinking me a Pakistani Punjabi, how funny !!


After few minutes of conversation, I asked her where from she hails in Punjab ? She simply said from Lahore and immediately countered, where are you hail from uncle ( I was 58 that time). I told him that from Bombay but once was resident of Ludhiana so speaks fluent Punjabi. She was Asifa ( Name changed). We both were full of laugh as she found me an Indian Punjabi and I found her a Pakistani Punjabi !!!  

I was moving to see Windsor Palace and incidentally, our travel route was same. Obviously we sit together and during journey she shared with me that her father died leaving behind her mom and her alone at Lahore. They were 3 sisters and sadly no brother. Her two elder sisters were married at London only and by those contacts, she managed to reach London and found a job at a Petrol station. Her mother was living alone at Lahore and like Nadeem, she was the only bread earner for her aged mother.

She had a desired if she could get married with a young Paki Punjabi boy at London, then will get a chance to settle there and will call her mother too at London. She was having a very noble thought that all 3 sisters can fully take care their aged mother at London.

Immediately I was strike with a great idea that why both Nadeem and Asifa should get married as both are looking for a life partner, both are Paki Punjabis, both young and both stay at South Hall.

I frankly put that proposal of Nadeem before her and she was very much keen to have a meeting and gave me her mobile number to let have a talk with Nadeem and then a meeting.

I left London, enquired and found that both Nadeem and Asifa had two meetings but I was sad to know, their marriage could not be performed because of some personal reasons. My whole efforts went futile. But somewhere in the heart, I was satisfied that I tried my best to get united both Pakies for their whole life as was highly impressed that both were too much concern about their families at Pakistan.

I was told Nadeem is still looking for a bride, used to remember me and I am eagerly waiting for his invitation of Sialkot….


Adishwar Kumar Jain is a renowned collage artist of India who exhibited crop photopaintings in all leading art galleries in India and abroad. He holds the post of Vice President of Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India. He is also serving as the Sr. Vice President in a textile company of Mumbai. 

(Picture of South Hall Station in blog is representative image from internet site Hubpages)



When Indians arranged movie tickets for three Pakistanis in Bombay..

Adishwar Kumar Jain, aged 60 years is from Mumbai. Recently, he was watching the famous bollywood film Henna and was reminded of a beautiful incident that goes back to 1991 which he is proud to have been part of. He writes,

“I was on a business trip of Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1991 from Ludhiana (Punjab) when this film Henna was released. It was super hit on the box office and I too went to see the film in Metro talkies of Bombay. Despite of heavy rush, managed to get a ticket for me in black. That time 3 young men came to me and asked for 3 tickets and told they are from Pakistan and do serve in merchant navy. Their ship was parked near Bombay and they took special permission from the captain to see the movie Heena in which Pakistani girl Jeba Bakhtiyar acted as a heroine. It was very embarrassing situation for me to listen all that and start thinking about how to arrange 3 tickets for these Pakistanis. I offered my single ticket to them but they denied as this was not going to solve their problem.

Suddenly I shouted to the huge crowd that 3 Pakistani guests are there and they specially came to see that movie so please arrange 3 tickets for them. To my pleasant surprise, with in minutes at least 20 persons gathered around those young men, shook hands with them and offered their tickets to them. Even few were with their families.

I was just stunned to see the love of common Indian nationals for the Pakistani these nationals. With in no time, 3 tickets were handed over to them and no money was even accepted.

One in the crowd said Hum to kal dekh lenge par hamare Pakistani bhaeeyon  ko aaj hi film dikhayengay….”

In addition, I found that during the interval, people were presenting them with the chips packets and sandwiches etc. They were so happy and were too emotional seeing the love from the Indian people for them.

I still remember this incident which was very touching and that day I realized that how much love the people do with each other of these “Enemy” countries. I always pray for the day when there will be no borders and that Frontier mail (Now Golden Temple Express starts from Bombay)  will again run between Bombay to Frontier province and I will go to Peshawar to see the house of Dileep Kumar Sahab (Yusuf Khan).”

Adishwar Kumar Jai is a renowned collage artist of India who has exhibited paintings in all leading art galleries in India and abroad. He holds the post of Vice President of Physically Challenged Cricket Association of India. He is also serving as the Sr. Vice President in a textile company of Mumbai.

“He is my brother from another mother”: Story of Jenis (India) and Talat (Pakistan)

As part of our call to share about their friend(s) beyond the Indopak Border, Jenis Samuel from Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), India shared the story of his friendship with Talat Islam Khan of Punjab, Pakistan. Jenis writes,


I have had made hundreds of friends in Pakistan motivated by my bond with my first Pakistani friend Atif and which I cherish a lot.

Among many people, I met a man from Punjab (Pakistan). His name is Talat Islam Khan whom I call as “Tali”. He is of my age and a great friend of mine now. We met each other through Facebook just 3 months ago but our friendship did not take even a minute I think!

We share a lot in common. Most of the feelings, thoughts synchronizes between us and seriously I often ask him, “did you ever read my diary?” He think of us as the same soul in two bodies and I so agree with him! We have a lot of common things including our stance on Indian Pakistani friendship, bollywood, southern films, music among other things.

He is a great entertainer indeed. He is a mimic artist, actor, singer…well he’s multitalented!

The best thing I like in him is the way he speaks. He is a great follower of philosopher Rumi and through him I came to know about the great person. His thoughts are also so fine just like Rumi. I feel that Tali is a brother from another mother to me!

I feel that I owe him a lot. He is good at philosophy and he guides me in many ways. He respects our friendship and whenever we find time, we speak for hours or so through whatsapp and messenger.

There is a saying that I really like – “Unexpected friendships are always better”. I think I understood it’s meaning because of this fellow.

Yes, there were many stereotypes that tried to break our friendship. I was asked not to speak to him and to avoid this friendship. But I had made up my mind. Even if I will have to delete 99% of my Pakistani friends, I’ll not unfriend some and Tali tops that list.

It’s hardly few months and we both believe that we are kind of brothers. My parents know him and his mom know me. That’s how he’s popular in my home too!

When I told my mom and aunt about him, they were so surprised to know of his character and how much I valued this friendship. His mom would have felt the same 🙂

Coming to people’s reaction on our friendship, as usual many were and will be surprised and shocked to know about our bond. I had uploaded a video about our friendship on Facebook a few weeks ago wherein I shared about our friendship and the value he has in my life. To my surprise, I got good comments not only from Pakistan but also from my fellow Indian friends. They appreciated and agreed that it will be great if we all start thinking this way and to reach out, form bonds with people who are regarded to be “different” and “opposing” to us.

There are plenty of similarities among Indians and Pakistanis. Once we clear out all our attitude and speak to people who are from the other side of the border, I am sure that we will be able to see a lot of changes.

As a common saying goes this way, to solve a problem, speak WITH each other and not speak ABOUT each other. I hope once people will come together, all these stereotypes and myths could be broken off.

I want to tell my friend Talat that “I have found no one as good and close like u brother ❤ You are seriously a brother from another mother :)”

This year we gonna celebrate 2017 New Year as virtual brothers and I hope that we are able to celebrate the next year together!  

I really hope that we both meet soon in person and that we share about our friendship to the people out there, to the world who tries to control friendship and emotions through borders 🙂

Do you have a friend(s) across the border, share your story with us. Send us your story along with photographs at


“We shared and laughed together at the criticism on our friendship”: Story of Dawood Abbasi (Pakistan) and Pratyush Pandey (India)

As part of our call to share about their friend(s) beyond the Indopak Border, Dawood Abbasi from Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan shared the story of his friendship with Pratyush Pandey of Lucknow, India:


I am from Rahim Yar Khan city in Punjab province of Pakistan. I was born in Paris but lived most my life in Pakistan. My friend Pratyush Pandey originates from Lucknow in India but currently resides in Hyderabad (India). We met in 2009 and studied BBA (3 years) in Paris School of Business. Today, I am considered like a family member by his family.

We celebrated all religious events together. He use to fast every Tuesday and to respect that I wouldn’t drink nor eat during all our time together. Well that’s all mutual respect. Multiple times he visited mosque and I visited Temple with him. We wholeheartedly respected each other traditions and norms which can be concluded by saying that “we taught and learned from each other”.

We both faced stereotypes in our own inner circle like his friends from India and my Pakistani friends would question my friendship and we use to tackle those with strong condemnation and later would laugh discussing those discussions.

During our 3 years tenure, India-Pakistan played few matches and every time we use to invite our friends and watch it all together or planning night outs. Our friendship did managed to bring our other Indian Pakistani friends closer as well. Together we made trip to Amsterdam, organized university events on Eiffel tower and roamed around Paris like it must be toured.

I think it’s all about the environment in our respective country. Indians and Pakistanis who have traveled abroad have no complain meeting and even working with each other. Middle East is the biggest example where millions of Indian and Pakistani mostly work, share apartments and even dine together. It seems so unfair when same people living in their own country criticize/blame the neighbor country for any on-going event. All Indians and Pakistanis must be given chance to travel and have some experience in order to actually understand the true meaning of humanity by staying humble as we share same culture, language and interests. I feel sorry for people who have spent whole life around their own countrymen, community and accordingly they developed the hatred engulfed through the environment, political system. Europe has seen world wars yet it’s countries managed to put all past behind by demolishing borders and united to develop economically, socially and culturally by allowing flow of people traveling to other countries even though most countries have different languages. Why can’t India and Pakistan follow Europe and set aside the past as both countries faces same issues of poverty, terrorism and development of rural areas. Both countries are wasting billions of dollars on military upgrades which seems useless since both countries are nuclear states. Ultimately it’s the civilian paying the real price at the hands of politicians who secretly maintain healthy relation (Modi-Nawaz Nepal meeting, Modi attending Nawaz’s granddaughter wedding) but on front tend to ignore dialogues which can least pave way for stability in both countries.

We as nations are the main culprits for the unstable neighbor relation allowing our selfish policy makers to keep stretching the border line. Relationship between both countries can only develop when each individual of both countries show some optimism and humbleness towards each other. Follow your own heart instead of news.

Do you have a friend(s) across the border, share your story with us. Send us your story along with photographs at

“She is my strength, my love guru”: Story of Atiqa (Pakistan) and Abha (India)

As part of our call to share about their friend(s) beyond the Indo-pak Border, Atiqa Shahid from Lahore (Pakistan) share her story of friendship with Abha Jeurkar from Solapur (India):

Indo-Pak friends Atiqa Shahid (Pakistan) and Abha (India)

“I met Abha last year when she came to Lahore (Pakistan) for a training on adult education which was being conducted by the organization that I am part of. Abha is a certified trainer for Play for Peace.

She belongs to Solapur in India. Currently she is working for Dalit community in collaboration with CSEI. She has such a strong and charismatic personality that I never felt that this was my first time to meet her. We became very good friends in just 15 days, in fact from the very first day. When both of us along with our other friends were roaming on the roads of Lahore, our laughs were the loudest. We have discussed almost everything during those days from patriarchy to peace.

She is my strength and also my love guru 😀 as she always told me that heart breaks and breach of trust may happen a lot but will heal eventually. She has taught me so many things including how to wear a sari and how important it is to be yourself.

I feel blessed that we are living in an era of technology as this allows us to communicate very often. I really miss her and long to meet her.”

If you have a story to share, send it at

Peace Building and Great Friendships: Story of Tulika Bhatija (India) and Raza Khan, Suraya Islam and Zaibun Nisa Hussain (Pakistan)

As part of our call to share about their friend(s) beyond the Indo-pak Border, Tulika Bhatija, an Educator and Peace Builder shares her story of friendship with Suraya Islam, Zaibun Nisa Hussain and Raza Khan from Pakistan whom all she met as part of her peace building activities between India and Pakistan.

Indo-Pak friends Tulika Bhatija (India) and Raza Khan, Suraya Islam and Zaibun (Pakistan)

I met Suraya Islam first time on Skype, along with my students at Ecole Mondiale World School. Our conversations about cricket, partition and flavours of both countries were filled with humour and interesting insights from both sides. Suraya led the discussion with flair, maturity and helped her students reflect on their thoughts and interactions. I learnt so much from her that day. A few months later, I found a gift on my coffee table, with a note attached to it, ‘To our favourite teacher, With Love, Karachi.’ I was very overwhelmed to receive the Ajrak from Sindh; it was strangely nostalgic. Till date, I keep that note in my purse, and think of my wonderful exchange with Suraya.

I met Zaibun Nisa Hussain through another beautiful letter exchange between Mumbai and Chitral. Zaibun and I connected instantly; we shared similar values as educators and encouraged our students to write heartfelt letters and messages to each other. She is a humble, kind and a loving human being and a teacher in which Pakistan can find hope in to bridge barriers between India and Pakistan. I hope to hang out with her some day and have conversations over many cups of chai. 🙂

Raza Khan and I were introduced through Aaghaz-E-Dosti in the aftermath of the Lahore attacks. We have exchanged stories of peace, pain, sorrow and trials and tribulations of being teachers. I can never imagine what it feels like to teach in a school where children have lost their very own. I am very fortunate to have met someone so passionate and determined like him. He continues to grow as an educator and is always to open to learning and sharing ideas.

If you have a story to share, send it at

Terrorist threat to school brought Indian and Pakistani students together: Story of Alishba (Pakistan) and Selena (India)

As part of our call to share about their friend(s) beyond the Indo-pak Border, Alishba from Islamabad (Pakistan) share her story of friendship with Selena from Delhi (India):

Indo-Pak friends Alishba (Pakistan) and Selena (India)

“From our childhood we learn that India is our enemy. But Is it really? okay let me tell you my story.

It started when a girl named Selena took admission in our school SLS. We came to know that she is an Indian and she really hate Pakistanis. And a question emerged in our minds that why? Why she hate Pakistanis so much? She was new admission and she didn’t know about our school’s rules and regulations and so we told her that if she needs any help then we are here for her. But she was so rude and arrogant. She said “No! I don’t need help of any of you. I don’t want to take help of you Pakistanis”. And we said that okay if you don’t need our help then we wont. After that day I used to hate her for the way she is and I started to think that she is my enemy because she is an Indian. We both used to hate each other.

But one day our school got threats from terrorists and they said that they are going to shoot every Indian in our school. The principal announced that school will be off for two weeks because of the threats. She got so scared and started crying. Our heart melted when we saw her crying in a corner. Then me and my group helped her and we sympathized with her, told her not to cry and that everything will settle down soon. We assured her that nothing will happen to her. We were the ones who helped her in her bad time and then her thoughts changed towards us. Soon she was so embarrassed about her arrogant behavior. Then she became a member of our group and as time passed our friendship got closer and today its been 3 years and we all are still together. THE BEST FRIENDS!

Just like that, Yes we want war between India and Pakistan but only in cricket grounds! We are the good neighbors .We are the most skillful. We are the best people in the world. Lets shake our hands and be best friends and best neighbours. YES! We both nations want Peace, We want Prosperity.”

If you have a story to share, send it at

Indian Reality TV Show facilitated bond between an Indian and a Pakistani: Story of Hiranmoy (India) and Aabi (Pakistan)

As part of our call to share about their friend(s) beyond the Indo-pak Border, Hiranmoy Boruah from Assam (India) and Aabi Khan from Rawalpindi (Pakistan) share their story.

Hiranmoy (India) and Aabi Khan (Pakistan)

Hiranmoy Boruah from Assam, India:

“Both of us were die hard Big Boss fans. It was last year, during the course of supporting the same celebrity contestant Mandana Karimi, that I met Aabi Khan. Another Pakistani friend of mine had created a facebook group to support Mandana Karimi, to which I was added. Aabi’s reaction to one of my posts was the first time I got to know about him. After this we became friends on facebook but due to some reasons, did not interact. Big Boss got over. It was hard for us to accept Mandana’s defeat. But, eventually, things became normal.

I started following his posts and came across some inspirational and heart touching posts on his timeline. They were so relatable. I could literally see myself. I have been through the same phase. Exactly the same words I wanted to convey. You can check. We even have two common profile pictures and one common cover picture. And this is what made me take the first step and say ‘Hello’. Now we’re very good friends. We talk about our hobbies, passions and of course about our countries. We care for each other. We support each other in need. He teaches me Hindi and Urdu. (Though I’m from India, my Hindi is very weak) and I tell him about the beauty of India, about our culture and the unexplored paradise that is North-East India.

I really want to meet him one day and my other Pakistani friends too. I have been warned by other people against trusting people blindingly and it’s a bitter truth but I’ve seen the hatred some of them feel for Pakistan. But I believe that nobody is born evil. Even the so called ‘worst’ of all people, also have some good in them. We just need to clear our vision. And when it’s about friendship, nothing else matters – no distance, no boundaries, no societies, not even language. It’s not about India or Pakistan, Hindu or Muslim. If two people wish to share a beautiful bonding, let them be best buddies. That’s what I feel.”

Aabi Khan from Rawalpindi, Pakistan:

“Hiranmoy bourah is one of my closest friends. I got to know about him via a Big Boss fan group. We both liked Mandy as a contestant and shared our likes and dislikes on facebook. He is from India and I am from Pakistan but our friendship has no boundaries. He supports me and believes in me. He is like my support system and can make me smile no matter how low I am feeling. He is the one who keeps me motivated when I’m going through a tough time in my life. To me, he is my second brother. I’d be lost without him as a good friend.”

If you have a story to share, send it at

Friendship story of Aaghaz-e-Dosti Conveners – Aliya Harir (Pakistan) & Devika Mittal (India)

Here we publish the friendship story of Devika Mittal (Delhi, India) and Aliya Harir (Islamabad, Pakistan). Devika Mittal is convener – India of Aaghaz-e-Dosti (May 2012 – Present). Aliya Harir served as convener – Pakistan (October 2013-May 2017). 

Aliya Harir and Devika Mittal - Conveners of Aaghaz-e-Dosti
Devika Mittal writes:

I met Aliya Harir through a mutual quest for indopak peace. In August 2013, I saw on the Aman ki Asha facebook group an announcement sharing that Aliya was organizing a peace painting event at her university. As I was a part of similar peacebuilding initiative (Aaghaz-e-Dosti) in India, I approached her with a request for collaboration, and she instantly agreed. While we began on a professional note, it did not take us long to become friends — the reason being a special bond that connects Indians and Pakistanis instantly in a positive way.

We are way too similar, and always have just so much to talk about. It has been more than three years of friendship. Now when we come across cultural similarities, we are hardly surprised. My friendship with Aliya is no different than the bond I share with my friends here in India. In fact, with some of my friends in India, I am still very formal in the way I speak. Exchanging friendly abuses is something that I don’t indulge in with them. But with Aliya, there are no such boundaries. We exchange friendly abuses quite freely, and also learn new ones from each other. It is all in the spirit of fun.

Working for indopak peace through Aaghaz-e-Dosti, and having friends in #Pakistan, I had always wanted to visit Pakistan. In November 2015, I luckily got an opportunity to visit Lahore for an academic conference on inclusive education at the University of Management and Technology. I, along with another Indian friend, presented a paper there. I was thrilled but when I announced this news to Aliya, it turned out that she was far more excited about my visit. I was happy to get a chance to visit Pakistan but sad because my visa was restricted to Lahore, and Aliya lives in Islamabad.

It was unbelievable when her immediate reaction was, “So what? I will come to Lahore to meet you.” We had already met twice in Delhi yet I was excitedly looking forward to meeting her in person, again. The first time Aliya came to India was in September’13 (exactly a month into our friendship) but she had a visa only for Chandigarh. We met in December of the same year at South Asian Peace Camp in Delhi. Aliya came to Delhi again in October’15 and March’16.

While every moment spent in Lahore was memorable, those two days spent with Aliya were the best when I felt completely at home. Shopping at Anarkali bazaar was like shopping with my close friends at Lajpat Nagar in Delhi. Sharing meals, exchanging laughter, discovering similarities, bargaining over prices at local shops, cracking jokes and roaming around Lahore became a journey of re-consolidating my belief that this conflict is futile, and the only thing that matters is my friendship with Aliya, a Pakistani. What brought us closer in this work was that we both were students and young professionals, striving to transform the #indopak conflict alongside our studies and jobs.

Trying to explain my bond with Aliya seems quite weird to me. Can someone explain his/her bond with his/her close friend? That is exactly my situation. She is among my closest friends, and no border or political situation can affect our bond. The insane fight between India and Pakistan is definitely not my fight. In fact, through her, I have been able to understand how futile and constructed this conflict is. Not only our culture, language, challenges but even our politics is the same! I refuse to believe that loving India should mean hating Pakistan. I love India and I also love Pakistan because it is where my friends are. It is where Aliya lives.

Aliya Harir writes:

I was promoting my ‘Indo-Pak-Afghan Painting for Peace’ event on social media when I got a message from Devika. She sent a ‘hi’ followed by a note for collaboration. We jointly organized the event at in Delhi and at Islamabad which is how we became friends. This developed into online chats via Faceboook and WhatsApp, where we discussed our likes, dislikes, hobbies, movies, and dramas. I found Devika polite yet endowed with a good sense of humor. Our almost daily conversations triggered a switch from the use of ‘aap’ to ‘tum’ and then ‘tu’. Now we talk several times a day and exchange constant messages regarding work and other issues.

It was through Devika that I came to realize how meaningless the animosity between the two countries is. Working together at #AaghazeDosti has given us an opportunity to learn about each other’s culture and life. Barely a few months into our friendship, we met in Delhi when she invited me over for a peace camp in Dec’13. I found her no different than her virtual image. She is a blend of positivism, goodness, and simplicity. She graciously offered me a place in her home to live when I went to Delhi in Mar’16. Devika’s mother filled me with yummy’licious food from morning to evening the whole seven days. Living at my enemy’s home I could not feel happier, safer, and more contended. We speak regularly for organization and planning of cross-border events, in addition to the sharing of our daily life problems and concerns. On days when there emerges a tense situation between India and Pakistan, we know on one hand that this will lead to jingoism, but we also see it as our opportunity to work together more effectively to raise our voice for #peace.

Nonetheless, we also drop sarcastic remarks to each other when the other team wins a cricket match. We like boasting about our cities, comparing them to cities on the other side of the border. We also engage in mutually fruitless exchange of remarks over which country has the best cities. I love generalizing that ‘Pakistanis are the best people on earth’, and she loves generalizing that ‘Indians are the best’ – of course all for the sake of fun. We do not believe in constructed differences, identities, or absolutes. Our faith is in a world that is beyond man made boundaries. This, I believe, is why I like Arjun Kapoor while she adores Atif Aslam.

Devika is my ‘partner in crime’. Three years into our friendship, I have been telling her that Indians are evil. Of course, she has reciprocated. Always! She holds this evil smile that is so contagious. Once, I was going through a personal crisis, and had hit a low point in my life. Devika stood by my side as a true loyal friend. She did what she could do the best: samjhana-bujhana (helping me understand the situation), daantna (scolding), himmat barhana (motivating), honsla bandhana (affirming solidarity), and hansana (cheering me up) despite that she is a Ph.D. scholar, and her time is very important. Unless reminded by the visa restrictions, I have never had the feeling of Devika and me belonging to ‘rival’ countries. We share so much in common – our way of communication, humour, gaaliyaan (friendly abuses), feelings, and values. I have been to #India several times, and have developed hundreds of friendships, but the one with Devika is the most special and will always remain so.
This story was originally posted as “Aaghaz-e-Dosti (Beginnings to an everlasting friendship)on Friendships Across Borders: Aao Dosti Karein.

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