Cross-Border Experience: Mapping the Difference..
by Devika Mittal (India)
I was in Lahore and was staying with my friend Madhavi (Bansal) in a guest house. One evening, I was waiting for my friend Namra (Nasir) as we had planned to go to her place. There was a power cut and so I decided to go outside and wait near the gate. The guest house had 3 people to take care of it. One of them was a young fellow. He offered me a chair to sit. I thanked and struck a conversation with him. I asked him where he is from and he mentioned a place. I asked him how far it is from Lahore. He said, it is about two hours. He, in turn, asked me where I am from. I said, I am from Delhi.
As I spoke the word, his eyes widened and he was shocked. I found it surprising because when I and my friend had arrived at the guest house which was provided to us by our hosts, they had informed the people who took care of the house about us. So i assumed that he would have also known but it turned out he didn’t. He asked me again, “Aap Hindustan se aaye ho?” (You have come from India?)
He then asked me questions around my experience here. One of his last questions was, “Aapka ghar yaha se kitni durr hai?” (How far is your home from this place?)
Devika Mittal is a research student from India. She is the convener-India of Aaghaz-e-Dosti. She tweets at @devikasmittal
Article: I feel like India is my second home – Experience of a Pakistani girl in India
by Namra Nasir
Peace between India and Pakistan? Politico-mediatic gestures indicate that it’s like asking for the moon. One cannot reckon the reality of people in both the countries without a first-hand interaction. Selection for a conference in India gave me a chance to experience the Incredible India with all my wits and senses. This memorable excursion broke many stereotypes and brought me to a verge of thinking that if compared with the rest of the world, we are very recognizably similar, equally welcoming and extremely loving.
Vividly, peace and humanity is the priority on both sides of the border. I earned so much love in India that I forgot that I wasn’t in Pakistan. I already have Arpita, Zainab and Nivetha as my sisters from India, and now getting awesome friends like Vivek, Karamjit, Jaskiran, Sir Ajat and Devika; and supportive buddies like Prema, Sahil and Karun, makes me feel that India is my second home. The friendliness down the road with Nishan bhai and overwhelmed hospitality of the Dhaba owners for their Pakistani guests was also memorable.
Being in the country of my ancestors was a mesmerizing experience and a dream come true. Though 9 days could not satiate my wanderlust, but what founded the lasting memories of the India Diaries was the rowdy road trip to adorable Agra’s talismanic Taj, alluring Ajmer Sharif, classy Chandigarh with pompous Punjab Kala Bhawan, sassy Sector 17, picturesque Panjab University, capacious, captivating and cordial Carmel Convent, jaunty Judicial Academy, rocking Rock Garden; dandy Delhi with idyllic India Gate, “mast” Metro, delicious Delhi 6, quaint Qutab Minar, romantic Red Fort, multifaceted markets; amazing Amritsar with gorgeous Golden Temple, haughty Haveli and omnipresent, somber stations with punctilious Police.
There is still too much to see, and I hope to revisit the country to recreate the amalgam of laughter, anger, fear, pleasure, pain, joy, adventure, insomnia and all the inexplicable emotions that I lived in less than a fortnight.
Namra Nasir is an MPhil Scholar at ISCS, PU. Currently, she is working as a Research and Development Associate at KIPS Head Office. She is the Lahore Co-ordinator of Aaghaz-e-Dosti.