Ever since I read about
Venice in my 5th grade English reading class at
school, I dreamt each day of going to . But as for me, as near as I
could get to going abroad was accidentally stepping to the other side of
Indo-Pakistan border. How I got there is a story I hold close to my heart! Italy
‘Wagah border’ is the border between
India and Pakistan,
near . Amritsar India and Pakistan
being one entity before 1947, this majestic road led us directly to ! Alas for us, who
have been second generation ‘migrants’ to India, will perhaps never see the
beauty of ‘that’ place! But I can feel its beauty in the moist eyes of my
grandparents who recollect their ‘good old days’! Lahore
It was a hot late afternoon and few visitors were seen near the border. We walked up to the magnificent Wagah border gates, where security guards had lined up. Their uniforms were bright in colour. Indians wore green and
uniform was black in colour. I couldn’t help but notice that height of guards
from both the sides was extraordinary and they held a serious expression all
the time. Did they ever talk to each other? I wondered. There were two flags fluttering
in the wind on either side of the gates. Is that how you differentiate between
two countries? Pakistan
As we moved up towards the point-zero pillar or No man’s land area, my eyes remained fixed on the people of the other side! I had to find out what they actually looked like! Today, there were not many to be seen even ‘that’ side.
Just as we were about to return, my grandmother who had been reminiscing her old days, suddenly slipped. I rushed to get to her side. But before that, a young lad of about 17, caught her from getting hurt. He was from the ‘other’ side. We together helped her stand and regain her balance. The very moment we heard a whistle and some guards approached us. Lo and behold I had crossed the line!
Immediately I returned to my side and muttered a ‘Thank You’ under my breath to the boy. ‘Dhanyavaad ki kya zarurat hai Humshira?” (What is the need of a Thank You sister?) He said. We exchanged smiles! It was a smile exactly like my brother’s.
The routine evening parade began. The thumping of the feet and smart march-past by Guards on both sides drove frenzy in the small crowd! The guards saluted each other; flags were brought down and folded neatly. The gates were then closed!
Late evening, I returned home with warmth in my heart. The gates might get closed but the hearts can never till we keep doing what we are best at-being Human!
As for my travel ‘Abroad’,
might as well be
my destination one day. Back then, it would have remained a dream, but today we
have Expedia where a click on http://www.expedia.co.in/
would make my dream come true. Venice