When we traveled to see Pakistan
We were debating where to go on our next holiday and it soon turned into a heated debate as always. Finally, I said let us take a train to Pakistan and show you the land of your ancestors, to the missus. You see her parents were born in pre-partition India and she sometimes wishes to go and see the village where here forefathers lived. But she brushed this aside as another joke of mine. But I went online to book tickets in tatkal for Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi train and offered to help with the packing of bags. Impressed with my gesture (to pack bags, not for vacation), her frown underwent metamorphosis into a smile 🙂
The Amritsar Shatabdi a fast train and leaves early morning from Delhi and arrives by noon, feeding you continuously during the journey to the Holy city of Amritsar. But I only nibbled saving my tummy for the delicacies that were waiting in Amritsar. We went straight to Harmandir Sahib, the holiest shrine of Sikhism. Golden Temple welcomes all irrespective of faith from it four gates denoting 4 directions, from where the faithful can enter. The beauty of Golden temple is not because of gold but in the belief that brings millions to bow, and take a dip in holy waters of the lake that gives the name to the city – “Lake of nectar or Amritsar“.
We cherished the Kadah Prasad, whose taste still lingers in my mouth and I can still smell the desi Ghee from my palms. We then visited Jalianwalla Bagh close by. One can still see the bullet marks, on the wall from that painful Baisakhi, reminding us not to take our freedom for granted.
In the evening we hired a cab and reached Wagah Border, where an open-air stadium accommodates spectators to see the Flag lowering ritual by Indian BSF and Pakistani Rangers every evening. A huge gate separates the two nations that were one for more than 5000 years. Except for dress of soldiers and the Iron Gate serving as a cold reminder, I could not find any difference in faces. Among the cacophony of children crying, cell phone ringtones announcing “ Sheila’s Jawani’’ in competition to patriotic songs from the loudspeakers, I was trying to make sense of all the show of Valor the soldiers on both sides of Wagah Border were putting up.
Suddenly our daughter screamed, “Look, Papa, Indian Tricolor flag and there is also a Pakistan Flag on the other side of the gate, that must be Pakistan I can see Pakistan from here”.
I looked towards missus, who had tears in her eyes but smile on her face. This was the closest she would ever get to the land from where her parents once came as refugees and built a new life from scratch brick by brick and merged into the mainstream of India.
So dear readers this is how we saw Pakistan from Wagah Border, as we watched the Flag lowering ceremony in the evening on the Indian side of Wagah.
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Note: All pics in this post were taken with a point and shoot camera.