When I first heard the knock on my door, I ignored as nobody ever knocks apart from my husband. But when the knocks got louder I ran to the door and peeped through the eye hole. I saw a young girl and boy standing with a tray in hand which was filled with bowls covered in silver foils. I hurriedly opened the door with a welcoming smile on my face. Young girl told me her mother had sent us some home cooked food. Yes, they are my new neighbors who live just across my house in Jeddah. Being a vegetarian, I wanted to be sure about the food being offered. So once again, I knocked their door only to find a beautiful fair and lean woman standing with an even broader smile. Well, when the offered chicken samosas were taken back from the tray it consisted of some sweets, dahi wada and yummy chole. It smelled heavenly. Having extreme love towards my husband and he having extreme love towards food I decided to keep the food till my husband’s arrival. Later that evening when I told my mother over a call about this incident, she warned me not to eat the food. Because they are not only Muslims but also, wait for it, Pakistanis.
Since our childhood, we have learnt and loved to hate Pakistan and Pakistanis. India Pakistan cricket match has always been bigger than a war by itself. We burnt crackers when India won and burnt dummy cricketers when India lost. So much rage has been flowing in our blood since ages. If England plays against Pakistan, we support England, the country which had ruled and humiliated us for centuries. But no matter what we won’t lift our hands to support Pakistan. So here comes the golden question, why? Why there is no brotherly feeling towards our own neighboring country? Why is this hatred, anger and detest? Is it because most of the terrorists are from Pakistan? Or do we believe every Pakistani is a terrorist or a traitor? Is it because we believe every Pakistani hates us? Or is it because an unavoidable and insatiable anger has passed on to us from our elders who saw a different India during partition? Is it because people were killed during partition or because Hindus were forced to convert or leave the country? I do agree hate all the past events and the present terrorist activities. But that doesn't mean every Pakistani is a terrorist or everyone hates us. Why do we presume certain things and create a hard shell around us to eventually suffocate? If we hoist Pakistan’s flag in India it leads to bloodshed and we start hunching our moral values killing hundreds and thousands of innocent people. I agree it is not wise to hoist another nation’s flag in India. But tell me, would the bloodshed still see so many carcasses if we hoist the flag of Germany or the United States of America? No. I am sure it won’t.
In the recent movie “Total Siyappa” the entire plot revolves around Indian-Pakistani relationship. How they loathe Pakistanis and how frequently fight with their Pakistani neighbors. But at the end of the movie, they realize that after all we all inhale the same air and we all are just humans. Since our initial days, we start preaching children about healthy relationships, good friendships, and good manners. But we forget them the moment they want to get in to an inter caste marriage or have a friend who belongs to lower caste or eat food in Muslim’s house or support a Pakistan team during a cricket match. The funny part is the deadly Ebola also sees no difference. It doesn't spare you because you are a Brahmin or Indian or white or Christian or Hindu or Muslim. Being an invisible microorganism when it doesn't differentiate why should we differentiate and kill people? Can’t you see viruses are doing their job promptly that we don’t need to take care of their job anymore? Can’t we seriously shake hands and forget all the enmity? I know the final answer, “we are ready but do you think these Pakistanis will ever be ready. Their PM might visit India and talk sweetly but I know they are plotting behind us since very long.” Yeah, we are all ISI agents and we normally know everything!!!! I am not saying we should support every wrong activity such as war, terrorism by Pakistan. I am only saying we should not hate people because they are from Pakistan.
My new neighbor is a sweet, dignified, gentle and a very good person at heart. Can I ignore all this good positive points and hate her because she is from Pakistan? Can I not eat those deliciously cooked food because she is a Muslim? Can I not visit their house because they pray to a different god? We see no difference. Birth to a new friendship has already been given. And it is growing fast without any worries of war or hatred or terrorism. Friendship between a Hindu and a Muslim!!! Friendship between an Indian and Pakistani!!! In fact she advises me to take cabs belonging to Indians, Pakistanis or Bangladeshis as they are much safer. Imagine I hire a cab driven by a Pakistani because I believe he will cause me no harm and protect me, irrespective of all odds.
Let people fight how much they want over caste, religion, borders but I am leading a happy life by getting in to an inter caste marriage living in a country filled with orthodox Muslims having a Pakistani friend. A friend who first lent her hand for friendship. If she had not sent food the first time, I would hardly have spoken to her and would have lost the chance of meeting such a lovely lady.
But the best part is I am still a vegetarian, I am very proud of being an Indian and read a lot about Hindu religion appreciating every bit of it. To accept people how they are, it is not necessary for us to change or after we accept them it is not they influence us to change. All are myths created to keep people away from their own kind!!!
To conclude, I say wash your hands and let them mingle with anybody they want!!!