Thursday, November 20, 2008

United India Pakistan

I am writing this incident not just because it happened with me but the underlying truth is so important that we all must teach ourselves and the next generation the lessons to be drawn from it. I would have loved to record the whole conversation that I describe below, but that time little did I know where it will ultimately lead to. So here goes my conversation with a Taxi driver in Auckland on 13th Dec. 2006.

I took this cab right opposite my office which was in Central Auckland and sat, as is my habit, in the front. The fellow looked Indian and when he put on the radio to Tarana, which is a fully Hindi radio channel of NZ, I congratulated myself on my sharp (?) observation powers. I started making simple remarks like, who I am, for what I am in Auckland etc. The conversation reached a point where we were discussing holidays and how all locals here have almost two months off at Xmas. I said in India we have more need of holidays near Dashera, Diwali and Eid. Then I asked him his name - He said after a little hesitation Quaisar (not too sure of the spelling). I said which part of India you hail from, this time with more hesitation he said - Pakistan. I took it in my stride and immediately countered it with - "Ha asal mein to hum ek hi hain na!!". Then to my surprise, he went into statistical details of how much part of both the countries goes into defence spending. He also referred to the media hype and the propoganda machinery of the western powers that keep on feeding the fires of hatred between the two communities in particular and all our neighbouring countries in general.

I commented that India and Pak are divided just because of politics otherwise even I have my Grand parental home in Multan and so many cultural ties are common between both the so called nations. Finally, we reached my school site, the meter read - $53.60. I gave him 3 $20 bills, he gave me $10 back. I said "Sorry but I don't have change" To this he said, "Aapas ki baat hai chalta hai"

Can I dream of United States of India ?