Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wagah border

Carnival time at the Wagah Border, the crowd dances on rang de basanti while BSF jawans look on ....

Bringing down the flag....

Amritsar almost borders with Pakistan and a 30 minute drive takes you to the Wagah Border.
We decided to go for the border closing ceremony that takes place everyday in the evening… Not expecting too much of a ho-hum, we took a cab through lush green fields .. so Punjab … the whole air speaks of that … !
Just before the border gate somewhere around Atari station there is a milestone that says – Lahore 23.
So I ask the driver … why cant we just keep driving … straight to a road that leads to where I come from?
He just laughs at my absurd question….
But that milestone haunts me …

The ceremony is nothing less than a carnival … 2000 people … blaring music… screaming crowds and dancing children!
Who dances on the border… ? well we do ….

Indians… with the undying sprit to make the most of nothing… with the spirit to celebrate for no reason… to let go in front of strangers… if we can pee on the road .. we can certainly break into a jig at our country’s border!

I get goose bumps when we scream in unison – Vande Mataram….

100 meters from where I sit, I can see roofs and small houses… In Pakistan … The people sitting on the other side of the gate look the same, are wearing the same clothes…
They talk the same language …..

61 years ago, there was no gate… there weren’t lines and borders…
I don’t mean to sound idealistic… but I really wonder …. Because I am confused ….
With the feeling of love for my country there is also a feeling of compassion for people who are sitting across and are connected to me… to my roots…

I wonder why we fight..why we draw lines and why we never let go…..
Why links that are broken once cannot be joined again….

As the Indian and Pakistani flags are bought down as the sun sets, I am aware that there is a sun rising in another part of the world…. There is enlightenment happening somewhere else….

Can I capture a bit of that …. Can WE capture a bit of that?

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