I had written this sometime back when mysite was hacked and offline so I had posted it on desicritics. I am finally posting it here on drishtikone for the readers.
She must have walked on the same streets that were once walked by my father. Maybe the fruits that had fallen from the trees that had once fed my grandfather had also been tasted by her. Now, she was standing right in our house bringing the air of Lahore with her. Rubab Saleem (blogs at Pakistan Times) was visiting us in Houston and I could not miss being mesmerized by the situation. It was ridden with quiet nostalgia in my mind.
Both my parents and their forefathers came from Lahore. While my father’s family was from Lahore proper, my mother’s family came from Sheikhupura, near Lahore. While my father and his parents migrated in 1920’s due to my grandfather’s Government job, my mother’s side came during partition. I would sit down with my Nanaji for hours discussing his childhood and youth. I still remember him picking up the Hindustan Times with a story on the terrorist training camps for the Khalistanis in 1980’s with a map of the various places where those camps were and pointing those places to me. “Here I played my first hockey match”… and “Here I went to college”.. etc. He had travelled wide and well in that land and was fluent in Farsi and Urdu (oral and written).
After all these decades, the Internet had accomplished me to do another thing. Sort of close the loop that had been left open – a young girl from Lahore finally brought that whiff of that city – which has a special place in Punjabiyat of South Asia – to our home.
She, unbeknownest, returned something to my family that we had left “back there”. Lahore’s persona.
Internet is a great equalizer. It can bring two completely different people with different histories together. They may not agree but the platform’s “maryada” or the value system, provides you with a certain serenity to accept divergence that you may not have accepted otherwise. I have disagreed with many and yet learned from them. The process goes on.
A close friend once told me that he does not judge people, for he may lose out on another’s perspective on the same issue and maybe he could learn from it! I cannot say I am as good as he is, but I am learning. I am quite sure that I might see the world differently than many but the important thing is that despite that we still look at each other. As friends.
Rubab has furthered my education in that process of such acceptance. She may not agree with my views always but she accepts me as another perspective. And in the end, I believe, that is what Lahore was really about. It brought passionate people of all hues who were tied to each other through one thread – of acceptance and love born out of that acceptance. I am not using the word “Tolerance” for it is negative and a compromise. Acceptance is not a compromise. It is a positive way to open your arms and bring people into your world as one. In accepting you become complete. This young lady from Lahore made me complete.
Rubab is currently residing in Gujranwala a adjacent city to Lahore, but breezes come from the same direction that is Pakistan.