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Watching the Hindi movie trailers on my television recently, I noticed so many movies with the plot depicting Indians landing in our neighbouring country. A country which was once part of India but now we share a love and hate relationship with them. The Indians in Pakistani jails are in deplorable conditions. How can one forget what happened to Sarbajit Singh. Some Indians were, caught on being landing on the other side and some held captive during indo-pak war, i.e, the prisoners of war.
Movies entertain us but at times it becomes difficult to digest what is being shown and what we are made to believe. How is it possible, two people shown to party in a boat on Indian side and landing in Pakistan and then series of funny and hilarious sequence of events taking place. Give me a break!! I said to myself but then movies are made to entertain us and make grim matters funny. What's wrong with it. After all, it adds humour to dull, monotonous life and turning the seriousness of the Subject to an enjoyable watch.
But, we all know reel life is poles apart from real life. Well, talking about the real side , it was almost two years back when from Dagshai travelling to Amritsar for a short fun trip, My six year old with me and my husband had an opportunity and privilege to pay our obeisance at Golden Temple, visit the Jallia walla Bagh and Wagah Border.
It was a mesmerising experience as Baisakhi was being celebrated all over india and at Amritsar the celebrations were grand. After witnessing and seeing the festive fervour at Golden Temple and getting to taste the delicious Langar and the Kadah Prasad, We headed for the Wagah Border.
On reaching the Wagah, We saw a mad rush of people on both sides to witness the breathtaking flag lowering ceremony . The crowd from both sides left no stone unturned to show their enthusiasm and patriotism for their respective countries. It was the similar kind of mad- frenzy felt during the Indo-Pak cricket matches.
Yes , Wagah border, bordering Pakistan, where the flag lowering ceremony takes place every evening. And lucky people like me must have witnessed it and would agree with what I felt during the ceremony. My six year old was equally thrilled to witness such a grand event.
The Soldiers on both sides exchanged aggressive glances, lifted their legs high in the air, stomped their boots hard on the ground, twisted their moustaches up and stared at each-other again. Well, at that moment i only wished that the 'Feviquick' advertisement comes true and the shoe sole of the Pakistani soldier hangs lose so that his Indian counterpart could fix it for him but to my dismay, it did not happen, after all it was a real ceremony and no myth or a movie. These Soldiers were representing the 'pride and honour' of their countries, no gimmicks involved.
The reality shook me, suddenly someone in the crowd invariably started chanting 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and from the other side 'Pak Zindabad' could be heard. The competition of whose more louder in form of slogans began, which soon turned into a mutual scorn and a way of insulting with the over rising crescendo. The two national flags were lowered to the buglers' call.
It was now time for the visitors to get themselves clicked in front of the gates which were the symbol of partition between the two countries at Wagah Border.
Further away, at a place called Attari on the Indian side, there was an abruptly aborted railway line with painted sign that said "Northern Railway ends here."
I kept looking at the track to somehow connect with the history, when the track was functional. Lahore was at the mere distance of 60 kms from this place, but now it goes no where. It has just become a mute spectator, welcoming all visitors, a glimpse into a long lost past. Now Maitri ( Friendship) buses run across both sides, crossing the gates where flag ceremony takes place. But this happens only when there is peace amongst the neighbours . During ceasefire violation by our neighbour this bus service also gets disrupted.
And those who bear the brunt; are not only the commoners but also our soldiers and their families. Along with Western border of Punjab, where India ends and Pakistan begins - there lies a stretch of no man's land, marked off by rusty barbed fences. On both sides the soldiers in the bunkers guard 24/7 and keep a strict vigil, so that no infiltrator crosses over. There is no scope for callous behaviour, unless you are some Hindi movie Hero, who can face every tough situation as if it is a cake walk for him, after all it is just an enactment of the real.
The Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers have shoot at sight orders, in case of any doubtful activity. Here, there are no re-takes, precious lives are at stake for the nation, it is do or die for the nation, the ground reality.
The religious and political divide is huge and wide amongst the two nations, we can't see each-other eye to eye, rather the belief is 'an eye for an eye'. How at Wagah the soldiers from both sides perform their drill, lifting their legs high as if kicking their opponents and themselves at times going off balance, but all this is actually not required, and according to Indian military training also, there is no such drill taught. There are not only grown-ups present but also children witnessing the ceremony. Instead of all this, can't there be a common place made, where families and well-wishers from both sides can meet, a Maitri Room, a meeting place.
On one side i am feel proud of our real heroes, ' our soldiers' and on the other side i pray for their precious lives, for their well-being.
On my way back, When I heard the faint strains of azaan from a distant mosque , I realised that how it escaped the restrictions of the borders, and was assured that it was blessing the heroes on both sides, to do their duty and rest leave it on Almighty. I salute my real Heroes, though the filmy ones continue to entertain me, but my heart and applause, of course goes to the real ones. Hope this trip remains as a life time learning for my little one. Happy Repulic Day to all