WITH half of my family in Lucknow, I have been visiting India once every two years or so with my family. I fulfill all the requirements and get visas without any hitch in the stipulated time, of course.
On Feb 22, with my wife, son and daughter-in-law I left for Delhi on a bus that connects Lahore with the Indian capital. We had a smooth journey. The only surprise was the presence of Indian media persons, who asked us if we felt afraid of visiting India in those tense times. We said we didn’t fear anything.
We took a train from Delhi and had a pleasant time with our relatives. There was no tension, even though the Indian media was playing a dirty role, to say the least. Mr Narendra Modi seemed to have lost his popularity because business conditions were bad and unemployment had increased.
On our way back, in Delhi the people managing the Lahore-Delhi bus bookings tried their best to convince us not to take the Pakistani bus saying that it was ‘overbooked’ and travel by the Indian bus two days later. I said we had no choice because we had to cross the border the next day to be able to catch the train from Lahore to Karachi. I may mention that Pakistani and Indian buses make alternate trips.
Much to our surprise we were the only passengers in the bus. The two Indian policemen sitting in the bus were friendly with the Pakistani driver and his compatriot assistant. They spoke with each other in Punjabi and shared the same table at the eatery where we stopped briefly for lunch.
Mirza Zafar Ahmad
Published in Dawn, March 31st, 2019