Even as India and Pakistan do not seem to be too enamoured of each other at the United Nations, a delegation of 18 young Pakistanis are enjoying lavish hospitality in the city and the freedom given to women here, seems to have been somewhat of a revelation.
“I am fascinated by women zipping around the city on two-wheelers. The way they even balance with three pillion riders is amazing. Women zipping around in high-end cars is also a different sight. I cannot imagine something like this back home,” says Fatima Lodhi. who has come with 17 others from Islamabad and other places in Pakistan to attend the 9th International Youth Peace Festival (IYPF2014).
It is Lodhi’s first-ever visit to India and she is overwhelmed by the hospitality being showered.
These youngsters seek change and barriers between two countries to be broken. Though all had their apprehensions before visiting India, the same have been taken care of in the few days that they have already spent. Rahul Roy who is from Hyderabad, Sindh in Pakistan says, “I was not expecting respect, but we all have been treated very nicely. The hospitality, love and care we got have been marvelous.”
He shared that in school, a lot of the history is about the partition. However, he claimed that it was far more important to be taught how to stay united.
The girls are also impressed with the eating style. “I just love the use of katoris (bowl) during eating. In our land, we put everything at a single place. I shall be taking back thalis and katoris for my parents,” says Zoya Ishaq, from Lahore.
SOCIAL MEDIA CHANGES A LOT
First-timers to the city say that advent of social media has changed a lot of things and they have been following all developments in India, from AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal to Indian PM Narendera Modi. Interaction on the social networking sites has cleared misconceptions.
“The social media has changed our lives. We follow everything in India, especially politics. We followed the Lok Sabha elections also,” says Afzal Rahim, from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The Pakistanis watch Hindi movies back in their country and cannot seem to understand why people from the two countries are strangers to each other.
“We loved the food, especially dal halwa. We love Hindi music and movies. These barriers between two countries need to be brought down and we need to at least now greet each other with open heart,” adds Qaisar Roonjha, from Balochistan.