Three weeks ago they were just 20 kids, 10 each from India and Pakistan, coming together on the music reality show, on Chote Ustaad 2: Do Deshon Ki Ek Awaaz, on Star Plus.
The judges, singers Sonu Niigaam and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, sorted them into two teams representing the two countries. So far, two children each from both teams have been eliminated and the number is down to 16.
Keeping in touch
Fariha Akram is out but unfazed. "It’s all right," she shrugs. "I’m happy for my brothers and sisters with whom I spent 15 days singing, dancing and making merry, both on the sets and off it." "She’ll be missed," sighs Ansh, as he says goodbye to his new friends from across the border. "I’m going to keep in touch with Fariha and as many of the others as possible, even after the show ends. The world is a small place, mere paas phone hai aur in logon ka number bhi (I have a phone and we have exchanged numbers)."
It was Pakistan’s Independence Day yesterday. Rouhan Abbas, who wants to visit the holy shrines like the Haji Ali Dargah and Ajmer Sharif, says that even though this is his first trip to India, thanks to his friends here, he doesn’t feel like he’s away from home. "All of usremembered our heroes like Qaed-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah and sang our National Anthem too. Today, we’ll watch the Indian Independence Day celebrations in India. It’s a great feeling," he beams.
Wania Jibran says that she read about India for the first time in her history book. "I must have been in class two or three then. It may be hard to believe, but we have always been taught to look at India as Pakistan’s older brother and the equivalent of a father figure. Our country is a cut out of a larger body called Hindustan," she says, adding that she doesn’t believe in fighting with her neighbour.
The kids spend over 12 hours of the day together, rehearsing their performances. "We never discuss politics. In fact, if we didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t be able to say who is from India and who is from Pakistan," insists Akanksha. Moon, her Pakistani counterpart, agrees, "Our parents haven’t taught us to hold on to old grudges, we’re friends."
Putting his arms around his Indian friends Satyendar, Sayantan and Bhanu, he promises to give them a grand welcome when they come to Pakistan.