Thursday, April 7, 2011

From Lahore to Delhi

Wagah , Lahore

On a bright sunny day and sky crystal-blue.. I along with some other friends was touching the road of a suburb area of Punjab, when little dots of light touched my eyes. Then I saw a young girl, adorned with jewelry and bangles, wearing a traditional, glittering dress of sky blue colour that was shimmering under the sun. That was actually where the light was coming from, I thought. I took a closer look, she was wearing sun glasses as well while a duppatta (scarf) wrapped around her head. She was coming from an opposite side driving a lovely pink colored scooty (bike) at some 40 km/hr speed, I guessed.

It was something new and surprising for me! My heart boomed “Welcome to India!”

It was the last week of March 2011 when I was invited as a delegate to attend the Festival of SAARC Writers and Literature being held in New Delhi, where I went with Ali Akbar Natiq (from Islamabad), Ajmal Kamal, Nayyara Rehman, Kiran B. Ahmed (from Karachi), Wajahat Masood and Ammar Kazmi(from Lahore). I crossed the Wagah Boarder with them and stepped in to the land of ‘Hindustan’. We were travelling on foot. Soon after crossing the border, we reached on the other side called Attari.

Setting foot into India was indeed a unique experience for me. The feeling I had right then was something I never felt before in my entire life. I saw typical TATA trucks and a lot of ‘Men in blue’ (in blue-coloured dresses) there. They were the caretaker (qoolies) in their blue dresses and as most of them were Sikhs so they were wearing different colored turbans.

Moving onward with each step I felt like I am walking into some scene of a Bollywood film where I have walked in right from my home. Most of the things I saw were pretty similar back home, like trees, roads, sky, sun, even temperature. But the difference was there, I felt it. Different characters were written on sign boards. And it was not just the hording boards, the people also seemed different. The way they were talking, behaving, reacting and their gestures seemed so unusual.

We waited for a while at Attari, at a Dhaba for other delegate members to join us who arrived in a while. Most of them were strangers to me, but they introduced themselves as writers, poets and song-writers. Anyways, we hired a WaganR (a vehicle) and started moving towards Amritsar which is about 30 odd KM from Attari. We reached there within half an hour and, took lunch at local hotel. And just loved the taste of Paalik Paneer which I had there for lunch!

Everyone seemed fresh with a smile on their face and was also cracking jokes at one another in the meanwhile. Cutting it short, it was a pretty nice beginning of a long journey.

Departing Amritsar, we moved towards G.T road. The lush green fields of Punjab, the beautiful Gurdawara, and the local architectures were some of the eye catching scenes of the place. The scene of the suburbs of the Indian Punjab looked a lot like Pakistani Punjab. In fact it looked almost similar with little or no difference.

We reached Jalandhar just before the sunset and stayed at a famous tourist place named ‘Haveli” which proved to be a really nice place to take a short tea break.

Moving away from Jalandhar, we crossed Ludhiana and reached Ambaala and had dinner there.
That was the time when everyone started getting exhausted. The G.T road was under-construction process, and we were compelled to travel only at the speed of just 60-70 KM/Hr and thus the amusing jokes turned into a depressing discussion.
Punjab, India

Everyone was waiting to arrive at Delhi, but someone right said that “Dilli Duur Ast” [Delhi is far away] and we virtually felt that it was rightly said.

There were no signs of Delhi till 10 PM. We then had another tea break at Sonepat, at a truck hotel type of Dhaba, where there was a young driver named Aman who shocked us when he told that Delhi was still 3 hours away from us. Oh God! I thought,
“Dilli bohat (too) Duur Ast”

Passing through different small and big cities of Punjab I saw cycle-rickshaws, auto-rickshaw, liquor shops, temples, gurdawaras and females driving scooty-bikes, a scene that was new for us Pakistanis as I never saw a woman driving bike on a Pakistani road with such confidence. Put aside the confidence, I never witnessed such scene back home. But I was impressed by the self-confidence of these Punjabi girls, who were driving bikes on the main road without any sign of panic on their face which signifies their freedom and self-confidence.

Haveli, Jalandhar 
Finally! The moment arrived and we reached Delhi around 3 AM in the morning.
After a frenzied effort the driver was able to locate the place, where we were supposed to stay. Nearly at 4 AM, we reached at Sai Dham Dharamshala (The Guest House) and found our rooms.

It seems that the journey was over as we have reached our destination, but it was just a start…. Delhi was waiting for me. And I was waiting to explore the city.
But then I just fell on to the bed and tried catch some sleep. But despite of the long tiring journey, I was feeling so much energetic that I could not sleep.

I was living in a dream.


  1. mazza aa gya parh kr :) n delighted tht u like our INDIA :)

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  3. Nice portrayal of first entry into India. You have reminded me of my first ever visit to India in 1989, but with family. So, I had limited freedom, also because we went by train and were not invited officially.

    You are growing into a writer (and photographer too!)

    Allah Karim bless you with more SUXESS and achievement of higher goals, with lasting peace and happiness. aameen!

  4. Really an interesting read.. made me feel words written above.. Keep writing!
    and waiting for more ..

  5. i had the same travel in Feb this year...yes similar but different as well....what amazed me most was the fashion of cross the border and see a drastic change in women fashion...i wish to read more on exploring Delhi////i did that too recently but i m not a writer....Shiraz continue please...

  6. heLo ShaiRaz iTs gD....m imPreSed as aLwAys...MaHa

  7. Also interesting to note, the heading reads From Lahore to Delhi....:)....we have managed to do away with unnecessarily using the names of the countries....

  8. Some grammatical mistakes (and repetition of thoughts) sort of killed the fun for me. And it feels a little bit exaggerated in expression (like talking about the girl on scooter). Although I can feel the sense of warmth you are trying to convey.