The media in its different variations -- Web, print, visual -- all keep hitting me with the oh-so-famous Agra Summit. I get bombarded with anti- and pro-visit emails.
I have a Kashmiri friend whose Web pages are full of nostalgic memories of his once beautiful, now bloody valley. His kids stare in wonder when he points out his land, in old Hindi movies.
He has many friends on the Net. There is no religion online. There are Punjabis, Brahmins and Muslims who ran away from terrorism.
They all have one thing in common: there is no place they can call home.
How do I console my friend, whose eyes well up when he talks about the friends left behind, his fears when he was there? Should I take India's side or Pakistan's? How do I tell him I really do not understand his pain?
I do not.
I know and have a place I can call home. I know I can show my kids my great grandfather's house. I know I will swell with pride when I show my kids my school, my playground, my trees, the church I went to...
I take for granted my kids would always know the land I come from, the culture, the language, the festivals, the smell of my place.
I do not know the pain of not having a home. I have not lost any friends to terrorism. I have not felt the fear when you don't have a place to go.
Well, then, how do I share his pain? With what words do I console my friend?
Should I tell him it is getting better: See Pervez Mushraff and Atal Bihari Vajpayee are talking now, see Vajpayee visited Lahore, see Mushraff wants to talk to Hurriyat...
How do I make sure he doesn't see it's all a political game? What words do I search for when he tells me none understands his pain? No politician, no journalist, no soldier, no militant, no other Indian other than they themselves who lost their everything? Should I be cruel and tell him to thank god for saving his life?
Can I tell him with sincerity that one day he will be able to show his kids the apple trees, the snow-covered mountains and the beautiful Dal Lake of his valley?
When I see the pain in his eyes, I somehow feel I am at fault. I feel guilty for the baseless, wasteful arguments we have with my Telugu, Tamil, Hindi friends on which place is better. On which language is better. On who is better.
I feel guilty of having that false pride, the false patriotism I share. Does patriotism mean I have to hate someone? I am not sure.
I hope I can find some words to console my friend after the Agra Summit.
HOME | NEWS | CRICKET | MONEY | SPORTS | MOVIES | CHAT | BROADBAND | TRAVEL
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS | SEARCH
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK