So, I quickened the pace to put butter on my bread. I was hungry but I also had to talk to her. Adjusting my priority I asked her, ‘So how is it, being a Pakistani Hindu?’ and took a bite of my hard worked meal. It didn’t take her much time to smell the misogyny in my voice. ‘ It is just as being an Indian Hindu. Our butter, bread, and blood all are of the same color. ’ she replied with agitation.
Is it so? Is it that easy to live as a Hindu in an Islamic country mostly known for terrorism and bombardments? Do they get equal rights as the Muslims get in their nation? I know these questions are narrow to some point and show my mental state, but they have lingered in my mind since time unknown.
Komal, is a fourteen-year-old teenager, living in Karachi. Her forefathers didn’t leave Pakistan at the time of partition and ever since then; her family has been living here. If you talk to her, you’ll know that she is a true patriot. She calls her country the greatest in the world; being the birthplace of souls from Jinnah to Malala. She marks everyone equal under the flag of Pakistan.
‘So, you are a Hindu. You would definitely be celebrating Diwali then. How do you do it? Do you even know the story behind its celebration?’ Another sarcastic question asked to check her state of mind. I didn’t complete my question, and I had the whole story crammed in front of me, which put my mouth and sarcasm to shut. But, to be honest I didn’t hear her tale or whatever she was speaking. I just heard the words, the sentences, the mixture of Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi all that once. She said, ‘Diwali ka tyohaar yah Sandesh dene ke liye hai, ki humara bhaichara kayam hai, aur insha Allah kayam rahega. Allah paak hume rehmat barte.’ ( The festival of Diwali is a messenger, that our brotherhood pertains, and insha Allah will pertain forever. God bless us).
Hearing this from a young spectator of devastation is something which cannot be quantified in words. From the LED flickered buildings of Karachi to the bloodshed remains of Abbottabad. From the colored lakes of Nalter valley to the gruesome Peshawar School massacre. From a potter of earthen lamps to a soldier on the border. From Sindh to Baluch. And most importantly, from a human to human; this festival is for everyone.
Maybe, there is something crazy with us. Maybe, we were looking at all the wrong places. Maybe, being happy was not that difficult.