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Friday, January 04, 2008

Wish fulfilment and a strange co-incidence

A few blog-posts ago, Raza Rumi had left a comment stating that he likes going for long walks, just like me, to which I had replied that perhaps we should go for a walk together some time in the near future.

Well, it just so happened that Raza came visiting friends in Delhi and also invited me to accompany him and some of his other local friends on a long walk. It was the eve of Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib's birth anniversary and a candle-light march was being organised to mark the occasion.

Earlier, Raza and I had exchanged mobile telephone numbers through email and, subsequently, traded text messages, as well as having spoken to each other to explore the possibility of arranging a meeting.

It was really good when we met, even though I eventually decided not to accompany him for the march, since it appeared that it could mean that I would have to ride my motorbike over the 30 odd kilometres from his host's house to my own rather late at night, which would have meant cold weather and traffic constituted mainly by heavily-laden trucks.

As we spoke to each other in our common mother tongue i.e. Punjabi, we discovered that both of us had maternal grandfathers who had migrated from across the border in 1947. His had been a businessman in Amritsar and mine a medical practitioner in Rawalpindi, before partition.

He was also able to satisfy my curiosity, to a certain extent, regarding the status of the Punjabi language in Pakistan as well as some of the 'Islamisation' that has taken place in the country, over the past few years. For instance, the holy month of Ramzan is now known as Ramadan over there and people say Allah Haafiz to bid farewell, instead of Khuda Haafiz. These changes, he explained, had come about while General Zia-ul-Haq was at the helm of affairs of the Islamic Republic.

There was, however, a very strange co-incidence related to our meeting that is likely to remain well-entrenched in my mind for a long time. When Raza had called me to provide the name and address of his host, his voice had been somewhat garbled, probably on account of network congestion or fluctuation in the strength of the mobile telephone's signal. So, I heard the last name of his host as Benazir and wrote it down as such on the piece of paper on which I had noted down the address.

Later on, after I had learnt that the actual name was different, I struck out the name Benazir with the same pencil that I had used to write it down. Within twenty-four hours of that event, I was watching television coverage related to former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto's assassination! The piece of paper lies on my table even as I write this.


Sidhusaaheb said...

It’s always a pleasure to meet ur blogging friends…I hope we also get to meet someday
Fariha Akhtar | Homepage | 01.05.08 – 12:32 pm | #


Well, this was the first time that I met some one I had come into contact with through blogging.

It should be good to see you too!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 01.05.08 – 8:50 pm | #


When are we going to meet dear Sidhusaaheb. I wish we meet soon. How are you and where. Long time no ’see.’
Shirazi | Homepage | 01.06.08 – 11:48 am | #


I wish for that too, Shirazi sa’ab!

I am right here, but your blog was so full of ‘re-run’ posts that I stopped checking for new ones after a while. :D
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 01.06.08 – 12:11 pm | #


Strange are the ways of life …
Mridula | Homepage | 01.06.08 – 1:22 pm | #


I have to re-run because of paid postings. They need other entries in between every two paid postings.

But you will find at least one fresh entry every day. Please come…
Shirazi | Homepage | 01.06.08 – 1:35 pm | #


Sidhu ji

thanks for this post – it was nice to revisit our hurried yet meaningful discussions -

Wish you had come along as the visit to Ghalib’s haveli was most fascinating and one got a little glimpse of old Delhi.

But then there will be other occasions, insha Allah

the coincidence was most hurtful and we are still at a loss to understand the momentous tragedy that has overcome Pakistan

Salaam and pray for us here in Pakistan
Raza Rumi | Homepage | 01.06.08 – 2:44 pm | #


@Mridula: Truth can indeed be stranger than fiction, as I found out.

@Shirazi Sa’ab: Okay!

@Raza: Janaab, the pleasure was all mine!

I do hope we’ll be able to plan such a trip again, soon enough, and I do aim to be on it.

I pray for a stable, democratic, progressive and prosperous Pakistan!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 01.06.08 – 6:31 pm | #


Hello Mr Sidhuaa Saheb,

Iam new to the blogosphere,really liked your blog though.I have a request to make,Can you plz write and cross out the names of Musharraf and Bush?
Shine87 | Homepage | 01.06.08 – 7:15 pm | #


Well, I can understand that you have some really strong feelings about those two, but as I’ve written, all that happened was merely a co-incidence. :D

BTW, thanks for dropping by and for the compliment!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 01.07.08 – 8:32 pm | #


Ah well …… we’ll hope for a next such coincidence!!!
Shine87 | Homepage | 01.08.08 – 8:13 am | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

sweet blog man, was looking for something else and wound up here. I remember a few students came from pak to our department in univ, nice people i must say…

another strange thing, i just saw japing ape’s link in your sidebar, i was just reading his blog

Nothingman | Homepage | 01.17.08 – 9:54 am | #


The meeting sounds superb So what did you actually explored together in Punjabi apart from the linguistic changes over the time?

Any plans to come to Pakistan? :S

Fate is strange …. Benazir’s eternal journey came quick and as a complete surprise..!
Asma | Homepage | 01.20.08 – 12:45 am | #


@Shine: Okay!

@Nothingman: Thanks for the compliment! I hope such people-to-people interaction will increase and do a lot of good, therefore.

I do try to keep up with Japing Ape’s blog as often as I can. It can be almost incredibly funny, at times.

@Asma: We also spoke about how the Punjabis have had to bear the brunt, first of partition and then of the less than cordial relations between India and Pakistan.

No such plans are in sight at the moment, but then, who knows!

It did, indeed, come as a surprise and my personal experience related to it was quite perplexing too.
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 01.20.08 – 12:57 pm | #

Sidhusaaheb said...

Hello there, i live in Khi, Pakistan. Good to read your blog !
Well we still say Ramazan verbally, in english, its written as ramadan. And yeah, Allah Hafiz is as common here as much is khuda hafiz
Sarfaraz Ahmed Soomro | Homepage | 02.15.08 – 10:57 am | #



Actually, in the Middle-East, it is spoken as Ramadan, as well, it seems to me.

It’s good to know that both kinds of usage is common over there!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 02.15.08 – 5:33 pm | #


Heartening to see you writing about the positive vibes among Punjabis whatever side of the border they might live on the earth. All this in the era of stupid and baseless hatred found in the minds of the 20-somethings who dont know their heritage.
Keep it up
God bless
Manpreet | Homepage | 02.18.08 – 4:13 pm | #


Thank you! Thank you!
Sidhusaaheb | Homepage | 02.19.08 – 8:08 pm | #