November 11, 2017

Some surprises that greet a Pakistani in India

NOTE: this article is 4 years old. Read the original article at

The most startling difference you come across as soon as you enter India from Pakistan – women in public space.

They are everywhere, riding two wheelers, in buses and trains commuting independently and running businesses big and small, including roadside tea stalls and shops.

They come from all cultures and communities. I saw young girls cycling back home from school in a Ludhiana village. I saw two black burqa-clad women riding a scooty in Hyderabad.

In Ahmedabad, some of my friends decided to gather at one point and then go for a round of the city together. Everyone, however, had an errand to attend to on the way. The host took great pains in developing a please-all route and in accordance, divided the group among the available vehicles.

When I finally packed myself into a car, I reminded the host, sitting next to me, that bhabhi (his wife) was missing. “No, I gave her my bike. She has to pick up our child from school before she can rejoin us.” I was flabbergasted.

“That simple,” I murmured. Luckily no one noticed.

So please, when there, don’t stare at a young lady in jeans on a motorcycle, checking her newsfeed on a smartphone, while awaiting the green signal. It’s normal there.


The metropolitan culture in Pakistan is way too shallow.

India, by that count, is an ocean, possessing endless diversity in its every span.

You can meet a Kannadiga in Ludhiana, a Manipuri in Hyderabad and a Bihari in Bangalore. There are scores of different languages and dialects, cultures and sub-cultures, religions and sects, castes and sub-castes and, of course, classes.

The permutations and combinations of all these factors are just mind boggling.

A Goan Christian married to a Hindu from Odisha and living in Ahmedabad, while working in a company owned by a Bohri Muslim from Kachh, Gujrat! Can you tell what identity markers this family chooses for itself?

Read the original article at

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