Saturday, February 24, 2007

The crescent moon and star...

I am now in Lahore after an arduous journey. I had met an Italian man while walking across the border, which is an odd occurrence to come across another traveler entering Pakistan. We were delayed on the Indian side and ended up running with bags in hand to meet the 4pm closing time of the Pakistani border. Once landed and stamped with permission to be in Pakistan a man came into the office and asked the officer in charge if a Khayyam Wakil had come through. Immediately I thought the worst ;) It turned out however to be a blessing. My cousin had called one of the customs officer to ensure my safe passage and facilitate my transportation to Lahore from Wagha/Atari.

Gian, the Italian chap, and I arrived at my cousin's home and as we were unloading the vehicle I looked back and saw my mother. I dropped everything and just ran to embrace her. I told her not to cry because that would prompt me to. I just held her and was so happy to see her. She hadn't eaten all day and was worried sick. She didn't even want to call me by chance that there was some news that she didn't want to hear. So I kept in touch with my cousin and she would relay my progress. My mother woke up in the morning and sneezed. Some say that when you sneeze someone is thinking of you. She said that she new it was me who was thinking of her and I was on a train. She was absolutely correct. My cousin called me and I was indeed on the train. Separated by kilometers, she was still right there with me. Upon my arrival I fielded a few dozen calls to relatives from all over relieved that I made it across the border safe and sound. The train bombing did not help the situation at all.

I am now in Lahore until the weekend. The Basant festival is about to begin. This festival is celebrated in south asia with kite flying and celebration of the departure of winter and the arrival of spring. The kite flying is a past time that takes place on the rooftops of homes. The sky is filled with kites of all shapes and forms. Lahore and Lucknow are famous for their kite making. I've flown kites before, but nothing to the measures that are exercised here. It is a serious tradition and sport. Not only is there kite flying, but there is kite fighting. A duel in the sky for young people enjoy. In the past one would even coat the kite cord with glass shards so that when it met with an opponents kite string, it could cut the other kite down to it's demise.

After the weekend I shall be heading north to Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Abbottabad to meet the rest of the hundred relatives and share my new found ability to converse in my mother tongue.

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