Monday, May 31, 2010

A Retreat to Remember

Pakistan and India have had a long history of “not shaking hands” smilingly. And whenever the two are eyeball to eyeball, the temperatures rise rapidly. And one such place where one can witness these rising temperatures is the Wagha border between India and Pakistan near the Pakistani city of Lahore. Here every evening before the sunset, a spectacular ceremony is held at the time of sounding of the retreat and the flags lowering ceremony. The ceremony is attended ed by a large number of people from both sides of the fence and the entire ceremony is held amidst slogans and motivational national songs.

My family had been asking me to witness the ceremony for long, so I decided to take them to Wagha a couple of years back and see for myself the charged emotions. And I thank my stars that I went there as if I hadn’t, I would have missed one of the greatest retreat of my life.

We were there by about 4:30 in the evening and were seated just next to the gates – a place reserved for the senior officers and dignitaries. And the ceremony started soon. Two smartly turned out, over six feet tall, men of the Pakistan Rangers closed the doors on Pakistani side, and so did the Indians on the other side. I don’t have to narrate the event, as the video shot by me says it all. I was so engrossed in taking the video, that I missed the chance to see the event myself – as I was watching it from the camera LCD. But I remember the foot stepping from God knows how many feet high and banging on the metalled pavement with full force. The gestures by the soldiers were so forceful and instant. Everyone watched the ceremony with awe and watched their soldiers with pride. The ceremony ended with national anthems on both sides and I sang along ours with pride and confidence.

After the ceremony, an old man waved Pakistani flag, and was later taken over by a few college girls who also took the opportunity to show their love for their country. Then the crowd flocked around the mighty over six foot giants and head them photographed with India in the background. And so did I along with my family.

We came back with lot of confidence and pride that our sons are ever ready and watchful on the borders so that we could sleep back home without any fear of insecurity. May Allah bless these soldiers who guard the frontiers for the comfort of their fellow beings. Ameen.

PS: Those who haven’t witnessed the ceremony, must make an endeavour at lest once, as it is a lifetime experience – unparallel of its kind.


Asghar Javed said...

Watching this retreat is a real treat. Nice post that reminds so much.