“Hum dono mulk phir se ek nahin ho sakte?” asks an attendant at a five-star hotel in New Delhi. “We are so alike, why can’t we reunite?” asks a white-collared executive in Bangalore.
When I laugh about the agony of reuniting with the world’s most dangerous state, they both respond, “Yes, but then we won’t need visas to travel to Pakistan.” But clearly India’s security establishment thinks otherwise, for it recently put Pakistan on the “enemies list” together with Somalia and Nigeria, and excluding it from the 180 countries that will be granted visa on arrival and electronic travel authorisation.
In which other country but Pakistan are there thousands of divided families, all yearning to visit their loved ones in India? I am also amazed at the sheer number of Indians one meets in New Delhi who still have family in Pakistan.
Recently, a scene at the Attari customs moved everyone who watched: an elderly traveller had to explain the gifts...