It’s 9.30am. I am on my way to office. My mobile rings. I pick up the call. The voice is one of my favourite person’s. I don’t know why but we still talk a lot about tea especially when we talk in the morning (‘Had tea’/ Still having my tea’/Remember the tea you bought for me from Cottage Emporium/ You haven’t made tea for me for a long time). May be it’s the hangover from our university days where our universe circled around endless cups of tea.
After tea, our conversation moved to the aggression of news channels while reporting the recent Pakistan-India soldiers’ brutal killing. We talk about compassion, empathy and the future of our nation state.
And then I ask him, “Can you spare Rs 3000/3500′ for buying me something?” Well, he has no choice but to listen to me. “Oh sure, what do you want?” I told him, “I want a salwar kameez from Delhi.” And then in the same breath, I added, “Listen, you know my taste na. Don’t buy those Muslim kind of clothes. No zari fari. Something subtle and classy.” He replied back coolly, “Na, don’t worry. When I go to the shop I will tell them, “Bhaiya, please show me some Hindu clothes.” I laughed and told him, “Better if you can tell him, Hindu by birth but Buddhist by thought and action.”
There’s a point why I am writing this blog. He’s a Musilm and we have known each other for long long years (I feel scared to go back on Time Machine). In between us, we have seen India gone through the horrors of Babri Masjid demolition, Mumbai riots, bomb blasts in Delhi, 2002 Gujarat riots, 26/11 Mumbai attack and Batla House encounter. Our relationship has gone through many ups and downs. But the innate sense of friendship between us has always been triumphant in the end.
There have been never a moment of discomfort in our relationship when large parts of India were/are riding high on anti-Muslim emotions. We are no torch-bearers of secularism in this country. I love my share of spiritual thoughts in the form of reading a bit of Osho or Jiddu Krishnamurthy. Once in a while I chant a little too. I don’t think he has ever prayed like a devout Muslim.
We have kept the humor alive all these years. We have kept our faith in the fabric of an intimate human bond. Not succumbing to man-made differences. Though once in a while, we do indulge in stereotypes during conversations as it happened today morning. But that’s the beauty of our rishta. I hope, it stays that way. InshAllah.
(Forgive me, If I sound a little Bollywoodish in the end).