“Purani Jeans Aur Guitar
Mohalle Ki Vo Chhat Aur Mere Yaar”
This is a song from Pakistani pop singer Ali Haider. Whenever I hear to this song, I remember my childhood days in my quaint town. It was so in that town. My early days were spent through 80s and 90s. So much was happening in India those days. But as we know that a child is innocent and so were we. In our town, people from all communities used to live. There were Hindus and there were Muslims. In the present scenario, the talks about Hindus and Muslims always tend to get acerbic. I don’t know why, but it is so.
Today Eid al-Fitr festivities will kick-off in India. Yes, that is why I am writing this. Sitting quietly at my present home which is miles away from the place I spent my childhood, I started getting nostalgic about the days I spent at my home town. Those were the days of wonder. Like as we said “Mohalle Ki Vo Chhat Aur Mere Yaar.” There used to unparalleled jubilation when we used to celebrate the days of Ramazan and eventually Eid al-Fitr.
There was a reason for a connection between all of us. We know that we are a cricket-crazy nation. And we were not away from the game from cricket. There was a field nearby to my home. The boys from all communities used to gather at that place and play cricket. We all were passionate about the game irrespective of our religions, be it Hindus or Muslims. We had built a good rapport between all of us. I remember the games used to be played with all heart.
I must say we were away from the political dimensions of the country. One of my Hindu friend, whom I can also call as one of my best friend as I spent most of my childhood with him, was also a big time cricket enthusiast. He had his own kit which included bats, pads, gloves and helmets. He was an ardent Imran Khan fan. His love for Imran was so intense that he painted his pads in green. Those were the days when Imran had lifted the World Cup in Australia. Their kit in that tournament considered to be their best till date.
The bond that we shared irrespective of our religion was really amazing. We are all humans and we are bound to feel attachment when we spend our time together. At my school as well, I relished Sevaiyan from the tiffin of my friends whenever they brought it a day after the festival of Eid al-Fitr. I must that say that those days as well there were a trench between both the communities. But we as kids were oblivion. We just enjoyed our company. The days of wonder as I said.
As we grew bigger, we visited each others’ homes. We visited each other on occasions like birthdays, marriages, Holi, Diwali and Eid al-Fitr. I have very fond memories of the days of Ramzan. My friends used to call me to their homes for Iftaar. We used to go there. The hospitality that we received at their houses were out of world. We were served with many delicacies. I used to wonder how much effort it would have taken for them to prepare all those things. Moreover, they served us lovingly.
Sometimes we used to go to the terraces of their homes and sit for hours chatting all the things about this world. Eid al-Fitr was a big celebration. We used to visit homes of each of our friends celebrating the festival. We had to eat at all the homes. What a lovely days. I am missing that this year as I am away from my home town. As I write, I get more and more nostalgic. I am also wondering why there is a divide between the communities and why the differences are a fodder for many people. Why is it so? We all can live in harmony. Yes!!