The Lady from Lahore – a short story.

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I met a lady from Lahore there. She was visiting her son, he studies in Amsterdam.

I met them at a coffee shop. Coffee shops in Amsterdam are not to be confused with cafe.

A cafe serves coffee and bagel and breakfast and croissant.

A coffee shop is a place you go to get marijuana and other stuff.

The son, Arslan was teaching his mom how to smoke weed XD

I told her that she might be the coolest mom ever. They clicked a picture together and uploaded it with this caption XD

Amsterdam is so full of happy stories, I love the city.

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Being from India, we have a sense that Pakistan is a closed and reserved society. I was pleasantly surprised rather delighted to meet this lady. She mentioned, that she had relatives in Delhi used to visit before the visa norms. I parted by inviting her to Delhi and requested to visit me next time when she’s in town.

 

 

 

 

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Raksha Bandhan 2017

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7th August 2017, 9.30 am
Scrolling through my social media feed, seeing pictures and posts from friends and family makes me long for home. Festivals are best celebrated with friends and family.

I’m sitting here in my office, watching the clock ticking, waiting for the post to arrive, waiting for my rakhi. Waiting to click myself and send her a picture, to share my joys, and see her exhilarate with happiness.

13.00ish
My rakhi arrives and I’m elated with joy, like a little kid with a lollipop in Disneyland. I flaunt it and show it to everybody around at work, with a baby like “Yayyyyyy”!!

Living afar for long has made me realize how important family relations are and how I can never forsake family or friends. I feel sometimes it’s a struggle to live abroad.

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For the ones unaware, Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is an annual festival affirming the affection and kinship between brothers and sisters. I have always been fond of my sisters. Growing up together we have so many memories of our mischiefs. Being around them makes me realize I haven’t actually grown up. Hence, Raksha Bandhan has always been special. It used to be an excuse for us to gather together, share laughs, stories, joke around and of course, eat good food. Through the course of time, the geography has changed, the distance has made it difficult to personally meet. But every year no matter wherever I am, whatever part of the world, I receive my rakhis.

Before technology, you know how people exchanged letters and Rakhi always came along with a letter. Even today, my sisters have kept the tradition going, I guess it’s become a habit. My post envelope had a short letter accompanying my Rakhi. All of us a funny “Nick Name” as kids and my letter is always addressed with my funny childhood nick name.

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The Monday of 7th August was a little brighter than most Mondays. 🙂

Passenger in Luxembourg

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Last week I had a chance to attend Michael David Rosenberg’s, better known by his stage name “Passenger”, concert here in Luxembourg. The venue was subtly set up with just enough (not too many!) people. An open air arena with small stands or shops selling snacks and booze. Having arrived early at the venue, we (my friend from work & me) were lucky to get a space close to the stage. Stu Larsen, another budding musician started the concert with his songs about traveling and advertising his new upcoming album.

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After a few songs, Passenger walked on the stage with a huge cheer from the crowd. It was evening and the day was getting cooler and sun light slowing dimming. I was pleasantly surprised, rather more impressed, by the personality of David. He struck as a funny guy. With a glass of whiskey in hand, he started with a story of how he performed as a street singer for 5 years and never expected to be famous. He started with his not so famous songs and the crowd was already moving to his tunes, people were smiling kissing and cheering. His most famous single “Let her go” made everybody lose themselves. The whole energy had a positive effect. His voice was just magical and the atmosphere around added to the setup. Eventually, he finished with a few duet with Stu. It was not one of those super packed high cheering concerts, with people jumping in mosh pits. It was more of those pleasant, charming and happy like feeling concerts. The crowd too was well behaved, cheering, making loud jokes and smiling. In the end, I enjoyed my bit and was happy by the end of it.

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The Girl with the Blue Glasses

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“Excuse me!! I suppose that’s my seat”

“Oh! I’m sorry. I’m just looking for my glasses, I kept it here, next to the window”

“How does it look like?”

“Nerdy and blue”

“Is it that one? Next to the scarf on the upper berth”

“Ah! Yes. Thank you!! I’m Ayesha by the way”

“Shameek! Nice to meet you”

“The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux, sounds like an interesting book you’re reading”

“Yeah, I like travel stories”

“Do you travel a lot too?”

“My mom says, I live in the trains”

“Haha! I would never want to live on trains. Trains in India run late”

“There are more than 11000 trains starting each day in India, managing such an organization is no joke”

“Still, that’s not an excuse for being late”

Sir, Ma’am, would you like to have some warm soup?

“Yes, please”

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“Its delicious, at least the food in the trains is not so bad after all”

“Around 25 million people travel everyday, some are there for the food, you never know”

“WHAT?! That’s almost like the population of Australia”

“Could well be, though I don’t know much about Australia. But do you know Indian Railways is the world’s largest with a network of 117000 kms”

“How do you know all these things?”

“My dad worked for the railways, I grew up with trains all around me”

“Is that why you live in them now?”

*Both chuckle*

“I like traveling in trains. I’ve been on the trains at the highest of mountains all covered in green, passing through the waterfalls, in the deserts, on the coasts, bridges, rivers flowing beneath, through the tea gardens, mustard field, remote villages, all on the train. I have seen a lot because of the trains”

“Wow! That’s sounds beautiful. We are halted for quite sometime now. What station is this btw?”

“Its too dark outside, I cannot read the nameplate”

“Looks like a good place for a midnight tea. Wanna join?”

“Sure, lets go”

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“Its quite late, there aren’t many people on the platform”

“You see these platforms, they all have stories to tell. People you see there, some tired, of their journey, some anxious, some happy, some sad, some impatient, some have their ears glue to the announcement speakers, the hawkers are busying selling, the coolies waiting for passengers to carry their luggage”

“Never looked at the platforms this way, till you said it. You really love trains, don’t you?”

*Amused*

“Haha!! I guess so”

“The train is about of start, the engine is already whistling, we should get in”

“Yes”

“I’m a bit tired, I guess I’ll sleep now. Good Night”

“Good Night”

*Few hours later*

“Hey, someone’s up early”

“Yes, I like to rise before the sun” *wink*

“What?” *cackle*

“Look at this picture, I clicked it this morning”

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“Oh! That’s super nice”

“Watching the sunrise makes me cheerful”

“How far are we from our destination?”

“Few more hours”

“Oh! Look we are on top of the river, on the bridge”

“Yes, look how the river is shining in the bright sunlight”

“And there’s a road above the train track. I have been to such roads many a times, always wondered how the train track below looks like. I will get down and have a look at it”

“But be careful, you don’t want the train to leave you behind”

“Don’t worry, I’ll hop on before it whistles”

“Alright”

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*Train whistles*

“We’re moving again, I hope we don’t halt anymore”

“We’re almost there”

*Sometime later*

“Is this the railway station?”

“This is the yard, that’s what they call it, it just outside the main station. They prepare the trains here for their next journey. Do you see the overhead bridge in the far horizon there?”

“The one with lots of people?!”

“Yes, that’s the main railway station”

“Its super huge”

“..and very old too”

 

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“So is this it?”

“Yes, here we are, final destination”

“It was really nice to meet you, lets keep in touch. Bye Bye.”

“Sure, Good Bye.”