I still remember it was a very hot June afternoon. I did not want to sleep in the air-conditioned room. I was ten years old. Sleeping was a waste of time then!
Much better was exploring the world. I stumbled upon you. As I started to discover you, could not help falling in love with you. There was something magically mysteriously different about you.
Was it the warmth of your fur colourful clothes? Or the suspense of your changing fortunes? Or the grandeur of your appearances? Or the tunes of tragedy always in the background?
Were you a follower of traditions or the master of codes, could never guess. Was the romance ever true or was it necessity of times and lust? Yet on that summer day, reading War and Peace I developed fondness for the people of Russia.
The fondness was challenged very soon. In our neighbourhood was a country at war with Soviet Union. Everything disastrous in my country was attributed to that war.
My beloved Peshawar had changed from a carefree Arabian night town to a barricaded security risk.
|To reconcile the at times shades of brightness that I read about in the novels like War And Peace to the ruthless, barbaric and merciless image of Russians being projected in the media was massively confusing.|
As I grew up and life became more about understanding people rather than believing perceptions, I wanted to know the truth about Russia.
The opportunity took time in coming but when it came, have to say found myself engulfed in feelings of excitement and apprehensions. Thus a bit fearful, a bit cheerful I set feet on the soil of Moscow.
A surprise awaited me. I have travelled the world yet never came across a city as historical, as huge and as obviously mysteriously romantic as Moscow. As for the people, from the man at the immigration to the taxi driver who did not understand what I was saying to the hotel people to the large number of people I met, they were normal people. They were friendly and wanting to get on with life.
Red square was incredible. Unforgettable was the tourist guide. As she told me the history behind each and every building, she paused to say history can be cruel too as well as charming. I grew up in a different world. For me my country then was a heaven. One day all that I believed in was snatched from me and I was told to live on. How could I live yet I did and I do for I belong to a resilient country.
In my blood runs patience in times of adversity and courage in face of misfortunes. I have seen enough yet I am ready to see more. Hope the world understands people are people, generally good with only one desire that is to have a peaceful life.
She left me with tears. She left me with thoughts. What she said about Russians apply to us Pakistanis too.
For making me feel I am not the only one who is misunderstood and misjudged by the world, I will love you forever Russia.
You are an amazing country with people as romantic and as warm as I thought they were when as a ten year old I read War and Peace. In War and Peace, my best wishes with you and you will be forever loved by me!