31st December, 2017
Flight from Vancouver to Mumbai
I am getting bored, sitting in one place for three hours and twenty three minutes. I don’t have any idea what the time is since we are constantly travelling from one time zone to another. I have decided to write a diary entry since I have nothing better to do. Also because I wanted to store my favourite moments in Vancouver while it is still fresh in my mind.
That evening, from Jami uncle’s house we went to a party. It was Christmas day, so we thought that we were going to a Christmas party. We were informed that it was a party organized by a friend of Huma aunty’s. On arriving, we were greeted by a crowd of unfamiliar faces with questioning gazes as to who these strange people were. When they realized that we were friends of Jami uncle, they warmly welcomed us in.
Guess relationships are passed from one person to another, just like that.
I went along with Zainab and Hafsa to a living room full of young people. By “young people” I mean kids, teens and even those in their mid-twenties. There were a bunch of guys sitting and talking about their work, some college girls reminiscing their holidays – the places they visited, kids discussing school. I sat in a corner, feeling awkward. Everyone here seemed to know each other; they were socializing. My only comfort was that Hafsa was sitting next to me, not engaging with anyone either. I learnt that while Zainab was outgoing and sociable, Hafsa was an introvert and didn’t converse unless she was being spoken to. To be honest, I was relieved that there was someone like me.
After a while Mustafa, the son of the host, noticed that I was sitting quietly. He tried to pull me in a conversation. He started with asking my name and informed everyone that my dad is an entertainment journalist. Something changed with that introduction. Or to put it in another way, dad came to my rescue! Everyone started bombarding me with questions about Bollywood stars. They asked if I had ever met any of them. I started telling that I had met Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir khan and…
I could not complete my list. As soon as I mentioned Shah Rukh Khan, the crowd started yelling and whooping. I too had my little moment of fame basking in the glory of King Khan. Can’t deny that I had started enjoying the attention. Everyone asked me a thing or two about him. How he looked like in real life? Whether he was tall or short? Where I had met him? I tried to pretend as if it was way too normal thing for me, meeting the greatest of celebrities and being their spokesperson in public. But this meeting Shah Rukh Khan thing has proven to be a very great icebreaker on more occasions than one.
We played some games and talked and everyone tried not to make me feel left out any more. By dinner-time, I was feeling quite happy and finally felt like I wasn’t just a tourist in Canada. Everyone spoke Urdu, the food was Mughlai and many women were wearing fancy anarkali suits and sarees. The food was amazing and I found out that all the ladies in Huma Aunty’s friend circle, including Huma Aunty, had done a potluck. Each of them had brought a food item. A dispenser full of fruit punch was kept near the window.
Dinner was followed by amazing desserts. Ramsha and Zoya, my new friends, brought out some games to play. First, we played Jeopardy – a quiz game. Questions from different categories had a certain value attached to them and if we answered that question correctly, we would win the worth of points. We were all divided into four groups, Uncles, Aunties, Girls and Boys. In the beginning the girls were losing, badly. Final Jeopardy is the last level in Jeopardy in which you have to bet your points. If you get the right answer, you get the points you had bet. If you lose, you lose the points that you had bet. A girl called Hera was making most of the decisions regarding the betting. She said that as this was the final round, we might as well give up everything, as it was either win or lose and nothing in between. In this Final Jeopardy level, our team decided to bet everything we had and we got all the three answers correct, leading us to win.
The next game was Raffle. We were given raffle tickets with different numbers. If our number was called out, we would get to choose a gift from various gifts kept on the mantelpiece. It could be a real gift or a gag gift. We were allowed to exchange the gift with one of the former winners, if we so desired. It was great fun. I got a pen set which I was quite pleased with. Some people got great gifts, like a Starbucks cup, a pack of chocolates, herbal tea, a teddy bear and some got prank gifts like an apple kept in an iPhone box, toilet paper, detergent soap, a golf book and many others. We could exchange our gifts with someone else’s if we didn’t like our own and the other person can’t refuse. It was great fun. By the end of it we were all in tears, from laughing so hard.
A karaoke machine was brought out. Everyone asked papa to sing. Papa loves singing, and he never turns down such an offer. He sang many old songs. Papa is quite famous in Bollywood, for his interviews and his singing. I never really consider him to be a celebrity but there are certain moments where I realize how talented he really is. His voice rang all through the house. He completely overshadowed the other few people trying to sing along. When he paused for a while, Ramsha brought in a cake and set it on the table, informing us that it was midnight and it was Mustafa’s birthday. He cut the cake when Mummy and Papa remembered that it was their marriage anniversary too. They too cut the cake and everyone cheered.
The ambiance was very happy, everyone was having fun and enjoying. No one had to go to work or school the next day. So there was no tension, no hurry. But good moments end too soon. Eventually everyone started leaving. I bid goodbye. They were nice people and I wish I could have got to know them better. Only when we were on the way back to our hotel, did I find out that all the people we just men and had so much fun with, except Jami uncle and his family, were from Pakistan! I had thought that they were Indians. Aren’t the anarkali suits, talking in Urdu, the fascination for Bollywood, some strictly Indian identities? No, obviously. They were all so nice to us. They didn’t care either, that we were Indians. When I knew that they were from Pakistan, I felt that I didn’t mind either. I think it’s just a group of Indians living in India and a group of Pakistani’s living in Pakistan, who seem to hate each other. When we go to another country, we are just happy to find someone similar to us, someone who we can relate to, and we don’t care about their nationality.