Creativity Magazine

A Cup of Tea with the Hostile Neighbours

Posted on the 03 April 2014 by Syed Ashhad @syedashhad
Well this happened last month when I had gone to home tutor a child. It was a one-time thing, as a friend of mine insisted me to go in his place. The address was in the worst area of Jankipuram and throughout the journey I was cursing that friend and praying for my Activa’s tire. Soon the hell ride ended as I reached the address and was greeted with a pleasing smile. I was asked to sit and the student came and we were off to books the next minute.
A few moments later, the student’s mother came in carrying a tray of tea and snacks. Now I am not a great fan of tea and I avoid it as much as possible. I won’t deny I have not drunk it but only a handful of times. So to be polite and gathering all the manners that my mother had taught me I told her I do not drink tea. She insisted and in the same gentle tone I refused the offer again. She on the other hand took this the other was round and said and I quote,” SIR KYA HINDU – MUSLIM KI WAJAH SE NAHI PEE RAHE KYA?” I was shocked and felt electrocuted in my seat. Her this reply had left in a rage nonetheless speechless. I was in so much anger and agony that words would definitely fail to do justice with my feelings. For a minute or so I failed to manage a reply and in the end just settled for a lame shake of my head. Sheepishly, I tried to convince her that it was not the issue but all I could think of was leaving that place as soon as possible and I would have left had it not been my word to keep. Of all the things that those words made me feel, I felt humiliated the most. I didn’t know from where she came or which world she lived in but I sure knew her thinking was unhealthy. It was an insult, not only mine but of all those principles of equality that this country is built upon.
What I fail to grasp is the fact that it has been 66 years of independence, 66 years of co-existence and we still have people dating back to the stone ages. And this is just the years after independence, not counting the fact that Hindus and Muslims have been living together for centuries. Centuries we have come together, grown together and walked together but still the hostility remains.  Here I want to clarify that this attitude is shown by both the sides. I have seen my Muslim friends/elders displaying this sick notion. I too have been advised by some blatant person to be responsible towards my religion and not mingle with people outside it
There are people who would always be ready with stories of atrocities done by the other side and thus futily try to convince you to hate the other lot. I say why keep digging the past? What good could come by keeping the skeletons in the closet? No one denies there have been horrible and tragic events but should we stop there and make it our mission to brood over it? To harvest hate in the minds of our young ones that they become suicidal for the society? Or should we work together and help the man next to us get over the trauma and step ahead to a more successful future. 
I would sign of with the words of my physics teacher Kavita ma'am  "Syed do something constructive than just sitting around and talking "! 

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