Pakistani Beside Me!

Remember that Group tour I went for in Siem Reap?? That alarm jerking me up at the witching hour, then zooming around the hotel room to get ready as soon as possible, going for this sunrise tour of Angkor Wat, meeting so many young tourists in the group and blah blah blah… You got that right? If you haven’t.. Hey! Don’t complain to me!

I am once again going to go back to that trip, because I purposely had skipped an interesting information of that day. Think it to be a faulty technique to repeat the same contents in a different way, but certain incidents in life demand that extra- garish golden spotlight.

So starting from the pick-up, the second pick-up after mine was of that German girl but the third one was really funny. The grumpy-faced driver who seemed hate such early morning job, had some trouble finding his guest. He went and came out of the hostel twice, may be making sure he came to right place, then spoke something to an old man who was doing something or pretending to do something, the again went inside the hostel for the third time; after about 10 minutes he came back with an even more sour faced man. By this time other 4 people in the car grew a bit impatient as none of us could understand what exactly was happening! When they saw that grim faced boy coming towards the car, they started sniggering as quietly as possible. Me? I was just hoping him not to sit beside me, I was way too excited for my tour that this kind of low spirit could have affected my tequila sunrise mood!

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But then how lucky I was! The driver asked him to sit next to me and the man went back to his sleep bending his head forward. Wondering whether he managed to brush his teeth, rest of the time till we were transferred to the bigger bus I didn’t bother to check who else were getting in that minivan, I was looking at my left constantly to the window. Nothing could make me look at my right at that time. Nothing!

We were still inside the Angkor Wat temple, though a clear sunny day; the sun was gently embracing us. After about two hours looking around the temple, most of us were resting at a place while the guide went looking for the missing ones. Everyone was absolutely pale craving for some mouthful of wholesome breakfast; I overheard the guy next to me in that minivan speaking to another tall guy with a hat. To re-think, it wasn’t actually overhearing, that was a usual chat and everybody could hear them clearly.

‘By birth I am from Pakistan, but I have been to a lot of places for the father’s job. From USA, Canada and now settled in London, and now a British by citizenship.’

Did he say Pakistan? I finally gave a subsiding look at him, he did have that typical tall- dark Asian look, let’s skip handsome portion here. But tell me honestly, who doesn’t get an adrenaline rush at an India-Pakistan match? Who doesn’t love the collaboration of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy playing the music on Shafqat Amanat Ali’s song? Agree or accept, this one word pulls some string at any Indian heart or it can be vice versa. You know what? I am sure it’s the vice versa.

*** For further attention and before any progression, twisting your brain in such cases to drag any bleak thought will drain out a lot good grey cells from your cerebrum. so just keep reading…

‘I am so hungry, when are we going to have breakfast?’ On our way to the next temple, the British gentleman originally from Pakistan had sat beside me.  

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‘Oo, do you want some bread? I have with me.’

‘No thank you, I want to have some hot breakfast.’


‘Where are you from?’

‘From India.’

‘Oo, I am from Pakistan, but we moved long ago and now I stay in London.’

‘Yes, I heard you telling someone.’

‘Which part of India are you from?’

‘I am from the east. Have you heard of Bengal?’

‘Are you a Bengali?’

‘Yes I am a Bengali.’

‘Do you work?’

‘Yes I do.’

‘I work as well. I have Indian colleagues in my office. And few of them are Bengali. I heard them speaking their language while they speak to their wives, but I don’t understand anything.’

‘I’m sure you won’t. Have you been to your homeland recently?’

‘Yes I did visit Lahore, we have people there.’

‘Ok. That’s nice.’

‘Are there many tourist places to see in India?’

‘There are plenty to see in India. North-South-East-West, sea-mountains what not.’

‘Your country must be very beautiful!’

‘Does any Pakistani get to visit India for tourism purpose?’ and I realised that’s a very stupid question..

‘No way, I mean one can apply, but then the passport will be stuck for months and finally there will be a visa rejection. I mean it will be the same for you as well.’

‘Yes, true.’

‘So where all you went? Is it only Cambodia you are travelling?’

‘I have just started, I came yesterday and this is my first stop.’

‘And whom are you travelling with?’

‘It’s my solo trip.’

‘Mine is with friends. We have about 10 days and we came to Thailand. And I skipped for a night to come to Siem Reap.’

‘For a night?’

‘Yes I came last night and I have a flight this evening, I will join my friends in Krabi, then we will go to Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Samui and from Bangkok we are off.’

‘Isn’t that too much for 10 days? Then you came to Cambodia just for a night? It’s actually few hours!’

‘I know, but I’m not sure when I will come for a holiday here again, so thought of seeing this temple at least. I always wanted to come here.’

‘But that’s really hectic.’

‘No doubt on that. Which are the places in Cambodia will you be going for?’

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