The trip reminded me of the question I asked the teachers in Hunza a few months back, "what connects Hunza and Karachi?" Travelling from an altitude numbered zero to a grandeur height of 4800 meters, one feature traveled with us all along - the mighty Indus River. What a Geography 101 it has been; topography of the entire Earth encapsulated in a 4000 km journey south to north.
This country is not yet favored for its topography but despised for its intolerance and turmoil. Domestically too, people clamor under one national identity yet independently share many associations, that have been interpreted in a way sowing seeds of distrust and animosity. The bearded hate the pant shirt, the urbanites despise the maulvis, and the women go without a voice. In this air and smell of distrust and doubt, what difference can a 11 year old dimpled girl with a waving hand bring?
Let's meet Khushi Pinjani. Fighting with her 7 year old brother, faking stomach ache, she clinches on to the front window seat of our 27 seat coaster to experience a path she has never treaded before. But Khushi is not a silent explorer; she carries with herself a magic - a magic that saint Kabir says, is endowed by all of us yet seen only when one sees within and explores the veiled potential. Manifestations of that magic can be many, and for Khushi that is a simple waving hand.
Use of hand is a language in itself; when waved to a distant observer it signals a hi or bye. Whichever Khushi's audience assumed of the two, the wave became magical when it was complimented with a smile of innocence, that within seconds energized the air and traveled straight to the softest corner of the person receiving.
Fortunately Khushi has not been bogged down by fixed perspectives that might limit her gesture to only the Familiar. It was wonderful to see how a simple hand and an honest smile could bring a smile on to so many faces, escaping, though for a moment, the barriers that often stop us from valuing humanity regardless of faith, color and creed!