By: Soumya Saxena | WriteForRedPaper
I was supposed to write this article two months back but I procrastinated; I thought that it might not go well with the current circumstances. In the present political scenario, which certainly creates hatred and animosity, it is difficult to express love for a friend across the border. But again, how does it matter to me; I cannot stop loving my dearest friend Sophia Khan because national duty demands so.
I vacationed in Nepal with Sophia a few months back. Nepal came as a rescue and became a common meeting ground, as it demanded no visa and no large sum of money. While we were checking in, the hotel receptionist asked for our passports and wasn’t she surprised when I handed out my Indian passport and she gave her Pakistani one! Likewise, we kept on surprising people throughout our week-long journey. Their curiosity led to a myriad of questions, some of them strange and some purely innocent, expressing their obvious astonishment. We were rare! We usually gave out the basic answer that we worked together in Germany but surely our story is much more profound than that and yes it is worth sharing.
I came across Sophia’s CV while hiring an intern for the NGO I worked in. Among 400 applicants Sophia was the only Pakistani girl. I found it very unusual given the stereotype that girls from Pakistan hardly venture out to study abroad leave alone finding a job. I was anyway persistent to hire someone from Asian decent (as I worked in the Asia department of that NGO). I contacted Sophia and asked her to re-send her application by making some necessary changes and gave her certain inputs. Although Sophia didn’t get the job, we kept in touch. We would discuss job prospects of Asians in Germany, cultures, movies, our love lives of course, and all the things friends usually talk about. I won’t make it sound clichéd by saying that we became friends because we had similar language, similar cultures, etc. We didn’t have all that in common, as a matter of fact, our language and cultures were quite apart, Sophia hails from Peshawar, she spoke Pashto fluently and not Urdu, also, I wasn’t much acquainted with her Pathaan culture.
What made us bond was probably our struggles as first generation of women to venture outside their respective countries to find their niche. Sophia and I were trying to make our lives work in a foreign land which wasn’t easy and fun as our Facebook pictures might have suggested. Between cultural shocks and trying to compete with the world we found a friend in each other.
Sophia did get a job at my organization 6 months later, by this time we had become well acquainted. She moved to Berlin and we lived together in my apartment for some time.
It was hard not to see her for three years after we were back to our respective countries. We were constantly in touch through social media, and our bond grew stronger with time. We shared with each other and confided in each other everything. There is nothing that happens in my life and Sophia doesn’t know about it and vice versa. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t talk. Our friendship is not dependent on meeting each other neither it can be soured by political issues.
I often wonder why there was a need to write this article, why is our friendship unusual, I did make friends with a people from lot of other nationalities but none got the attention like this. Is it because we are supposed to hate each other by virtue and love seems like a curious case?
As clichéd as it may sound but love is definitely unconditional, it cannot be controlled or swept aside and some relations are made on sheer love and trust you have for a person. And it is same for Sophia and me, I hope our friendship stands tall and beyond everything that occurs.