Experiencing the borders

It is winter time. It is time for migratory birds making their routine trip to Indian subcontinent in the lookout for warmer weather compared to northern hemisphere. The migratory birds travel international boundaries without passports, visa! We, human beings, also travel and traveling to different places is so enriching. Different city, different state, different country-all brings in different experiences, people, culture, architecture, history. When I am traveling to far off places, crossing a state border, or country border is always curious experience. During childhood, when we used to visit our hometown in Karnataka from Pune in Maharashtra by train, we would be very thrilled with experience of crossing state borders, and noticing the changes such languages used on milestone, boards on the stations, welcome hoardings etc(see more here). Crossing international border or even being near it, is even more thrilling, brings in different experiences.

Wagah Border Visit

Few years back, I had been to Indian Pakistan border at Wagah, near Amritsar in Punjab. There is a special show or ceremony where armed forces from both sides exchange greetings in front of huge crowd, I believe on both sides. This is called change of guard. The atmosphere is electrifying on this side. Spectators sitting on the make-shift sitting area on the both sides of the road, overlooking the ceremony, with patriotic songs going on in full rampage, making people hysteric. One can also notice large number of goods trucks waiting in the queue to cross border.

Crossing borders in Europe

During my 15 day tour to Europe, I had multiple opportunities to cross board. Due to Schengen visa meant for visit to European Union countries, it has been made simple now. I still remember the incident of entering into Germany from France, crossing the border, by road. For me, both French and German are unknown languages, so it was hard to understand what was going on. The border area was a like a fortress, with big wall, and large number of armed men around, customs and immigration offices and booths.

Going to Mexico and coming back into USA

Sometime back, I had visited Bay Area again after a long time. During long weekend, I traveled to San Diego, and later made plans to visit Mexico crossing the border. Many tour operators take tourists across the border to Mexico for site-seeing in Tijuana, crossing the international border at San Ysidro port of entry in USA. I also took similar tour operator to go across and come back. The influence of Spanish and Mexican culture is strong in southern California. So, roaming around in Tijuana as a tourist, I did not feel much difference. While going into Mexico was easy, coming back to USA in the evening was not easy! This is for obvious reasons-USA immigration wanted to make sure that I am not illegal immigrant. I have gone through immigration process on the airports multiple times, but on this was different, on the port of entry on the road.

I wish to to visit Runn Of Kutch in state of Gujarat, sometime and visit India Pakistan border in the white sands. While crossing borders, or visiting borders of countries is certainly exciting and thrilling, it should bring people together than taking away from each other, as it is said in this famous Hindi movie song sung by Sonu Nigam, written by Javed Akhtar.

पंछी, नदियाँ, पवन के झोंके
कोई सरहद ना इन्हें रोके
सरहद इंसानों के लिए है
सोचो, तुमने और मैंने क्या पाया
इन्सां होके

जो हम दोनों पंछी होते, तैरते हम इस नीले गगन में, पंख पसारे
सारी धरती अपनी होती, अपने होते, सारे नज़ारे
खुली फिजाओं में उड़ते
अपने दिलों में हम सारा प्यार समो के
पंछी, नदियाँ, पवन…

जो मैं होती नदिया और तुम पवन के झोंके, तो क्या होता
पवन के झोंके नदी के तन को जब छूते हैं
लहरें ही लहरें बनती हैं
हम दोनों जब मिलते तो कुछ ऐसा होता
सब कहते ये लहर-लहर जहाँ भी जाएं, इनको ना, कोई टोके
पंछी, नदियाँ, पवन…


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