No announcement yet.

A Pakistani visits India

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    A Pakistani visits India

    Banking on Bangalore - Leon Menezes

    The software capital of the world is not just a city of geeks but of party loving people who have no less than 500 clubs to choose from Jetting off to Bangalore isn't a very normal occurrence so when my trip got confirmed, I was naturally excited. I'm one of those lucky ones who have a boss who sits outside of Pakistan. Lucky because he isn't here breathing down my neck (although in this day of e-mails and mobile phones it's just as easy to get an electronic kick-in-the-pants). On the other hand, having to travel to any place with a visa requirement can't be that bright a prospect for a Pakistani.

    My trip was as pleasant as they come - the only thing I could complain about was the transit times. The flight to Bombay was on time and PIA's service was very good. Immigration and Customs at Bombay were longish because of the rush but otherwise brisk and professional. Another pleasant surprise was the lack of mobs outside the Bombay airport. Being used to fighting one's way out of the local facilities had prepared me for something similar. How refreshing.

    After changing terminals to catch the flight to Bangalore I decided to grab a quick lunch at the airport restaurant. This was a rather nice place with an old-world charm. The service was courteous - almost to a fault - as I shall explain. The meal I ordered came promptly and after a while the waiter came by to check on how things were. I commented that the fish was slightly undercooked, whereupon he asked if he could change it for me. Since I had nearly finished, I politely declined. He then went and got the manager who also apologised and offered to change it. When I refused again and asked to settle my check, they informed me that the meal was complimentary because it wasn't up to my standard! They also brought a comment card so that I could record my experience. What next, I wondered.

    Next was the check-in for the flight to Bangalore. I had never heard of Jet Airways but wow, what a surprise. Efficient check-in, an excellent business class lounge and the most impressive in-flight service one can imagine. Having travelled the world for many years, this was easily one of the best flights I've taken. Frequent flyers on Jet Airways will tell you how the flight attendants will greet you by name and take your meal order in a manner that would make the finest restaurants blush. My observation was that the girls were extremely pretty. This just goes to show what privatisation and competition can do for you.

    Bangalore is a pleasant city, bordering on the quaint. It reminds one of old parts of Karachi and Rawalpindi but is not as crowded as either. The city was known as the "Garden City" but is now called the software capital of the world. Almost every major computer company has a presence there and, because of the money pouring in, banking and financial services have also taken off. Skyscrapers are coming up in the main city areas but efforts are made to retain the "look" of the place. A cosmopolitan population ensures a great level of tolerance as Hindus, Muslims and Christians live and work without distinctions.

    It is precisely this make-up of communities that make "Bangalories" so genteel. It's somewhat like the atmosphere in Singapore and Sri Lanka where communities celebrate each other's festivals. An appreciation develops for the differences while it is easy to recognise the similarities. No one community claims to be dominant.

    There are, of course, a few nut cases who want to disturb the peace. These people have actively campaigned against foreign investors (especially the foodwallas) with the aim of blackmailing them. The campaign was almost successful until local produce suppliers realised that they themselves would be the biggest losers if investors pulled out. Now the focus has shifted to target all the "outsiders" who have made Bangalore their home as they want the local language to get preference over English and Hindi.

    The hotel I stayed at was a treat. Plush interiors combined with a sophistication that was understated. There was a personal valet to take care of the little things and fine restaurants that catered to a variety of tastes. I have had the opportunity to visit India on a few occasions and have always been impressed by the standard of their service industry. If I may make a sweeping judgement here - the hospitality industry in India is far and ahead of any other country because everyone seems so eager to please. It is this element alone that makes one overlook any other shortcomings.

    I am told on authority that there are over 500 bars in Bangalore and more than 100 cinemas. That makes for a lot of diversional activity that the young and the restless can indulge in. The bars have their own personalities but the ones favouring good old-fashioned rock music are in the majority. The great thing about this city is that no matter how many bars one visits (don't look at me that way), no one misbehaves. With the affluence of the natives and the influx of visitors good eating and shopping are also plentiful.

    Work kept me indoors till after eight in the evenings but we did manage to check out a few interesting spots. Fortunately for me, my boss is an excellent host so I was well looked after. On the second night there was a farewell for a colleague to which I was invited. One of the guests, also a colleague, asked where my residence in Karachi was. He mentioned that a cousin of his lived in the vicinity. One thing led to another and it turned out that his relations are all acquaintances of mine! The world is getting smaller by the minute.

    Getting back involved an equally long transit at Bombay but with all the formalities involved, it's best to have sufficient time in hand. What a pity travel between our two countries is so difficult because I sincerely feel that more frequent interactions will lead to a reduction in mutual suspicions.

    Gosh! he had such a pleasant trip of India. I wish Indians like me also have a similar pleasant trip of India with courteous waiters and great service waiting them everywhere.


      Well let me tell you about my trip when I was on my way back from Delhi. I went upto a bar type of a place at the airport. I politely asked the bar tender how much is a coke going to cost. HE very rudely replied 3 or 4 dollars. I once again very politely replied, how much is it going to be in Indian rupees as I wanted to get rid of the bills before I am on my flight to Lahore. The gentleman once again very rudely said said an unbelievable amount in like 150 rupees or something. I asked bhayee why is the price was so high, and he very rudely shouted at me, yeah Delhi internatinal airport hay koyee lahore kaa bazaar nahi hay. (He figured out that I was Pakistani as I was wearing a shalwar kameez and the flight for lahore was being announced). Anyway I was furious after that and started shoutig at him asking for his manager. Who wasnt there at the moment, I went to the airport authorities who very nicely listened to my complaint and gave me a complaint card which I filled out and dropped it in a complaint box. My uncle who was a diplomat in the Pak Embassy in Delhi when I informed him told me later that the bar tender was called upon by authorities and put on probation for a month.


        ah.. this may be the reason why this reporter was treated so well.. alibeta keep up the good work..


          I am ready for another story



            Having not been to bangloer I am delighted by your travels, and I agree, India is a nice place to visit.

            I went ot Rajistan and apart from a few skirmishes everything was Ok. Though certain guides were very "innovative" with their interpretations of how and why certain landmarks were built but it was nice none the less. Anyway, you can't really expect the guys to know that much anyway.

            People were hospitable and in general courteous to you even after finding out that I was a Pukhtoon. (Though sometimes the link betwen pukhtoon and Pakistan was not that obvious untill they were told my surname).

            However, I found it was the politicians that tried to prove to me that I was from a Enemy Nation. But the others were not that bothered. I think them being muslim may have something to do with it, eventhough the person whoi annoyed me most with his Pakistan=Inferior comments was a Muslim MLA. Though a few staunch words from my host did shut him up.

            I would recommend travelling to Rajistan to any Pakistani. Its a nice place with a general hospitable environment, but, stay clear of the POLITICIANS, they are more loyal to the king than teh King himself (pun intended).

            Khudai pa amaan


              Yes! I was also in Indian accupied Kashmir in the summers, hehe! I didnt get the hospitality by the Indians I dealt with (Indian Army) like you guys did though. Lekin it was really beautiful, Insha Allah is summers phir ajoon gaa vacation main!


                In all honesty, little things like “courtesy” and “high quality service” are not the reasons why one should visit India. There is so much more than one can ask for. I wouldn’t mind being treated as a nuisance, and I wouldn’t mind arguing over a price of a stupid Coca-Cola, or standing in the immigration and customs line for 4 hours. That to me is an additional bonus for visiting places that are foreign. I have never visited India, and I can’t wait to go and explore it, but by the stories I read about how Indians are becoming so much “ordinary”, makes me feel like rethinking my plans about visiting India.

                India to me is a place of Snakes and Yoga, and Banglore Software showpiece is not what India is all about.



                  Come on guys

                  There is more to it than snakes and yoga

                  I mean there are spots that are worth seeing. Though teh general living of the people does have much to be desired, but they have their wealthy class and the Really wealthy class, like many other countries.

                  The general opinion about Pakistanis and Afghans was not very surprising, however they do get surprised to find out how and how well we guys in "POOR OLD NWFP" live.

                  Anyway, there much to see and places like Baramula and Srinagar are worth a look. Not the tranquility of Hunza, Miaadum or Murghzaar, but nice none the less, with its pseudo Venice texture (without the splendour of the architecture ofcourse).

                  I recommend a visit, but do try not to speak to them in Urdu. They are pretty hooked up on English as THE language.

                  However, have fun.


                    Saeed, try Maharashtra or Goa next time. You might like it. The standard of living will also be upto your standards


                      Kya baat hai! I must visit India too someday (if I get the Visa i.e.)

                      Beauty Lies In The Eyes Of The BeerHolder


                        Leon, a wayward kafir is ofcourse going to
                        prefer the azad-khiyaal Indians, over the
                        Islamic Pakistan, where people like him have
                        to get a licencse in order to drink beer at
                        home, in private and in shame.

                        As for Indian Banglore, this guy should have
                        taken a detour into the slums that line the
                        'tall skyscrapers'. An area that in the summer
                        is a ball of sweat, heat, trash and flies.
                        I bet he didn't take his first-class a$$ to
                        find hospitality among those inhabitants of
                        the software capital.

                        This sounds more like an official visit by
                        a VIP, who is shown around town by handlers
                        only what they want him to see: pretty'ied
                        up, white-washed facade...a farce. The sad
                        part is, he is too dumb to know it.

                        Like those foreigners who come to karachi and
                        stay at the Intercon. or Holiday Inn, go to
                        the Saddar bazzar and Zainab Market, get a
                        few cheap shirts and camel-skin lamps and
                        then take off in a week, proclaiming they've
                        seen Karachi. They have not. It is akin to
                        reading the Cliff Notes for Oliver Twist or
                        Hamlet and then claiming to know them. I have
                        come to be suspicious of both travel accounts
                        and film reviews. Neither one is unbiased and
                        is only as good or bad, as the person doing
                        the reviews.




                          Thanks, but Bombay and Goa are not really what I have in mind for visits.

                          Nothing worse than a city's elite trying its best to be as AMERICAN as possible.
                          Other than that, there is not really much that can be offered there which is not available in 60 odd other cities, (with local refinements of course )
                          I guess Goa is a beach resort and more entwined with the Lisbonians but still, if youve seen one beach resort, you have pretty much seen most of them.

                          I can imagine what the sales pitch is " white sands, picturesque, own beach area, water sports, tranquility....." a bit of an over used idea, not needed anymore for me.


                          if you are to take the time and put up with the nonsence at the high commissions, its best to visit pplaces that are not available elsewhere.

                          sorry !


                            Bombaykid, saeedafridi does not like your city. He is not even ready to come to goa.

                            so think about better options on how u r going to entertain him.




                              How considerate!

                              Thank you.