first_imgMiles away from home, looking for Indian food is a must. After two days of burgers, pizzas and salads, the craving for dal and roti increases. Living in an area in east London dominated by Asians, I spotted a couple of sign boards which said “Roti and curry.”The smell inside the restaurant was good, and I soon realised it was a restaurant run by a Pakistani from Lahore. He asked me to wait for some time, even though I told him I wanted to have an early dinner. I soon realised, because of late sunset, they were breaking the Ramzaan fast late.”Iftaar ka waqt abhee hua hai,” said the friendly man who took the order. I did see the chefs and waiters sitting on a table  offer quick prayers, consume dates, have tasty snacks and then help me out with my dinner order.In the heat of London, staying without food and water is a challenge for the Asians as well during Ramzaan. But they have been doing it pretty well.”Achaa, you are from India,” he said, looking at my media badge. And soon stories of India vs Pakistan, political rivalries and more began. Being thousands of miles away from home, these men who have come to London to make a living are fully aware of the geopolitics. “I guess apart from the Olympics you must also write why India and Pakistan must play cricket in your country,” said my waiter Bashir. I nodded and had the tasty dal and roti. By then the number of waiters surrounding me had increased. “We are all friends, India and Pakistan are close neighbours, sport unites us,” they told me.I said I would write on the sub-continental cricket rivalry and promised to return soon. Having talked to them for so long, I thought they would give me a discount on the bill, but that was not to be!Back to Wednesday morning’s mad run to the Olympic Park from my place of residence in a suburb called Lleyton in east London, the local bus never came. Taxis are expensive but I had no choice but to ask for a radio cab. “Are you from India, ” asked the manager behind the counter at the radio cab counter. When I said yes, he promised to help me within five minutes. The cab driver was again from Lahore and kept me engaged in cross-border talks, how the Britons were scared of living in an area dominated by Asians and so on. He also went on to educate me about the racist slur he faced, even while driving. “Even when I am driving, the behaviour of a goraa Londonwallah can be seen,” he said as he braked hard, like an F1 driver approaching a sharp turn.After a half hour drive, my driver said the traffic jams would never end and it would be better to take a ride by the Tube so that I could reach Stratford. I had no choice and took his advice. Having been given enough advice by the Pakistanis in London on the do’s and dont’s, I was a bit worked up. Each one thinks they are true Londoners and people who come from outside are clueless!However, in times like these, when you are at the mercy of Asians, be it for food or transport, it’s better to be keep quiet.The Olympics are yet to begin but having met so many Pakistanis, I am convinced they feel at home in London. They can talk politics and sport without any fear, even if the conversation is with an Indian. Yet, you have to give it to them that living far away from home they do treat Indians as friends and are ready to help. I have been invited by my Pakistani cabbie driver for dinner but haven’t decided to accept it as all the dishes he named were non-vegetarian!advertisementlast_img

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