It was wee hours in the morning, and I had taken the train to visit my brother. A typical Indian railway coach, and everyone trying to somehow adjust and just fit in. There were all sort of petty vendors trying to sell their things – tea, wafers, chocolates, paper-soaps, newspapers, cold-drink.
I was just praying to have a good company. After all, it was going to be a long eleven hours journey. And I was in no mood to read any book or play any game on my phone; I had to cover for the last night’s sleep that I had missed. At least, I did not want any children, who would not allow me with the privilege of rest.
I wish I had demanded an extremely filthy and a poor rest of the life; because here they came; a family with two seemingly notorious-brat like children. The elder one (around 11), and more mischievous looking than the younger one (maybe nine). I knew they will take time before they get settled. They would definitely need some life threats from their mother – “I’ll throw you out of window”, “will never take you to granny’s place again”, “if you don’t stop running here and there, I’ll give all your games’ CDs to your cousin” etc. And before they settle, I could not sleep.
So I took the newspaper and started reading. I finished the supplementary and moved on to the newspaper. This is when the younger one came and sat next to me. She was now poking into the paper, and tried reading the same, a bit aloud; “TWO – FIVE, OK TWENTY-FIVE SOLD__ERS DIE AT AV__LANCHE IN SIA___SIACIN VALLE”. She asked me,
“What is that?”
Me: “What is ‘What’?”
Me: “Kind of a snow-storm, mostly in the mountains”
“They died? So does that mean that they will not come back to their families?”
“Yes, but they will go to their new families at the place where god lives”
“But what were they doing there?”
“They were protecting us so that we can be safe here”.
“Protecting from whom?”
“From enemy countries”
This kid was asking too many questions. But her mother looked satisfied, at least, she won’t be running in the whole compartment or may be demanding to buy the things from every passing vendor. And she continued…
“But why do we need protection? Will the enemies kill us?”
“But Pakistan or maybe China will one day capture Kashmir.”
“And then Kashmir will not be ours?”
“And what will they do then?”
“China! of course.”
“Maybe they will come down and capture even Delhi, and then may be Mumbai, then Chennai, till Kanyakumari. Eventually, the whole of India”.
“So will they put all of us, like all the Indians in jail?” she was scared.
Me: (laughing, but did not want to scare the little one) “No, we are too many. We will continue to live in our houses normally as we do now.”
“So, what is the problem?”
“Problem? Problem is that we will no longer be India. We will become China”
“But doesn’t this mean that we will be one bigger country including India and China?”
I don’t know what was running through the girl’s mind but she was fantasizing something and was happy. I could see he eyes lit up. I enquired.
“That means China will be bigger and stronger. One day it will be able to capture Pakistan also?”
“And then Afghanistan, Dubai, Iran and the whole of Asia including Singapore and Malaysia?”
This kid was sure brilliant with her geography. “Yes, and then even Japan and the whole of Europe”, I said.
The girl became so excited and said: “and may be the whole world because we will be so strong, stronger than any other country in the world”.
I was shocked, that for the girl it was no longer ‘China’, it was ‘we’. The country, that was for me, a bigger enemy nation than even ‘Pakistan’ (which is for all the Indians), since the time I was her age. So much, so that I would never buy a Lenovo laptop because it was a Chinese brand. Even if it was giving the laptop at 75% of the price at which HP or Dell was selling a model with the same configuration. What had I just put into the brain of a normal girl?
She continued “Than I would be able to go with dad on his trip, even without a passport?” I was assuming that maybe whenever her father would go on a business trip abroad and whenever she insisted on going along, her father would give the excuse about her not having the passport.
“Yes”, I said.
“And, then soldiers will not die because of the storm in the mountains because there will be no enemy nation”. “Because the whole world will be one country CHINA”, she continued.
“What?” I said.
“Yes, you don’t know,” she said. As if, she knew everything.
The train started shouting horns. And I woke up. It wasn’t the train’s horn; it was the stupid alarm on my phone. I just wanted to sleep, a bit longer. So that, I could finish the conversation, get to know more of the girl, about the advantages of being in a one country world.
And who was the girl? I had known the face. I got up, looked into the mirror. That was me. Yes, ‘Me’ from the childhood.
But how could this be possible? I could never light up, with an idea, that we would be China. As much as I know myself, I would rather die, than being called a Chinese. After all, they had taken away Mansarovar from us. And we are given the visa to visit that ‘heaven on earth’ only once in our lifetime, by the Chinese government. The only place I desperately want to visit before I die. Was that really me? Like seriously?
Or maybe I was okay with the idea if that meant ‘peace’, ‘unity’ and ‘one world’. Even if it was ‘ONE WORLD, CALLED CHINA’ ???????????