At Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, we had a candlelight ceremony, with the intention of decompressing after such an uphill climb and with the intention of bringing love to a place historically hit with such pain. Again, we were given full access to the space.

BicyclerickshawsThe following day, we headed out on foot toward the border. Our team – Yoo-Mi, Mark, Jocelyn, Loveleen, Vandana, Avani, Marielle, Roberta, Raj, and I – walked for two days along with “The World’s Largest Love Letter,” and thousands of letters from Indian kids, all carried on six bicycle rickshaws.

When we got to the border, our visas had not been granted yet and so we had to wait. The timing of the delay, however, seemed synchronistic as it happened to coincide with the official launching of the IndoPak Peace Bus. Prime Minister Singh himself was coming up to Amritsar to see it off.

In our characteristic style, we managed to finesse a press release from the Prime Minister, thanking the children of India for participating in this letter-writing program, and also thanking Friends Without Borders for making it happen.

Although the timing seemed perfect, we later found out that our visas which had finally been granted could not be picked up because it was a Pakistani holiday and the embassy was closed. Our time to set up for our huge event in Lahore was becoming seriously jeopardized. In our characteristic style, however…back in Delhi… Maria did the only thing she could – she found out where the employees of the embassy were living and went to their quarters. With a few tears, the doors were opened, the visas delivered, and Maria hopped on a plane for Amritsar and joined us, as we crossed the border just on the tail of the Peace Bus.

PorterAt Wagah Border, we pulled out a border piece from “The Love Letter” and laid it out for the waiting media to enjoy.

It took 45 Indian and Pakistani porters to carry The Love Letter across the border and they all did it voluntarily, in spirit of the mission behind it.

When we finally crossed, due to the delays and due to some rain, much of the crowds that had been planning to greet our arrival had dissipated. Still, Aamir Rafique, of the Goethe Zentrum German Cultural Center, who was spearheading the Friends Without Borders effort in Pakistan, was there with reporters, TV crews, a live band and some friends, including a team of pretty, young Pakistani women. Our entry was a joyous and jubilant celebration.

Though we planned to walk to Lahore, our time had now become shortened significantly and so we were whisked to our new headquarters, ready to begin our humble little Tour d’Pakistan.

Photos by Maria Durana.

Advertisements