I was excited, impatient, and in deep thought about attending the event titled Be A Mashal – an event for interfaith harmony in which people of diverse religions were invited to share their respective festivals and formalities. But at the same I was worried about the university mid-term exam next morning. I was caught in multiple dilemmas. I hardly had an idea what to do, where to go, and how to decide. Aahh… like a pendulum, I could not come to any conclusion for some time; but later, finally, I made up my mind to attend the event. Even though the exam was important, but my heart was set on the event. I opened my laptop, typed an email:

“Dear Sir,

 I am writing this email to let you know that tomorrow I have to attend an event regarding interfaith harmony organized with the collaboration with IREX. Though I know the mid-term is also important for me but the exam can be postponed, but not the event. It is a humble request to postpone my exam. I will be very thankful to you for this.

Looking forward for your kind response.

Thank you“ 

I sent it to my teacher.

Yet again, I got caught in quandary: whether my request would be approved or not. I had become totally unbalanced in my head. Stuck with both excitement and worries, it must have looked like a cocktail from the inside.  

After an hour, the appearance of Inbox (1) on my Gmail account pounded my heart. Simultaneously, I wished that sir would have approved my request. Shrinking, I clicked Inbox, Read Email and got what I had willed. Approved. Jumped with thrill, I shouted “Hurrah”. An unexpected wish fulfilled as easily? I was reminded of Rumi's quote.

“What you seek is also seeking you”

Filled with extreme joy, I closed my eyes and slept instantly.

Next morning, I got up, dressed up, and got ready to attend the event. There were my room partners Khushal Das and Rajesh Kumar with me to attend it. We hired Uber, left for Lari Adda Restaurant where the event meeting was held.

In around one and half hours we reached the restaurant and met with other Muslim, Christian, Sikh and Hindu brothers. It felt like different flowers of one garden had gathered there. It felt cheerful; the positive aura reflected from each and every one.

Finally, the time had come to begin the event with Tilawat, Gayatri Mantra, Biblical recitation and Gurmukhi. At that time after reading Gayatri Mantra, I became speechless. Literally, I had no words to praise the decorum and ambiance.

Subsequently, a discussion activity was conducted for collecting information from religious experts. People cleared their queries and enjoyed a lot.

Then we had delicious refreshment of desi dishes: Aloo-Matar with Chappati and Channa Pulao. Since, mostly Hindus do not prefer to have meat so the dishes were pre-decided, respecting the rituals of Hinduism. I personally felt that it was a great gesture.

Afterward, here the interesting part of event came: travelling. Yes, it was part of event to visit Joseph Church, Badshahi Mosque, Gurdwara and Krishna Temple, in this sequence.

Our first visit was to Joseph Church. The destinations were pre-set according to nearer distance. We reached the church in about an hour. The peaceful environment, floor covered with branches of hundreds of years old tree and a statue of mother Marry was fascinating. Few meters away on the left was a large prayer hall. In the prayer hall, there was an opened Bible exposing a verse:

“In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death"  (12:28)

Reading the verse, I felt that the words were speaking to me directly. A strange but beautifully ecstatic air blew by me. Ah! That charm, I can never forget.

There was also a huge statue of Jesus Christ. A chief priest – Father – briefed everything about the church. He also arranged some light refreshment for us. We thanked him and paid adieu to him and moved to our next destination – the Badshahi Mosque.

“Close your eyes. Fall in love. Stay there”

No doubt, Rumi's quote was perfectly fitting the situation. Every one of us was filled with emotion. We even chose to listen to music that had ‘real’ nostalgic and spiritual feeling.  

We travelled, reached the mosque as if we had not sat in bus. It happened like a blink of eye. Everybody got down from bus and stepped toward the mosque. It was a majestic time of the evening. The flying pigeons over the gunbad captured my attention. I kept gazing at the natural beauty. It reminded me of an era of Sufism I have read in famous novel The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafaq. My fellows were strolling here and there, but I had no mood to stroll; I wanted to watch the beautiful scenery.

After a short break, we had to move to next place that was the Gurudwara. Since the Gurudwara was adjacent to the mosque, it did not take long to enter.

As per ritual of Sikhism, every person must cover their head with any piece of cloth before entering the Gurudwara, so we covered our heads. Gurucharan, one of the Sikh fellows, described everything about Sikhism. A sweet melody of Sikh anthem, I guess it is called Gurumukhi was sung by the Sikhs’ leaders. It was so enchanting.

Personally, since I had spent my time at different religious places e.g. mosques, temples, tombs, and Sufi fairs, and read spiritual books in my early age, it was not difficult for me to fall in love of any religion.

How fast time passes, it is difficult to capture every memory.

The last visiting place was Krishna Temple almost 10km away from the Gurudwara. I was feeling dizziness, not because of tiredness, but because of nostalgia. I was by remembering my beautiful childhood memories. I almost fell asleep in peace.

After half an hour we reached the temple. The Krishna temple was not so spacious. There were statues of the Hindu God and Goddess. Here, I was assigned responsibility to describe everything about Hinduism and I did. When I glanced over statue of Krishna – an incarnation of God, according to Hinduism, I revisited my time, when I was a great fan of him. I even considered him my best friend.

No one knows what is going to happen with you in the upcoming life. Having spent time on different religious philosophies and read different literature books, I had completely dragged myself toward secularism and last but not the least I had philosophized:

“The human creature is distinguished on the basis of his unique characteristic of touching the sky by paying every possible contribution to social welfare regardless belonged to any sect”

And finally the journey came to an end.

I confess the event has been the best part of my life. I not only enjoyed myself, but learnt further about different religions. I got connected with diverse people and found that everyone was perfect in their own way. The only difference is method of praying.

It was an unforgettable journey. It was Laraib Abid who executed such a fantastic initiative. I am very grateful to her that she introduced such a great idea that brought people belonging to different religions, on a single stage.