Our people, music and food are all similar to each other, and yet we are two different nations: India and Pakistan. I have seen numerous documentaries and have met so many people who have shared their stories, and when I do, I always feel a sense of belonging. The partition seems to have taken the soul out of people on both sides.
Citizens from both sides of the border have made independent efforts to ease the situation–through arts and music, or through food. Aman and Sameena Jaspal, young entrepreneurs, are one such story. Their restaurant, Sarhad is barely few miles from India Pakistan Border in Punjab. “Food is the primary love of all Punjabis. Peace through food is the motto of Sarhad and it is no wonder our logo has a dove with the word peace inscribed in 25 languages,” Aman told IANS.
For Aman, the Sarhad complex is not only just an eating joint for travellers to the border ceremony but an effort to bring the people of the two countries closer. The complex is built in a way which will bring back the lost memories of one nation before partition. The furniture is designed by Lahore’s leading designer Ansa Zafar, while Salah-auddin Michu has created ceramic jaali panels with exquisite motifs of the Lahore fort and Indus Valley Civilization.
Apart from the beautiful architecture, this place also has two hand-painted Tata Mini trucks, painted by Pakistan’s most celebrated truck artist, Haider Ali. I personally believe that this one of the most photographed spot of the entire complex.
This restaurant serves 60% of Pakistani food and 40% Indian. This made sense to me—we have a lot of our own food so this is a good way to try the food from the other side of the border. The Lahori menu at the restaurant is the crowd puller. Foodies and travellers just flock to this restaurant after the border ceremony to have Chapli Kebab, Nihari Ghost, Bannu Kebab, Fish Korma, Miyanji ki Dal, Bakarkhani Roti…and thelist goes on. To enhance the culinary experience, they have also added non-alcoholic beer manufactured by Pakistan’s iconic liquor brand, the 160-year-old Rawalpindi based Murree Brewery.
My food journey at Sarhad ended with a nice Khalifa Nan Khatai which is supposed to be an all-time favourite Lahori dessert.
There have been so many fights and arguments resolved over a good meal and a few and drinks, let’s hope ours will end soon.