When you look at the 24-year-old Sneha Gupta double checking if she has enough sun-screen in her travel bag, you would think she is heading for a vacation. But in reality, Sneha is moving to Rawalpindi. Yes, the one in Pakistan. And Sneha is not alone in this. She is joined by what seems to be hordes of Indians who in fear of what the election results hold for them have preemptively started seeking new adobes.
Initially Bangkok, Malaysia and Maldives were preferred choices for those with deep pockets but lately Pakistan seems to be the go to destination for the middle class folks. When questioned about the need to make such a drastic move, Sneha who’s busy tweeting looks up from her phone says, ‘If I had to pick between using #Twitter and my country #India, I would choose Twitter any day.’ To both our surprise and chagrin, she actually says hashtag aloud while talking in normal conversations too. Supporting Sneha in her flight to Pakistan are the hordes of travel websites that have launched special one-way packages to Pakistan.
Whether or not her freedom of speech is at any real stake is a question that remains to be answered but what’s certain is travel websites are making a killing based on this recent phenomena. Speaking on the condition of secrecy, a top executive at a travel booking website said, ‘Who would have thought the business would boom after the elections?’ He admitted that there aren’t enough flights to Pakistan from India at this point but he said the recent flow of Indians heading there could prove to be a future cash cow, soon resulting into luxury and budget packages for Pakistan. He said they are soon planning exclusive early bird offers for a few days after the election results.
While our neighbours remain extremely surprised with this phenomena. What they initially thought was the rise of the Pakistani tourism industry was actually much to their surprise just a means of escape for Indians.
When asked Sneha if she would regret moving to Pakistan, she reluctantly replies while Instagramming a picture of her freshly painted nails, ‘I dunno, I heard Rawalpindi is really nice at this time of the year.’ Whether it’s nice or not, only time will tell, till then we wish #BonVoyage to all the departing Indians.