“Kashmir Gang” meets in Hanoi this time
It is good when friendship lasts.
In further strengthening their friendship, four married couples who met during a tour of Kashmir seven years ago met again for their third tour together in March this year.ooThey went to Hanoi, North Vietnam, this time.
In the Kashmir tour in 2009, the daughter of the writer, Munirah Shaik Kadir, who was single at the time, came along and she was the ‘darling’ of the group.
Munirah who now has a son aged two and a half years, Adam, Rayan Dula, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme in Sydney, believes that friendship is important in life.
She said: “We feel comfortable with good friends and can spend time together with joy. We can joke, laugh and forgive and forget any offence that might sometime occur.
“Good friends have love for one another. They work together and give support and trust.”
Munirah added: “I miss them. They are such nice people.”
Since their accidental meeting in Kashmir, they called themselves the ‘Kashmir Gang’ and visited their homes every Hari Raya to strengthen their friendship.
In 2012, they went to Sri Lanka together. In March this year, they joined a tour group for a holiday in Hanoi, North Vietnam.
For the holiday in Hanoi, the son of a member of the ‘Gang of Kashmir’, Shaikh Farouk Fraij, came along.
He is single and luckily he is Information technology (IT) savvy. The others in the group would ask his help for anything to do with communication matters, like WiFi connections.
Farouk believes that friendship is important for the well-being of a person.
He said: “It is clear that all people love to have close friends, especially when they are abroad. My parents are lucky to have met with three other couples during a visit to Kashmir a few years ago who share similar interests.
“This further fosters friendship among them, and they became close friends and frequently contacted each other by phone or via Facebook.”
Farouk added: “The title ‘Kashmir Gang’ is really creative. I also like to listen when members of this gang talk. It’s full of fun and laughter.
“They will talk happily for hours. Only close friends talk like that.”
In the previous two tours, the ‘Kashmir Gang’ members went on their own, just the four couples. However, during this Hanoi trip, they went with a tour group and made many new friends.
For the next trip together, the ‘Kashmir Gang’ has tentatively decided to take a spiritual journey – to the Holy Land to perform the Umrah (minor pilgrimage in Mecca) at the end of the year.
“Insya-Allah. God willing, we shall go for Umrah together in December,” said a member in the Gang. “We shall meet during this year’s Hari Raya Eidil Fitri to make our final decision.”
Farouk felt happy to know this, and said: “I hope the Kashmir Gang’s good intentions will come true, God willing.”
Munirah, when told of this decision via Facetime, was glad to hear it, and wished her parents’ friendship with the other three couples would develop further.
Shaik Kadir April 2016