I met Zack Waheed on 26 November 2020 at Lahore’s famous Gawalmandi food street. At first, he came up to me on the street and took a selfie with me because he was a subscriber of my YouTube channel. I thought that was it, man was I wrong. Zack was about to go viral.
5 minutes later I was searching for a store to try Hareesa, a thick meat soup stirred for 12 hours, that’s similar to Haleem.
I found what looked like a Hareesa store (I can’t read Urdu, only Hindi) and went to vlog with the owner.
While shooting shots of the store, I noticed 11-year-old Zack sitting with his Dad about to devour a plate of Hareesa on the large steel tables that line the food street.
After vlogging with the store owner and chef I decided to go take a seat next to Zack and chat with him.
I sat down and hit record on my camera. My very first question to Zack was, “What do you think of India?”
“There are good and bad people everywhere, so we cannot judge anyone. I have many friends in India!”11-yo Zack Waheed while eating Hareesa and Naan
The maturity in his reply made me so happy for the future. I was happy that such a young man has friends in India and doesn’t buy into the hate-filled vitriol online. And it’s not like he’s not aware of it, he reads comments and sees the hate. But he doesn’t buy into it.
One of the first reactions in my mind was that this kid reminded me of Mahatma Gandhi.
“If you want real peace in the world, start with children.”
“Yadi aap duniya mein vaastavik shaanti chaahate hain, to bachchon ke saath shuroo karen.”
“यदि आप दुनिया में वास्तविक शांति चाहते हैं, तो बच्चों के साथ शुरूआत करें।”Mahatma Gandhi
As I sat there chatting with Zack, I realised he’s smarter than me, he’s more mature than me, and he’s got more personality than me. Walking away, I had this great feeling of inferiority as I compared him to my 11-yo self.
It was a humbling experience to meet such a well-raised young man. No doubt his parents are as loving and jolly as he is.
I also knew that if Zack’s words warmed my heart, then they’d warm others’ too…
On 6 January 2021, I released the video ‘Asking 11 yo Pakistani Kid about INDIA‘ (I do everything alone, so it takes me a while to edit my videos).
I showed the video to my wife, then to a few friends. They all had the same reaction: They smiled and their hearts were warmed. From that, I had a good idea that others would feel the same way.
It starting going viral right away and was picked up by a number of Indian news channels. Zack got a real kick to see himself in the India media!
The video was uniting people in the comments section too.
When the boy said positive, all started feeling better about our neighbourhood. It’s movies and others divide and rule tactics make us think bad about others by daily feeding us through news etc. The whole world is one family.J
This child is so mature. Yes, there are good and bad people everywhere. The adult of Pakistan and India should learn something from this child. Such children are the future for a peaceful world.Shreekala Pillai
Heart Warming ❤️ The child is reflecting exactly what the common educated citizens with working brains of both the countries have in their minds and that is love, peace, and harmony.Sudhir Shetty
When this kid was born, the doctors didn’t say “It’s a boy” they said “It’s a man”Mohammed Irfan
Towards the end of the video, I tell him that he should have his own YouTube channel. To which he replied that he does. He makes gaming videos. So I told him, why not make videos about Pakistan? And well, as a testament to Zack’s drive and work ethic, he followed through!
Zack’s YouTube channel has gained 14,000 subscribers! He’s a YouTuber now.
I have a feeling Zack is destined for great things in life. He’s the kind of person who can unite people and improve India-Pakistan relations.
I’m really looking forward to collaborating with Zack in some of my Pakistan travel vlogs too!