On a warm June evening in 2011, I rode in a rickety bus along a dusty Punjabi highway to watch a show on the India-Pakistan border.

It may be odd to read the words “show” and “India-Pakistan border” in the same sentence, but for several years now, the border guards of India and Pakistan have made a nightly ritual of celebrating the closing of the Wagah border crossing, showcasing the two nations’ officially peaceful, often uneasy relationship in the process.

Nearly every night, the respective border guards of India and Pakistan scream, yell, and perform a sequence of Pythonian leg kicks and marches to rapturous crowds on either side, in a performance seemingly choreographed by the Ministry of Silly Walks. All the while, a “ringleader” on each side whips the crowd into a frenzy with a series of call-and-response chants attesting to the nation’s glory in Indian, or Pakistani, depending on which side of the border you’re sitting on. After a half hour of chanting, marching, and generally making as much noise as humanly possible, the performance is over. Guards from each country embrace for a brief handshake, after which the border is officially closed. India and Pakistan have avoided war for one more day. It’s a bizarre spectacle, this display of bi-national “harmony”, especially considering the fraught relationship India and Pakistan have shared since the two nations’ independence in 1947…

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