When Mountains Meet

By Our Special Correspondent

When Mountains Meet

Anne Wood, Scottish Violinist did not know who his father was. Her single Mother, earlier a medical secretary, did not know that she was pregnant when Anne was conceived. Her Father, a medical student of Pakistan did not know that she was his child since he left Scotland after the brief relationship. Her mother did not reveal his name in public since it might offend him and his family back home.

All Anne knew was that her biological father is a doctor in Pakistan. In her 20s Anne was working in a film in London. In her quest for her father, she through London’s Pakistan High Commission, called a medical officer in Pakistan and told him that she was looking for details of a doctor in Pakistan. The reply was obvious- there are lots of doctors in
Pakistan, the fifth-most populous country, with a population of over 241.5 million. But he was positive, took the name and assured help. 

To her utter surprise, it turned out the medical officer was a good friend of Anne’s father and he gave her the address of the teaching hospital where her supposed father is a professor. All this happened in the 80s. An ecstatic Anne wrote a letter telling her father who her mum was and that she believed he was her biological father. Within two weeks her father replied back accepting her as his child.

Her father also had six children but still liked to meet her. The long wait continued and in 1987 she got a phone call from her father telling her he was in London and will come to Edinburgh. At the time, Wood was busy preparing for a performance in a play. She immediately booked two seats at the play for her mum and dad since she had no time to meet them before the show. But with much eagerness she was behind the set peering out at the two empty seats and then a tall man walked in and sat down. It was her dad.

His first sight of her was when she opened the show dressed in rags and playing some wild violin. When she met him, he didn’t feel like a stranger. He even invited her to Pakistan which she gladly accepted and also visited his father’s country. But there were problems too. Her father’s wife refused to meet her and times when he felt uncomfortable describing her as his daughter. But over the years, Anne has built a relationship with her two half-brothers, with one giving her his perspective of their family details. Anne enjoyed her trips to Pakistan, sharing violin with local musicians and at times climbing behind the wheels of a decorated Pakistani truck. She was told that her grandparents live somewhere in Hindu-Kush region of Himalayas.

Meanwhile, Anne on her own has created a theatre show inspired by her search for her Pakistani father. She grew up in Edinburgh in the 1970s, has performed with famous bands- The Raincoats and Deacon Blue and singer-songwriter Michael Marra. Her new show - When Mountains Meet held on May 10 to a packed audience - explores Scottish-Pakistani identity and Wood’s experiences. It features Scottish and South Asian music and performers. The comedy-romance involves Asian characters and was directed by Stephen Frears, who went on to make the films Philomena and Dirty Pretty Things.

Source: Himalayan News Chronicle

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