Homesick: I miss home, I miss Pakistan
I knew I was going to miss Pakistan; I had a feeling I’d crave the food, yearn for cricket, mope after the people and just generally be homesick after spending some time abroad. Coming to the US for college was, however, my personal choice and being here has been nothing short of amazing.
The homesickness kicked in, but it is very different from what I thought it would be.
It is hard to explain the ways in which I miss Pakistan. I miss the daily drive to and from school and the topsy-turvy hills I would stare at along the motorway.
(Photo: Nostalgic’s Photography)
The different shapes the clouds would form and the amazing scenery when it used to rain.
(Photo: Aalee Photography)
I miss meeting the people I met in school—even if I didn’t stop to chat, I knew that there were a tonne of people in the same building who knew who I am and who cared about me. I miss hearing Urdu being spoken, I miss swearing in Punjabi.
(Photo: Maansal Studios)
I miss the general feeling of waking up and hearing the crazy birds chirping continuously outside my window, knowing that I was starting another day in the place I felt myself to be a part of. I miss being part of a bleeding, torn, horror-struck community that got shot down every single day and yet learned to pick itself up overnight to greet another sunrise with the same gritty courage that nobody expected it to possess.
(Photo: Sheikh Danish Ejaz)
I miss looking at the faces in the street, seeing everyone sinking into the same pit I found myself in, but knowing that they would not, under any circumstances, give up.
(Photo: Nostalgic’s Photography)
Giving up was never a choice in Pakistan.
I miss how the air of resignation would shimmer, twist and coalesce into jubilation over the slightest of joys, be it a cricket victory or a hockey miracle or even a random Pakistani doing some form of good in the world.
I haven’t been discriminated against.
I have met some of the most talented, amazing and open-minded people I have ever come across; people who know enough about Pakistan to empathise with me and understand where I’m coming from. What I miss, however, are the unsaid, unseen and untold parts of Pakistan.
The way all our eyes would pour out the same sentiments and our voices would all contribute to the discordant symphony that rules our lives in our crazy little South Asian heaven.
I’m very content with what I have here.
This country and its people have much to teach me, but I’m not quite sure that I managed to bring all of myself over the Atlantic.
There’s a part of me eating tikkas at Monal, looking out over Islamabad and breathing in its somewhat hypocritical beauty.
(Photo: Asif Nawaz)
There’s a part of me still looking over the fields in Attock, over the towns which are hopelessly lagging behind the times. There’s a part of me still swearing and sweating in a load-shedding struck room, cursing at the government and wishing things would get better.
(Photo: Farah Kamal)
I mourn every death that happens in Pakistan every single day. My life stood still when I learnt of the fire.
Being physically apart, being busy, being overwhelmed by a new country are all very real threats to my connection with Pakistan, but for now I don’t even feel in the slightest like a stranger to what it represents.
For now, home is where the edible, halal food is. Home is where Zardari reigns supreme (however unfortunately). Home is a scary place, but it’s there and it’ll be waiting for me come December.
I can’t wait to be back!
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.