Homesick: I miss home, I miss Pakistan

Published: October 2, 2012
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I miss hearing Urdu being spoken, I miss swearing in Punjabi. PHOTO: REUTERS

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.

A road from the east of Jalkhad goes to Noori top which is approximately 2 to 2½ hours distance. PHOTO: NOSTALGIC'S PHOTOGRAPHY

(Photo: Nostalgic’s Photography)

The different shapes the clouds would form and the amazing scenery when it used to rain.

Children enjoying the rain. PHOTO: AALEE PHOTOGRAPHY

(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.

Hanging out at a dhaba. PHOTO: MAANSAL STUDIOS

(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.

Thatta. PHOTO: SHEIKH DANISH EJAZ

(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.

Kids posing for the camera in Kel, Kashmir. PHOTO: NOSTALGIC'S PHOTOGRAPHY

(Photo: Nostalgic’s Photography)

Giving up was never a choice in Pakistan.

Pakistan Air Force cadets march at the mausoleum of the country's founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi on September 6, 2012, to mark the country s Defence Day. PHOTO: AFP

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.

Pakistan fans cheer during the ICC Twenty20 Cricket World Cup match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on September 23, 2012. PHOTO : AFP

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.

Known for it’s emerald green water and abundance of fish, the spot remains an attraction for most tourists owing to it’s beauty and serenity. PHOTO: FAZAL KHALIQ/THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

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.

PHOTO: INP

(Photo: INP)

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.

View of Islamabad from Monal Restaurant, Peer Sohawa, Margalla Hills, Islamabad. PHOTO: ASIF NAWAZ

(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.

In 2006, Taxila was ranked as the top tourist destination in Pakistan by The Guardian newspaper. PHOTO: FARAH KAMAL

(Photo: Farah Kamal)

I mourn every death that happens in Pakistan every single day. My life stood still when I learnt of the fire.

A Pakistani man mourns the death of relatives after a fire erupted in a garment factory in Karachi. PHOTO: AFP

(Photo: AFP)

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.

A man reads the Quran at a mosque on the first day of the fasting month of Ramazan in Denpasa,r on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on July 21, 2012. PHOTO: AFP

(Photo: AFP)

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.

Pakistani students carry a giant national flag at the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah. PHOTO: AFP

(Photo: AFP)

I can’t wait to be back!

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Eman Riaz Ahmed

Eman Riaz Ahmed

Currently a freshman at a college in the United States, Eman hails from Attock. Her interests include cricket and South Asian food.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.