I’ve been meaning to write this post ever since I came back from Pakistan. As usual, I got side tracked with work, my social life, and blogging about everything wedding!
Prior to my trip, I was downright scared of going to Pakistan – I was sure that something was going to go wrong. I’m pretty sure that on my last work day, when one of my co-workers said, “See you when you get back!,” I nervously said, “If I come back…heh-heh (nervous chuckle).” Can you really blame me? In the media, Pakistan is only associated with 3 things – fear, corruption and violence.
The fear did not leave me even while I was in Pakistan – whenever mumma and I would go out, I would silently pray in my head until we reached our destination, I made sure I always stuck close to mumma (and her purse!), and I always checked my back whenever we were on our way home (incase someone was following us). Okay, so maybe I’ve seen one too many episodes of Criminal Minds (my FAVOURITEST show guys!!) but I don’t think my fear was unjustified.
Throughout my trip, I was saddened by how rundown, unkepmt and broken Karachi had become. I did remember Pakistan like this – broken – but I felt that as I had been advancing in my life, Pakistan was going further away into darkness.
You’re probably all thinking, “OMG, I am SO not going to Pakistan. EVER.” Right?
I hope not. Here’s why:
- Gratitude: By living in countries like Canada, we easily forget how privileged we are. And privileged we definitely are. We take everything, and I mean everything, for granted. When was the last time you worried about not having water to drink (forget clean water, I’m talking about just plain water)? Heck, when was the last time you went home not sure if you would even have a roof above your head? Alhamdulilah, most of us have never had to worry about that but people in Pakistan do. Visiting a country like Pakistan makes you so thankful for what you do have, that you stop worrying about buying those Louboutins you’ve been wanting – you probably don’t even want them anymore.
- Sympathy: I felt really bad for people there. No, not for the corrupt, barely-doing-anything-with-my-life lofters but for the hardworking poor and average people. In this part of the world, if you put in hard work you generally have a comfortable life. However, in Pakistan, I saw people working for 10-15 hours in the scorching heat and still not even making enough money to buy 1 meal for their family.
- Patience: The lack of basic necessities in Pakistan brings out the worst in people – being out all day in the sun and coming home to no electricity drove me insane and I was only there for 3ish weeks. Comparing yourself to those who don’t even have something as basic as water makes you so, so, so much more patient towards them. When I walk to work, I am always surprised at how desensitized everyone us – seriously, why are we so impatient? (I’m asking myself the same question)
- Happiness: Your family is always genuinely happy to see you – seriously. Everyone went out of their way to make us feel special, every single day. My nanni (grandmother) would have pomegranate ready for me every morning before breakfast; she would note things that I liked to eat and then buy/make that in every variety; my family (khala, mamoo/mami, chachi’s/chachoo’s and cousins) making time for us and making me feel like a bride (I LOVE gajray Sehrish :)) – if I ever made the mistake of asking where I could buy something, it was bought and handed to me the very next day (Tasneem nani :)). Everyone I met was actually happy to see me – how rare is that?! Jokes aside, I was so taken aback when my dad introduced me to a group of people and they all seemed shocked and happy/proud that I remembered who they were.
I visited Pakistan not even 3 years before this trip and I was so surprised at how quickly I had forgotten all the hardships people face over there. We all get so caught up in our lives that we don’t remember that the majority of the world has so little compared to us.
Be thankful people – for your health, your family, your home, and whatever else makes you happy.
Meetha Paan - because I had weird cravings for meetha paan on this trip. Must be my inner desi coming out!
As for the City of Lights, I still have hopes that the city (and country) will pull itself together.