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Periphery

a record of mundane things that have stuck in my mind, and what they may mean.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Thinking about Pakistan

I've been discovering Pakistani blogs, where they refer to the blogsphere as blogistan, cute :) My favorites are linked to in the sidebar. Abez's and Owl's write very well and they live in my birthplace, Islamabad. Of course I know nothing about it because my parents moved back to their hometown, Nawabshah when I was a few months old, and then they moved to Chicago. I remember Nawabshah very well because I went to school there. I was looking forward to attending fifth grade because we fifth graders were allowed to use pens in class (fountain pens only). But we moved to Chicago, which was of course much more exciting then fountain pens. Iíve still got Nawabshah in my bones, and I get nostalgic for it sometimes.

My dad visited Nawabshah when he went to Pakistan last year. He told us about our house and how it was so changed. There used to be an engraving on the wall above the gate that said, "Kashan-e-Abdullah," meaning the House of Abdullah. The new residents took it off... It was in beautiful calligraphy... Also they cut down the jamun tree(that's a fruit, don't know what it's called in English) that my grandmother planted :(

Pakistan as Abez and Owl talk of it sounds very different from what I knew. Of course, I was a child, and I haven't been there since '91!

I'm always pondering what my relationship to Pakistan is. My parent's were totally devoted to Pakistan when they were there, their lives and their careers were for the cause of Allah, by way of Pakistan's success; they still are, but of course they can't be involved from here. It looks as though they gave up, but I don't think that's accurate. I worry about Pakistan's problems. Sometimes, I have no hope. Other times, I think I'm stupid. I was depressed for weeks back in May and June. My chacha (uncle) was a poll worker in Karachi, they were having municipal elections. He went away for Asr to the masjid. While he was gone, gunmen came and fired upon everyone in the place... killing 10 I think. It was amazing, subhanAllah, that my chacha didn't get hurt. But so many others did.

I take my old neighbors Asim and Wasiq, as being representatives of all of Pakistan's male population. They grew up to be bums, never attending college, or seeking a career. That's not accurate of course. My own uncles are super hardworking... not sure of my cousins though.

Anyway, I want to visit very badly (have been pining for years). But I donít know when. I don't want to go without at least one parent. I know I couldn't deal with all of our relatives and scores of my family's friends all on my own, and I'd have to... plus, at my age, they'll think I'm going for a certain purpose I don't even want to name. If I was to go with a parent, I'd be able to more easily travel around the country without troubling my aunts and uncles. I'd be able to go to Nawabshah, Mansoora (where my dad went to school), Islamabad, Lahore, and so many other places...

But in the end, thinking about the cost, I just feel bad. I can't stand the thought of travel for my own pleasure when so many people can't even afford food. I know it's crazy. Maybe I should see a counselor.

2 Comments:

At 3:07 PM, DeOwl said...

You were born in Isb and moved to Chicago? I was born in Chicago and moved to Isb. :)

Pakistan is interesting and I still don't regret my move here, despite all the complaining I do on my blog. I recommend a stay in the third world to everyone. It changes you.

 
At 11:48 AM, Rafay Bin Ali said...

It was real sad to hear what happened with your uncle at the mosque and Allah ka shukar hai he was not hurt.

Pakistan is in a sorry state of affairs. I have noticed the strangest of things here. Recently, a mosque was terrorized in Sialkot and Lahore. And you what bothers me? The fact that no one seems to be REALLY concerned or bothered about the whole situation. I think Pakistanis have just gotten used to the terror being havoced on them. I grew up in NYC and have recently come to Karachi. I goto Hamdard Institute of Management Sciences. I guess having spent 13 years in USA away from home has made me rather attached to Pakistan, than most other people. It is sad to see students of my age in university who are least bothered about such terrorist affairs.

Regards,
Rafay Bin Ali
http://rafayali.blogspot.com
http://www.rafay.com02.com

 

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