Sunday, December 30, 2012

“Time flames like a paraffin stove / and what burns are the minutes I live.”–Irving Layton


Hey there stranger,

How are you doing? It’s been a long long time hasn’t it?

The last time I was here I believe I was ranting (as always) about my summer, and it has been a while since I’ve appeared here. To be quite honest with you, it has been a long time since I have logged on here, let alone published a line or two. But instead of going into why I was away, and what I was busy with, I want to get straight to the point. Well, its really just a thought that’s been lingering around in my head for about a month now. A thought that has kept me awake at nights tossing and turning in my bed. A thought that takes away my concentration from work and food ends up getting burnt, or a glass is over flown. A thought that at certain times has had me put my head in mom’s lap weeping, while she reads her supplications on her praying mat.

From November 6th, up to December 6th, I was in Pakistan. It had been six years since I had been to the motherland and as any other person, I was excited beyond belief. From the start of my journey till the first few days in Pakistan I was so excited that it was a very numb feeling. Seeing old faces that had gotten older over time, seeing new people, mostly kids that I had never seen before. Meeting nieces and nephews for the first time. Shopping, touring etc. It was all so exciting that if I was to sit down with a pen and paper and try to explain how I felt, I would be just left sitting and the ink would dry out.

It wasn’t until a week or so later that I had gotten into the routine of things there. Gotten used to the power outage, or the humid 30 degrees in the middle of November, the names and faces of the relatives etc., that I started to notice and compare things. I started to compare the life I was living there during that month, to the life six years ago. It was just so different. Places had changed, fashion had changed, of course, but most importantly, people had changed.

The people that once were my role models or my best friends, were these strangers almost that I might as well have been meeting for the first time. All grown up, and not like the childish girls and guys we used to be, it was all a bit overwhelming. It made me feel happy, yet uncomfortable to see these guys and gals working, and raising kids, and hosting dinners for families. It made me realise how six years felt like a glimpse of an eye, but had rearranged so much. And the thing is that, they must not feel the same way. Sure for them, I had grown up too. I had changed a whole lot too in the last six years. But since I was the one who packed up my life and moved to an unknown place to start a brand new life, I was the one who always lived in the past. For them, I was just a guest who was visiting after a long time.

The worst was feeling the absence of the ones that had past away in the last six years. I walked into a house where I spent most of my childhood. It still had the same look, the same people, the same furniture, hell the same set up, but every time I walked in, I felt like there was something hollow inside me. It felt as if these houses lacked the light and wisdom of a person that used to be the foundation of the house. I missed my grandmother. It didn’t hit me how much I had missed her and how the changes that I observed around me were so evident and scary until I visited her grave for the first time. From the minute the car entered the large gates of a vast land named ‘vadi-e-hussain’, up until I saw my mom throw herself onto the one grave decorated with dry flowers, and dried out candles, this thought had entered my head.

Six years ago, she was the reason I would go all the way to Pakistan, meet and greet, spend some time with her, be enlightened by her wisdom and protected by her prayers. Now there was no one to offer their wisdom, no one that would stay up all night sitting on the praying mat until the sides of her ankles turned rock hard, and pray for my good future. My happiness. In between a hundred or so relatives and friends, I felt alone.

We often don’t realise how much we take our families and certain individuals of our families for granted. Those of you who have had to let go of a special family member, whether it be a grandparent, a parent, or a sibling, knows what I’m talking about. Everything without them feels as if it has no worth.

I will always be grateful to all my family members who made this one month trip a memorable one with all their love and care. But, I cannot, no matter how much I try, ignore the fact that six years has brought about massive changes that I still am getting used to. And yes, that is the exact reason why I have been away for so long. Believe it or not, but its not just writing that I haven’t kept up with. I have also been much less social. My apologies to my dear dear friend, who I am sure will read this. I apologise for the long break.

It still upsets me more than ever that every time I go back to visit, things will be even more different, and who knows, maybe more people will be added and or, subtracted from the family. But its a reality that I have to get used to I guess. Though, I can’t say how long it will take me. I have been back for almost a month now and as I sit here writing this, I can feel the hollowness inside me again.

I apologise on how sad this post was. Don’t worry, visiting Pakistan had lots of upsides to it too, like all the shopping I did :D. But I will save that for another time and let you have a break.

Thank you for listening you!


Yours Truly.