How my heart pines for home
Despite all the terrorism and violence, loadshedding and heat, you still always want to come back to Karachi; home.
It was barely six months ago that, my wife and I walked through the immigration desk at Karachi’s Jinnah Terminal en route to Europe.
Having moved out of Pakistan almost four years ago in search of a better future, I am now used to the whole drill. The pre-travel jitters are all but drowned by the overwhelming emotions of having to leave your folks behind, yet the prospect of getting away from all the insecurities that plague this country fill you with a strange vigour.
Strange because this vigour does not last long and within a few months you start to yearn for the sight of Karachi’s streets once again.
When you are abroad, you get to hear the news of target killings everyday on TV, listen to tales of horror from people who have been the victims of terrorism and watch in disgust as political figures bicker over trivial matters when the whole nation is on the verge of collapse.
But, all of this still does not put you off. There is a part of you that wants to go back at the earliest possible opportunity. Each and every time.
In time, you start to miss the bun kebabs, the kebab rolls, gola ganda and the Pathan ka chai paratha, the sound of the rickshaws, the double ‘hai, hai’ chants of the bus conductors and everything else that is unique to this country.
The stories of intense heat and loadshedding do not put you off, but rather remind you of the time you spent the night sitting on the footpath chatting with your friends or the time you had to study for an exam under candle light and still managed to pass with flying colours.
The news of a ‘payya jaam hartaal’ leaves you reminiscing the time your classes in college got cancelled because of one such strike and you spent the day playing games on your PS2. The memories of night cricket matches, the periodic visits to Sea View make you nostalgic.
But most importantly, when you think of your mom and dad back home, it almost brings you down to tears. It makes you want to leave everything at that moment and take the next flight home.
The force with which you get pulled back towards your homeland increases with each passing moment but sadly, there are a lot of things wrong with Pakistan and a permanent move back home does not seem logical at the moment. However, the periodic visit is a must to quench the thirst and so we are back six months later, through the same immigration counter once again and it feels great to be back!
Follow Faraz on Twitter @eff_eche