My arranged marriage to Pakistan
Bond vanishes and you plan on cheating on him by running into the arms of that charming boy named London or America.
The most tormenting experience of my life, without a doubt, has to be the contrast I see when my plane flies from an exotic place and lands at the Allama Iqbal Airport in Lahore. From endearment-hurling, sweet smelling men, I come home to sour smelling uncles, who evidently want to peek at a lot more than just my passport.
But here’s a funny thing about patriotism and nationalism: it’s like being in an arranged marriage. The pattern is somewhat similar.
Your country is like that husband you never chose. He’s the choice you never made. You succeed in overlooking his bald spots, his lack of oomph, the fact that he looks like a chubbier version of Alice Cooper and accept that this is what fate had for you. You hate him for his occasional bouts of ‘terrorism’, the fact that he closes down completely and leaves you hanging by a thread. And sometimes the sense of bonding vanishes and you plan on cheating on him by running into the arms of that charming boy named London or maybe America.
You know your parents wouldn’t approve of them. Their overly gelled hair and leather jackets — a size bigger than their frame, seems like the best thing to have happened after Christmas sales. They look so full of life, they’d never shut you out and they have enough money to keep you happy.
But once the rage burns out, something inside you forces you to come back. You keep repeating, almost like a chant, that an emotional mess is still better than a social and racial mess, in hopes that at some point it will start sounding plausible enough. London knows he’s just too good for me and I’d never get my way with America the way I do with Pakistan.
His face is scarred, his walk is trippy, he is old and cranky and at times, he embarrasses you by asking for way too much money from his rich friends but you stick with him through thick and thin. ‘Why’, a friend asks with enthusiasm that seems almost fake and rehearsed. With a smile aching to mature itself into a frown, I utter, ‘Because he needs me more than I need him’.
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