Have you ever felt homesick for people you have never known, or places you have never been? Two opportunities have come and gone. First was Hajj last year. Visa issues and then the lack of plane seat resulted in not going. Now its Pakistan, my parents went after 20 years. I wanted to go but new job = not enough vacation.
Yesterday my little brother described with excitement his experiences so far, “Api! Its like on CNN! But I’m there! There’s meat hanging in the bazaar! And I saw a buffalo I think? It was just wandering and people didn’t even stop to stare at it!” I laughed at his descriptions, his sense of wonder and his culture shock. I told him, “Don’t experience this as a ‘them’ thing experience it as ‘you’ or ‘you could’ve‘ thing. But not for the decision to immigrate this would have been your world as mundane as the manicured suburbs you were raised in. This might not be you, but it is a part of who you are.”
Hearing my mom share with me her trip to the bazaar, observing a saas and bahoo engage in a passive aggressive exchange on the price of her valima outfit… to hear about vendors calling out for hot chai that isnt Tazo Chai, or Chai Latte, or Chai Tea, but CHAI, real chai the way chai is supposed to be… Here Ive learned to compartmentalize the different parts of me but what would it be like to be in a place that is all that one compartmentalized me? Is it freeing, or suffocating? Will I ever find out? My parents track record for going back isn’t good and I wonder what impediment will come up next year. Will I ever see Pakistan? Will I travel from South America to Europe and never see the other half of the Pakistani-American equation thats me? Its dramatic to say that when I think of Pakistan and that I might never go I feel an ache in my heart that feels much like a bruised wound but its true, because I do