Thursday, June 5, 2014
I moved to Islamabad for all the right reasons many years ago and stayed for all the wrong ones! I was in love with the peace and tranquility and the freedom that I found in being able to hop on a motorway and run away to Lahore to party and to the KPK province to go and enjoy the wilderness within the mountains of Pakistan! Life was uncomfortably perfect until I moved about 5 years ago to Karachi in 2009. When I moved to Karachi I traded the peace and tranquility of the North for smog, fear of going to the ATM in broad daylight and the ever so convenient donations to what is known as Na Maloom Afraad as far as mobile phones and endless wallets go!
Us Karachiites are addicts! We are addicted to adrenalin, it feeds our vanity and souls and wherever we go and whatever we do is on an extreme unknown to reality! My parents refused to leave the city and their love for the old school philosophies were so strong that even I convinced my self that all this excitement was awesome and a part of normality and that i was a fool to have lost my self to the innocence of the sukoon i had left in Punjab! I had returned to all this mayhem in 2009 December after being away for many years and forced myself to miss it!
Over the past few years i travelled to Punjab many times but avoided Islamabad & Pindi if i had to stay for more than a few hours! Lahore was almost as sinful as Karachi… The only difference was that its residents had bigger appetites and everything got solved over phajjay payay and lassi. Today I braced myself as after 5 years I was forced to come to Islamabad… There were uncomfortable memories, painful friendships, hateful love, more skeletons in the closets within Chaklala Scheme 3 and Bahria Town than in all of the graveyards of Karachi! Also no matter what I tried to do nature seemed to stop me from coming here as intended on Monday originally! Finally as I made my way to the airport i was thinking to myself that perhaps this is Gods way of saying “Boy its not the right time yet!”
After Karachi was and still is paralysed and gripped with uncertainty and fear being escorted by a military escort I made to the airport! We got on a plane and mid air 37 minutes away from Islamabad a woman collapsed from hypoglycaemia and then had a cardiac arrest. Again I thought to myself that wow this just gets better! As we touched down I was expecting the worst to follow and had mixed feelings of being back in the twin cities where i had so many expectations but eventually wound up facing immense disappointment.
I nervously walked out of arrivals and had only texted two to three people related to work that i was in town as the plane took off and got an awesome reception at the airport from those who i had not even expected to say hello. Somehow we drove around the city reliving old times, laughing about the pain we suffered at each other expense, forgiving our selves for each others inability to understand the situation and promising to never mention the past again! The funny thing was that we had no regrets, we only had closure in the form of smiles and hugs and not only was i able to smile outwardly but feel free once again internally! The one thing about the Pathans and the Punjabis is that they are extremists, they love without caring and the care about hating! You see on the contrary the pushtoons fear starting any dispute because they know that ten generations down they will still be slaughtering each other over who stole the ketchup in Mc Donalds at F9 Park! The Punjabis on the other hand love a good exchange of unmentionable verbal banter before they hug each other rub bellies and run off to the Apple Store trap a mac book pro, then wander together to Zaka Pharmacy and buy a Prada bag followed with a trip to Hyperstar in Fortress Stadium to say hello to the Awesome Jofa Team!
After 48 hours of stress and entrapment in a city held by fear and unpredictability I was finally free! It felt good to be able to walk down the streets of Jinnah Super with my iPhone in my hand! it was relieving to be able to hang out in the open freedom of a city where there were so many cultures who wanted to live and let live! it felt good to go to the ATM and not have a few armed goons standing outside! I was surrounded by people and i had my privacy! i was no longer stuck in the social rat race that shrouds I.I. Chundrigar Road where your interview is based upon the originality of your Haramani suit and not so Huge-o Boss wannabe daddys belt! Oh I forgot the signature Goofy (Gucci) shoes you got re soled a million times at light house!
Just like a man cannot understand the labor of childbirth a woman goes through you cannot understand where i come from because you have not gone through what I have! I feel reborn into freedom! I know that one cannot run forever and I know it is stupid to ask of the impossible for peace but it seems to me that no matter what the price is Karachiites pay it every day in the form of many tragedies that only the press reports to you. The bloodshed is never enough for the politicians who always want more to feed their absolute addiction for power. I know the world was told that in 1947 on August 14thPakistan had been liberated and that colonisation had been abolished however the past 48 hours have shown us another reality altogether where only the colour of the mem sahib has changed!
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