Thursday, 3 March 2011

The Journey Home - Pakistan

by ~mobeen

This is me going home to my country after a long time.. imagine it as if you've spent your entire childhood in one place.. then gone away for a long time, finally coming back with only your memories in mind
(btw this doesn't actually happen with me, i go home every year practically xD)

As I sat in the car coming from the airport, I got jostled around inside as it went over the cracked, bumpy, and uneven road. The plush leather interior of the Honda seemed so clean that it was like brand new! The seats seemed to mould to me naturally, but oddly; I found it slightly uncomfortable.

I stared out of the window at the things whizzing past my eyes, slowly starting to pinpoint individual objects. A green shrub, looking out of place in the almost deserted land. A man, walking just anywhere it seemed the cracked dusty path would take him. Surprisingly some small children appeared in the desolate wilderness, playing in their rags, laughing and enjoying themselves despite their woeful conditions. Just a few yards ahead, was a village with small little mud huts packed tightly together. Some chickens and goats were roaming around outside while large cows bellowed lazily in the marshes which appeared behind it. The noise was muffled slightly by the thick glass of the car window. I was transfixed by the sights outside and even more intrigued by the whole area, even though I had seen it many times before. My eyes followed the quaint village until it disappeared from my sight as we sped past.

A few yards on I could see signs of life. A tiny shop selling ice-cold bottles of coca-cola with water dripping off it in condensation. My mouth watered and I was reminded by the scorching heat that I would need a drink to satiate my own thirst soon. But we were nearly there now.

It seemed so sudden and almost comical that from a hot, dry wasteland where there was barely any sign of habitation you entered the city, teeming with life and full of traffic.
"BEEP!" The sound of a car or a truck horn sounded behind us but I didn't even bother to turn around and look at the impatient driver. By now I knew that people sounded their car horns for no reason, not necessarily if they were angry or upset, just out of habit. My driver was also doing his fair bit of honking at others and trying to squeeze the large car through impossibly small gaps in the traffic - so I couldn't really complain.

A strange feeling came over me as we wove through the traffic.
A true feeling of belonging. I smiled to myself inwardly at the thought that it almost felt as though the noise and traffic was welcoming me back. I rolled down the window eager to have some fresh air as it was getting stuffy in the car.

The smell of dust and one particular scent - which was hard to explain - hit me. It was the smell which comes after it had rained for a while. Kind of musty and dry. It was the smell I hadn't known for some time and I closed my eyes against the gentle breeze that wafted through the open window - trying to sort through all the memories that came with a rush along with the sights and sounds around me. We were on the canal road now, I could tell because the noise of traffic had ceased slightly so I opened my eyes again. As usual I could see the canal running parallel to the road. Such a familiar sight I was used to. Small boats were tied to the canal side for people to go in and have a ride down. Not that anyone actually WENT in them because the canal was filled with silt and dirt. Small scooters and motorcycles whizzed past the car, throwing fresh plumes of dust into the air. After that, I rolled up the window - there was after all only some smells which were bearable.

Finally the car turned into a smaller street and my heart started to thump loudly in anticipation. I looked around at the houses set apart from each other and saw a glimpse of The Park. A rush of memories came flooding back to me and played like a film in my mind. Me, as a small child, sliding down the rough granite ride, my mother there to catch me at the end, My brothers playing cricket with their friends and pausing occasionally to sip from a large glass of Rooh Afza provided by Bushra.

And then there it was. Large and magnificent, I was still awed by it. Flowers grew in neat plant pots on the veranda and the large iron-wrought gates had ivy climbing it. As i was carrying out my observation, they were opened from the inside and the car slowly pulled into the driveway. On either side, orange trees grew with a quite a large expanse of land beyond.
When the car finally came to a stop, I smiled again, outwardly this time, as I got out with my luggage in hand. Steadily I walked up towards the front porch when all I really wanted to do was to run to the front door and run into the welcoming arms of my family.

At that moment, I realised I had reached my final Destination.
I was where I truly belonged and deep down in my soul I felt the nature of this wondrous place welcome me with open arms.
I had come just in time for the long soul-drenching downpour's, the Monsoons, but most important of all...
I had come HOME

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