There comes a time in one’s life … if you’re lucky… when the opinion of others stops to matter anymore. Instead it is your own that keeps you grounded – if you’re lucky enough to presume that you do have an ounce of conscience, a handful of common sense and a trove of fortitude. Call me pompous but I’d like to firmly believe that I have just that!
I have always believed families are like countries – war-torn or otherwise. It is who you are; it is what makes you – well… distinctly you – it is the sum total of your existence if not more and something that you actually can’t do without! And consider yourself lucky if you realize that!
Visiting Karachi (Pakistan), reminds me of Dickens when he says: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,…” I equally dread and anticipate my stay here. Seeing old faces, reminiscing the days gone by – good memories and most importantly the bad ones that make you recoil in distaste, history etched in the sands of time – imprinted and engraved in all too familiar visages.
The moment you step out of your airplane, you are met with the same old musty smell which creates a series of flashbacks instantaneously. The steps of your school that you once tread a long time ago, the soft fresh breeze of the fan in the morning as you passed by the principal’s office; your stuffy office (near the hockey stadium)with its somewhat rickety tables and a whole lot of good friends and colleagues bonded together through an overwhelming ardor for creative toil. Slowly it all comes back to you… the time when your passion overcame genuine fatigue of travelling from one end of the city to the other – to learn and also to create; the devil may care yet reverential attitude you bore towards the martinets who were once your bosses, the feeling of being in awe of those guided you to the light. (#Faiz Ahmed Faiz, #William Shakespeare, #Alexandra Ripley, #Gul Hameed Bhatti, #Hameed Zaman, #Kaleem Omar, # Mohammad Hussain Ata, #Najamul Hassan Ata, #Zuhra Kareem, #Altamash Kamal, #Mrs Kaukab Tariq, #PECHS School, #Karachi University #The News International, #SHE #SPIDER #Burns Road, #Bad Memories, #G7, #Starline, #Muslim, #Shahrae-faisal and many many more…) I wonder… would I be who I am today if my life had been any different? Would I be here, enlightened and armed with immense resilience, courage, understanding and foresight? Self importance you say… its experience, I must solemnly assert.
Racing to the immigration reminds me of all that and even more! It reminds me how cruel the world can be – how standing alone waiting for the bus on the busy I.I Chundrigar Road could be both intimidating and yet so liberating.
Once out of the airport, you are met with an all pervading apparition of gloominess, the familiar rush of worried faces scurrying to and fro; followed by a miraculous ray of sun shine and happiness – you are home!
It is not the glitter of the glitz or the grey shades of simplicity which keeps a family glued to one another. Familial relationships or binding friendships for that matter are the primary most innate features distinguishing man from animals. These chains of attachment inherently and oxymoronically take root from love, greed, lineage, envy, heredity, struggles, and efforts and most importantly from a sense of belonging. Sure some may be dazzled by the glimmer of glamour but when you have to ramble, journey or laboriously trudge on the sands of time, you understand its worth and its worthlessness – Sic transit Gloria mundi (And thus passes the glory of the world!) – Alas a tragedy which many seldom realize. Lucky are those who comprehend the true meaning of existence, of relationships; sans the Gucci’s, Manolos or even the HSY’s of life!
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi!