Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Pakistan Post...(one of)...

Do you see ME there? I was asked that by a friend...he spends time shuttling between Karachi, Toronto, New York, Bombay and who knows where else. He wasn't asking if someone like him would be needed there...he knows they would....he asked instead, rhetorically: do you see me there? As in, I'm not, am I?


In ko apnay haal par chor dou.


Guess who else I don’t see here?


Baraish kitni khubsurat hai. Tree hugging hippy and it pops out of my mouth-it’s automatic aid worker guilt of living a lavish lifestyle. Unless you live in a tent on the side of the road.


I don’t and you don’t and we all scoffed at Sean Penn.


Guess who else I don’t see here?


Who do I see?


Bosnia, Rwanda, Myanmar, Timor, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Ache, Haiti-I see lots of Haiti but then again, I saw a lot of Sri Lanka in Haiti.


It’s not a global community and you don’t know best.


Sindh:

I see ghar aja pardesi, tujhe desh bulaye. My eyes do look for Shahrukh and Kajol. Wrong country…same fields. I wouldn't even know which Pakistani stars to imagine instead...Nadeem and Shabnam were before my time. Babra Sharif might be too dirty.


Allah kay naam pay, beti, dua karouN geeN. I give her ten rupees and say: dua karna, amma.

She cracked me a huge smile and leaned forward slightly and opened up her fist and gestures at my Western colleague two cars away from me..


Unhoun nay mujhe 50 rupay diye.


She did her routine first and unable to keep the news to herself she shares it with me.

You say I’m not local?


It started with her: Her face, the way she spoke, her clothes and the way they wore her. Her script: beti, allah kay naam par, bhalla, dua. I know that script.


I KNOW that script. I know her. She made me feel at home.


These are my people

I want to say it but am wary about how empty that will be- if I were to say my people out loud I would have to move here. I bite it back constantly.


So you see ME here? Guess who else I don’t see?


I thought there was a drought and then massive floods. I see really healthy buffaloes everywhere…and lots of them.


That is an elite Karachi girl speaking...how much more local do I need to be?

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