A friend who just returned to Lahore after spending years in Europe wrote this letter. I quite liked this piece of writing: therefore, with his permission I am posting it here with suitable edits. I think sometimes stuff out of heart leads to great writing. Raza Rumi
Have been back in the mothersisterland for a week now and the heat has finally started to make its way up to my head. I wish this could have been an ideal rant but sorry to disappoint you ol’ chap it will have to be a slackjawed late night verbal discharge of reflections that one occasionally likes to share on muggy late September night following a dreadfully monotonous day that the whole nation celebrates as eid. The culture shock that I was promised I will get on my return to Pakistan has finally started to manifest itself in loud, vulgar ufone promos on the phone, evolution gone bad displays of road manners and absolutely mind numbing, finer sensibilities gone apeshit offences on TV with grainy reception. Add the torture of relatives arriving unannounced, replete with nuclear families and ofcourse the obligatory loadshedding (though I have been spared from the actually horrid blackouts). The grime, the dust and the hustle bustle doesn’t offend as much, on contrary it serves as a reminder of what actually defines my Pakistaniat and makes me feel I’m actually home.
What surely is missed is the warm company of friends over a warm cup of coffee and lively European flavored conversations. Alas, all good things must pass and a married man has to take a broader look at the picture, weigh out the options, reach a decision and get a one way ticket to Pakistan.
Now that I’m here, the topmost agenda, the one about getting a job, understandably takes paramount priority. Landing in the last week of Ramadan doesn’t help much so the days have to be slugged out til’ everyone’s out of the pious frame of mind.
Other than that my first week in Pakistan has been eventful, save for today. Got my first taste of driving on the motorway which is awesome but can get monotonous very soon, especially when you are with family. Discovered a couple of excellent bookshops, even bought A Case of Exploding Mangoes which I just got done with reading and though I found the ending a bit anticlimactic I was in absolute awe of the courage, imagination and humor Mohammad Hanif has shown in those pages. I will sign myself as a Mohammad Hanif fan on facebook right after I send this mail to you guys. Other than that, there has been plenty of food, not enough steady internet connectivity and plans to revive a social life that on second thoughts might not be that easy given most of the Lahori crowd is not in Lahore save for Deenah and Soota and the additional complication that one can have in building up a social life in Lahore without a job. But here I am, in good ol’ Lahore. A place where my heart is and where it feels just like home, loadshedding, heat and the dust, simian traffic, atrocious phone service, philistine TV, uninvited guests and that Punjabi feeling notwithstanding.
I am home.