Friday, December 14, 2007

Homesick

Have you ever felt homesick for people you have never known, or places you have never been? Two opportunities have come and gone. First was Hajj last year. Visa issues and then the lack of plane seat resulted in not going. Now its Pakistan, my parents went after 20 years. I wanted to go but new job = not enough vacation.

Yesterday my little brother described with excitement his experiences so far, "Api! Its like on CNN! But I'm there! There's meat hanging in the bazaar! And I saw a buffalo I think? It was just wandering and people didn't even stop to stare at it!" I laughed at his descriptions, his sense of wonder and his culture shock. I told him, "Don't experience this as a 'them' thing experience it as 'you' or 'you could've' thing. But not for the decision to immigrate this would have been your world as mundane as the manicured suburbs you were raised in. This might not be you, but it is a part of who you are."

Hearing my mom share with me her trip to the bazaar, observing a saas and bahoo engage in a passive aggressive exchange on the price of her valima outfit... to hear about vendors calling out for hot chai that isnt Tazo Chai, or Chai Latte, or Chai Tea, but CHAI, real chai the way chai is supposed to be... Here Ive learned to compartmentalize the different parts of me but what would it be like to be in a place that is all that one compartmentalized me? Is it freeing, or suffocating? Will I ever find out? My parents track record for going back isn't good and I wonder what impediment will come up next year. Will I ever see Pakistan? Will I travel from South America to Europe and never see the other half of the Pakistani-American equation thats me? Its dramatic to say that when I think of Pakistan and that I might never go I feel an ache in my heart that feels much like a bruised wound but its true, because I do

14 comments:

umarah said...

so you have never been to pakistan.that is unusal for american with pakistani roots.isnt it?

Aisha said...

I dont know the statistical breakdown for pakistani-americans visits to Pakistan.

I went when I was 8 but the memories are faded like old pictures now.

Anonymous said...

You will go soon don't be so down. There must be a reason it didn't work out.

Arfeen said...

It's interesting that you named this post as 'Homesick' when you obviously consider US as your home. But strangely enough, I could actually relate to your post. (I moved around a lot while growing up - and still doing that, so I have a little trouble trying to decide which place to call home)

I think it fits precisely in the Maslow's hierarchy of needs where people start thinking about what they call 'Self actualization needs' once they've met their basic necessities like money, safety, family etc.

But I hope you get to visit Pakistan soon. Im sure it's going to be an experience :)

roora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aisha said...

Anon- thanks you're right.

Arfeen, WOW, yes... that would definitely explain it.... thanks for the food for thought. Thanks for helping me make that connection. And you're right, the US is obviously my home and I love being here, but Pakistan is also home... to a lesser degree, but it is still a considerable degree.... where would you say out of all thep aces home is most clear for you?

To the person who removed their comment, I just want to make it clear that no my desire to return to Pakistan has nothing to do with inheritance...?

Mystic- soul said...

I just came back from Karachi and I thoroughly enjoyes bun kabab at road side, chiken corn soup at Tariq Road, gol gappe and 'bhutta'(corn) at karachi beach.

It was great watching "unt ki sawari"... donkey carts cruising with Honda accord...

It is a different world.

youngMuslimah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
youngMuslimah said...

awww..hope you go soon. i just returned from 'umrah last month. and pilgrims arrived already..it felt so bad , you know being there and not making it for hajj:(

Arfeen said...

I've always considered Karachi as my 'Home' but I've only lived there for one year (except for a lot of frequent visits) My entire family including my parents live there ... so it's not hard for me to decide where home is .. but I feel like an impostor saying that because I've barely lived in that place :s

Aisha said...

Mystic, i'm glad you had a safe trip and safe return. Insh'allah one day I will go too... :0)

YM, yeah.. insh'allah.

Arfeen, well, the cliche is "home is where the heart is"... so I guess you have every right to consider it home!

Anonymous said...

bruised wound?????

OUCH

:(

Tee said...

I feel homesick for people I have never known and places I have never been ... AND places I should feel no connection to all the time.

At least your feelings make perfect sense. You have roots there. I feel homesick for places I have absolutely no roots in, and it frustrates and depresses me. It's as if I'm not happy with my own identity.

I just watched The Namesake this weekend and I'm feeling depressed. I feel like I know Gogol Ganguli and his family... Your description of your brother reminded me of the part of the movie when they went to India for the first time. The sister was complaining that it was hot and Gogol said something like, "Here, try this ancient air conditioner" and started fanning her. LOL.

Anyway - if I can feel this way for countries that I have no ties to, I can only imagine how excruciating it is for second generation children or immigrants, (like my husband). To feel your heart is torn - half is here, and half is in a faraway place.

Aisha said...

Anon- yes dramatic, I know :(

Tee, Yeah my brothers reaction does remind me of that, lol. And you probably do know Gogul Gangoli and his family... because you know ME! lol. I wonder if you feel this way becuase you're a free spirit at heart who was meant to travel and see all these amazing places... so its not that you are in search for roots but you are in search for self actualization and understanding the world around you. If I ever become a JK Rowlings leve l world famous writer, I will book you and your family a trip around the world... :) I think its not just the roots.... its seeing the world around you since you are in tune with cultures and people different from you.

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