Published July 31, 2008

A Citizen of Canada Craves for hustle bustle of Karachi

Areeba Adnan Markham


Usually my friends laugh at my random cravings be it for chocolate, mashed potatoes, ice cream, coffee or anything else. Today I don’t crave for food, but for the taste of the salty Karachi air. I long to be woken up not by an alarm but by the azaan ringing through the city from the mosques in the wee hours of the morning repeatedly until sun rise. I long to wake up to the sound of cars, buses, rickshaws honking relentlessly to battle traffic. I long to wake up and get dressed in my white shalwar kameez uniform and rush to my school where I would spend the next six hours. I long to wake up because of the annoying buzz of the next door neighbors’ generator when the power would be out for seemingly endless hours. I long to wake up to the mosquitoes buzzing over my head in winter to fall back asleep with the lihaaf pulled tightly over my head. I simply long to wake up to sounds and activities of Karachi, my home.

 My trivial cravings are nothing compared to my longing for the city of hustle and bustle. Sitting in my room in Markham, I still miss my real home. My four years in the city of Toronto may have faded some of the memories of Karachi from my mind but it remains till today the city where I was born, raised and cultured. It is the city that never fails to bustle with activity even in the wee hours of the morning, where strangers are not strangers but belong to the same kin, where people unite in times of need, where home really is. It is the city where I felt the heart of Pakistan lay and still resides. It is the city where the soul, the essence of Pakistan dwells. Everyone has a similar feeling and biased view towards their city of birth, regardless of where it is in the world. I accept that I am too, because it is the city that has made me who I am today.

Even today when all that we hear on news channels like Geo and ARY is about bomb blasts, shootings and political turmoil, I still feel there is no place better on this planet than my real home. I feel the same pain that is inflicted upon my people regardless of where I am. It is almost like Pakistan is the human body and I am part of the multitudinous cells that constitute its being, feeling even the slightest damage or distress inflicted upon the physical body. It is almost like Pakistan is calling out to us, citizens of Pakistan by birth and Canada by choice, to reach out and help. To me it feels like every drop of bloodshed goes in vain because of unnecessary tribal, regional, political conflict that tears down our nation and leaves it in helpless state. It is calling out to us to help it and maybe, just maybe do what we can in our capacity to help protect its sovereignty and identity.