The place where I live has everything that
you need and more, yet it could never be
as beautiful as your own country. In this
place I have lived for many years now, yet it
still isn’t what I would call home. The place
where I live now can never be Pakistan.
Spending a fortnight in Pakistan taught me
this and much more, while showing me the
true colours of my homeland which I shall
describe in this letter.
What a fortnight it was that I spent in
Pakistan. The entire country had a unique
sort of energy – after all, it was Bari Eid.
This year, Eid-Al-Adha brought with it
another motive for more fun, pride and
happiness: 14th August, the day that
changed the map of the world. The streets
were decorated with flowers, banners,
sacrificial animals and the sabz hilali
parcham of Pakistan.
Eid day began early on, as Muslims from
all over the country flocked to mosques
say their Eid prayers. This was followed
by the sacrifice of animals of all sorts:
goats, camels and cows. After Qurbani is
done, people quickly head to the kitchen
to prepare a regal feast for the guests who
keep coming throughout the day.
Our feast consisted of a hearty Pulao,
grilled meat and salads. The various boxes
of Mithai were laid out as desserts, along
with Ras Malai and Savayyan – the staple of
Eid sweets. Eid festivities last for three days
but they never seem to end.
Eid is a great time for family togetherness.
Brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins and
all manners of relatives come together from
all over the country and also abroad. The
grandparents are all smiles as they see their
little ones growing – and arguing excitedly
over subjects serious and inane.
Independence Day for us Pakistanis is not
just a day dedicated to our country; it is,
instead, an ode to the hope and strength
that every Pakistani has nurtured since this
day 72 years ago. On this day, we celebrate
how far we have come, and pray and work
to ensure that we never have to go back.
The streets were coloured green and white
and the atmosphere was electric. I think no
nation celebrates its independence day as
enthusiastically as Pakistanis do.
After the end of Eid-Al-Adha and 14th
August, the streets were much quieter. We
only had a few days of our trip left and we
tried to make the most of them! We went
to see our relatives in different parts of the
city which I found more congested than
before. The traffic as usual was unruly and
Travelling back from Pakistan has always
been difficult, specifically after longer
trips. Getting used to a spontaneous and
continuously fun lifestyle only hurts when
you must hop out of this utopian land.
Missing Pakistan, however, also meant
missing many things small and big: sights,
smells, sounds of Pakistan but much more
than that the love and affection that your
grandparents and other relatives shower
On return, there was a sense of numbness
here in Dubai – no flags, no petrichor, no
horns – it all felt weird.
How lucky I am to have something that
makes saying goodbye so hard! – (Winnie