I've lived almost all my life abroad and during dining room analysis and news broadcasts it can be easy to forget what a blessing a homeland is. It is easy to get comfortable in a foreign land and look at your own country from the outside, the comparison with the first world making the problems back home seem bigger and messier. I still believe that even though we might forget the gift that Pakistan is, we’re all just one cricket match, one song or one jalebi away from wanting to wear our national colors with pride. I remember that my dad made it a point to always take trips back to Pakistan for my summer holidays when I was a child and for reasons unknown ever since I remember feeling that Pakistan was home, no country ever matched. My four years of living in Pakistan during my bachelors did nothing but reinforce that feeling. Therefore, the following is a humble ode to a place that has provided me with an identity and place to call my own.

Pakistan is that childhood home that you might have moved out of but still feels like the only place you can ever call home. It is the noises on the street, the cricket ball breaking a nearby window and the men making their way to the neighborhood masjid. 

Pakistan is celebrating absolutely everything and anything from a wedding or Eid to a political win or a cricket match won.

Pakistan is the smell of food on every street and market ready to indulge any passerby. It is the melodies both old and new forming songs that touch hearts far and wide.

Pakistan is ideas and conversations that keep forming ripples in stagnant waters so that there is always progress. It is art fearlessly flowing from every corner and demanding to be seen.

Pakistan is people opening their hearts and doors with love and warmth for their own and guests alike. It is a helping hand that needs no acknowledgement just a chance to make the world a better place.

Pakistan is braving through the dangers and fears that sometimes feel are everywhere but getting out of bed in the morning, getting the job done and most times not letting the smile slip. It is excelling, working hard and breaking stereotypes and making noise so that minds can be changed and hearts won.

Pakistan is wearing hearts on sleeves and showing the world what passion for living and growing and changing and loving looks like.

Pakistan is falling and getting up over and over again and then wearing those scars with nothing but pride.