We had to have a garden. We had just moved to Lahore from Karachi. The soil was fertile and there was no sand anywhere, not in my shoes or in my flowerpots. I though I’d go and buy a book on gardening. As I browsed the shelves of a popular bookstore, I realised that not many books on anything are written in Pakistan. If I was to plant something based on this selection, the only thing I could have grown was a general or a politician, and those we already have too many.

How about a book on local flora, my reading and writing friends? Would you purchase such a book? Does politics sell more in our society? Would you buy a book on gardening, or crafting, or painting, if it was written by a Pakistani for a Pakistani? I wonder what it is that makes these interests so niche and politics so much more accessible?

I settled for a variety of cacti in the end, for all my gardening ambitions. It reminded me of myself. It is a strong plant, it doesn’t need much, self sufficient and almost indestructible. My husband once bought me a cactus, with a small flower growing on it. He said he though it was prettier than a bunch of roses and wouldn’t die on me within a day or two. That’s the day I realised, he really understood me.