I may not be as patriotic as the people who wear the green shirts, paint their faces with vibrant colors or go out with giant Pakistani flags on the top of their cars every 14th August but like a few people out there I also don’t think that my country is ‘sh*t-a**’.
Being a teenager who isn’t even in college yet, I have surmised that most (not all) of the people around me are just fascinated by the idea of getting on a plane, travelling to abroad and living in a place with less social restrictions.
Almost daily, I see pictures on social media of people taking selfies with the new Eiffel tower looking like monument in Bahria Town Lahore. Some of them even check-in saying ‘Paris-France’ because apparently being in Paris is a thing to show off in this utterly shallow world.Thinking about it, I realized that people are dazzled to see this monument only because it represents something from France. Why don’t I often get to see people enraptured by Badshahi mosque’s mind boggling architecture? I get it, not everyone in our country can easily go abroad for holidays and thus, those who do, feel superior but that does not mean that our country isn’t worth living in.
I have been to Paris and seen Eiffel tower but trust me, I honestly enjoyed seeing Pakistan’s Sheosar Lake more. Around the Eiffel tower were people selling local alcohol bottles and even key-chains at rock-bottom prices. I remember a sudden hype that was created that evening when police arrived and these people literally fled away within minutes (and it was not a good sight). But in Pakistan’s Deosai plains I could lay down all day, look at the sky and adore my country forever. Look at this unedited picture I took last year and tell me if you don’t think of this scenery as one of God’s awe-inspiring masterpieces. It is on you to find the good in the place you live and the things you have.
I see several people around me who haven’t decided yet about what career they want to choose but they know that whatever they want to do, they want to do it outside Pakistan. Very often, I hear statements like “I will ditch this place as soon as I can.” In fact lately, a 17 year old friend told me that one of the reasons she wants to go live outside Pakistan is because she wants to be free of her mother’s restrictions and want to be able to wear western clothes all the time. *claps slowly*
Now let’s imagine. You get to fulfil your teenage dream. You leave your family behind and finally go abroad. Get it straight. Unless you have a lavish professional job, it is not going to be easy for you to visit Pakistan once or twice a year and you might even miss out on some of the most awaited occasions of your life. There are going to be times when your family would need you and won’t get to be there. What next? A bunch of regrets? (I have heard a lot of incidences where a family member dies and someone regrets not being there for him/her in the last days). No matter what, at one point or another you WILL miss your home. I have used the word home and not house to highlight the importance of a homely feeling you cannot just get everywhere in the world.
Yes, we have messy politics and scorching heat plus load shedding but we do have a lot more too. I am not going to rant about how several people gave up their lives to create Pakistan but let’s think about Pakistan’s street food, a 60 rupee plate of gol gappay and the exuberance it gives. Think about a desi wedding when you might have done late night dance practices with your cousins for weeks. Think about the time you might have spent at your grandparent’s house, running around and spreading exuberant smiles on their faces.Think about the peppy hoots one gets to hear at every Pak-Indo cricket match. Think about the twinkling lights on Chaand Raat at a local market nearby. Think about every Eid-ul-Adha when you might have gathered at a neighbor’s place to see a camel’s sacrifice. Think about legends like Nusrat Fateh or young experts like Arfa Kareem we have had. Now tell me our country is worth living in because if you don’t at least want to be in this place where you, your parents and even your grandparents grew up, I guess you have simply failed your country.