Ghar گھر

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Ghar گھر

Punjab’s art // پنجابی // Courtesy of Aalishba Ahmad.

Punjab’s art // پنجابی // Courtesy of Aalishba Ahmad.

Punjab’s art // پنجابی // Courtesy of Aalishba Ahmad.

Punjab’s art // پنجابی // Courtesy of Aalishba Ahmad.

Aalishba Ahmad, Staff Writer

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Assalamualaikum! My ears heard the greeting most common to me while being swarmed with hugs and kisses.

The musky air filled my nose. I looked up at the night sky, seeing clouds and a full moon. I heard hundreds of honking horns going off in the distance.

I looked out the car window to see the vehicles packed on the streets, the motorcycles with families of 5 stacked on, and the rickshaws swerving around.

The next morning, I woke up to the sound of adhan from the nearest mosque. The beautiful, flowing Arabic invitation filled my room.

As I got up to conquer a new day in this foreign land, I was greeted by the biggest group of loving people. While drinking a warm cup of chai, I heard the occasional tweeting of birds from outside.

Visitors rang the chirping doorbell, hugging everyone hello. The conversations sparked, and the voices that shared new occurrences got louder. I felt the presence of family.

As I went out with cousins to have new adventures, I was filled with excitement. Going shopping was a brand new experience. The vendors and purchasers bartered over the price, the bargainer happily leaving with a cheap buy.

After, my grandfather and I drove around in hopes to find postcards to send my friends; unsuccessful, he pulled his car to the side of the road where a fruit vendor stood selling mangos.

The fresh juiciness of the mangos awakened my taste buds, cheering me up. It was the most delicious fruit I had ever tasted.

I looked around taking in the place I was born, yet have had hardly spent any time. It was a foreign land, however, the familiarity of what surrounded me was awing.

Thinking of the negative connotations surrounding my beautiful birthplace, sadness overtook me. How can a place that gives me so much joy be so frightening to some?

I knew in my heart that the close minded and horrifying words said did not have true meaning; the beauty and kindness of my homeland rejected those ideas.

When my visit had come to an end, I embraced my family in goodbye, tears streaming down everyone’s faces. The trip had opened my mind, the experiences had shown me a new lifestyle, and the love surrounding me cleared my heart of doubts.

I knew this was where I belonged; I knew Pakistan was home.