Ghar گھر



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

Aalishba Ahmad, Staff Writer

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.