I have a piece of stale barfi in my fridge.
It has been there for six days. I know it is old. And I know, that every time I carefully unwrap it to take a tiny bite, and wrap it back up, I am probably risking a drastic case of food poisoning. But it is barfi, sweet, with the right amount of pista and badam. Each bite reminds me of home, of my father selflessly buying a small box of barfi so that we would eat some meetha, even though he is diabetic. It reminds me of the time that I turned my nose up at it, insisting that desi mithai was not worth risking obesity for.
Four months away from home changes everything.
There were mangoes, that were brought into the US. I had a box gifted as a present, courtesy of the Pakistan Embassy. On Monday morning, I opened the box, and inhaled the smell of the chaunsas, and then quickly looked around to see that no one was looking. Two hours later, another Pakistani friend told me that she had done the same thing.
A few months ago, I read this blog post. It seems crazy, right? Why would anyone, in a city in a first world country, forego sleep and the benefits of a thriving nightlife, and sit at home and watch a cricket match?
A few weeks after I moved to Washington, Pakistan and India played each other in a semi-final [that we will pretend never happened]. At 4AM, I dutifully woke up, found the shadiest website that was streaming the match, aware that this might be illegal, and began watching what turned out to be a massacre, but was part of the ritual that we call life as a Pakistani. Even know, the thought of Mohammad Aamir’s wasted career brings tears to my eyes. We stand united in our pain [and in our hatred for Ijaz Butt].
Today marks Pakistan’s 64th Independence Day. There is no other place I’d rather call home. Lekin iss mulk ka Khuda hi hafiz.