It’s a cacophony of sound, birds, traffic, laughter and conversation. Even the legendary pigeons of Karachi, just like the armed thugs, the city is notorious for, are gregarious, and gutsy, sweeping down to take a peck out of the packet of puffed chips, coated in spice. Coat anything with spice, and it develops taste in Pakistan. Spice and deep fried; the secret technique to overcome a new mother in law’s culinary critique, for the young bride, entering her husband’s joined family system. The same technique to get buy in life in Pakistan, deep fried in threats of terrorism, coat it with enough spice from international media, and the political gurus of the first world take its spins on the countries future.
Their analysis becomes prophecies, as those same countries hold the cue ball spinning out the future for the 190 million heartbeats of this “third world country”. A headline in times magazine calls it out as the most dangerous country in the world, swept and washed out in flash floods, earth quakes, drone attacks, suicide bombers, and corruption, used as a global pawn, it still survives, it still beats, Pakistan, the worlds bravest nation.
Just like the sweet taste of warm vermicelli, on an early morning. Like the sticky sweet deep fried dough balls, molded in a perfect rainbow shape, golden orange in color, crusty on the outside, but gooey and warm, from the inside.
Like the smell of spring in the air, of the “motia” flowers, sold on street corners, strung up in beads. Like the sparkle in the street child’s eyes. Like the orange skies, and colorful kites.
A child crosses the fields, playing with her sheep. Her father is a live stock farmer, she’s imaging the new clothes she’ll get from the sale. She had reared this sheep, bought him the sweet grass which he liked best from over the cliff, and decorated him with handmade woven red neck pieces, accessorized with bells and glass.
She was helping “baba”, but as she looked up, she saw those iron birds, they warned about.
She runs to the nearest tree for cover, a baby sapling, light and easily bent by the breeze. There is a loud noise, and the last thought that runs through her mind as her heartbeat stops, and her nine years in Pakistan complete their course in this world.
How did I end up here?
In a country, as a statistic, in an index no one cared for. Another stalled heart beat, in everyday Pakistan. As a pawn, in a fight fueled by political agendas, played by governments in shiny offices.