I am local. I am multi-local. I am wherever the heart and mind wants to be - no postcodes or dialing codes required. I wake up and say a prayer, not from the fear of hell or the lures of heaven, but simply for the sake of the soul. Born into a ritualistic society (Pakistan) and moving to a predominantly agnostic/atheist one (Australia), I’ve oscillated along the spectrum, but endeavor to remain moderate on a daily basis.
Another ritual is reading (maybe even more religiously inculcated than religion itself). I steer away from reading authors from the same culture (same shit - different stink, in my eyes), and tend to indulge in literary globe-trotting. My favorite authors are: Naguib Mahfouz, Carlos Fuentes, Chinua Achebe, Sue Townsend, and Mohammed Hanif. Not only is reading an aphrodisiac, it’s also an added incentive to hit the road and travel, throwing caution to the wind.
I hold a few dear friends close to my breast, while all others are given an audience as and when the stars align. I speak with my immediate family weekly, whilst extended family tends to get the unfortunate circumstance of a non-consensually decided phone call on a monthly basis. I project my state of mind to close friends via social media in the form of articles, videos and vitriolic rants on an ad-hoc basis.
I am a reverse brain-drain story. Pakistan exported me for the sake of knowledge creation - however, I came back empty-handed. They still had the generosity to take me back in, but I feel they are having second thoughts. When you go through your adolescent years in Australia and then return back to Pakistan, it’s like you’ve entered the theatre of the absurd. You feel like Samuel Beckett would have been left scratching his head. You feel like you’ve got a lead role in ‘Animal Farm’. Amongst all these absurdities, there’s one underlying sentiment – all this is transient. Maybe Pakistan will boot me out of the country someday, and I’ll be off gallivanting somewhere else. Being a TCK, this doesn’t seem that daunting.
Where to next? World domination through cultural appropriation.