Monday, 13 August 2018



A few years ago a friend visited me in Malaysia. We met at a cafe to have some tea and snacks. We were distracted by a colourful display that we could see from the window and we decided to step out to take photographs. After taking plenty of photographs, we happily went to a nearby mall and then headed back home. Midway I realised that I had not paid for the food we had at the cafe. I could have gone back later too because I had taken public transport that day but, I decided to go back immediately and make the payment. I ran back (literally) and reached the cash counter breathless, embarrassed and was apologising profusely. The manager was delighted to see that I had returned and could also see that I was genuinely sorry for what had happened. After I had made the payment, he asked me where I was from. I still remember how pride took over embarrassment at that very moment when I said, “PAKISTAN.” A tiny individual act that spoke for the whole of my country. 
Being away from Pakistan, most of those in the similar boat, make contributions on the individual basis. Introducing someone to the magical Coke Studio or gifting someone a book about Pakistan. Inviting someone over for an authentic Pakistani dinner or bringing back ajrak, chunris and truck art from Pakistan as gifts. I have created Chili Mili and Slims fans and have had non-Pakistanis drooling over Pakistani Mangoes and Biryani. I have given explanations when news from back home was not good. I have swelled with pride when we won a cricket match. I have tried that everyone I meet remembers Pakistan with fondness and love. 
In many moral-ethical dilemmas, I have chosen Pakistan over my comfort. 
Because for many people that I meet especially those who don’t know where Pakistan is on the map of the world, I AM PAKISTAN. 
Thank you, Pakistan for giving me an identity. 
Happy Independence day

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