Right From An Ex-Expat’s Heart

The feelings of attachment, closeness and devotion are not confined to humans alone. Everyone of us has some special bond with a specific place. A place that holds remarkable euphoric memories and our blissful past in its hands. A place that carries in itself our colorful childhood and fun-filled and ugly teenage. A place that had us amalgamated with our true-hearted family and loyal friends through every thick and thin. A place that can only be experienced and not explained yet I tried my best in this. There has to be a place like that in our lives.

It might not be your birthplace neither your motherland, but the way it treated you through out the years, welcoming you in the warmth of its arms, nurturing you under its thick shades, washing away your worries through its exotic beaches and scenic beauty, spreading hospitability through out your residential stay and imparting all levels of education and other basic facilities to all its citizens leaves you in complete awe and reverence for it being an expatriate there. It’s a place that is purely cordial to all its inhabitants and showers absolute hospitability to all its countryfolk. It is a place that beautified your past, nourished your present and promised a secure future.

You can’t stop admiring it for all the years to come, passing on your experiences and your deep love for that place onto your next generation as religious customs and community traditions. Because you consider the years lived there as your heirloom. It becomes a legacy that oughts to be transferred and passed on. It becomes a heritage that you feel should never die.

Image source: Google

Muscat (Oman) is the place for me. It occupies the most special place in my heart because my family of five was intact and together. It was our happy place. Those 22 years spent there are engraved on my mind, heart and soul without any apprehensions of being washed out ever. Because my sentiments for Oman can never fade away. They become more mightier with each passing year.

I consider it as my first homeland. Though a patriotic Pakistani and without having learnt Arabic for all the years I lived there, it is still placed above Karachi in my heart. After 4.5 years of settling in Karachi, I still search for similarities with Oman here and when I find any, it takes me back to the memory lane.

And one day, one day I ought to visit it with my son to show him the love it showered upon me. To show him the unmatchable peace I am still struggling to find here. To show him my nursery, school and college. To show him the streets I walked on and smooth neat roads I drove through. To show him the famous Muttrah Corniche and crystal clear beach waters. To show him its enormous mountains and lush green gardens. To show him its beautiful mosques with lovely domes. To show him Riyam, Kalbuh and Qurm parks I visited as a carefree child playing till my hands and clothes got soiled, running around after my sister till we got exhausted and ran to our parents for some snacks and then it changed to just a stroll in these parks when I was in my teens.

I want to visit Muscat again to take my son to Lulu, Carrefour, Centrepoint and Muscat Grand Mall I myself visited countless number of times for grocery, window shopping or just to dispose away the boredom. To see with him the gigantic, beautiful, marvellous and newly built Muscat International Airport I have myself not seen and just heard about. I want to do this all one day. I want to visit that place because I am glad to remain an Expatriate yet hold some strong and vigorous feelings for Oman. I want to visit it to relive those golden memories once again, to cherish the time spent there and to witness the vast changes throughout the years. I want to visit Muscat again to lookout for the clear waters spreading calmness and peace and to see the spots again I have our pictures clicked at.

I want to tell my son about his Majesty Sultan Qaboos the way he will learn about Quaid-e-Azam. I want to tell him about one of the most peaceful countries of the MiddleEast, my beloved Oman.

Image source: https://www.thebusinessyear.com/oman-2016/strides-toward-tomorrow/inside-perspective

Brief Info:

1. The Sultanate of Oman is in the Middle East, located on the south eastern end of the Arabian Peninsula.

2. It shares it borders with Yemen, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

3. Currency is Omani Riyal.

4. The largest city and oldest capital of the country is Muscat.

5. Form of Governance: Absolute Monarchy

6. Reigning Monarch: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said

7. National Day: 18th November (A day to mark independance from the Portugal control in 1650)

On Oman’s 48th National Day today, I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings towards his Majesty Sultan Qaboos who pushed the country towards modernization and evolution. I wish the best of prosperity, peace, welfare, success and development for Oman.

Image source: google

Let’s talk ‘Post Marriage Happiness’

The word ‘happiness’ holds within an ocean of meanings and factors contributing to the state of just being happy. It’s not just a word. It’s an entire sea of emotions motioning with waves of contentment, pleasure, well-being, energy, liveliness, self satisfaction, high spirits and good relationships to name a few. It happens when your heart and mind are in uniformity with each other.

Our society however fails to understand this. It overlooks the depth of feelings and attributes a “zaati ghar, gaari, bangla, nokar chaakar” as the ultimate sources of happiness. When objected, people say things like “Allah ka dia sab kuch tou hai. Aur kia chaiye?

What they don’t seem to realize is that it’s totally absurd to link happiness with material things. A ghar gaari bangla cannot ever be standards measuring it. Yes, these may be vital for your good living but just them alone cannot necessarily make you entirely happy. There is a chain of factors linked with the state of being contented through your heart and soul.

In the society we live in, a girl after hardly a week to her marriage is asked “Khush tou ho na?” Though no one has dictated this before to her but she herself comes to the realization that saying a NO will absolutely mess up things for her. A woman’s level of happiness cannot be calculated in a day or a week. Though having good inlaws and a very supportive husband does matter alot. But it takes time. Years maybe. Adjusting in the new phase of life and seeking happiness in little things around you is not easy. You have to fight your inner self and mould yourself to adapt to new changes. Your hormones in the entire journey never leave you and keep adjusting themselves in this new phase of life with you taking a toll on your mood, nature and personality whenever they feel like.

The magical period of honeymoon too doesn’t last long. You have to get over with it someday because practicality and real life problems await you with open arms ready to hug you tight nearly squeezing your ribs and sometimes suffocating you. The fairytale period has to end one day with a pat on your shoulder saying “Adios! A whole new life welcomes you

That’s when the bubble bursts and you are hit hard with a thud on ground.

Because yes, you were flying before.

Flying in the fairyland.

Dreaming.

Hoping that life pauses.

Wishing for the time to stop.

But it doesn’t. It is meant to go on. There is no way back. You may look back and cherish those moments but you cannot entirely bring the time back.

Saying for myself, I got married and shifted to Karachi while my parents still stayed abroad. There was no such thing like my maika here. No weekend plans of visiting my parent’s house and staying overnight. No gossip sessions with my sisters. It was all over my face. The longing of snuggling in my mom’s arms and having a heart to heart conversation with my dad. Mobile phones and video calls cannot replace the warmth attached with the human touch. People with the mentality “ab tou Skype, Whatsapp, Imo hai. Ab konsi doori ka ehsaas” either have no feelings or they are very hard at their hearts. Because none of this can ever replace your bond with family.

Once back from my loveliest honeymoon, my dark days started. That was the time I had sudden outbursts of crying. Mood swings at its peak. Anger management issues. Nothing made me happy. I was trying hard to accomodate myself in new lifestyle. Socializing with people was so difficult. I forgot what does laughing from inside mean. I had stomach upsets every other day. And then there were countless questions like

Ammi abbu yaad atey hain?“, “Karachi mein set hogai ho?“.

How can people be so cruel to know what you are going through and still asking the same to satisfy their inquisitions.

Yes, I wasn’t happy back then. Disappointed with myself for failing to cope up with my new relationships. Complaining to god as to why only me without my parents staying at the same place. Why I don’t get to visit them every week like other girls. Why I don’t have no one here to vent my heart out.

I remember seeing off my family at the airport when for the first time they were leaving after my marriage and I cried a river. From seeing them off till getting back home all I did was just crying. The security officials stopped my husband on the way back at a place or two and inquired as who am I to him. He had to show our wedding pictures as a proof of our relation and then he begged me to stop crying.

The newly married me was in a state of utter dejection.

I was covered with gloom from head to toe. A genuine laugh from me was forgone.Yeah it was that bad.

I then tried hard to embrace my new life and sought my support system in my mil and fil. I had my husband’s back throughout. My sil used to cheer me up as much as she could. She being a recently married girl understood me so well when at times my husband failed to do so. Because after all it was a new journey for him too. And some how, with time it started getting better.

I started owning my house. Started getting possessive about it. One day I walked through every room of my home, touched every nook and corner and whispered “yes it is mine. I belong here“. The mango tree in front yard was mine. The fruit it bore the next summer, I proudly called it mine and bragged to everyone about those desi ghar k aam. Mere ghar k aaam!

It took time. A year for me.

This journey of ownership and control took alot of patience, courage and strength from me. It took 12 months to get used to all this. 12 months to cook what I liked and to express my likings and dislikes. 12 months to share my opinions in the house. 12 months to open up regarding my feelings and expressions.

All this taught me how to be expressive. How to be happy with things and relationships I have around me. And slowly the void in my life started filling. Though I had that typical ghar gaari bangla but happiness was what was missing. I started getting excited to eat a thailey wali chaat and gandey wale french fries. Aalu k samosey and kachoris. Mirchili ki samosa chaat and Gappa gotala and 50 rupees wale bun kabab. Started memorising the roads of Karachi because it was now my home. Gradually, I got in love with this city of lights and recommended people about the newly opened restaurants here. Started going shopping to Ashiyana, Gulf, Tariq road with my mil and sil not out of formality but because I was willing. Willing to explore the unseen.

Yes all this took time. But I am happy I aced it. I finally found happiness. No one sold it ever. It was within me. I just had to discover it and I am glad I did. I brought back my lost smiles. My endless laughters. And now I am fully contented, satisfied, happy and thankful.

Initially, it’s hard for every girl getting married. Specially a girl moving to another country. Leaving behind her best friends and family. Because marriage itself is a roller coster ride in a topsy turvy land at start. Acceptability and realization are the keys to enjoy it. The sooner, the better.

Did you go through a hard time seeking happiness after marriage?

Do let me know how did you cope with it.