I was born in Pakistan; we moved to the United States when I was four years old. We moved back to Pakistan when I was seven years old, and we stayed there for about six years. We mostly lived in the city and would often go to our village over the summer break or on holidays. Now in Pakistan the city is completely different from the village. The city is more modernized with public-English speaking schools, gyms and shopping centers, while the villages are underdeveloped. Kids in the villages as young as ten are in charge of herding and milking cows. Instead of attending school they’re forced to fend for their families.
Because I’ve lived in America, in modern Pakistan and in the village I feel like I’m a mixture of all these small little variations. I love my caramel frappes from star bucks, but I also love to sit on straw mats to eat food instead of sitting on tables. I love my air-conditioned room, but I also love sleeping outside under the stars on top of a wooden cot. But sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere. For my American friends I’m too Pakistani and for my Pakistani friends I’m too American. It’s like I’m just not enough for the people around me. I’m too much or too little of something.
But I remember this one time, during our summer break we went to my dad’s village. We were young and careless. We would play hide and seek, tag, cricket, and any game that required physical exercise.
Often when we played tag, we would hide on our roof-top because that way when someone would come get us we would jump over the railing to our neighbor’s house, from there we would take their stairs and stroll back into our house. I’ve lost count of how many times my grandma has yelled at us, telling us not to go into the neighbor’s house.
There were times when we would dig up the dirt where my grandma had planted trees and a few other plants. One time while scavenging around, we found a revolver buried next to the Guava tree. It belonged to my grandpa. He put it there to hide it but forgot all about it.
One day, before coming to America in 2009 my siblings and cousins buried a knife in the ground as a joke. We forgot all about it. When we went back to Pakistan in 2012 for my eldest cousins wedding, my cousin who resides in Pakistan told us that the knife had caused a huge blunder in the family. We couldn’t take her seriously. How could a buried knife cause so much problems?
This is how the story goes.
My grandma is very superstitious and she believes in black magic. When we left Pakistan, she dug the dirt to plant a new tree, but to her amusement she found a knife. Now she believed that someone in the family had done black magic and burying that knife was part of the ritual. My grandma blamed my aunt and that is how the fight started. My cousins were too scared to confess, but finally they did and my grandma and aunt breathed a sigh of relief.
But it’s so weird how one small thing we did for entertainment caused all this ruckus. It never crossed our minds that something so small could cause a huge fight. My grandma wasn’t right, but she’s lived in the village her whole life and that’s what she’s accustomed too. I can’t blame her. But it’s also something I don’t understand. I guess it’s because I’m not from there but neither am I from here.