It would be the epitome of ungratefulness to say that I had a rough childhood, because it was anything but that. I was well-fed, well-clothed and went to a great school. I was surrounded affectionate family members and teachers.

One does not have to live long, however, to realize that nothing really is ever perfect.

As a child, I had a phase where I was convinced that I was all but invisible, convinced that while people could see and hear me, I could not affect them in any way. Perhaps that was why, even from my an early age, I began putting a lot of my energy into academics as a I burnt myself to show the world that I was around.

As with all phases, this one was shrugged off as I grew.

Old fears tend to creep up now and then, though, reminders reaching out from the past. Some nights I find myself staring at the ceiling of my dorm room wondering if I am still a human-shaped void, a holograph that cavorts into people's lives but lacks the mass to affect change in them. Here, especially, so far from home, among people so different from mine, it is much easier to fall prey to such feelings.

I do end up falling asleep every such night, though, for it only takes a little observation to see the footprints I am leaving behind in the lives of my new friends. They are subtle yet not insignificant. I see them in how my devout Christian roommate asked me to I teach him how to pray; in how, at one point, many on my floor were obsessed with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan; in the looks of effort they would assume as they'd try to utter the guttural "kh" sound in order to correctly pronounce the name of said artist; in how, after a screening of Khuda Kay Liye, I could tell that some preconceived notions had been shattered; and in how someone said to me, "Knowing you has single-handedly given me an appreciation for Pakistan."


Amna Siddiqui said...

I have learned to live by these footprints, and believe me it makes so much sense. ;)

Neshmia said...

That last line. Wow. You should be so proud of yourself for being the recipient of such an awesome compliment.
If a foreigner ever said that to me, I would feel as though I've really accomplished something with my life.

Asinastra Nightshade said...

*nodnod* What Neshmia said.
This is beautiful.

Work In Progress said...

You're doing Pakistan proud.
Believe me there aren't a lot of people you can say that about

Anuradha said...

You've definitely affected me, Pookasaur. I don't call you my twin for nothing.

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