A Mount Holyoke College brochure arrived in the mail today. For once, a college envelope was for my sister, not me. I admit I stole it-for a while. I took it to my room and stared at every page for a long time.
It was strange to think that I held a version of the same booklet a few years ago. It was strange to flip through it and see familiar faces, familiar places. It was strange to see a place you consider home being advertised to you. The whole experience of half an hour (yes, I spent that long on it) was a bit surreal.
There was a photograph of a group of students sitting around a professor in a politics class. I stared at that one for a long time. The round room, the long windows, the professor's face, the bottles of vitamin water on someone's desk-it was all so real. So rememberable. So rememberous. But it felt a million years away. It was the first time I thought "wow, that was a long time ago" even though it's barely been half a year.
Karachi has a quicksand quality about it. You fall in and you can't get out. I don't mean this as a bad thing, but once you're in it, you're hardly going to worry about what's outside it. It doesn't allow you to. I wonder if a few years from now, I'll look at photographs of Karachi and stare at them, because they are advertisements for a place I call home. I wonder if I'll recall the smell of gasoline, salt and warm air and long for it, the way I suddenly recalled the smell of falling leaves and my dorm room. When will I see something from my home right now and think-that was a million years ago?