Three Seconds in Sanghar

by MW Cook

What do you get with three seconds in Sanghar? The same thing you get when you smell that fish frying on the skillet – desire.

I want to go back to Pakistan, anyone want to come?

I have never really understood why I like living in Pakistan. It’s not a very comfortable place. But, after thinking about it, I think I’ve found a handful of reasons.

  • Pakistan is real. Life is what it is. Sweat. Sorrow. Dirt. It’s not sterile or cut off from the natural world. It’s a part of it.
  • Pakistan is full of people. In Canada I get the feeling that people are incidental. Others just happen to exist. I don’t bother them and they don’t bother me. But Pakistan is peopled. I cannot exist without deep relationships. I cannot built an ivory tower for myself.
  • Pakistan is raw. The problems are not superficial. There is no worrying about what to take to a dinner party. If there are worries (and there are) they are about what will be eaten tomorrow or how to get to Karachi this month.
  • Pakistan makes me strong. It’s harsh. The weather is harsh. The food is harsh. The economy is harsh. That’s good for me. That’s good for my family.
  • Pakistan is beautiful. I’m not talking about the glory of the mountains and northern places. I’m talking about the raw, rugged beauty of the arid wastes. The harsh farming fields where life-giving crops struggle and fight to live. The dance of live and death played out on a harsh landscape. There is something appealing to it.
  • Pakistan is loving. My province is a hub for sufism, which is the mystical, hippy-ish branch of Islam. And wow, the Sufis love. They love like mad. They love each other, neighbours and strangers. They even love foreign white folks like me.
  • I could think of other reasons, but that’s enough for now. You should visit.