Of familiarity and love
Growing up in Nazimabad Karachi, we would play Ghar Ghar.
We’d set up our little forts within the safe confines of our homes. Cover the windows with bedsheets. Pull down all the cushions from the sofas. Get all the towels we could get our hands-on. Find a few pillows. And then slowly and painstakingly build our nest. A fort. A cocoon. Yours may not have looked exactly like the one in this picture but it provided the same comfort.
The familiar space.
The comfortable pillows neatly stacked next to each other.
The little tea set. Or if we dared, we’d just sneak in the real ones from the kitchen to Ammi’s horror.
The agency that we have created something with our own hands.
The exotic smell of Motia, or chameli. Or chambailli.
The silhouettes shimmering through the cushions and bedsheets.
The tentative laughter of our loved ones around in the dark.
And of course, the realization that we only have a few hours before the living room is reclaimed by Ammi.
And the idea is that we’ll open up this space for people who provide us the comfort we’re seeking. And then we’ll nest together. We won’t be cowards. We won’t feign resilience, we will epitomize it. We won’t say no. Instead, we will first extend the love we seek to them — especially when we know they need it. And then in return, we expect nothing less. Actionable love right. And if there are no actions, there are no timelines, there is no acknowledgment, then there can be no Ghar Ghar. It would just be an empty living room with sofas covered with chaadars only to be removed when there are guests over. We can either play Ghar Ghar, or keep the space open for strangers to come and leave as they please.
This is perhaps how we imitate life. Or is it that we’re imitating happiness. After all, is life not synonymous with happiness.