Photo Credits: Reemah(found it on google)
4 years past and I still remember every single detail of every single day of my life I spent in Saudi Arabia. Every moment is still so vivid in my mind. Not even a day pass by I don’t miss being there. My heart still resides in one of the most beautiful cities of Saudi Arabia and will always be there until the day I die. Oh how I wish I could go back to where my heart is. Can’t even begin explaining how much I miss every single thing remotely connected to KSA. I would much rather prefer my boring life of KSA over this 4 years of life spent in Pakistan.
13th of June 2009, Saturday around 10:30 pm i was preparing myself to say ‘Good bye’ to Saudi Arabia. Not even in my wildest dreams I dreamed of it to be my last ever good bye that would make me restless for the rest of my life. I still have difficulty in believing that I did not get one last chance to say my last goodbye in the best way I could have said it to a place I grew up, a place where I had my own world, a place that gave me peace which after moving to Pakistan I still seek. I was supposed to go back after my finals but the fate had something else in store for me. At 11:13 pm I was on my way to Tabuk airport which is like 5 minutes drive away from where we lived. Both my parents were with me. My dad was driving slower than he normally drives so that I could grasp a few last memories of the place because somewhere in his heart he knew it was the last time I was seeing it. We reached air port at around 11:30pm. I sat with my parents for a couple of minutes to spend some more time with them as I was not going to see either of them for a couple of months. I kept myself calm and at peace, showed no signs of sadness. I may not be good at a lot of things but when it comes to hiding my true feelings & emotions the result exceed my own expectations. But even then my parents being parents tried their best to give me hope that I will return and we all four of us will Insha Allah perform our last Umrah together & spend as many days as we can in Madinah and we will actually visit all the places in my favourite city Riyadh & few other cities we didn’t visit before (which didn’t really happen for me at least).
They wanted me to hold on and not cry, be strong and still have hope in my heart. It was the first time ever in my entire existence I was going to travel alone. I lost track of time and don’t remember exactly when I boarded the plane that was going to take me to Riyadh.
I reached King Khalid International airport Riyadh at 2:27 am and there I had to spend more than 2 hours as my flight to Karachi wasn’t until 5 in the morning. Even though my parents were constantly calling me after every 10 minutes to make sure I was okay I was still feeling terrible because my heart somehow knew I was never coming back but off course my brain contradicted with my heart. Luckily my uncle who resides in Riyadh called me and saved me from my misery. He told me about this very kind and caring aunty who was to accompany me all the way to Karachi. She is the reason I did not cry because I didn’t want to look stupid. I boarded the flight at 4:45 am. When the plane was taking off a tear escaped my eye because my heart knew it was my Last goodbye which I never got to say properly.
The end of year 2008 and the beginning of the year 2009 wasn’t easy and surely wasn’t a good time for my family. That was a phase that changed our lives completely. My dad went through 3 surgeries back to back which made him really weak. He had an internal tumor grown which Doctors diagnosed that it could be cancer but Alhamdulilah the test reports told otherwise but those days were scarier than any scariest nightmare could ever be. A few weeks after the 3rd operations he was admitted in ICU. His constantly falling health led both my parents take a huge decision of moving to Pakistan which both of them regret now. Being the oldest child of my parents put huge responsibilities on my shoulders, hopes and dreams got attached to me and my future life. That whole time wasn’t easy for me at all because i had so much to deal with. I had to take care of both my mom and sister, hide my own feelings and make sure I was strong and always there for them whenever they needed me. Also i had to take care of my dad too as I am the only one who can tell something is not right with him just by looking at his face or eyes. That was the time when I had to take a decision of what I want to be in future. What stream I was going to choose. What would my career be like. I have always been a non-planner and always went with the flow or with what my mom decided for me but I never told my parents or anyone not that close to me that I had a dream of either entering the world of Fine arts or psychology which I had to give up and choose Business administration just for the sake of my family. Taking care of my mom and sister, staying calm and strong, giving up my dreams wasn’t hard for me as much as seeing my dad in that hospital bed with all those wires wrapped around his body, seeing him cry with pain and not being able to do anything to take away the pain. That was definitely the worst & toughest of all.
These four years have given me countless amazing and beautiful memories. I met some really amazing people and how can I forget my nephew I adore to death was also born at the beginning of these years. University life did give me some amazing friends who stood by my side no matter what. Also these years have taught me a lot. I got introduced to all those bitter realities of life I was completely unaware of. It has been an amazing learning experience but it still doesn’t kill or limit my feelings and my love for Saudi Arabia.
They say, ‘Home is where the heart is’, my heart always felt safe and at peace in KSA. Maybe it’s because I spent my entire childhood, my teenage life, a part of my adult life there but that place has always been a home to me. There I had my very own world where I liked being in a state of isolation. I didn’t have much friends. I liked being alone, wasn’t very social but it was okay with me. Life was good. I survived it all till the age of 21. May be that is the reason why I feel uncomfortable around new people. I don’t talk much when I meet someone in person(even if it’s someone I know from the internet world) for the very first time.
People always say ‘Now you live in Pakistan, forget Saudi Arabia’. My question is very simple when people who can’t let go of the house they grew up in because it’s filled with countless memories which they can’t forget then how am I suppose to forget 21 years of my life spent in Saudi Arabia in a snap of a finger. Leaving a place I love so much wounded me badly. How can anyone with sense expect deep wounds to heal in merely few seconds? Don’t some wounds take a lifetime to heal?
I do agree that life in Saudi is boring, not much to do, can’t hang out like you can in Pakistan. Girls have a comparatively more boring life than boys but still I prefer that life. I have a few friends who are still residing in Saudi Arabia, when I say ‘I would give anything to be back in Saudi Arabia’, they say ‘We’d give anything to be in Pakistan’. I can totally understand their sentiments as at some point of my life I had them too but my personal experience is after a year or so you’d crave for that life of Saudi and would want to go back and it’s just not my experience only, I’ve seen a few other friends of mine who moved to Pakistan wanting to go back.
With all this said this does not in any way mean that I don’t love my country Pakistan or I call myself a Saudi citizen. I love my country Pakistan a lot more than I can put in words. I am not one of those Pakistanis who just complain or whine about the problems although at time I do point them out which people point out as me acting like a whining expatriate who can’t stop complaining about load shedding or water problem, etc. There is a difference between pointing out something and complaining or whining about something. I’ve never even compared things of Saudi Arabia And Pakistan. But surely I am not one of those Pakistani who close their eyes just to deny the wrongs or the fact that bad also exist in Pakistan.
Now I am ending this post because I’ve come to a point where I can’t think of anything else that i should include in this post.
Feel free to comment.