My entire body ached from the fifteen hours long continuous flight, from Mississauga to Karachi. As I waited in the last, yet longest line of the day, my brain was boiling from inside. I could not take it anymore! It seemed as if we were snails struggling to crawl on a road just wet from rain. Finally, after what seemed like forever, my turn came.
As my mother, two brothers, and I walked up to the desk, we were faced by the most irritated man on this planet. He talked to us in a very rude manner, so much so that the little spark of excitement that had just been ignited in me from our turn’s arrival vanished just as immediately as it had come.
Bam! He stamped November 29, 2015 onto my passport. I controlled my anger, grabbed my passport, and headed out the door with my two very annoying brothers and my very patient mother.
After all that horrible waiting, what came next was even worse. First, it was the extremely loud noise that rung in my ears, and then, the overwhelming number of people scattered everywhere like ants. My smile vanished and I looked at the people in disgust. They ranged from wealthy to beggarly, and their clothes and style described their personalities well. I already knew by the look of all this that this trip to Pakistan would be interesting. As I was observing this unique bunch of people, I spotted my grandfather in the crowd who looked surprisingly fit. He had come with two of my uncles to pick us up. We all greeted and hugged each other and made our to my grandfather’s car lugging our numerous suitcases behind us..
Before, it was the large number of people, and now, it was the cars! Unlike Canada, there were no peaceful streets here, just noisy ones. Despite the loud commotion, the slow moving traffic, and the polluted air, we thankfully made it home. I was welcomed by my grandma, who looked happy, yet tired. I did not imagine her to be this old and weak, as I had seen my grandpa so fit. Then I looked around the clean and simple looking home with tables decorated by little knick knacks. Gorgeous curtains were draped on the windows and not a single piece of furniture in the house seemed excessive. I realised instantly that my grandparents were quite humble and down to earth.
As a person obsessed with materialistic things, the simplicity seemed odd. “This is different”, I thought to myself. A part of me liked it, another did not. I wandered off towards my room. I ran straight for the bed because I knew that if I waited any longer, I would break and rain down in little pieces of flesh and bones. As soon as I lay down on top of the soft bed, my eyes closed and I was enveloped into a deep, soothing sleep.
The next day I was awakened by the little whispers and laughter from my mother’s and grandmother’s conversations. I dressed up and walked outside. I was starving as I had not eaten dinner the night before, so I went to the table where a whole variety of breakfast foods were staring at me. They were begging to be eaten, so I grabbed a plate and began my breakfast. Instead of the fancy omelet, I opted for a slice of bread and jam.
As I was spreading the bright, yellowish-orange jam onto my bread, my grandpa arrived and told me that he had made the jam at home by himself. At first, I thought he was kidding, but then, he told me he was not, so I believed him. The deliciousness and sweetness of the jam had me pleasantly surprised. I do not know if it was the jam or the love put into making it, but I fondly indulged in the apple adventure that I can still taste on my tongue . It was just a jam, but it was so special. However, its existence is long gone…and so is my grandfather’s.
After one month of staying and receiving love from both my grandparents, we came back home to Canada on December 28. Only a week had passed when we heard that my grandfather had left this world. I still remember the day the news was revealed to us…
I had returned home from the second day back to school, when we received a phone call that changed my life forever. The news of my grandfather passing away left my family in days of sorrow. My mother’s sadness was the greatest, as he was her father. She cried for God knows how many days. She did not eat, nor drink for hours. I, too, was sad, as I remembered that slice of toast with jam made from his very hands and him saying, “Eat as much as you like my daughter, I will make you more. What if you never get to taste it again?” I had hushed him and said, “I will keep coming back to Pakistan, where are you going? And I will always eat your jam, don’t you worry.” How ironic was that conversation? How unforgettable for me is that conversation!
People are not lying when they say those who are about to die receive signs when death is approaching them. There is no doubt that he knew of what was coming while we did not.
As I went through the magical memories, every tear of mine fell down my cheeks and each one screamed to me the truth of my existence. With every little tear, I developed regret for my greed, my arrogance, and my ignorance of religion. I do not know how I was able to control the guilt inside of me, but I controlled it somehow. The guilt has left my soul, yet it has been replaced by a sudden shift in my perspective on my journey of life. It does not matter what a person has, nothing can save a soul from the reality of death!