Nostalgia is subjective to each individual. We always say that everyone has a special attachment to the place where they are born. Regardless of any nationality, we tend to call it our home because there is a sense of belonging, peace and security that engulfs us when we’re there.
I was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. A land of great religious value due to the sanctity of the Holy Kaaba. But along with that, there’s so much more to the place that I like to call home. The first thing that I think of is peace. It’s a strange but the most incredible feeling that I felt there. Maybe it was the absence of toxic relatives and judgemental people that used to surround us in Pakistan, or it could be something else.
After moving to Pakistan for educational purposes, we used to travel to Saudi Arabia every year once or twice for visa renewal. And trust me, even if I had a north trip planned in Pakistan with the obvious kind of fun expected, I would still be more excited for the KSA trip. The moment I’d step inside the KKIA terminal, there was a delightful feeling of belongingness and excitement. That one month of absolute solace, comfort food and quality time with family is still entrenched in my memories.
From the iconic infrastructure of Riyadh, big bustling superstores like Othaim/Panda and peaceful trips of Waadi Hanifa to the amazing gulf snacks, fast foods that you can find nowhere else like Al Tazaj, Mac coy’s, Al Afandi and the most amazing falafel 🧆 , Riyadh is not just a city, it’s a feeling.
It’s not that there are no snacks in Pakistan, or we do not have those big supermarkets, but the experience is no where near as pleasant. Some people may find it difficult to understand where I come from. They think it’s mere complaining on my part. But it’s more like trying to relive the past that has become a big part of my self.