Since graduating this July, I have been meaning to go visit my grandfather and few relatives who live in Attock, Pakistan. The last time I went there was in 2011, so one can imagine I had not seen my grandfather for that long. It is in fact the longest time that I had gone without visiting the city and my relatives.
After completing all the legal documents for ID and visa, I received my documents in the post a week later and my father booked me the tickets two days later. This was also the first time in years that I was travelling with my father alone since Saudia Arabia in 2010/2011.
Attock is located in the north of Pak, not too far from Peshawar and Islamabad. It is historic city surrounded by dams and mountains are never too far away. Attock was previously known as Campbellpur, named after Sir Campbell.
I was nervous about seeing everyone after a long time as I can imagine, a lot would have changed. I was also nervous because although I am a confident flyer, I cannot sleep on planes. But luckily for me I did sleep on this plane ride, I guess business class seats do help sometimes!
I was feeling quiet fresh on my arrival apart from my bloated stomach. Within 15/20 mins I was out of the airport and in my cousins car with my aunty.
It felt different looking out of the car window and seeing the massive banners and OTT advertising and marketing and the overwhelming feeling watching beggars in between the traffic, knocking on car windows. But it didn’t feel unfamiliar or weird. I was trying to capture the moment so I could hold on to it because I know I will miss all this when I go back home to England.
As we drove on and came closer to our area, I started to recognise places and memories came flooding back. As soon as I saw the mountains, I felt at ease.
We arrived home and I could already see the kids excited and approaching the car and my grandfather was already getting up from his chair.
Soon as I got out of the car, I of course traditionally greeted my grandfather first who embraced me into his frail but ever so comforting arms. It was very emotional for both of us and after few tears I went inside the room and soon was greeted by other family members. Some new and some old.
It was very overwhelming as I couldn’t get to grips that “ohhh I’m really here!?”. It didn’t feel real as my family fussed over me and laid food on the dinner table fit for a queen and enough for an army. Yes the people here love their food and are extremely hospitalable. This is exactly what they did for me everyday, breakfast, lunch and dinner and inbetween gave me tea. And telling them No is basically a yes to their ears.
Everyone was so sweet and so respectful, polite and the way the kids spoke was so cute and adorable. The manners were impeccable, sweet words and they always make sure to address me and their elders in the most respectful way. Not that there’s no manners in England, but sometimes there’s a big difference in languages and the words used, you cannot compare or translate into English.
Everything looked so great, and the villas were hugeeee! My bedroom was double the size of my room in England, the main living room was amaze balls almost like a huge ball room and open gardens was the best thing.
I said Villas and not a villa because the way the whole area is set is very hard to explain and bizarre but soooooo cute. The whole relatives all live together but separate. I know right! So on one side is my grandfathers villa and next to it attached is another villa and next to it is another and so onnnnn, it goes around in a circle basically and right in the middle is a massiveeeeeee land/garden! I think it’s one of the best and cutest things I’ve ever seen. Everyone lives their own lives but they are all still part of each other’s lives. I guess some people may not be able to hack it but that’s not the case for these guys here. So because of the way everything is shaped and in open space, I could always see what everyone was up to, so I would hop from one villa to next without having to leave out of the gate. Amazingggg right!
I stayed in my cousins villa rather than our own because yes I was a bit of a wuss as it’s mostly kept locked unless for cleaning. And another wuss move was asking my cousin and her daughter to sleep in the room with me, just because the whole space, large ceilings kinda got me worried. I am not sure why exactly but I have really bad phobias, so I like to be extra careful, even though I saw nothing weird! But hey, I can’t help my anxiety!
For someone who just travelled 8 hours on a plane, no sleep at night, I was already up and running around the town the next day, straight into beautiful clothes boutiques, going for walks and treks, trying new food and going for boat rides!
My appetite was not so great for few days but I soon got it back. I mean, how could I resist all the yummy food and snacks that were infront of me! The weird thing was, I was liking some stuff I don’t usually like and not enjoying the things I usually eat and drink, such as coffee! Everyone who knows me, knows I am a complete coffee addict, but for some reason it just didn’t sit right with me and I didn’t drink coffee for my whole trip there. Who knew the answer to my addiction was a trip to attock!
The next few days were bliss. Everything was colourful, tasteful and full of sights and always filled with love from people around me. I woke up everyday with a beautiful view of the sunrise and end the day watching the sunset on the terrace, next to my grandfathers palm tree, with the mountains in the background, tea in my hand, all this with my favourite people. Wow. This moment right here is everything and more.