Being Paindu

Have you ever felt uncomfortable in your own skin? For some reason I can’t understand, the closer I am to my roots,the more backward I am thought. Being ‘western’ is the new cool. Being paindu? Frowned upon. Not for me.

Paindu is derived from the word ‘pind’ meaning ‘village’ and villages here in Pakistan are overflowing with beauty and starry skies. The people there are authentic and hard-working. Next time you call me Paindu, I’ll take it as a compliment.

Here’s a poem I wrote for my hometown ‘Multan’; a bustling city in the Punjab.

Who told you

being Paindu is a bad thing?

So I can show them

My earth colored hands

And they can lose themselves

In the curves of my mehndi

And I’ll speak with

My mother tongue

The one with swift ups and downs

Would they not like to see

How colorful our life is?

How our clothes burst with life?

How our food bursts with flavor?

Is the smell of masala not beautiful?

Is the smell of mehndi not beautiful?

Is the smell of our fields after rain 

Not beautiful?

They obviously haven’t seen 

Our shalwar kameez 

You could get lost in the embroidery 

Like the curves of Indus

I want them to see a sunset

In the plains of Punjab

To feel the sugarcanes 

With their hands

Until their hands can taste

The sweetness of them

And in doing so

Their eyes can see 

The sweetness of this land

And the masjid at the corner?

The beauty in each brick

And each curve

We’re built on curves

You see

And they’re trying to live a life

Of ups and downs

With straight lines

And sharp words

That’s dangerous

And if a paindu I have to be

To live this Eastern dream

Then a Paindu I am

And a Paindu thus will be

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