Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Piece of Pakistan

I've finally decided to crawl out of my hole and return to the bloggernet. To be completely honest, I've hardly touched my camera (or done much else) since my return to America. The post-vacation comedown has consisted of work, tv, falling asleep every night at 10, and not much else. I really miss Pakistan and could have stayed for at least another 2 weeks. Here's a glimpse into just one aspect of my trip: my Grandma's house.

No one currently lives in this house, but whenever we go back, we take my Grandma with us and stay there for a few days. That ceiling fan is more than 50 years old and was transplanted from the house my grandparents lived in before this one. I don't think it works but it still hangs in my grandparents' old room (now used for storage). Older houses were built starting with one room, into the next, into the next, and so on, as you can see in the very last photo. I'm standing in one room but the camera looks through 3 different ones. Those doorways must only be 6' tall because I distinctly remember most men in my family having to duck down every time they walk through them. The cat is a stray, but she visits everyday for lunch (and by her increased size from last year, I'm assuming she stops by a few more houses as well...or maybe she's pregnant, not really sure). The spot where the towels are hanging to dry is where my Grandpa used to spend all day soaking in the sun during warmer months and where my Grandma spends most of her time now. My uncles often talk about demolishing this house to rebuild a better, more sustainable structure and I worry that memories like that will dissolve with the framework. True, I don't live in Pakistan, and of all my cousins, I've spent the least amount of time in this house. But even in those 100 or so days, I've established a very sweet catalog of memories. Sitting in the sun with my Grandpa while he told silly stories, playing with water guns with my cousins in the 110 degree summer heat, climbing onto the roof, playing cards by candlelight during power outages, repeatedly tripping over the elevated sewer grate (I think that's what they're called), playing Carrom Board with my Grandpa, this list could go on for awhile...

I specifically took these pictures to preserve the memory of this house, but this is a still a modified version of the one I more vividly remember because it has undergone a lot of changes since my grandfather's passing in 2001.

"All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget. In this- as in other ways- they are the opposite of paintings. Paintings record what the painter remembers. Because each one of us forgets different things, a photo more than a painting may change its meaning according to who is looking at it." - John Berger

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