Mahnoor Saragana | Islamabad, Pakistan
Located in the suburbs of one of the central cities in Pakistan, Bagar Sargana is a place which I love to call my hometown. I was born and raised in an urban city, Islamabad, however, spent every vacation and family getaway in my hometown, hence growing up to develop strong sentiments and connections with my village, and its inhabitants.
Home to around 500 people, Bagar is a small village that will steal your heart and imagination.
Towering orchards laden with luscious mangoes line the way to my ancestral hometown. The township environment is enriched by the serene waters of river Ravi in north and green fruit-laden trees and plants of mangoes, oranges, and grapefruits in all other directions.
Bumpy roads with pebbles and worn off tarmac lead to vast and lush fields that are the main economic driver of the region. The open fields are filled with seasonal cash crops of sugarcane, cotton, and wheat along the fields, traditional woven beds can be seen lined under the shades of Kikar trees occupied by men enjoying freshly plucked vegetables donning turbans and dhoti (a wrapped around cloth for the lower body-worn by men). The households are an epitome of hospitality with jugs of milk, kettles of aromatic tea and traditional sweets emerging from the kitchenettes into the loud cheerful lounging area as guests are greeted with claps on the back. Children are stopped midway into the house, attracted by the possibilities of castles they can construct with mud and maybe taste it too. Holding up a curtain to a house, you would spot women fabricating intricate patterns full of color.
As you go around the town, you will find wrinkled old ladies sit out on their front benches to gossip in the evenings, small families gathering over a cup of evening tea, farmers growing crops and young men tending sheep and cows. The streets are loud, ringing with the laughter of children playing with stray goats or most popularly marbles, bargaining with a vendor or rasping of the door indicating the daily order of fresh milk which is collected rather enthusiastically.
With limited digital communication networks, my hometown is inhabited by people who enjoy the essence of life by avoiding the unemphatic way of communicating on media and choosing to visit family and friends’ houses to greet each other with warm hugs and smiles.
Aside from the external workings of my village, I have always been interested in the dynamics of the community that lives there.
Feelings run deep in the small community of our village because everything seems personal. Everyone knows everyone. There’s a comfort in knowing everyone around you, but it’s also a double-edged sword.
You get an in-depth relationship with folks in your town and might get too comfortable in the space, often missing out on the joy of arguing over diverse perspectives and getting the experience of meeting someone new.
All in all, the time spent with family and loved ones, late-night trips down memory lane, standing over a burning stove in a kitchen with dim lighting & chatting over tea are blissful moments I yearn while living the hustling life that of a city.
Having gotten a taste of the contrast between city and rural life, I think I'm better able to appreciate the way life moves in a rural village as well as acknowledge the hustle of the big city. What I cherish the most is that I have a place that I can belong to, my hometown!
Note from the editors: In our global community today, we are able to learn from people from all sorts of cultures. This has enabled us to connect in ways that have never been possible in the history of humanity, and should be seen as an incredible opportunity. This series sharing ideas about cultural diversity and inclusivity from our writing interns, are designed to help us understand each other, respect our unique cultures, and move forward together.