Day One: Isloo
Having been swept up into the loving arms of our clan, we spent the morning washing up, eating, and either going to Friday prayers in the colossal Faisal Mosque or unpacking. We dedicated a chunk of time to sort out what finery we would don for the various functions, fetes, and fiestas for the week. With the shiny new DSL connection installed at the house, we emailed our crew back home that despite the horrible news of death and destruction in the wake of Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan, we were far away from the maelstrom in Karachi and were safe and sound.
In the evening, the hoards descended upon us for a family BBQ, eager to meet TP and KG and especially Prince ZP. The boys were disoriented but quickly recovered and became comfortable with the onslaught of family members introducing themselves, trying to summarize how they were related to them, and asking if they had enough to eat. Since it was KG's birthday, the BBQ included silver trays steaming with vegetarian dishes, a grill station with lamb, beef, and chicken, and an assortment of drinks, including the ever-popular, toxic-green, cream-soda-like "Pakola." To celebrate KG's birthday, the night ended with a decadent chocolate cake and a full-on chocolate fountain.
ZP had a blast running around with his newly formed crew of ruffians and minders. He barely looked back but once he did catch sight of us, he would come barreling over for a quick (and literal) pick-me-up and then squirm out of our arms to join his gang. I knew that, despite allowing him to run headlong on the driveway near treacherous pitfalls and thorny bushes, he was in good hands. I was certain that ZP's first scar would begin that evening, but he escaped unscathed throughout the trip. It was with a nostalgic smile that I watched the newest generation risking life and limb in the garden and driveway while my cousins and I, now the mommies and aunties, stood nearby and issued intermittent warnings and threats. It does not seem so long ago that my cousins and I practiced leaping from the seven-foot high closets onto thin mattresses laid out on skull-cracking marble floors or walking through the pitch-black night over cracked streets and unsteady bridges to the local bakery for some treats. Granted, we were not as daring as the generation above us who, apparently, not only tried to set off firecrackers inside the house, but actually tried to make their own homemade firecrackers from scratch. But we had our share of blood, bruises, and tears. Good times.
Lesson of the day: Do not be so naïve to think that your baby's physical exertion late at night will help him get over his jet lag. It won't.