There will be storms tonight. I pull on my jacket and hurry up the garden to pick the beans for tea. Already the wind is grasping at the plants, tugging them away from the safe anchor of their pots. Above, the sky is leaden and empty; the birds gone home to roost.
Back in the kitchen my knife runs around the stringy edges of the beans, slicing into the green flesh. The potatoes boil on the stove, misting the window as I look out. But itâ€™s OK, Iâ€™m not really looking out of the window; I am picturing the storms on another shore.
So whatâ€™s Karachi to me? What is Pakistan, with all its turmoil? Hard to answer that one. I see the beach, the long stretch of sand that Faisal has described so often; I see the city at night â€“ Batsterâ€™s city, drenched in soft rain and exotic, dangerous mystery. I am aware of the starving children; I hear the call to prayer ring out from the mosques.
Me, I am not a politic animal. Life in the comfortable West has made certain of that. Sure, as a student I was radical; sure, I still call myself a socialist. I also call myself disenfranchised because we have no system of proportional representation so where I chose to live, my vote wonâ€™t count. But do I really care? No. Because the reality is, there is very little to vote for anyway â€“ left, right, centre â€“ it doesnâ€™t make a great deal of difference. Life goes on.
It is hard for me to relate to the passion on Deadpan Thoughts, but my heart is with you all. My domain is not the political, but the personal. You are more real to me than the abstract concepts you will need to bring to life to stop your beleaguered nation from falling apart. Sitting in my cosy study in Britain I can offer love and support, but I cannot really feel what you are going through. I have simply become too secure in my democratic cocoon. Deep down, I know that the only thing I will ever fight for are the individual people I care about. The bigger battles are beyond me. The bigger battles are on your doorstep, and I am scared for you.
Outside, the wind whips up and the rain begins to fall.