My mind thinks in terms of cities. Does your mind think in terms of cities?
It tires me up. Thinking about what time would be in Boston right now, or what would people in Edmonton be doing around this time or how it’s so hot in Karachi and Hyderabad but it’s thundering and pouring in Lahore; and in New York, fall is there already while we are still shopping for summer clothes.
And yet it is comforting in a way. It gives me space when I am occupied. I have all these maps of cities in my head where time and lines separate one place from the other but there are people who always connect these places to me. Places from all over the world. There are some people who might not even know that I exist but reading and thinking about them makes me think of those towns and cities; and thinking of those places makes me think of them—it’s weird—and how these small dots connect the universe.
Is it the same for everyone?
I guess not.
The rain in Lahore for example always reminds me the roads of LUMS and ‘How to save a life’ plays in my head. And I know Islamabad gets really hot in September but it always reminds me of the rainy sunsets over Marghalla hills while Uzair Jaswal’s ‘Tere Bin’ always plays in the background (it has something to do with him belonging to the city I guess). And Karachi—Karachi reminds me several things; an entire lifetime, the dirty sea-view, night outs, old friends, random plans, coincidental friends and sadness and excitement. There is not one song, not one memory and not one place that I could picture when I think of the city.
And I keep thinking of people in London and Chicago and Toronto and Istanbul and Mumbai and Boston and California and New York City and sometimes of Arizona and it boggles my mind we are so different and yet so similar when it comes to feeling in a certain way—to heartbreaks, to surprises, to feeling far away, being separated, to finding good music and sharing it, to grieving and loving.
There was a time I was so obsessed with cities and how their residents felt that I downloaded dozens of weather apps just to look at the temperatures of different cities at a time. They say temperature of a place tells you the mood of the people. I was only trying to find out whether their mood matched with mine; whether they felt nostalgic in fall or in love in December, whether I could feel snow at my place while looking at -10 C in Boston.
It is disturbing to think that way, you might say. But for me it connects me to the universe.
Anything that makes me feel connected, works for me.