January 24, 2006
His name is Hassan Shah, a father of 4 sons and 1 daughter. Today, two of his sons are going to leave him to Manshera, which is around 18 hours away bus journey from Karimabad. Hussain Shah, one of the sons, is bringing his elder brother, Salman Shah, for medical check up. His brother has got a sudden mental attack 2 years ago, and regular check up is needed, as now Salman’s hairs are getting lesser and lesser.
This might be a very, very common farewell of a short separate between father and sons. But when this happen to Karimabad, in a family which rarely separated each other, this can be very dramatic. Hussain has never been further than Rawalpindi, not to mention how he dreamed to go abroad. But as Northern Areas citizen, passport for them is not easy to get. Only China is the country that people from this area can go, easily, with border pass. Passport for Northern Areas could be 100 times more difficult than those for other Pakistanis.
That’s why leaving house is a big deal here, even just to Manshera. Hassan Shah, baked a big rotti for his sons, with microwave that he rarely uses. And he had breakfast together with his sons on the departure day, the long awaited day, but also the day they were worrying about. Since the road out of Northern Areas were blocked, the worry of coming landslides always exists.
I can see tears on Hassan’s both eyes, when the two sons living, both of them whom he puts his love so much. Suddenly, I remembered my mom, I saw how my mom trying to hide her tears, when I was leaving her, and my family, for my education in China. I tried to make her smile, of my farewell. I said, “dont worry mom, i just go to China.” China from Indonesia is 1000 times much further than Manshera from Karimabad. But all over the world, the love of parents are the same.
And I am in Pakistan now, which is in imagination of most Indonesians not a safe country. I dont need to mention how my both parents are worrying about me, sending me emails every even day to ask what I am doing where I am now. I know this long travel, which is not common for Indonesians, made them worrying so much, greying their black hairs, and annoying there sleep. For this, I say thank you for my parents’ big hearts of allowing me to learn more from the world.
Hussain and Salman leaving Karimabad, I also have to say good bye for this lovely village. After more than a month resting because of the hepatitis, I feel much better now. But it was indeed a different feeling when I have to carry again my backpack after let it rest for a month. Heavy, but excited. I am travelling again….