A Difficult Journey To A Beautiful Destination

It doesn’t quite feel like a Sunday until I’ve spent a large portion of it doing sweet, sweet nothing except laze around all day in my pajamas, indulge in a marathon of fairly pointless  yet highly entertaining episodes of (insert reality show here), then wait until it hits 8 ‘o’ clock and I am left wistfully wondering what on earth I did with my whole day.

And just like every other Sunday, today is no exception. So far, this particular one has consisted of me sat on my living room sofa in my Winnie the Pooh pj’s watching end-to-end live performances by Beyoncé on YouTube (exhilarating, I know!).

And while I was sat there mesmerised by this superhero of a woman who, in my eyes can do no wrong, (except maybe her questionable fashion choices from her former DC days) I can’t help but think how inspiring she is.

During my particularly lengthy indulgence in unadulterated procrastination – on the one day of the week where I can do so without feeling an ounce of guilt that frankly any other day would so belligerently bombard me with – I happen to come across an interview of Queen B where, when asked about her daily work routine, she replies:

“I am a workaholic and I don’t believe in no. I don’t believe in I need to sleep. If I’m not sleeping, nobody’s sleeping. I’m one human being. It’s a lot. If I want to be a businesswoman, I’m a businesswoman. Independence is not easy.”

Now, that’s what you call ironic.

Like an annoying itch on the part of your back that your hand can never quite reach no matter how hard you try, this quote has now left me with an unrelenting thought driving me to a place of discontent. Only moments ago, my mind was so blissfully comfortable, basking in its sloth-like condition (Beyoncè would be so appalled); now disturbed by words that are reverberating on my conscience; painfully striking my eardrums with each echo (okay, I may be exaggerating a little).

I really ought to take a leaf out of her book and adopt the same work ethic, drive and determination when it comes to my entrepreneurial venture. Don’t get me wrong it’s not that I’m idle or neglectful when it comes to accomplishing my goals – relatively Passionate and proactive actually for the average human being – but clearly nowhere near the level I would like to be (that and also because I really, really love to sleep).

I hereby promise to treat this venture as my new-born baby – totally helpless and completely reliant on me to nurture it; to make sure it isn’t lacking in necessities; to show it untiring love, care and attention in its most important years, so that it may flourish into the very best it can be for years to come.

Up until now, I didn’t even realise how much it bothers me that I’m not as effortlessly fierce, feisty and fearless as she is with regards to my business. This clip alone has given me the motivation to switch to savage mode, climb on top of my setbacks, find the opportunity that lies within and grab it by the hair, all in six-inch heels, no less! (She is totally my spirit animal).

With that being said, remember my metaphorical journey through rough seas I mentioned a couple of posts ago? Well, my ship seems to have hit into its first iceberg, forcing me to alter the direction of my journey for a safer route. This diversion is leading me to none other than the Motherland (Pakistan, to be precise).

After continuous phone calls and visits to manufacturers based in the UK, it’s safe to say that I’ve exhausted the prospect of finding the perfect establishment to collaborate with domestically. However, never one to be disheartened by a little spanner in the works and ever the problem-solver, I have resorted to plan B.

Following an exchange of ideas with my mentor (among others), I have now decided to source my material and manufacturers for my prototypes and debut collection from abroad, as this option will be considerably cheaper and I’m more likely to be satisfied with the end result (this is yet to be determined).

I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about Pakistan over the years from many people; from temperamental electricity and unsolicited daylight robberies to an overtly corrupt justice system. But in all fairness, I’ve only been there twice in my whole life – the first time I was too young to remember anything substantial; the second time (at the tender age of 8) renders somewhat more distinct memories – both good and bad yet for some reason it is only the bad ones that currently seem to be surfacing to mind.

I distinctly recall the overwhelming stench of cow manure (to put it nicely) smack me as soon as I walked off the plane mixed with unrelenting heat; and looking up at my parents with welled-up, puppy dog eyes in hopes that they would take pity on me and put me on the next plane straight back to England to never return (yeah, that didn’t happen).

I also remember our car being mobbed by homeless children during our lengthy journey from the airport (and many times thereafter). My heart genuinely went out to these disadvantaged kids asking for money – which they undoubtedly needed to survive in the heartless streets they called home – but as you can imagine it was also a deeply upsetting and disturbing experience, for a young girl of 8 to witness such a thing for the first time.

What was also quite mind-boggling, and still to this day I’ve never quite been able to figure out is how the local people can instantly tell a native foreigner from a mile off. You’ll think you’ve completely blended in under the camouflage of traditional attire and speaking the Mother-tongue and yet to them, you’ll still be sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s like they have some sort of invisible radar (either that or magical powers), which consequently results in uncomfortably lingering stares from total strangers and being unashamedly swindled everywhere you go because apparently, we’re all stinking rich.

And this one definitely takes the cherry on the cake – the idea that I may well get robbed or kidnapped during a highway stick-up. I vividly recall my dad carrying a handgun with him everywhere we went in the very likely case that we get stopped dead in our tracks (literally!) during our journeys between cities. Thankfully, we never did encounter any rogue, road robbers and I am so, so grateful for that as I am sure and can only imagine how such an experience would have traumatised me for life.

The only silver lining I can come up with at this point is the fact that there won’t be a communication barrier between myself and prospective collaborators. And now that I come to think of it, my sister (who has nothing but pleasant memories to share) was there 2 years ago and if she managed to return, physically and mentally intact, then I’m sure I am more than capable of doing so too.

welcome-to-pakistan

As long as I follow all the rules, I’m sure I’ll keep out of harm and troubles way.

With its fair share of poverty and patriarchy, Pakistan is a whole world away from the cotton-wool, mollycoddled and comparatively luxurious lifestyle I am enjoying here in the UK – which oftentimes I am guilty of taking for granted. As much as I complain about the weather here, this little trip down memory lane has given me a much-needed wake-up call that grey skies in the middle of summer are the least of my worries and things could be a lot worse.

So, in a somewhat desperate attempt to counterbalance the negativity, I googled ‘visit Pakistan’ and this is what I found:

In preparation for my trip, I shall keep these idyllic images in mind, poised for whenever I feel discouraged by the thought of travelling there.

As someone who is so diligently trying to remain open-minded about everything, it is disillusioning to allow myself to become disheartened by stereotypes and past experiences – I must go there with a free and open mind, after all, it is with a totally different mind frame and intention that I’m going back there, 16 years later. I mean, I’m sure they must have fixed the problem of sporadic electricity loss by now (surely? It’s 2016!)

A lone, female entrepreneur going to do business in a moderately male-dominated country – I can already tell it’s going to be an epic adventure full of surprises (not quite the type that I’m hoping for but nonetheless… Wooo, I can’t wait!). To wish that it’ll be smooth sailing is admittedly naive and certainly overambitious but that’s not going to stop me from showing them who really runs the world…

Watch this space.

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