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On Belonging

Written by Rejah Khawar
On Belonging

I’ve held it in my hands, rolled it on my skin and savoured it on my tongue while having noodle soup in minus 6C. It seems to me that I have, for as long as I can remember, grappled restlessly with the idea of belonging. Toyed with the idea of being from anywhere and of everywhere; fleeting from a twig to a peak and then diving back into the sea.

‘Belonging’ - a word so close to my heart; a word that has pretty much become the purpose of my life. I think, every place that we have been to, every place we will be in and all the places we will never see but in the realm of our dreams – have claimed us, shaped us and made us theirs. Unpopular opinion, but I feel, you lose more than you gain from travel. And I obviously don’t mean that in a bad way. Or maybe I do if you lose toenails or limbs. Who’s to say?

As we go places, we tend to give away more than we expect we would. More than anything else, it’s our heart. It’s always a part of that fist-sized, beating heart that we unknowingly lose out on and rightly so. Because honestly what is the point if we don’t allow ourselves to be touched and swayed off course? Hopefully, you will find at some point in your life that there is more than one place in the world that can feel like ‘home’. These places will keep you warm, they will push you out of your blanket of comfort, but most importantly, they will accept you for who you are. Home is exactly that feeling. They will touch you in ways unimaginable, may even whisper and plead for you to stay (or for you to leave – works both ways), sometimes even haunt you, but they always have a way of letting you know how they feel about you. How do you not fall again and again for this feeling?

It’s funny to think, but it feels like every place I have been to has somehow consumed me, and I can’t ever decide where I truly come from. I like to think of myself being pulled in opposite directions - the salty waters crashing at my feet reminding me of the city that gave me life, and the 8000ers standing there, proud and regal, looking below at me solemnly, telling me they understand. What a fuzzy feeling. Where are my roots? How much further away am I to grow? Funnier still, why do I feel so homesick for places I haven’t even seen? Sometimes, all I want to do is lie face down and hug the earth with all its daisies and shedding skins and bones and leaves.

On Belonging

About the author


Rejah Khawar is a Project Architect at Open Door Design Studio. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Karachi. Her thesis focused on creating hybridized opportunities for public spaces within dense urban environments. She brings these sensibilities to anything that she does - always finding opportunities within any given situation.

She is an aspiring mountaineer but also thoroughly enjoys reading, writing and using photography to highlight the extraordinary nature of everyday life.

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