There is one specific feature of my life that makes it really different from yours, assuming you are living any kind of typical American or European existence. It is not what you think: ¬†it is not the threat of terrorism, it is not living on the other side of the world from my family, it is not living in a Muslim country where I hear the Islamic call to prayer five times a day, it is not my residence in a city full of wild boars and monkeys that often feels one step removed from the jungle. This feature is servants. ¬†Servants! The very word conjures up an 18th-century manor, scullery maids in the kitchen, footmen in the stables, and a butler hovering with a silver tray. At least it does to me. In Pakistan, this word means something completely different, something standard and normal even for the middle classes. When I moved here and started searching for a place to live, I would go around with a realtor every Saturday to tour houses all over Islamabad. They all had the same basic amenities: more rooms and bathrooms than I would ever need (for the same rent as my apartment in the U.S.), cool smooth tiling in every room to keep down the heat, high ceilings, and “servants’ quarters,” which the realtor would helpfully point out at each location. He would always point them out…I would always look away uncomfortably and mumble that it wasn’t important. We would never tour the servants’ quarters, but he would always take care to highlight them as a useful feature of the property. After a while this also explained […] Read More