Tamara was always told that she was a bright girl.
Her mother told her that in Karachi.
Her teachers told her that in Karachi.
Her grandmother told her that in Karachi.
Tamara also had an appetite for reading. She read avidly since she was three years old in Urdu obviously but also in English.
Soon her Kindergarten teachers in Karachi were telling her mother that she as the parent had to feed her appetite and no matter what the cost had to buy whatever book, she wanted.
So when Tamara landed in London, as well as the doll she had her favourite book with her, a reader usually chosen for a seven year old called Peter and Jane go on holiday.
So in one hand was her doll and in the other was her book. Tamara did not have any hands left to hold her mother’s hand.
Much to the annoyance of her mother. Mrs Alvi did not express this annoyance outwardly. It was actually unconscious to her but Tamara felt it.
Tamara of course dropped her doll and her book when she went to hug her father.
It was Mrs Alvi that picked them up and had to wait her turn for Mr Alvi to embrace her.
Which of course he didn’t.
Mrs Alvi was not surprised by the quick salaam as of course Samir his friend was there and although they were not in a Muslim country they were still Muslims who did not openly display their affections in public.
Tamara although she was only five years old picked up the conflicting emotions inside her mother and felt what was going on for her.
Although she didn’t understand as she was only five years old.
She felt it.
She heard the silent sigh of Mrs Alvi and in between all the tears of joy everyone was shedding as her father hugged her brother and from a distance smiled at her mother, she took the doll and the book from her mother’s hands and realised that in London she needed to be more responsible.
She could not act like the carefree girl she had been in Karachi.
This realisation of course was an unconscious one but Tamara does remember sitting up when she sat in the car of her father’s friend Samir.
She didn’t slouch but she sat up, most probably because she really wanted to see the streets of London outside.
This London everyone talked about in Karachi.
And in that moment she sat up, unbeknown to Tamara, the trajectory of her life changed.