It's been a long, long time since I was last there, 24 years in fact. It was an emotional trip in more ways than one.
Firstly, catching up with a vastly extended family. I met cousins who, back in 1987, where newly married with babes in their arms. Now, those babies have their own babes in their arms. Time has marked on and when I was the teen youngest, now I'm the aged uncle. A generation has come and gone and it stared me starkly as I saw once vigourous men now old, and how their sons had become their fathers.
Pakistan is both terribly ancient and terribly new. As a country, it's just over 50 years old, but as a culture, it's one of the oldest in the world.
As some of you may know, Ash Mistry is based, inspired by, the great ancient Harappan civilization. This existed over 5,000 years ago, and the city of Harappa is in Pakistan itself. I visited the site and will report on that seperately. But there's something profoundly moving about walking streets that were teeming with people and had merchants and products from all over the civilized world of Mesopotamia and Sumer and Old Kingdom Eygpt when Rome didn't even exist and the Trojan War hadn't yet been fought. We're talking about way way back, back when myth and history were one of the same.Then, there is the current Pakistan, with all the bad press attached. It's (sort of) the basis on my new project. I've my hands full with Ash Mistry but think it's high time I wrote something straight, adult and historical. No magic, no vampires, but lots of intense action and my version of the game of thrones, back when Britain was playing it in the Indian Subcontinent. It forged the modern world, for better or worse, and much (but certainly not all) of the trouble we have over there now is merely a modern replay of the trouble we've always had over there. If more politicans were historians instead of lawyers, we might not be in the shambles were are right now. Lets put it this way, even Alexander the Great couldn't get out of Afghanistan quickly enough.