“15 die, several injure in car bomb blast in Peshawar.” My morning started with one more day of disappointment of hoping to not find any story of Pakistan in the NYtimes headlines. I swallowed the tears clogging up my throat after looking at all the pictures of buildings from my country blood-stained and ruined. I quickly hit the close button on the corner of the screen and brushed out all thoughts about the news so that I could follow through with the schedule for another day of research in the Chicago city.
We drove down to Devon Avenue, the hub of the Pakistani/South Asian community living in Chicago. Our host for the morning, Mr. Khattak, stopped the car and pointed his finger towards one of the most extraordinary images I had seen in this country – “The Muhammad Ali Jinnah Way.” I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the name of Pakistan’s founder on this Chicago crossing. His words echoed in my head as I stood next to Dr. Ahmed staring at those letters that equated freedom and justice for both of us.
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Tagged bernard stone, bomb blasts Pakistan, Chicago, devon avenue, dr. akbar ahmed, Islam, jinnah, Judaism, Muhammad Ali Jinnah Way, Muslim, Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam, Religion
Being from Boston, Massachusetts, I have developed an unwavering devotion to the Boston Red Sox baseball team. When Hailey and Mr. Woldt cordially asked me to join them with Professor Ahmed at a Chicago Cubs game at the famous Wrigley field ballpark, my gut instinct was to express my allegiance to the Sox and how my attendance was a borderline sac-religious act. How could I decline the invite? After all, I certainly could use some of the American national pastime to ease the stress from our strenuous schedule.
After we sat down in our left field seats, I was pointing to all the various bases, foul lines, position players, and other objects around the park to teach Professor Ahmed the intricacies of the game, just as he taught me the intricacies of Islam over the years. The hardest part was convincing him that baseball was superior to cricket, a game that he grew up loving during his childhood days in Pakistan, and during his studies in England. I do know, though, that he appreciated and enjoyed the peanuts, as both of us shared and went through a bag of them in just one inning. Overall, Wrigley Field could not have been a more fitting setting for the Professor’s first ever baseball game on this historical journey of ours.
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Tagged Akbar Ahmed, Baseball, Chicago, Craig Considine, Cricket, Cubs, Islam, Journey into America, National Pastime, Pakistan, Religion