Don't dream, when you can't make it real. They're only fictions anyway - Moddi, A Sense of Grey

Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance, in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance, when you're perfectly free - Rumi

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Dec 31, 2011

What Comes Before A Fall

Pride can be a dangerous thing.

You go through life thinking money is everything. The bigger your house, the bigger the asshole you can be. You can put everyone down because their safe isn't as big as yours or as well stacked. You ignore your family because they don't come up to your standards anymore. You completely disregard and dismiss them in their hour of need. 

And then you're eighty and your wife dies.Your own children are too busy to take care of you. Once you lived in a mansion, now you live in a nursing home.
For a man with seven brothers and a sister, your pride has left you a lonely man with no home to call your own.
With what little dignity you think you have left, you throw a shit fit so your children to send you off to another country under the facade of a vacation.

You convince yourself that your siblings have taken you in out of love, but deep down you know its only out of responsibility and to avoid any guilt they might feel later on.
In a house full of people, you can find yourself alone in a room with no one to talk to.
So that you convince yourself that the 100 influential men you are reading about are enough to keep you company; at least they don't blame you for the mistakes you made decades ago.

You find yourself living with those children whose father you refused to accommodate in your house. A man who just needed a place to stay after his eye surgery; who could either afford the surgery or the hotel expenses. Now the blind man is dead and the mansion is gone and regret is your partner till death do you part. 

And drowning in a sea of reproachful looks, you find yourself fighting for a breath of redemption.
But the time for atonement is buried with the brother you once claimed to love.

And deliverance will come when you're six feet under.  

Dec 28, 2011

An Answer To The Darkest Times

Tough times don't last forever. There is no greater truth than that. 

The change will come, in moments that you don't even pay attention to.

But have no doubts, it will happen. 

When you're Skyping with a friend late at night and you find yourself laughing again.

On the drive home with your friends as Travie McCoy plays in the background, telling you you'll be alright.

In the kindness of a stranger feeding pigeons on the street.

In the happiness of two boys you don't know, but whom you just bought juice and chips for just because they asked.

When you fall down the stairs and your grandmother laughs so hard, she gets tears in her eyes and you realize its a side of her you've never seen before.

In your father's arms as he dances with you to Stand By Me.

When your younger brother comes into your room, shows you some crazy dance move and then waits for your approval.

When you're sitting with your cousin, doing nothing, saying nothing and there is comfort in the silence.

In the sounds of laughter that drifts down from the kitchen into your room.

When you find yourself giggling with your friends about the cute boy at the coffee shop.

When your four year old niece falls asleep in your arms.

When a really sad song plays on the stereo, but it doesn't remind you of anything.

As you stand and cheer for hope among a crowd of thousands.

When you stand on the prayer mat and find yourself at peace with God.

When the coffee stops tasting bitter all the time.

When the cold wind doesn't bite.

When the pain is just a memory.

So wait. Wait for these moments and let them take over. Don't fight them. Don't push them away. Let them work their magic. And in the meantime, just sit back, relax and take it easy.

Dec 18, 2011

Heirs of Fortune and Misery

I wonder what it feels like to be the children of the most abhorred man in the country; to wake up every single day to utter luxury and pure hatred from almost every single one of your countrymen. I wonder what it was like, growing up knowing your father was notoriously known as Mr Ten Percent because he was believed to be an exacting reaper of kickbacks. What could it have felt like;watching family members always at each others throats; having your mother accused for the murder of her brothers? What kind of childhood can it have been, watching the blood of every close relative decorate the streets of a country which didn't care for it nor deserved it; who gave up their lives for no real cause except personal agendas smeared with the filth of corruption, exploitation and injustice? Do you regret not having any close bonds with your own cousins; to never be able to rely on your own family?

What is it like; to know that there is not a single person out there who wants to wish your family well? In fact, indifference would be a blessing. Does it not create a chronic feeling of angst and fear, to know that there are millions of people out there, and not just in the political arena, but probably every commoner who wishes the worst for your family? To never feel safe in your own country; not even your own house unless you have barricades of steel and cement surrounding the entire compound, sprawling onto the street and have half the country's rangers and police guarding it; to think that your house needs that kind of protection even though you don't even live there? To have a house and not a home?

How can you explain becoming the chairman of your country's ruling party even though you've hardly even lived there? When you don't even speak their language? When you've never known problems like load shedding and price hikes, being stopped in traffic for no reason and having to pay bribes to the traffic police, waiting for hours at a job interview just so you're later told its been given to some undeserving jackass whose father in a position of power? How can you pretend to fix the problems you've never had, to fight for the rights of people you've never known and to improve lives you've never lived? 

How can you just accept it all as your birthright and then pretend to fight for democracy?

Do these people even want this life? Where you are never sure of who will stab you in the back next. Where nothing is for sure; not even the love of your family. Where everyone you know is a potential threat; even the ones who work for you. Where you'll probably never know real friendships and relationships; you'll never know simple things like going out to the mall or taking a walk in the park without armed guards scaring everyone away, playing cricket on the streets or taking a bike ride with your friend to the nearest bun kabab stand; eating gola ganda with all the cousins crammed up in one car; worrying about paying for college; getting a job on your own merit. 

Is this what they really dreamed of? Are these really the plans they had for their lives? Or did they just get sucked into this whirlpool when they weren't looking and weren't able to get out? Did they try to fight it? Do they want to fight it?

Sometimes, I feel sorry for them; these heirs of fortune and misery. 

Dec 14, 2011

Live Free or Get Married

I could have a PhD in Astrophysics. 
I could be the country's most successful neurosurgeon.
I could become a medical malpractice lawyer or a maxillofacial surgeon. 
I could have been the CEO of one the world's most powerful organizations. 
I could be busy arbitrating peace in the Middle East as a UN Negotiator. 
I could be the first woman to discover life on another planet.
I could be the President of the country. 

Not a damn would be given, no sirree. 

None of this would really matter to my parents unless I was a boy.
Or married. 

When my younger brother was born, my grandmother told me that the first thing my mom asked, groggy from the drugs, was the sex of the baby. When she heard it was a boy, she groaned out a "thank God" and fell asleep.
I wonder what she thought when I was born. Probably something along the lines of "Oh shit! Oh well! Now we need to find her a boy."

I know it sounds harsh to have that view of my parents. I love my parents and I'm pretty sure they love me. I know they want me to be happy. Its just, our ideas of happiness are polar opposites at the moment.   
But I know now, after my last great showdown with my mother, that she and I will only find peace with each other when I tie the knot and then provide her with twenty grandchildren or so. 

Now how do I say this politely?

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. 

Dec 9, 2011

Bu'shit Bu'shit Bu'shit!

When I was a student, maintaining discipline was a big deal. You had to sit quietly in the class while the teacher droned on, walk everywhere in a straight line, raise your hands if you wanted to ask questions. You couldn't even ask questions during the explanation of the lesson or it would break the momentum, all questions were asked at the end of the session.
Everything was done in a systematic manner and you know what, as much as we hated it, it was kind of necessary considering how out of control children can sometimes get.
Know what I mean?

When an outsider looks at it, they think it's a very hitleresque system. "Children should be allowed to express themselves; they should be allowed to speak their mind; don't make a fuss about everything; when you criticize them you stop them from realizing their true potential and where their skills lie"
Well you know what mommy and daddy? Bu'shit, bu'shit, bu'shit. 
You deal with your child at the end of the day, when almost all their energy has been drained and they seem like little angels as they walk around, zombie-like, nodding their heads at whatever you say to them. And again, you deal with mostly two, maybe three children at home. And you can easily send them to their rooms when they get on your nerves. I bet you don't even spend two straight hours with your children at home. Don't think your "go out and play" or "go take a nap" routines are fooling us. 
On the contrary, in school we deal with almost 27 students to a class from 8 am to 2 pm. And we don't know what you feed your child in the morning, but by the time they get to school they are noise loving, rule hating, book burning, education despising blood suckers.

They do not listen to a word we say till we are screaming it in their face; they do not understand the concept of good cop.
When we show them affection, its like asking them to spit in our faces. 
When we tell them to do something, they will do the exact opposite for no bloody reason at all. They are rebels without a cause.
They will almost never have the book open on the correct page.
They will request bathroom breaks in the middle of the most important discussions.
They want to take their sweaters off, then put them on and then take them off again; all in the span of bloody two minutes.
They refuse to understand simple things like raising their damn hands before voicing their obnoxious and almost always, useless, opinions.
They drag their feet when they walk as though they're carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders; usually they're only carrying their own stomachs which you keep fattening with massive amounts of junk food and coke.
Take from example this genius.
Focus on the chewed page of the book.
Now this little monster was bored in class and when we looked away for a few minutes, he had chewed up the page from his book. I know you're thinking....GNAAWWWWW...that's so darn cute. Yea, sure it was cute at that moment. Not so much when  he threw up in the class. 

Oh, and contrary to what the latest research might say, if we stop your kids from acting like monkeys on coke, it won't affect their future mastery at some useless skill. 
If we tell your kids to lift their feet and walk, it is simply because we don't necessarily enjoy listening to what every inch of the school floor sounds like against your child's feet. And no, we highly doubt that this might keep your child from becoming the country's greatest figure skater.
And I really don't believe that your child won't grow up to be an opera singer now because I didn't let him sing in class during the exam.
Oh and another thing, please, don't accuse me of killing the next Picasso in the making just because I punished your kid for colouring on the school tables. If you think he's got the talent, why don't you let him colour your $170 dining table? Huh? HUHHHH???
Okay, I realize I sound a bit insane at this point. But seriously, if you want a place where your kids can run around freely and do whatever the hell they want with absolutely no sense of accountability or manners, you should have left them at the zoo.
So the next time before you bitch and moan about the strict discipline in the school, how about you get your whiny butts in class and try looking after 27 little monsters for five straight hours.
Thought so.

Dec 5, 2011

No Dark Sarcasm, In The Classroom

"Please, don't talk to me when your voice is such a phatta huwa dhol (broken drum)"
This is what my dad said to me recently when I was trying to have a conversation with him.

*Drum Roll*
Ladies and germs, announcing the arrival of the end of term tests.
It's revision week in school.

The end of term is a torture for us poor souls. The academic world has fooled us nitwits into believing that examinations are for students. That is a lie. They are purely a test for the teachers. A test of their patience, sanity and the strength of their vocal chords as they revise lesson upon lesson from the beginning of time. Of course, this results in long nights spent in front of the television while we eat chocolate and contemplate our utter failure as human beings. If you want to know why we're always angry, constantly frowning and look like we'll pounce on you at the first opportunity we get, its not PMS. Its exams.

How Monsters Are Made

If you chance to actually have your wits about you as you walk down the hall to class for another twenty minutes of throat-rape, the craziness of this time will hit you with full force.
As hard as the teacher is working, the students will be just as resistant to absorbing the knowledge. Some are playing making catapults with rulers, obliterating Mathematical questions in their head by throwing erasers at them. A few are busy talking to each other, some are actually conversing with something invisible and some have just given up completely and are sitting with their eyes closed, their mouths open and drool dripping from the sides of their mouths. And don't be fooled by those sitting with their eyes wide-open, staring at the teacher as if riveted by every word they are spitting out. They are one of those few genius individuals who have mastered the art of sleeping  with their eyes open.
Oh well! At least there's no discipline issues here.

As for the teacher, she enters the class, screams for discipline and then begins a repetitive tirade of facts as she tries to ingrain as much information as she can into her students brains. She doesn't even stop to drink water because she knows that the second she stops talking, there will be utter chaos. And then of course, there are those moments when you feel like either throwing the students out of the open window, smacking the book across their heads repeatedly, hoping something might jump from the book into their resistant brains or running out of the room, screaming, arms flailing hoping you'll be able to run fast enough to time travel to retirement.

And then of course, are the stupid, stupid questions that students insist on asking.
Right after I explained the entire life-cycle of a butterfly, complete with pictures and models, one wise guy who'd been sleeping throughout the session asks "Ma'am, does a caterpillar have wings?"
I cringed. I wanted to stuff his face with the plastic models of the caterpillar. I wanted to feed him caterpillar bisque.

Another time; while discussing birds.
A: What are the bodies of birds covered with?
Class: Feathers (an the top of their lungs)
Repeats twice more
A: What is a penguin?
Class: Its a bird
A: So is it covered with feathers?
The class starts off with a yes, but when it hears a few no's, they all end up with a No.

During a particularly difficult explanation on Volcanoes, a boy starts jumping up and down with his hands raised, an intense look on his face. Normally, I don't allow questions until the end of the explanation so as not to break the flow, but seeing his face, I thought, what the hell. At least he looked interested enough to ask questions.
A: Yes, what would you like to ask?
Boy: When will we celebrate my birthday?

These days are pure hell. 

If you want redemption, teach. 

God will forgive your sins. 

I Beg Your Pardon?

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

I wonder if George Orwell overheard this conversation in Urdu with my mom right before he said those words. 

Mom and I, out for a drive
A: Dekho, kuttay kay bachay (look, sons of bitches)
Mom: Zabaan ko lagaam do. Humesha mun say phool jhartay hain. Kabhi galian diay baghair din nahi guzar sakta?
(Conrtol your tongue. Every time you speak, it is as if roses are falling{sarcasm}. Can't you go one day without cursing?)
A: No, mom. Look. Kuttay kay bachay (puppies) {Pointing to an actual litter of pups}

Dec 3, 2011

The Truth Shall Chew You Up And Spit You Out

Received some new information about something you're trying to forget.

Initial emotions: Anger. Anger. Pain. Anger. A moment of silence. More anger. Just plain fucking pissed off. Sadness. Self pity. (repeat)

Reaction: Curse (preferably in Urdu), kick the door, open the door and slam repeatedly, fill a glass with water and throw it in the air, pick up beanbag and throw it across the wall, get irritated because it's too heavy, kick beanbag instead, cry, cry, cry more, question the higher powers, hide under covers,burn your lungs, cry. BBM friend about your misery and force them to tell you how awesome you are. Feel better. 

Take a break: eat an entire box of ferreros. Down the coke(imagine its an intoxicant). Stumble down the stairs as though really intoxicated. Investigate the refrigerator for more comfort food. Grab box of galaxies. Get new box of tissues. Go to mom's room. Find it empty,but find comfort in it anyway. Avoid looking at self in the mirror. Can't resist so look at self in the mirror and feel pathetic. Curse. Go back to the room and lie on the bed.

Break over. Converse with God. No answers there. Try to bribe with galaxies. Still no answers. Empty out the box. Give up. Get back in bed. Cry, but not sure whether its from pain in the stomach or just plain heart ache.

Stop all thoughts.
Replay entire year in the head. Question every word spoken, every effort made, every step taken in light of new information.
Forget everything everyone tells you.
Listen to your heart.
Find the truth within.
Accept the truth.
Cry some more.

Dec 1, 2011

Happy Hour

Just want to say thanks for preying on us emotionally vulnerable women who look to you for comfort and joy. We tried to replace you with the pathetic men in our lives and I'm happy to say, you have succeeded in that regard. You start off by looking like an innocent indulgence; you look all sexy wrapped in your tempting looking packages, but just like a man, the euphoria lasts for two minutes. Then, you turn on us by making us feel sick to the stomach; we feel like major dumb asses for thinking we could ever count on you for anything, especially moral and emotional support. You make us feel horrible about ourselves and then we curse the day we met you; but we can't seem to stay away from you and that starts another bout of dejection, anger, misery and in some cases, even trauma. We have you to blame for the jeans that no longer go higher than the thigh and the shirts that make us look like a boob job gone wrong. 
You are the reason for all the low self-esteem.
You are the reason Johnny Depp won't come to our rescue and why Brad Pitt won't return our calls.
However, all being said and done, you are delicious and ours is a relationship which has lasted through all the ups and downs. Sometimes, even when we wake up from a deep sleep, we find you next to the pillow and we hold you till we fall asleep again. 
So I wanted to take out the time to say that we love you and we hate you and we love to hate you.
If you want to run for president, you've got our vote. 

Happy Hour With My Girls And Our One True Love

Nov 30, 2011

Speak The Words I Want To Hear, To Make My Demons Run

Tragedy strikes through our lives like lightning across a storm cloud; it seems to cut through the darkness of raindrops and dust, sharp and clear. The flash of light is like an explosion contained within the clouds and although seemingly whole to the naked eye, only the cloud really knows what destruction the atmospheric electricity has wreaked within.
And then come the rain and winds and the darkness, water and dust create a blur. You don’t know where to go and where to hide. You go through the motions like a puppet in the hands of an amateur puppeteer; unable to stand on both feet at the same time, never in one place for too long, constantly being jerked around. Your emotions are haphazard and you feel everything with full force.
Then the dust settles and you are finally able to comprehend the intensity of the devastation. You know what part of you is gone forever, how much is broken, but can still be salvaged and how much left untouched.
And now, you make your choice. Do you try to rebuild from what was left behind? Or do you start over completely new; forgetting everything you loved and cared about, erasing all memories of what was once before, even that which was left untouched and just be someone else?
Or do you chase the storm?

Nov 29, 2011

I Look Inside Myself And See My Heart Is Black

Muharram is here. For the Muslim world, especially the Shia sect, it is a month of remembrance and of mourning for the man who sacrificed everything, even his infant children, in the way of Islam. Imaam Hussain was the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad and this month is dedicated to his entire family's martyrdom to oppose injustice, cruelty and oppression. He refused to accept Yazid as the the rightful Caliph as Yazid was openly condoning practices which were strictly against Islamic law. His refusal resulted in all out war against his clan and he was forced to leave his home in Medinah and fought against Yazid in Karbala. 

On the 7th of Muharram, Yazid's army cut off all water supplies to Imaam Hussain's camp. For the next three days, every single man, woman and child went thirsty in the blazing heat of the desert until finally, on the tenth, when the battle began, his entire army including his 9 month old son, were killed by the enemy. The martyr's bodies, which Imaam Hussain had buried with his own hands, were dug up and their heads cut off and carried to Damascus on tips of the soldier's swords. Their women and children were taken prisoners. 

This fateful day is known as Ashura and has since been commemorated by all Muslims as the day when one man stood against all that was wrong and unjust, to protect Islam from being destroyed and forgotten. Muslims all over the world go to religious gatherings known as Majlis-e-Hussain, remember his suffering and mourn his pain through the matam (beating the hand against the chest as a sign of lamentation. 

When I was younger and stood up for the Matam, I often looked around at the people around me crying and moaning, trance-like, hand against chest, hand away and wondered if they were really crying at the pain of a man they never knew or if somehow, the tears fell from their pain of some loss they alone had known? Was the woman in front of me really in so much agony from knowing about sheer cruelty inflicted upon one man's family or because she too had lost a son in a cross-fire? Was the man in that corner sobbing because he too had buried a new born? Was that young girl crying because she missed her dead father? For I would stand and perform the Matam and not a tear would roll down my cheeks. I would often think to myself if my lack of emotions meant that maybe, I was not a good Muslim; worse, maybe I was not a good person. This doubt in my own religious fervency often left me upset and morbid. 

Little did I know that my many musings about those gatherings were true. I have grown up now. For the past many years I have cried passionately at every Majlis and every Matam. I can honestly say though, that most of the time, the tears flowed because of some heartache of my own. I often try and distract myself from my problems and try to be less selfish, less self-involved. But I think the more I focused on the real reason for the Majlis, the more it intensified my own sorrow. 

I feel morally conflicted and utterly confused. Is it wrong of me to think of my own lesser problems in the light of the selflessly relinquished lives of such great men and women? Is it a reflection of who I am as a Muslim? Maybe. But I have also only known my own losses and suffered my own pain and I can only feel their pain through my own. 

And every motion with which I bring down my hand to my chest, in my head I am just trying to beat some faith into my soul. 

And praying to God to give me back those eyes that had never cried. 

Nov 28, 2011

Cardinal Sin

2 a.m is the worst time to work. Some might disagree and say its the best time to work. All is quiet, except for the noise of the generator. No one is there to bother you, you are alone with your thoughts and its easy to focus. Well, who the fuck cares about what some say?
Let me tell you a story about 2 a.m work madness. This isn't a true story. It has nothing to do with me or my friend with whom I wasn't working on a curriculum designing project. 
So, where was I? Yea.
It's 2 a.m. on a Saturday and two girls are sitting together, staring intently at a laptop, trying to work out the kinks in a paragraph typed out on the laptop in front of them and a bottle of Diet Pepsi, Pepsi, a large bar of Dairy Milk, chips and dip between them. Neither of them is actually reading the paragraph; one (lets call her Abeer) keeps alternating between thoughts of sleep, chocolate and the soft, snugly socks that she wants to rub her cheeks against. The other one (Sahar) is thinking of something which Abeer has no clue since she is no mind reader. 
After a few useless minutes of staring, Sahar decides to voice her thoughts and so the following conversation ensues
Sahar: "You know what's really upsetting me? That story about your friend XYZ"
Abeer puts off rubbing the socks on her cheeks for another time and decides to focus on what Sahar is saying. "Um, why? Because she's ugly?"
Sahar: "No! You know, the whole baby, amazing husband, chain of international stores thing!"
Abeer, realizing the uh-oh ness of this moment tries to avoid it getting too serious and decides to be shallow: "Who cares yaar? she is so ugly."
But it's too late. Sahar had gone down the much dreaded path of self-pity. Now, there had to ensue a discussion of how horrid this life was, the sorrow of unrealized dreams and the ache of unrequited love. 
"She's got a baby, a really awesome and rich husband and she has her own chain of clothing stores world over. That just bloody sucks"
"You've already said that," thinks Abeer, but knows not to say it out loud. Sahar's emotional state must be handled carefully; she must try and not say anything that might make her angry or start the water works. Abeer had her own tears to cry in a while and if she started to cry then it would look like she was trying to steal Sahar's thunder. 
"It sucks because she has all that and we don't or does it suck because she's ugly and has all that and we don't? 
Sahar reflects on that statement for a few seconds and answers "Both" There is a slight quiver in her lips. 
Abeer must deflate the tension in the room and soon. This must not result in a break down. 
"Okay, so basically what you're saying is that she has everything we want? And we will never be rich, have a husband and therefore, never have kids?" 
"Kill me now" 
The End

Nov 24, 2011

No, Please! Don't Call Security!

Remember ten years ago when parents made the mistake of buying cell phones for their young teens and expected them to be responsible and mature about their usage? We would feel oh so cool with the mobile in our hands, smaller the better (probably the only time when this term was acceptable) showing off to the less fortunate ones in our clique by randomly asking if they had any calls to make? Wait, so you're saying that was just me? Damn. 
The First Real Love of My Life

To All Cell-Phone Stalkers:
If You Don't Look Like This,
Don't Bother.
Anyway, the worst thing about having a cell phone was when random people would randomly type in your number and ask you to be their "Frand" (that's friend in stalker lingo) hoping you were some hot, desperate girl who would reply with "Han Jee" (yes). They seemed to have endless credit and a bottom-less pit of self-confidence even in the face of constant rejection. 

Then, you entered your twenties and your frands seemed to disappear because they probably grew up too. Wait. Stop right there. Are you sure they're gone? Are you sure they're not lurking in the corners of the airport immigration counters, waiting for their next chance to strike?
Yea, you read that right.

When I got back from Dubai, some guy started messaging me non-stop, asking how my trip went and obviously, I assumed it was someone I knew. However, as always, my assumptions were stupid and far fetched. It was just some guy who works at the Jinnah International Airport with the airport "security" and he got all my information off the airport computers. 

Okay, It Happened In Pakistan.
But You Get My Point!
He not only knew my name, he knew where I lived and worked; all the data that you would want to keep, if not private, then at least protected and not thrown into the hands of someone who would obviously abuse it. Talk about abuse of authority and an absolute invasion of privacy. 

And We Know He Ain't No Telemarketer.

And God knows what that man is capable of? He knows who I am, he knows where to find me. What do I know what his intentions really are? I mean, if he's extracting my private details without my permission then anything can be expected. 

The lack of work ethics, corruption and exploitation of information in this country is disgusting and shameful. More than that, it is scary to see that this attitude has so completely infiltrated the nation in everything that they do. We have collectively forgotten what "wrong" or worse "illegal" means. We have crossed the grey area smack into the black and we don't even realize it. Nothing is sacred anymore. 

We want what we want and will cross all lines to get it. 

Nov 23, 2011

These Beautiful Women, Lost Under The Stars

In the 25 years of my life, I have met some extremely fascinating women. Women with assiduous levels of strength and courage. Women who wage daily wars with their worlds; who have still made something of themselves despite being bound by an almost draconian society that seems to leave almost all of us suffocated by its orthodox ideology.

So today, I want to give these women a tribute. I want them to know how much I appreciate them, how much I am inspired by their lives, how much I wish to have the same grace and dignity with which they handle all their struggles and just how plain grateful I am for the comfort and support I find within them. So this one goes as a shout out to them and all those women world over who have found themselves in a similar place, but are yet to be broken down.

To Nasreen, Fatima, Shama and Shakeela: Women who have shown me the meaning of unconditional love and support and have taught me what family really means. They have given up their careers to build and raise the family of which I am so proud to be a part of and for which, no matter how many times I tell them I love them, it will never be enough. From these women, I have learnt what it means to make sacrifices for the ones you love, I have learnt respect and I have learnt how important it is to be a better person. I have seen their families bring them down, push them around and take them for granted and I have seen them do nothing, but give more love in return. They have taught me to have the courage to pursue my dreams no matter what stage of life I am in and to never give up on the ones you love. From them, I have learnt how to carry on even though never appreciated, to hope no matter how horrible the circumstance,  to keep on living even when everything seems to have been taken away from you and to leave what you have called home all your life and start over new in a place completely alien.

To Sahar: The sister, the best friend, the confidante, the tutor, the money lender, the stuff bringer, the feeder and over all evil genius. The one in whose lap I have cried for hours about my broken heart. The one who has seen me fail and fall countless times, but who never gave up on me. The one who I have watched suffer through intense trauma and tragedy, who has battled with depression and bipolar and who has known her own various heartbreaks which might leave many with a colder heart or a broken spirit, but she has only emerged with a bigger heart than I thought was possible. She has taught me how to be kind to strangers and forgiving to the most horrid of transgressions. She is, more often than not, my voice of wisdom. From her I have learnt what hard work really means. Truly, she is one of the most amazing women I know.

To my very own Amy Lee*: I hate to admit it, but when I first met her, she came across as someone with a one tracked mind; the kind that starts at clothes, ends at shoes and thinks of make-up in between. I've never been more wrong. She is this amazingly talented and really witty person who is a great writer, artist, singer and photographer. She has so much going for her, if only she realized it. She went through a few years of an abusive relationship and she bore it all without a soul knowing what was happening. Unlike others I have known, she didn't let it affect the way she dealt with other people around her. She was always cheerful and lively, making everyone around her laugh and have a good time. And even when things fell apart, other than her closest friends, she has never bad mouthed the guy nor bitched about him in anyway. She has taught me how important it is to put your problems aside and not let your issues ruin other people's day, that it is essential to be the bigger person in the relationship, not to give in to your baser instincts to try and destroy the other person and just try your best to carry on with the little pride you have left.

To Azeelia: Even though she recently became a part of our family, it feels like I have known her forever. She just recently lost a baby, but her morale and courage and the brave face she put up when most people would just give up on everything deserves a standing ovation. Each day that I meet her, she instills in me a whole new spirit of hope and faith. My problems are minute compared to hers and yet, she has accepted them with humbleness and dignity and dealt with them with far more grace and character than I have. I've learnt from her not to question God each time something goes wrong and sometimes, to trust Him and the way He plays the cards even if sometimes, it feels like He's cheating. And I want to thank her for not letting my faith go to hell.

To Samia: I haven't known her for so long, but from her I've learnt that broken homes don't always result in damaged children. Even though she's seen her parents go through an awful divorce, she has turned out to be a strong and stable person, not letting her circumstances influence who she became and how she lived her life.  She went to medical college and is now a doctor. She's one of the more down to earth and level headed people I know. Her story makes me realize that who you become is in your hands alone. No matter how dysfunctional your family and no matter how messed up the people around you, you alone are the molder of your character and your life and it is in your hands to make or break yourself.

To Maera: One of my best friends; crazy to the core. Although I've only known her for four years, it seems like a lifetime. She brought into my life a whole other level of friendship, love and of course the drama that comes with these things. I have watched her struggle with relationships and career choices and am often left  bewildered with the fire and spirit with which she lives her life and deals with her issues. With her, I have learnt not to take things too seriously and  how important it is to let go and just have some fun. She is this sexy, spirited, funny and crazy person who has made life a lot more bearable and pleasant.

And To Hani: Hani very recently came into my life, but left quite an impression. Her life has been, to say the least, chaotic. She's been through two divorces and in a society such as ours, that is seen as a major "humiliation". For her, everyday is a battle between doing what makes her happy and whats "right". She refused to stay in a marriage that didn't make her happy even though the world seemed to stand against her. She has built herself as a credible and respected individual in her field. From her, I have realized that it is important to have dreams, to be yourself no matter how scandalous that might be for others, to fight for what makes you happy and what you want, to not let the world's image of you bother you in anyway, to never let anyone try and change you just because it suits them and to be a successful individual in your own right.  She is a woman of mettle and I admire her for the battles she fights everyday.

If you know even one woman like the ones I have mentioned above, consider yourself lucky for you have a support system that is so powerful and unfailing, you can never lose your way.

Nov 20, 2011

They'll Call Me Freedom Just Like A Wavin' Flag

For those of you who don't live in this wonderful country called Pakistan with its "democratic" system of government, let me tell you about how the people in charge tend to pass their time doing things that have no head or tail in relation to politics or governance or anything remotely related to improving the standard of living here.
Recently introduced by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is the infamous "Banned List". Its just a list of words which are forbidden while texting. Did you spit out your cereal yet? Stop eating, there's more. 
So apart from the absolute violation of the people's right to freedom of speech, the words on the list are, to be most polite, absolutely retarded, the thoroughness of the words on it just goes to show how much free time our authorities have. I mean do these stupid people have nothing better to do than to make fucked up lists telling us we can't use words like "sexy" on messages? (I told you to stop eating.) I mean, what is the word sexy going to do? Turn the country into nymphomaniacs? 
Needless to say, the list has been met with nothing but absolute ridicule. People are making fun of it on every possible social networking site I can think of. An example, a text conversation with a friend. 

Friend: Taxi, taxi, taxi
Me: Uh, What?
Friend: I'm doing illegal shit dude.
Me: ?!?
Friend: Don't you know? The PTA put "taxi" on the list of banned words on sms.
Me: HAHA! Wow, you're a regular old Jesse James.
Friend: What?!?
Me: an outlaw.
Friend: You read too much.

I mean, what happened to actually doing something worthwhile for a change?

I Believe You're A Miracle Child

Once upon a time, not so long ago in a land not so far away, there lived an ordinary girl. Her father was no king and her mother was no queen. But in their own ways, they lived like royalty. This ordinary girl wasn't the most beautiful girl in the world, otherwise she wouldn't be the ordinary girl. But she was still pretty. She wasn't the kind of girl who sang songs to the birds or danced with the deer. In fact, she couldn't sing a single note in tune. 
Now, this ordinary girl was no academic genius, but she was smart enough. She wasn't fond of studying, but she did the best she could because it would make her father and mother very happy. She tried and she tried, but she just couldn't get those straight A's. Her mother cried and her father looked away in disappointment. It broke her heart, but what could she do. Her parents realized that now, only their sons could make them proud. So they let her be and let her do her own thing. In a way, the ordinary girl was relieved. Now, she only had to do things to make herself happy. She was free to choose her own path; the only problem was, she didn't know what she wanted. 
Time went on, the ordinary girl got older. She met a few ordinary boys, but you know how it is with boys. They come and they go. She went to college and made some not so ordinary friends and life was good. Ordinary, but good.  
Then, one day, she met a boy who made her feel not so ordinary. He sang a song that made her feel all tingly inside and for once, she didn't want this boy to go. So they got together, as happens in the ordinary world. He made her smile, he made her laugh. He inspired her to be more than she was; sort of like a muse, but more. And even though he didn't define her, she felt less confused about who she was. Yet, she had no idea what extraordinary thing to do in this, her ordinary life.
In college, she discovered many things about herself. She found she was a fan of books on magical realism; reading them was like taking a drug, they left her heady and disconnected with reality which was exactly what she needed. She updated her knowledge of music; once, she almost got beaten up by her friends when she said "Isn't Nirvana a song by Metallica?" Thanks to college, its not so bad anymore. She rediscovered her passion for writing, even learnt a little bit of photography. But sadly, none of this would help her get the 4.0 CGPA her parents would have liked to see. Still, she was as happy as a cat napping under the sun. The real world was far, far away; too distant to think about.
One day, this boy took her to watch a football game and as these things happen, she met a group of crazy people and in no time at all, they were stuck to each other like glue. They would do everything together; one of her favourite things was when they turned up the music really loud in her room and dance like there was no tomorrow. They loved each other, maybe a bit too much. So that when things got bad, it tore them apart. Just another ordinary thing in the ordinary girl's life. And when the time came, she had to let go of the not so ordinary boy because it wasn't what the universe wanted at all. Oh well, you live, you lose, you learn. And so, life went on.
Soon, the time came for the ordinary girl to graduate with her ordinary CGPA. She didn't get that gold medal her father thought she would get. She was proud of herself, but not so much. She got her gown and her cap and dressed up and went to the ceremony. When they called her name, the ordinary girl thought she would burst with happiness. When she sat back down, she got a call from her parents saying they were leaving. The ordinary girl cried; all the graduates had photographs with their parents, she had none. For once, that was no ordinary deal.
Life goes on, so did hers. She found a job she loved and so another tussle with the parents. "How can you settle for something so ordinary?" they said. But to her, it was a passion. For once, she had found something she could call her own; a path to follow, a goal, a vision. And no one would take that away from her. She would take these ordinary children and make them extraordinary. She would do what no teacher could do for her, she would help them find their way. She had found her calling.
Soon, she found another boy. This time, she felt extraordinary. She, for once, fell in love. She found new people to call her family. She felt that this was it. She had found her path and the one whom she wanted to go down the path with her. But this boy had once known love with a princess; what was this ordinary girl in comparison? And so they parted ways. As was the story of this ordinary girl's life.
And now, this ordinary girl is just trying in her ordinary way to find her way back to her ordinary self and what she is running from and why.

Blue Skies From Pain

If someone were to ask me 
what I missed the most about my old self, 
I'd say it was the sound of my laughter. 

Nov 16, 2011


Things to do in Dubai:
1) Shop till I drop 
End Of Day One

Who Said Retail Therapy Doesn't Work?

2) Try as many dishes as I can from around the world
Sweet Moroccan Tea 

White Mocha Latte
Hummus Ma Lahmi (hummus with meat)

Chicken Teriyaki
Stir Fry With Schezuan Sauce
Tribe Special
Amazing Thai Food At Ibn-e-Batuta Mall
Yogurt  With Strawberries, Raspberries, Kiwis and Walnuts
Sahar Devouring The Chicken Satays

3) Dance till the moon becomes the sun

4) Soak up the sun

Jumeira Beach

5) Dress Sexy
All Dolled Up
I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty!

Off To The JBR Walk and then Horizon

6) Learn some self control

I Dinnae Buy These
7) Try a whacky accessory

8) Sit in a corner, watch the world go by and pretend to be frozen in time

A Massive Crowd Outside The Dubai Mall

People Watching
9) Go sightseeing for a change

The Madinat Jumeira

Two Hotels, Summer Houses, Souk Etc In One Plaza

Connected By Boat

And The Best Things About The Hotel? Us.
The Meydan Racecourse

Global Village: A Central Exhibit For Worldwide Cultures, Shopping and Entertainment

Pavilions From All Over The World

Live Shows And All That Jazz

10) Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war

Pretty successful trip I'd say.


Nov 15, 2011

It Is Written In The Dust, It Is Whispered In The Wind

You, who I met through some horrid twist of fate. You, who in an instant took my breath away. You, who swept me off my feet with your laughing eyes. You, who held my hand in the garden by night. You, who showed me a world I never knew before. You,who plucked away my doubts about the existence of happiness. You, who made me dream of dreams I had never dreamed before. You, who made me laugh like a child swinging up high. You, who made me feel as beautiful as a swan on a crystal, clear lake. You, who whispered sweet nothings in my ear as I fell asleep. You, who said you loved me. 

And you, to whom it was nothing, but a game. And you, who walked across my heart and crushed it to bits. And you, who took my spirit and dragged it across a bed of thorns. And you, who has left nothing except tears in my eyes. And you, who is the reason for these endless, sleepless nights. And you, who never even dreamed one dream of me. And you, who told me I was worth nothing in this world. And you, who made me feel smaller than the smallest creature on this earth. And you, who told me nothing I did was ever good enough. And you, who left me with pitiful glances and questioning eyes. And you, who I can't hate even if I tried. 

And you, with a smile on your face and a dagger in your hand.
You, who I could have loved forever. 

Nov 13, 2011

Step Aside Please

On the way back home, I got stopped at Immigration. You'd think its no big deal, but for a Muslim girl travelling alone, its a mind fuck. Its a two minute walk from the immigration desk to the customs office; in those two minutes I had already imagined myself in the U.A.E jail; I thought of every single thing I could have done to be in this position. My heart was beating so fast, I thought I'd throw up.
I went in, sat down in front of this formidable looking Arab guy who looked like he hadn't smiled in decades. Anyway, five minutes later, he stamped my passport and sent me on my way. 
Word of advice: Make sure the cute guy at the immigration counter isn't too busy flirting and remembers to actually stamp your passport on arrival. 
This Is What Your Passport Should Look Like 

Seriously. Men.

Nov 12, 2011

All That Silence

I have so much to write about, but just haven't gotten the time for it. I shall post when I get home and finally have time to put it all together nicely.

Just wanted to say hi. I miss my blog. I love this city though and honestly, I'm just not ready to come home.

Sad Face.

Nov 8, 2011

What Happens At The Atlantis.....

Conversation among friends after some crazy partying at the Atlantis in Dubai

G1: Did I make out with anyone??
B: That cute guy you were dancing with was kissing you on the cheek
G1: What!? Are you serious?
G2: Don't worry, he kissed me too.
B: Yea, I think he kissed me too

Nov 7, 2011

At 25

I think I've hit a quarter life crisis. My emotions seem to be on some sort of roller coaster ride; one day I'm feeling content, joyous and ecstatic about everything. The next day I wake up and realize its all gone downhill. This morning I got up and the house was empty. My uncle and aunt had gone to drop off Sahar to meet some colleagues. I lay in bed alone for a while and that I think was my undoing. Everything just came rushing back and the more I tried to push the memories out of my head, the more they seemed  to attack with full force. I hate him for ruining my vacation. Stupid jerk. Au contraire,  if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be in Dubai in the first place. Yes, I know. I'm very confused. 
Anyway, I decided to let my thoughts linger for a while. I got into the yummy bathtub and surrounded myself with foam and bubbles and let myself go. You know how they show people trying to drown themselves in the bathtub? That's a lie! Your body just naturally floats up and its such a great feeling when you're no longer carrying your own weight. 
I have never played in a bathtub as a kid. I'm sure a lot of people haven't, but watching kids in movies jump around in their tub with that yellow duck floating around used to fascinate me. How come these kids get a pool in their bathroom? I used to think.
This Is The Tub I would Have Liked To Bathe In As a Child, But......

....This Is What I Got!

So I decided to go a little nuts and splashed around in the tub making duck sounds. It was brilliant fun till I came out and saw all the water on the floor. And then when I came out, the housekeeper was giving me strange looks. I suppose she heard me going mad in the tub.
Couldn't care less. That's another thing down on my bucket list.