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