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 7, 2012

I Spy

I am convinced that the job of a primary school teacher is one of the toughest in the world. And I'm not saying this just because I am one myself. You are basically a substitute parent with the added responsibility of educating these wild things. You are also constantly switching roles from bad cop to good cop, from friend to foe, from an entertainer to a serious, frown bearing, glasses wearing, nose wrinkling lecturer all the while functioning as a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a mentor, a model and well...the list doesn't end. I mean, there is a reason I take four hour naps after coming home from work. But with all this drama, you get to have these incredible moments that only childhood innocence can give you. 

The school where I work, the faculty bathrooms share a common wall with the students' bathroom except, since ours has its entrance from the faculty room, most students have no idea that we are so close. We can pretty much hear every single conversation that goes on in there because of the air vents. Some of these conversations are hilarious. Six to eight year old children convene to complain about their day, or how harsh their teacher is or what they got for lunch and what they are willing to exchange (they actually have a proper barter system in place: one brownie for two bananas and a chicken nugget, two cookies for four nuggets, the list goes on) 

A couple of days ago I was chilling in the faculty bathroom, trying to get away from an incredibly boring teacher who loves to give religious talks to all and sundry. I was sitting and reading when suddenly, one of my student's voice drifts in through the air vent. She was basically bossing the first graders around, telling them off for not using soap, discussing lunch break with one of her friends...the usual. I was just listening to her when I had one of my "Edison" moments. I stood under the air vent and called out

"Umamah, get back to class this instant. This is a bathroom, not a club."

For a few seconds there was complete silence. And then..

"How does she know everything?!"
"Told you. She's a witch."


Dec 6, 2012

Heaven Under Her Feet

Just out of curiosity, do you have a tattoo?
No.
For God's sake, why would you even get a tattoo?!
Ami, I don't have one.
Yes, but why do people want them?
Ami, I don't know. Who cares.
Hmm.
Just out of curiosity, what would you have done if I did get a tattoo?
Khabardar. I absolutely forbid it.
You can't tell me what to do anymore you know...
9 months of carrying you and almost 30 hours of labour followed by a surgery and lifelong scars suggest otherwise.


A-0 Mom-1

Nov 22, 2012

Blessed Are The Oblivious

Time is strange.
A year ago, I thought I would never recover from my loss.
And today, I can't even remember what I lost in the first place.
I think time is beautiful.

Aug 14, 2012

Bleed Green

Their tea was getting cold, but they were oblivious to it as they sat on the balcony, under a canopy of green and white paper fluttering in the breeze of a warm August afternoon. She felt overwhelmed by wave after wave of nostalgia as she watched the children on the street run around with their little flags, every single one of them wearing some shade of green, bellowing out one national song after another, with an occasional shout of "Pakistan Zindabad" thrown in during those awkward minutes when no one could come up with a song. She remembered her own childhood; being woken up to watch the national parade, the whole family standing up to sing the anthem, the tears in her grandfather's eyes.
She had once asked him about it.

"When your heart is in two places at once, you'll understand."  

Wise old man. She missed him. And the Independence Day breakfast. Oh how she missed that. The oily parathas and the chickpeas gravy that made you feel groggy all day long. But it was the unconditional love and pride and the purity of those feelings she missed the most.

She turned to look at him, he kept watching the celebrations. She looked away and closed her eyes; she could still see the ocean of white and green. He reached out to hold her hand when she sighed, making her smile.

"I wish I could be seven again."
"What the hell for?"
"I don't know. Look at that joy. Look how happy they are. I want to feel that way again."
"That isn't joy. It isn't happiness. It's living a lie. This blissful ignorance will shatter soon enough"
"Uff! Why do you always have to be so morbid."
"It's not being morbid. It's called growing the fuck up. It's called a reality check. Look around you A. Do you really want this blind patriotism? Pretending nothing is wrong, that everything is perfect?" 
"Sometimes."
"Now you know why this country is going to hell. Half of us our drowning in an ocean of blind faith and the other half is doing their best to keep those idiots under"
"It can't be worse than this emptiness where you realize that you have nothing to fight for at all."

He just rolled his eyes as he got up and picked up his cup of tea. It would be the last thing he would do before a stray bullet fired to celebrate independence would find its way into his skull, the blood splattered flag behind him mocking him as he fell. 





Aug 11, 2012

Children of Flame And Ash

R: How do I move on?
A: You stop trying to pick up the pieces, let them fall and light one up as a symbol of good riddance.
R: Ugh. No. I want to find a way to move on, not kill myself in the process.
A: Meh.We all die young, little one. 
R: Haha! You are so full of shit.  

Jul 18, 2012

Yellow Diamonds




It's like being permanently stoned on low grade marijuana; a few brilliant highs in between terrible lows, gut wrenching headaches with  moments of total clarity sprinkled in intermittently; the world is grey, the world is a rainbow; and by the time your head clears up and you figure it's time to clean up your act, you're already six feet under.

Jul 3, 2012

But You Don't Really Care For Music, Do You?

He wakes up mid afternoon, owing mostly to the electricity..rather lack of. The sunlight is barely visible behind the thick velvet curtains and the room is suffocating because of the summer heat they have trapped in; the room smells of stale smoke, whiskey and sex. This is why he hates spending the night at her place. The curtains make the room feel like a steel box in the middle of a desert.
However, the sex here is just so much better. She's like a wild animal in here; the room is her terrain and she works it beautifully, and with it him.
She stirs next to him, half covered by the thin blanket, in her pink snoopy shirt and black shorts, beads of sweat rolling down her collarbone. She never sleeps naked. He asked her about it once, expecting some complicated answer like she usually gives. "If I die in my sleep, I don't want people to find me naked." Quite simple really.
She shifts and faces him, placing her hands between her thighs. Fuck. She doesn't even let her defenses down in her sleep. Most girls change positions just so they can subtly put their arms around the guy.
He stares at her intently, studying her, as though trying to see into her dreams. Her eyes flash open and she stares back, but says nothing. He isn't even sure if she is awake, but he breathes easy when she smiles her groggy, morning smile; frowning, tiny twitch of the lips and a wrinkling of the nose. She lies on her back and stares into space. "Thinking about him again?" he asks, the irritation in his voice evident. She smiles without looking at him, throws her blanket off and goes to brush her teeth. This was another one of her little habits; she never spoke in the morning unless her breath smelt she'd swallowed a whole mint bush; "Common courtesy," she said.
She comes out and kisses him lightly on his forehead, He hated that; it felt more like an act of condescension than one of love. Sitting on the couch, she lights up a Dunhill. "You can open the curtains if you want."

And he knows she had dreamed about him. She hated sunlight. The curtains were her way of apologizing. She felt guilty for the dream.
"I don't understand women."
"Let's not have this conversation."
"Why always the bad boys? Why always the damaged ones and your need to save them?"
She smiles again, flicking the ash on the carpet.
"Who said anything about saving them?"
"Well then, what else can it be? She looks at him for a moment as she inhales and sighs.

"Because they appeal to our sense of impending doom," she answers, crushing the half smoked cigarette on the table, her signal that the conversation was now over.

Jul 1, 2012

Samael

*Disclaimer*

Let's say, hypothetically,you meet a guy.
He is not only good looking, he wears shalwar kameez. You love a man in shalwar kameez.
He smells amazing. The kind of amazing that can inebriate you from a mile away; sort of like the Axe effect, but much less crass. 
He thinks you're heaven-sent (quoted). 
He laughs at all your lame jokes (your jokes are very lame) and his leave you in stitches. 
He thinks you're all sorts of beautiful, but he doesn't underestimate your intelligence. 
He loves dancing; you can dance all day, all night long. Sometimes, you don't even need music.
The way he looks at you, you have no doubts that you're the only person he sees; the world is inconsequential. You know how he feels because you feel that way about chocolate; he gets the same look in his eyes you get when you're eating chocolate; dreamy, like you can't believe there can be something this perfect in a world this damaged.
He writes you poetry. No one has written poetry for you before. The content doesn't even matter. It's still sweet. 
When you're with him, it is as though he is your planet and you are his sun.
His smile is priceless. His smile wins every single time. 
You know him inside out; not a single second of his life is unknown to you. Which is kind of corny, but who the fuck cares. He talks and you listen.
He even thinks out loud before he is about to make a move.
Such a good kisser; sweet yet dark.
He even found you a song. 

.
.
.
.
.
.
But he isn't the one you want. 

Bitch. 

Jun 29, 2012

Behind Closed Doors

"We have one thing to be grateful for. At least it is our daughter and not one of our sons who might be ill."

And that's the way the cookie crumbles. 

Jun 28, 2012

Banana Pancakes

The problem with flings is that at some point, the two parties will talk.
And words are poison.

May 27, 2012

But It's Nice Today, Oh, The Wait Was So Worth It

On my way home from college, mentally exhausted and physically drained after a six hour session, I had the perfect moment. That rare moment of absolute peace where the world seems to exist just for you, like every gentle summer breeze is carrying with it secrets only you can understand and the song on the radio doesn't remind you of anything at all. 
I was cruising down the bridge leading to the intersection, surprisingly cool winds for a Karachi May rushing in through the open windows with Jason Mraz serenading me on the radio and then it happened. 
I stopped at the traffic signal and it was like time had frozen, but at the same it seemed like it was passing by at a phenomenal speed. A man at the signal was selling a bubble blowing pipe and he was demonstrating it to nobody in particular. A few of the bubbles flew into my car, dancing to the song along the gust of wind making it seem almost visible. And then, Mraz crooned "through timeless words and priceless pictures, we'll fly like birds not of this earth". It made my heart warm and fuzzy and I smiled like I had never known any pain. Then the signal turned green and the world moved on. 
But it didn't matter.
I had had my perfect moment. 

Apr 15, 2012

Pak Sar Zameen Ka Nizam, Quwat-e-Akhuwat-e-Awam

I thought up the following verses one night when Karachi was going through a series of ethnic violence and attacks. I am not at all an expert in Urdu poetry so whatever mistakes are found, please forgive. 






I want to acknowledge Maryam Reza, Ali Ahmed and Bilal Sheikh for being awesome and helping me out with it. 


Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee

Fridays in school are usually really chaotic. The anticipation of a weekend leaves the students restless and the teachers absolutely thrilled. Two whole days of peace and quiet. Except, I have college; but that is my own doing. I probably ate too much chocolate and in a moment of an absolute sugar high I decided to shoot myself in the foot and get all qualified and shit. 
But this post is not about my idiotic 3 am decisions. This post is about my terrible fear of ...THE HONEYBEE!
Yes, laugh all you want, but I tell you, this tiny creature is God's way of wreaking havoc in people's lives. STOP ROLLING YOUR EYES AT ME! 
So anyway, this Friday, a honeybee decided to grace us with its presence while we were busy revising text for the upcoming finals. The students just quietly moved to corners and some ducked under the table (I teach second graders). 
What did I do, you ask?
I grabbed a student and ducked behind him. Stop with the judgement people, even in an aeroplane you are required to first put the oxygen mask on yourself before attending to the children. 
And then I ran out of the room.
What instigates this fear of the honeybee you ask? I'll tell you. 
When I was around 13 my dad bought me roller blades. With a helmet and knee and elbow pads; everything I needed to make myself look like the coolest (read moronic) kid on the block. The day that I got them, I decided to test them out (read make the neighbourhood kids jealous). However, God had other plans.
I thought I looked real sleek when I stepped out of the house. The neighbourhood was too quiet though; "Where are all these morons when I need to show off?" I wondered. Not a single kid was in sight. 
When I turned around the street corner, I got my answer. I skated right over a beehive that had fallen on the road, straight into a hundred or so very pissed off honeybees. And they were not only pissed, they were out for some cold blooded revenge. And I was the jackass they found. 
Myth

Reality

So I skated all over the neighbourhood screaming bloody murder as a swarm of bees flew after me faster than the speed of light. A few of them got to me. 
However, let's put aside the tragedy of my shattered reputation among the neighbourhood kids after my very graceful escape from the honeybees. Forget the pain of their stings. Forget that in my attempt to escape I skated over a rock, tripped and broke my glasses. 
Let's just focus on what happened an hour after I got home. My beautiful face swollen from the stings...only from the right side. That's right. Those bitches had only stung half my face. And I was in school at the time, so you can imagine the humiliation I had to face and the jokes I had to bear when I looked like a Pakistani from the right and a very disfigured Chinese from the left. I was a 13 year old in middle school and I was the butt of every joke cracked by every ass who thought they were the funniest shit on the face of this earth. I am telling you, that incident left me damaged and I don't just mean physically. 
And there was no way I was going to look like that again! So what if I had to go all Lord of the Flies on my student? What are you going to do? Sue me for not wanting to look ugly? 

Mar 13, 2012

Then And Now

March 2011: Full of hope and dreams and love and deep blue skies and indigo breezes arousing dreams of a utopia with a never-ending spring with birds singing songs that made me feel like I was floating on a cloud of tulips and lilacs and a smile that stopped my heart and a voice that always stood out from all the chaos in my head and a hand that held me tight so I felt I would never fall and dizziness and giddiness and that permanent, cheesy smile and the feeling that I might never come back down to earth again.

March 2012:The sky is still the same, but the blue reminds me of dark ocean depths, of loneliness and fear, of choking on my own emotions and drowning. It feels as though one day, I'll wake up and find myself at the bottom of this morbid ocean, unable to move, unable to call out for help; in a place where no one will think to look and where no one will be able to find me. And where once I thought I might fly off the ground, suddenly it feels as though I am being sucked in by a bottomless quagmire of broken dreams and silent tears.

And I want to get out. 
But I can't. 

Feb 26, 2012

One-Fourth Learning, Three-Fourths Theatre

Twenty three years of my life have been spent utterly directionless. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and to be honest, I sometimes still have no clue. I wanted to be an architect, but I sucked at geometry; I thought hey, lets give law a go, but that got really boring really fast (also that phase was pretty much Nancy Drew inspired); I wondered about archaeology and although I like the dust & dirt, I don't like regular baths. When I finally had to choose subjects for my O'levels, I leaned towards commerce courses. And then I did my Bachelors in marketing. It was the only field of study that didn't make me want to blow my brains out (yes, I know how that sounds you perverted lot). 

I interned at Marriott thinking I'd enter hotel management and those two months made me realize that I was just not made to function in this cut throat corporate world. 

My parents were pretty frustrated with me, but they never pushed me to make any decisions and that is something I really appreciate about them. They let me make my own choices and learn from my own failings. 

Until finally, my mom suggested that I might as well teach at the school till I could figure out what to do next. 
And agreeing to that, ladies and gentlemen, was the wisest decision I have ever made to date. Yes, my initial reasons for joining were simply the two months of paid holidays and the 7 - 2 pm work hours. Then, I fell in love with it. Other than the obvious self-satisfying and cliched feeling that I'm doing some good in this world, there are certain things that just make this job so much more awesome. And I shall use pictures to prove it!



All women should do this job


The picture above is just one of the many similar cards I get everyday. I mean come on! Who wouldn't love such honest and simple flattery? A card telling you how amazing and pretty you are? Quite a win-win situation here, I'd say.



One student's thoughts: Ma'am, I really don't think that's a horse

Then, you get to a)use chalk on a board, just like you used to imagine doing when you were a kid playing teacher b) You get to make ridiculous drawings like the one above and call them something else and no one can argue with you because, well, you're the teacher. 
It also makes my kids laugh. Which is a pretty good feeling :) We connect on a more personal level when I do silly things like this. They know I am human and I can make mistakes as well. They feel more comfortable in the class and are okay with failing and trying again. I mean, if their teacher doesn't even know what a horse is, then them knowing how a lever works looks good from where they're standing. 


"When I get me moped out on the road I'm gonna ride ride ride" quoth Humpty Dumpty
First of all, before you all start attacking me regarding my lack of knowledge about vehicles, let me assure you, I know that is not a moped. I just like the song. And yes, that is a giant blue M&M riding a motorcycle with Humpty Dumpty right in its path. And yes, that Humpty Dumpty looks like badly molested Joker with a very bad case of Jaundice. Waking up early in the morning and coming to school to projects like these...absolutely worth it. And here is a Humpty Dumpty that looks like it escaped from the set of the Blair Witch Project and one that looks like an offspring of the Wright Brothers.

I don't believe in witches and airy-fairy stuff like that


Now I never accept gifts from my students. That is probably the one principle I put my foot down on. But this one was sent to the principal's office and it came from a student of mine who moved to America the year before. Now this little one has got it right, the way to a woman's heart is through all things chocolate. I miss the kid so much :( This is perhaps, the best Valentine's day present I have ever received. 

Why, yes! I did finish them all in one sitting.
And it came with a note on top. A whole year, but I still couldn't get him to spell it the British way. 

Chaddo. England is over-rated anyway.
And my crowning glory. I send out these secret little notes with some encouraging quote or thought for one student each day. I hide them in their daily diaries or their homework journals or their lunch boxes. The condition is that only they can see it; no other student is allowed to read what is written. They love this part of the day. Anyway, a parent read one of the notes I had sent out to her son and she sent me this letter of appreciation. This letter isn't some career boosting appraisal, it won't earn me a bonus or a promotion or a pay raise. But this letter is a piece of paper which validates that my almost 23 years of aimlessness weren't entirely pointless. That I'm doing right by my students, that I am good at what I do and an assurance that I have finally found the path I had been searching for so long.


Also, it shows that I am awesome. 


Feb 15, 2012

Bill Joo Be My Ballentine?

Let me just begin by saying that I'm extremely lucky in cards.
Love for me,however, is a gamble worse than betting my entire pot in a poker game with a 2 as my highest card. 
Royally flushed by cupid himself
My several attempts at trying to find the "one" leave my love life a very colourful saga of miserable dates, dysfunctional relationships, late night phone calls to best friends to cry and thousands spent on junk food to feel good in a way no man could ever make me feel.
Okay I'm exaggerating. I've actually dated a couple of really amazing men; it's just that the idiots I've met actually managed to very successfully block out every good thing about my experiences with men. 
However, since it is Valentine's Day, I have decided I shall try to remember and be thankful for the happier memories associated with dating. 
What to kill and eat today?


I grew up with two brothers and five other boy cousins. Naturally, I was a disaster as a girl. If anyone ever wanted to look for me, their best bet would either be in the middle of a cricket match out on the streets or somewhere with a lot of mud and insects.

What boys? I am a boy! 


It was obvious, therefore, that I grew up oblivious to the whole boy-girl attraction drama. I entered my teens wearing an over-sized shirt, baggy jeans and a baseball cap while other girls around me grew up all pink and glittery, giggling all the time as they traded Sweet Valley's.




Warts on the butt of literature
It wasn't until I started ninth grade that I finally woke up to all the fuss around me. I don't know if I should be giving this kind of information out on a public forum, but inspired by the Unicorn Club in the Sweet Valley books, my friends decided to form their own version of it. From a cricket playing, boy wrestling, insect eating goon, I became a part of the...Sweet Angels. *Throws up* We had a secret password and all that jazz.

And in tenth grade, I finally met the first man of my dreams. Actually, he met me somewhere and asked a mutual friend to set us up. 
This is how the conversation went
H: A friend of mine likes you.
A: So?
H: So he wants to take you out.
A: What does that mean?
H: Like a date
A: I don't get it.
H: UFF! He'll call you. Just meet him.

Trust me, I used to really be this innocent. 

This is Bubbles. No. Really!
So anyway, this guy (I shall call him Bubbles) turned out to be really awesome and I had some really good times with him. He was suave and charming and really funny. Also, extremely cute. And he used to apply this cologne that would go straight to my head, leaving me woozy and intoxicated. 
So anyway we "dated" for a couple of months; now dating in those days meant going out with a whole group of your friends. And honestly, it was pretty convenient. It took the pressure off and you could really just relax and be yourself. 
The best memory I have of this relationship, however, is Valentine's Day. And I don't really mean in a romantic way.No, not at all. I mean it in the twisted, crazy world of A. way.
Since it was Valentine's Day, there was absolutely no way that I would be going out. My mom would assume I was meeting a boy,flip and ask a million questions and it just wasn't worth the hassle. 
However, Bubbles insisted that I meet him, if only to take my presents. Now how could I say no after that. I mean, he was being so sweet!
So he came over and I sat in his car and then ensued my finest moment as a novice in the world of dating
Bubbles: Happy Valentine's Day
Me: Yea, you too. 
Bubbles: Here are your presents (Hands me a gigantic bag)
Turns out it was a massive bag full of chocolates (I take a few moments here to wonder why we ever broke up.)
Me: Aww. Thanks :) Okay I have to go. Before mom notices I'm out.
Bubbles: Wait! There's more!
Me: *eyes sparkle* You didn't have to do this!
Bubbles: It's nothing. (Hands me a wrapped bag)
Inside were red silk pajamas. Please. Agree with me over here that that is really weird. 
Now this is where the idiot in me takes over. 
Me: Er! What the hell? Why are you giving me silk pajamas?
Bubbles: It's just a present! 
Me: NO! THIS IS LINGERIE! 
Bubbles: Trust me! This is not even close to lingerie! 
Me: Bubbles, it's red and it's silk. It's lingerie! Why would you give me lingerie? You're never going to see me in these!
Bubbles: That is NOT why I gave them to you! I thought you'd look cute in them! Stop being crazy. Acha, relax. I have something else also. Forget these.
By this time, I have become extremely suspicious of this 17 year old lingerie giving boy. 
And then he calmly me hands me one of those grape juice bottles that look like wine bottles. 
Me: OH MY GOD! SHARAB! (alcohol!) I KNEW IT! You...you perv! I'm only 16! You want to get me drunk so I put on these red, silk pajamas and you can have your way with me! 
Bubbles: *Sighs and rolls his eyes* It is just grape juice you moron.
Me: THIS WON'T WORK!
By this point Bubbles is just frustrated so he grabs the bottle and waves the label in my face.
Yes. It did say grape juice.
Me: How do I know you haven't secretly put wine in there? 
Bubbles: Just go home moron. I'll call you at night.

Now, one would think that after this attack on him, he probably never called me back. Well, you're wrong. He did. He was just used to my absurdity and random bursts of insanity. 

But I tell you, those silk pajamas, not so innocent. Not so innocent at all!



Clipart: Courtesy Ron Leishman


Feb 7, 2012

Please Remain Calm

My childhood in a word? Wild. 
I was this crazy, out of control, hyper kid; the kind you see at weddings doing cartwheels on the stage while the bride cries,or the ones who push old aunties so they fall on the ground and then laugh hysterically, or go around the neighbourhood sticking tape on the doorbells when the electricity went out so they would all go off together when it came back. 
This kid would have been my Sensei
That, combined with my mother's short temper and even shorter threshold for panic resulted in an extremely chaotic household. Every time something went wrong or some sort of accident happened, my mother's reaction followed this pattern; confusion, anger and then all out hysteria. Sometimes, it was funny to watch (read: when it was directed at other people). Most of the times though, it was just really frustrating. I mean, if someone got hurt, instead of extending some sympathy, she'd just lash out at them. A panic room would have an entirely different purpose in our house.
Don't do drugs, snort me instead. 



When I was around 8 years old, I was sitting with my family watching T.V and was getting extremely bored. So of course, I did what any eight year old would do to entertain themselves; I started shoving tiny buttons up my nose and then blowing them out.
After a few successful attempts, I decided to take a risk and pushed one too far up and as luck would have it, it got stuck. 
Now remember, I was just eight at the time and the fear of my mother's wrath was so deeply ingrained in every fibre of my tiny being that my first thought was "Ami will kill me if I lose this button". 
So I desperately tried to blow the button out, but it was just lodged there like a fat kids hand is lodged inside a packet of potato crisps. 
After a few moments of panic, I figured, oh what the hell! It's stuck now and nothing can be done about it. So I went up to my mom and asked for some dinner. It was around 7 pm and at our house, dinner time is usually at 9. But in my head, I didn't have a lot of time before the button somehow managed to kill me. Yes readers, I thought I was about to die. Now when you're a child with no real sins to your name, death isn't so scary. I was pretty calm about it; the only thought in my mind was that I didn't want to die hungry. 
So I asked mom for dinner and she said it was too early and I'd have to wait. Now, I had to weigh out my options here. Tell my mother the truth and have Athena kill me before the button did or risk it for some food. Of course, food won. So I walked over to where my mother was working on some hideous dress for me on the sewing machine and said "Ami, there's a button stuck in my nose"
At first my mother didn't take me seriously; when she saw my expression, however, it was a completely different story. She used a torch to look up my nose. And then, it was like letting slip the dogs of war. Between random screams at my father to save me, my mother kept pinching me for being so stupid. She ran out to get my father from their room, ran back and shook me really hard so in the process, the torch she was carrying smacked against my forehead. And a-midst all this chaos, my dad walked in calmly, while my mother let out high pitched howls and shrieks to come to the rescue of her only daughter, picked me up and carried me to the doctor across the street and it took him all of 3 seconds to pull it out; I would live to see another day!
Although at home, my mother's fuming face made me wish I had breathed the button all the way in and gotten a hemorrhage or something.
And the sweet irony of it all is I got sent to bed without any dinner. 








Jan 24, 2012

Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace

So for the past month life had been sort of getting back on track. My job was going well, my cousins were in town so I was having a great time with the family and it had been an overall smooth transition into the new year. 
And then, as though the universe suddenly woke up from its slumber after the shit-throwing festival that was the last half of 2011, it sent over another sack of shit, personally packed and all with the message "fool" written in large letters across it.
I never joke about shit

Now considering how ours is a mostly 'arranged marriage' culture, the fact that our parents let us watch a lot of Disney while we grew up results in an all out battle of the generations when it comes to the question of getting hitched. 
A week or so ago, my mother, who had given me a two month break from this whole marriage fiasco, had decided that enough was enough. She would do everything in her power to marry off her one daughter before her eggs dried up. But she knew she would have to be cautious about it considering that I was still very emotionally distraught after the recent break up. She would have to be sensitive, she would have to approach me with caution. "We have to go meet this guy and his family. You need to get married."
See. Caution.
Frankly, I did not have the energy to argue with my mother and explain to her how I wasn't quite ready yet because its a phrase her generation was clearly not taught as they were growing up. 
Anyway, I said sure and I think that really surprised my mom because she looked ready for a full-fledged melt down. So she bought me a chocolate chip cookie because I was such a good girl. 
Then I made the mistake of bothering to find out about this guy who my mom had picked out for me to spend the rest of my life with.
Here is how the conversation went
"What's his name?"
"Ali"
My eyes popped out. A boy named Ali? That is just so rare. No really. A Shia boy named Ali; how often does that happen?
"What does he do?"
"He's a chartered accountant"
*Blank Stare*
As an after thought "He makes a lot of money"
Now mom's have this ability to pick up on when their daughters aren't exactly impressed. Maybe its the rolling of the eyes, I don't really know.
"Shareef Khandaan hai"
That basically translates into "Family doesn't do drugs, drink, gamble, womanize, etc"
*Blank Stare*
"What more do you want?" Mom started getting defensive now. Notice how I'm silent? 
"You're not exactly the Princess of Wales!"
No argument there. 
"Ami, I said I'd meet him. What are you getting so worked up about?"
At this point my mom just stormed out of the room. 
Anyway, a couple of days later his aunt called and arranged a meeting at her house. 
A few hours before the meeting, I had a break down because well, it's the kind of thing girls do when they don't know what else to do. I called up my best friend for comfort and complained about how much this sucked and how this month was supposed to mean entirely something else and how much men sucked and how my parents hated me and wanted  me to suffer and never be happy and once all the frustration was out, I went to get dressed.
Now, we got to this aunts house and she was all nice and welcoming. We settled down, spoke about random stuff and then the guy showed up. One word. UNCOMFORTABLE.
He came and sat down and there was a few minutes of absolute silence. Then everyone started talking at once. I didn't want to be rude, but I mean, what do you say to a prospective guy you're meeting for the first time while everyone in the room is looking at you?
So I stared at my coffee cup and answered the questions I was asked.
But the best/worst part was when the guy and I were left on our own to get to know each other.
The poor guy looked even more out of place than I felt. 
The conversation with the usual "so what do you do?"
I always have trouble with this question. What do I do? Its just so vague. What do I do for a living? What do I do for fun? What do I do when I'm tired? What do I do if something wants to eat me? Which one is it?!
I work.
I read.
I watch t.v.
I exercise.
I sleep.
I write.
I eat.
I poop.

I mean, which one was the correct answer?

The guy was so nervous, he'd giggle in the middle of the conversation and it took every muscle of my body to tighten up so that I would not spit out my coffee.

And so it went on for another 20 minutes. Now, here's what he does. Or rather, doesn't do.

He does not read.
He does not play sports.
He does not watch television.
He does not listen to music.
He does not travel (except for work).
He hardly goes out with friends.

And that's alright. Maybe he's the perfect guy for some girl who doesn't do any of these things. To me, that is a big deal breaker. These are all of the things I want in someone who I would want to be with for the rest of my life. I know I'm coming off as a tad bit stuck up. Okay, maybe a great deal stuck up. I don't know. Frankly, I don't care. I can't be with a person who is okay with doing nothing except work. I don't know his circumstances too well to make a judgement, but I still did not feel any connection there or discover anything that might mean this could be a successful marriage.
You'd think, okay, you didn't like the guy. Move on.
Except my mother, to whom none of this made sense. We had our first fight over this today and thankfully, dad stayed out of it. To my mother, all that a person needs to be eligible is a degree, a good job and a good family background. I think its probably the same for a lot of Pakistani parents.To them its okay if the guy has zero personality because we'll be too busy shopping with his money and going to tea parties to spend much time with him anyway.
Obviously, we are. That's not even a question. However, I'd still like a guy with whom I can have heated political debates and discuss literature and discover the world. Maybe even make babies. Who knows? The world is full of surprises.
Either way, I think I'll sit here and wait for my Prince Charming, thank you very much.



Jan 13, 2012

Chasing The Starlight

One hot summer evening, a young girl of about fifteen was lying on her roof. The heat was suffocating, the air balmy and the only thing that made it bearable was the occasional breeze that cooled the body as it came in contact with the beads of sweat. 

The girl often came here when she needed to think, sometimes when she didn't want to think at all. She would lie down right at the edge of the roof; it felt to her like she was at the edge of the world, she only had to roll over and she would float away into space, never to return. She liked it best on a clear, starry night. The twinkling of the stars calmed her soul. Her father had told her that God had made the sky, then blown glitter all over and they formed the stars. Later on, when her science teacher had told her that stars were just big balls of fire, she had chosen not to believe that. A sky sprinkled with glitter felt much less threatening. 

Long ago, whatever long ago might be for a fifteen year old, she had come home to find her mother in one of her moods again; the one she got after she had stared at her childhood pictures for hours. Then she would sit by the window and cry silent tears. So the girl quietly filled water in a dirty, smudged glass and kept it on the table by her mother. Then, she climbed the cold, cemented stairs barefoot to the roof and watched the sky go from a clear azure to a murky orange to dark plum and finally a gloomy black. 

Once, her father had then come up and lain down next to her. For a while, they both said nothing. The silence was a bit awkward at first, but then it felt completely natural; like when you meet a best friend after a few years, in the first few minutes there are a few awkward silences, but once the comfort zone is found, its like you never even parted. 

Then he had asked her about how she felt and what could she have said? She didn't have an answer. She didn't really feel anything at all and that left her feeling guilty. Her mother's depressive obsession with her childhood home and memories had nothing to do with her. It didn't affect her at all. She wasn't sad or alone or miserable. She just was. 

Her father misunderstood her silence to mean that she didn't want to talk to him. So he left her alone, but before he did he told her that if she ever felt the need to talk things out or share a secret or make a confession, she should do it out loud to the stars. They would listen without judging and they would be her secret keepers till the end of her days. She had liked what she heard so she heeded his advise and under celestial skies, had found safety and comfort. 

This particular summer evening was different. It wasn't that it was hot, there was an uncomfortable aura all over the place that had nothing to do with the weather. She had come home to find her mother's chair empty, something that had never happened before. The kitchen was sparkling. She picked up the glasses, none of them had smudges on them. She should have realized right away, but she checked her mother's room anyway. Completely empty; she had taken everything with her. On the bed was a note with one word, "Sorry". 

And so, for the first time in her life, the girl felt truly alone. Her father had left a long time ago, that was inevitable. Her mother's presence in the house had been enough for her. Now, she was gone too. 

As she lay at the edge of the world under the summer sky, she had no one to call her own, but the stars. It was a simple decision, really. 













Jan 4, 2012

Women:Its not just PMS!

Women are insane. There's really no two ways about it. The entire female species is nuts. And I'm a woman so you're getting this straight from the source. You know that question asked through the epochs? What do women want? Well, let me tell you a secret. Even women don't know what the hell they want. And there is a beauty to this madness. Because as much as women torture their own souls and of the men around them, men just can't seem to get enough of them. 
They take the tiniest of things and then drive themselves completely bonkers over it. They analyze it and over analyze to the point that they even forget what the real issue was in the first place. Then they cry because well, that's what women do. And men are stupid and insensitive because they just don't understand. It's simple boys, women will cry all the time. It's how they were built; you make them happy, they'll cry;you piss them off,they'll cry,you remember their birthday,they'll cry;you forget their birthday,they'll...well you get the picture. You just can't win. 
And then there's that point where they get excited about something. Like, let's say a friend sees a really cute co-worker and develops an instantaneous crush on him. The first thing she will do is message her best friends about it who will be sitting in their own workplace and squealing with joy at: 
a) the friend having discovered a good looking male specimen because, let's face it, there are very few and we don't know where they hang out.
b) the friend has found someone she might just potentially have a relationship with and well, that's always something to squeal about 
Now, keep in mind that at this point she has only noticed the boy and the boy has probably not even seen her. Except, the messages that will follow are
" OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!! There's this really cute guy at work! Oh my God!!!! HE IS SO CUTE! Like...I want to eat him okay! What should I do? I want to talk to him? Should I talk to him? I mean I've never even said hello to him! If I talk to him he'll think I'm some lunatic chick who just wants to get into his pants! Ok! Maybe I do! Why won't he talk to me! Ugh! Why do I look so ugly today!I am so fat! I am so ugly! I need to lose weight! I'll start going to the gym again....No more JUNK FOOD! Uff he is so cute! His jaw, his face, his arms...omg his arms! Okay tell me how to go about this? Should I just go up and say hi? Oh no wait, I don't even know what he does! All these girls keep going up to him and talking to him! BITCHES SLUTS! HES MINEEE! Kia karun? What?!?! Tell me what to do? He is so cute! He probably hates me anyway. Forget it, its a lost cause. God hates me! Why does God do this to me?!?!? TELL ME WHAT TO DO? "
And I mean, I'm not even exaggerating here. 
The friends try to be consoling and supportive. But the crazy has been unleashed. The crazy can no longer be contained. 
And then when finally the two get talking, as the two almost always do, the insanity reaches magnanimous proportions.e.g
a) He messaged me at 11 and I was asleep. What kind of loser am I?! What loser goes to sleep at 11. Now what should I do? Tell me what to do? Should I reply? Should I ignore it? Isn't it rude to reply this late? But wait, its also rude not to reply!
b) Okay, so if he doesn't message at 12 on the dot, I'll just message him myself and say happy new year. Should I say happy new year with a smiley face? No wait, that will be too much. 
c) GAHHHH HE TOLD ME I SMELL NICE! WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THAT INFORMATION?
And all that is fine, its what women do right? Obsess? Wait, the hair tearing part hasn't come yet. 
So finally, when the guy hints at maybe getting together for some coffee she reacts with
"Umm....I don't want to go out with him! I want to get to know him better!"
At this point, if you or your friend is still alive, its either because you are a really good friend or you're pumped up on so much Valium, you're seeing rainbows.
But the most amazing discussions are after the relationship begins and full-fledged dating has begun.
"He is such an asshole. He sucks. He's driving me insane. He doesn't know what I want. I love him"
My point here is, don't try to understand women.
Don't try to understand why they cry when they're happy, why they hate their best friends, why they can never have enough shoes, why they ask the "do I look fat?" question even though they clearly aren't, why everything that excites them has to be announced with a squeal,why they go crazy at the gym,then eat tons of junk food and then berate themselves for hours, why "I'm fine" never really means "I'm fine" .....the list is never ending. 
Oh. And never, ever try to blame it on PMS. Because its hardly ever PMS. Its just the crazies. 
So, let it go boys. Just, let it go.

PS: If you know where all the good looking men of this country are; maybe if they have some secret club and we could have the address? Thanks. 

Jan 3, 2012

Baby Steps

I woke up today at four in the afternoon, that too, thanks to my cat chewing my hair as a final resort to get me to feed her. Of course I got up. I love my hair. 
It sucks, starting the New Year ill. I went to a wedding Sunday night and well, all the aunties' remarks about how it was time for me to tie the knot followed by my mother's usual after-wedding sullen mood not only made me sick in the head, it resulted in my entire body breaking down and refusing to digest food. 
Okay, I'm exaggerating. I just ate something horrible that's all. But it's good to know that I can blame almost everything on marriage. Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
I was all prepared to have a shitty rest of the day when my dad came home and gave my the cheque for my college tuition. And it was a simple thing. Just a piece of paper really with lots of zeros. But somehow, it made me feel so much better. That piece of paper marks a beginning of all things good for me. Its a sign that I've finally moved on from the horror of last year and I'm ready to face new horrors. Just kidding. 
I'm actually really excited about starting my Masters. I'm excited about learning new things and about meeting new people. All the assignments and the presentations and the research and the exams; I'm excited about every little thing. 
I just hope that it doesn't disappoint or fail like almost every other plan in my life. And I'm pretty sure it won't work out exactly the way I want it to, but hopefully it will mostly work out in a good way. 
"Baby steps, little one!" 
That was dad, after I spoke to him about how I felt. 
So I raise my cup of tea to a (mostly) happy new year,to a fresh start in life,to having great friends and an amazing family, to letting go and forgiving, to growing old and growing up and to no more should'ves,could'ves,would'ves.