Dec 31, 2008

Peace for Palestine?

Robert Fisk's article in the Dawn.

Read it and weep. Literally. All of the Muslim fundamentalists and Western democrats. Shame on you all.

We’ve got so used to the carnage of the Middle East that we don’t care any more – providing we don’t offend the Israelis. It’s not clear how many of the Gaza dead are civilians, but the response of the Bush administration, not to mention the pusillanimous reaction of Gordon Brown, reaffirm for Arabs what they have known for decades: however they struggle against their antagonists, the West will take Israel’s side. As usual, the bloodbath was the fault of the Arabs – who, as we all know, only understand force.

Ever since 1948, we’ve been hearing this balderdash from the Israelis – just as Arab nationalists and then Arab Islamists have been peddling their own lies: that the Zionist “death wagon” will be overthrown, that all Jerusalem will be “liberated”. And always Mr Bush Snr or Mr Clinton or Mr Bush Jnr or Mr Blair or Mr Brown have called upon both sides to exercise “restraint” – as if the Palestinians and the Israelis both have F-18s and Merkava tanks and field artillery. Hamas’s home-made rockets have killed just 20 Israelis in eight years, but a day-long blitz by Israeli aircraft that kills almost 300 Palestinians is just par for the course.

The blood-splattering has its own routine. Yes, Hamas provoked Israel’s anger, just as Israel provoked Hamas’s anger, which was provoked by Israel, which was provoked by Hamas, which ... See what I mean? Hamas fires rockets at Israel, Israel bombs Hamas, Hamas fires more rockets and Israel bombs again and ... Got it? And we demand security for Israel – rightly – but overlook this massive and utterly disproportionate slaughter by Israel. It was Madeleine Albright who once said that Israel was “under siege” – as if Palestinian tanks were in the streets of Tel Aviv.

By last night, the exchange rate stood at 296 Palestinians dead for one dead Israeli. Back in 2006, it was 10 Lebanese dead for one Israeli dead. This weekend was the most inflationary exchange rate in a single day since – the 1973 Middle East War? The 1967 Six Day War? The 1956 Suez War? The 1948 Independence/Nakba War? It’s obscene, a gruesome game – which Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, unconsciously admitted when he spoke this weekend to Fox TV. “Our intention is to totally change the rules of the game,” Barak said.

Exactly. Only the “rules” of the game don’t change. This is a further slippage on the Arab-Israeli exchanges, a percentage slide more awesome than Wall Street’s crashing shares, though of not much interest in the US which – let us remember – made the F-18s and the Hellfire missiles which the Bush administration pleads with Israel to use sparingly.

Quite a lot of the dead this weekend appear to have been Hamas members, but what is it supposed to solve? Is Hamas going to say: “Wow, this blitz is awesome – we’d better recognise the state of Israel, fall in line with the Palestinian Authority, lay down our weapons and pray we are taken prisoner and locked up indefinitely and support a new American ‘peace process’ in the Middle East!” Is that what the Israelis and the Americans and Gordon Brown think Hamas is going to do?

Yes, let’s remember Hamas’s cynicism, the cynicism of all armed Islamist groups. Their need for Muslim martyrs is as crucial to them as Israel’s need to create them. The lesson Israel thinks it is teaching – come to heel or we will crush you – is not the lesson Hamas is learning. Hamas needs violence to emphasise the oppression of the Palestinians – and relies on Israel to provide it. A few rockets into Israel and Israel obliges.

Not a whimper from Tony Blair, the peace envoy to the Middle East who’s never been to Gaza in his current incarnation. Not a bloody word.

We hear the usual Israeli line. General Yaakov Amidror, the former head of the Israeli army’s “research and assessment division” announced that “no country in the world would allow its citizens to be made the target of rocket attacks without taking vigorous steps to defend them”. Quite so. But when the IRA were firing mortars over the border into Northern Ireland, when their guerrillas were crossing from the Republic to attack police stations and Protestants, did Britain unleash the RAF on the Irish Republic? Did the RAF bomb churches and tankers and police stations and zap 300 civilians to teach the Irish a lesson? No, it did not. Because the world would have seen it as criminal behaviour. We didn’t want to lower ourselves to the IRA’s level.

Yes, Israel deserves security. But these bloodbaths will not bring it. Not since 1948 have air raids protected Israel. Israel has bombed Lebanon thousands of times since 1975 and not one has eliminated “terrorism”. So what was the reaction last night? The Israelis threaten ground attacks. Hamas waits for another battle. Our Western politicians crouch in their funk holes. And somewhere to the east – in a cave? a basement? on a mountainside? – a well-known man in a turban smiles.

—Dawn/The Independent News Service

What the ...

Picture this. 

Picture it all. Good and proper, okay?

Sometimes I think we're born on the wrong side of this century. Or maybe I'm losing my mind.

No. Not the century. I'm definitely losing my mind.

This instance was not only the first but one of the most flabbergasting passer-by moments of my life. 

Shadi shopping is tough, it can take a lotta zing outta you. After struggling for the thousandth time to tell your darzi that a kurta is a kurta is a kurta, you pretty much begin to lose it tenth time around. 

My mom is a slick driver. She thinks she's on a race track when she's on Shahrah e Faisal and when the car hits a speed breaker, it's just something to fidget about. I had always been used to Dad's not-more-than-20-km/h driving, so for the initial couple of shopping trips I don't know how many times I recited the final kalima. Especially when Mom's bp was already high enough for her to hit and run. Really.

So Mom's hungry and irritated because we've already spent two useless hours at Jabeen's, not finding a single worth-it dress, and because I'd made her hurry out of house for the trip, she didn't take lunch either. We stop at Khadda Market's One Potato Two Potato and Mom yelps at the sight of "Fish and Chips - Limited Winter Edition". 

I walk out of the car, as Mom parks in front of Ami's. The road is narrow, there's plenty of rush and I decide to bring the fish to Mom and take a can of Sprite Zero for her from Ami's. Comfortable little dinner eh? 

Life was good until ...

I was standing placing my order at OPTP when a Vitz parks behind me. The driver is a older gentleman and the passenger seat is occupied by a young boy wearing a painter's cap. He's not more than twenty I suppose. He looks slightly familiar. I squint. Then I turn back round. The OPTP window guy has told me to wait for a moment.

Standing around waiting for the fish and chips to arrive, I turn around on my right this time and there's the young boy again talking to the OPTP waiter. Where have I seen this guy, I wonder, and am almost about to turn. Maybe he's a student, I think.

He smiles. Oh. So he's definitely a student. Before I even think of asking him if he'd gone to Iqra or Bahria or if I knew him from somewhere else, Little Gul Jee grins.

"Assalam o Alaikum." He shows slightly big pan-chewn teeth. He's thin and lanky and kinda makes me want to tell him to order a bigger dose of fries.

"Walaikum assalam. Do I- "

"Can I have your number?"

Same grin. I am shocked. No. Too precise an emotion. I wasn't even articulate let alone. Otherwise I would have given him a nice dose of masala to go with those fries. Shell-shocked? No. I didn't register shock of any kind. Flabbergasted? No. I didn't feel anything. Windfallen? No. I knew exactly what I'd run into. A stupid moron who thinks confused signals are a battle cry. Outraged? No. I was too miffed at my own loss of composure.

I turn around, my face burning, I sputter an indignant, "NO!" and feel like banging my head against the glass OPTP window. If the guy was an idiot, or a schizophrenic or a moron, or simply blind to see the dopatta on the head and the back-the-hell-up look frozen on my face, something like this had NEVER ever happened in my entire life. I have never been approached by random strangers like this and asked the number for. And believe me, I was completely haggard, looking like, yes, the hag after shopping for six hours straight. So the guy either had to be on a dare, a patient of hysterical blindness, temporary dementia or some sort of other psychological illness which my limited knowledge has not been privy to so far. Because I see no reason why a young, Himesh-listening guy would approach a random 25 year old woman with a dopatta on her head to ask for her freaking number.

I've stepped into a new world, I have.

And thus I need to ask you all. Have you men grown extra pair of ... pituitary glands to secrete excess testosterone? Or are you people completely devoid of keeping it in ... Okay. I'm displacing my anger, but honestly. Seriously. Give me something here, I cannot understand the weirder sex anymore, I am out.

What does a girl have to do to tell you that I am the FUCK NOT INTERESTED?

Dec 28, 2008

Prologue: Happiness and Romance.

"Romance takes place in the middle distance. Romance is looking in at yourself, through the window clouded with dew. Romance means leaving things out: where life grunts and snuffles, romance only sighs. Does she want more than that - more of him? Does she want the whole picture?
"The danger would come from looking too closely and from seeing too much - from having her dwindle and herself along with him. And waking up empty, all of it used up - over and done. She would have nothing. She would be bereft.
"An old fashioned word."

------------------------------------

"Happiness is a garden walled with glass: there's no way in or out. In Paradise there are no stories because there are no journeys. It's loss and regret and misery and yearning that drive the story forward along its twisted road."

Differential.

Okay, so this is good business. You take a movie that's already done well, hire a popular actor, someone with halfway decent principles (which in this world means an actor who refuses to dance on Dard e Disco or Ishq Kameena type item numbers), for a halfway decent script (which in this world means sweeping away a script of a critically acclaimed movie and giving it the desi touch) and lo and behold. You've got a brand new standard of what people like. Movie based on another movie that wasn't popular enough to the general masses.

Ghajini, ladies and gentlemen, and Memento. May God give peace to the soul of Christopher Nolan and more sense to Aamir Khan. Not surprised at the swipe, though would've expected something better from the Khan.





Dec 26, 2008

The Him part 1

The wall sprang up again.

I don't know from where.

You were right there when it happened. I saw you. I saw you looking at me from the corners where you stand while waiting for the turn to confess.

Okay so maybe I know you don't confess truly. It is a show you put on. Like your toothbrush and your smile and your dainty fingernails. Isn't it odd how much effort women put into things that are either dying or already dead?

They should spend their time on the living. The way I do. I infuse myself inside you, like blood and carbohydrates. What? I can sound funny too. Every once in a while. If I want to. When needed ... ?

You said you'd tell me a story today. The story of the night and the tale of today. Isn't that right, my dear? Haha. I like the way you cringe when i say that. Makes me feel I have some kind of power over you, albeit small. Albeit insignificant. I'm still there. Blood and carbohydrates will come too.

Fine. Don't laugh. I'm done being the comedian. A bad one. I'll sing you a song. Write you a love letter. Stand by your window and compose a sonnet. Why do girls prefer a guy with a sweet tongue than a guy who can narrate facts, hard facts? A guy who can tell them EXACTLY like it is? You're all silly, the whole lot of you. Hold me, thrill me, kiss me. Why not teach me, objectedly respect me, reverently reason with me? Oh because it's more romantic? Romance is overrated. Like happiness, like life, even suicide. See? Now I've made you cry.

There, there. It's not the end of the world. Men will be men and women will be women. I'll never understand your sudden saline springs and you'll never understand my requirement to pull things apart just to see how they work. Right?

Here. Here's a hug. Stop crying. This hug should solve everything, make the hurt go away, make you feel whole again. Right?

Who's to say what's tomorrow? Why think about what you'll think about me then, rethinking this moment, reliving this hurt. See, that's another thing girls should be warned about.

Alright, alright, FINE. Let's talk about sunsets. Okay?

Dec 21, 2008

The once upon a time.

I am trying to let go.

I dreamt of him today, and I am trying to let go.

We were standing on the top of a tall, green building. Green because it had shrubs growing everywhere, plants going everywhere; flowers and carved bushes and red-brick pathways. The stuff you see in movies. The stone statues were there, the heart shaped fountains and the fairy lights that blink when it's just the right time of dusk. He was there, standing tall and erect. I seemed out of place, out of sense, out of self. But he didn't notice. He just kept smiling the way he did when he knew I didn't know what to do with myself. I never found out if he did that out of habit or out of understanding. It made me feel my nervousness found an antidote of some kind. I want to believe he did it after much thought and deliberation. Makes me feel good about myself. Makes me feel important. Of significance.

It was short and fleeting, trite and simple. Our love, I mean. Do you understand that?

If we can only dream the dreams we dream and not the waking-ups, the rude shouts of tomorrow, if we can just wait for the good to come, it can still be simple. Do you see?

You probably don't want to hear my questions. You probably just want me to get over with this.

I do too. And I am trying to let go.

But he's still around. He's still there. I look everywhere to find a place where I can stop thinking or feeling or sensing him - he is there in camouflages, you know? I can dream of a movie star or a musical legend and I feel him in my bones, in someone's eyes, watching me. He isn't going away, you know. He doesn't go away. I think he doesn't know how and a part of me thanks him for that.

Hah. Do you miss him, you ask.

Of course I miss him. How can you not miss someone who hasn't left you alone in ages? 

That's what it feels like. Ages. Have you ever stood in front of a window and stared out without purpose and lost the track of your thoughts and while coming back to life wondered what it would be if you could've written everything down and seen the pattern, the ideas, the thoughts, all grouped and you realized you could've made a fantastic story? But you didn't because when you're staring at a gorgeous horizon, you don't sit down and record stupid details, you go out and drink everything in. You just watch it and sense it and breathe it.

That's what I did when I was with him. Trite and simple, I told you.

His hands never touched mine, I only saw them. In fear. Like I'd break them if I touched them or something. You know? Haven't you ever gotten that feeling?

You haven't, I can tell by the look in your eyes. I know what you are thinking. How can you be afraid to touch someone you love like that? With so much fire inside your soul, how can you stay out in the cold?

I can. Pa taught me how and I never had any friends to teach me otherwise. So I kept admiring the things I loved. I never bought anything I loved because I was afraid of losing them. The hurt is too much. You know?

He was so smart, he guessed it right from the beginning. He guessed it right, he always did. Even when I didn't want him to. I'd turn away my eyes and he'd try to lift my chin with his forefinger. I'd shove it away, minimum contact of skins, the least interaction. No one can understand the elevation of the moment where distance creates the momentum, not contact. No. Not even you.

Are you bored yet? I like being reassured I'm not boring my audience. You seem awfully sleepy.

You should dream more. I don't like the way you look at me when I tell you about him. You have never dreamt. You've loved people in reality too much that's why. What to feed them, how to dress them, how to comb their hairs and send them to work or school or the park. You've never seen what they could be outside your spheres of routines and the mundane that you call life.

I have. It was once upon a time on that green hill.

And many times on many hills and in valleys, in Malam Jabbas and Swiss Alps and lands unknown. I have known him where worlds don't exist anymore. There is no sky or the earth, there is just us.

See. There is that look again. Like you think I'm crazy.

I'm not crazy. I just know him. I know he's out there. And I don't want to let go.

I am trying.

But I don't want to let go.

Can you understand that?

Yes. That you can understand. I think you see what I mean by this division. This wear and tear of the insides that is self-propelled, even gratifiying, no? How you understand it, I cannot tell. But you can.

You've been worn. You haven't loved, but you've worn yourself out. 

You haven't let go either have you? 

That's okay. 

I know how it is okay. It is okay because you can dream. You don't always have to let go. You don't always have to give in to what you cannot control. I can create stories, you know? I can create places where I cannot be and people I cannot touch. They can call me crazy if they want to, I don't. I know what I am doing. They think I will be cured if you teach me how to let go. And they don't know I'm cured because I can dream. Of onceuponatimes, of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of sky-less earths, of him, of us. He knows. He exists. He breathes like you and me. I know what I am doing, you know that, don't you.

You know. I can see it. You are already dreaming. 

Dec 20, 2008

I'm not an addict - K's Choice.

Breath it in and breath it out 
and pass it on it's almost out 
We're so creative and so much more 
We're high above, but on the floor 

The deeper you stick it in your vein 
The deeper the thoughts there's no more pain 
I'm in heaven, I'm a god 
I'm everywhere, I feel so hot 

It's over now, I'm cold, alone 
I'm just a person on my own 
Nothing means a thing to me 
Oh, nothing means a thing to me 

Free me, leave me 
Watch me as I'm going down 
Free me, see me 
Look at me I'm falling 
And I'm falling......... 

I'm not an addict, I'm not an addict, I'm not an addict.

Dec 18, 2008

The Teacher Known as Lady Snape.



The following is the text of the memento I received from one of the students today.

'This is an appreciative souvenir that I would ilke to give you which I believe would be on behalf of the batch of oral communication students that you so merely taught in an exemplified manner.

Your teaching methodology this fall has left a deepening impression on all of which has enabled most of us to grow in personality and stature. This fall of oral communication has been all about change and you certainly have embedded that in most of us.

Its been one 'fun roller coaster ride' and it amazes me to say that how much I would miss your vibrant presence at our campus.

As you set forth into the future and Ying away with your Yang to Yemen, I would ike to thank you with utmost honesty and sincerity for providing us the opportunities to explore our strengths and let us have teh time of our lives.

This is become far more of a cliche but, "Lady Snape", you are one hell of a person... You Rock!!!

Thank you.'

Dec 13, 2008

Must-read.

The world is alive with the sound of war. Do we see another 65 or 71? Or another cold war with both countries gearing up their nuclear weapons on the opposite sides of the border?

Geez. Just when Indian movies had begun to come to Pakistani cinemas.

Even though a majority of us think in that aforesaid shallow manner, I was very happy to read the following article by Karamatullah K. Ghori who has struck gold yet again. This time he seems angrier than you would want to see a veteran diplomat which is pretty cool actually. Sometimes life's better when it's out of the natural order of things.

You can read the entire article here. The following are my favorite points of the article.

  • ... what was so sacrilegious to suggest that Manmohan Singh saw in the Mumbai drama the chance of a life-time to shore up his electoral fortunes? Did he have a divine revelation that told him the terrorists had come from Pakistan? But a section of the Indian intelligentsia isn’t prepared to countenance the possibility that their PM took them on a flight of fantasy and was guilty of triggering a schizophrenic hate campaign against Pakistan.

  • Take, for instance, the mystery surrounding the actual count of the alleged terrorists involved in the episode. The official brief says there were only ten, out of which one — still alive and in captivity — was overpowered at the railway station. That leaves nine of them. Two are said to have held the inmates of Nariman House, the Israeli enclave. That leaves just seven. These seven must have divided themselves into two groups. Let’s assume they split 4:3. It couldn’t be 3 ½ for each of the two giant hotels invaded and occupied by them.

  • Can anyone in their right mind perceive, for a moment, that three or four people could hold up a huge 600-plus room hotel like Taj, and an equally cavernous hotel like Oberoi, for more than 60 hours, fight off hundreds of counter-insurgency commandoes, terrorise and kill scores of their hostages, trash the hotels from inside (as subsequent television footage so graphically displayed for the world)? They had to be supermen to accomplish all that.

  • Independent analysts and terrorism experts are at one in their prognosis that to carry out so many tasks simultaneously, over such a long period of time, there had to be at least 50 to 60 terrorists actively engaged in this episode. The question that India’s self-righteous intelligentsia refuses to answer is, who were the people assisting the impugned terrorists? They had to be local facilitators and accomplices, if they had not descended from the ethereal world that vanished in a UFO as soon as the job was done.

  • But they close their eyes to the stark reality that for well over the past two decades the Indian polity has been sliding, at an alarming pace, into the abyss of Hindutva, which not only pursues a philosophy of unremitting hate toward all minorities — exceptionally the 180 million Muslims of India — but also subscribes to the use of force as part of their dharma or belief to achieve its goals. It should be a matter of shame to most Indians, intellectuals or not, that their commitment to the ideals of a saint like Mahatma Gandhi is now only skin-deep. In actual fact, the heroes of many Indians, Hindus in particular, today are persons like LK Advani and Narendar Modi — with the latter’s hands soiled with the blood of thousands of innocent Muslims of Gujrat. What else could explain the rise of BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal and such others of their ilk in a supposedly secular India?

  • In the latest bout of chauvinism and skewed nationalism, these NRIs in the US have embarked on a campaign to enlist official American support to sponsor a resolution in the UN Security Council to grant India a carte blanche to strike Pakistan’s alleged ‘terrorist sites’ if Pakistan fails to act on the Indian diktat.

  • As per India’s own statistics, eight Kashmiris have been killed every day over the past 18 years since they rose in revolt against Indian hegemony of their land. This makes it a cool 55,000 Kashmiris — at the very least — killed at the hands of 600,000 trigger-happy Indian soldiers encamped in the valley. The mahan Indians are wailing to the world for the loss of 170 lives in Mumbai. But why haven’t these mahan people ever shed a tear for the Kashmiris murdered in a blind frenzy of arrogance of power by India’s ‘brave soldiers’?

  • The Pakistanis are not a mahan people and don’t claim to be one. They have umpteen weaknesses but have at least one great quality: they never hide or cover up their appalling weaknesses. It’s hard to come by a Pakistani intellectual that would be condescending to the rise of militancy and fundamentalism in their polity. There is zero tolerance among the Pakistani intelligentsia for a militant Islam or its purblind practitioners.

  • The Pakistanis may be nationalistic but they aren’t chauvinists and don’t take the words of their leaders for gospel truth. In fact, Pakistan’s ruling elite have an abiding grouse against their intelligentsia for being their harshest critics and detractors. Just take the recent example of a dictator like Pervez Musharraf who was chased out of his powerful niche by the combined strength of the people and what he and his cronies disdained as the ‘chattering class’ of Pakistani intellectuals.

  • Thank God the Pakistanis, in general, aren’t self-righteous like their eastern neighbours. A self-righteous people are niggardly and self-centred. Pakistanis give credit, generously, where it’s due and admire India’s great achievement in consolidating democracy and democratic institutions, something they haven’t been so successful at themselves. But that doesn’t mean they will take Indian dictation or accept Indian hegemony, physical or intellectual.

Dec 2, 2008

The Story of Amreeka Palat.

Once upon a time a strict, Hitlerish Sociology and Psychology teacher was handed a course that was known for partying and high profile events. The kids didn't know what to expect and frankly neither did the teacher.

After a couple of classes, she realized she wasn't going to live up to stereotypes. Her target was to oppose them and so she did. She decided to do the biggest, bestest, baddest play in the history of the university.

So now when you cross the Baloch Colony bridge onto Shahra e Faisal, take a sideways glance at Iqra University and see this:


The story of "Amreeka palat!" is the story of culture, language and barrier-breaking all at the same time. It revolves around the maid Neelo and Professor Mudassir (loosely structured on Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins, minus the chemistry) and her transformation from the uncouth maid to the lively, sophisticated babe of the modern era with a highly polished linguistic talent. He changes her world and life takes a new turn when Arsalan Mirza (pictured), the American-return Pakistani comes back to fall in love with the brand new Neelo.

That is scratching the surface by the way.

Beneath the plot, the big banner, the million rupees, lies a lot of blood, sweat and toil. A lead actress running out five days before the play, Karachi erupting in riots, tickets getting stuck in the printing house, friends fighting, scandals, auditorium bookings, faculty grumbles ... you get the picture.

But the good news is. We're almost there. We're almost through.

I'd love to invite my readers but this play is restricted for Iqra University students only. The only non-IU crowd will be the guests, who have agreed to come to honor the ceremony: Anwar Maqsood and Azfar Ali. 

So pray for us, we're still wondering if the show must go on in the city of firing flies and saddened skies and terrified traffic and closed colleges (I realize I'm losing that poetic touch or maybe I'm sucking at alliterations right now). Doing something big and bureaucratic in Karachi is like stepping into quicksand without any idea if it's supposed to suck you in gradually or all at once. We have no idea how we are going to stage our show 3 days from now with the city conditions with the way they are. Thankfully, as I noted on the streets today, life is going back to normal but this is Karachi. No Pakistani or Amreeka-palat can expect anything normal for long.

Nov 21, 2008

"Bijli, Pyar aur Ammi Jan."

The play staged by the Lyceum School students at the Alliance Francaise rocked.

That's my one-line analysis.

The sets and the lighting had their faults, the audience was limited and polite and civilized (they were even clapping at the not-so-great fifteen minute IVS English play staged before it) so we can't measure their performances on that huge macro-level, but the star actors were quite good. Being the current director of my own university play, I understand how hard it is to find good voices who come with the complete package of looks, confidence and stage-presence. So Lyceum was definitely equipped with that blessed lot when it came to its lead actors.

The play synopsis is such,

"Saalik has married Marya without telling his parents and now is running away with her. He is trying to collect all the valuables from the house and leave but the electricity and his parents are a hindrance to his progress. Dr. Zubairi, Saalik's father, realizes something fishy is going on in the house with valuables disappearing and therefore asks his friend DSP Theek Jumani to investigate and solve the mystery."

Dr. Zubairi (played by Hammad Zubairi) was truly the star. He acted brilliantly and it did help his role that he was quite good looking and had an Amir-Khanish touch to his personality. He does the role quite effortlessly, it seems, since he has a natural grace and a solid stage presence to boot. His wife, Mrs. Zubairi (played by Rabia Sadruddin) is also loud and clear in her dialogue delivery. Witnessing them bicker weren't the finest moments of the play but they certainly did that bit well.

Another major contributor to the 'masala' of the play is Zar Gul the cook from Waziristan. Played by Rashid Afridi, this character bags most of the laughs of the play and seems quite the comedian offstage as well. His love interest, the maasi Sakina, is played by Nida Habib Khan, who is pretty enough to pass off as a good actress (Katrina Kaif's echo?). The DSP, the son, Saalik all do very well but Zubairi steals the show with his candid and energetic portrayal of the frustrated psychiatrist who wants to figure out exactly who has been stealing his pants (with his important keys) and documents.

If you've seen it, you'll know just how good it was. If you missed it, you should regret it. What is to be regretted even more that the theatre culture ... i.e., what IS the theatre culture ... still lacks the support from society and the publicity it deserves.

Nov 18, 2008

... and that's why I need therapy.

I'm a perfectionist. I like thinking that if things aren't going exactly the way they're supposed to they aren't working at all, and I deserve to die. I feel unhappy at the slightest chance of failure and cannot tolerate something that I've worked hard over to go even a bit off-strike. I am passionate, they say to put it politely. Otherwise I'm just a different brand of crazy.

I can't sleep at night, I wake up thinking horrible is going to happen to my family, the people I love and the things I hold dear. I often dream of earthquakes, deaths, calamities, fires, angry goddesses and monstrous heads popping out of flowers and the like.

I worry endlessly and fear flawlessly. I write neurotically and always have the best ideas when I'm just about to fall asleep. I've bought a truckload of books, but I only read Harry Potter a million times. The rest I start, get excited and read halfway through them in one night. Then I put them back down, promising myself that I'd pick them up tomorrow and the only time that TOMORROW has come ... has been in the case of Orhan Pamuk's Snow.

I take pictures of everything and people call me crazy for having over tens of albums on Facebook. I'm a masochist, because since 2000 I have refused to take anything in strides. I did a crazy batch of latter-teen years when I breathed and ate my pre-medical books, debated from my college and took part in anything from a class skit to the annual Sindh Board Science Exhibition in which I made a project on photosynthesis that was a symbolic representation of the process. The judges loved it, thought it was creative. We didn't win of course. Those dinky-car-highway boys won with their slimy teacher who kept hovering around the jury.

I also remember failures way too much.

I drown myself in guilt secretly and hide it away when I'm trying to be all 'normal'. Then one night, right when the hormones are doing their crazy dance in my pituitary, I sob my eyes out on a pillow calling myself every bitter, pathetic name known to mankind - or my vocabulary (I also have a neurotic need to be extremely pragmatic after ever rant) and feel that I will never and ever be happy. No matter what.

And then there are my good days where I'm smiling and cheerful, hoping for the best until my car breaks down in the middle of the road on the very day I was asked to come early after coming late for many days. Or I expect a nice word out of someone but get feedback that is so critical and undeserved, it makes my blood pound, my head spin and my feet all sweaty. Then my neck starts to hurt and I pick a fight with Ali.

Those are the days when my hope swings left again and I hate God and religion and mankind and every tiny leggo of my faith that I'd precariously perched on that high tower begins to wobble and eventually tumble into a heap of what can only be called as the darkest aspects in my shiny, usually plow-through-crap-no-matter-what self. That's when I don't want to hear 'there's a grand design'. I just want to hear that people fucked up as people and now we are who we are. Messy, uncivilized, uncouth and laughable.

And that's when I get my sense of humor back.

And I realize that as long as it's working ... I can avoid that appointment.

Yes I can.

Nov 15, 2008

What do we do now?

This goes out to every Pakistani, every American and every possible human being who understands the crises the world is facing now.

Back in our debating days, we'd scoff at the speaker who'd paint the bleakest picture of the world with phrases such as 'bodies strewn everywhere' and Marxist rhetoric of 'poor getting poorer'. We knew these speakers were out to get brownie points with the help of goosebumps. It surprised us but little that these speakers often got the highest applause from the audiences and got away with most of the prizes in the competition. Speakers such as ourselves who usually tried sounding balanced and if at all biased, then positive, would scoff and ridicule them, thinking that they've encashed the world's misery in the form of their prizes.

Now I do wonder if they were all that wrong. Maybe it was us, the balanced, so-called sane individuals, who were sitting on the wrong side of the stadium.

The current day's business reports headlines are such:

14 units stop working; Large scale layoffs in car, bike industry.
India's rich lose 60 pc of their fortune.
S&P cuts Pakistan's ratings amid debt crisis (though the rupee remained steady despite it)
Stocks turn dull amid fading optimism
US retail sales plunge.
Europe officially in recession.

The economic crisis that has prevailed in the news since the Lehman bankruptcy certainly does not seem to decelerate despite hopes of many. Khanani and Kalia are busted, Abdullah Haroon is dead (though no one can blame the economy for that, I'm just going with the flow here) and the real cherry on top is that General Hayden, director CIA, thinks "every major terror threat involves Pakistan".

Isn't that exactly what every Pakistani would love to hear at the breakfast table? We're not only spending 678bn rupees on the 'war against terror' we're also inevitably the terrorists who are now invariably linked to anything remotely terrifying, whether it's a bomb hit in the US or a mouse squeaking underneath the Queen's chair.

Obama, the new face of the US, has regrouped and refocused the foreign policy matters in South Asia. He has now taken up the advices of Mr. Bruce Riedel who will now be reassessing Pakistan and Afghanistan (never thought I'd hear them both in the same terrorist agenda sentence - who knew?). Mr. Riedel plans to prioritize the "Kashmir issue" between India and Pakistan.


The efforts will not be based on the freedom of the Kashmiris; it will be a pressure on Pakistan to let go.

I had always agreed on that golden rule of International Relations that proclaimed a small country stupid if it decided to war against a country twice its size and thrice its population. Pakistan had been and will continue to be stupid if it deludes itself into thinking it can win over Kashmir. Muslim Ummah or not, strategically Kashmir is a bone of contention that has caused Pakistan nothing but decades of terrorist insurgencies in its tribal areas, big-and-small wars, and of course a constant flinch with its biggest, burliest neighbor. Bad idea.

Oddly enough, I quote Parveen Shakir,

Baat toh sach hai magar baat hai rusvaayee ki.

(It is humiliating, but it is true.)

Benazir Bhutto, in her first reign, opted for the same gradual release of Kashmir. Maybe she planned it a bit more stylishly than the begrudged let-go I'm expecting to come in the future by the Pakistani government, but she foresaw something the ISI did not. She understood that this was not only weakening Pakistan's economy but its international standing in the world. Unless it stopped sending its tribal militants, its feeble armies to fight for the 'atoot ang', it would not learn to stand on its feet, it would not be able to feed its poor.


But no. We're too happy fighting in the name of "Islam" or whatever we want to call it. What do you call an ideology when you use it at the time of foreign policy formation and discard it at the time of instructing PEMRA? Use it again when you want to establish a coalition with the mullahs, want a referendum, arm your troops for Afghanistan and discard it again when you make the President house a palace, give at least 20-30 guards per minister, let them go on luxury trips to Saudia Arabia and America and godknows where-else-off-the-record?

Obama's new regime will probably not be as great for Pakistanis are people may think but if it manages to force Pakistan to let go of Kashmir (with as little humiliation and pain as possible) it'll not only save us money and further shame in the long run, it might even help us regain a bit of that international stability.

Now if only we can convince them to let go of Bajaur too.

Frantic but coherent update.

Before people start running away from this blog with the fears of being tagged, I've decided to talk about things real and present.

Karma:
Was it this that made me sit in front of the audience as a judge of the bilingual public speaking contest? In the same place where I had, years ago, opened house for the English debates? Was this the place where I ran with my fading-white uniform and my fading-dupatta on my head, eating chaats and french fries laughing over nothing? Life has come back a full circle. Here, I sit, slightly morose (flu, flu, flu), partly serious, partly smiling (some of the speakers did manage to sound funny) and all mature and judge-like. Deciding who won or lost the competition, which in my time meant all the world's happiness to me?

Work:
By a show of hands, if I ask my readers to respond to the question, "How many people face politics at work and often wish some of their colleagues had more sense than a boulder?", I'm guessing I'll be facing a full house. People are weird when they think they're Gods. Some of my work-associates certainly do think they've managed to outwit the Divine Creator in their images and have somehow managed to delude themselves that others are deluded thusly as well. It's time to shatter that dream. No one has done it before me yet and I'm granted to walk on unchartered territory here but I was never the one to walk the road more taken anyway. Additional good news is that I've got people who love me and support me at home and, surprising as that may seem, at university too. So hope springs eternal.

Flu:
Can't it go away? Like ... now?

Wedding Venue:
Decided! Finally! After much ado! Aaaa, the pains you have to go through to make sure everything goes right. Eeek.

Katrina Kaif:
Aah, to be young. And to be beautiful.

Weekend:
Glory, glory hallelujah.

Nov 9, 2008

Tagging I.

Okay.

This tag is going to be different.

The rules are slightly revamped to suit varied choices.

And they are:

Tagging/Linking others is entirely optional. You don't have to sound needy and pathetic at all at anyone else's blog to beg them to come visit your blog and respond to your blog (God, I'm vicious).
The tag expires after a period of 24 hours.
Tag as many people you like. Don't tag them if you don't want to. Don't mention me if you don't want to. Mention me if you want to. Heck it's YOUR blog.
If you don't see yourself as tagged by someone that's pointless. This tag is universal. Everyone's invited.
And no more rules. Introduce a little anarchy.

The tag is:

You have to write
  • Three things which you pride yourself upon.
  • Three things you hate about yourself.
  • Three things that you can't let go of.
  • Three things that you love to eat.
  • Three things you cannot possibly eat in a million years.
  • Three songs you could sing to the rest of the world.
  • Three movies you would show if you had your way around Film Festivals.
I tag:

Barooq.
Hira.
Saadat.
Mampi.
Karachiwali.
Esfand.

My tag is as follows.

Three things which you pride yourself upon.
My faith in myself, God and a Spirit of Indepedence. That's three.

Three things you hate about yourself.
Anger, depressive moodswings and that I'm only five feet two inches.

Three things that you can't let go of.
My cell (snatchers, duur fittay moon), my books and a personal attack.

Three things that you love to eat.
Fruits, junk food, chicken!

Three things you cannot possibly eat in a million years.
Most veggies, unspeakable parts of cows and sheep that are considered delicacies and go around at Baqra Eid, and oh yes. Anaar juice. There's a story behind that.

Three songs you could sing to the rest of the world.
Hope for the Hopeless by A Fine Frenzy, Sweet Child O Mine by Guns n Roses and With or Without You by U2.

Three movies you would show if you had your way around Film Festivals.
Wall-E, Little Miss Sunshine and Batman Begins.

Random Photos.


Ali took us out for dinner after he got paid his third paycheck.

KFC's really cute snapshot wall..

KFC's Pakistan promotion.


The Strawberry Cheesecake I made for Ali and his friends.



The candle that burns its last. Grotesque and scary to me. I'm terribly afraid of death.

Tagged III.

I have been tagged by Hira. A million things have been rushing through my head lately and I choose to write a tag post is slightly pathetic. Obama won, people are leaving half-dead infants on the roads and Zardari took 200 people to Saudi Arabia with him on that tour of his. And I choose to talk about my quirks.

Some wonderful Pakistani I am..

Anyway. As if this post isn't enough about me already here goes:

So six completely unspectacular factoids? That's easy.

  1. I'm an insomniac. A relentless one. I sleep less than 6 hours a day and can remain extremely fresh and bright and energetic. It's only the less-than-three-hour-a-day day that can dampen my spirits and make me go to sleep (Z can attest to that). Wait, did that just turn into spectacular?
  2. I like to read all my text messages before I go to sleep. My N95 has a lifeblog. It tracks everything you did since you activated the phone. And I sometimes begin from the beginning. All the random pictures I've taken (that's another spectacular-nothing, I take pictures of everything, anything and then some), all the I'll be there in a few moments messages and videos. Everything.
  3. I don't like the sea much. Khiites are obsessed with it but I'm not. It's just ... the sea. What's the big deal?
  4. I hate the Iphone. I think it's charm dies down after the first few days. After you get over the phone without buttons, you realize you have been conditioned to push buttons (no dual meaning intended) ever since you were a kid. So buttons are good. Buttons are home. (Bet you don't think I'm spectacular anymore, eh? I'm talking about how good buttons are!)
  5. I don't like carrying purses. Girls think it's some testament to fashion. I don't. I consider purses to be a lag and only carry them outta sheer necessity. If I'm wearing something ultra gorgeous and am at a formal gathering, I might carry it. But I'm a very pockety kinda person. Give me pockets, spare the purses.
  6. I have the flu 6 months in the year. Yes, yes. Wrinkle thy nose.

Okay, I'm all out now.

I tag Ordered-Chaos, Roop, Erin, Natasha, M and M. And Barooq.

Phew. All the love to you, Hira. But this one took a zing outta me. Dunno why. Must be the flu.

Nov 6, 2008

Love, she wrote.

This comes from a friend's blog. She wrote this one fine day purging away everything that had been going on inside her since the past few weeks. I took a special permission from her to put it on my blog (so you people better read the whole thing!) so that more people could hear her voice. Even though it comes from an unspoken corner.

'People look at me and say "but you're a psychologist! You should know better!"

Why the assumption? Are they psychologists that they know so definitely that "psychologists have the best coping strategies?" that is not so far from the truth. We may know the exact way to cope, but we also know how each and every coping strategy that we may apply is in fact just simply a defense mechanism we are using to hide the immense pain we are under. Hence in turn, we know exactly what we are doing and exactly what great pain we are trying to overcome, resulting in magnifying the pain to much larger extents and inadvertently just being a victim of more pain and suffering.

Lol (laugh out loud may I) but my Significant Other (SO) (yes yes I know he's no more there as a being, but within me he still is…and from where I see it, will be for a long long loooong time) seems to think I usually act like we're 16 year old teenagers. Now that's what I call a brilliant defense mechanism! The sad fact is, we have behaved like 16 year old teenagers. Getting together one day, meeting up, talking on the phone, smsing, and then suddenly, he dumps me. Is that what one does when they are committed? Committed adults? Sounds more like one of my "literally" teenage students flings. What am I to say? My dear child, I'm nothing but a victim of one such event? It's sad but it's true. But these kids. These kids have hope. They're young. They'll find new love, you know why? Cause they are mentally prepared to do so. Their story doesn't involved being engaged in front of 200 people, and having the promise of marrying the man of your dreams.

Now here's how my situation is different. For my entire life, I had imagined my prince charming. He was there, in my mind. I knew exactly what I wanted. And I was determined that until he came along, I would not give in to anything less. So I disregarded all the other prospective husbands. Of course in the society I live in, being so picky and choosy especially at my age was sheer stupidity on my part. But I know myself. I can't live with something lesser, knowing that I could have gotten better only if I was patient. And I was. I was happy for all around me who were getting married, all those who were getting engaged, and all those who had their lovers. I was happy. Happy because prince charming was in my mind. Right there. And I was waiting for him. And he was coming.

Whenever a proposal came, or people just came to "see me" (and I gave in to this pathetic norm because of major social pressures) I couldn't stop laughing when I entered the room. So when my SO's mom brought him to see me the same evening, I was like all hehhee ahhah…until I stepped into the room and I heard him. I was dumb founded. I knew it he is the one. I just knew it. In the pit of my heart I knew it. I knew it more than anything I had ever known. And when within a couple of days they proposed, I was on cloud 9 (falling from could 9 hurts a lot by the way.) I never saw him that one day he came , because I was so nervous and so shy that all I remember looking at was my own feet and the carpet design. Usually if I don't get to see the guy in such circumstances, I catch a glimpse while serving the coffee/chai/drink. But I just couldn't in this case…it was because I knew. I knew it. I knew it I was going to wake up next to him every morning of my life, and I'd look at him all I want. I want to say "I knew it" 1 million times more, because yaar…I just knew it.

Anyway, 10 days later we said yes, and another 10 days later was the ceremony. Ah yes. It was surreal. Me a bride? Lol. You know when girls go to weddings and engagement's they always imagined themselves as the bride. I never did. Mostly cause I honestly never expected to get married. Only because my prince charming was too perfect to be true, and I knew I would never compromise. But the day of the engagement, I was shocked to see myself. With the teeka and duppata and make up and heels and all. Might I add, I'm a tom boy mixed with laziness. Never bothered about fashion or looking good. Only thing that mattered was comfort. So I could spend my life in a couple of jeans, kurtis and chappals/joggers. I was very low maintenance unlike the norms of the girls today who end up spending 1/3 of their lives in parlors. But on that day, on that very day I was determined to look pretty. To look stunning, to look like a bride. I remember spending 12 hrs in the bazaar looking for the perfect dress to wear. And by perfect not perfect in my eyes, but perfect in my SO's regards. I was choosing things according to what little I understood of the type of person he was. Why? Just, wholly and solely for my SO. I wanted to be perfect. Because I'm very "puranay zamanay ke khayalat type." Because I believe you are your man's respect. And I wanted him to be proud of me. I wanted him to be happy standing next to me saying "this, this woman is my fiancé."

So the ceremony happened. It was perfect. He was perfect. He was everything that I had understood him to be from those few minutes I heard him speak.

Time went on. Everything was perfect. He was so sweet. He would call, care, be such a romantic (although he always claimed he wasn't the lovely dovey type).

Until 2 weeks after the ceremony. My dreams came crashing down. I was told he wasn't happy with the engagement. And my world stopped. My self image, my self esteem just shattered. Might I add I do have severe low self esteem issues. I was also of course severely threatened not to ever tell him of what I was being told, or what I knew. And the reason was because I was told "he" would not like it. He would break off the engagement. I am a very simple girl. I live life in the moment. I take people and their words on face value. I trust people.

My entire image of my SO just became blur. I didn't know him anymore. Instead of being open and communicating with him I became so scared of him. I became so scared to say anything. He noticed, of course (since I'm famous for not being able to hide my feelings. As my professor used to say "Her face is like a TV" whatever she feels comes out on top.) I can't hide. I'm not chalak. Anyway.

When I'd ask him if he was okay, he said he was. But each time I was told he's angry with me (and I didn't know why) and I was told to ask him what's wrong, I'd ask him. Being in such a difficult position I couldn't not ask him, neither could I tell him what was going on. He started to get annoyed by my constant questioning. And I got ever more worried. I just didn't know what to do, who to talk to, or how to handle things.

I started to misperceive all his actions. Started to really accept that he didn't like me. And he was just being forced. It was heartbreaking for me. Because I felt I was with my prince charming, but he was compromising with just any girl.

So I started to try to become his princess. (I know these terms are very childish, but hello, right now, I'm just a girl, who lost in love. Who still waits painstakingly everyday for her prince charming to come back to her.) I caught on to his every word. When he'd say he was busy I'd try my best to stay away. When he didn't reply I'd just smile it away. When he'd simply say he'd love Cholas when we got home from work, and then a nice dinner, I'd cook and send it all immediately. I started to learn to make 1 billion different kinds of Cholas. When he really wanted to eat those doraji ke cholay I tried to get them for him, but alas the shop opened in the evenings. I threw away all the lawn, cotton duppatas and bought new silky ones because he said the other type looked like chadars. All my shadi shopping from clothes to perfumes to lingerie to shoes to bags was done according to my idea of what HE liked. Even my mom was telling someone, yeh kaisi hai, she doesn't buy what she likes, she just buys what she thinks he likes. But that's who I am. Always thought that when my guy comes, I'll do anything and everything in the world to make him happy.

As time went on I was under more and more stress. Because the outside pressures were directly effecting our relationship. And I could helplessly see it detoriate. A point came when I wanted to just tell him everything. I tried. Tried to ask him to meet up. But he was busy. And again being the I-cant-give-more-stress-to-my-guy type, I just delayed it. He said he was busy at work. I was keeping up with the business situations in Pakistan, and I had an idea of the kind of stresses he must be under. Hence the last thing I wanted was to give him any more stress. So finally after two whole months (and these were the toughest months) of feeling so alone and helpless, and more so scared, we went out for dinner. I felt that night our relationship was getting back on track. And the entire situation reminded me of our 1st two weeks. I didn't want to ruin it, so I delayed brining up issues. I felt we'll meet again shortly, and I'll clear things out. Mind you I was still very scared to approach the subject because it was so so sensitive that any slip here or there could bring everything crashing down.

I was in love. I knew it. I bet he'd say I'm being dramatic, but I was. I gave up so much for him. And in return all I wanted was to spend my life with him. I am not the demanding type at all. I don't care about materialistic things, or about designer stuff, or about being given gifts. But I still hung on to the rose he gave me one day. Just because he gave it.

He was so important to me. I wanted to tell him, but I was so scared he'd ridicule me. But I wanted to tell him that there are two men in this world who I love. One my dad, the other him. My dad left me, and so did he. But the only difference is, dad didn't have a choice, he did. And it was exactly this fear of abandonment that I told him two days after the engagement "Don't leave me."

I loved his dad as my own. In the depth of my heart I wished for one thing. I wished that my prince charming would have parents. I always wanted to live together, like one big happy family. I loved my SO's parents like my own. I still refer to them as mummy, papa when I talk about them. I respected them. Loved them.

A few days after the dinner, he calls. I still shiver at his tone. He was angry. I don't know what had happened at his end, but I knew he had had enough. I remember pleading again & again, I'm very happy. I'm very happy. I remember telling him, please listen, what you saw of me was not me. It was my reaction to the stress I was under. But I could feel I'm talking to a wall. 25 minutes and 25 seconds later he put down the phone. I thought he's understood that there has been something going on behind his back which he doesn't know of.

I cried that whole night. I cried because I hated myself for not telling him everything at dinner. I cried because of the way he spoke. I cried because of frustration that he didn't register anything I was saying. I cried because the man I loved so so much, was sick and tired of me.

I couldn't let anyone know how upset I was. Because I didn't want my family to worry. So the next morning I did what I had been doing. Shadi shopping. Still buying things that SO would like.

Two days later I come home from shadi shopping. Everyone's gathered. I thought the wedding date is being fixed. I'm smiling, while everyone's looking at me. And I hear the worst words ever "SO's dad called this morning and broke the engagement."

I was sitting on the sofa where SO had sat when he had come over too meet nani. I remember continuing to smile. My mind was jelly. I had a million all blurry thoughts in my head. I felt my face wet. Tears were flowing down but I was smiling. I knew one thought was the strongest. This is not happening. He's just upset. He'll come back.

So I started to discuss everything in a very objective manner. Until my uncle said, we'll have to call everyone tomorrow and tell them. That's when I laughed and said, "So like one second. You're going to tell people it's over? But it's not over? I mean how can it be."

Again tears started to flow, and with my thoughts, my vision became blurry. I saw mom's face. She had died inside. She knew how I had become when dad passed away. And I could see it she was seeing me starting to go through the same thing again. I controlled myself. Wiped away the tears and just smiled. The protocols were discussed, decided, and everyone left. Mom started to cry hysterically. I was broken, shattered, and dead from inside. I felt betrayed. I just couldn't understand how such a strong man like him could leave me alone in all this. I needed him. I needed his support.

Days passed. I kept looking at my cell whenever it beeped or rang. I thought it was him. I didn't answer anyone else, or reply to anyone else. I just didn't know what to say. When I did reply to smses after a few days, I'd just say "I'm fine. Everything's fine."

At home it was terrible. It was a replay of dad's time. Mom would keep crying. I would be as normal as possible. But whenever I'd go to take a shower I'd just sit helplessly on the floor, hoping my cries would die down under the shower. Every night, I'd cry myself to sleep. I'd wake up in a couple of hours desperately checking my cell to see if there's anything from him. His number is still saved as Mangetar. But there would be nothing. I didn't believe he was never coming back. Because taking away all the externally induced misunderstandings we were perfect.

Everything I'd see made me cry. Because I had inculcated him into every minute detail of my life. People started coming over, to "try and make me feel better." They'd attempt to humiliate him, try and speak about how bad he was. But that'd infuriate me. How dare anyone say a word against my SO. Denial was at its peak. People told me things about him that he was so bad etc etc etc. I didn't believe a word. I knew that he was good. He was a good human being, who just made a mistake. And more so, I knew he would come back.

A few weeks later, anger started to develop. I was desperate to call him and just tell him how he had ruined my life. This anger stemmed from how his leaving me had affected my life in such unimaginably drastic ways. I was someone who gave the impression of being strong, career oriented, independent, and being an individual. Not a clone like most girls these days. And here, he took away all that, made me into a girl, whose dependent, shy, romantic. Back at work I was mocked because everyone was saying "told you so. Told you not to leave your job for a man." I couldn't belive their ideas had been proven, because I knew in my heart they were wrong. Giving up yourselfp for your man is just love. Pure unconditional love. He stripped me of my cover, exposed me to the world, and when I thought he'd be my protection, he left me in front of the world as a laughing stock all alone.

I tired to move on. I promise I did. And as days went by, the anger subsided, but confusion came in. I needed that closure. I needed to know why he had done this. Where did I go wrong? Mujh mein kya kami thi? Cause I swear if I knew, I'd overcome anything to become what he wanted.

And one day I did. I called him. We spoke. And when I put down the phone, I just went back to square one. I knew I hadn't chosen the wrong guy. I knew my wait was worth it. He is a gentleman. And what he made was an honest mistake. Just an honest mistake. Unless of course he was doing a drama, which I know he wasn't.

And here I wait helplessly, yet again. And this time its worse. Because I cant rationalize it any other way. I cant use any defense mechanisms. I can't tell myself, he was a heatless jerk! Or he wasn't worth it. Because EVERYONE…hear me out loud, he was the man of my dreams!

And here I am. Again going through the pitiful process of rishtas. But there's a mental block. I can not accept anyone else. When people come I just look at them like normal aunties and uncles and their sons and daughters. Because in my heart I feel, hey I'm already engaged. I have my wonderful guy, and his wonderful family.

Again my problem is, I can't compromise. But the bigger problem is I won't be allowed to do this anymore. According to my society, I'm stained. I have to compromise. Staying single is not an option they say.

And I don't mind being single or alone or living with myself. Men weren't worth it, in my opinion, before he came along. But that short-lived, because how can he expect me to trust anyone ever again. This will break me. I don't think anyone deserves that. And this, this is the big one. Do you know what kind of miracle it is? I am an optimist. I still believe in true love and soulmates. I'm waiting for you. And if you don't come back from this, you will change who I am.

So here I am. A girl. Sitting in complete helplessness. Because this is all that I could do. Tell him we were perfect. I already broke so many norms telling him that. If I get caught it'll make my life a living hell. Some people (& I hope my SO didn't think the same way, cause I feel he's more intelligent than that) that I'm falling all over him. But who cares right? If there's that 0.00000000001% chance of having him back, I'm taking it.

So I wait. So I wait for him to take that step back towards me. Because in my world, mistakes can be undone. And if he takes that step, I swear I would fight for him. I would fight for us.

Or then, he'll just have held my hand and given me away to another man, who I know I'd despise. Who I know with whom each day of my life I'd think of my SO and cry and wonder, why? Just because of stupid wrong norms? Just because of ego? Just because of the road back being too rocky?

Here I wait. Wait for him. Again I repeat.

"I'm just a girl asking a guy to love her."..'

Nov 4, 2008

Tagged II.

I have been tagged by Saadat. Although this comes at a very harassed time in my life, I'm way too polite to say no.
The McCains own 13 cars, eight homes and have access to a corporate jet. If you were as insanely rich as them, where would your eight homes be and why? The only rule is: The homes must be within the borders of the country you live in, so as to utterly emulate the McCains.When you’re done, tag 8 people, so that they may join in the self-indulgence, forgetting about the crappy property market and the equivalent of The End of Pompeii on Wall-Street. You could spend your time hammering your doors and windows shut in preparation for the Apocalypse, but this meme is so much more fun!

Karachi. Born and bred here. It's foul and spreads like Hades. Sometimes you'll find yourself driving for hours on end without Karachi ever ending. Sometimes green, peaceful, cool, livable streets will sprout out of nowhere, embellishing the hope of having a better future for the country, but soon, very soon, as is the rule with every residential area in Karachi, you'll run into a slum where you'll find butt-naked kids running and wailing across the roads, oddly sinister men peering at you from dirty-draped snooker rooms, boiling gutters and merry fruit and chat vendors telling you that you're still thirty years behind (at least) the rest of the world. Govinda and Mithun movies still run like wildfire here and Cyber Cafes are rife with titles such as "Bismillah Internet Cafe" and "Al-Raheem Cyber Services". What the hell is that supposed to imply anyway? God is watching over all the porn they're downloading?

But anyway. Karachi is home and Karachi, with all its bhaiiyaas and treeless roads and traffic jams is Karachi. Its life pulsates like no other. Not because it's got a population of over 1.5 crore people. Not because it's the biggest port in Pakistan. Not because it's one of the top ten metropolitan centres in the world. But because it has never stopped growing. If you ever see those Karachi-oriented exhibits (yes, I know I'm boring, but humor me, go to Mohatta Palace's photography exhibits one of these days), you'll see what I mean. This city doesn't know how to end. Be it life or people. It keeps living even in days of severe economic crises and suicide bomb attacks and stinking oil landing on the shore for weeks. Karachiites will never stop loving the sea.

Lahore. It sounds obscene but it really isn't. Unless you're french. Then everything sounds kinda crooked. Though its name needs more revision than a Frenchman's vocabulary, this city never meant much to me save the past four years. I hated going to visit it when I was a kid. My parents used to drag Ali and me to Islamabad and Lahore every year, without fail, to visit Minaar e Pakistan and Shahi Qila and Shalimar Bagh (that's one way to keep your kids extremely rooted to their cultures, make them stick their noses in historical sites and narrate stories of dead old kings) and apart from the slightly creepy surroundings Data Ganj Bakhsh's Mazaar and the eerie Changa Manga jungles, we didn't mind. What we did feel incredibly grumpy about was the stay we had to tolerate. We hated staying with friends and family in the city because we had to sleep in the drawing rooms and do nothing but watch TV all day. And no cable when I was a kid, so there you go. You couldn't even look comatose when your mom wanted you to get up and take a bath.

I'm guessing my perception visibly shifted when I visited there 2 years ago at a friend's wedding.

Swat. If they ever stop fighting there yeah, I would. Somewhere near the Lake Saif ul Mulook. A wooden hut with a cosy fireplace (you can tell I'm getting married).

Islamabad. The President House is good. But I'd have to be a spouse-killer for that. And I can't give up Barooq for the presidency of this country. He looks too damn good. So any place in the Blue Area would be okay too, I guess.

Peshawar. For times I'll desperately want a change of scenery and an appreciation of places where women can roam free.

Quetta. To gain easy access to buy smuggled video cameras?

Kashmir. It's ours man. Part of it anyway. If India and Pakistan ever stop bickering about it, I'd love a home in that valley.

Gwadar. But it's the port of the millenium!

Okay, I'm sorry I've begun to sound lame, but I'm outta places. Unless you count "Prem Nagar" which comes from the way to Lahore from Karachi through Allama Iqbal Express and had THE most romantic name in the world (maybe they should rename Lahore that!) and wouldn't it be so so cool if someone asked me my address and I said,

" ... House Number 1, Mohabbat Gali, Prem Nagar."

........


I tag: Mampi, Khizzy, Hufsa, Karachiwali and Hira.

Nov 2, 2008

The Grim and the Gore.

You know what?

I'm just going to stop reading newspapers.

Yes. I'm going to just stop reading them.

Especially Pakistani news. And even more especially the Metropolitan section of the paper. It's just too depressing for anyone's good. I wonder how the editors sleep at night after they've set the paper off to print. And I don't wonder anymore why my own father, a journalist for 27 years, has paranoid attachment issues with letting his family go anywhere without him being the chaperone.

I have a weird habit of reading things while I am eating. Mom says it is disrespect to food and I can't help it anymore. It's been more than 22 years of doing it and unless it's Electric Shock Therapy that I'm in for, I'm going to continue reading anything I can get my hands on while I'm eating.

For the past couple of weeks, I'd been missing out on the deep perusal of the morning paper (breakfast without it is incomplete like a square without its lines - excuse the pathetic similie) and this Sunday as I settled down to eat the Chicken Jalferezi I made, the horrors began.

PIA's suffered a loss 38.4bn rupees. Interestingly having 16 pc growth and 17 pc hike in passenger revenue and 10 pc increase in cargo revenue - all at the same time as its losses. Pakistan, the nation, is quite ruffled by the US attacks - which recur remorselessly, just like aftershocks in Quetta and its whereabouts. And although we can seriously admire Mr. President to talk about raising money for ginners and growers, we mustn't try wondering why he won't just stop booking quotas in everything from Hajj flights to Saudia Arabia's Pakistan House.

The news is bad everywhere. TV channels milk it, people lap it up and politicians will continue to harvest the ground which breeds it all.

I am quite deliberate about this.

I don't think I can take it anymore. Newspapers sure put your life into perspective when you're down making you understand that the universe does not revolve around YOU - but they also do something really really disturbing. It makes us understand that this revolving universe which we struggle to survive in everyday - is full of crap and it's never going to change.

If I wasn't a journalist's daughter, I'd have stopped my subscription to Dawn today.But I know I won't. Mom loves the word jumble too much and I'm a crossword fan.

Not to mention The Wizard of Id.

That comic strip is funnier than George Bush on crystal meth.

Oct 30, 2008

Will Ferrell and Tina Fey as George Bush and Sarah Palin.

Ferrell: Hello my fellow Americans. I've chosen to schedule this impromptu address at night. Because quite frankly every time I address in the afternoon the stock market goes to the crapper. I've come to you tonight amidst a very important election between two very qualified candidates. The Hot Lady and the Tiger Woods guy. And yes I did have three Xanaxes and a silver bullet about half an hour ago. I'm outta here in a few months so screw it! *creepy giggle* Now let's bring out here Governor Sarah Palin and Sentaor McCain.

Fey: It's so nice to meet you, President Bush. I've seen you on TV. But unfortunately Senator McCain upon hearing that you want to make him a super-public endorsement - cannot be found.

Ferrell: George Bush always finds his man save for one huge exception.

Fey: Yep, we're going to get 'er done!

Team Arctic guy brings in McCain (played by Darrell Hammond).

Ferrell: (shakes hands as McCain tries to tug his hand away) Hey let's get a photo of this. Lemme do this. I, George W. Bush, endorse John McCain and Sarah Palin. (McCain tugs to leave, GW doesn't let go.) John was there for me 90% of the time for past ten years. When you think john mccain think of me. Think of this face when you're in the voting, before you vote, picture this face.


Oct 29, 2008

"How to Steal a Million (1966)"


I return with an ode to Audrey Hepburn, who, in this flick, plays the granddaughter of art-forgerer Bonnet. Her grandfather, out of obsession, out of a sense of adventure, likes fooling art-lovers and museum curators that he is in possession of pieces by none other than Monet and Van Gogh and since,

Bonnet: American millionaires must be all quite mad. Perhaps it's something they put in the ink when they print the money.

The film is considerably glib with characters that are justifiably witty (one's an art-lover, one's an art thief, and one's an heiress). Consider this:

Nicole Bonnet: I didn't want to keep you waiting, so I got engaged to him. Is it alright? Am I on time?
Simon Dermott: Perfectly. In fact, we have ten more minutes, so if you want to go back and marry him?


The film is 2 hours long and passes with enough enjoyment if you're an art-lover or an Audrey Hepburn fan.

Oct 26, 2008

Frantic update I.

  • Work is killing me.
  • Sarah Palin is stupid.
  • Humanistic Counseling rocks. My future career is suddenly all-the-more clearer.
  • Writing plays is not easy. I have newfound respect for Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams and Anwar Maqsood.
  • I'm reading "Half Blood Prince" for the umpteenth time.
  • I had a 'near-death' experience. Our car almost collided into a bridge on a very busy, a very fast lane last night. I have newfound respect for life. Which didn't last very long - but anyway.
  • Facebooking through Iphone is boring.
  • You can't blog through your Iphone or your N95 either. Unless you want to go mad with frustration or blind after straining your eyes to read one word.
  • My wedding gharara is going to be blood red. *dreamy grin*
  • Madrassah started again. This time new teachers. I keep telling them I'm going to question everything about Islam and faith, so they should be prepared. Fariya Baji says she has also told them about M and I. So yay.
  • Our UPS has gone to hell so we're literally living in the "Dark Ages" now that KESC has decided to push tolerance levels even further.
  • I'm talking about electricity ... so that means I'm outta stuff right now. Or that I just want to begin venting (and who the hell wants to hear that, right?) ... so.

Until then, folks. Until I get a new video graphics card. See you on Facebook or email.

Oct 19, 2008

Huh?

Can you believe it?

I just called Ather-Shehzad Studio.

Shahzad Raza charges THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND RUPEES for bridal makeup.

And if youwant him to come to Karachi, he will charge you extra ...

PLUS ...

YOU have to give him a Business Class ticket and five star stay.

Shahzad's assistant charges one hundred thousand. You can give him an economy class ticket and stay.

Benevolent.

Mom still thinks I'm joking. Even though I made the call in front of her.

Does this mean we no longer live in the good ol' days where looking beautiful came naturally?

But now it has to come with a private jet and a bank balance?

Oct 17, 2008

"Wait Until Dark (1967)"


What starts as simply a creepy thriller ends up being an intelligent, well-crafted film with Audrey Hepburn outclassing everything else onscreen with her portrayal of the "world's champion blind woman" being tricked by a set of crooks. Wait Until Dark promises more to the audiences in its one sequence than at least 20 of those Final Destination-type blood-and-gore-filled flicks.

I absolutely and wholeheartedly fell in love with the talent Hepburn has. She has been irreplaceable. Alan Arkin has played the psychopathic villain brilliantly, his performance pairing up well with Hepburn's. Great watch, splendid cast and a plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat for sure. Stop wasting time. Go watch.

Oct 15, 2008

Frankly, m'dear ...

I'm tired.

I'm tired of the same old swagger of the whiz kids and the biz kids at the university. Tired of the petty shameful politics, the insecure staff and the immensely self-conscious brats that walk through the halls decking it with their shallow intentions (I showed them August Rush and one kid said he liked 'the larki/girl' the best). I am tired of trying to write a script that can change the trend of the university to do shitty plays and begin it on a more classical, less third-grade path by trying to write a play with enough oomph to hook in the hoi polloi and enough jazz to let me look at myself in the mirror with a clear conscience.

I am tired of this. This is not what I wanted from teaching.

Having said that, I refuse to quit or give up (wish I'd learnt to though, it's such a blessing sometimes) on something I've promised myself I will end properly. So ploughing through is a teacher who is quite OUT of ideas right now. So any helpful hints on how to tolerate 160 18-year-olds will be appreciated.

And by tolerate I mean to hold out for the next 9 weeks without bombing their brains (or mine) out, managing a million (or plus) rupee function, checking mid and final term papers and saying good bye to university once and for all.

Oh and by the way. Readers of this blog, join The Black Mirror Network on Facebook. Confirmations on the author will be appreciated. And if you're too stingy to take time out to help a pathetic, miserable old teacher feel better, then fie on you.

Hmpf.