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.

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?

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.

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.

Glory, glory hallelujah.

Nov 9, 2008

Tagging I.


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:


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.