For a Mother on Father’s Day

Recently, my mother passed away, succumbing at last to a long illness, which, fortunately, did not cease her quality of life as much as put a very early expiry date on her life’s passage. To the last, she was a woman who was loud, somewhat rowdy in pursuit of her pleasures in life: her children, cricket matches involving Pakistan, Atif Aslam and Imran Khan (the cricketer turned politician, not the actor).

She will be, in my memory, most fondly remembered as a woman who loved her children and, in her own way, did what she thought best for them and did the best she could by them. While she was no revolutionary, politician or stateswoman and no monuments may be erected in her name in the future, she was a brave woman who brought up three children on a government teacher’s salary, battling finances, society in general and an alcoholic husband. The lesson she most often trued to drill into me was that despite everything, family is what counts. Family will always be there for you and family will always stick by you, when friends find other interests and acquaintances drift away.

Her happiest moments were when she was in the middle of, of hostess to, a party. She would slave all day, ordering the servants about to clean the house till it sparkled and to ensure all the guests had the three basics of a good party: good food, good music and a good host. When I got married and insisted on a small wedding, she bullied me into several mehendis, which is a wedding function primarily for singing and dancing and making merry. Today, I look back on videos of those nights and am glad I let her push me into it, for how else would I have a legitimate record of all my friends, relatives, my loved ones, singing, dancing, laughing and essentially having a great time?

I still remember the glee with which she promised all of her children’s friends participating in the mehendi that she would take them out at dawn for the best desi breakfast in town, conditional on their dancing and making merry all through the night of wedding, much after all the other guests had left.

I miss my mother because her strength in facing life, and ultimately death, awes me. And I miss her because I lost the friend I didn’t know I had. I realize now that I never thought I was that close to her because we never had a serious conversation, and I miss her now precisely because we never had a serious conversation. You were always there for me, mom, and happiness came too late in life for you. I hope you’re at peace now.

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Bon Voyage!

So, after a year full of waiting, weddings, waves and wandering the city I grew up in, I finally came to the parting of ways with it.

I am a native Karachiite, born and bred here. I grew up in the familiar throes of the Tariq roads and Boat Basins, the China Towns and the Chuloo Kababs, and while I may be accused of being  from “the other side of the bridge” from time to time, nobody can accuse me of not embracing all it has to  offer, caution, muggings, bombings be damned.

It was thus with excitement, but a heavy feeling tugging at my heart, that I bade farewell to the old familiar haunts: good old seaview, with its “oh I’m not stepping in that!” sand and waves, Maazeh (my favorite sheesha bar, and a place where I had spent many a happy evening prior to leaving), Butlers (oh the sinfully delicious muffins!), home (where the heart and the cats are) and my in laws place, where I had been living comfortably for the past few months. The ride to the airport itself was such an exhilarating one, bearing the not-quite-real quality of an fond but distant day, eagerly looked forward to and often dreamed about, only to wake up and discover it had not quite arrived yet. Family, friends, in-laws, all had gathered or come along for the ride to bid us farewell one last time in person. We waved to them with the relish the newest paroled prisoners would show for the people left behind in a prison, but we knew they were still getting the good end of the deal. After all, they would be amongst the familiar, yet ever changing places and people they had known since childhood, while we were venturing into an unknown land where we would no longer have the comfort of just walking up to someone who looked familiar and saying “yaaaar!” and hugging them with abandon.

The ride toward the new land was littered with rememberances. Of cries of “I miss home already” and cheerful assurances that we would call as soon as we go the chance and that nothing would change, but of course, those words are hollow. You have already changed and you all know it.

And so, after a journey across the ocean, we finally awoke from our oft-disturbed slumber on an aircraft to find ourselves greeted by the warm dawn of a new country and our future.

tired and bored

I am bored.

I am so bored and uninterested in anything I have been doing from this morning that I spent three minutes shuffling along my phone on my desk, absent mindedly thinking it to be my mouse.

I am so bored that the inane babbling of personal conversations over the phone that are taking place in the cubicle next to mine are simply fading away as they reach my ears, despite their intrusive initial volume.

I am so bored that I am fantasizing about getting up and walking out of the office right now and going home, after switching off my phone and otherwise blocking off any means of contact for anyone to harass me with questions about what the hell I think I’m playing at.

I am so bored, I’m considering walking into the office of the ill-bred boor that runs this place like it’s his daddy dearest’s kingdom and asking him to shove his employmet opportunity where the sun don’t shine, which is what I meant to do ever since a week ago when he was blatently rude to me.

I am so bored that despite my computer screen being very openly viewable for anyone and everyone who walks through the office, I am trying to play facebook poker. Scratch that, I don’t have headphones here so I can’t hear the warning dings before it automatically folds me out.

I am so bored that I want to kick my CPU till I damage something inside it, thus enabling me to sit at my desk uninterrupted while they scramble to fix my machine so that I can get back to work.

… happily ever after

It is a little known fact that good old Sleeping Beauty, the achetype for women everywhere (primarily because she lay dormant until a random Handsome Prince arrived to awaken and whisk away from drab dormancy), did not want to be awakened nor did she particular want to be whisked off.

What people do not realize is that before she was “Sleeping Beauty”, a purely subjective name provided to her by the ancestors of modern marketers, the crone-like matrons of her time, as a marketing gimmick to attrack the target audience, i.e. princes of a marryable age from far and wide before she got too old and became a burden on her parents (ancestors of the modern Pakistani parent), she was simply Aurora and she had no grand ambitions nor any driving ambition. And that was okay.

As she lay there, immersed in her dream-based world, she was perfectly happy and had no need for a man to come by and drag her out to reality, where the flowers die after blooming and the sun sets and disappears.

And so, as she was awakened and dragged off to some distant kingdom while all and sundry rejoiced, she couldn’t help thinking “is this what I really wanted?”, but it was already too late. And they lived happily ever after because once the bride is gone to “apna ghar”, nobody bothered to keep in touch and check on if she was actually happy. Details like that would spoil the happy ending.

The Return

As I type, I feel around me a cough-syrup induced haze that clouds my mind and makes my eyes sting if I keep them open too long. 

Having made a belated new year’s resolution to start blogging proper-like once again, I now speak to you from the dark recession of the underbelly of the corporate world.

Fairly or unfairly, I blame the corporate world of squeezing my creativity dry one drop at a time to pitch the same ideas to various clients. When nine hours of the day you are steered in certain “acceptable” directions of thought and idea generation, over a period of time you automatically close off the “unacceptable” (or shall I call them unprofitable) avenues of your thought process and start running with the herd.

And then there are the drones who do not think anymore, who believe it is futile to think about that which you believe you cannot (or do not want to) change. It is my fear that this environment of soul sucking that I call the industry I am employed in would slowly break me down in to individual components of profitability from my wasteful self.

And so I must bid farewell to those patient enough thus far to follow this random and indulgent train of thought and attempt to feebly promise better things to come as I try to reclaim the recession of my mind. Adieu!

A fresh start

The fact that things word out (dare I say miraculously) may be proof of a higher power watching over us. But then again, the fact that there are so many other more deserving candidates for these miracles than I throws this into further doubt than ever.

Confused? You’re not the only one.

the walker

When you’re walking, the city pulses beneath you. As your feet (separated from the rough stones that make up the pavement only by a thin layer of cowhide that passes for women’s shoes) steadily chew up feet after feet of distance, you can feel the energy of the world at large slowly enveloping you. 

If you walk long enough… you become one with the city and fear becomes irrelevant.

Others, as you know, will not understand the urge to walk. Once accustomed to vehicles that get you from point A to point B at your pace, often within minutes, spoil us, give us theillusion of safety. When you are a part of the streets, you do not these security because you have no possessions. 

When you walk, you are forced to move at the pace of the city. You can no longer barge through a tide of people, you must bend, circumvent, move in less than the path desired because you are now one cell in a much larger organism and you walk accordingly.

Thus, I walk. I am a faceless dot in the larger canvas of the population. As a dot, I take the time to register other fellow dots making their way through the same path. Each one has a strange story to tell and I only wish I could hear them all.