Archive for February, 2008

28
Feb
08

Futility

The futility of investing oneself and ones emotions into a relationship that you know is going nowhere?  Recognizing that eventually for all of ones desire to want it, it was not quite what one needs?  Yet unable to not do so…  That point where your logic fails and just for that crucial while, it is just your wish for what could be that keeps you hanging on…

Sometimes, when you’re least expecting it, that recognition creeps up on you.  And all one can do is utter a wordless sigh that screams in the silence that exists inside you…

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25
Feb
08

Wasteful Wanderings

Occasionally, when one has time to waste, one’s mind wanders…  Mine has taken to slipping out of my proverbial head and taking a stroll down the various lanes meandering through the past that has been, the present that is and possible futures there may be with rather more frequency than before.  I don’t know if that is because I feel this inexplicable sense of being trapped in this existence and wish to break free somehow or if it is simply because I’m bored with the way things are…  I don’t want to be unthankful and say….  Shit!!  No!  That’s not what I was going to say… I came up with a gem of an expression that fit exactly what I needed to say and it’s slipped just beyond my grasp…  I can see it but can’t get to typing it!

To revert, I was sitting in university today in the administrator’s comfortable, spinning chair, hands clasped and eyes focused unseeingly on the distant hills clear and darkly blue against a sunlit sky.  What exactly I was thinking, I’m not quite sure, but I was shook out of my self imposed reverie by the sound of a teacup being placed on the desk behind me.  I then found myself, engrossed in watching the concentric ripples formed in my cup as I stirred watching the steam rise up as my fingers took the spoon round and round and round…

I’ve realized something…  The tasks that seem so important otherwise…  Work, chores and errands for the home, relationships and equations with family and friends?  They don’t require much processing power from me any more.  There is a strange detachment.  It is almost clinical the way I deal with these things.  I have a new word for it:  I operate on auto-pilot.  Pre-programmed and pre-conditioned responses.  Why?  Because they expect nothing more.

Somehow this is not what I set out to write…  My bestest male friend in the world in going to Bahrain tomorrow for a week.  I’m going to miss ranting to him at odd times in the night.  Although like he said, it’s not as if I call him all that much but like I said to him, usually at least I know he’s a call away and in the same geographic zone.  The only reason to freak at not being able to talk to him would be because I KNOW he’s not around.  Although I don’t begrudge him that time.  It’s the poor thing’s first holiday in six years.  It’s the strangest relationship that we have.  We shared a school, a college and a zodiac in addition to a fair number of memories and childhood friends.  In addition, we are actually genuinely fond of each other.  Our conversations give people the strangest impression but then people tend to like getting strange impressions so what the hey…

20
Feb
08

Hallucinations

“Screaming faces I see, twisted and dark with age, agony and time… One after the other, in a line, they stream together, walking along a path that cannot be seen. The path that in fact does not exist but crouching together, the faces lift upward moaning as they trudge on through a strange forest on a mountain. Am I among them or am I seeing them as a warning of what I may become? Because the perspective changes… And as the faces draw further away, I realize they are stone. Crevices and crags drawn into a steep, straight face of an unforgiving stone that seems to have no edge and no indication of height or depth. It just goes on and there are these countless faces. I don’t know if I hear the word Allah as they scream it or if it is something that my subconscious whispers… But I am suddenly terrified. For I see this vortex of darkness head towards the mountain and envelop it in cloud and thunder and flashes of light. In my mind, I see faces of angels… not of mercy… but those sent from above as penance. All those miserable faces… Was I among them?”

I can’t sleep. Find myself restless and drifting between strange bouts of wakefulness and a deep, disturbing state of dreaming that I’d rather avoid. My fever is weird. I’m fine during the day. Yet, come night fall and I’m shivering even under two blankets and burning. This restlessness is driving me to hallucinate. My mind is filled with too many strange things to give voice to. I wouldn’t know how to start because they hold no rhyme nor reason, no logic and no sense.  I’m feeling strangely out of control…  Not that there is anything as such going on out of routine.  I’m just feeling….  Is it possible that a sense of the same routine can spiral into this sense of strange helplessness…?  I feel a strange premonition as if something has to give…  The status quo that is cannot go on…  My mind is freaked today!

18
Feb
08

Affection

Once your vote is cast, there is not much to do except lie around and wait for the result. Unless you count the pile laundry, ironing and university related work that is lying around waiting for your attention… Which I am not. For some reason, a line from a movie kept going around my head today. I finally went online and found it. It’s from a 1998 Jennifer Aniston film (The Object of My Affection) where she falls in love with a gay man. A couple of lines in this movie are murder.

“One shouldn’t be too hard on oneself when the object of one’s affection returns the favour with rather less enthusiasm than one might have hoped. “

“I want you to be with me, I want you to marry me, I want you to love me the way that I love you…. I want to look at you and not feel so hurt by you. “

Odd how the second dialogue sums up everything about human relationships. It is what we all want, is it not? Rather honest! At least it acknowledges the hurt and the pain that always comes along with love.

18
Feb
08

Object of Election

Election Day! So important in determining the destiny of a nation or so the supporters of democracy would have us believe. Unfortunately, the history of governance in our nation has somehow conditioned me to take this with a more than a pinch of salt. There is a sense of futility in making any effort to even test if we have an influence. A professor in one of our classes moaned about the ineffectiveness of the nation over the past 30 years. He believed our condition was so bad because we allowed it to deteriorate. Seems that is what always happens, individually and collectively. Everything that happens, is because we allow it to get to that point… But I regress… He was talking about our attitude as a nation. He loved quoting the example of what actually shook General Ayub Khan’s grip on power was the one rupee raise/kg in the price of sugar that prompted people to take to the streets. We don’t see that willingness to raise our voice any more despite the supposed increase in awareness, education and means. Is the reason because we don’t see anything changing? Or is it because we have got used to this lopsided system and invented ways to go on living our own lives detached from the rest of the system?Every time a variable changes, we change something about the way we deal with it, rather than trying to affect the circumstances that caused the variable to change. And more often than not, our solution is to go around the whole thing. Sort of like cleaning the area around a tumour and not touching the mass itself.

All our policies, all our rules work on an adhoc basis. Everything is a temporary solution to a problem that inevitably leads to bigger, larger issues that continue to be dealt with by more temporary solutions.

Nonetheless, one can hope and pray for things to improve and pray to have the strength to try and herald that change, no matter how insignificant your measure seems. My family and I decided to go vote today. It was a sunny afternoon, slightly windy and as per my chat with a friend last night, I was in line behind a couple of ladies with screaming children in tow, and a few hip, uppity ladies with designer glasses, bags, and colour coordinated shoes to boot. Interestingly, not one of them had any idea who they were going to vote for. Oh, my family usually votes for them, I’m going to close my eyes and just randomly pick, Not much difference who comes to power, na? I managed to have an argument on the way back with my own mama who is a die hard loyalist of a party whose leader was recently slain. And since I can’t stand the mustached louse who has now assumed the royal seat, I placed my vote in favour of another party (Definitely no modes of transportation btw). I must add however, that even as I placed my vote, I swore at Mr. Imran Khan four ways to hell and back for not even contesting the elections. You cannot fix any plumbing without getting your hands around a pipe and getting dirty. How do you expect to fix a political system that fosters in this festering environment of lies, corruption and selfishness without even spoiling the crease of your starched shalwar kameez????

Oh well! At least they voted… And so did I. Actually I’m more hyped because this is the first time I have voted. 😀 How pathetic is that!! Let’s see… Why didn’t I vote the last time around? One, I hate Mush baby! Two, I hate Mush baby! And three, oh yeah! I was too busy walking down the sacrificial altar of marriage. Anyhow, at least a 12 to 16 hour wait now to see what sort of a trend develops. Thankfully much of the polling itself was peaceful although there were scattered reports of some fights breaking out and random shootings.

My only hope in actually going to vote this time lies in maybe letting whoever comes to power doing so with the intention of actually serving the people in addition to serving himself. I was talking to somebody the other day who rather sarcastically remarked, that since I have such strong views about the whole thing and am rather loud, I should consider joining politics but as I told him, to be effective in a corrupt system, one has to be corrupt as well. But another friend, who does have all intentions of entering politics said, all change starts somewhere. So politics gave us Hitler, Bush, Stalin, Genghis Khan, Pinochet and Musharraf.  Idealistically speaking, it is also politics that gave us Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Mandela and Mahatir.  They too worked in this same system, and I doubt anyone has as yet called them corrupt.  If one person can in a session of government, show effectiveness without the corruption, who’s to say, the rest will not follow?  Optimism?  Perhaps, who’s to know?  Jaded for PM, next time around? 😀

Here’s to a new beginning!

16
Feb
08

Saturday Evening Blahs

So this is the last time we will be standing wall to wall,
We were right to surrender,
Soon we can walk through different doors,
With a million reasons just to be apart,
til the morning comes and before the loneliness starts will you just,
Lie to me,
Whisper the words that you don’t mean,
Share with me the love that you’ll never feel,
Baby lie to me,
Show me the way we’ll never be,
And the tenderness that I’ll never see,
Baby lie to me,

I know what you’re thinking but I don’t believe we could go on,
I know the feeling,
The feeling inside when love has gone,
Now the times upon us only pain can win,
Baby one last time before the loneliness begins will you just,

Lie to me,
Whisper the words that you don’t mean,
Share with me the love that you’ll never feel,
Baby lie to me,
Show me the way we’ll never be,
And the tenderness that I’ll never see,
Baby lie to me

I want this audit going on in my head to be over and done with already.  Feel a migraine coming on, despite the fact that I had a good day today.  Went for a lunch with a friend to the home of a former teacher, now colleague who is possibly one of the sweetest women I have ever met.  Despite the exhausting drive across the city to Rawalpindi and getting stuck twice behind the various campaigning caravans driving through, it was a fun sitting down to a barbecue and chatting over the head ma’am’s beautiful 3 month old daughter soaking up the sun.  Then lazing over hot cups of tea, served with a wonderful cake while the baby was shifted between 3 sets of equally accommodating laps and shoulders…

Right now though, my throat is feeling very raw, and there are sharp nuances of pain shooting through my shoulder and neck up to the back of my head…  I think i’ll take my torpedo shaped meds and try and snooze it off tonight and tomorrow before election day on Monday!  That reminds me, who to vote for?  The theory is probably the lesser of the evils among the candidates but who is that going to be.  Have to vote for whatever it’s worth…  At least it gives me the right to shout about all the things that go wrong after…  What is the point in complaining and then not even taking the slightest measure to do something about it…?

I’m out!

13
Feb
08

A Lifetime of Valentines

I wonder if I’ve ever talked about my parents on this blog? Perhaps I don’t because I’m a little bit superstitious about jinxing them but when Valentines Day comes about and I’m feeling my standard cynicism regarding all things mush, looking at my parents (Touchwood!) gives me a that warm feeling inside.

We’re talking about Peshawar Pakistan, 41 years ago when my parents met for the first time. Two individuals from highly respected and very conservative Syed families meeting because fate decreed it so. My papa, a skinny, lanky, bespectacled average height young man of 16 was struck down by Cupid’s arrow and my 15 year old petite, slender mama when his family came with a proposal of their eldest son (& my papa’s eldest brother) for one of my mama’s sisters. This marriage took place and for the next ten years, which saw two more of my papa’s brothers getting married to my mama’s sisters, my parents had a most interesting life for sure. Sometimes when mama is in a mood to talk, she tells me how papa used to tell her that he’s going to marry her one day and my mama used to brush him off. My mama had some attitude, I tell you… Actually she still does.

It’s been 31 years this February since my parents got married. They’ve gone through all the ups and downs that make up life. Emotional upheavals, property and money matters, issues with their kids, other family members and now as they grow older, my mama’s rapidly deteriorating health. My papa went for Hajj this past year and decided to go alone for two reasons: One, that Alhamdulillah my entire family performed Hajj in 2001 and papa wanted to be able to concentrate on the ibadat rather than worrying about the family. Secondly, the last time around, my mama had health issues and papa did not want her to exert herself. However, there was one problem. We are talking about my papa who still stands in the middle of the room in the morning in a towel, calling out to my mama for his clothes and handkerchief and socks and wallet, which I might add are already laid out before my papa even goes to shower. It’s the most wonderful thing to see. My papa doesn’t even go to the mochi on the corner of the street to get his slipper stitched up and here he was talking about at least a three week trip out of the country.

Imagine this! All the relatives who called or came to visit had one question: How is your mama going to get through these weeks? And what is she going to do to you? (My mama has an infamous temper and being close to her means, I bear the brunt of her temper too.) Needless to say, those three weeks were a spectacle. A person who has gone for what is the most important pilgrimage in a Muslim’s life, calling at least 3 times a day and asking his wife just one question, “Aap kaisi hain?” (“How are you?”)

Looking at my parents makes me believe in all those happy endings. There are so many small things about them. Eating from the same plate; my papa cleaning my mama’s glasses, calling her just like that during the day from work about nothing special, reaching out a hand while driving to touch mama’s, switching the TV channels automatically when it’s time for a specific cookery program or Indian soap that he knows my mama watches… Just like my mama cuts up the meat in papa’s plate because he tends to be a bit messy, calling him during the day just to say nothing, heating up milk for papa herself every night… They even sleep like two halves of a whole…. (Masha’Allah)

My brother and I always felt very left out of our parents’ equation. Not to say we ever felt unloved or neglected. We were lucky enough and blessed enough to have both parents who paid us attention and spoiled us equally. But let’s just say, that to look at them even sitting on lounge chairs while we were on holiday, we could feel the sense of completeness they have in each other. It’s a miracle to behold.

Mama’s unwell. The pains she had been dismissing for the past month as a recurrence of an old gall bladder infection could be angina related and her blood pressure is out of control. She has an Mibi scan scheduled for next week now. A fist reached in and grabbed my heart when I saw my papa’s hands shaking as he offered prayers today. Not the best of times to realize the fragility of human life and mortality. My parents are a gift beyond price. An invaluable blessing. A blessing that all children assume will stay with them all their lives and yet an instant can shake you to the realization that even this blessing is not permanent.

A Valentines day post is what this was supposed to be, an ode to my parents wonderful marriage that allows you to believe that there is something called love in this world, and when found, it is the most wondrous thing there is. Someone once told me, that a prayer is always the best way to offer your wishes to anyone. So here’s a small prayer for my parents:

(Please Allah! You who are Master of all and All Knowing, Most Merciful. Grant my parents health and a happy life. Let their life be filled with peace and tranquillity of their own home, and the satisfaction of knowing they gave their children the best of all worlds. Allow them the happiness of their children and the serenity of their togetherness for a long time to come. Ameen)




February 2008
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