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Showing posts from October, 2011

Higher

October 30You know you’re having a lucky day if you hit your Walmart desk with your Walmart rolly-chair five times and still nothing falls off. Not even the gigantic blue mug of elaichi chai. So, Elizabeth and I finally pushed one another out of the house, onto the metro and into Upper Limits. We weren’t sure how it would work out considering neither of us knows/remembers how to belay very well but it turned out well for us because that gym had auto-belays. And they were situated very conveniently near the 5.6 to 5.8s. All you have to do is clip on twice and then climb up.Seems easy enough. And so I started the 5.6 and it truly was simpler than I had expected. The ‘rocks’ were spaced at easy intervals and they had nice upward curvy corners that provide good grips. About 20 feet up I started to feel a little scared though. Not because I was tired or the climbing was hard – no, it was just a thought that casually came and perched on my shoulder like a parrot. “You’re going to fall and b…

A Pakistani dream (I)

October 27So I’ve been thinking about it for a while but it feels like a harder task so I’d been putting it off. I was either too sleepy or too tired and Desperate Housewives was easier. But right now, listening to Laal singing Habib Jalib’s poetry, I’m revved up like a clockwork toy all wound up and waiting to whir forward.In my attempt to make sense and not fall off a cliff of alliterations and magic realistic cotton candy-colored thought bubbles, I will tackle this on two fronts: 1. our perception of America as the place to be and 2. the nerve of American (government, politicians, media and population that falls into this category. I take care to point out the Americans who stand vehemently opposed to what follows) to push Pakistanis and Muslims down a muddy slope of negative stereotypes, sticking them with labels of terrorism, underdevelopment, fundamentalism, extremism and oppression, cover us up with so many labels that you can’t even tell what lies beneath, blind us, stifle us,…

Friends like hammocks

October 24The difference is like that between falling into a groove cut exactly to fit you and sitting patiently on your knees at the edge of a stiff heap of clay to slowly carve and mold a new one to fit you. To not have to think about whether you’re talking in English or Urdu, to have a list of people to refer to and wonder and ask about, where is he now? When did she decide to go there? To have a few years of memories together so that hanging out is kind of like chilling out on a hammock. It’s easy. Old friends are like old jeans - the more worn-out they get, the better they fit and the more you love them.So I went the entire weekend without touching a book or notes or an assignment. Grad school is about priorities.You can’t let work get in the way of going to Chicago because those opportunities just don’t come by the dozens. Kind of like trying to find someone who is going to the Indian store. You just have to put it first. And am I glad I can make the right choices because Chicag…

`Mulch` on my mind

October 12 I hear footsteps and my heart pounds. I open my eyes and stare at the ceiling, concentrating on the sound of soft slippers slowly walking away. I dare to sit up and my door is open just an inch more than it was before I fell asleep. Sweat starts to pour down my forehead and I try and remember if I had locked my front door properly. I did, I didn’t, I’m sure I did, I always check all doors and windows at nine pm, but did I get a phone call – what’s that? My train of thoughts derails, the track disappeared and now all I can see is the shadow of a person standing outside my room.“Are you awake?” someone asks and the fake concern, the imitated normalcy of the tone catches me off-guard. Chills creep up my spine as the person just walks into my room, peering into the dark.Maybe if I pretend I’m asleep…but I’m sitting up…who is this? Who took away the dagger I keep under my pillow, my hand searches in vain for the comfort of a sharp edge. “Mirrah? Hey, are you okay?”I nearly choke…

Letting in the light

October 9 The best part about studying social work is the constant tap on the shoulder that makes you look in a different direction. Things I read or hear pop the bubble around my head, grab me by the ankles and pull me out from under my sofa of inane insecurities. I blink because it’s so bright and then sit back and examine the words that construct, deconstruct, shift and reorganize my thoughts. As awful as the three-page instructions were, I started on my assignment – which is to understand, analyze and study a privilege we have – I’ve decided to choose my ability (that is being non-disabled) as a privilege simply because I never thought about it much. I mean yeah, every time I’d read Helen Keller or see someone in a wheelchair, sometimes when the electricity would go and refuse to come back I would wonder what it would be like to be blind but I never had to analyze what disability is and how as an able-bodied person I perpetuate a system of oppression.Ha! I sound like an obnoxious …

Fat and sad

October 7It’s like walking on thin ice, or a field with pits and holes dug all over and then covered with dried leaves. I don’t know when I’m going to fall but the feeling of falling is imminent, it hangs over me like a cobweb – I can only see it at a certain angle in a certain light. I was walking on a tight rope over an abyss of loneliness even before the sun set and then, as it became darker outside, instructions to an assignment pushed me over. When you’re on a tight rope it doesn’t take much to make you slip but seriously, three pages of instructions for one assignment tells you something. It tells you you’re in for two awful weeks, for long stretches of researching. My eyes will shrink, the muscles between my shoulders and neck will tense up, knot together in wiry balls of stress, my brain will stop functioning eventually and I will eat incessantly and get depressed at a rate proportionate to the food I’m shoveling into my mouth. I wondered if I should take up on a friend’s offe…

Knitting socks, scarves and sweaters

October 4The beetles and bugs and butterflies line up before the little tubs of paint at 10 past 10 every night and one by one dip their little feet into the tubs of yellow, red, orange and brown. Some choose one color but others mix and match and then they all spread out, across the asphalt, grass, ground, up the tree trunks and onto the leaves, changing the green into colors of autumn. Yellow like marigolds, orange like the rust that lines the windows of houses near the sea, deep red like black cherries, brown like your eyes. Trees with their tops still green and the lower branches ready to flick off rows of brown, the leaves still green in the middle but toasted around the edges. I love the red trees, with all their leaves drenched in shades of cerise and maroon but I think I love the trees that are in between, peachy, soft pink-orange colored, even more. There have been frequent robberies around our neighborhoods in the past two weeks. Somebody got whacked with a tennis racket! Mo…