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Showing posts from November, 2011

Vague aches

November 27It feels like nine but it’s just past five. Winter is here, I felt it in the sharp tingling on my skin as I walked from the Metro station to my house, a thousand and five pins of ice smattering across my face. The windows are foggy and the heat is humming constantly, trying to churn up some life in the house. It seems empty, we need rugs and couches.Ah, couches. I spent the most indulgent weekend and the couch at my brother’s was just amazing. I mean, I’ve always defended our free-Walmart futon but it is definitely not one of those castles of comfort in which you can sink and just remain static for hours – even though my roommate would beg to differ. Goodbyes can be like thorns, stuck under your nails, constantly painful or like small holes within your chest, as if something is missing and the feeling of something amiss sits on your brow, balancing itself on your eyelashes, you feel it every time you blink, you’re not sure what it is, it’s like something dancing at the edge…

Happy Thanksgiving

November 22 Words can be like hamsters. If you’re not careful and you look away for too long, they can escape and hide. And when you finally set around looking for them, you can’t find them. You’re forced into a hide-and-seek game and it’s not as easy as playing with four year olds who always hide in the same places, no, you really have to work on it, bending down on your hands and knees, looking into dusty corners, between pages of a book tucked far away on the shelf, maybe curled right in the middle of a bunch of receipts you were supposed to use to finally record how much money you really spend in a month.I saw what looked like a doll made out of straw in the branches of a tree and I wondered if squirrels are smarter than we think. I also never realized what an annoying sound squirrels make – strange, high-pitched birdlike squeaking. Screeching like very tiny, angry ghouls. Which makes me wonder about all the noises animals make. I mean, one of the first conversations we have with …

Reference points

November 12 Grandparents are important in our culture. They sit sturdy like rocks in the center and no matter how many directions the children go in, how far and how entangled the lines get, their presence is like a magnet. When weddings, funerals, births, Eids and summer vacations come tumbling down the pathways of time, the grandparent’s house lights up.America is struggling with an aging population. In the midst of individuals who lose all connections in their passionate struggle to be independent, climbing up a mountain of freedom to realize there is only room for one person at the peak and at the end of a day, it is a terrifyingly empty and lonely place to be, in the midst of anti-aging products lining shelves upon shelves in an explosion of consumerism, small red bottles of magic potions and green bundles of money, red, blue and white plastic credit cards, in the midst of a manic fear of growing old and weak, live an ever increasing number of older adults. Nursing homes are a …

See, smell, touch, be in New York

November 8 The city assaults all of your senses – the smell of perspiration, people, piss, the sight of so many people, black, brown, white, yellow, blending in together like a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle, all the pieces are different but when you put them together, it’s just right. The skyscrapers, the lights, the hats, the boots, the people, the people, the people. The sounds – of an off-key drunken man singing about change and the beat of drums in the dingy basement of a subway station, the trains chugging by every five minutes five miles away, the scattered group protesting against Israeli oppression… “Speak out against Israeli oppression…” yells a compassionate man into a loudspeaker, “You’re an asshole,” says a nearby pedestrian, “So are you, we’re both assholes,” the compassionate man replies compassionately, adding, “And you’re a fat asshole, at least I’m not fat.” You hear so many languages you forget which one is supposed to be the dominant one and the joy of catching a phr…

Stinking awesome

November 4The buildings stand tall and solitary, in a solemn queue awaiting the sun that knights them with a ring of burning gold, glory for a minute and then it’s gone, the buildings are dim again. But when it gets really dark, they’re going to light up from within.I’m starting to like New York. The city makes me lonely but it’s the romantic loneliness, the kind that could inspire prose, poetry and graffiti. The lady with the red shoes, the boy with the incessant desire to write mediocre short stories and the fat, bearded man who turned into a son-of-a-bitch every time he eats a banana, the rats scampering along the dirty train tracks, the thousands of hands that touch a metal railing in the subway, leaving imprints of grease, germs, baby powder, blue lint from gloves, sweat and sadness. The red-eyed man who was going home to dirty dishes and a loving wife too drunk to remember that she loves him.I like how people here carry around paperbacks. Guys just need to be wearing glasses, mi…

Coffee to go

November 3 The privilege of not caring. The privilege of thinking of family first, of taking a break, of letting go. I always felt I was so smart the way I try and rationalize, convince the knots of stress in my shoulders to unknot simply by listening to the logic of my argument, about what really matters in life. Your family is more important than an assignment, sometimes you just need to give yourself a rest and indulge – ice cream, or an awful reality show. But everybody doesn’t have the luxury to think of themselves first, even if it is now and then. Even worse, everybody doesn’t have the privilege of spending time with their family, even when they need them most. It all comes down to money and that crushes me.Somebody argued me once about religion and all the wars it has caused. What about all the misery money causes? All the wars, the big ones and the ones that go on in thousands of countries, cities, millions of neighborhoods and households every day? “Well the economic system …

I promise you, gaanaa abhi uthay ga

November 1All the watches and clocks disappear, time as a concept dissolves and all that exists right now is the crisp Autumn breeze. The sun shimmers in a pool of gold behind leaves, the trees are tall, beautiful and that is my world at this moment.It is the best kind of silence, the solitude that glitters like a drop of rain on the tip of a leaf. It is momentary and that is where its perfection lies. Two squirrels perch on our fence, an old, faded blue rug hangs on the banister, and every now and then leaves swirl down as if in a dream. I’m sitting on my back porch, with Coke Studio, a glass of pink lemonade and the after effects of a single cigarette. I think of you and when we sat on the brick ledge after our Aasim Sajjad class, sharing headphones and you wanted to listen to a fast paced song. “Listen to this,” I told you. “Yeh gaanaa abhi uthay ga.”I miss you, Rouje.