Posts

Showing posts from January, 2012

A most certainly not mopey post (I)

January 30 I suppose sometimes my writing is reminiscent of overripe fruit, strings of hackneyed, honeyed words that I like, stale romantic litanies that hang like paper stars from black wires.I guess I could try a more real approach, use rougher words – like barks of tree? No! Concrete. Wool. Mold. Tie-dyed colors that do not look good together.I also suppose sometimes my writing is too melancholic, or “mopey”. “It seems like not fitting in is a common theme for your blog,” said one of my friends, words that are funny because they are just one little step away from the truth. I guess I may sound like I’m adrift every now and then, but over all I am quite happy. And to remind myself of this, I am going to turn my mopey face upside down, or at a slight tilt to the right and see the world from a different, happy angle.There was the day of the sun. It was finally warm enough for me to sit outside on my balcony in just a sweatshirt (and pjs, socks, of course), have my tea, and feel my tho…

Make an igloo, light an orange

January 22 That evening the streets froze. A thin sheet of ice formed over stairs and sidewalks and banisters, people were falling all over the place in a seemingly Domino effect, feet and legs running ahead, the body and butt being too slow to follow and thus, splat, flat on the icy ground. I was on the metro bus, on my way home from the second day of work, five thirty pm and dark as midnight. It was so warm and toasty inside the bus I wondered if I had to get off – could I not spend the entire night on the bus? Does it get to the final destination and then revert to the start, stuck in repeat? Would they kick me off once they realized I had no place to go. After all, buses are transitional places, you can’t really set camp on them. Maybe that’s why they don’t allow food or music on public transit here. They don’t want us getting too comfortable. As much as I was missing (am still) home, I’m slowly getting back into routine. Sort of like remembering how to bike, it takes a while – ex…

The Only City

January 10 It feels like time stopped when I left my house in Karachi. The hands of the clock finally took a break, construction on the house next door stopped, layers of dust collected slowly in the terrace, and the leaves on the dead Neem tree never sprouted again. The sights are similar, the sounds exactly the same. From the ticking of the clock in our former lounge to the azaan from the mosque followed by the less melodic, more throaty azaan from the makeshift prayer area in front of our house on our street. The one or two cocky crows that come sit on the balustrade in the terrace when I come out to walk, waiting till I’m two steps away before they finally fly off. The Omore ice cream man who cycles in to our lane around 4:20 pm, and the Walls ice cream man who visits an hour later – the guard smiles and waves and I wonder how much his family in Peshawar misses him. The house next door seems to be perpetually under construction. It has started to look a bit like our house in Islam…

Feels like home

January 3 Happy new year, already three days old, tottering off to a fast start but that’s just how it is now. Time hops by like the pink Energizer bunny, too fast to breathe deeply and then just like that, the battery will run out and we’ll be dead.It’s so good to be home, surrounded by family, in the same time zone as him, knowing when I message him I’ll see you soon, it can actually happen. How long does it take for six days to pass? It pays to be an optimistic, upper-middle class woman in Pakistan, where bad news is part of your everyday reality, where heart-wrenching sights and sounds wrap themselves around your ankles and arms and drag your stunned, immobile, weak body into a never-ending pit of despair. It pays to be an optimist in a country where heaters flicker weakly and tea takes ages to make because there is low gas pressure, where five people die on a Tuesday in Peshawar in a blast, where the word blast is part of everyday lingo, where the light goes four times a day even…

Groove

December 17 I just deleted the last of the virtual post-its on my desktop – and now, the only thing on my list of things to do is survive this lonely, long journey back home. So far, so good. I sat next to a stereotypical Southern lady on the plane: blond, sweet, ignorant as a blond, sweet lady in a clich├ęd movie. “Packistan! Cool!”Pause. I smiled as sweetly as possible and opened my book.“So is like Packistan like a desert?”No, but we have some desert areas. Mountains in the north, sea in the south. It is like a memorized script that pours out now. “Oh, cool.”Pause.“So is it safe there?”I love these generalized questions about a sizeable country with different cities and towns and different levels of safety. “Not as safe as the US,” I feel is a diplomatic answer.“Do you have to wear those face mask things there?” “I don’t have to,” I am still tickled. So these are the people we have been talking about in our diversity classes! Good intentions, limited knowledge, plenty of assumptions…