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Showing posts from July, 2013

Lahore, my madeleine

July 30
You know those bright plasticky toys with lots of colorful buttons, big enough for little kid hands? Every button you press, something cute or creepy pops out, and too often there is a loud obnoxious nursery rhyme that follows? Some are educational, a cat jumps out from a square and meows, while others make no sense at all, mooing sounds from stars that change into a poem about roses or chirpy sentences in a voice so squeaky and shrill it doesn’t sound like any language I know.
This time around I went to Lahore, I felt like I had walked into a gigantic toy keyboard, everywhere I looked, a hologram, a memory, a sound, conjured itself and followed me for a few seconds, and then popped, like a soap bubble only I could see. 
I think the reason I loved Proust was because of the madeleine-induced prose that painted his past in pastels all around him in such a way that he had no choice but to pen it down, calm the writhing images and sounds and guide them into the pages of a novel, so…

Pandora’s Box

July 3

No matter how much your mother loves you, if you go away for school your room will be used as storage. Now that I’m finally back in Islamabad for long enough to care, I thought I should use my unemployment for the best.Movies and sleep? Not quite.More like cleaning and sorting.And ever since, I have been finding old post-it notes, photographs, cards, random memorabilia whose significance I can’t seem to remember so I make something up (a movie stub for when we shared nachos and you ate more than your share? The night of the broken pinball machine or one of those evenings that I wanted to remember it in its ordinary yet lovely perfection?), faded writing, travel logs that make me laugh at first and then crush my heart like an iron fist, nostalgia bleeds a pale gray.

I’ve always liked collecting stubs and cards and paper napkins with everyone’s signatures, scraps of notebook paper with jokes from a trip that were repeated from start to finish and then remembered forever – reminds …

The Bright Side of Load-shedding

June 24
Bijli aagaee?” chirps two-year-old Arhu. Every job has its own vocabulary, terms and phrases that are tossed around like balls between jugglers, foreign to those outside of the office space.  Banking, telecom, journalism – I can of course only recall ones related to journalism because it is obviously the most interesting of these fields! Annoying pomp aside, eras have lingos too.  Who can forget the infuriating but convenient acronymization and abbreviation of already colloquial words! LOL, WTF, and the dreaded one I seem to blurt out too often – O-M-G.  
All the words that come with changing fashions and technology.  And so we have our era of electricity issues.  Load-shedding, UPS, generator, battery – these are part of everyone’s everyday language.  My short week in Karachi with its erratic but still not-too-frequent power outages did not prepare me for this resigned ritual of one hour of electricity followed by one hour of load-shedding.  People in Punjab have been dealt a…