Showing posts from January, 2017

The Magic of Edinburgh

Fields of green spotted with fluffy white sheep, the clouds hang low, teasingly low, if you go half way up a ladder, you can touch the soft cool underbelly.
Eyelashes feel heavy, drop low, flutter open, close for a few minutes and open again.
Now the windows are wet, small rivers streaming across, cutting the pane into diagonals, blurring the green outside, turning a quaint old-fashioned painting into abstract art.
And my eyes close again, lulled by the even rocking motion of the bus, legs pulled up, knees pushed against the back of the seat in front of me, and a few minutes later, the sky has changed again, the sun breaks through like heaven’s trying to say hello to the world below, misty streaks of gold cutting across the gray in four, five, many rays.  The colors are suddenly vibrant, the rolling hills a bright sunny green, and the trees lit up, even the sheep seem more alive.
The sky kept changing on our ride to Edinburgh, with sudden swift and short-lived bursts of sun, glimpses of…

All the Little Things

Little things can really get you down sometimes.
Invisible motes of dust sticking together to create spoofy balls of dust (bacteria and infinitesimal specks of dry, dead skin. Ew.) – it’s like you spot a tiny brown ant scurrying on the kitchen counter and then the next time you turn and reach for the sugar tin, there’s a whole army of them marching in a line better than any you’d find in the immigration area at Karachi airport (but that is a pretty low bar).
It’s like you see a bug on the grass where you’re sitting and immediately feel itchy all over and it doesn’t even matter that you most probably do not have four beetles having a relay race up your leg, because, if you think about it, in some ways ghost bugs are worse than real ones.
Once you see that spot of ketchup drying on the kitchen floor, or a handful of different-sized crumbs lying at the base of the couch you just cannot un-see it and your eyes keep flitting back to it just like your mind keeps flipping back to the chocolate …

What’s Pakistan like?

The old man had the most startling blue eyes, the kind that glittered in a wizard-like way.  He was a contractual worker fixing some room in the building where I work, and I met him in the kitchen over my morning coffee.  He asked where I’m from and widened his eyes, commented not on how good my English is but how American my accent is (which I take no offense or pride in – it’s not the two years of Master’s in St. Louis but all those American movies and TV shows I watch).
And then he asked me that question – “so, what is Pakistan like?”
The question always bounces off me like a gummy ball against the wall.  It’s a loaded question, even if it’s not really meant to be and I usually respond in two ways:
1. “Oh, it’s really nice,” which means absolutely nothing and really, when you think about Pakistan, nice is really not the most appropriate adjective … how about – incredible, wild, crazy, tragic, beautiful, turbulent, difficult to describe…?
2. Or I say something completely inane like, “we…

Mad in Manchester

I enjoy penning my thoughts down (what, really, what a shocker!) especially when planning a trip, and yes I’m slightly abashed to say that I like details – so if our bus is supposed to reach Manchester at 2:30 pm I’m going to be optimistic and hope that it ends up getting there earlier and since our budget inn with its sweet purple moon is just a 16-minute walk away, we should be all checked in by 3…
Listen, time is short and there’s a lot to see in Manchester! So ideally I’d like us to be sharp about it and march on straight to one museum, then maybe sneak in the art gallery before the city shuts down all museums and galleries and churches and switches on its orange streetlights to guide the way to nightlife (except, what nightlife starts at 5pm?).
Of course, sometimes, alright, often, the best-(detai)laid plans go awry.
So the bus we were on left at exactly the right time but then sort of just slowed down and instead of the motorway/highway we seemed to be on a sightseeing tour bus t…

You've Got Mail

The start of a new year is like moving into a new apartment.  You think of all the things you could do with the new space … two, three, no – FOUR potted plants by the window, framed art on the walls, an off-white sofa because all of Pinterest and Instagram shows that black, white, gray and maybe a gentle splash of pastel pink or powder blue is what’s rocking the world of likes and hearts.  And then you get overwhelmed with all the ideas and then you realize you don’t have the money for that world of likes and hearts (stick to the cream-colored coffee cups and artistically arranged books, lady).
The start of a new year, then, maybe, is like the start of a long class.  You walk into it all bright and fresh and determined, tossing away a finished cup of strong tea and settle down onto a gray seat.  You whip out your striped notebook, open a new page, write a neat title in the center and start taking notes.  In the beginning your writing is tidy and you continue scribbling everything, sect…

Good Afternoon, 2017

From where I’m standing
Right now,
It’s not really clear;
I see some clouds
And a grey fog
Perhaps I can lean over
And draw
Some silver linings
The dark
A box of crayons
Always by your side
Reds and blues and greens
And the brightest yellow
And while it may be
Too easy
To let the box drop
And drown
In the gray
It might be better
To lean over
And draw silver
The dark.

Hello, new year, another year.
I think at some point I stopped owning the years – you know, how when we were younger and in school, we’d start off the new year by always writing down last year in the blue and red margins of our notebooks – but then eventually, we’d grow used to the actual date and our margins would stop being all smudgy. 
For some reason, now when another year steamrolls into me, there are two thoughts that come one after the other (like a race between two close runners, with one leading and then the other overtaking and you don’t know who will win till the very end) – what happened this year?…