Wednesday, December 21, 2005
After a lot of struggle and pencil sharpening and erasing, we were all finally done. Even Turhan had finished. We all had bones to pick with someone or the other. What a great opportunity to legitimately voice them.
We all read out our essays.
They were hilarious. Everyone had a ball giggling on the criticisms of their classmates. Then one boy stood up. His name started with a U so he was towards the end. He didn’t have too many friends, and actually was the son of some teacher, which was probably how he could afford the tuition. His bags were always local and way uncool, and his shoes had the terrible worn out look of hand me downs. Social suicide to a eigth year old.
His essay was different in two ways. One, he had written about a girl who was his friend. Second, he spoke about three good things instead of bad.
He was the only one in the class to do so either.
I remember briefly pausing a moment in awe. In awe of his indifference to social custom, in awe of his ability to just say exactly what he felt like saying without worrying about which classmates would laugh at him. In awe because it was so many years before teenage rebellion would become cool. But that was just a moment. The snickers started, then the teasing, then the “X & U, sitting on a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G”. he had tears in his eyes before home time that day.
Many many many years too late, I salute him. I’m sorry U.
Sunday, December 18, 2005
i walk up the steps into a veranda. the fairy lights are up, the people are quarter way through the bar stockpile, and the hum of general conversation is well underway. glittering strangers.
i grab my champagne flute of juice, and try walking up the steps to the dance floor, but get waylaid by a couple from work. we schmooze about this and that, she name drops and i smile and grit my teeth.
i’m on my fourth group of schmoozers, when it happens. through the melee of people, i see him. conversation blends in, lights blur, and i almost choke on cranberry and preservative. his hair is still standing up rebelliously. he’s holding a glass, talking to a couple of investment bankers we invited at last minute. theres a woman with him.
wife? girlfriend? mistress?
when sound returns to my ears, i hear the end of a sentence on tax reforms and the patriot act not being renewed at congress.
i leave early that night. i’ll make my excuses the next monday.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
and we face moments of such profound lonliness that they cripple us.
in a crowded room, amid the hubbub of background chatter. in a bed watching tv with roaming hands, talking quietly shutting the world out for a few stolen hours. on an old sofa talking with a parent at the end of busy day, civility barely leashed with each lash of a bitter word that widens the gap of miscomunication and intolerance. in a restaurant talking to a potential man to marry, watching a beloved adopted brother interrogate and dismiss a poor wishy washy ambitionless man with no calling in life and no verbal skills whatsoever.
these moments sneak up and remind us that our lives are empty and meaningless, that we’re lost in the dark and will never find our way, that for every one step forward there are fifty crevices to fear.
but they are just that. moments. the clock ticks past, and we blink away our moements of mortality. we snap out of it, ignoring the gaping chasms that sit like pink elephants on our chests. we pick up the threads on conversation lost in our musings, we continue to thrust tongues into hidden crevices, and wind up lost causes and move on. and in that very facet of denial, is our greatness.
Sunday, December 04, 2005
My mother has gone psycho. She gets like this whenever the usual fathomless lake of miscommunication between us deepens to an ocean.
She did this before college. Post a-levels. We had all postponed vacations abroad because that’s where we were leaving for in two short months for a future none of us knew about. it had been a year on insane pressure of deadlines and aps and exams and rejections and acceptances. It was a time to rejoice, to heave a sigh of relief over futures secured and a sigh of nostalgia of pasts that would be forgotten. That summer was when everyone let loose. The moon shone, we met up hungrily, craving company in haunts where we knew we ruled, knowing that in the coming months the torch would be passed on and we would be gone, never to hear echoes of our superiority and ubiqitous-ness of youth again. we partied into the wee hours, desperately seeking to silent the nagging voices of nostalgia and fear, desperate to enhance that small niggling spar of excitement of futures unknowns and promises of futures to begin.
She hated it. and a small teenaged part of me still thinks she hated me. a larger part acknowledges the grey of adult decisions.
then came the ocean of sleepless, stress crazed, near suicidal wandering. a deluge of essay writing and assignment and final week after final week, drenching me in reality as i knew it, isolating me, flaying me to the bone till i whimpered and prayed for santuary.
i managed to crawl back. without a tear, head flung back with stubborn pride as always, clutching tight my cloak of denial. Then came my hermit days, and my i-love-my-suffocating-home-i-have-no-life-I-will-unhealthily-try-to-kill-myself-with-familial-bonding.
Then I told her about him. She seemed ok with it, but we were only going out with friends (because we had no where else to go) or driving around with a city to chaperone us. She still called me and had me home before midnight.
Now our lives have parted, homes shifted, priorities and mind games changed. I’m old now. I pay bills and manage bank accounts that I put my own money into. I handle billion rupee portfolios and bitchslap men older than me by decades on a daily basis. I drive to places she’s never seen or heard of, I do things she will never understand. She talks to me about boys to marry to try to trap me into admitting I love someone else, she tries to drop me to places when she thinks I’m trying to seek away to someone elses house. She’s never tried to be my friend, her stubborn rigid paindu hicktown morals trying to beat me with self righteousness over a generation gap.
It’s a time when girls’ parents are often out of town, where indifferent servants retire early and leave the front gate unguarded to indifferent eyes. It’s a time when boys’ parents move away and leave homes and brothers un-chaperoned, and girls routinely go over and bum around ignoring friends and watching tv.
It’s a time that heralds change. It’s a time when things have built to a point where there is no other place to go but shoot out breaking glass hymens of roofs that threaten to smother with protection.
Its time. Its Saturday night.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
you twist and turn and struggle with effort, and then there's a huge gaping splcuk sound and your ribcage heaves open and lo behold there lies the black cavernous heart thumping, bloody, bruised veins popping with the exertion of living.
and you hold it open for him.
he reaches in, with such slow movement that the wait and yearning is almost painful. your breath catches at contact of fingertip with heart.
the fingertip, it reaches through. slowly, carefully.
and your heart, it hurts after such a long time.
blood seeps through the gap. you weep.
you lie in bed alone at night, yearning.
you remember radha and krishna, and understand why radha means longing.
you're both standing in line, you're mentally replaying the order in your mind and calculating how much change you'll probably get. you're holding your wallet in your hand, tapping your leg in impatience. the woman ahead of you seems to be six feet tall, and has the most beautiful children. you suddenly glance over to him, and he seems hypnotized by something. you follow his gaze to your wallet. puzzled, you look at him, but he ignores you.
he reaches forward, slowly, with a fingertip, oblivious to the TV over his head showing some Oxfam woman giving a speech.
he reaches past the wallet stuck in midair in your hand, past your fingertips, and toward the white city fm 89 bracelet on your wrist. you look at his hand as it almost reverently reaches past the bracelets nestled on your wrist, and touches your arm as if its the most fragile thing in the world. as if you're a china figurine, as if you'll suddenly break and shatter and he'll wake up.
he's not breathing. neither are you. one finger touches the arm that’s stuck in mid air that you can't seem to move, touches it as if to see if you're real. as if to test the color of your skin and see if it'll rub off.
"EXCUSE ME PLEASE" the guy behind the cash register says.
you both jump, you guiltily snatch your wrist away and you both step forward and he turns his attention to the guy to order.
you try not to notice the smirks.
he sits splayed across a narrow leather sofa, the concealed light in the wood beam throwing shadows of his eyelashes on his cheekbones. he reaches for his phone, nonchalantly chomping on the red thing they give you mix coffee, and leans over and proudly and shows you a video he took with his phone when you weren't looking.
you're playing back on a screen, intent on your phone, your hair splayed across his chest in a way you don't remember in your mind. he has to lean really close to show it to you, because he's afraid you'll grab his phone and delete that awful clip he took of you saying he was right.
you have to look, and then blink at the mutually embarrassed look you share in a restaurant full of people you momentarily forgot about.
you sit in a new restaurant with a friend from childhood you haven't seen in months. the noise and smoke level is horrific, and the waiter is stupider than ever. your sunglasses are on your head and your friend is bitching out work while sipping her vile glass of Perrier. you take a bite of the fish, and suddenly remember him holding your feet in the car to warm them up, and the delicious curl of your stomach flipping at unexpected heat. your friend gives you a strange look, and you suddenly snap to attention and have to make the prerequisite hums and haws of sympathy.
you sit awake at night. unable to sleep.
so you write.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Places have stopped accepting volunteers. The first day when no one knew about the PAF, it was merely disorganized. With the onslaught of teenage and twenty somethings it became a full blown mela with 800 people standing around doing nothing. Then the boredom set in, and the ass pinching and butt groping began. People began to get hungry and eat rations from the donation boxes.
I signed up for a waiting list at the TCF. They have too many people, they don’t want to be swamped with bodies they can’t handle. So I keep giving money, to anyone who would ask in the hope that it will help.
I gave blood, all the while feeling sick with the knowledge that they had no refrigeration to keep the blood of the 500 people they were collecting it from, and that they had no refrigerated trucks to transport the blood to the quake effected areas. That they probably didn’t have all the needles they required and were clearly reusing them. I gave it anyway, and then blacked out at the ATM and then again at sehri the next day. I’d never given blood before.
There are too many lootings, too much anger, too many predators taking advantage of what they perceive as weakness. Shopkeepers raising supplies of medicines, rations and kafans, people looting homes vacated after tremors. Quake effectees robbing trucks before they reach their destinations. People continuing to spend thousands on one meal at restaurants and plan their Saturday nights not shaken by the earthquake that seems too far away.
This is a mess of our own making. We have raised these ass groping, myopic, unidealistic mercenaries because we have been apathetic about social reform. We have raised generations without teaching them right from wrong. We haven’t taught them that queues are civilized, that helping others in need is good, that dirt is bad, that what’s wrong is wrong. This is a failure of people who know better. This is our fault.
I leave for Islamabad tonight. And like when I was giving blood, I know it won’t help. The roads are bad, there is no transportation, and once you get there, there are no supplies or places to stay or things to eat for your relief efforts to be sustainable. They need able bodied men right now, or doctors; people who can carry goods and help people. They don’t need a woman from Karachi who blacked out twice the day before and is there just because she’s held helpless by conscience.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
She coorlies and then opens her mouth and watches the water curl into the drain, making sure she keeps tapping her foot on the orange tiles hoping the vibrations keep the cockroaches at bay.
She gathers the trickles of water from the tap into her hands, and then splashes it onto her face. She puts a tiny amount of the pot of cream onto her cheeks, and then wiggles into her comfortable see-through cotton shawar kameez, adjusting the AC vents so that the blast isn’t directly on the bed. She goes out to get a last drink of mineral water from the fridge perched in their sitting room, and then puts her head into her parents room and says “shabbakhair”.
She makes sure there aren’t any stray mosquito’s to torture her in the middle of the night, and then shuts the light.
She says her ayat-ul-kursi (to ward off bad dreams and what not) as she snuggles into bed, and falls blissfully asleep.
Shes talking on the cordless as she watches TV standing in her loft as as she brushes her teeth, and then neatly spits and gargles into the convenient kitchen sink just outside the bedroom partition. She fills a glass with tap water and takes a drink, and then walks over to her bedroom and strips down to a tank top, then hunts around the newly laundered basket and snuggles into fresh boxers.
She hangs up after making plans for next weekend. She slathers her face in night cream, puts eye pads on her eyes, and collapses amid the dirty clothes scattered on her bed, and falls blissfully asleep.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Hate is a strong word. “I’ve never hated anything you know? We haven’t felt fucking life. The strongest thing I hate now is that bastard for giving me a A- because he doesn’t like me”.
I have no strong emotions in this diluted grey washed out one-deadline-to-the next life I have. I have no energy, I have no friends, I have no time.
Every morning I lie in bed and half asleep I think if I could only wake up now and go to work early then I’ll get the stuff done. Then theres the haze of existance and then I look up at the clock and damn its seven in the evening and I take work home in the hope that it’ll finish. I eat, and then I can’t bear the thought of staring at a screen so I watch a little TV and then I look at the clock and damn its 12 and its time to sleep. Where did two years go?
I have measured out my life in planner pages.
I stay awake long into the early morning hours. I can’t help it sometimes. I need to feel, I need to live, I need time, and the only way to catch up is to wind myself up till I crash and burn and then finally sleep in exhausted bliss. I need to feel. I need to drink, I need to dope, I need anything that will make me feel. Why do princeples remain behind when everything else has been leached away?
I hate you. sometimes. All the time.
I hate you for making me stay. I wanted to get out, i remember feeling the choking oppression. I don’t notice it anymore. I’ve forgotten what it felt like.
You’ve made me into this corporate whore. You made me a slave to evaluating every decision on the basis of a paycheck, you’ve made me sneer at people who still might have ideals (do people still have them? Yeah right). I hate myself for becoming the person I said I never would.
I hate you for your princeples. I hate you for your self sacrificial goodness and the silent fucking matyr you’ve tortured me with my whole life. I hate you for making me feel inadequate, for not doing the simples things you’ve done for me my whole life.
I hate you. I hate myself.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
I look at you, and I know you don’t see that now. But I’m used to that. You’ll see in time, and we’ll both pay the price, so its better if you to just leave now. Trust me on this one.
I gave in to self doubt once, and it wasn’t good. I didn’t mind the detour, he was so young and he had years and years before he stopped screwing around and actually found out who he was and what he wanted. When he used to talk about marriage and kids, I would just humor him and play along even though I didn’t see anything, deluding myself for just a small while, and it was nice being so uncharacteristic. When he would talk about ‘feelings’ and ‘where we were going’ I would avoid the conversations so blatantly that he started joking about the girl-guy role reversal in our relationship. I convinced myself it was because he was taking things too fast.
Do I, like everyone else, simply shut people out because they have the ability to hurt? To have expectations is only to be let down? Or is it something more perceptive, does it come from an innate knowledge of knowing people, of knowing myself, and knowing the absolute certainity of how it will end?
One of the first pioneers of my blog tagged me. So in the spirit of joie de vivre and fellow bloggership camaraderie I will commence:
(1) 5 years ago: first year college, sleep derived, deranged, derogatory (of life, people, naiveté, men and ideals)
discovered event management, forgot how to draw and write
(2) 1 year ago: first job, hating single digit IQ creep of a boss
still sleep deprived, deranged, and a little less derogatory
discovered retail therapy and decided life was worth living as long as clothes were being sold
forgot how difficult it is to be Alone
(3) 5 songs I know all the words to:
grade 5: ice ice baby
grade 8: Mr vain
o levels: macarena
a levels: bomboleo
college: we didn't start the fire
(4) Snacks I enjoy: strawberries (NO CREAM), dark chocolate, OPTP tangy fries, Tabasco straight from the bottle, carrots
(5) Spend a $100 million dollars on:
shoes: $2.5 m
house: $30m (france, new york, london, italy, spain, pakistan)
cars: $1m (diablo, the yellow supercar, the green little car with the white stripe) :)
investments: $ 98m (microsoft, apple, yahoo, google, anything else my advisors suggest)
(6) 5 places I would run away to:
in case my bed isn't available: any place my parents are at
in case my parents aren't available: any place with books & a TV
in case books and a TV aren't available: any place with art supplies and a laptop
in case art supplies and a laptop aren't available: any place with a view
(7) 5 things I would never wear: thong, thong, thong, thong, shoulder pads (no connection to thong)
(8) 5 fav TV shows:
it would be easier to mention the TV i would never watch:
the bits in fear factor when they eat gross stuff
texas lone ranger
anything with chuck walker
(9) 5 greatest joys: eating, reading, writing/painting, doing math, hugging someone i love
(10) 5 favorite toys: dinkies (sp? the toy cars), the car with the pedals i could sit in and drive, the toy kitchens that actually had running water, the barbie with the cinderella shoes, the hairdryer for barbies
(11) 5 people i'm tagging: hmMm the three people who read this blog have already been tagged. so anyone reading this who thinks they know who i am.. you're tagged :)
Monday, September 19, 2005
The scrapped each other for a couple of days, and then decided to get married.
Black got a red suit stitched for the occasion. White obviously wore red too.
They ended up living together and going to parties and theatres and plays and operas.
Then White got pregnant and so divorced Black.
Up till now everything had gone according to plan. They had reached all the right steps and done all the right things. They had made all the correct sacrifices to the rituals of the gods of Black and White.
But a terrible tragedy was about to hit the poor Black and White family.
The baby was born, and terribly, the baby was a shade of Grey.
Doctors and Nurses tried to explain to the bereaved divorcee that Grey sometimes happened. That plastic surgery might be able to fix it. White tried everything, but to no avail.
White tried to raise little Grey on her own, but it became too difficult, so she ended up in her White bathtub one evening several harsh years later, and slit her wrists till she sat in a pool of red.
Grey started living with Black, who was a father with a terrible anger management problem.
Finally she grew up one day and while waiting for her laser Whitening appointment met Dark Grey, and fell in love. They married and through genetic engineering had lots of Black babies and White babies, and only wore Black or White. Grey and Dark Grey eventually died, and the Black and White babies continued to live and procreate more Black and White babies who would grow up, fall in love, and wear Red on their weddings.
And so the circle completed, and balance was regained in the Black and White world.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
(2) J.D epitomizes so many cliches. he's hot, and has a "bad boy image" that he first establishes and then feels he can tone down by playing up his family lovin side.
however, because he's so hot, anything he does comes across as phoney and over smooth. J.D. is the asshole you always want to date but maturity and experience teaches you to stamp out any such urges.
(3) Marty is - to put in politically incorrectly - ugly. but that really helps because his talent and brains are then taken to be the real mc coy. (JD might be able to sing (doubtful) but really.. can someone that good looking REALLY have talent?) he's the kind of guy you would never want to date but you would eventually want to marry when you reach a higher level of maturity.
who has my vote? its hard to tell... :) i'm bordering on immaturity and maturity
Monday, September 12, 2005
Sucker that I am, I call up my lunch date and postpone. I get his voice mail instead. I leave a message and hope my voice doesn’t betray my two timing. “Hey Satan, I’ll meet you for dinner instead. Got a client”.
I trudge to work to the yogi’s sublet; my first customer. He doesn’t even bother turning off the TV as he goes about his business, happily dropping maply syrup into the whorls of hair matting his chest.
I try not to throw up as I wrestle coconut oil down his chest, but he’s too busy watching Regis and Philbin to bother.
Next stop with the bored rich housewife who enjoys wearing nothng but her diamonds, and treats her servants and me like we’re animated pets. I overcharge her by the minute, and she happily pisses away her husbands checks as he screws his secretary in the building across town. So trite. I decide to take the day off and go wait for God. I’ve been waiting months for this.
I’m walking, when I get a call from an unknown number, “Hello?” I try to keep the eagerness out of my voice. Is it Him? Could it be?
“Hey darling, there is no way you can cancel on me, I’m having the shittiest morning. I’m picking you up immediately. Where the hell are you?”
Satan! husband. lover. demon.
Exasperating man. If only he wasn’t so sexy. “I’m about to go uptown honey, have to cancel. About to cross over in three steps.” And even as I say it, I can hear the roar of an engine pull up behind me.
I turn around, and he’s jumped out of his convertible, suit and all, and grabs me from behind. “Gotcha!” he nuzzles my neck, and I try not to squeal too loudly on a public sidewalk. Damn.
“Got you a present!” he’s holding a House of Graff box. My knees go weak. I’m sure Gabriel can pencil me in some other time.
I get into the car, and try not to think of the aftermath.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
This ones for you:
My life is brilliant.
I have the worst case of the shits. My hitherto commendable digestive tract has finally been breached by all the crap I stuff myself with regularly (my friends hate me because I’m thin). And then theres the stress and the caffiene and insomnia and the back breaking exhaustion I’m sick of writing about.
My love is pure.I saw an angel.Of that I'm sure.
Ever since I’ve been little, I could always connect the dots faster, catch random patterns in clouds and pea pods and dropped coins. Umbrellas in stars, dragons in clouds, ten dimensions in the air surrounding me with an infinite possibility of ifs. Long before it all became text book in basic level quantum mechanics and cryptography and statistics. Astromony and astrology, chinese leap years and birth years and centuries and after hijrats.
She smiled at me on the subway.She was with another man.But I won't lose no sleep on that,'Cause I've got a plan.
Talked myself into a box. Wrote myself into a trap. Walked into a close ended room, with no space for answers. The haunting familiarity of strangers and the echoing lonliness from best friends long gone till hollow skeletons of friendships remained and rattled cheerily in beach huts not our own and ball gowns long grown out of.
You're beautiful. You're beautiful.You're beautiful, it's true.Her turquoise hoop earrings with a high pony tail, his lean stomach hugging ribs and they lounged on the beach chairs silent, thoughts hidden by sun glasses. Idly playing with bracelets on wrists, watching volleyball and shrieks splashing by and the music starting with the generators in the dark. His younger sister and her guy best friend whispering together giggling at the possibilities. Sun slanting through grey clouds, white gulls cawing in the distance and then dissapearing into the sunset.
I saw your face in a crowded place,And I don't know what to do,'Cause I'll never be with you.She picked up a pebble, remembered writing on a large flat beach stone with fabric paint and mailing it to her best friend oceans away. She tried to make it skip, and as always, failed.
He came and sat beside her, “You know, this is so much more civilized then I ever expected it to be”.
“Because you’re an imbecile. Because you never knew me and never bothered to find out. Because you’re stupid and immature and I feel cheated because you showed such promise and claimed to be the one.”
“I still love you.”
Yeah, she caught my eye,As we walked on by.She could see from my face that I was,Fucking high,And I don't think that I'll see her again,But we shared a moment that will last till the end.The hash burns holes in brains, the mochiato sozzles grey matter till time slows and bonfires rise as high as the stars and you blink and think you can see the milky way. But you can’t, its only your retinas that haven’t adjusted from city lights and golden memories.
You're beautiful. You're beautiful.You're beautiful, it's true.I saw you face in a crowded place,And I don't know what to do,'Cause I'll never be with you.
She’ll be younger, she’ll be impressionable, she’ll think you’re the One and be blind to your lack of any morals. She’ll party with you and drink with you and be cool and fun and not tax your little brain with moralities and philosophy. She’ll wax eloquent on your greatness and make pretty little ego pies for your appetite, and you and your white picket fence and weak mediocrity will continue to populate the earth.
You're beautiful. You're beautiful.You're beautiful, it's true.There must be an angel with a smile on her face,When she thought up that I should be with you.But it's time to face the truth,I will never be with you
I slam the car door shut and walk out. I don’t bother saying goodbye. The sand is gone, the music’s over. The ghosts behind every resteraunt and every song and every sandwich have dissapeared. The dots between the cars have been erased and the lines between lonliness yearning and hunger have been washed away.
Friday, September 02, 2005
then he suddenly flicked open wings leapt up in one giant repulsive leap that makes your soul shrink with a replusion only insects can make you feel.
and i lifted my heel and smacked it down. green goop stuck to the base of my arch.
i wiped it on the carpet of ashes, and he bothered me no more.
why do you bother? why do i?
Thursday, August 25, 2005
stress. coffee fueled, foot tapping, gut twisting frantic stress.
pain. toe pinching, back hurting, sight blinding pain.
traleeleep, traleepleep of the phone, interspersing of the sex and the city dum ta tana of the cell. never ending time twisting body hopping things to do.
me at the end of the day that has no ending: "hi mr. ceo of large catering organization. you sound young, and you have a sexy voice. i think i remember you as the hot senior guy from school who used to date that hot bitchy chick a year junior to me. you've turned around daddy's business and single handedly doubled the organization capital and snob value in the three years you've been working. but i'm delirious from my weekend right now so i'm not intimidated, and i need three quotations for this event we're doing. i need help desperately, and i'm going to run to the bathroom and bawl any second now because nothing is finishing and more stuff keeps piling up and i don't KNOW three people in the entertainment business who i can get the proposals from. no one knows ANYTHING and the bastard who has to handle this has dumped everything on me and is refusing to help me because he's a petty peanut minded MAN with ego issues and doesn't want me to do well"
him: "i completely understand ms. feet. i will proceed to be the guiding light in your day, will tell you exactly what you need to hear and its clear that guy who i normally deal with is a total asshole: you could (a) handle this internally and hire my team to provide food and the hire a third party like X and Y to do the stage and lights, or (b) hire the event coordinator like the one you're in contact with. since your corporation probably has the 3 quotes procedure, in which case you'll need to call up ABC - this is his cell number... and XYZ: this is her cell number. this should do the job.
oh and please don't tell th event coordinator you're dealing with that i gave you ABC and XYZs number. she's going to kill me."
sheepish purely male chuckle like drowning in chocolate.
me: i love you. marry me now.
Monday, August 22, 2005
i hate my blog. i hate myself.
this was just a dream so no one get any ideas
the stranger came to me when i was walking in the garden. the first thing i noticed was that he was very good looking, and very familiar at the same time. his eyes were black. i couldn't stop staring.
he simply walked up, and licked my ear. his tongue - it was forked.
"i can give you anything you want" he hissed.
and i looked up, and in front of me was a mirror.
it was a metal plate actually, polished by little hands to a high shine. it distorted my nose, so it looked humungous, made my ears look huge, my eyes squinty, my teeth yellow, my knees crooked, and my back obviously, was twisted like quasimodo.
i could feel his tongue snaking through my ear drum. a hissing sound drowned out all thought.
through all the hissing, my head cleared a little and i laughed with scorn. did he think he could tempt me with looks? i had them, and hated myself anyway.
the tongue, it wiggled further. the mirror dissapeared, and before me stretched vast deserts of lonliness. my knees buckled with the sorrow, the loss, the aching lack of companionship. his nails, they dug into my back, gripped the base of my spine till i gasped in pain, and then he kissed my ear: "you can have anything you want my love. anything"
the hissing... it didn't stop. i was screaming at him to wait. i didn't have time to think. why did i have to? only the desert awaited. temptation of an oasis. no. i would not give in. i've seen the movies. i've read the books. the devil's always slippery.
the tongue is purple. i can see it as it tickles my lower medulla, and i stop thinking.
"yes. you can help
"give me sex"
i hear laughing, shrieks of it. i think its my own. its inside my head anyway. i let him in. i'm the one doing the hissing now.
"ITS DONE THEN" and the deal is sealed.
my arms, they go numb. with horror, i feel them start moving downwards. i'm in my bed, i'm trying to wake up, but its too late. its done. my hands, they do the deal.
i wake up screaming.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
she used to pray very often as well. she would go down into sajda and squeeze her eyes shut and her entire being would shrink to one thought and one thought alone: save me from That. Please. Please don't test my faith, I won't be able to stand it. Please God, save me from That.
Then one day, after years and years of planning, the secret bag with the secret holy words was full. she sent her soul to go to God to give it to her mother. she thought it would make a nice surprise when her mother died and then God told her that this is what her daughter had done. it would make her mother less sad about dying.
God immediately told her mothers soul: "this is what your daughter has done. aren't you proud? i will give you the sawab for it, but she will have to wait for her reward" the mother bowed her head in acceptance, even though she had questions, she knew better than to question God.
and then came sad times on the earth, because the little girl grew up and forgot the holy words and forgot about the secret bag that lay empty for so long it lost its glow. and because she started walking the dark path, unprotected by the bag, the words, or any light at all, she fell pray to the devil. he went into her mind, and saw her greatest fear, the one that would make her shatter if she got it. and then he laughed, and sent her That.
but God in His infinite wisdom had obviously forseen this. he stopped time, and called the mothers soul to Him: "you have been praying to save your daughter. you have prayed to save her from any harm because you have seen her walk to the dark path. now is your chance. the cost is one bag of the holy words"
the mother didn't even think. she had created her baby, she would not let That effect her child.
she gave the bag, and in return, bought herself one of That.
it grew in her for seven years before others found it. it started growing outward destroying the tissue and making her sick before they noticed something was wrong. but all that time, her soul had known, and her body was calm in acceptance of her fate.
they gave her surgery and radiotherapy to fix That. and it eventually worked, but at a heavy price.
at a very heavy price.
i wonder what happened to that little girl. i wonder if her life was worth it.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
I’ve burnt everything up and then buried the ashes under the carpet. Haha.
It was funny when you tried to lift it up and only gray dust poofed up to mock your face. Haha.
Let me tell you the problem that stuttering awkward silences don’t reveal: you don’t even take off your masks for yourself. when you live in hiding, how do you expect other people to discover you? until you discover the concept of honesty, nothing will make you feel better. Nothing.
I gave you peace even though you don't deserve it. you came back and took one more bloody thing from me i didn't want to give.
but I’m safe now. Too bad, you’re too late.
Why did you call?
Sunday, July 24, 2005
for me a lion stands for nobility. a panther, a black one with a startling pink tongue licking its paw, stands for aloofness. an eagle, its beaked nose, stands for the breathtaking wheelies it does alone in the wind a million miles above the world.
i think i could be all of them.
Monday, July 18, 2005
when people have their country destroyed, when people have their families and their lives destroyed by foreign forces, who will they blame? how many terrorists did the devastation in iraq and afghanistan make? how many terrorists from palestine and bosnia are there? when you take everything from an entire nation, what gets left behind?
i hope the british have more evidence than they're letting on. reading the articles it really feels like they just picked a group of four random islamic mullahs and decided to pin in it on them. the only thing they seem to be basing their entire hypothesis on currently is on cctv footage of four guys with bagpacks (woooo terrifying) and that those four guys visited pakistan in 2004 (thats it then! they must be the ones! what are the odds!?).
how will the west get rid of al quaeda? the more people they destroy the more will come and take their place, till the world stands in the ashes of charred nations and smoking guns. how about funding education programs in developing countries? how about "aiding" by not making the guns and bombs the wrong side ends up using?
"with great power comes great responsibility peter"
its sad that even comic book writers know the basic things the leaders of the free world don't
Sunday, July 17, 2005
(1) my scars: there are three obvious ones. the biggest one i don't bother talking about, the second one is a tiny perfect dead circle on my arm a little below where my elbow bends from the inside (wasp sting: payphone, falling into hair then onto arm, being bit, entire being shrinking to vicious burning circle, hanging up payphone because couldn't speak, then sitting on bench to catch breath, couple of days later hearing girl screaming so loud people took her to hospital when it was actually the same type of wasp sting). the third one is a group of tiny half cresents that were made by my sister trying to gouge out a piece of my hand while we were fighting. there are several unobvious ones, most of which effect me in ways i haven't figured out for myself.
(2) my friends: theres a part in war of the worlds (watched the Pakistan "premiere" on friday) where tom cruise and his beautiful butt look out onto a vast vast landscape with nothing, absolutely nothing in sight, except for red bloody guts and dead people entrails. sitting in one corolla packed with nine healthy adults half an hour later, i felt exactly like him sans the butt. i feel like that standing in the middle of a "totally rocking" party, i feel like that sitting in my soulless cubical churning out golden jelly for the queen bee. the only time i manage to erase that feeling somewhat is with a few people, very few people, none of who ease it away totally, but who manage to make the time pass and the loss of someone who understands me easier to bear.
(3) my life: its probably never going to be better, i'll probably look back with envy at the 'golden days' i am defining blah blah. i wake up every morning and look in the proverbial mirror and i know i can say two things: "i love my life" and believe it. in exactly the same tone i could also say: "i hate my life" and i would be able to convince myself of that too. the fact is i am Jaded. I am indifferent to my life to an extent where the indifference consumes on my energy and my enthusiasm and my passion, and pisses on every thing i could ever be interested in. i lie there and make the motions and put up pretenses and society is happy, and every day i think to myself: "one day..."
(1) don't tell women stories that start with: "one time i got so wasted i .. ". this isn't high school or college. we're not interested. grow up.
(2) don't tell women stories that end with "and so i beat that guy up". just dont.
(3) don't talk about a movie or a book if you don't understand it. really. don't.
(4) avoid the word "steal". do not share stories about shop lifting, stealing in a resteraunt, or taking stuff out of someones else washer at a laundromat. not cool. not cool at all.
(5) if your driving involves (a) ANY hand gestures (yours or others), (b) horns blaring in your wake (c) you honking at little old ladies driving (d) agressively high beaming the guy in front of you, you need to stay OFF the road. do not have women in the car. they WILL get pissed off.
(6) do not share stories about how you were mean to the nerd kid school. we'd rather go out with him than hang out with you. really.
(7) resist the urge to talk about yourself. resist it. RESIST.
(8) do not scratch any area covered by underwear. none.
(9) wear underwear. please.
(10) shower regularly. anything involving less than fifteen minutes and no soap doesn't count.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
(Background: A is highly accomplished, she has the best schooling, ivy league education, filthy rich parents, a fantastic job at the frightening multi national that would have killed the average (wo)man, and is SO nice (comes from being abroad all the time – hi hello thank you, oh I’m so sorry, please, really, hahahaha, like.. totally, like.. maaan, aW…) that its weird. However, I discovered one more thing about her tonight – she is an absolute and total no holds barred Ditz. With her wide eyed, american accented perfect polite small talk is a sweet empty EMPTY head. Oh well)
After two hours of mind numbing non conversation, I tuned out, and am sleepy. I get bitchy without knowing it when I’m sleepy. Which is why maybe its excusable.
We’re about to leave (finally) when A gets a call “oh those guys are coming to pick me up”.
(hi long time, yea I know! hello, oh I’m M, I’m S, blah blah)
[insert random chit chat about moving back after getting shot in the leg during a stint in the Marines (non warfare related), polite smiles about stupid jokes by drunk moron who is not funny at all)]
Me: “haha yea right, like we were best buddies before that” (one side order of venomous sarcasm to go please)
T2: “no maaann… we used to.. like.. chill and shit.. ha ha ha”
Me: “well, maybe you should have said hi instead of ignoring me last Saturday.. ‘ha’ ‘ha’ ‘ha’.” (polite smile to go with side order of venom please thank you)
T2 (sheepish.. confused over normal polite tone of slightly bitchy comment): “hey we used to be tight man.. you turned lesbian with my girlfriend! Ha ha ha ha”
Me: “ookkaaay someones really drunk” (oh oh - if he’s brought up M2, then my god he must be gone – time to leave, things get unpleasant when he’s like that) glance at T “lets make a move”
T2: “hey man, great catching up with you you LESBOOO” (T2 yells and people in resteraunt turn to stare)
Me: “you wish sweetie, you wish. bye now” (smile like I just said the most normal thing)
T2: (confused by words and expression disconnect) “bye”
Kisses both cheeks (yuck)
Exit with T, calm, cool and unruffled (sleepy so it helps the indifference)
Act II: Effect
M: “Hey man she’s hot, set me up with her dude”
A: “hey maaaan, you don’t have a chance. You act like such a weirdo whenever she’s around”
T2: “maaaann she’s a lesboooo, she told meeee”
M: “really? That makes her hotter”
T2: “whatever dude.. she stole my girlfriend”
M: “maan who would have thought”
Rumor spreads, I’m apparently having some wild affair with my (female) best friend.
At least he had the decency to only twist around some weird joke he said to my face. All the other ones have have literally been 200% fiction. In some weird way this was pretty honest and straight up of T2.
Actually wait, he’s too dumb to make something up.
Oh well. So that explains most of the why’s.
Friday, July 01, 2005
all i can think is: monsoons are hereeeeeee.. yaay... i hope it rains in karachi too!!!!
(yes i know - i'm a Terrible Terrible person)
(2) "appointment book written over, rewritten over, and then re-rewritten over in different colours this week"
social life - check, lunch plans - check, salon apointment - check, gym routine - check, insane drowning in work till about to die and then some work week - check
(3) wrote something sleep deprived and supercharged on red bull last weekend. my schitzopherenia potential was at its scintillating shiniest:
3a - rare: it was a FANTASTIC party. the music was great, and something about having to drive for an hour to get to the venue brought out the raging party monster in everyone.. by 6 am i couldn't feel my feet, my legs, or any other essential limbs but continued to literally tear holes in the dance floor. something about capris and heels and "still looking so ravishingly put together even after everyone else looks like death". at least everyone was Happy if i wasn't.
3b - medium: it was a night of goods and bads. i discovered O, F and A are still the total sweethearts N said they were. and they're insane people on the floor, people actually stop to look at O move. i wish he was gay and my best friend. had a great time on the roof, looking out onto the moonlit golf course. i only wish i had been there with my party buddies though, i missed having T, J and N my social anxiety disorder crutches. damn you summer vacations! actually damn you after you bring back M to this part of of the world.... and after i eventually get Leave and get to go for my own... ok whatever
3c - burnt: am craving meat because i'm pretty sure i have a sore throat (yes its a perfectly logical leap).. probably because of cans too cold, because of smoke filled ballrooms and sittings in close proximity of three tiresome individuals i wished i didn't know.. or maybe it was the sheer exercise it took to dodge M's Absolut dance moves, smiling and waving a million times at the kid who i kind of know but not enough to talk to, of watching TA making a total ass of himself falling on his face the whole night and most of the morning, or digging my heels out of the plywood dancefloor which pretty much collapsed after a night of hard work... all i can think of right now at 8 am after twenty eight hours of artificial wakefullness: i'm getting too old for this...
Sunday, June 26, 2005
I’ve been thinking strange all week. I don’t know why.
Currently, 6:16 am, my voice sounds like phatta hua speaker. I’ve spent the night yelling over the music begging my friends to go bloody home because damn, it was an hour long drive back and shit I needed to get home before fajr. Not because I had a deadline or anything, because I wanted to get bloody home before fajr. My parents would be disappointed in the choices I make if I chose to party till then.
On the fourth missed call from my mother (the time it took for me to realize that my phone was ringing, and to then get to distance where I could hear something took four calls). As I dodged sweaty drunken people, avoided patches with sketchy people hanging out in them, stayed clear of a man and a woman who really could not be described as anything other than a hooker, I felt like I was fifteen and I was doing something bad.
When I said hello, I heard my own voice for the first time that night. thats when I found out sounded like a phatta hua speaker. I croaked out a hello, confirmed that I was alive and well, and not raped, kidnapped or being held hostage, and was on my way home from the country club.
The shame propelled me to beg my friends once again to get the hell home, but it was too late, the Absolut was gone, their high was true, and their natural selfishness shone through. Serves me right.
It was a night of dodging drunken acquaintances from school, of warm coke when starving for cold water, of trying on new capris for the first time and realizing they don’t really look nice after hours of dancing, wearing shoes made by satan, and having my hair RUINED by the wall of humidity that defines this city by the sea. It was a night of beautiful moonrise on a brilliant golf course, of an equally brilliant sunrise, of wind blowing sweaty bangs on a break on the roof, of falling in love with a kitten saved from being run over by an armored security truck.
It was a night of finding strangers in good friends, of finding good friends in strangers.
I don’t know why he invited me to this shindig. I think it’s because I’m convenient, because I fit some criteria on his checklist of people to know and that even if he doesn’t feel crap for me he’ll pursue me because there is a severe lack of normal women to hang out with in this city.
Why did I take up his invitation? Why did I spend the night dodging vodka fumes from a mouth too close, from literally dancing out of reach of grabby hands? Maybe because sometimes, it doesn’t matter who it is, anyone will do. (like i said, i've been thinking strange lately)
having written out in black and white this reason for my going to this thing, i can't believe i was capable of that. what a terribly Unpleasant discovery to this strange side to myself.
But i guess its ok, the spell is broken, I’m back to thinking like myself now. I’m six hours too late, but I’m glad I’ve eventually made my way back to being myself.
Welcome back bitch, I’ve missed you.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
We sat down in the little little café, she had an iced tea, I had a hot chocolate (so much for “coffee”). As we talked the missing months peeled away and the bridges of differing experiences and living worlds apart narrowed, and the hours whirred away and sleep curled my toes deliciously. I dropped her home, and I changed into my pajama’s, the hot milk still sitting happily warming my belly in the chill of the ac.
I lay in bed, and I thought, if I could blink thrice and get any wish I wanted, this is what I would wish for: that I would open my eyes after the third blink, and wake up next to my soulmate, the man of my hopelessly romantic trashy book seduced dreams.
And what if it came true?
He walks in, exhausted after a days work, and I’ve cooked him the perfect meal in our perfect home. I sit and eat with him, like my parents still do everyday after thirty one years of beautiful concoctions. Then there is beautiful dessert, and after that he tosses off his work shirt to beautiful abs and picks me up and throws me on our beautiful four poster bed and we make mad passionate love.
And then come the thankless hours of a housewife, the chafing of unfulfilled ambition, the resentment of untapped potential, the hatred of ungrateful teenage rebellion.
I lie in bed with my husband, our children grown, our rituals old, our passion long spent. And I think, if I could blink thrice and get any wish I wanted, when I opened my eyes on the third blink, this is what I would wish for: that I was young again, starting out in my career, and getting the neat little electronic paychecks and promotion letters, and sitting long hours with my boss and making presentations to accolades.
And what if it came true?
I’m walking into work, I’m late for my breakfast meeting, but that’s ok. I was up at five to my pilates, and then spent the morning reading the reports and doing the groundwork for the presentations. The breakfast meeting was only PR for my firm, and they’re used to my frantic schedule. I get back and before I know it its lunch, and before I know it, its time for the tele-conferencing. But somewhere around nine at night, after six coffees and a pack of cigarettes and eight missed calls from home, I’m nowhere near ready for the presentation I have to make at the regional HQ day after, and my flight is in eight hours and I have no time for the six other things on the agenda.
And as I sit in my private conference room waiting for it to become nine am in Europe, I think to myself, if I could blink thrice and get any wish I wanted, when I opened my eyes on the third blink, this is what I would wish for: that the years wouldn’t have slipped away from one deadline to the next, that the hours would have stretched longer so I could have done all I have to do and slept as well, that I could go by a day doing things only I wanted to do.
And I open my eyes, and I’m getting ready for a party. I’m laughing, we’re giggling, I’m dressed in this fabulous top and I’ve managed to pilate my ass till its perky and my stomach is flat. I walk into the dark and the lights and the shimmering sequins bouncing light, and my heart rises in happiness with the beat of the music.
And then its morning, days later, I think its been three nights since I slept, and I avoid looking in the mirror because I know I’ll look as ashen as I feel. I’ve tried to keep myself hydrated, but the energy drinks viciously sap my strength in a never ending cycle. I have a lunch to go to, and then a get together and then a preparty. I’ve tried telling them I need to stop, I need to sleep, but they don’t seem to listen, and I’m scared of the gaping emptiness when my phone doesn’t ring and the empty conversation isn’t around to block out the meaninglessness of it all. If I piss them off, who else will I party with then?
I remove the two day old makeup, I look at the baggy lids, the empty eyes, the exhausted circles, the raging physical need for a drink to stop the madness.
And I close my eyes, and I wonder, if I blink three times and my wish were to come true, this is what I would wish for:
That I would be lying bed after a quiet evening with a good friend, with a belly full of warm comforting chocolate milk, and be drifting off to sleep.
Friday, June 17, 2005
we were told one thing: talk about yourself
a little annoyed, a little harrassed about the time and the presentations and the deadlines, we all furrowed our brows and looked to the end of the table to the oldish guy i didn't know sitting at the end.
he introduced himself. i realized i'd spoken to him several times on the phone. he arranged all the transport for my trips back and forth within karachi. i had no idea who he was.
he started working the year i was born. he talked about the company, what it was, what it had become, and the people that had come and gone and the way the culture had changed. i bit my lip and remembered how i had practically treated him like a peon. someone asked him what it was like to listen to so many complaints in a day. he smiled, and said "thats my job". the HR head, wide eyed, asked him about the two Mergers, what it must have been like to live through them. he smiled "the first thought everyone has is: i'm going to get fired. but you put your head down and continue to do your best, because in the end, thats all you have, that you tried your best".
i found out the contract chick who likes cats was actually from Australia. i had no idea. the chick i said hi to everyday was a chartered accountant. the man i thought was from marketing was actually a CA in finance too. the HR head started her career as an airhostess in the years that pilots were the rockstars of the new generation. the CEO thought he would lose his job too when the merger happened. the girls i thought i knew, the ones i see and work with every day had lives and pasts and aspirations i had no idea about.
the session went on for two hours. we all knew we learnt more from it than we had in the collective 150 years of work experience. and we all walked away wondering how we had managed to forget it in the first place
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
but counting from the top, i'm pretty far down. i'm pretty strong in my morals and convictions, but feel that my convictions are strong enough to bear with a little bending now and then. i'm not generally a nice person, because people are generally not nice. i don't pray, i don't take vitamins, i don't exercise. i'm lazy, i'm selfish, i'm tired all the time, and when i'm stressed or PMSing i bark at people. everytime i hear the ring of a sony ericsson (my old phone), my heart stops. for every ten minutes on a treadmill, i have twenty minutes of dizziness.
so why do You do this? can't You just give me a B average and let me be? is there something in me You see that i don't? do You think i will triuph after this? do You think i will get my act together, get my life together, start doing all the things i give a vague ounce of thought to and then forget? WHAT DO YOU SEE IN ME!? WHY CAN'T I SEE IT??
Sunday, June 12, 2005
I looked and felt like death and told them I’m not coming, but then was passing by after groceries and thought what the hell why not, got a drop off to the resteraunt. I was in my pajama’s and a shirt so old its torn and see through, and my hair was all poofy because I didn’t blow dry it, but I didn’t care. It turned out it wasn’t the four of us, there were five gloriously dressed aquanitances crashing my personal time with my friends. To make things worse, an old flame who still hasn’t forgiven my rejection in the last ten years (seriously) turned up, and then spent the night telling stories of how many times I was mean to him, and then kept asking why I did that to him. Then as if the evening wasn’t down the toilet as far as my social anxiety disorder goes, he then brought up The Party.
The party of so many lasts, the last time I touched a drink, the last time I had fun, the last time I dressed up and felt so bloody good about myself people said I glowed. The last night I spent with the Drunken Bastard by my side. The last night I spent stopping him from picking fights, the last night I spent listening to him hurl abuses at the guys who talked to me, the last night I spent with an illiterate, stupid, uncouth, mannerless imbecile who abused humanity by existing.
I’m not going out anymore. My cell is on silent, and even though my hair is now ironed straight I’m still in my second pair of pajamas. I’ll live out whatever charade is required of me, with as little grace as possible. Fuck it all.
Monday, May 30, 2005
the wind blew, a bird chirped, and her intercom buzzed as the sevants and parents discovered her afternoon activity.
she stepped back down to answer the intercom. she chewed her lower lip, and came up with a way to explain the madness.
its one more day i skipped work. i just couldn't drag myself out of bed. i couldn't. it was like i was hollow, my lungs had collapsed in on themselves and there was a giant pink elephant sitting on the space between my ribcage and backbone where God said He blew our spirit in. N would call it a chakra point. whatever.
i spent a minute last night amid my violated blog (i didn't touch the template) with random droppings of bright pink in it, and i went to the Slade and NCA site, browsed the masters program, saw i wasn't eligible for applying for it, and just to torture myself went to the undergrad program site and read about the painting and sculpture majors.
i do this to myself occassionally, i seem to have inherited my mothers matyr gene. as i sit clackling my keyboard to smithereens and ruining my brand new manicure in the process, i can only think of the waste, the indecision, the what ifs and WHY's of where i am and what the fuck i'm doing here, and how the fuck i get out of this wealth encased crap before i drown in it.
i'm on the verge of something. what the fuck is it?
Sunday, May 29, 2005
It started right after her divorce. It was a new apartment, freshly painted walls, newly installed phone line, an empty bed and long hours of solitude.
She was awake till three in the morning, and when she couldn’t stand the ticking clock and whirring pedestal fan any longer, she picked up the phone.
Who to call at three am?
She remembered her three school friends, giggling in hours of afternoon bliss as they crank called the cute senior boys. She remembered how one guy said her voice was the sexiest he had ever heard.
She picked up the phone, and dialled six random digits. Beep beep bop beep beep beep.
A man picked up the phone, a little sharp, a little curious.
She lost nerve. Where was the funny repartee? She remained silent. A little wide eyed, a little breathless (would he mistake her for a deep breather?). She waited for him to hang up.
“I know you’re still there.”
She was a little startled. Panicked,she sunk a little lower in her bed. Then out of sheer curiosity, she stayed on.
“Is it you?”
Puzzled, she stayed silent. It seemed the best option.
“God this I stupid. Is it you? it IS you isn’t it? look, I’m sorry for what I did ok? what I did wasn’t so bad was it?”
She almost asked him what it was he did.
“ok ok, don’t hang up, maybe your leaving was justified. Maybe I was a jerk. I swear I don’t know how it got that way. All those things you said, they were true, and I didn’t realize that I’d lost you. I’m so sorry honey, I’m so sorry. Please come back. Please”
The man’s voice was choked. She felt the sting of familiar tears herself.
“ok I’m sorry. I don’t mean to pressure you. take your own time, but please, please, just talk to me a little while more, I miss you so much, I can’t take the lonliness anymore.”
She nodded into the phone.
After a pause, he started, “God, I found one of your paintings the other day. The one with the green dragon? I remember you hated it and wanted to throw it away, but I snuck it out of the trash and saved it. I’d stuffed it in the laundry drawer because I knew you’d never use it” The man choked out a laugh.
“I’ve tried to keep things clean, I know you hated my mess. Hell, even I hated my mess, i was just too lazy to clean it up you know? I’ve been thinking about my behaviour a lot honey, and I’m not too proud of myself. I took you for granted. I realize that now. Look, I’m sorry, please, please come back. I’m a changed man, I love you, I’ll never do that again.”
The man broke down, and sobs filtered through the phone.
Crying herself, for her, for him, she bent her head, and slowly clicked the phone back in place.
After she had blown her nose and stared at the clock some more, she clicked on her lamp again. Four am. Beep bop bop beep bop beep.
A woman’s groggy voice this time. “Hello?”
She stayed silent. She bit her lip, her eyes a little glassy with anticipation. Was it possible?
“hello?” a little more alert now.
“honey is that you?”
She waited breathlessly. What would unfold next?
“honey, listen to me, listen to me ok? Please please come home. Me and dad still love you very much. We don’t care why you left. We’ll fix it. please come back”. The womans voice cracked.
A murmer in the background. A man’s voice asking who was on the phone.
The click of a phone being shut.
She lies awake in the bed, hugging her little hobby to herself. She had a secret. She was a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
then comes now. i've been stripped naked and attached to an ECG machine while some technician chick comments on my boobs (i didn't bat an eyelid), i've been given a sponge bath (in retrospect i cringe), and i've also walked around with my pants zip undone on various occassions and taken it all in my stride.
then came last Tuesday.
i was at our fancy gym at work during lunch hour, doing butt crunches with our gym instructor mr. fake saudi/american accent. suddenly i don't feel too well. so i get up (after a measly FIFTEEN MINUTES of exercise) and drink a couple of sips of water, and decide to hit the showers because this weird feeling. unfortunately, i reach the shower area, proceed to puke up my stomach contents plus stomach fluid, then go for a shower and proceed to nearly black out. out of sheer mind over matter i manage to grab a towel (visions of being found naked by coworkers - the horror) i proceed to faint on the bathroom floor at my boss and HR directors feet (erk) - i still managed to clutch the thankfully volumnous towel.
throughout all this time, my legs are frighteningly unwaxed.
then i have to walk the gauntlet of shame from which every security guard, every peon, every maid and every single co-worker asks me how i'm feeling, each and every single one of them with this an expression that can ONLY be described as a SMIRK.
my friend from school even called me, because she heard that i passed out in the gym, and somehow nakedness, fifteen minutes of exercise, and my boss were involved.
yoicks. cringe. humiliation. mortification. i think i'm going to change jobs now. anyone takers?
Saturday, May 21, 2005
The woman abandoned in the bed stretches sinuously, then wraps the sheet around her naked body. Hair rumpled, make-up seductively smudged, her bare feet lazily make their way to the window with long legged grace. She laughs silently. Gooseflesh ripples down her arms as the night wind chills the steamy room. Unbothered, she looks beyond the neighboring high rises and miles of urban landscape. She’s counting the time he’ll be taking in the bathroom. Her eyes rest briefly on the second building from the left. She lifts her palm, and places it on the cool glass, a silent salute.
The third window on the second floor acknowledges the signal with a flicker, then all goes black.
Still laughing softly, she strolls over to the bar, and fills a long flute with straight cranberry juice. She grabs a few strawberries from a nearby bowl, then drops the sheet. Taking a juicy bite and a long sip, she makes her way back to the bed, She lies on top of the sheets, artfully sprawled over luxorious eiderdown, and awaits his return.
The cold slaps his chest, and instantly condenses to a burn in his lungs. He strains with oxygen debt as he takes the last rung, clears the concrete to the expanse of urban skyline. He sees a movement to his right, and recognition barely registers before the leather clad leg snakes up behind his back, and knocks him face first into the floor. Icy steel snicks past his ear and rests behind his neck. For a split second, he freezes. Then he blindly grabs the shoe heel he has eye contact with and pulls. Manages to flip onto his back, get to his feet.
And finds a gun resting point blank on the center of his forehead.
Completely unruffled, her black ponytail intact, she smiles. Her jump suit leaves little to the imagination. “Hey grey eyes, got a good workout with your girlfriend??”
Instant recognition, black hair against pristine white pillow case. Lamplight on creamy skin. He grins right into the gun barrel, and drawls, “nah honey, that was just a warm up. I’d ask you to join us, but she’s a little particular.”
Eyes narrowed, she opens her mouth to speak, but with a flick of his arm her has her throat between his hands. He anticipates the groin crushing knee, and has already spanned one hand around her waist, shoving her too close to do any damage. Standard issue material imprints onto his exposed chest. Legs entangled, pony tail slightly askew, she’s breathing a little heavily. He cuts off anything she was about to say, “why don’t you just tell me what the hell the old bastard wants me to do, I’m running out of time for your little games”.
She tries pushing him away, then gives in. “He told me to tell you that they know you’re here. Leave in the morning. He’ll see you at plan B on the high street on Tuesday.” She pushes him away again, he traps her hand against his heart.
Black eyes stare into grey. “She’s nothing. I swear. What I asked you that day, it still stands.”
She looks away, tries to snatch her hand back. Reluctantly, he lets her go. Watches as she clips on her safety ropes. She stands at the edge of the precipice, poised, black hair darker than the night sky, strands whipping her pale face. Her eyes glimmer white in the dark. She pauses a second, then mumbles something into her radio, and then jumps off the side of the building. Nylon leaded twine whirs as it carries her weight down forty stories to the lights below.
He turns his back, climbs back down. Enters the warmth. Walks over, deliberately draws the shades over the palm smudged window.
He’d just deal with her right now instead of the morning. To hell with the old man and his bloody instructions.
[on edit: poor character development, weak plot, random story line. better luck next time]
the gash bled spectacularly. bright maroon blood gushed wonderfully down the calf, dripped in rivulets at the heel and puddled underneath limp limbs.
white faced, he blundered down the corridor to her, then stopped. Excruiciatingly forces himself to breath deeply, then gently bend and lift her inert form into his trembling arms.
pristine white shirtfront instantly splotched maroon. rolled up sleeves, the cufflinks she had given him, on the entrance table.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
you asked me in the car what i thought of him, the love of your life, the apple of your eye, the soulmate you swoon over, and after two years of internally strangling myself rather than telling you the truth, i couldn't keep it in anymore and had to spit it out.
it didn't help that you didn't understand what i meant when i said he's out of your league. it didn't help when you asked what a league was.
i work with him on a daily basis, i have probably spent more hours with him than you did at the university where you were going out with someone else.
he is an asshole. he will go far, because it is assholeness that gets rewarded at work. he is part of the cliched boy gang that sits together and talks about SWOT*s and other derogratory terms in its version of locker room talk. i am there when he tells people that you're too conservative to go to "those kind of things" when both of you are invited to balls and fund raisers (when you've been begging me to get invited for the both of you), and i am there when he tells you his boss is bitch (when she is fair minded and reasonable beyond question), i am there when he excludes only three people from the entire floor but takes the rest of the department out for lunch.
i am there when his boss gives him work, and i am there when he is "working nights and weekends" not understanding why its taking him so long to finish three simple tasks to his deadline.
i will also be there to help you do the wedding prep, to help you pick your outfit, and i will also be there dutifully playing the best friend role at the wedding.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
On another note: Happy birthday Mehreen. I’ve been trying to get your number since I’ve been back. I’m so sorry for not doing a better job and I'm so sorry for being such an ineffectual friend. Love you!
Friday, May 06, 2005
The music is deafening. The wooden floor throbs, vibrations pulsing though to her brain. Her hearing’s been numb for hours. She sighs, then quickly sucks in her stomach again. Her borrowed top would split at the seams if she relaxed (her damn chest is bigger than her friend’s). She has to make sure the top doesn’t ride up from the front though. The zip at the front of her pants turns neon white in the black light. Her mother’s slightly loose shoes make it impossible to move her feet in time to the rhythm. Thank GOD the sixties style is back, or she’d have to wear her flats, which would have been much worse. She discreetly tugs her bra (it was new) but the straps were loose. The granny panties help in sucking in her stomach though. She wistfully looks at her beautiful friends. She wishes she could own clothes like theirs (straight out of teen magazine), but her family spends all their holidays with her grandmother in stupid Lahore.
She sees the class 7 “hunk” pass by in his low slung leather pants and his Valentino shirt. Her heart sinks a little at how good he looks. She feels even more gauche and awkward. She knows that he’d never even give her a second look. He sidles past, through the little gap between her and her friends. He flips them a little hello. They all stare for a second, giggle in unity and say hi back. She feels fat and awkward, and doesn’t say anything because he's dissected the group and has his back to her. Why was he being so rude?
She notices who’s behind him only when he’s almost on top of her. She stifles a groan. “Hi! I’ve been looking for you the whole night! You look beautiful!” She can see her friends snickering behind his back. They get a hello from the most beautiful male on earth, and she gets accosted by his friend. He’s standing too close, she can’t breathe because of his cologne. She can see bits of the fuzz on the side of his lip that he’s missed. She feels like pushing him away, but there isn’t room. A sheen of sweat dots his upper lip. She notices his ears stick out a little, like her cousin's. She suddenly feels desperately sorry for the poor boy, and how scary it must be for him. She smiles at him, but then notices her friends have almost doubled over with laughter. She doesn’t know exactly what they’re laughing at, but she knows it's probably some mean comment about him and her, probably about sitting in a tree or something. She wishes she could change the topic because the poor boy is looking extremely embarrassed, and (even in the dark) his ears are beginning to turn red. He reminds her of her little brother suddenly, who looks like that when he says something he doesn't know is stupid and all the grownups laugh at him. She tells him that she'll dance with him at a better song (to spare him from asking her). Then she turns her back to him and faces her giggling friends, desperately tries to change the topic. She notices that the cute senior they’d noticed at the entrance was coming to their side of the room, and tells them. It works, and they forget about laughing at her.
Unfortunately, the cute senior comes straight for her and asks her to dance. She feels like crying because he didn't ask her friends too, and if she made the mistake for going alone with him they wouldn't talk to her for weeks (for being a bad friend). She tells the cute senior she hates the song and quickly turns her back.
Three boys who's parents rent apartments in London with her friends' parents come by. They don't bother saying hi to her because she told one of them she wouldn't go to the last party with him. Her friends drag her onto the dance floor with them though.
She suddenly notices the time. She almost falls over on the floor. She quickly says bye, then RUNS (loose shoes and neon zip and all) out the house, through the lawn, through the massive driveway to the gate, just in time to stop the bouncer from going in and announcing to everyone her mother is here to pick her up and could she please come to the gate. She jumps in the rattling car, prays no one will be coming out to notice her leaving.
Her mother, clueless, is happily humming along to the tape.
"Did you have fun sweetie?"
(stupid link isn't posting as hypertext):
"You're in the market for a sweet-talking, smooth-moving, fit Casanova. This hottie knows exactly what to do and say in any situation. He's quite the charmer. Put him in a room, and everyone flocks to him. He's quick-witted, incredibly stylish, and runs with the right crowd. Is this man ever left waiting in a queue? Not a bit of it. Does he look as though he just stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine? Always. This super-suave man is not only a laugh to be around, but he's part of the coolest scene. Whether it's a trendy restaurant or the hottest new club, your man is there. He's a real ladies man. When you're around him, you feel as though you're the centre of the universe. This hip, fit man has got the slick moves and smart lines that keep you coming back for more!"
this is inspired by the comment suggesting men like this can be bought for a couple of lacs. anyone want to apply? i know a client interested in above specs :)
then came the wonderful experience of dealing with HR morons on the phone about the case of the lost chest xray, and then it was my turn for an ECG. i had all my metal wrestled off me, ("gold is not a metal, you can leave it on" said the extremely well informed technician who had indubitably inflicted her wisdom on a million ECG's yet), and had to have my poor ribs molested by some chatty chick who knew all about my life by the end of it.
my parents missed their morning gym routine for me (guilt number 1), without even asking (they were in their gym cothes and everthing - SO cute). i came home after it was over to drop my mom off (i take her with me as a moral support/verbal punching bag to these occasions - guilt 2), to find my poor cook sweltering in the sun outside the gate, (my dad made him stand there and wait for us) to give me my orange juice box (guilt number 3). my mother insists i come in and eat a sandwich, so i - in a foul mood - do as she says. wait ten minutes (tick tock, an hour late for work - guilt 4), and then comes this beautiful three layer artistic concoction (my mother is a bit like Bree from desperate housewives) with protien, grain, carbs all healthily encased in it. its really nice of her - as usual - and i take a bite but SPIT it out because it has sandwich spread somewhere in it (i can TASTE IT). vomit.
so guilt 5, i have a tantrum, refuse to eat the damn sandwich and its disgusting, fattening, mayo filled secret ingrediant, and storm out. i forget that i'm supposed to leave the driver at home (the bloody fool is sitting in the back seat and i don't even notice he's there), so now my dad will have to find parking on his own when he goes for the meeting (guilt 6). the driver will have to sit in the sun somewhere in the parking lot (guilt 7) for the next four hours till i leave for my lunch plan.
i hate mornings. i hate medicals. i hate the bandaid on my arm, my genreal wooziness because i still haven't eaten after losing my pint of blood (seriously) and i also hate the deep ancient guilt my parents can evoke in me like a sore tooth.
i'm flying out tomorrow, won't be in the city for another week.
happy mothers day mom.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
“Darling, I’ll be in Fiji when you get this. I’m not coming back. Don’t come after me.”
She stares at it for a few seconds longer than necessary, then goes to his bedroom, unlocks his left bed side drawer, takes out the pistol. There is a rude bang, then a ruder shock, then blessed blackness.
I enter the room late, my eyes are swollen from fever, exhaustion and too much caffeine, and everyone in the meeting turns to stare. He pauses mid-drone for a split second of relief, then continues his presentation.
“Mommy mommy! There’s a man at the door, he says your name is Sarah. I told him he was a stupid head, your name is mommy.”
“Darling, I told you not to talk to strangers, let Beth answer the door.” She goes over to the foyer, and the maid is letting him in. She pauses, a greeting frozen on her lips, lungs freezing in recognition. The twelve steps she has to walk to the door suddenly disappear, and she’s there, right in front of him, then she’s in his arms.
“Mommy! Why are you hugging a strange man! I’m going to tell daddy!”
I snap to attention at the question addressed to me. I shuffle through my papers busily, and say “Do you want X or Y?” I say, shooting blind, because I haven’t heard anything. I hope the man to my left can’t see the doodles in the place where my notes should be. I give the answer, the meeting ends, and we all shuffle to the backlog of immense piles of paperwork.
She’s in an alleyway, its dark. She’s on her knees, screaming. There’s blood spreading beneath him, too much, too fast. The man in grey, the one who shot him, is long gone. She should run, she should try to get away. She knows she only has seconds. But she has to tell him, so she ignores the footsteps hurrying on the pavement. “Darling, darling! They said I had no choice! They have her!! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” Then arms are grabbing her, cold steel manacling her wrists, face shoved into the concrete, into his blood. They hit her hard on the back of her neck, she feels a sting of a needle, and then nothing. Mommy! Mommy! Are the last shrieks she hears.
The screen blurs in front of me, the dull ache at the base of my spine spreads slowly upwards. I hit print, the writeup finally done, and put the papers in my out tray and breath a sigh of relief so I can finally head home.
He’s supposed to ignore her, just plant the device in her jacket pocket, then rendezvous with her husband later. Her husband dealt with the business, she was just a carrier. But for some reason, he fumbles at the last second, and she looks up at his startling grey eyes.
They meet again later, as he hides in the trunk of her car as they cross borders. Moonlit nights and furtively exchanged code words, and she almost giggles at how theatrical it all is if it wasn’t so serious.
They laugh plenty later. Laugh irreverently at the irony of having met because of him. Laugh in a bed stolen from a loveless marriage of convenience. Laugh at necessities and promises of youth. Their moments apart become more and more like voids of waiting till they meet up again. Life turned to grey and breath eagerly anticipating mingling with each other in stolen secrecy. The Assignments became more and more difficult to handle because the more they were apart the more they yearned for one another, and the more reckless they became.
I walk on the pavement, and it feels odd not to take a car. The night air is crisp, and stings my nose and cheeks as I huddle into my coat. I stare at the sidewalk as street lamps phase in and out as my boots rhythmically stamp the concrete on my way home.
Was it recklessness or love? Or both? Or was it just burnout, just an escape from the hell they routinely put themselves through for their country? Why had he suddenly learnt to fear the bombs and the snipers, and why did every prayer start with her face and every night end with a silent kiss across the night to her lips?
Why was he standing on her doorstep when he knew it would kill both of them? Why was he selfishly putting her in danger, just because he couldn’t live for another second without holding her, without loving her, without sharing the rest of his life with her, country and agency and secrets be damned?
And he knocks, and a little girl with his grey eyes and black hair stands at the door, and his breath freezes and knees feel weak. And then he knows why he came back.
I open the front door, and don’t bother turning on the lights. The memories wait in lighted corners and I avoid them and scuttle in the darkness to my bedroom and pray for oblivion.
She cautiously decides to meet him again. She’s been dead so long, she needs him to make her live again. Cozy evenings in stolen restaurants and hotel rooms hours out of the way of ordinary life.
The little girl is like him in so many ways. Already at ten, her grey eyes hold his secrets. So grownup she’s almost frightening sometimes..
And then one day she comes home to disaster. They’ve taken away her life, her baby, her only link to him.
A voice on the phone tells her what to do.
She does what they say.
But, even as she betrays her one and only love, she manages to whisper and tell him where to go. Where he will be safe, where he can grow old happy, and she can live knowing that he is alive and well in some corner of the world. She knows she will never share it with him, because she loves him too much, and he husband loves her too much to let her go. The eternal power struggle.
One day, when the child some of age, she tells her. Tells her the secret she has so long harbored, awaiting the time when there can be a memory shared, of one to tell of the memory, and another to hear of it, so that he may live again.
I avoid my eyes in the mirror. The grey is bloodshot, my hair stark black again the pallor of my skin. How long can I live with the knowledge? I look at my face, and remember the man who ruined my family. I stare at my face, as always, and try in vain to find some trace of the brown chocolate gaze and silver hair of the man I truly loved as my father. The bathroom mirror disappoints me once again. My father is gone, and only I am to blame. I look at myself, and see the guilt claw its way through my veins, and I know its only a matter of time before it consumes me.
She was sitting in her study having her afternoon tea amid her books and cats, when the fax came in.
“Darling, I’ll be in Fiji when you get this. I’m not coming back. Don’t come after me.”
She stares at it for a few seconds longer than necessary, then goes to his bedroom, unlocks his left bed side drawer, takes out the pistol. There is a rude bang, then a ruder shock, then blessed blackness.