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Sunday, June 26, 2005


warning: you need to be Pakistani to understand the cultural issues being referred to in this post

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

I’m lying in bed, I just got back from this coffee plan with a good friend I haven’t seen in a long time.
We sat down in the little little cafĂ©, 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 all had a one hour "training session" today, where randomly selected people were forced to wake up an hour before normal and get together in the cafeteria. we were thrown sleepily together in a batch on ten. the CEO was there, as sleepy as the rest of us. the finance controller, the new girl, the new guy, the HR head, the HR organizer, the contract chick who just got permanant and a couple people i knew and a couple of people i didn't.
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

for i have sinned...

counting from the bottom, i'm pretty far up. i'm not a murderer (i'm sociopathic enough to be), i'm not a rapist, attacker or a molester. i'm haven't defrauded anyone, i haven't skimped my taxes, i haven't ever made a late credit card payment. i'm loyal, i'm honest, i'm princepled. i don't drink, i don't smoke, i don't smoke up (but thats because i saw a man speaking out of a mike because of throat cancer when i was 5).

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

testing testing 123

I haven’t eaten in the last two days, and I’m not hungry. Actually that’s not true, I had a mango after eight years. Juice dripped over the pajamas I haven’t gotten out of the last two days. Now work beckons and the luxury of sloth is over.

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.