Sunday, December 26, 2010
you were gang raped. by people you probably met at the party. you pissed them off, your own morals are in question, but the crime - the most heinous that can happen to a woman - has happened to you. this is the darkest time in your life, and you will never be the same again. your life will be forever effected by this, and for many many many years to come you will re-live this in your head. i do not know if you have a family, or friends, or a support system. but i do know this - something that you cannot see surrounded by corruption, and stupidity, and immorality and death threats - there is a silent mass around you, people like me, parents, peers, and normal human beings in general, who have heard this story and have been as shocked as i am. we support you. we want to help you. and in the absence of knowing you, we are sending you our prayers and wishes that you get over this trauma. that you realize that you have the power from the very thing that has robbed you entirely it. get even. go public. come out of the closet and the dark basement you are locked in. name the m*therf*ckers. get their photographs to the media. tell your story, no matter how macabre. they are wrong. what they did was wrong. accuse them and hold them for what they did publicly through every forum known to you. and you will turn the tables on them. drag their names. the names of their families. and the names of their friends and anyone who knows them. no matter who or what they throw at you, you will come out victorious because the truth is on your side.
or you can wait. gather strength. and deal with this yourself and in time their karma will catch up with them in this life or the next.
be strong. you have more friends then you think rooting for you.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
but i digress.
this is the story about love, young love. the kind that makes people feel they've discovered it for the first time. the kind that makes people feel that financial issues are not a problem. that crazy families can be dealt with. that a lack financial management, that stinginess, that the hint of temper that leads to wife beating later on is just a minor character flaw. minor. so minor.
they meet. she wants to use the phone. he's the only one at work at that hour. she's an intern. so is he. so cute. she forgets about him in a second.
he's in front of her. he holds the door open for her. her heart stops and door opening is never ever the same for her again. she is forever greatful to door openers as they remind her of him. forever and always.
he approaches her amidst a group of fellow interns. they've been gossiping about the cute boy, and lo and behold, there he is, adorable, formal pants, white pristine shirt, good shoulders, bass voice, asking her if she could help him out please?
flattered - very flattered - that's she's the chosen one, she goes in, and helps him fix the brochures. takes ages. they start chatting. so cute. SO cute.
he takes her out to the restaurant upstairs. she orders fries, and then watches him snag a friend and beg him silently and ferociously to give him the money to pay the bill. he thinks she can't hear, but she can and she's smarter than average. she laughs inside, but preserves his dignity.
he changes jobs, and takes her to two new restaurants the next day. he doesn't want to drop her home. so sweet.
they drive around for ages. their favorite spot is dunkin donuts. they go there everyday almost, and stay till its closed. he looks heartbreakingly good in a white tshirt. lean. tall good build. and the shoulders. my god the shoulders. they're waiting in line, and she's chattering away about some charity drive she just went to and she looks over and he's staring at the white City FM 89 flood relief bracelet on her wrist, and reaches out a finger - over the span of his personal space and into hers - and touches her wrist, little electric currents coursing through her hand down. the one spark literally fizzles off her, and he's reverently one unmoving fingertip touching her wrist to see if she's real because he loves her so much.
he sits with a cap, shadows from his eyelashes spiking out across his cheek, and he's champing on a red straw, and if she hadn't been in love already, she spins head over heels. she can actually feel the moment in her heart, tumbling painfully. white tshirts. his. forever and always.
they're sitting in the cold - and winters were always special to her, even as a child - and she now knows its because she was to meet him twenty plus winters later, which is why she loves the cold so much. the air is crisp, the wind biting. they're freezing on the outside terrace of a pizzeria, very close to one of the first restaurants they went to, which is now shut down 4 college years onwards. her family is moving, and she's decided that its not enough to be with him. that the lack of financial means, the difference in social standing, it just can't be. she's moving, they can't do long distance, and that's it. her parents have kindly suggested some banker in london, who seemed so nice on paper. so grown up. so marriageable. who was she to think this would work. but the words can't come out. she's sitting there, and there he is, hers. hers entirely even though they haven't done much more than hold hands all this time. the memories reach up and choke her. the words just don't come out. kindly, because he knows her so well, he already knows what her decision is, and helps her. tells her what she was trying to say. and gives her flowers - white roses - and tells her she would be his one and only love always.
she gets home and cries and cries, and knows as fajr resounds at day break that she won't be able to do it.
she tells her mother about him. the parents meet. her parents lovingly try to tell her the difficulties she'll be facing - it will be a tough life baby. are you sure? are you sure they ask. and even years later her throat chokes when she thinks of what they saw, and what they had hoped for her, and how stupid stupid stupid she was at thinking she was the first to discover this feeling. how stupid stupid stupid young she was. how much she cried and thought of that when he fought with her, when the mother in law caused fights, when the sister in law caused fights, when he, her beloved, darling love, when his face and personality twisted beyond all recognition kicked her, slapped her, choked her, and then dragged her out of the house in her pajamas threatening to throw her out.
how far had they come. how different they had become.
the therapy. the separation. months apart for the first time in years. how her heart broke every minute, every hour. when he came back, how relieved she was, because even despite the hate, despite the screaming anger, there was still so much love. how could she let anyone else touch her again without thinking of him? how could she ever imagine comma-ing into someone else at night, without thinking of him? how could she ever go to a home that didn't have him. her heart told her so clearly, so clearly, what her head had hoped she wouldn't see for her own good.
they get back together. it takes years and years and years for the scars to almost heal. the change. his change. his growing up to the man he used to be, maturer, better, loving, forgiving.
they reach their stride, grow comfortable with their flaws. the fights are less now. less bitter. more easily forgiven. his lack of financial management less irritating, she now works around it. her temper less devastating, and he now jokes her out of it.
they try for a baby, and a few bad years later, they have one beautiful beautiful one. three months later, a mistake, and then nine months later, they have the second baby. life changes, completely totally utterly while staying exactly the same. it is no longer her and him, this man, but her and her children. their constant utter demands, the complete and total feelings of fulfillment in when they are fed, diapered, changed and asleep. raising, teaching, loving, feeding. the work. the heartbreaking loss of leaving them for even a few hours. they grow so very fast. husband forgotten. poor man. daddy. baba. not a bread winner, not really an authority figure, but very very good at winning hearts. she is the bad guy, the authoritarian who rules with an iron fist - he is the one who they play pranks with, who they're naughty with, with whom they do impossibly messy things that mama has to clean up later. which she often doesn't. the exhaustion.
she wakes up at 5:00 am every day. packs the lunchboxes. irons the uniforms and the clothes the damn effing maid never does on time. feeds the kids. dresses the kids. drops them to school. comes back. feeds herself. dresses. goes to work. husband somewhere in there using up key bathroom space. making his own breakfast and sometimes hers god bless him. coming home. conference calls on NY time while the babies sleep. movies. some time for snuggling when the children don't want water, or don't have nightmares, or don't want daddy to read to them, or daddy to sleep with them to save them from the monsters.
soon, so very soon, they're old enough. ducklings becoming swans. did she have all these issues when she was 12? she didn't remember asking her mother this till she was 20! so young, so old these kids. so adept with video games. she used to be good at that, when did she lose the hand eye coordination?! she always thought she would be the cool mother - when did they start thinking she didn't know anything! their father sails through their difficult years, and he tells her their secrets at night, as they comma into each other every night and talk in murmurs. the youngest is in love again, but its just an infatuation because he's the most popular boy in school. the son is obsessing about sports, but one his friends apparently made out with a girl. she marvels that the kids tell him these things, can't imagine herself ever telling her beloved parents this kind of stuff at any age.
school, college, alone. they're alone again. joints creaking. her surgery was painful, but he was by her bedside every day every hour, not letting the kids spend the night because that was the key time. post surgical complications, but she pulls through. they curl up on the hospital bed, even though his tummy gets in the way now and there are a lot of tubes going into needles into her arms. they watch the sunrise out of the hospital window, and think of the days gone by, the kids, the internship where they met.
he has a heart attack when he shouldn't have had. the doctors misdiagnose lung disease, and he slips away in a hospital bed very early. she weeps for weeks, railing and screaming like she never has in her life. she lives alone. when the come to visit, their beloved mother is a shell for so long. railing about how he left her. how angry she is at him. she can't sleep at night, where is he? why has he left her? she stacks pillows, six of them, one on her back, one on her right, one to hug, so that in the middle of sleep perhaps in the warmth she will dream of him and they will be together again. where is he, how could he have left her?
then there he is again. there is a little baby boy, her grandson. the first in the family. and there he is again, in the baby. the eyes, genes holding true. her darling. her beloved. how she misses him every second of every day still. they name the baby after him, and then as new life builds within the child, memories of her husband, her true love, her soul mate, ease with each passing moment.
she sits at his grave, years and years of widowhood later. women visiting the graveyard so frowned upon in Pakistan. but there she is. to talk to him. to grow flowers at his grave. and a tree, bursting with flowers the same color as his white tshirt.
one night, a long time later, too long she tells her kids and grand kids and old servants. too long. she quietly suffers a brain hemorrhage, and joins him, her beloved. they rest in peace, finally together, side by side, white flowers dotting their graves.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
We walk into the sunset you and i
We don our wings, fly into the sun
As they melt and we fall into the ocean
Pegasus comes to rescue us
And takes us to the mount where fire is hidden
We kiss, silhouetted against the jewelled expanse of the country
And then on winged sandals race home to the fortress
Where our children grow and play
Gone are the days of adventure
Gone are the days we snuck around stealing food
Making love under the covers
Hands on mouths to keep from giggling
Shushing in secret
Gone are the days of foolish youth
where spending was more important than saving
where winged chariots set fire across the sky
having water fights between cars on main roads
crazed bystanders soaked by accident
gone are the days of internships
I am the hated dept head in a shitty nonprofit
you await your annual bonus
and make your subordinate slaves go through the terrible rites of passage
we kiss, silhouetted against our bed, familiar and kind hands
holding for comfort
each touch a reminder of the millions of other times
to regain the unfamiliarity
we fight about buying cars and mortgages
not about the rumour she heard from him and told me
or the rumour he heard from her and told you
we have grown up you and i
yet still remain children
nostalgic about our future
Monday, September 20, 2010
much like our BBCD exports, who hold their little version of quaint, dupatta covered, women enslaved version on Pakistan from whatever era they migrated, we, the so called evolved pakistani's hold on our slice of victorian england, where "merchants" or people who actually had to work for a living were totally uncool and actually turning up for college classes and studying was soooo passe. victorian england where there were galas, and balls, and may queens, and formal dresses. where tradition was to rag new students, where peerage or who's family is who was poured over by women hoping to snag a good husband. where family money harkened back generations of landholding, where the people living on the land tilled it for the land "lords" who maintained country seats also maintained a london house for living in the city. where "seasons" in summer and winter months happened, and men were sent after school to a trip of europe to learn of the world before they embarked on their (military) career. where sport was hunting, and wagering on card games, and crazy races of horse chariots. where people of nobel bankrupt families (who the hell would actually pay attention to the farms gods sakes) married into merchant's daughters who came with big dowries. where the worth of a man was not in his worth, but in his name and his income.
how much of this is human nature, and how much our colonial legacy? the world seems to have evolved into a non-smoking, hard working working class reaching to maximize potential.
who are we, these self loathing, english speaking pakistani minority who want to emigrate out to whatever airport will take us.
who will we become?
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
"should i turn around? i think its a girl"
"ok i guess"
she's in the dark, on the road, in the way of servant cycles. she's wearing skinny jeans, regular tshirt, and is high on something. she stands up, tries to walk, and then sits on the island in the middle of the road. we stop the car - "do you need help?" i ask
she doesn't understand me
i try in urdu
she says "what?" in a british accent
"do you need help" i try again
"f**k off i don't need any of you 'elp b***h" like oliver twist and his bad cockney accent
at a loss as to what to do, we sit in the car for a second. then helplessly, we start driving. then we reach a checkpoint, and against every single instinct, z goes in to tell them about her. terrified they'll accuse him of being involved. i call 15, and in a shaky voice, tell them about her. maybe that would be some kind of check, hoping i'm not condemning her to something worse than servants the road. then cars of drunk men looking for a good time in tinted cars with loud disco music reverberating on woofers. your average rapist out for a good time on the weekend.
an hour later, shocking me out of the niggling m my evening has sunk into, the police call back. "this is inspector blah blah, from sector boat basin. they've sent her to an eidi home for women, its the third time they've found her. her family is in canada.
and too shocked that the police actually called back, all i can ask is "if she was in DHA, why does she come under your jurisdiction"
he pauses amid happy resolution report in surprise, and then says "umMm" embarrassed, i answer for him "you must have been the closest one available?" another pause "yes yes" pause "i was the closest one available"
i shut the phone.