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Tuesday, October 18, 2011


the green vine drips down, and i stare out the window watching the bees buzz in and out. what a perfect summer, sans wind. lahore drips with serenity, little boys swimming in a cold nehr, wasps stinging playing children, cuckoos calling and millions of birds whirring overhead. my numerous nieces and nephews play outside, much like my cousins and i did when we were little and my grandmother lived here instead of my parents. we've moved one generation on, my grandmother passing, my parents moving in, and now my kids, and my cousins's kids play in the garden like we did. circles while standing still.

when i was very little, on those rare occasions when i was allowed to go play with my grown up siblings and cousins, my mother would stand at the window and watch me. i would look over occasionally and be immeasurably reassured, and then immeasurably embarrassed years later when i thought i was too grown up for that. being the youngest has its down side.

the house was very different then, but so much the same. trees, real trees that you never find anywhere else. trees to climb, trees to fall out of, trees trees trees. trees with bugs you wouldn't want to go near, but invariably of you got pushed in starting outraged shakaits to adults. bicycles, races, kho kho, baraf pani and some unknown game called garden garden. do my kids today play the same games? the squeals, laughter, howls after scrapes and outraged fights over imagined injustices sound the same regardless. my youngest, so tiny, just having learnt how to walk, is running with the older ones, not even realizing what the game is, running towards the den instead of away. she falls often, and my heart breaks a little bit as she picks herself up on her chubby legs and brushes grass off her tiny little hands, and keeps on running. so little, yet so big. once in a while, she too looks over at me, as i stand at the floor to ceiling glass window watching the garden.

six letter word beginning with F

we're on a boat, the sea breeze whose memory haunts me in other cities is ever present, gently ruffling hair, blowing beautiful beautiful clouds over a pink and orange sunset. its a work thing, and even though we all bitched about having to see each other after a long hard day, we're all thrilled and a little giddy to be there. what a view. what great weather. its one of those evenings where summer is ending, and hints of the winter to come blow in the wind.

z is there. chatting with a group of people he doesn't know, as comfortable as a fish in water. i would die a thousand deaths if i left his side in a crowd i don't know. he says something, and the entire group laughs till their sides hurt. the new guy breaks away to get a beer, and happily jostles me at the cooler saying "hey your husband is hilarious!"" eyes shining with the fervour of newly meeting z. z has that effect on people. people tend to talk to me and be pleasantly surprised i'm not as bitchy as i look. z they love at first sight. like i did. oh well.

i'm watching the fish swim close to the surface, the pink reflection in grey water, and the wind in my hair, and my very pregnant stomach finally at some measure of peace after sitting cramped in front of a desk the whole day. a perfect ending to a long day. i sigh in contentment. just as z breaks away to go to the cooler, i feel something stir. "z!" i look over. he's noticed my expression and is already walking towards me. "i feel the baby kicking!" i whisper so others don't hear and get weirded out. i'm thrilled. i read somewhere there's a 50% chance of losing the baby in the first 6 months, and i'm convinced that one day i'll wake up and the baby won't be there. but its there right now. kicking! i didn't even know it had legs!

"wow baby!" z says, putting his arms around me and both his palms on my baby bump. he feels the kick too, and gives an awed choke. we're cheek to cheek, looking at the sunset, and i sneak a look at him. his eyes have this pole axed expression that says "wow, we made something real". he'd been worried looking at ultrasound alien lumps and not feeling anything fatherly.

right there, he gives me a quick kiss. on the lips! in front of work people, and boat wallas and everything! and i'm grinning so hard i don't care.

and then people come over to find out what the fuss is about, and there's a round to the upcoming footballer to be, and general people feeling my tummy to feel the bump and by then its too late baby is apparently exhausted and silent therefore in my tummy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

a little clot of light. born. emerges in the world ten fingers ten toes. and creates a thread in the tapestry of the world. a unique shimmery color - a mix of the parents making a different color. bringing so much hope, so much aspiration, so much absolute sheer love. grows. into an angry, infantile teenager, stupid, ignorant, cringes when it thinks back to its youth. mature. still so much to learn, so little known. life knocks you down, you must learn to get up. old. wisdom, in a body burnt away. a husk, too little to pass on, too much still to learn, such a limited time you come to terms with your own mortality. and you die, curled up in the fetal position you were born in, a little clot of light, and the generations of humanity continue. death.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

she's slouched on the conference table, stifling a yawn. the unbelievable drone continues mercilessly, assaulting listeners. end this presentation please, will six minds. oblivious, the CFO continues pointing out his dept's trajectory, as everyone aches to move on. unbelievably, a hand raises. parted hair, pristine white shirt, black thick rimmed coke bottle glasses, he actually asks a question, which the presenter thuoghtfully pauses the slides from finishing and answers the question.

god in heaven kill him now, she thinks. she hears someone talking outside, and listlessly hopes its a diversion. the bubble of sound approaches the small room, words like "saab nahin aa saktay, yaay aap kya kar rahey hain!" garble through the walls. "aik second aik second" comes a quietly authoritative and strangely familiar male voice. the sounds are still muffled, and she's still puzzling over what could be happening outside when the door opens and unbelievably there he is, striding into her conference room, wearing the custom made "banker" shirt she bought him, tie flawlessly in place, holding a GINORMOUS bouquet of pink flowers. lilies. babies breath. roses. chrysanthemums. he's taking the four purposeful steps towards her - her brain inanely has a wild errant thought how did he know where i was!?" her mouth - and the mouths of some people around the table- gape open. like a bunch of seals puckering for fish at sea world, and her husband holding some bass to toss to them for treats. dear god in heaven tell me this isn't happening! she still doesn't know where to look, frantically looking around the table for an explanation. none comes, but behind him, magically revealed, are her giggling office mates. it all make sense.

he's reached her now, and there's no denying it. he must be here for her. before she can even say hello, he's reaching down, and kisses her cheek and says "happy birthday darling". the table erupts in polite claps as he hands over the flowers. how did they get the chrysanthemums that color? her boss is stifling a smile. there are a few smirks.

he turns and says - "thank you afshin for letting me do this (afshin! he called my boss afshin!) Sorry for interrupting the meeting, it was my wife's birthday and I couldn't miss it!"

happy birthday! happy birthday! people echo, and i think i start seeing spots of black as i physically start to die of embarrassment. thank you, thank you, i manage to utter. i try to smile, but must look ghastly because one or two people look quite startled.

"I'll pick you up whenever you're done?" he says when the hullaballoo hums down. i can only bobble my head silently, like a stupid car ornament.

"bye everyone" and ducks out.

the room is silent. my face is red. i have dripping flowers all over me, which i quietly kick under the conference table.

everyone looks a little confused, but the director says chalo kaafi excitement ho gaee, ab wapuss kaam ka time

like a tennis match we turn our heads to the cfo.

he arhemms, and then mercifully continues his drone.

Monday, January 17, 2011

salmaan taseer

when JFK was assassinated, did american's say "what a horrible nation. why do we live in this shithole. lets get out of here"?

till we respect ourselves, no one else will.