Showing posts from August, 2012

People Watching

August 29
I was born to be in transit. My first international flight was when I was still a chubby baby just ten months old. One of my dad’s favorite tales is: “We used to strap you to the little table in the cockpit of the little cargo plane. Somebody once said there isn’t really an oxygen mask for this baby if something happens but we waived it off, if the plane crashes it’s, the entire family is together at least.”
I love our third world resilience and faith.
My father looks so handsome in his pilot uniform. Handsome isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when one looks at my dad (even though he begs to differ, bringing out pictures from the 70s when he had sideburns and wore flared pants) and now that he is past 60, he looks smaller and frailer. But in his uniform, with the smart black cap and golden epaulets, he looked taller, more dignified, in control.
He always does things a little faster than the average person, as if in his world a minute consists of 40 seconds inste…

Be Positive, Be Green

August 15
Every time, without fail, when middle-aged men and women sit down together with their post-Iftaar tea, conversation dips down to the lows of being in Pakistan.
No electricity... Business chaley bhi to kaise chaley? Corruption, crime, injustice, deen sey kitney duur chalein gaeye hain hum… mad drivers, intolerance, illiteracy, poverty… …the words keep falling, colliding, combusting, an ever-rising charred pile of despair and disillusionment.
The words that get me the most riled up are: there is no hope. They get me so angry that I want to forget all norms of respect and propriety and yell at everyone, moms, dads, uncles, aunts and all who sit so forlorn and pessimistic in their pretty homes at the top of Pakistani society. Don’t you dare! I want to point at them in the exact way my mom warned me against, “I’m coming back here so don’t you dare tell me I’m coming back to nothing.”
I refrain from giving my mother a heart attack so I just sit and tune out the dialogues of despair. It…

The Sweetest Thing

August 6
I was never the girly girl. I chose shorts over skirts when I was 8, I related to the adventurous, reckless tomboy Georgina in the Famous Five and if I were one of the Sweet Valley twins, I’d be nerdy Elizabeth. I can’t stand sappy, clichéd rom-coms, and baby animals cuddling don’t make me cry. Roses look better in a garden than clutched together in cellophane and doves shouldn’t be trapped only to be let out as the groom slips a diamond onto his swooning wife’s finger.
And he knew all this because I told him. “I can’t stand all this hype over valentine’s day,” I had rolled my eyes in freshman year – and so he had burnt me a CD of our shared music and given it to me on 13th February in the library.
But like all non-girly girls, every now and then I’d secretly crave for a cliché to be pushed across a white-table-clothed table in a candle-lit restaurant. And so, I’d become a little nasty on those silly college society carnivals when he wouldn’t send me a rose dedication or buy m…