Showing posts from October, 2012

Cracks and Cement

October 24
When I sit on the door step of my little balcony, I sometimes feel like a baby giraffe because my legs seem too long and gangly, my knees too knobby. The step is like my meditation spot. It is not particularly comfortable but usually when I am perched there it is quiet, and peaceful. It overlooks the alley and yes, there are the dark green dumpsters but there are also a lot of trees, tall, short, round, full.
As Fall slowly packs up to leave, the bright yellows and reds are darkening to a rustier orange, more moldy brownish, and the wind has been flying around crazily, shaking the boughs and branches, making the leaves fall. There are two trees that I am likely to notice when I first look up from my knobby knees – one is sturdy with many branches and these days alive with tiny bright yellow leaves, the other is really tall and all his leaves are gone, its branches are skinny and bare. Today was the kind of day my eyes settled on the sad tall tree.
The other day I was sittin…

Puzzle Project 1: The Coffee Lady

October 22
It was a really small office, and as befits a research nonprofit organization, it was located in a residential area in Karachi, had ugly, beige walls, old computers and unflattering white tube-light. I usually sat by myself in a room away from the other staff, entering data about important social issues. I have to admit, I wouldn’t have scored very high on a job satisfaction survey.
I must have seen the chotta (who often is not a small boy as the nickname indicates but in fact a grown-up individual) bringing in a tray of cups that had something very creamy and frothy – not tea. What’s that? I asked him as he passed me by and he told me it was coffee for “sahib jee”. Interesting. Could I have some too? Sure, and some minutes later I had my own cup of sweet but strong milky coffee with enough froth to make a mustache.
One day I decided to go up to the kitchen to ask for coffee myself, probably because chotta was too busy or on leave. The kitchen was on the second floor, in the …

Parts of the Puzzle Project

October 21
I like where I am right now. St Louis is an explosion of bright colors, its streets are easels and god is spilling red, yellow, orange and green all over the place. Some parts of the city are so beautiful it really takes my breath away. Sidewalks are permanently covered in dry, crunchy leaves, a child’s paradise, better than any trampoline I think! The weather doesn’t really remember if it is summer or winter and every now and then we get a day warm enough to wear t-shirts.
And as much as I hate dreary days now, sometimes a cloudy, overcast sky just makes the fall colors stand out even more, it’s kind of like the trees are playing Holi!
Anyways, so its mid-semester and I seem to have gotten the hang of homework, work-work and house-work. I still stress out about crumbs, but less so about group projects that loom around the corner, despite all telltale signs suggesting people are not going to be quite the go-getter types that one would want to have in one’s group. I’ve gone …

Snapshots I

October 6
I remember the exact moment when I became an addict. I was sitting by a wide window overlooking trees newly painted by the season. It was Fall because leaves had taken up new disguises, bright orange like pumpkins that sat on doorsteps of overzealous families weeks before Halloween, and dark red like the color of bricks that burn in kilns on the outskirts of Lahore, and new yellow, like the crayon little kids use to color in their suns. The sharp gray outline of the house next door cut off the scene abruptly. The smell of spiced caramel hung in the air – candles burnt low in their glass houses.
The wind was too cold for a day in early Fall and I couldn’t tell the smoke from my breath. It was deathly quiet save for the faint strains of a piano. My mind was at peace, and my heart beat slowly, serene and regular in its rhythm. My hands were cold because I had the window open, and when I inhaled, the end of the cigarette lit up like a firefly had come to rest on it, I inhaled and…


September 18
Songs can be like pale helium balloons, that float by silently and if want, you can reach out, grab a hold and then float into the past. Float into a memory like walking through a curtain of shimmery air, where my past exists in holograms, images projected onto white surfaces.
If I traded it all, if I gave it all away For one thing, just for one thing…
I close my eyes, and the less-than-literary Game of Thrones, and lean back on the plaid sofa. The song reminds me of a walk around campus, with headphones plugged in my ears and nostalgia tearing up my eyes even then – the last few weeks of college and something about the wistfulness of that song that made me think of how much I was going to miss it. I remember feeling the weight of an end, how heavy a book feels when it ends and each chapter meant so much to you, and I remember thinking to myself, I’m going to miss this so much, and I open my eyes to a dim evening three years later. And I do, I miss it so much.
The smell of t…