Sunday, December 30, 2007

let the dead bury the dead

Why I'm Returning To Pakistan
Updated pics: BB shot before the blast
Telltale images expose fatal security flaws : Benazir’s assassination
A face in the crowd: Benazir Bhutto's assassin
Daily life on hold after Benazir’s assassination
And out came the wolves
Firing at JPMC: patients face terror
Opportunists rule while city mourns
State responsible for situation, say citizens
Karachi Chaos and aftermath updates
Lahore City Updates
There is so much on teh internet and on TV since Thursday, December 27. It's impossible to think of anything else...if I do think of anything else, I feel petty. It's as if worrying is the only honorable course of action left. That and outrage at what is now abounding in all media about BB's death. She was not a martyr, she was assasinated yes, not martyred. Martyrs would be all those unsuspecting victims who lost their lives in the destruction and chaos that followed the news of her death, for no fault of theirs. And the absolute state of fear the whole country is in even three days after it all. I pray everyone's loved ones back home are safe and sound.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

May the world rot in hell...

or perhaps it already is. What started out as a wonderful girl's day out ended on a glued to the TV weekend. It was just a fluke actually, flicking through news channels with Pakistan flashing across all...shoot out at a PML-N rally...then came news of a bomb blast at PPP's rally after BB's address. intial reports said that BB was safe, later changing to her husband's plea for prayers for her safety...we were seeing our guests off when I heard that BB was confirmed dead...everyone returned and sat down awhile to hear and let the news sink in. and then it was tv marathon for the entire weekend. watching the same bulletins on a loop. worried over the safety of family and relatives back home...made frantic phone calls while watching reports of total chaos in the country.
BB was a leader, a good leader and politician. and i supported her, i voted for PPP in 2002 elections and i'd have voted for her this time too, if i were in Pakistan. i support her party, what her party stands for, not simply her family name. she could rally the masses unlike other puppet leaders...and her death, assasination was shocking, numbing...i still can't think straight...and the shitbags who run the Pakistani media aren't helping in the least. she's been declared a shaheed, a martyr...and there is a sickening glut of news reports glorifying her and her family...she wasn't a saint, her stints in the govt. were not sqeaky clean but all the same i mourn for her as a person; she did not deserve such a horrific death. Pakistan did not need a dark hour as this, the lawlessness, destruction, confusion and killings.
so much has happened in the past 36 hours that the mind reels...words fail...ab kia hoga, i should think 'ab kia hoga,' but on a personal level and then on the national scale, so much has happened and so fast, all i can add is a pithy curse at the general state of world rot...that's all it seems i can do, i refuse to think too dark...even at this unGodly hour with a world of worries keeping me awake.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Marriage for Desi Women 101

Writers are a sensitive breed, they can only write to their whimsies, when they have something to say and the right selection of words to get the message across. They can’t be forced to write to a deadline with a gun to their head…or some marital equivalent of it…like a threat of not going out on the weekend.
Journalists, past, present and future, are tougher material, more used to delivering a decided word count ‘story’ by a given deadline…but they are also a spoiled lot, they expect to be paid for their words. Seeing their ‘by-line’ in print/new media, or a PTC on the electronic media is a high but all words come at a price.
Stay at home wives, home-makers or house-wives, are tough nuts to crack. They are used to multi-tasking; casting nervous glances towards the kitchen where a pile of dishes await their ‘sudsy’ ministrations, their surroundings which needs to be addressed and restored to order once the hubby has left for work leaving a trail of random items lying about en-route to exiting, think and rack their brains for the day's menu - that bane of housewifely existence…even before they get to brush their teeth in the morning (their morning which is usually late).
Now where do I fit? Formerly in the first two and presently smug in the last one, it is difficult and at times impossible to sit down and write something, anything, when there is a teacup in front of me and the kitchen tap dripping away at my senses…should I be forced to write and update the blog to a deadline that is now 90 minutes away when I have to clean up the house, cook, eat (its such a task, eating), and prepare for a night out with friends in the evening? So I was once able to multi-task, yes. But preparing a three hour lecture is cakewalk when compared to sitting at home just trying to work up the will to do something around the house…there is so much to be done you just don’t know where to start from. Home-maker is a well paying job, but no one tells you that you have to literally at times, break your back to do the job well…and there are no off-days, in fact hubby’s off-days mean more work unless you want to risk his knowing how the house actually functions in his absence.
I’m not sure if Z would actually carry out his threat and leave me to watch TV/movies and while way time online at home and leave for the weekend to RAK to visit with friends if I don’t update this blog; but I’ve shaken aside his deadlines so often and so easily in the past four months I have somehow lost the strength to do it again. Why does he want me to say on the blog anyways that I don’t and can’t say to him in person, considering he is now my only readership? I keep telling him that…I have a dedicated audience in him why should I even bother to find some other outlet to channel my thoughts? He says he was duped into believing that the woman he was marrying was actually intelligent and all he sees now is a woman who is uber lazy and considers thinking anything sane to be an affront to her womanly sensibilities. I tell him he’s lucky, the magnitude of error and misreporting is far less in his case; somewhere in the world a war has been waged on intelligence far sketchier than the one that had him tying the knot.
Marriage, there are many advantages for a woman, specially a desi woman, as I’ve worked out in the past some months, but each has a catch.
Porter: This is the first perk I realized, once you marry you don’t have to worry about luggage when you’re traveling. Of course it held true when you traveled with brothers too but recently I’d undertaken travels on my own and lugged around at least my sizable carry-on myself. Imagine my delight when immediately after marriage I had to take the train to Lahore with some considerable baggage and not in the least worry about how many rocks I stuffed in the suitcases! All I had to do was keep a count of the no. of items in my baggage list. Same while air-traveling, for the first time in my life I had someone to put my hand-carry away in the over-head storage and not stow it away under my seat. The catch, after a while the wife has to manage her luggage on her own, particularly ‘hands- off’ items like handbags and heavy trolley bags that she insists on stuffing with essentials in hopes hubby would handle it for her. Also once the chivalrous side has worn off and hubby knows that it’s a lifetime of lugging around and porting weights, he guilt-freely slides the slightly light burden on the wife…so if there are two trips to be made to the car to cart grocery to the apartment, be prepared for a second trip downstairs with hubby, just to save him the third one on his own.
Financer: It’s great to know that you don’t have to worry about how to pay the bills at the end of each month and/or shopping trip. There is a person solely responsible to finance your expenses. You could also think of it as a salary for all the house-work you have to do to get to it but living free of the financial strain is every bit worth it. You can’t really listen to your favourite song at the check-out counter of the store but you can do so while washing up the dinner dishes. The catch: you might be tied down with a hubby whose spending habits you have to monitor…each time you go to shop you have to keep an eye on him to see that he doesn’t slip in something exorbitantly priced but never-to-be-used in the shopping cart while bickering over the two pence item that you actually need around the house, like a potato peeler. It can become a matter of my-buys vs. your-buys before either of you gives in and your financial fate is decided: bankruptcy or affluence because of sensible buying habits. You can also not rely on hubby to knock some sense into you when you go into a shopping splurge, he’d be content as you come home and go through your buys and get into a buyer’s remorse…that occasional guilt-trip of yours is worth the expense for him.
Driver: I’ve never been keen on driving. If there is someone to drive me around I’m content to sit back and take in the scenery or traffic as it comes. I don’t even mind coughing up obscene amounts of money and call it cab fare, I can always have it reimbursed. It’s actually worth it to let your driver’s license mould away in some forgotten slit in your wallet and be a one car family because you can always call up your husband and ask him to pick you up if you can’t find a cab, don’t want to wait in the sun to get in the cab, or simply don’t want to go somewhere, hubby busy is a handy excuse at such times. The catch is of course that sometime you feel caged in the house with nothing but the idiot box for company, particularly when hubby has to work long hours and/or be away for week(s) on a trip his company has inconsiderately sent him on without his wife. And the only occasions when you don’t have your cab fare reimbursed by the hubby is when you have to spend a heart-breakingly large amount of money on commute.
Audience of one: this is my favourite perk of being a wife, I have a person whole and solely dedicated to listening to my ramblings. An emotional punch-bag that I can, boss around, nag, annoy, irritate, accuse, shout at, fight with, someone to take all the blame for everything that goes wrong in the world. Earlier I had my family and I had to actually ration out my monstrosities on each member equally so that none felt left-out. It also meant a dilution of my full scale meanness, making me more bearable. Now at last I have someone to be really nasty to whenever the mood strikes. The catch here is that you have to be ready to be at the receiving end for all the above mentioned as well. And really receive it, if you know what I mean!
At the end of the day, as I tell my girl cousins, marriage is not being yoked into a lifetime of servitude, everyone’s lucky to find a partner Allah has deemed perfect for her. It’s making the marriage work that takes all the effort. I first thought marriage chips away the core of who you are but I’ve realized now that it does not, it just replaces and improves on what you were to make you even better by the day. Each day into married life, you have a chance to become more of the clich├ęd ‘us’ where you are more defined than you ever were in your life. I know I have and it's every bit worth the effort, worth each pro and con I've or will ever try to list.

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