Wednesday, December 24, 2008

When I Am Me

I just realised that my last update was SIX months ago! And just now, signing in on blogger I'd forgotten my username and password. Says it all.
I'm alive and doing well, as well as the mother of a teething Tyke should be doing, for those 0.00001 occasional reader(s) who still harbor hopes of some new material on this blog...
The thing is, my life has become so mundane and mommy-like that blog as I would want to about it, I have second thoughts, I mean why would anyone be interested in Tyke's doings and cooings that my life is all about now? I can't talk if there is no audience, there is no one to listen to. Also I can't repeat my stories, so I've told Abu Tyke all that Tyke has done in the day, for me, the story's been told and even a passing mention here would be a repetition and oh sooo not me.
But there should be something in my life....anything...taking, there is nothing.
I still manage to give vent to my crazy verbosity cuz an old friend talked me into a monthly column out of me for her magazine...and poor thing has to yank her hair out every month as copy closing time approaches cuz I am usually AWOL. When I finally promise her to send her the article by the evening or next day (or two days later) and sit down, I amaze myself by the drivel I'm still capable of creating...inanities just shoot off my fingers and materialise before my eyes into a 900 word piece of fantasy that's sheer genius. So I'm me post Tyke...l but it comes out in te time of need, like Clark Kent/SuperMan.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Once upon a time...

Yaad e maazi azab hai ya rab,
Chheen le mujh se hafza mera

Three in the morning is an abysmally dejecting time, the wisest course of action, if you happen to wake at this unfortunate hour, is to turn on your side and go right back to slumber land. Not tonight. As I woke up at three to feed the Tyke I could not go back to sleep, partly because my back was shooting painful needles of discomfort up and down my spine and there was not one comfortable position to try and lie in, much less attempt sleep. Then there was the matter of a trip down memory lane…and wondering what if…it took better part of the next hour and half till I gave up on sleep altogether and came out to sit and struggle to string together my thoughts.. Write down and get those nagging self doubts out in the open to air-dry and die a natural death!
Once upon a time in the land of pure and plenty, there was a girl who had it all. And then she gladly gave it all up to get married and have Tyke. Yes, that pretty much sums up her life. She still has it all, only the ‘all’ has changed altogether.
The alarm still rings early in the mornings, but now she wakes up to fix breakfast for her husband. Once he’s been seen off to work the day takes a semi-start as the Tyke wakes up and has to be fed, changed and put back to nap till late morning. The nap over Tyke demands that he be changed again, has his breakfast, plays a while and then has to be bathed and put back to sleep again, a set of tasks that go into early after-noon. If lucky the girl manages to squeeze in some breakfast, else she has to wait and have a hurriedly fixed brunch. Whoever said anything about leisurely brunches was never in Tykesville. Post brunch is going about the house, gathering things, cleaning up, endeavoring a semblance of order and cleanliness, take a shot at cooking…trying in vain to be a picture of domesticity. Old habits die hard though and there are few breaks clocked on the laptop, browning and surfing, logging onto facebook and conducting social life online. Time that has her guilt-ridden. Then as the sun sets in, hubby comes home and takes over the Tyke and she withdraws into the kitchen and fixes dinner. Post dinner is another hour putting the Tyke to sleep, then an hour of cleaning up the kitchen and finally to bed. The times change but the drill stays in place. The girl of course is me and such a sham to be labelled a girl, I am now a certifiably over-weight matronly auntie.
Two years ago, I had a career, a social and family life I was entirely pleased with. I was the cat who was content with all the cream. And yet I complained f monotony, of going back to work each morning, and coming home to dinner, TV and sleep. But I mastered my own life and time. There were outings and shopping trips, there was not a sale in town I did not pay a visit to with friends and family. Dressing up was a seriously taken affair. I had shoes, bags, scarves and dresses; putting the right ‘look’ together was such a delightful, fulfilling task. Women, I think or at least my experience says so, dress up not to show off , but to get a sense of satisfaction themselves; that they are presenting the best and most collected face to the world. If they carry themselves with an elan that others mistake for a jaunty flaunt, tough luck.
I’ve been thinking and comparing my past life to my present more often now. And it strikes me most unexpectedly…like three in the morning. I look back to a wonderful day I’d spent with W and A, my ex-boss who’d come for a visit. I took off from work, W played hookie and we cruised DCC, shopping for shoes and bags, lunching at Ikea and talking. After we’d left A back at her hotel, W and I had gone to another mall. I still have pictures of that day somewhere at Ma’s place back in Karachi. All tit-bits of that past life, come to think of it, are stowed away in Karachi. All I carried with me when I got married last year was vague vestiges of these memories and hopes for the future.
Those hopes now lie by my side in the angelic face of the Tyke. As the grayish dawn light breaks into my dark living room, I first think that I will lie on the couch and try to sleep till the alarm rings off signaling the start of another day. Then I realize that I won’t be able to manage a wink. ‘cuz when I turn to my side, there would be no tiny little face rising out of a blue blanket to greet my sight. And then the Tyke smiles in his sleep and it washes away everything, all the bleak comparisons that kept me awake. He’ll wake up soon and flash his gummy grin at me…after that look of utter adoration that he has for me alone…followed by his adorable coos and squeals. What’s another diaper change and a slummy existence?
Dawn has broken the gloom, things are looking up and now I have to get back to be at my son’s side when he wakes up. He's not at all what I'd hoped for...he's better than anything I could've wished for myself. As I said earlier, I still am blessed with all. Just that 'all' has changed.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Month two into mommy hood

All baby books, guides and sites suggest that babies at two months tire easily, two hours is the maximum they stay awake, then they have to replenish their energy supplies and take a nap. The Tyke, of course can not read at two months and does not realise that he’s tired and should sleep after two hours of fussing/crying/playing, he does not know. So he gets cranky when he’s tired and he cries, then he gets more tired and hence more fussy till he’s had his tantrum for a further two hours and then he does not mind being cuddled to sleep. During his awake time, he manages to squeeze in all possible activities a two month old is capable of; he feeds, burps, throws up, gets his clothes changed, poos, pees, gets his diaper changed, hiccups and is picked up to be patted into relief, coos and plays a while, is put down in a seemingly good mood and promptly starts protesting, fusses, looks around, cocks his head to figure out if there’s anyone around to pick him, locates target and starts flinging his limbs and making adorable noises and squeals to get noticed and picked up, is picked up, he cries some more because he’s tired but does not want to sleep, he’s fighting off sleep by now and fighting with anyone who tries to put him to sleep…after he’s so tired he can’t keep his eyes open any more, he drifts into sleep, and God help you if you put him down any second before he’s deep in slumber land…his eyes pop open the moment his itsy bitsy bum hit’s the bed and the cycle is repeated all over again. No book, guide, site mentions baby tantrums, nor do they warn new moms of baby projectiles.
The Tyke has marked me as the perfect target for all his bodily ejections. I can’t claim a fresh change of clothes for more than ten minutes. Soonest I change, the Tyke will have to be fed, changed, put to sleep etc. and he will lay claim to his mom in the only way he knows…a smelly release from his teeny tiny orifices or a vile missile at nappy changing time. As long as I smell like he does, he knows where his mom is.
The Tyke is a spoilt brat now. His grandmas were here for nearly two months, he’s of course marked them as his own in the only way he knows, targeting his shots at them, and the grandmas cuddled him into believing that he ruled supreme. He does in a way, he’s taken over the entire house and dictates my routine. Nano talked to him all the time, the Tyke expects non-stop chatter during his waking hours, he may or not deign to reply. He was massaged and bathed daily and he lorded in his little bath-tub. When Nano left he was restless for two days till we figured he was fussy for a massage and bath.
Dado cuddled and rocked the Tyke deep into sleep, he held her dupatta, shirt, chain, anything he could grab and fisted it tight. Only deep in sleep his hold could get lax enough to release Dado and then he would be put down to bed.
The bed, Nano got him a velvety bedding set. We tried putting him to sleep on the living room sofa so that he was before everyone’s eyes but he started getting restless again…and then his Dado figured out that he found the sofa hard and wanted to sleep on his soft bed. Now his velvety bed goes where he goes, sleep or play, the Prince.
Nano left and Dada came for another round of pampering. The Tyke made sure his grandpa would not sit idle, literally. The Tyke expects, nay, demands that he be picked up and walked around.
More later, my allotted 45 minutes of rest have signaled a crying end.
The Tyke is awake and demanding my ministrations

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Tyke Taketh Over

So this happens when a little bundle takes over your life. The Tyke arrived on 12th Rabi ul Awwal, also 20th March 2008. Ma was here two days before The Arrival, so I had help, all the same I find Mommyhood overwhelming. I panicked into day three into Mommyhood, had loads of other issues that had to be battled and over come. The Tyke would be a month old day after tomorrow and I blog about hime's not as if I was waiting on SZI, that's Tyke, all the time 24/7 for a month. I've left him with his Nano and Dado twice now and run errands with Z. We've been out and about, even doing grocery when he was barely a week old!
So we now have a baby boy to put all those lovely clothes on, cuddle, clean, bathe, love and generally have our lives taken over by him.
I just don't know what to write when it comes to him, my Tyke life has changed entirely and I don't mind it one fact, I'm lovin' it!
On another note, I've been blogging since ages now, December 2002, to be exact...long journey and what paltry content to show for it!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why is it when men play they always play at killing each other?

The world’s gone mad, or perhaps it already was and I’ve started noticing it and worrying about its lunacy more often now. It simply isn’t worth the while to switch on the idiot box and tune into any news channel. One day as I put on Geo, a slide flashed by, announcing of blasts in Lahore. I called up at home, they did not even know of the blasts at the time, but calls were made all around and every one was fine. Then the other day I switched on the telly again and there was news of two blasts in Lahore again. This time I did not call Lahore, the blasts were too close for comfort, in Model Town Block F where Z’s khala lives. I called up Z instead who told me all was fine…and that people in Pakistan were calling him up to know that he was alright after the TV informed them of the 200 car pile-up on Sheikh Zayed Road. I switched off the TV. Later in the day we learnt that the FIA building bomb was a staggering 65 kg of explosives, that the Model Town blast was so strong that windows and shattered at khala’s place…and the death toll…the disturbing images of the the building about to fall any time, footage of the pick-up knocking down a constable to enter the FIA premises. All in a day. Trying to learn more about the Sheikh Zayed road inferno I landed on this.
Whether by accident or by design, or designed to look like an accident, when there is so little respect for the lives of ordinary citizens, when law enforcing and security personnel, when the very people who have pledged to defend you are ordered to take action against you and your family, what are you to do? When you see your loved ones die before your eyes and no reason else to live, suicide bombing must come easy.
I'm these days in a total feminazi, man-hating phase, and such news does not help in placating my dislike of man-kind. Then there is the political circus in Pakistan. How can anyone, even the most vegetatively brainy, intellectually challenged of men believe for even a second that the public believes in their shenanigans, their make up and shake up in the parliament for power? How can anyone one day show disdain for public office and then let know that they are in the running for the PM’s slot? And that's just one example of a total volte face men are so prone to. Not just in politics and in Pakistan, world over and in all spheres of life. I have so many examples handy, so much reason to hate men in general for the wretched state of things in the world, before I get any more vitriolic, I'd better stop...not advisable in present circumstances.

Monday, February 25, 2008


A book related tag? These days? Luckily there is enough reading fodder littered round the house for me to get out of this with some respectability vis a vis my reading habits.
The closest book I had is 'The World is Flat; a brief history of the twenty first century' by NYTimes staffer Thomas Friedman. I started on the book quite ambitiously but have not yet gotten round to reaching page 123. Let's see what it says...

For a brief time, he (John Seigenthaler Sr.) was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assasinations of both John, and his brother Bobby. Nothing was ever proven.

This is about an entry on wikipedia. One of these days I would eventually finish off this book and start on Freakonomics and Ideas: From Fire to Freud. Intelligent reads that look impressive sitting and gathering dust on the bookshelf. Now whom to tag...I've been out of the blogging scene sooooo long and such a lethargic being these days, even thinking five names is such a task. Can the tag end here please?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Tyke's New Clothes

It's strange how you've never paid attention to any baby thing before and now that you're enceinte, you need blinkers every time you go to the mall else you end up at shops selling teeny tiny stuff. Ever since I bought the first two sets of clothing in n/b size December, I can't, simply can't keep myself from being drawn into such shops. First it was Sis and SiL's impending motherhood that had me scouting for stuff. And the first trip to Mothercare. I did a whole lot of reading and researching on the Internet, browsed through any and all baby shops in the malls we visited...and that's a lot of malls in the emirate that has a whole festival planned around shopping! That was before DSF even started. And then came DSF and the whole shopping/whopping discount mania that ensues. The whole of DCC was on sale, crazy sale...we of course had frequented Mothercare enough times already before any sale was announced and when eventually it was announced, went in too late to get any good bargains. But I'll let you in on what we did get...absolutely jaano stuff from Zara Baby, Adam's, Carter's and some basics from BabyShop.
It's a whole different type of obsessive-compulsive shopping that I've gotten hooked onto. Anything tiny and I want it, clothes, shoes, socks, bibs, blankets, vests, towels, pillows you name it, I want it. And all that is when I have a whole list of essentials in my bag all the times, that and a time-line of the tyke's age in 0-3, 3-6 and 6-9 months onwards in months, just to be sure I don't end up buying fleece jackets for a 5 month old and pray it snows in July! Has all that planning helped? Hardly, I have my side of the wardrobe taken over by teeny stuff...not that I have anything that I can actually wear these days to hang in there. So while Amma has to make do with just three joras through her last trimester...the tyke has clothing it can wear when it's 6-9 months, InshaAllah! Actually it's just one tee that I had to get.
The problem is with all those hormones raging inside you and a wait that lasts eight months, you have to do something to keep busy, asides lashing out at Abba and waddling and pottering around the house...and complaining of various aches and wishing some of all that you're going through, not all, just some, let's say 10%, pays a visit to Abba for not a month, but just a week so that he has an idea of what it's like to become a mom...and so that he appreciates his mom more. I know for a fact that now I love Ma more than anything...I may still fight with her and resent her at times, but all the same, thinking she went through all this to get to me and then my siblings later on makes me admire her more than ever.
Mostly during the day when I have nothing else to do, I go to the wardrobe and take out little clothes and measure them against each other (how short is a n/b size when compared to a 3 month size...and how do sizes at Mothercare and Carter's stand up etc.). After Z failed to show the required enthusiasm when I was showing him things he'd seen and bought with me for the 5th time, I decided NOT to include him in my game lest he dampen my spirit with his insouciance. I know the clothes can not have changed overnight in teh wardrobe but need he point it out so?
Now for reviews. When it comes to basics in clothing or even the layette, nothing beats Mothercare in terms io variety, comfort and sizing. It may be dearer than BabyShop but I stil find myself gravitating towards Mothercare. For other essentials, BabyShop is the place to go, be it items like push-chairs and car-seats to changing pads for teh li'l spills that would dictate the better part of next few years of your life. In terms of clothing, I found it boring. Yawn inducing boring. While at Mothercare I may go round and round in circles trying to figure out what to actually get, at BabyShop all I do is wonder why would anyone want to limit their child's dressing from the very beginning, thus damaging its sense of style for the rest of its life.
When it comes to dressing up the baby, Zara Kids, Adam's, Woolworth's and even BHS are good options...but my heart is set on Carter's. Of course it helps that there was sale at these places last month but the kind of clothing they have makes it worth teh while to spend all that money (Abba and the tyke's shopping at Zara amounted the same; teeny stuff costs more...and it needs more creativity to design small clothes you simply can't say no to...)I found myself going bonkers on learning that it was the last day of sale at Carter's two days ago. No other shop can make me drag myself to the mall and back in a cab these days. It's a small cubby-hole of a shop they have here at SCC but enough to make the mind reel. It also helps that their sizes are generous and roomy.
I talk as if I'm an expert in clothing and dressing babies. Honestly, when you look at all the brats and babies around, you can't be sure if they've got their dresses from Carter's or CarreFour...but it gives the parents a sense of well-being and providing well for the kid, I guess, when they frequent such up-scale shops. The tyke may grow up and decide it does not want to be branded by brands, just as its Amma doesn't care much for them. But quality is one thing I am not compromising on and so far, I've only known these retailers and their quality. Once the tyke's a bit grown up and out-grows clothes at a rate more than Abba's paycheck and raises, we'll have to re-think its wardrobe...At the moment Amma and Abba find it fun shopping for the tyke. OK, so Amma finds it more fun, Abba just indulges Amma lest he be subjected to another emotional outburst and a rankling that would spoil his weekend.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Once upon two feet

I love footwear ... and bags. My excuse for buying more chapals, sandals, mules, slip ons, sling-backs etc. is simple, I may have a blue pair of chapals but they are not the right shade for some of my clothes, or the right type for a particular 'look'. The variety of footwear available is staggering there are casuals, formals and smart shoe size and preference in heels (or lack thereof) kind of limits my purchase options but I do love my chapals: the ones I'd bought and accumulated pre-nup, the ones I bought with wedding as an excuse, the ones I bought apres marriage each time I visited any market in Lahore, the city world famous for its footwear, and the ones I've bought since I've come landed here. Most of my pre-nup collection was taken over by sis and ma, who are the same shoe size as mine. Couple of real good ones I managed to salvage from the take-over and brought along here...and wore them quite smugly for a while.
So this is what I had here...and going out was fun 'cuz it meant I could dress up to favor my choice of footwear...

But that was a past life of course, I quit wearing the slightest of heels months ago and then early this year I learned that even flats made my life a standing/walking misery and I opted for comfort.
Now, with feet the shape and size as this, I can't even manage to get past my toes in any of my chapals...walking/standing is no longer a feet shoot pains even at much abuse can a pair of feet out up with anyways.

So now as I think of how much to accomplish any given standing/walking time I can manage, these are the footwear options I have...of this the yellow one is the latest acquisition after a trip to the mall promised to be a trying affair just as I'd set foot inside...and with what the signs of things, I'd be running out of foot space in these as well.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Good Luck

Luck is returning home with all your bones aching and cursing you to high heavens for the fatigue you put your body through...with a trunk full of grocery...braving a freezing wind that locks your spine into immobility and all vertebrae-tibio-fibula combinely refusing to bugde an inch to drag your weary self into the building entrance...and finding that only one lift/elevator is working in your building. And there is a long, long queue of disgruntled people waiting for it. After a painful wait the lift arrives, people flock in and the signal for excess weight starts blaring in the lift; you haven't even stepped in! Luck is then gathering all your will power and trudging up the stairs to your second floor apartment...sans any grocery bag because of the earlier chill-induced temporary handicap. Good Luck is waiting for an hour, fretting over frozen grocery that might thaw and get spoilt, but waiting out the lift rush and then venturing out to get the stuff...and finding that the only working lift is also now out of walking downstairs, again earning the wrath of your weary body and a back that no longer's venomously shooting pains all over. Then comes will power...getting slapped by the arctic-close winds...lumbering to the car and picking up grocery bags, bringing them to the stairs, dump them, go back again for the second lot...and slog up the stairs - whose lights are set-up to stay alight for only a minute -landing by landing...finally making it home. And realise there's another trip to make to the car for some more things, and as luck would have it, heavier than the last lot...
That's extremely good luck, 'cuz you live on the second floor, both the lifts are out of order and there are NINE floors in your building!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Confessing a Human Tragedy

Ages ago I had a book of quotes and one struck me then and smacks me in the face now:
"Every woman grows up to be like her mother, that's her
tragedy; no man does, that's his."
As I whiled away this time last year, Ma took it to her to drill into me what marriage meant.
Marriage, she said, is hard work, plain and simple; and it's upto the woman to make it work. In societies like ours, the man is never at fault, however much a beast he may be, it's always the woman who'd be put up on the stake of criticism. Marriage, Ma said, is compromise, not just by the wife, but also by the husband, but it's essential that you don't look at it as compromise, look at it as a decision that was reached mutually because your spouse agreed with you had to say. It takes work, 24/7 to make marriages last, 30 years plus and Ma and Pa still had to see through each day to see their marriage work. I've seen my parents grow old, I've seen them have their issues, resolve their issues, work around...I grew up seeing all that, even if I was presented with a child-friendly version of their tiffs, my view of how Ma made her marriage work may be juandiced, limited to whatever exposure I had of them. At the end of it all, I saw Ma and Pa as a team, whether it came to getting us kids ready for work, deciding life-altering things like relocating the family to Pakistan, they may have had their differences, but to us it came as The Decision. Pa's word was final but it never meant he would actually decide againsst what Ma had said. They'd reason around but the decision had to be mutual. They must have, in the long course of their marriage, been at odds with each other numerous times, one must have compromised, bent to others judgement, but for most parts, we were blissfully unaware of it all. Pa, the ideal man-figure that I've always looked upto him as (as most daughters end up doing, knowingly or otherwise), took years and years of being moulded into shape. He was a difficult man, Ma told me, but with time, he came around to being a family man. I remember once long ago Pa asking me and sis if we had 'ideals' or an idea of what kind of man we wanted to marry (Pa's that way, more of a friend than a traditional desi father), we were stumped, but sis turned it round and asked him if he had an ideal before marriage and he said, very seriously, that he was married to her. And he meant it.
Every marriage is unique, but the essentials of making it work remain the same; understanding, compassion and respect, the confidence that you can talk about anything under the sun and your spouse would understand you even if he/she disagrees. This, being able to talk and be understood is the foundation for marraige. It would be the foundation for every relaitionship but marriage it trickier. The moment you realise, or are reluctant or afraid to talk about anything to your spouse, you should know that your marriage has hit a rough patch. You simply need to connect, start over again, if needs be, but work over it. Love, passion and all that hoopla is trivial. Connect and how well you connect is what matters in marriages. With desi marriages, on the woman's part there is surrender. At least I argued with Ma that it was surrender and letting go of your being. I'm still learning about marriage and how to make it work. There are times when I marvel at all those people who've lasted decades with each other and there are times when I know for certain that I could be one of those lucky couples who grow fonder with each other as they age. If I have the will , strength and the sabr to make my marriage work. As Ma said, it's upto me now.
As I look back onto the months that have past since I've been married, I see how I have changed, how my priorities have changed. If there's one thing I like in myself, it's that I take complete responsibility for my decisions, with no regrets. I haven't ever regretted my marriage, it was, at the end of it all, my decision, I could've said no and no one would have pushed me into it. Ma told both me and sis, when we were getting married, that we don't make the mistakes that she made in her married life, if there is anything you find admirable in your parent's marriage, she pleaded with us, take that with you.
As I'm reminded of the saying above, I fear if I have indeed become my mother, down right to some of the mistakes she made in her relationship. I'd love to have the kind of marriage Ma and Pa have, but I don't want to repeat any of their mistakes (I'd rather have my own?). At times I find myself so insecure, so drained that I encyst myself, completely. It's not right, I know, I've seen Ma do it and how it strained the home environs. This is one of her mistakes she'd warned us about. At times you just need a sympathetic shoulder to lean on and it's such a shame that it is not your spouse's. The guilt of confiding in someone else than my husband kills me but I do it all the same. I should be able to talk freely and completely, why do I then hold back? The fear that there is something lacking, that I'm not doing enough to make my marriage work makes me restless, ruins my appetite, makes me mad, and I'm generally reduced to an emotional, mushy mish-mash of insecurities. All that and it hasn't even been a year.
Becoming Ma in her mistakes has been one of sis' and my greatest fears, she's talked to me about it (when she could talk to me), how nerve-racking it is, the realisation that you're making your Ma's mistake...and go on making it. I would want to be like Ma, as Pa has glorified her in the rare moments he reflects back on his life, I would like to be like Ma in all the good she's done and been as a wife and mother. If I can half as good a wife and mother she's been to us, I'd think myself lucky and utterly blessed; but her mistakes, I fear and dread. One most than others, her silent temper. Not talking at all, a blank face and a whirlwind of thoughts plaguing the mind.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Books NOT Recommended

I love reading books...actually I love reading, I'll read anything as long as it's in Urdu or English, the two langauges that I claim to be fluent in...and I mean anything, if it's readable, it has to be read. How long I take to read it depends on teh length of the writing, its format and portability (e-treatise have their limitations for instance, they can't be read before dozing off to sleep and picked up the next morning from the floor to be read again). When it comes to books, I confess I prefer fiction to non-fictitious works, but once I start a book, I have to finish it, irrespective of genre, it becomes a HAVE TO task. Sometimes though, there is a book that I start with all the steam of an full-throttled engine but somehow leave midway and those books are just relegated to an ornamental place in the paltry bookshelf I have here. (My actual collection is in Pakistan, indexed, maintained and subsequently, gradually taken over by kid bro, A.) Books like Orhan Pamuk's The White Castle (left midway), Umberto Eco's Focault's Pendulum (too esoteric and intelligent for my present state of being), or even Aag ka Darya and Naguib Mahfouz's Palace Walk, the last two I borrowed from Bhai last year. I always get some more books from his MA bursting at the ends bookshelf but rarely get down to reading any. In the meantime I'm beefing up my own shelf here, Z's ordering books online and buying books too (our tastes in books are poles apart and so far we've fought over only one book, The Leopard and The Fox), thus there is a whole stack of reading to be done...add to it the numerous magazine subscriptions that Z has and the amount of reading a person, who has teh whole day to herself, can do is staggering. Of course it won't and doesn't stagger me.
There was a time at school when I was reading two books a day, it took two math and urdu classes in a row for me to finish a Nancy Drew/Sweet Valley paperback and then I switched books with N, my classmate. I learned speed reading at school, I also learned math and urdu enough to get by. :)
Last time we went to the Sharjah World Book Fair, I did not buy a single book, even Z was surprised (he steers me away from bookshops, I think he fears himself at such places more than what and how much I would bring to the check-out counter; somehow his stack is always larger than mine). And then I slipped into Border at DCC some weeks past and did not buy any book from there either...I have resolved to first read up what I have before buying anything new, lest I end up with an enviable collection of books I have not read and bros are happily passing off as their possessions back home. How far I'm resolute in my resolve is yet to be seen, if I go to the House of Prose I might give in but that bridge is to be crossed when it comes.
The Kite Runner, I'd been reading so much about it and then I downloaded the movie too. I saw and brought the book back from Bhai's place yesterday thinking I'd read it first and then watch the movie. I shouldn't have. After My Forbidden Face and the Bookseller of Kabul, I'd decided to stay clear of any book on Afghanistan. It just dampens your spirit, these books, make you morose, depressed, melancholy to read all that has befallen the people of Afghanistan...I wonder if books have to absolutely trashy or really dank to become a best-seller. I started reading the book at around one in the morning last depressed, let it go, tossed and turned, switched on the light, read some more, put it aside, tried to sleep, picked it up again...till about five in the morning. It was such a dreary read that I could not put it if my hurrying through the pages and finishing off teh story would somehow lesses or at least quicken the suffering recorded in its pages. I finally finished it this evening, only getting up to fix something to eat. I'm glad that I did, read it off, not eat. However bleak and whatever travails and sufferings it contains, there was, literally, a ghost of a smile at the end. And I'll also watch the movie, there's no way they could've carried all that pain onto celluloid. And Also find and read Hosseini's second novel, it's been on the top ten best-seller list too long for me to have not read it. And perhaps I can start on Orhan Pamuk again. I brought all of his books here with me only to spite mean bro S, he loves Pamuk...but I forgot that he has my Kazuo Ishiguro collection with him, gah! they have all my collection with them that they're dishing out to their friends!
"Children aren't colouring books. You
don't get to fill them with your favourite colours
." The Kite

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Baby Blues

So Churchill's Black Dog has paid sis a visit. It was due, PN, after all the euphoria of having brought a new life into this world had settled down and she realised that the li'l piece of being had taken over her life...nay, pushed her on the backburner and everyone would henceforth only focus on li'l D. I know I do, whenever I call sis, I'm hoping for a background music of D crying and then I have to hang up as sis has to attend on the little despot who's taken over her life. I also talked to M, SiL, today, she'd had a li'l one, H2, early December last year...I asked if she was well and she had just one response; that she had to be well, for the kids...I should've asked her about her PND experience but thought better of it. Mothers, however many kids they might've brought into the world, must feel overwhelmed specially in the first few weeks, if not months post-birth...add to it that general tendency of ours to ignore the mother and going ga-ga over the new's just so unfair...all the gifts are for the li'l one, all attention is for the li'l one...and only his/her needs are important. A new mom can bid farewell to sleep, relaxation becomes a thing of the past. I wish I could say this is temporary, but it becomes a habit...a mother worries, period. She starts worrying from the first moment she learns of her impending motherhood, frets first over the baby's movements in utero and then all through the child's life...It's a lifetime of worrying and fretting over the kid(s). Sleepless nights not limited to baby days, I know my mother stays awake till all her kids are home safe, soundly fed and in bed. And it's such a thankless job, no one has the slightest bit of consideration for the woman, at times not even other women in her life. It's as if we take it for granted that the moment a woman becomes a mother, she's become a super-duper woman who can manage feats unimaginable. Like being able to function without sleep or rest or anything even vaguely resembling rest (including some time in the shower), she's not allowed to get sick, or if sick, not allowed to rest till she actually drops out of exhaustion, no off days, no time out, nothing. And to top it all, everyone takes you for granted, the husband, even the thankless babes you've produced. If you're a lucky woman you'd have a husband with some sense of decency and consideration for your mostly forgotten human status, else you just have to put up with it. But who am I to say all this, I've been taking MY ma for granted for years...
See, sis is younger than me and my only sis, so I kind of ignore the itsy bitsy age difference we have and insist in calling and treating her like a baby (Actually I like mothering all my siblings and cousins...and siblings in law, can't help it, I'm the eldest or one of the elders in most cases, such a huge responsibility). And it hurts and kills me to think that my li'l sis now has to go through all that child-birth and post-natal grind-mill. She does not even have time to talk to me, her only sister, as her brand new baby starts bawling for attention the moment khalajan calls. I stopped calling sis altoghether so that the li'l tyke would settle into a routine and let my sis have some time to talk to me, but that is not to be. Early this morning I got a call from sis that she wasn't feeling well, she felt alone and wanted to talk to me...and when I call her, D starts crying, again. Where exactly is F, mean BiL, when needed to soothe a howling child, I ask? And where is the family army once so eager for the child? Can't a woman have some rest, some time off to talk to her sis? Should sis forget life as it was, write off family? I know woman the world over survive this phase of life and happily go for another stint at motherhood, multiple stints, but all teh same it looks so different when it's happening to someone so close to you. My sis is not all mine anymore, I'll have to share her with D from now on, and concede my priority status to the new arrival...I could fight with F, mean BiL, for the spot but how is one to compete with a 55 cms bald, bawling pink bundle? And how come I have it's picture as my desktop? Oh, I know, it was looking deceptively angelic wrapped in pink blanket and over-sized pink bonnet. I actually love the li'l D.
PS: I'm still wating for sis to call me back to talk off her blues

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Brand New Khala

Sis' baby had to be the world's most eagerly awaited baby. We were to have a babe in the family after a long, long time. We, all of us, are crazy about babies. R, my brother, once actually borrowed a kid from a passer-by and brought it home to show us. All my brothers have at one point or another brought their friend's niece/nephew home to be admired by us all. And God help a guest's child hapless in our house...they'd take turns to play with it... and if te child was unusually friendly and did not cry at their antics (nothing torturous, bros just think that children should be afraid of them and cry at their mere sight, they are offended otherwise, except R, whom children take an instant liking to), they'd ask me or sis if it ever cried. They wanted a kid's all moods displayed before them in the few minutes they had their turn with it, the kid had to smile, laugh, play, giggle and also cry. The child had to be deposited with their mom/dad and if there was another one, they'd ask me to bring the other one (equal oppurtunity). When sis told me of my impending Khalahood, my first thought was, 'God help the child with it's mamoons! And nana, nani. It would be spoiled rotten!' Ma insists all our friends' kids call her nani/dadi. Ma and Pa absolutely adore kids (which explains why they have so many of us).
I know everyone adores babies but my family actually goes ga-ga over kids...they'd been deprived of a child for such a long time. A, the youngest bro was never considered a child by his elder bros, he was 10 years when he was 5 years and at 14 years, they consider him to be a fully grown man...A's attitude, come to think of it, is that of an uncle, but that's another family circus tale.
So, last evening, after a long wait, past EDD, and hours of calls later from the news of sis finally going to the hospital to get my niece, I got Ma's ecstatic call...I was a khala!
My li'l sis is a mommy.
And now I am waiting for pics and a video. I hate my bros for not sending me the pics yet, it's been more than 12 hours, all I get is smart-alec replies to my pleading sms'es for some pics...they've seen the kid and all, what would they know how terrible it is to wait to see your first niece...and I, the one and only khala only has a tub of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food Ice Cream for company. It makes great solace food, btw, B & J's.

blogger templates | Make Money Online