Sunday, April 27, 2008

I have been betrayed!

So, to take a break from Medical Pluralism in India I decided to hit a few games of boggle, for old times sake. But much to my dismay, does not exist any longer! I was too loyal to try or whatever the other websites were called and left dejectedly.

This is almost as bad as Kolson deciding to discontinue making PUK, or fizzers going out of production. Or panda ice cream being relegated to the shady vendors of Ferozpur Road, only to eventually disappear as well. All we're left with is jungle jollies - fake remakes which will never match up to the original, because they're not as chewy as fizzers, and the wrappers just don't make sense. I cannot stand this betrayal of my childhood anymore! No.

I want it all back. Now

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Cinder-Saturday


Yes. I just typed a whole paragraph of my story and in a sudden flash, random keys were pressed here and there, and lo and behold, all i was left with was an 'r'.


So I start all over again. I was talking about loving associations, especially those to do with Lahore. Of how if you meet an Aitchisonian, although you have nothing in common with them, they are 8 years older than you and are doing a Ph.D in Math, you can spend countless hours talking about school rivalries, cheating, Kashmiri Sahab, games, bunking, Godley house and horse riding, amongst other things. Maybe I have always been fond of listening to Aitchisonian's school stories, or that my brother studied there, but I'm sure if I were a boy I would have had a ball trying to 'stand in a straight circle' during games lessons, watching the principal "pass away" in the corridors on a daily basis (freaky!), or mass bunking on Sherpao Bridge. Alas, a girl was born instead and then people insisted she wore high heels.

Speaking of which, I will probably have to give up on any form of shoes with heels for a while. My knee has given up on me, for sure this time. Amidst horror stories of people having knee surgeries right, left and center, I have no choice but to freak out and finally go for the dreaded check-up, now that limping is a luxury for me. Don't you dare mention this to ammi abbu though. They'll freak out. I think I've given them enough surprises this week, starting with my credit card scam. Abbu emailed me a couple of days ago saying in typical abbu one-liner fashion (this time two lines, due to urgency) "Your credit card is being used in Italy, where are you? Contact me asap"

As if I would be in Italy without telling amma abbu, haha, I replied back saying, "I wish I were abbu, but I've been slaving away in my dorm the past week and bought groceries on my card yesterday, so I assure you i'm not in Italy" How unfortunate. But then I made up for a week from hell and photocopying by going to Thorpe Park. With Maryam and 9 people from Islamabad I had never seen/met in my life. Thats how random I've become. But speaking of assocations (again), the boy-who-organized-the-trip's, bhabi who was also there with us (with her 9 month old baby, pram was our head girl from Grammar, from Mehr's batch. We had a good chat about school and school magazine mug shots, as well as how she and her husband both were Luminites (another association) and were crazy about rides, hence baby and all. Fun people. I think when I'm married with kids, I'll be the same. Only I'm too weak hearted to sit on 90 feet drops and heart-sinkers. But I'll still be cool :D

Anyway, I proudly admit that in spite of my weak heart, I sat on Colossus, a 2 minute roller coaster which had to be at least a 100 feet high and twisted 360 degrees more than 7 times. It was almost like a personal challenge. Kitna dar lag jayega? So I sat. And I had fun! In my photograph, I was grinning and not cowering in my seat :D I didn't buy it though. I looked like a Bernstein bear. The other rides were too wet or too scary so I sat on the medium scary ones and missed Disney Land a great deal in the process. My love for American culture (strictly in comparison with the UK, not objectively) increases with every experience I have of life in London (although Staines is in Surrey, lol). Here, the rides were all thrillers and screamfests. There was no creativity involved, just the fear factor. I love Disney Land because it doesn't scare the shit out of you, but makes you enjoy your ride while being thrilling. Logger's Leap was poo in comparison to Thunder Mountain Railroad, as was the Colossus to Matterhorn Bobsleds. Khair, it was enjoyable enough. And at least I can say I had the opportunity to sleep in the oddest of places, Burger King, for a whole hour, because my leg was hurting and I hadn't slept the night before. I also managed to bump into Muhammad Khan, my college security guard (a desi, from Isloo who works part time for the accommodation office) in Thorpe Park as well! How random :D

But the random-est of things was to happen on my return journey from Canada Water Station to NCG. It actually bordered on scary. I was standing on the bus stop listening to Madonna on my mp3 player waiting for the Rail Replacement Bus when this random bus called C10 (that stop only has 2 buses) approach, with a "Not in Service" sign. It stopped at the stop and the doors opened. It was empty (obviously) and the bus driver mouthed something at me. I waved my hand at him, in a motion that I wasn't taking that bus, but then he mouthed something else and i pulled my earphones off.

"Where do you have to go?"

I replied, slightly confused, New Cross Gate. To which he said, "I'm not in service, but I'm heading that way. Hop on, I'll drop you" Not thinking twice, I said "Oh, thats very nice of you, thanks!" and hopped on (Chivalry exists!) But when I sat in the bus, I realized, what I had done. I was in a non-service bus, going god knows where with a random bus driver who was off duty as of then. Slightly panicked, I kept my eyes glued to the journey to make sure we were going on a familiar path and not into the random wilderness! The bus was small so it only had one door both for entry and exit, located next to the bus drivers stall, I had no battery in my phone (because my annoying flatmate kept calling and insisting on talking forever while the last bar of my battery ran out) and a useless knee, so no escape route, either way. I had to play it cool. He asked me a couple of questions of where exactly I wanted to get off. I explained. Then he said he could drop me to NC because it was on his way and not NCG, so I agreed instantly. Anything to get me home and off that bus!

Finally we neared New Cross Road, and I was quite relieved that it was a familiar area, when he asked me "What's your name?" Thinking it was quite illogical to make up a fake name because it wouldn't really make a difference either way, Sana, Shahnaz or even Susan, I squeaked out a deliberately inaudible Sarnda (Could be construed as Sara, Sana or whatever), but then he asked, "Where are you from?" And then I thought, what if he's a racist, anti-Muslim, rapist or something? But me the idiot who's been brought up with overly scrupulous moral values, couldn't lie. I would never say that I was Indian, and even though my overly zealous patriotism could have cost me my life, I said Pakistan.

"That why I gave you a ride. Because I saw a Pakistani girl standing alone at the bus stop and thought, why not do her a favour?" I kept it cool by saying "Well, thats really nice of you, there's a stop ahead, I can get off there" motioning to the bus stop, which was a few meters ahead, a 5 minute walk ahead of my house, which we were passing. Instead, he said, "its not a problem here you go", and opened the bus doors (illegally) at the red light where we stood at the intersection just to let me off! I noticed people looking a bit confused at the bus acting so weird, while I hopped off and waved goodbye to my private carriage and driver. I think he was Lebanese or Arab, as he mentioned he was a student and also spoke with an accent. Its always nice when seemingly freaky incidents turn out to be not-so-bad after all. However, moral of the story, sometimes it helps to act dumb and say "I'm waiting for a friend" rather than hopping onto a random bus at sunset. Maybe it was the sunset that caught me off-guard.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

April 4th, 2008. Sunny Day


Dip your toes in the ocean

It’s easier than taking the plunge.

Take the window seat but,

Dare to dive into the sky?

Stare the sun in the eye

But fear being consumed by fire.

Grab my finger

But don’t take me along.

Look me in the eye, but

Never utter a word.

Cut, but not slice

Carve those words onto your arm:

It’s safe to love from afar

Impossible, to love at all.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Loampit Vale sounds like this gorgeous fertile valley with lush sloping hills and meadows of daisies. Well, it isn't. Haha. And even though one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, people by their appearances, or in my case names (hiba/hina/hira/eww), or even more so my case on pronunciations (or better yet pro-NOUN-ciations - the biggest irony of them all) one can't help being judgmental. Or racist. Reminds me of the songs from Avenue Q which in spite of intense moments of mortification (Bhutta!), was hilarious.

Sometimes being a perfectionist can give you trouble. Or sore fingers, after putting together a few dozen, impeccable hors d'oeuvre(s?). To be honest, I can't spell that word, and i can't spell freind either. SEE? aghhhh. I won the spelling bee twice in a row in school, and Mina always got out on the first go (there are two r's in burrow, not one!) although she was always better at me in English. She probably knew the meanings of all the words I could spell;I won by spelling words I never ended up learning. I still don't know what the word phlegmatic means. Balgham wala? (No offense to Parsis/Memons)

Khair, I am being lame and going on a nostalgic trip after watching Zubeidaa last night, (much to my horror, Victor wasn't as dashing as I remembered him to be, :O although i still found the rapist devar's character hot in an evil way) and am listening to Kal Ho Na Ho ka soundtrack and singing along :)

Monday, April 07, 2008

Because it snowed.

"Everywhere theres trouble
Nowheres safe to go
Pushes turn to shovels
Shoveling the snow
Frozen you have chosen
The path you wish to go
Drifting now forever
And forever more"


I was listening to this song yesterday, in the warmth of my second home, the cream sofa, vased bamboo shoots and earl grey tea. I woke up to white. It had snowed all night or so, and everything was serene, powdery white, although very unlikely for a regular day in April. Global warming they call it. But snow didn't deter the boys from playing football, or the Olympic torch from burning (amidst great controversy, you all must've witnessed on the news) or me from taking the next train to see my baby niece.

The drive to see Jena was snowed out, so we ended up having "American Style Pancakes" as the Brits like to call them, which in my opinion, are the ONLY kind of pancakes that deserve to be called pancakes, Aunt Jemima et. al. The works. Lemon and Sugar, bah! It was a cosy Sunday afternoon, funny to think it was spent with Azhar Mehmood's wife (the cricketer who wore the floppy hat while fielding, remember Squin?) Khair, she's friends with Suniya and was there too. We all watched Z Music on TV, commenting over how John Abraham is only goodlooking on screen while Abhishek Bachchan has "presence", especially when he speaks and "towers over you" . I couldn't agree less. Girl talk is girl talk, no matter where you are and who the girls are. Whether they're 14 years older than you, have kids, live above the Kingston Real Estate Agents Office or in F-8 Islamabad.

Watched 'Race' last night in the Cineplex in Fultham/Feltham, dont remember the name. Full desi adda. And you know desis had been in the previous movie, because it took them over half an hour to clean the hall before we could enter. Poor Kassim. Cous-cous made amidst hysterical Beyonce fast forward dance moves, turned out better than expected! And we were starving. Fell asleep halfway through Bedazzled, dragged ourselves to bed downstairs and conked off. Only to wake up 15 minutes later "Did we put the food in the fridge?"

Woke up with a scratched eyeball. I'm still wondering how that happened. Ouch.

On my way to Waterloo station, sat with two adorable boys, one whose leg kept kicking mine lightly while he beeped away furiously on his Tamagotchi, while the other insisted on putting on his mothers pink lipstick :) I didn't mind them one bit. Must've been 5 and 3 each.

Train rides are a good time to ponder, to watch, observe and reflect. To Drift.


"And you really didnt think it would happen
But it really is the end of the line
So Im sorry that you turned to driftwood
But youve been drifting for a long long time"