Tuesday, March 24, 2009


When carrying out research on a country or society, you need a sample size of the population being studied, which is somewhat representative of the characteristics of that population. However, sometimes you get readymade samples when you land up in places like last night. Now I know why my previous anthropology professor was carrying out research on elite women of Lahore, your so called (and sometimes self proclaimed) socialites.

Exhibit A is in a mid-thigh length ruffled dress, creamy white legs, straight black hair, bangs, a goblet in one hand, a smoke in the other, dancing alone at the edge of the stage. Some say she is the reason why H and his wife got a divorce. I’m not one to believe in hearsay but am telling the story as I have been told. You have your profusion of dead straight hair, hair-sprayed curls, fringes glued into place, open toed wedges, tie-back halters, pearl strings and stained mouths. Pungent breath, misplaced bra straps, stilettos, and too much kohl. Hey, I liked your hat though. Very original (this is not sarcastic). I stand in the ‘whirpool of humanity’ as my sister once wrote in her 10th grade essay; only her essay was about a mad man escaping paramedics on a busy train platform. I rest against a pillar, wishing I had the strength to push it over, just to get a reaction out of everyone. Wondering what I am doing there, everything seems slow, languid, almost sluggish, although I am not the one intoxicated.

Who are these people? Who is this man in the paisley printed shirt who is dancing in sync with his wife? Only, this isn’t his wife, I am told, but a colleague from work. Two newly divorced couples brush shoulders, perhaps unknowingly, while they chat up their respective newfound (perhaps temporary) significant others. The woman in the beige dress slips on broken glass into the arms of another man. I turn away just in time. I watch some foreign couples enjoy the band, while another singleton pulls off some ghastly moves and flying kicks on the dance floor.

I’m not impressed by your red lamps and exquisitely decorated lounges. I just stand and wonder what I am doing there, and where all these people came from. Whose houses they live in, who their families are, and what they eat for breakfast on a Sunday. Its almost like people transform into the night, and take on their alter identities, reflective of the dual life most people are living in this country. But then again, who am I to talk? After all, I was also a trash collector to the world, only a few hours ago.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Adventures of Pip.

Tich buttons on your collar are a dead giveaway, of course. Because by the looks of it, he did not exude anything prefect-ly by his disposition. Holding two bottles of coke each (he was with a friend of course, they travel in packs, remember), while I watched and silently chuckled at the cuteness of boys’ unquenchable thirst and insatiable hunger in their mid to late teens. Donning my gym trackies, university t-shirt and a dupatta on top, without a care of how I looked, I tapped my sneakers on the tiled floor, standing third in line at the checkout counter. Turns out the checkout system wasn’t working so the bills were being coded and written manually and since everyone in line in front of me had happened to do their monthly groceries (eyeroll) from the gymkhana bakery, I had to wait patiently with my less-than-8-items basket.

So the gangly boys decided that two cokes per person weren’t enough and grabbed an extra sprite just in case, yet finding it increasingly difficult to juggle the bottles in their oversized hands. This was when I caught the eye of the tich button boy. Half smiling at them politely, I turned to look at another product on the shelf which caught my attention: ‘White Menz’ bleach cream with a two faced person (half light brown, half dark brown of course). While I was enjoying yet another silent laugh, the gangly boy had awkwardly made his way behind me in line. I casually turned around and asked “Prefect” in a half-knowing yet questioning tone, which would still solicit an answer. Replying “yes” almost immediately, and increasingly puzzled at my interest, or know how, I furthered “Which house?”

“Ghazi” he replied, and I said “achaa” rather slowly, smiled politely, and then turned back around, not sure whether it was a prep or senior school house. I could hear a mumbled exchange of words between the two boys, while I signed my bill and headed back to the car. Ghazi (I was told later) is the house which stands opposite to Centenary house in the General Assembly; that’s all I know about it. Combined with my general curiosity about people, and tendency to do random things, I didn’t feel significantly out of character.

Because I usually write my blogposts in parts (the electricity went at the most inopportune moment when I was bursting with ideas) and fell asleep later, I am allowed to talk about unrelated things. Thus, on an entirely different note, I dozed off today after eating a whole paratha for lunch and was awoken by a hurricane so strong I had to use every ounce of strength I possessed to shut my sliding window. I only like rain when I’m home as opposed to on the go, I’m sure I have mentioned before. When I came upstairs just now, my room was littered with white petals from the rose bush outside, which probably burst in with the gust of wind through the 2 inch gap from the window. But I didn’t mind.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


They say when it rains it pours. I hate stepping into full rooms, or full tents, especially when I am wearing heels. Tonight was enjoyable primarily because I was wearing sneakers and didn’t have 150kg newscasters stepping on me. However, it always boils down to balancing things, to keep the equilibrium going. And most of all, not to overstay ones welcome. Which might sometimes translate in making choices against your wishes.

Speaking of choices, my choice of outfit tonight was a smashing success. Think of two rebellious schoolboys in a sea of slutty school girls. We were awesome. Only the short lived glory of my boyhood was reduced to a pair of track pants and a Viva la Vida concert collectible tshirt, with no makeup (because the boy look only permitted mascara). I only realized this when I came home and noticed how out of context my pallid face was with the change in outfit. Pooh! On the brighter side, I met an old friend after many years, and was relieved that the theory of killing two birds with one stone was not proven true, by any stretch of the imagination.

Obligated by my decade long friendship, it was another one of those nights where you wished you weren’t an employee of the Sukh Chan wellness centre, and that being the passive observer wasn’t much redemption. Those words are ringing in my head like the slow drum beat of insomnia. Although I have to wake up in a few hours, and ensure I don’t get arrested just so I can make it for the evening show of Watchmen, all I can think of is whether my eyelashes will fall out if I go to sleep without removing the mascara.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


(After eating a plateful of behari kababs and parathas each and cold drinks, which we both spilled in the car door compartment in succession)

Chun: "Sha, what if we go home and there's roast for lunch? Itna afsos ho ga na?"

(in-keeping with Murphy's law that whenever you decide to eat out, lunch at home happens to be a fabulous roast, nehari, egyptian koftay or- you get my drift...)

Sha: "Yeah....It would be like.....meeting the man of your dreams"

A puzzled Chun, completing the sentence out loud: "....And then meeting his beautiful wife...?"

Sha nods in agreement, appreciative of the quick uptake on reference.

Chun: "Err..."

Moments later, both laugh hysterically, while Sprite and Coke waves lap quite audibly in the side doors.

You could've just said ironic.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

I am a Duck.

So, this is a bit over due. A friend asked me yesterday why I hadn’t updated my blog. I replied that I could write about my beautiful baby niece, who was born less than a week ago (25th February 2009, 11:50pm to be precise), or the sense of accomplishment/relief/gratitude upon completing my first quarter as a teaching fellow at university, both personally and from my students’ effusive and heartwarming comments. I could, but I didn’t. Firstly because I think my peach blossom cannot be written about, just as yet. I only write about things I have lived and pondered over a great deal and as I am still living this wonderful experience, I don’t want to trivialize or make it common by writing a pathetic blog post.

Secondly, I love my class and will always appreciate them for being my very first. But I don’t want to write about them. Or teaching, or work, or anything related to it. That too is something I’d like to keep up my sleeve, a personal recollection of sorts. Also, because I fear my blog becoming too angst-y or emotional for its own good, like everyone else’s nowadays. Thus, I’ll stick to things inconsequential for today. I can always whine tomorrow. And mind you when I whine, I really do whine. You probably already know that though. If you’re curious, let’s have lunch tomorrow.

Coming back to the matter at hand (this always reminds me of SS, and how she used to actually conjure up a hand in her head when someone used the phrase), let’s talk about being happy. I was thinking why I don’t do any good, am not inspired, and am uncreative. It is a malaise of happy people. You can only write a song about death if you have suffered the pain of a close one’s demise. About hunger if you’ve spent countless days and nights without food. About loneliness if you’ve ever lost a parent or have no home to call your own. Of helplessness and yearning if the only way of getting something you really wanted is by stealing. We are happy. We have everything. This is why we aren’t pushed to do anything. We are good because we were never pushed to the point to be bad, we were never given reason to rebel, lie, cheat, steal or kill. This inherent goodness will be our downfall, the reason why we stagnate.

It is only when you’ve reached rock-bottom that you reform, only when you’ve been so bad, that you gain the potential to change; to be great. Floating in the limbo of goodness, propriety, happiness and contentment doesn’t engender revolutionaries. We’ll be good forever, but never great. I truly envy you for being careless, wild, and horrible. You have so much potential. I, on the other hand, will probably keep floating in this state forever. This mediocre, neutral existence which doesn’t create any waves, whose actions, words and thoughts would probably not even stir an audience of ducks. Do I dare disturb the universe? Great phrases out of poetry give me transient delusions of significance. I shouldn’t even dare try and make them mine.

The fact is, I fear an inconsequential existence. And when I said above, that I’ll stick to things inconsequential today, I was really talking about myself. Even ducks seem to have more purpose.