Friday, April 17, 2009

Never on a Friday.

Me and Z silently judged C as she made ‘notes’ on Nadeem Aslam’s talk at the launch of his latest book recently. However, now that I am referring to my notes of the day, and judging by my propensity to make to-do lists any given moment of the day, I take my judgments back. Aslam is your average Faisalabadi who migrated to England during the late 70s, and lived the life of the Pakistani Diaspora in general; mamu went to Dewsbury; he himself went to an Urdu medium school in England until university, and learnt English through the limited experiences he had with real goras, while growing up. Speaking with a slight twang in his almost uncomfortable semi-British accent – of which the aspirations after the t were evidence - his manner of conversation left me quite blown away. This is why I wish I had written down some of the things he had said that night.

At the risk of sounding like a moron trying to be profound, I will jump to the bits that I can actually rephrase. So he talked about how he had over a 150 journals in which he had written things he had seen, heard, observed, tasted, felt (you get my drift) to be used later when he wrote - as metaphors, adjectives or in his descriptions. Although I am known to do things similar (flashback: plane ride to London last January when I took notes on a barf bag), I smugly nodded in agreement, thinking of all the times and places I had done this, but most of all when I was in motion: in the car, plane, bus, train etc. Thus, I can safely say my inspiration always comes in moving vehicles. And since I am secretly the travel writer, any form of travel counts; any place, any time counts.

Now before I start bordering on inconsequential, I learnt today that you can get a case of Stella for 6K, and if Munir is selling it to you at 8K, he’s a rip off. Also, Ali (not my brother) is a chay. Also, you can google map yourself and your friends on your Black Berry. Hotel bathrooms smell like lemons, only sickly sweet. Also, bright orange sugar particles are usually fish roe. And while all this extremely pertinent information is whirling in my head, simultaneously, in a parallel universe, I am visualizing my own bizarre versions of music videos to songs I sometimes sing in the bathroom. Nora Jones’s “the light changes when you’re in the room” makes me think of a man (preferably class 5 art teacher, sir Irfan, who I accidently called abbu, twice) sitting with a panel of switches and randomly punching the switches from red to blue to green for effect. Perhaps this is because he sort of did so this when we made a haunted house for the school carnival. Also, because I am the worst person to identify lyrics of a song, or better yet remember any of the words, the sentence which is so oft repeated in most songs “were running out of time” ALWAYS reminds me of a swirl of pink and red (like the time warp in the Austen Powers movies) with two people literally running ‘out’ of time.

This has to be the most random piece I have written in my entire lifetime, so I might as well add, I washed a bunch of dishes today with the underbelly of a lizard stuck to the kitchen window, parallel to my face. Also, I made perfect chai for my family, although it was with teabags.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

1:26am Work Blues.

There’s a little red spot in my eye today
It’s the same old thing as yesterday
There’s a lizard glued to the high roofed hall
And a layer of grease in the shower stall

I have sat here before, like a lump of lard
Working past the wee hours, like a crazed retard
I have a lecture to deliver in the next few hours
But it’s my destiny to be the queen of power(point).

It’s just a little red spot in your eye, they say
It’s not from birth, or strain; a blood vessel gone astray
When I’m tired, it glows like embers may
In their final moments before fading away

Yet I sit here and rub both my eyes in vain
I know my posture will give me nothing but back pain
The LCD screen might diminish the strain
itunes is my only savior from this midnight bane

There’s a spelling mistake on slide 3 line 1
There’s a power cut before I press ‘save all’

There’s a misplaced bullet at the end of the line
Tampering with margins, now seems like a crime

Navy blue or black in bold for emphasis?
I think this program has become my nemesis

Black on white, white on black, or let’s leave it blank
Fancy pictures are more of a distraction, let’s be frank

I have sat her before, like a potato sack
A bundles of nerves; a broken back
My perfectionism will take me way before my time
Before I get a final chance to fine(tune)

The lizard squirms and my heart decides to stop
Might as well take a response paper; an easy way out
But then I’d be just like the others, and I swear I’m not
So let’s get back to work, take this from the top

I’m kinda pleased by the outcome; though I can make amends
I’ll leave it till tomorrow, sleep on the current trends
Inspiration hits you at the oddest times
When you could spew out dialogues, but got the role of the mime.

And although there will be time to revise, and improvise
Your position can’t allow compromise
You see the glimmer in their eyes
(In the earlier days, was enough to terrorize)

They stare at you in expectation and wonder
Because the tiniest mistake could rent you asunder.

I know I’ll be here again, same time, next week
With heavy lidded eyes; an uncontrollable desire to sleep
Getting anything done at that time may seem bleak,
But I’ll find a way to work it out; to make ends meet.

Now excuse me, I have work to do
I hope the class is as entertained as were you.

Sunday, April 05, 2009


I sat on the roof and kicked off the moss. Only the roof was the terrace, and the moss was a fluff of tumbleweed-like remains of a nest that had blown onto the brick-tiled platform. The lights were out. The wind was cold; however in my determination to brave the wind, I didn’t bother to get up for a shawl. It was perfect. With the stars as my lamp posts, the sky my canopy, the whitewashed walls my canvas and the passersby my subjects. They couldn’t see my silhouette against the backdrop of tinted windows. Or so I pretended. I savored my invisibility for a few odd minutes before the next door neighbors decided to flash their cell phone light in my face.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Dream Pang
by: Robert Frost

I had withdrawn in forest, and my song
Was swallowed up in leaves that blew away;
And to the forest edge you came one day
(This was my dream) and looked and pondered long,
But did not enter, though the wish was strong:
You shook your pensive head as who should say,
'I dare not--too far in his footsteps stray--
He must seek me would he undo the wrong.

Not far, but near, I stood and saw it all
Behind low boughs the trees let down outside;
And the sweet pang it cost me not to call
And tell you that I saw does still abide.
But 'tis not true that thus I dwelt aloof,
For the wood wakes, and you are here for proof.