freedom is the freedom to choose whose slave you want to be.

Monday, August 28, 2006

7 a.m. I don't remember the last time I was up at this time, let alone standing outside the gate. The sun is at an unfamiliar, low angle. On our way to E-11 I see school vans stuffed with freshly-scrubbed children. Kids line the sides of the main road, standing at the wagon-stops, or trudging schoolward slowly. There is a pick-up with two children in the back, a girl and a boy looking slightly irritated, doing something to a pink water-bottle. I wonder if they'll get to school still clean.

In E-11 the raods are empty. 40 kmph feels so very fast and I'm surely going to die, killing Papa with me.

Faster, faster, slow, look to the side, good, good, there - that's it. Excellent. Don't be scared. Very well done. Shabaash. Dekha? It's so simple.

All of a sudden - tyres squishing over green and brown piles of cow dung bang in the middle of the road, behind the wheel with a stiff neck, for a second I can't figure out where I am.

In Karachi behind the flats in front of the garages, on the gravel-covered pathway, Papa held the back of the seat of my cycle and worked the pedals hesitantly, and he told me he was holding it, not to be scared, he wouldn't let go. And then I was flying down the path, pumping the pedals furiously, finally balancing and ecstatic and I half turned around to say Papa I did it! (But. He was too, too many yards away, far enough for him to seem significantly smaller. It was almost as if the distance signified the breach of trust. All the joy evaporated in one millisecond. For days afterwards I couldn't get over it. You said you wouldn't let go. How could you?)

Shorkot. Papa stood waist-deep in the shallow end of the pool, his hand on my stomach and I tore at the water awkwardly with my hands, legs, horizontal after days of practice. He walked breadth-wise, holding me as I half swam. See? you've got it, it's so simple, keep going, good, we're almost there! And all of a sudden I was weighing down on the water and then in it and gasping for air and angry but swimming.

Back in Islamabad, August 2006, I'm wondering exactly when this tone of voice that tells me to stop, start, look both ways, do that again, well done, went from rewarding, all the way straight to pissing me off. So I looked a little more carefully at Papa's face before I left the car, and said thank you, and I think he knew that I meant it.


Blogger insiya said...

bhai told me that he wouldn't let go but when i turned around he was a long distance, away- i crashed seconds later. :s

is this the way to teach someone how to cycle? is this not a reason enough to not trust those that love us the most? and yet we trust them again, and again and...

suno- will you take me for a ride jab main isloo aaoon gee? :)

4:13 PM  
Blogger bluecheese said...

just wanted to let you know i read all your posts

and your blog is my favorite

but i never know what to say in the comment box

11:00 AM  
Blogger insiya said...

i wish blue would say that on my blog also :( :p

10:08 AM  
Blogger Mina said...

yay dekho hum sidebar main hain :D

2:25 PM  
Blogger mercury said...

Insiya, yes I will :)
Billu, shukria.
Mina, haina?

3:31 PM  
Blogger Khizzy said...

yayyyyyyy im in the sidebar!
now write me an email and teach me how to do it...i desperately need my own side bar.

4:00 PM  
Blogger insiya said...

time to teach! :p
waqt badaltay dair nahee lagtee! :p

9:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home