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

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

10th July 2007

(The things that we're afraid of
are gonna show us what we're made of
in the end)

If Ammi had a superpower, it would be killing lizards with uncanny speed and precision. In addition to the loving/healing/forgiving superpowers all mothers possess, of course.

So the Lal Masjid drama keeps us at home, always within hearing range of the TV. Not because of fear but a need to know what's going on. There's the usual traffic on the roads as we do our grocery shopping on the second day, on the fourth day as I try reluctantly to get my stuff together and ready for the darzi, a very un-bride-to-be mindset as I sit and vegetate at home, packing on the pounds with cheerful, reckless abandon :) And the one time I feel up to meeting friends I can't be arsed to straighten my hair or wear makeup, but getting out is worth it - I have to clear my throat often because we're speaking so loudly and laughing so much that my voice box protests. Hamza and Ali play with the stem glasses, oblivious to the looks we're getting from the goras around us and Afza is greeted with a silver plastic-flower garland. The food is good and confusing and entertaining and at the end we all become a little broke. And at Hotspot afterwards I stop mid-sentence and my eyes go wide as I see a Chinese girl in teeny tiny ... shorts?! Do the Jamia Hafsa horrors mean nothing to her, I wonder, and they're all laughing at my face and I tell them to move out of the way so I can stare properly. Nothing happens at all when I hear the gunshots over the music outside Gelato, all the usual beggars are there, as are the weekend-cruising pre-pubescent Islamabad boys and the kohl-laden O/A levels aunties.

But Ammi tells me about the SSG jawan's delirium, 'mein acha sipahi hoon', and I crack good and proper. I don't know if it's all of the last seven days, the five hundred or so people who've been killed already, or the children in the underground bunkers who don't have a fucking clue what's going on. Maybe it's just the inability to tell who's right and who's wrong.

Being a khala is knowing instinctively which wrist-watches your niece and nephew had chosen for themselves in a shop in your absence.

I talk to Apya. On the phone, at home, in the car, as we try to kill time in F-6 waiting for the JJ store's lunch break to end. For the first time in my life we speak the same language and we have in-jokes and we turn against Ammi as she gets into her besharam humour mode just because I'm getting married and for some reason am allowed to enter the realm of married women already. So we pile into the bathroom and giggle into our palms when we can't fight Ammi's determined-to-corrupt-me comments. Apya wants to show me how she makes her chicken and I'm running upstairs, online, and she still holds my hand as we sit on Ammi's bed watching TV, and squeezes it.

A jalebi is a beautiful thing.

I can't wrap my brain around the concept of leaving, still. Breakfast after breakfast as I sit at the table groggy-eyed with Ammi and Papa, eggs and toast and tea, and then e-mail. Days fall into patterns for weeks, time whizzes by and yet brings us no closer, it seems. Time with Faiqa is filtered through different sleeping routines and the friction that persists despite the knowledge that this is the end. And there's two ways of looking at it everyday, as Tariq makes me smile more and more often, I think waiting is not always a bad feeling.


Anonymous misbah said...

i swear, you write like magic. Congratulations and best of luck for your life ahead :) DO keep writing please... it's a pleasure to read :)

8:42 PM  
Blogger mercury said...

Thanks, Misbah!

I swear if I didn't have the web-counter on this page I'd probably have stopped updating this blog long ago. So another thank you for being the first 'silent' reader to break the erm, silence :)

5:37 PM  
Blogger Maleeha said...

"...I sit and vegetate at home, packing on the pounds with cheerful, reckless abandon :) And the one time I feel up to meeting friends I can't be arsed to straighten my hair or wear makeup, but getting out is worth it."

This is so me these days.

All wars are the same, everyone fights for something they believe in, unless it's a *certain nation's* army. We may never know the absolute truth or ever come close to comprehending the universe and the way it operates. It beats me how any of us can so pompously assume to know everything with such absolute certainty.

2:42 AM  

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