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

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

17th July, 2007 - A day in the life of

8:40 a.m: Two beeps and I wake up with a smile that widens as I prop myself up on my elbows and go beyond the surface of the phone's screen covered in greasy fingerprints and fall back into the bed into a place where night is just beginning I swirl between sleep and wakefulness and bliss.

9:00 a.m: I swing out of bed floating into the day, to the toothbrush, the breakfast and morning news and Ammi and Papa. There's a giveaway expression on my face that Ammi tries unsuccessfully to ignore and there is no need but I blush and concentrate on the toast.

11:00 a.m: I am handling a crisis tea-situation in the kitchen, freshly showered wet hair getting in the way. New maid as usual and Bilal Malik bhai's dad in the drawing room, and as soon as that's sorted I speed to Yumna's school where I am sat in a waiting room and Yumna is prancing around in chappals swinging a bag full of DVDs Apya's sent. We stand there and goof off, cracking jokes and I look around furtively to check for any angry teachers, with my yellow and red clothes too bright in the sun and I tune out as Yumna rattles on, trying to draw a map of some sort in the air with her fingers I'm noticing that we're both wearing our glasses and watching her nostrils flare as she gets more animated and I kiss her sweaty forehead a number of times before I leave.

3:00 p.m: Still in a trance, bounding up and down the stairs in spite of the post-lunch drowsiness, having bitter double tea-bagged tea after ages. It doesn't worry me that I am still stuck on the first damn paragraph of the introduction and I am searching for youtubing downloading wonderful 90s music of summer afternoons in B-9 spent watching MTV Alternative, Julie Tearjerky on the phone, and googling the lyrics singing along and feeling a foolish sense of accomplishment.

6:00 p.m: Filling out the voter list form poking fun at Faiqa's Urdu spellings and tightly-pressed script with Ammi and Papa and stapling the photocopied shanakhti card and laughing at Faiqa's interpretation of baikhwaabi with tea and biscuits in the heat and the TV in the background and I'm already thinking wow this is a good moment, Bhayya comes back from namaaz and I'm writing my maiden name on the forms in Urdu and signing in English and I'm thinking there's something different about today.

8:00 p.m: I come into the pink-walled room to use her computer and against my better judgement end up reading the 20 or so items on her list, 'the final countdown' and I'm thinking no no no and open my Introduction but the blurry image that comes to my mind is of Faiqa dressed in green, bending her knees to look into my eyes and squeezing my hand so tight her fingernails dig into my palm and she looks a little terrified but smiles and whispers 'Teri shaadi hoti' to me and in spite of the tears and the makeup and the sheer inappropriateness of it all I break into a laugh. I tell myself NO but I'm sobbing uncontrollably anyway, stupid thoughts flooding my head: no more fights over where all our white shalwars disappear, no more asking for permission before using her bathroom, no more bowls of icecream getting shoved under my face when I am refusing to speak to everyone but her, asking her what the eff was I doing, Faiqa. I think of us ducking back into my room when a curse word escapes from her lips in full hearing range of the parents, I think of arguing over whose feet get propped over the table, I think of restless evenings when she is away at LUMUN I'm thinking of 'why isn't the istree working' and 'what you doing? whose house? is it fun?' sms-es while I'm in Karachi and my wet eyelashes sprinkle droplets of tears on the inside of my glasses, and she wasn't supposed to leave first, I've been trying to delay this and I have to start dealing with empty rooms and unspoken rants too soon.

And then the maid comes into the room with a plate of chawal in her hand looking at me funny and asks 'yeh gall gaye hain?'. When she's gone I burst into laughter at the image of myself to Irum, she must be thinking I'm nuts, and I'm laughing, wiping tears and looking for a tissue paper for my nose and this is me aged 6, 10, 12, 18, laughing and crying at the same time.

10:00 p.m: I'm wasting all my time, I'm panicking, and I give up everything and take my puffy eyes down to the basement to watch TV with Faiqa, feeling stupid. We watch the coverage of the blast in F-8, turn the TV off, sickened, and watch a movie instead.

1:00 a.m: We eat ice cream and get yelled at for being too loud, get pissed off and troop into her room to discuss when things will ever change, then go to bed.


Blogger Ali said...

you write beautifully.

3:48 PM  

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