Birthday post

December rolls around, bringing with it an end to the 39th year of my existence. Ta-da! It’s my birthday today, and I thought I should mark the occasion on my blog, considering it has been such a big part of me this year.

So what happened in the bubble?

Last year around this time, Amu was still a part of the shuttle bus system and Karachi was coping with terrorism that had begun to target schools. I wrote about it in ‘Of insecurity, kids, a school bus and responsibility’.

Who’d have thought the shuttle bus stint would come to such a disastrous end, with a falling-out between myself and my fellow coordinators coinciding with escalating trouble in the city which rendered the bus service too risky for the school to take responsibility for….

And so the beginning of Amu’s 9th school year saw us coping with the lawless traffic of Saddar in new ways…

Highlights of the year have been a renovated bathroom and our junkyard of an office/study has finally been converted into a bright and cosy sitting room.

the infamous Zahooran :)

I wrote about being maid-less in Karachi and living to tell the tale and getting someone to cook for me for a change, when Zahooran left. Happily, there was no need for a transition and Zahooran returned after almost three months of being away. She is a very important person in my life, as without her I would never have the time to do any of the fun things I do. Recently I have started to pay her extra to make chapatis for us for lunch, and she obliges most happily.

The cook didn’t last long, as his cooking didn’t agree with Huz’s tummy (too much oil and garam masala, despite daily admonishing)

If you started following my stories just a few months ago you’d know about my alleged cat allergies but may not be acquainted with my Fuzzy cat. He’s a big (and annoying) part of our lives so it makes sense for you to know a bit more about him — he turned four this year :)

As far as cell phones go, quite a few have come and gone these last two years and it made me very sad to lose my Nokia X3 in March. Thankfully, I had a new phone by the time I was forced to face my travel jitters and could be in touch with Huz while we were in Tanzania that same month, and I’m happy to report that it is the end of the year and I haven’t lost/dropped/had-it-stolen yet.

Travelling to Tanzania and going on a safari were truly the most spectacular highlights of this year, and I put together a few photo-rich blog posts in The place and the people, The streets of Dar es Salam, The road to Mikumi part-1, The road to Mikumi part-2, and Mikumi itself.

I still haven’t written much about actually ‘being’ in the wildlife reserve and spending a night there…I don’t know why. I really should!

Having had the opportunity to take lots of pictures in Africa, (some of them pretty good ones if I may take the liberty of saying so myself) prompted me to start a new blog altogether (MunZooms) one that simply showcased one or two photos per post. I have also been compiling my historical blog (Days of Yore) post by slow post, with my parents as the key figures. And the collective effect of all these various blogs has meant there hasn’t been a single day without any hits, whether I published something or not!

I do attribute that to some clever tagging, but one consequence of that has been to make me reflect very seriously on the sheer absurdity of the kind of things people google!

Nevertheless, I’d like to thank all of you who have made it a point to visit me this year, put me on your blogroll, subscribed to my blog, read what I had to say and left me your thoughtful friendly comments. I am so grateful for your appreciation and feedback. This virtual interaction has been the most glowing highlight of blogging this past year, more substantial even than being Freshly Pressed….not that I have ever been, so I wouldn’t really know. :P

If not for the compulsion to use my blog as a sort of journal, It would seem to me that this year has passed in a blur. I know it hasn’t, but as I say in my description, my brain DOES fail me on a short term basis.

I have been very gainfully employed all year methinks, though not at all in a remunerative sense. I DID make an oil pastel sketch on canvas for a friend though (that was NOT free) and it now hangs in her newly decorated sitting room, something that makes me feel rather happy when I visit her.

I’ve read some good books. I’ve got back in touch with some very old friends, made new ones, fell out with a couple, made up again. I’ve laughed and cried and been utterly confused very often and realized a lot of things.

There have been some quiet triumphs and a few silent regrets, some disappointments as well as validations. There’s been lots of growing, many many conversations and lots and lots of music. It makes me tremendously happy to know that I got Single Malt Monkey hooked to Coke Studio!

There have been falooda quests and kebab hunts. There has been a major amount of daydreaming. There have been a few consistent spells of exercise too. I have swung from moments of being rather proud of myself, to feeling downright ashamed of myself.

So many posts written, so many blogs followed and read, so many lives glimpsed into, so much of myself shared.

It is not a very lively time of year, it being Muharram. Also I’m still recovering from the flu. But it marks the beginning of a watershed year for me, crossing over into the 40’s. Am wondering if I’ll finally feel more ‘grown up’. Am wondering if I’ll finally be approved for who I am than who I most certainly am NOT.

Perhaps it is time to focus my energies on something else. I know I have procrastinated long enough. Perhaps the bubble has finally burst. Or perhaps it is time to redefine it.

Someone recently expressed their disbelief at my being almost 39 the other day (which I took as a compliment) then remarked…..nothing keeps you younger than being loved by a lot of people.  Indeed, I have felt very loved of late :)

I shall leave you for now with this very awesome cool song by Coldplay, from their new album. I heard it on Jango one day and it got stuck in my head. Loved it so much, I played it first thing in the morning for a week. I don’t know why it moved me. I didn’t even know the lyrics until yesterday. Maybe I’m just being silly, but I feel as if this song has caused a shift in my very paradigm.

And a friend posted this poem on her wall yesterday.

Now I become myself. It’s taken
Time, many years and places,
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people’s faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
“hurry, you will be dead before —–“
(What? Before you reach the morning?
or the end of the poem, is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!…..
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the Sun!

[by May Sarton]

Funny thing,  poetry. I’ve never been big on it. Yet sometimes someone will say something that will just resonate in some cobwebby place, and all one can do is nod.

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30 responses to “Birthday post

  1. Thanks for sharing your posting highlights from the last year. I’m so happy to have found your blog. Happy birthday, my friend. May this next year be even better than the last. Hope you are feeling better.
    Hugs,
    Kathy

  2. Oh, happy happy birthday, Munira!! I plan to write one of these posts myself, in nine days, when I reach a milestone birthday of my own! Thank you for the Sarton poem. I’m so glad I “met” you this year and started reading your blog. Warmest wishes to you for health, joy, love, adventure, and every kind of music and food you might desire! :)

  3. I’m so glad to see this just before nodding off after a long day, because I can say a hearty Happy Birthday to you! I promise to come back tomorrow and read the entire post but tonight, happy, happy birthday and may you enjoy many returns of the day. :)

    • I’ve just read it all and am listening to ‘your’ song. This is such a lovely, thoughtful post, Munira. I’m so glad you’re moving into this next set of numbers feeling hopeful, loved and able. Your gifts are many. May they always be so.

  4. hey hi!!!
    Wish u many many many many happy returns of the day… Wish to read more and more from u in the coming days… Recently i watched a movie ”julie and julia” starring meryl streep. I was just imagining about you watching that movie… I will suggest u to watch it u will get the answer.. Any ways ashara mubarakh to u in advance…

    • Hey Rashmi, I hope this post answered your question! :D
      Thank you so much for the wish and for subscribing, though I’m seriously thinking about writing less and ‘doing’ more, if you know what I mean. Let’s see how much of me you get to read….
      I LOVED ‘Julie and Julia’! Such a wonderful movie :)
      And Ashura day has been memorable…..

    • I think it’s so cool that we get to know each other as more than ‘in-laws’ ;) Thanks so much AA!! I have enjoyed your feedback and your unexpected phone calls! :D

    • Yo! Thanks gold digger! Heading over to eagerly read your most excellent stories after AGES because I don’t know how to subscribe to your blog! Help!

  5. Jannam DIn Mubarak to you Muni Begum! I will take this opportunity to thank you for showing me the light in terms of inititaing a blog. One of these days will ask you more about maintaining (& validating?) my existence in the blogosphere:) By the way: what special things are you doing on this auspicious day?

    • Buhat shukriya Asad mian! At your service!
      What special things, you ask? I guess I’m a bit spoilt as I am made to feel rather special EVERY day, haha! Then again, I’m so very easy to please :P Make me a mug of tea every morning and I shall be your slave.
      Unexpected pleasures are such fun on birthdays. For me, it came in the shape of a huge glass of the most delicious chocolate milkshake I have ever had. Shared it with Huz and Amu too :)

  6. this was a surprise…..and a pleasant one to boot…:)
    well written mun and with all these experiences under your belt for the year , i cant see why you feel you havent ‘done’ anything..much love my darling mun and cheers to all our years ahead together..:)

  7. Happy Birthday Munira! :-)

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post!:) Hope this crossover brings more insight, love and happiness in your life. Wishing you healthy and exciting years ahead!!

    Luv
    Afshan

  8. Happee Birthday again M!! Do you know, as I grow older, I realize how much more satisfying wishing someone you love becomes :) And it makes me very very happy that in you I found a friend who ‘Gets’ me, a friend who in so many many ways makes me very very happy!!

    Love this post, more so coz I’ve followed your journey through your blog and feel like I’ve been with you every step of the way! The magical side of technology :) I turned 43 a week ago and all I can say is the 40s’ for me have meant both Freedom & Focus! A lot of the nonsense that one hangs on too, that one convinces oneself is important, falls refreshingly away. It’s easier to let go and it’s just easier to ‘Be’…just ‘Be’ without labels or definitions, if you get what I’m saying. Life is good M!! Your gonna have a BALL!!!!

    So, sit back, chill out and ENJOY THE RIDE Sister!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :)

    Love you, H.

    P.S. Not fond of bubbles myself unless they’re Champagne ;-)

    • Likewise my dear H, likewise!
      And what you say about the 40’s gives me heart. I don’t know if I’m imagining it, but there are definitely subtle changes happening, and I’m feeling rather hopeful. It’s taken time, becoming myself, many years and places…. :)
      Your love and wholehearted support came at the perfect time, just when I needed it!
      Thank you for being there dear woman! You are a beautiful person and it has been a privilege to ‘know’ you <3
      Now throw something at me before I get all mushy! *sniff*

  9. Hope you had a great birthday, Mun. This is a lovely post once again. You do write consistently well….and despite the flu-blues you are upbeat. It seems it’s anniversary time for a few of us around here. I have my own 12-monther on the blocks ready to go so I’ll post that in a few days.
    I’ve enjoyed reading and following you all year and hope you go from strength to strength. God bless Zahooran for helping keep you sane :) and a big “Thank You” for introcuding me to Coke Studio. You are right, I love it, and have been working my way through the back series looking for gems. The gang are indeed one of the coolest house bands on the planet. Here’s to another 12 months of Munira’s Bubble (raises glass and chinks).

  10. It was a day pleasantly spent Al, and social media played a big part in making it very special indeed. No way did I ever get wished by quite SO many people before!
    Thank you for your wonderful words, your valuable comments and your unfailing insight, not just here but on Days of Yore and the photo blog too. Somehow, you always get the point I try to make where others sometimes miss it. I’m glad you’ve glimpsed the humour through the despair :) <3
    Looking forward to your milestone post too!

  11. Have another great year, Munira, and many more years after that!

    I have two daughters whose birthdays are this week. One daughter turned 53 yesterday, the other one is going to be 33 on Friday. – – – 33 years ago I was 44. I ask myself: Where have all the years gone? They just seem to be getting shorter and shorter!

    I am looking forward to more of your blogs, dear Munira. Thank you for sharing so much about your life.

    Much Love, Uta.

    • Thanks for the wish Aunty Uta, and may I take this opportunity to tell you just how cool you are? My mother is close to your age and she could never navigate her way around WordPress the way you do! :)
      Best wishes to you and the whole family this birthday-laden week! <3

  12. I came over to see if you had written anything new, and have been looking through some of your back posts, Munira. What an interesting life you lead–and how well you share it through stories. Happy belated birthday! I hope the New Year finds you collecting more stories to tell us later. Happy blogging–and, you know, getting Freshly Pressed in 2012!

  13. Munira, This is one belated response, but just have been wanting to say–you are one of those very few people who make me feel better about growing older. So enthusiastic and upbeat and just simply gorgeous–that you are. Hope i look as phenomenal as you when i touch my forties. Inshaallah:)
    Maryam

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