Posted in Rambling

Picking up the pace..

I made up for yesterdays missed walk by giving in to Huz’s insistence that I join him today. I had two reasons to whine and complain before doing so, however.

Reason 1: my legs felt like lead.

Reason 2: i hate bats (those creepy blind flying mammals… not what you use to play cricket with)

The park we go to walk is just a few metres down the road from where we live. It is named after Amir Khusro, scholar and mystic, writer of beautiful verses in Persian and Hindvi, the father of Sufic qawwali from the 13th century.  He wrote (and I quote)

Ze qaid-e dojahan azad baasham;
Agar tu hum-nashin-e bandah baashi.
Barindi-o bashokhi hamcho Khusrau;
Hazaran khanuman barkandah baashi.

I shall be set free from the bonds of the two worlds
If you become my companion for a while.
By your wanton playfulness you must have destroyed
Thousands of hearts of lovers like that of Khusrau.’

Amir Khusro with two young men.

Perhaps the spirit of Khusro lives on here in this well-maintained park in Old Clifton, that we often see couples (presumably from the nearby Neelum Colony) sitting together on the grass, holding hands, away from the walking track and prying eyes, or sitting on a secluded bench under a gazebo, giggling and speaking in hushed whispers, the more besotted lying in each others laps, looking adoringly into each others eyes. A rare sight in our country, where public displays of affection are met with incredulous and prolonged staring by passers-by, enough to daunt all but the most intrepid of lovers.

(an aside: I feel self conscious if I so much as poke Huz in the arm with my finger in public, let alone hold his hand, let alone lie with my head in his lap in a public park!)

Stifling my whining when I remembered the extra kilos I seem to have added to myself over the course of winter, I resigned myself to walking 10 laps around the park circuit, albeit with a slower pace than usual (since my legs felt so very reluctant to comply to anything faster), while Huz just laughed at my plodding and gamely kept pace with me. Moments after sunset, when the azaan for maghrib rings out over the falling dusk, and the floodlights are switched on to bathe the park in a cool white light, sure enough, the bats come fluttering out of the surrounding trees.

I remember being around 12 and opening the balcony door one evening to have something hairless and non-feathered fly straight at me and attach itself heavily to my arm. I don’t think I even waited long enough to make eye contact with the creature to determine what it was, before I let out a piercing shriek and went completely ballistic, flailing the attacked arm and swatting at it with my other hand, jumping up and down at the same time. Whatever it was, I’ll bet it was just as horrified at the reception it got, as I was at finding it attached to me. My guess: it was a bat.

The bats look ditzy and aimless as they search for god-knows-what, navigating their way blindly while emitting high-pitched squeaks I can’t even hear; all I’m scared of is one of them accidentally flying into my face, while I make an inevitable ass of myself repeating a similar melodrama to the one I enacted all those years ago.

So it came about, that I was to be seen walking in Amir Khusro park by my husbands side, every so often ducking my head and pulling closer to him, with the ends of my dupatta periodically held over my face. By the time we began our eighth lap, however, I had relaxed sufficiently to stop flinching every time a bat flew by, as none had inadvertently collided with me yet. Moreover, my legs had stopped feeling so tired and achy, and so, finally, we picked up the pace for the home stretch.

Posted in Hopeless

Starting out

It is a little past 1 am, so it would be safe to say it is now Wednesday, the 31st of March. Not that the date has any particular significance, only the fact that it is today that I took the plunge and broke the ice with

I shall describe the preceding 15 hours to underscore the how and why.

My day began around 10:24 am to the sound of the phone ringing insistently. Despite my finer instincts (which were a tad blurred along with my vision), I scrambled out of bed and lurched towards the phone. As luck would have it, the caller decided to hang up just as i picked up the receiver. Glancing at the caller ID confirmed my suspicions. It had been my mother-in-law.

My morning ritual these days involves reading something interesting while sipping a fortifying mug of sweet tea, which Huz (my husband) specialises in brewing. Today was different in that respect. It was I who made the tea, and in between waiting for it to brew and the inevitable power cut at 11:05, I spent a few minutes Scrabbling and Farmvilling. But today I felt my enthusiasm at an ebb. I did not want today to be like yesterday. Or the day before. Or the day before. Days which lack a creative edge, ever since I quit designing baby clothes a little less than a year ago, with the idea that I should get back to painting. Apart from a few sketches, and a renewed interest in oil painting, I haven’t really been as prolific as I would have liked, with the result that I don’t have much to show for my time. I am plagued by the nagging feeling that I don’t have the motivation to ‘really’ be an ‘artist’.

While sipping our respective mugs of tea, Huz tells me I should chuck everything and write something. That piece of advice, although it has been given frequently, struck a different chord today,  a bubble of excitement rose at the idea, and I thought, yes! I will write something today! So, energised by that idea, I mulled over what I would write as I showered, changed, watered the plants, did some laundry, and sliced and marinated eggplants before cooking them.

There were a few hitches, the smallest of which being that I had forgotten my password for my account here, as it had been quite a few weeks since I activated it. The bigger hitch was rather more anxiety-inducing. Here I was, with my juices all stirred up but I confess, I didn’t have a clue what to begin my blog with, and stared at the screen for a long time, heart doing palpitations every few minutes, willing inspiration to strike, until it was time to go pick up Amu (my daughter) from school.  I drove, came back home, made a healthy salad for us and scrambled eggs on toast for Amu, who I knew would not be too enthusiastic about a salad involving eggplants.

Afternoon turned to evening, I had written something and rejected it, and instead of going for a walk in the park I stayed at home and read a few blogs by Susan Orlean, including the first she wrote.  She talked about her reasons for writing a blog, the need to jot down random observations about people, places and things, things you can’t really publish anywhere as they are not clearly defined, or even long enough,(she is an established contributor to the New Yorker and a very active Twitterer); that got me thinking about my own motivations, which in actual fact are very similar to Susan’s. It felt like a breakthrough to be presented with my own thoughts, and I finally felt articulate enough to jot down my own intro. And on that very positive note, I went out to have dinner at Roasters with Huz and Amu at exactly 7:47 pm, chirpy because we were celebrating not just Amu’s great score in her math test (19.5 out of 20!) or Huz’s breakthrough in programming (something achieved after 3 days of intense work) but also the birth of the blogger in me.

We watched Idol for 2 hours, and I wasted some more time Farmvilling and Scrabbling, until my laptop protested by getting overheated. I switched it off at 12 pm to give it a rest, and went off to hang out the washing on the line in the courtyard downstairs, and ironed Amu’s uniform for school.

It is now 3 am, later even by my own standards but I think I can sleep now. I have finally written my first blog.