Downward spiral

Today the bubble seems more fragile than ever. I didn’t feel like smiling when I woke up.

Wedgies during the night can do that to you.

Why did I ever think having a landline on my bedside table was a good idea? The only people who still call me on that number are mood-dampeners, invariably while I’m still asleep.

I scribbled myself a to-do list with a board marker on a white board I dragged out of Amu’s room. Something about erasing chores as I accomplish them is thrilling.

Amu hijacked the board. She suddenly realized she really needed it to write a schedule for herself to follow for test week.

I told her she could take the board if she could transfer my chores on paper. She did so.

But I lost my enthusiasm. It just didn’t feel the same to scratch out my chores on paper.

Bored two evenings ago, I wandered around the house looking for inspiration, stopping at the bookshelf.

Skimming halfheartedly, my fingers reached for a book of verses by an Urdu poet. Something told me it was time to read it.

Reading wilfully at first, my interest deepened as I came across lines that resonated. I lugged the fat and heavy Urdu dictionary off the shelf, turned on a bright lamp, donned my reading glasses, armed myself with a pencil, and proceeded to look up meanings of obscure words and phrases. Soon, the pages were peppered with little notes, as nerve centres in my brain sparked.

I found myself smiling, even laughing out loud at times, sheer delight at understanding, recognizing…

I should have recognized this enjoyment as something sacred. I should not have shared. I should not have read aloud and expected my voice to be clear, ringing.

‘You’re embarrassing yourself,’ she said.

‘This is crappy. How can you have the patience for it?’ said she.

It takes so little to be derailed. Such few words to throw you into uncertainty.

I had thought I would spend a few days doing just this. But I have not picked up that book since.

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33 thoughts on “Downward spiral

  1. Geetali Tare September 5, 2012 / 7:34 am

    Don’t let someone else derail you, my friend. Most people who deride poetry do so out of ignorance of the sacred enjoyment it affords. Perhaps, they also do so from a fear of the unknown. Good poetry can challenge a lot of cherished notions, after all.
    I do hope the voice which spoke wasn’t inside you.

    • Munira September 5, 2012 / 11:53 am

      The voice was my arch-nemesis…my little sister, who admittedly is not that little anymore. I should have known better than to have allowed her to destroy my sang froid ๐Ÿ˜
      Thanks for your comment GT. FYI, I was perusing Jaun Elia….he’s brilliant.

  2. saks September 5, 2012 / 8:15 am

    brilliant …..is all i can say . I love your choice of words which comes back to you after a long hiatus ..maza aawa parhwana …

    • Munira September 5, 2012 / 11:23 am

      In the words of Kerouac, ‘One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.’

  3. colorviz September 5, 2012 / 8:59 am

    miss persuation..:P…

    • Munira September 5, 2012 / 11:49 am

      party pooper :p

  4. crazygoangirl September 5, 2012 / 9:43 am

    Aaaaaaaaaaaw M…Hugs to you sweetie, first and foremost. Now go pick up that book of verses and open it. Read and come back here and share a verse with us. I love Urdu and Urdu verse – what could be more lyrical and romantic…I deplore the fact that I cannot read nor understand too well this wonderfully musical language…but that’s why I have friends like you ๐Ÿ™‚ Just do it M ๐Ÿ™‚ You know you can! More hugs โ™ฅโ™ฅโ™ฅโ™ฅ

    • Munira September 5, 2012 / 12:13 pm

      I’m hoping I can get back to it too H! It was so delightful while it lasted! I should have held that feeling close….
      Now I have to regain that frame of mind, in which I am not a fool for succumbing to lyricism….and romance…..
      I will share something soon, I promise. With English translation for my non Urdu speaking friends ๐Ÿ™‚

      • crazygoangirl September 6, 2012 / 12:28 pm

        ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s the spirit M…I know you can do it ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. huzaifazoom September 5, 2012 / 9:55 am

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    – Dylan Thomas “Do not go gentle into that good night”

    • Munira September 5, 2012 / 11:49 am

      All this rage I tell you.

  6. afshan uraizee September 5, 2012 / 10:26 am

    lovely munira some how i could relate to the words that derailed you but dont give up jo expressions or sensivity urdu mien hai nothing can replace that

    • Munira September 5, 2012 / 12:17 pm

      Thank you Noorafshan! I know what you mean….it will be difficult to translate some of the poetry I read into English, because there are sometimes no corresponding words!
      Bas ab chup chaap parhne ka.

  7. berlioz1935 September 5, 2012 / 11:54 am

    I like this blog. It is so lyrical. I’m jealous that I can’t read or understand Urdu. But what you did, grabbing an old book from the shelf and reading a page or two, I do too sometimes. One writer especially calls me from time to time, Theodor Fontane. When I read his poems, his letters or his essays it makes me smile. It is is always inspiring and stops the “downward spiral”.

    It is good to have you back from where ever you were.

    • Munira September 5, 2012 / 12:31 pm

      Thanks Peter. I finally realized you are Aunty Uta’s husband! How silly of me to not have known sooner.
      Today has been inundated with random coincidences. Just a little while ago I read an article and I quote from there. ‘… the Turkish word โ€˜effendiโ€™ was derived from the Greek word โ€˜authenticโ€™. Greeks pronounced โ€˜thโ€™ as โ€˜fโ€™, which converted โ€˜authenticโ€™ to โ€˜effendiโ€™. Slavs also pronounce it like that: โ€˜Theodorโ€™ is โ€˜Feodorโ€™.
      I allowed myself to be sucked down the spiral today, but I already feel myself coming out of it.

      I also wanted to tell you how sorry I am that you lost Gabrielle.

      • berlioz1935 September 5, 2012 / 8:22 pm

        Thank you, Munira. Losing Gaby was a big shock. It was totally unexpected as she was not ill. The cause of death has not been established and the coroner is still investigating.
        If you feel the downward spiral again seek us, your friends, and write something, anything! I know the world is a harsh place, but being among friends is a game changer.Have a nice weekend.

        We are flying to Germany on Saturday and will, no doubt about it, fly over Pakistan and think about all the people of good will in your country. Aunty Uta and I will write about our experiences on our respective blogs.

        • Munira September 6, 2012 / 1:58 pm

          My deepest condolences to both of you. Gaby seemed to be one hell of a resilient soul!
          Thank you for your kind, thoughtful, lovely words…..they really had a soothing effect! ๐Ÿ™‚
          Look forward to your Germany blog posts ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a safe flight!

          • berlioz1935 September 6, 2012 / 8:20 pm

            Thanks Munira for the condolences. Gaby was exactly that, a resilient soul until she finally ran out of steam. We know, that she was a very happy person during her last hours of her hectic life.
            The internet is good, as we feel we’ll have our friends close by. So many people await us over there and want to share their time with us. It is exciting and worrying at the same time. They all think we are still young and indestructible. ๐Ÿ™‚

            You will hear from us.

  8. satsumaart September 5, 2012 / 9:36 pm

    Ouf, get that phone out of your bedroom (if you haven’t done it already)!

    I know what you mean about the to-do lists. I definitely check more items off mine when there is some tangible pleasure in the checking-off process itself… and I too find it much more enjoyable to actually erase an item than to just scratch it out!

    Hope some other lyrical magic moment alights through your window even if the Urdu poetry book isn’t it. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Loved this post.

    • Munira September 6, 2012 / 1:26 pm

      I actually had a hole drilled through the wall to get the wire into the bedroom! Can you imagine?
      Sigh. I still haven’t gotten back to that list. Crossing my fingers for more magic, this time with more vigilance ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks Lisa!

  9. Sparks In Shadow September 6, 2012 / 12:00 am

    I’ve done this, too — shared something with the wrong person before I can hold on to it no matter what they say. It’s awful to be sensitive and have someone disapprove of or question a thing that brings unexpected joy, especially a joy we didn’t even know was fragile.

    I hope you come across a new joy soon, or find yourself able to get back to this one. It sounded wonderful, made me want to look through some of the poetry books I have. I could use a little magic.

    • Munira September 6, 2012 / 1:50 pm

      It’s like being robbed. I am usually resilient (years of exposure to overly critical mother) but one can’t help letting one’s guard down sometimes! And you’re so right about sometimes not even being aware of the fragility of joys…I’ve been dealt a couple of punches to the gut this last 48 hours. Still trying to regulate my breathing..

  10. amarahm September 9, 2012 / 1:42 pm

    After a long while, I took a minute to read one of your posts (one of anyone’s posts – we are in the process of a move and a lot of change so no free time).

    I just love your writing! To make everday things so enjoyable to read is a real talent.

    Keep it up and ignore the voice that might stop you.

    • Munira September 12, 2012 / 4:55 pm

      (Oh, are you moving away from Karachi..?)
      Thank you so much Amarah, for taking out a bit of time for me….I am honoured. Your comment means a lot to me ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Kathy September 12, 2012 / 12:02 am

    How could someone say you were embarrassing yourself? How? This is not a proper response in the world! I was shivering in delight reading about your joy in the small things like the white erase board and the Urdu poet. We must never let the words of another dampen our ardor. It’s our precious gift from the gods. Fie on those who throw water on our joy!

    • Munira September 12, 2012 / 5:00 pm

      Oh Kathy, it was just my kid sister being impatient….she didn’t really mean any harm, we both bulldoze each other with criticisms….I just have myself to kick for attempting to share something I KNOW she’s disdainful of ๐Ÿ˜ Silly me.
      But yes! Fie on her indeed!
      p.s. The interest has thankfully been revived, and I will steal my whiteboard right back after test week is over! I promise!

      • Kathy September 13, 2012 / 11:52 am

        OH it was your KID SISTER! Well that’s entirely a different matter! ๐Ÿ™‚ We allow these things from family members, don’t we, sometimes they’re almost endearing. I was thinking it was someone on the “outside”. Hmmm….wondering….what if we were equally understanding to the outsiders and viewed them as family, too? Wouldn’t the world be a softer place?

        • Munira September 27, 2012 / 2:56 am

          Hahaha, yes indeed Kathy! And you’re right, I guess we do give family more liberties than they should be allowed ๐Ÿ˜›
          But I shall draw the line at outsiders, heehee.

  12. colorviz September 13, 2012 / 12:00 pm

    in my fucking defence…..i am not disparaging of urdu literature nor of your efforts to study it…infact…if you remember correctly you twit i had said ‘ oh thats so cool!..i used to do it too..”…..i merely scoffed at the sentiment of the particular piece that you chose to read……you probably just found an excuse to abandon it using me as a scapegoat…..:P

    • Munira September 13, 2012 / 5:38 pm

      Tsk!! First of all….that’s bad language child!!
      And secondly…how DARE you cast aspersions on the nature of my scholarliness! ๐Ÿ˜› I actually loved the poems i read out to you ๐Ÿ˜
      Jerk.

      • colorviz September 13, 2012 / 5:41 pm

        well if your so called scholarly aspirations can be derailed so easily then they are sorely suspect miss persuasion…:P

        • Munira September 27, 2012 / 2:52 am

          *runs after her with a chainsaw*

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