They mean well, but….

I have a couple of cousins who have taken it upon themselves to enlighten me by sending text messages every day. The phone beeps in the morning on my bedside table, and before I even check I just know who it’ll be from and what it’ll be about. Most jokes they send these days revolve around the President, trying to inject some humor into the hopelessness of our predicament (frankly I cannot find anything laughable in Z jokes…they all make me cry) others are about the uselessness of the Power Supply Company. And even those now grate on my nerves. It is all black, black humor to me. Here’s an example:

Proverbs for the future and their meanings: (‘light’ = electricity)

  • light is back = to express great joy
  • today the light won’t go = to lie
  • when will the light come back? = to wait for something improbable
  • don’t you have any light in your house? = to commiserate
  • we have light here = to brag
  • has the light not gone today? = to be extremely puzzled
  • inshaAllah now the light will come back = to be very hopeful

I admit, this is funnier in Urdu.

Then there are the Wisdoms. I’m always afraid to open a message that looks like it might be a Wisdom. But if I don’t open it, the annoying little envelope icon won’t go away from the top of my cell phone, and it will drive me nuts. I have to open the message just so it will go away, and once it’s there, my OCD will prevent me from deleting it without reading it first.

So, Wisdoms. They usually remind me of all the things I don’t do, and all the ways I don’t behave, and all the things I shouldn’t say and all the things I shouldn’t do. They drive me nuts. And they do so because they inevitably make me think about things I regret, things I have almost succeeded in burying deep within the dark recesses of my tortured soul.

I really don’t want to go there again, I swear.

The Wisdoms that get my goat the most are the ones that remind us how short life is and that we’re all going to die one day so we should be ever-oh-so-good. Nobody knows about my Death Phase, do they. They don’t know how I used to bolt out of bed at night struck with terror at the idea of being dead and lying in a grave, six feet under the ground. But I’m over it now and I’m in denial  I’ve accepted it. Let’s get on with life please!

Here’s an example of a cheery early morning message by my well-meaning kinsfolk:

  • ‘Man does not go to Hell because he Sins. He goes to Hell if he is Complacent about his Sins and if he does not Repent. Good Morning!!’

Signed, Cousin X.

And how’s this to set you in a good mood:

  • ‘If you are on the Straight and Narrow and do not encounter Difficulties, then sit down and think for a while. Think about what you might be doing wrong, because the Straight and Narrow is littered with Great Difficulties.’ Have a Lovely Day!’

Signed, Cousin Y.

Or how about the gross ones:

  • ‘New addition to Newton’s Laws of Motion: loose motion can never be done in slow motion.’

Well, thanks A LOT, cousin o’ mine, for that awesome visual. It just made my day. Really, thank you.

To be fair though, I admit some Wisdoms do give me pause before my eyeballs automatically roll upwards and around. Got this one today:

  • ‘The day your friends stop bringing their problems to you….is the day when you have lost command over their hearts.’

Hmm.

I wonder why so many of my friends don’t talk to me anymore…..

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Au revoir Sheroo

Well the year is coming to an end, once again, just like it did last year, and I’m thinking about stuff. Y’know, introspecting. And I’m thinking the December of 2010 has been a decidedly bittersweet month.

We just got back home from saying our farewells to Sheroo and her kids Sal and Zee. They’re the ones we went with on our trip up north last year.

Sheroo and I are first cousins, i.e her mom and my mom are sisters. We’ve literally grown up together, since I was born a mere twenty-four days after she was 🙂 We hung out together a LOT when we were kids, teaming up during our huge family get-togethers, sometimes being dressed up in identical outfits (thanks to some cunning planning on our mothers’ part), and coming up with idiotic games of our own, things we could only laugh about when we grew up. 🙂

She went away to college in the US, and I went off to Lahore to study art, but we kept in touch with postcards and hand-written letters and birthday cards delivered by snail-mail, some of which has been kept by both of us, exchanges full of all our new experiences in our separate spheres.

Eventually we regrouped in Karachi, and we both got married within a year of each other. I was tickled that she chose me to be her best friend in her wedding, out of all those girls she knew, and we ended up having a ball as she requested me to do her wedding makeup and we put our heads together to devise a pattern of mehndi for her hands that would match her ghagra. Yes, those were the days when it wasn’t completely unheard of to choose NOT to spend thousands of rupees on something that would be washed off in a few hours. 😛 Plus Sheroo was never one to indulge in anything but the barest minimum of lipstick, if any.

Fortunately, our respective husbands found kindred spirits in each other, resulting in us meeting more often than we would have had our husbands not hit it off as much as they did! 🙂 They’re both a little quirky, more than a little irreverent, and they can both talk for hours and hours about philosophy and politics and evolution.

Sheroo's pre-wedding, 1996 (?)

Thanks to this camaraderie, we’ve shared good times and innumerable debates and arguments over countless kababs from Meerath, and multitudinous plates of nihari and many many cups of tea. It helped that our kids had an affinity for each other, so when the time came to test our friendship by travelling together, we ended up having an awesome time! 😀

It was on this trip though, that Sheroo’s hubby first hinted at an idea that took shape over the course of the ensuing months. It wasn’t so much about running away from this country as it was about experiencing a different way of earning a livelihood.

So when a job was handed to him on a plate, he decided to go for it. And so it happens that they are now on the verge of a new chapter in their lives, an adventure that will take them halfway across the globe, to set up home in a different world. It came as a shock for Sheroo at first, the idea of uprooting herself and her family from a very comfortable existence bang in the middle of a communal neighbourhood, with the kids going to a great school, and no shortage of friends or family. But the idea grew on her….

Even after all these years, Sheroo is still a bit of an enigma for me. Perhaps it’s the Scorpio in her that lends an air of mystery to her persona, as I STILL haven’t been able to figure out what makes her tick 🙂 She is a woman of few words, but that doesn’t stop her from having a ready smile and an ever-present tendency to burst into giggles….even while delivering bad news! There’s a stoicness about her though. And a decisiveness in her manner. So don’t you be fooled by her sweet disposition 😉 This woman, my dear friends, is a PILLAR of strength, as is most lately evidenced by the way she managed to pack essentials and wrap up everything here, in the absence of hubby.

So this post is for my cousin Sheroo, people. I’m probably going to miss her more than I realise. I’ll miss sharing the common experience of being fellow Karachiites, beset by the same problems, besieged by the same environment. I’ll miss her at our annual Eid get-togethers and I’ll miss her at family weddings. I’ll miss witnessing Sal and Zee grow.

But I’m thrilled for her, and judging by the mysteriously new gleam in her eye………I’m convinced she’s thrilled too. 🙂