Monday, November 26, 2012

I do SO miss wasting my time, now that I have no time to waste.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Roman Holiday

"Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0"

For some reason I have been missing Rome a lot lately.
I suppose it might be because Rome provided me with one of those moments that simply take your breath away.
I am not easily awed by the things that I see. The tragedy of living in today’s world is that nothing surprises us anymore. We are a generation that has grown up believing that anything and everything is possible. Sometimes I miss the element of surprise and disbelief our forefathers experienced when some thing extraordinary was introduced to them.
So under the circumstances when some thing spectacular comes along, I for one cherish it. Coming back to Rome; my captivating moment came as I stood at the center of St. Peter's square in the middle of the night.
There can be no describing the feelings that I experienced standing in the heart of that magnificent centuries old square. There was complete silence and emptiness all around us, both things, a rarity in today’s world. I don’t know how long I remained there but every second of it was mesmerizing.
The enchantment did not end there. After leaving St. Peter's my husband and I wandered around for a while drinking in the beauty of the grand Roman architecture spread all around us before finally sitting down on some stairs near Castle de Angelo. In front of the steps a group of performers were practicing some traditional form of dance (the kind in which the dancers all moved around in a circle). There were a few people already seated there watching the performance so we sat and watched with them. Suddenly it did not matter anymore that it was close to one in the morning. It did not even matter that we had had a looooong (why so long? That is an even longer story) and tiring day. Infect sleep was the last thing on our minds.
Why should we sleep when we can sit on ancient Roman steps and watch people dancing in front of us?
As bizarre as the above question may sound now, somehow at that time, it made perfect sense.
There was music, there was dancing, there was joy: it was the perfect Roman holiday.
Since our hotel (hotel sole) was at walking distance from the Vatican City, we went back there again in the morning. St. Peter's square was still there but the magic was gone. It was now full of tourists, cameras and even occasional cars that sped right through the square as if it was some common road (I had not expected that). In the morning it was just a tourist site like thousand others scattered all over the world.
But even thought the enchantment of the night had disappeared in the light of the day, the beautiful memory of it, thank God, will always remain.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Independence Day

Another year has passed and it is 14 August once again and each year I think that I should have done something more than just tying up a green and white flag on my balcony. I used to put in ten times more effort into celebrating our independence day only up till a few years ago when the kids were young and probably a hundred times more when I was young myself.
Back then Independence Day was all about celebrating and most people (including myself) celebrated by decorating their houses with “ jhandian” which were little green and white paper flags tied together with a string.
As cheap and as common as those little flags were, they were the typical Independence Day decorations and were surprisingly not at all unbecoming. I hardly see them now; I guess they have gone out of fashion, at least in the area that I live. This is a great pity because the way I see it there is nothing childish about Independence Day decorations and to me they are not just decorations. They are a symbol of hope; a strong belief in a better future; a belief that has somehow still managed to remain intact despite the long and arduous load shedding schedules, despite the over abundance of corrupt politicians and despite the sorry state of affairs that we seem to be witnessing these days. Why do I still believe? I believe in it because it is still my country and I own it. I am not going to walk away from it just because of a few ups and downs that it happens to be facing at the time.
So my enthusiasm is still there but I guess the energy has drained over the years.
I just realized what I have been doing wrong. Instead of promising my self that I would be more actively prepared for this special day next year, I should be passing on the torch to the younger generation. Instead of trying to keep up with my childhood traditions alone I should guide my kids to carry them on from here on. After all this day is not about just me it is about us.
It does not have to be about decorations or even hoisting up of a flag on the balcony, but rather any gesture that reaffirms our own faith in our solidarity and shows everyone else that we still believe in our country and that there is still hope as long as we are together.
Pakistan Zindabad

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back to work again

It has been a while since I have written and uploaded anything. Over the past six months or so there were several things that I could have written but didn’t simply because I did not have the time to do so.
After several years of a self imposed “break” I have once again gone back to work.
The problem is that I had not realized how lazy I had become over the years or how hectic I would find my new routine. On the positive side it keeps me busy.Very busy. The down side of it is that I no longer have the free time to do as I please, when I please or indulge in any of my favorite, if even meaningless, activities any more. All this I have traded for a five day a week’s vigorous work routine that provides me with a paycheck at the end of a month. But the question I keep asking my self is that is it all worth it?  And am I being paid enough?
Considering all the things I have given up I don’t think any amount anyone can ever pay me will ever be enough.
Doing nothing is priceless. Not many people can afford it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bidding adieu to an old friend

How do you say goodbye to an old friend; one that has been with you for so long that it has almost become a part of your life?
This friend in question happens to be our old car. Though it is defiantly not the first car we ever had, it is, however, one that has been with us longest. I can not even begin to recall how many priceless memories are associated with this vehicle.
This was the car that took all my children to school on their first day. The entire junior section of the school knew it as “meri garheen garhi” as my son in kindergarten used to call it back then.
Among the check post walas who used to guard the entrance/exit of our residential area, it was known as the barey number wali gari . No need to stop and question who it was and where they wanted to go as was the case with cars that had regular sized number plates. The sentries could see us coming from a mile away and lift the barriers for us.
Apart from putting minor scratches and dents on it, there was a time when I smashed a Honda’s tail light while reversing. Another time I drove it against a truck that had spikes protruding out of its wheel caps. Believe it or not those spikes literally ripped off one third of the left side sheet from the body of the car which then hung over the back tyre to scrape the road behind as I drove the car with its metallic train back home. Needless to say I got more than a few curious glances from the passersby.
Since this was a rare case of car vs truck (and not just any truck , a stupid spiked truck at that) so of course the car was bound to suffer but under normal circumstances its hard body covering withstood most attacks I subjected it to with my reckless driving. That is more than what you can say for these newer model cars whose entire sides simply crumple like tissue paper if something heavier than wind collides with them.
Ever since we moved to Lahore we don’t get to see lot of our old friends very often. Still, a few of them come to pay us a visit every now and then when they pass through Lahore. And the first thing they see as soon as they enter our house is "that old car". So much has changed over the years, so many thing are different, but right there, parked in our garage is something which is still the same as it used to be all those years ago. It is like a blast from the past for all the kids. It reminds them of their elementary and preschool years when it performed pick and drop duty for quite a few of them on quite a few occasions.
Alas it is not going to be in our garage for much long.
It has been sold.
Reason was that it was just getting too difficult to manage.
It had begun spending more time at service stations and with mechanics then at home and with us.
It had also become rather difficult to drive lately. With a stubborn steering wheel and a gear with a will of its own, it was not the easiest thing to take out on the road. My daughter is depressed at it being sold. She has sentimental associations with that car. But she had to give in realizing it had become impossible to keep any longer. To be honest I am a little depressed my self.
I am sure that the new car we get in its place will be sleek, shiny, efficient and more manageable then this one. But will it have the old ones scratches and dents? Will it have years of memories associated with it?
I suppose not, but I guess one can not hold on to things for ever and must learn to let go . It is all part of life. After all it is people and not things that are important.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A culinary mishap

Last night I baked the worst garlic bread of my life.
Usually my garlic bread turns out crunchy and delicious but last night the pieces came out of the oven like hard rocks. You could play cricket with them or even hit a home run if you’re a baseball fan but you could not eat them.
By some curious twist of fate, it is always when company is expected that one or the other of my recipes (even a tried and tested one like garlic bread) ends up in a disaster.
Hats off to some of the brave guests, who, even at the risk of chipping their teeth, attempted to take a bite out of those little boulders.