Basically, I love life. Why not? My God has made this whole earth, this universe for us humans. – Me actually. (Okay, You and me!) So, why not enjoy living here? Why not celebrate this stay here, specially, when we really have no idea about the ‘departure date.’
So, one can’t help but be grateful for it all.
I heard the twittering of the happy birds outside my bedroom windows, and kept it partly open to hear them, even though it was rather cold. When I looked out to see what they were so happy about, I found out they had already finished off half of my precious cineraria plants which I had lovingly brought yesterday. They were busy eating up the rest of them!
I had put their flower pots with the saplings on top of the wall in front of my bedroom window. Because on the floor, my dog Magic would have finished them off. He wouldn’t eat them, but play, and break the flowerpots. Sighhhh! What am I to do???
My golden Labrador Magic has finished off my precious lawn. Now, I’m wracking my brains and Pinterest while planning a grassless garden! My Cocker Spanial Paprika never did anything to my lawn except to pee in it. She was conscientious about not pooping in it, unless hard-pressed. She preferred to do it in my front door neighbor’s lawn. Irum’s husband hated Paprika, so my precious pet wanted to give him this gift of her poop. Of course, I’d have to hear about her death threats from him. ‘I’ll kill her!’ He would shout across the road. He also had a precious cat, which my dog loved chasing…. So, anyhow, cats will be cats and dogs will be dogs.
Neighbors will be neighbors. His wife is a good friend of mine. Believe me, she is. Now, with Paprika’s death, (a natural one) my neighbors’ husband has also mellowed down.
So, the other day when there was this wonderful painting exhibition of mine along with 24 other artists. Generation Rahi’s exhibition – which I was hosting also – there were many guests, and afterwards we were having snacks outside in the cold. It was a very sophisticated environment of course, with the ambassador there and what not. So, as I was talking to a guest, I tried to pull out my tissue as my nose seemed to need one. I put my hand inside my purse to get a tissue out, and out popped a pair of pop socks! I looked down in shock. The person also looked in. ‘Oops,’ I thought, ‘where did this come from?’
Then I remembered, yesterday, I’d bought a couple of these, and while the salesman tried to get me a plastic bag, I said, ‘no, it’s not needed.’ (I’m trying to reduce plastic bags.) I put them in my bag, meaning to put them in my cupboard drawer, later. So, I forgot all about it. That was embarrassing, and so funny.
Life goes on, and a couple of days ago, I was still recovering from my loss of my mentor, and then Asma Jehangir passed away. Such a great person, died at 65.
– A woman who felt the pain of all downtrodden people in Pakistan. Since there are many downtrodden people in Pakistan, so she spent a very busy and a very angry life. Due to this she was even more loved by all the downtrodden people of Pakistan. No wonder she was one of the most popular women.
So, Nageen Hyat (a gallery owner and women’s activist) had arranged a meeting at her place, of the Women’s Action Forum and all others who were interested. We all made a statement that we want an official burial ceremony for Asma Jehangir.
So, before that I had gone to visit a school for the poor, near my place. A person named Usman had called me up earlier, and asked me to see it. I had made my appointment many days ago with him.
As life is, it was raining heavily when I went, barely saving my car from getting stuck in the mud and puddles on the way to it. However, the trip was amazing. The children kind of stole my heart. It was a great pleasure meeting Usman. But I won’t tell you more because I’ll write properly later on about them. From there, I rushed across Islamabad for the meeting, for which I knew I was late. I had informed Nageen about it, she said it is okay as long as I do come. So, I managed to get to her area within record time, but missed her turning (due to my speed), and had to make a detour…. I found myself stuck in an unexpected traffic jam quite near her home, in F-6/1. I had never seen such a rush before. Pouring rain, and all cars jam packed and stuck. I thought perhaps there is an accident ahead. I saw a motorcyclist coming from that side, I asked him,
‘Bhai sahib kiya ho gaya hai?’ (‘What has happened?’) He pointed towards his mouth in an eating motion, saying, ‘samosa ki dukan hai.’ (‘There is a samosa shop there.’)
I was shocked. Everyone had created a traffic jam there due to going for samosas to the Bengali samosa shop. (Samosa is a very tasty fried saltish snack of Pakistan, if you haven’t had one yet, do find a Pakistani who will know how you can have one.)
I shook my head in frustration, I thought
‘Pakistanis!’ no matter what happens, ‘food’ is their first thought. So, because it was raining so badly, everyone had to have samosas! No wonder they are so good at it! I made up my mind to come here next time. (I’ve just taken this picture of their shop from an article.)
Meanwhile I finally managed to dash off to the meeting, hoping to get samosas after the meeting, as Nageen usually has them. While driving there in the driving rain, of course I got the furthest parking from her home, as there were so many cars parked outside. I was walking to her place wearing my rainproof jacket and putting the furry hoody up, I wondered how Nageen would manage with all the wet shoes on her carpeted drawing room!
On entering the entrance area I faced the barrage of shoes on the floor.
‘Good one!’ I thought, as I took off my joggers, I realized the socks I was wearing had my big toes peeping out from the holes! (- Why doesn’t such a thing happen when my socks are fine? I wondered.) It was too cold to take off my socks.
So, I walked in proudly with my big smile. Oops, I shortened the smile, as it really was a very sad occasion. My eyes, couldn’t help noticing that the dining table set up, had only biscuits with tea today…
Luckily, due to coming late, I had to sit behind some other folks so my holy socks couldn’t be seen by almost anyone. The meeting going on was a very good one, with people remembering the great activist with love and all of us feeling very sad. Everyone wondered now who would be standing up for our rights, or for anyone going through a bad time.
I feel that, the best part was the fact that she died her own death in spite of the constant death threats she kept getting for standing up for the minorities and others.- Especially, those who stood up against the misuse of the Blasphemy Law. She stood up to fanatics, murderers and all those who were unjust. (Unfortunately there are many in this part of the world, as in others.)
Afterwards, I quickly disappeared, yes, to hide my torn socks but also as it was lunchtime at home, and I wanted to be in my warm bed for an afternoon siesta.
I put on my joggers, and dashed off for home. On reaching, I realized I had lost my mobile phone. When my daughter called me up, it was picked up by Nageen’s staff, who found it. (it must have fallen out of my jacket pockets when I bent down to wear my joggers.)
Last time, I had gone there for another meeting, it had been my car keys. Her staff had found them, then too. That time, it was because I had gone to the next room to say my Maghrib prayers.
They must think I do this all the time.
Actually I do! I’ve done it since my childhood, and so I have a lot of practice doing it. losing my keys, books and phone. My mum often said, ‘You’d lose your head if it wasn’t screwed on!’
This time I’ll have to agree.
How about you?
Well no one is perfect here. Nor am I. Every night, my daughter beats me at Monoply deal. It is our addiction to play. My only demand is that I won’t budge till I’ve won at least once!
So take a chill pill and relax, make sure to enjoy the funny bits that life throws at you. They are only there to make you smile as you go about the business of life and living in this beautiful planet of ours!
…. stay blessed, and keep smiling!
Note: Almost all photographs by author except photographs by members of Generation Rahi, and from Google of Asma Jehangir. Also those of the Labrador and Cocker Spaniel from Google with thanks.
Samosas are the best! Years ago I used to work in a Greek restaurant. It didn’t serve Samosas but one of my co-workers was a fast car driving, fancy attire when off work Pakastani man. I wish I had asked him more about his world before he left the US. Your blog is a lovely connection to a new (and yet familiar in some ways) world. Thanks for sharing!