All that mattered in that moment was the moon. It wasn’t the moon, it was a dorrito. A giant, moon-shaped dorrito, clueless about the chaos of the world it looked over. She wondered if she could just pluck it out of the sky. Perhaps… perhaps she could stretch her arm far enough and just… just pluck it and eat it. Perhaps. Perhaps not.
As they continued to drone on and on, she wondered if she should just open the door to this moving car, and fall out. Not even fall, glide. It would be graceful and, as her grandfather had said so many times, all women needed was grace. In everything. The car door against which her head rested was hard and seemed to bite into her forehead. Unforgiving. Just like the society she lived in.
They wouldn’t — or maybe couldn’t — stop. She wanted to hear none of it, she wanted the car to be a nothingness of silence and cold and emptiness, just like how she felt inside. She wanted everyone to be on the verge of tears, a sob choking their throat continously. But what she wanted most of all, was a slim deadly device between her lips, ignited and pouring smoke into her lungs, killing her and yet so soothing. Like everything was cotton candy and she was in the middle.
None of it mattered. Not the huge houses on the sides of the road that ran through the poshest part of town. Not the cars that were worth an average person’s annual income. Not even the suffocating one-sided conversation in the car.
It was the moon. Maybe if she jumped glided out of the car, her hand would pluck the dorrito. Just open the door…
I honestly don’t know what that Not Being Sad nonsense was. Of course I’m sad! How could I not be! Not as sad as frustrated, though.
It is so, so hot. I hate it. Everything is hot and sticky and sweaty. I have sweaty hands and that is just worse. Come back, sweet cold bitter winters! Come back and save our souls!
I am a dishonor to the family. Although, I have never done anything to achieve that. I am a complete embarrassment. Why? I do not know. Maybe it is because I have opinions? Maybe because I am strong in the head, assertive, and I demand to make my presence felt? Maybe because I think having a career and giving back to society and making it a better place to live is more important for me than entertaining ridiculous notions like marriage? Is it because I am more logical and rationale than either of my parents? (Not making any of this up, this has been said to me by many other people and everyone in the family will agree. My elder sister says I am the “logical” one in the family.)
There is nothing I can do to make anyone happy, I’ve realized. Why do people still have such weird expectations of me? So, I will stop responding. I will not waste my efforts. I refuse waste my energy on something that will have no outcome and will give me no peace.
The other day, I decided to put on one of those peel-off black masks for my skin. Usually, I like to stay in my room, but anyways I had to step into my parents’ room for a minute. My dad took one long look at me, and shouted, “Kabhi to koi seedha kaam kar liya karo! Moun kaala karna bohat ridiculous aur ghatia harkat hai!” (Can you ever do anything right? Blackening your face is a ridiculous and substandard(?) thing to do!) In our culture, there’s this metaphor, moun kaala karna, or blacken the face which means to bring dishonor and disgrace upon the family. Now, typically, I’d use this phrase if my daughter ran off with some guy or if my son raped a girl, not when my daughter was trying to rid her skin of blackheads. If I wasn’t already treating my life as one long sitcom, I’d be pretty upset.
I don’t know why, but lately I have these fits of weakness. As in, actual physically weak where my blood sugar and my blood pressure go really down and I’m cold and I’m sweating and my hands are shaking. My face turns into this weird yellow. I’m not sure why it happens. The first time it happened, I was alone at home. I could barely get to the kitchen and eat something, I thought I’d collapse any second. I knew I was alone and that’s the only reason I fought against myself and had something to eat. The second time, I was on the roof with my sister and I had to climb down the stairs and collapsed on to my bed. Again, I had to eat something to make myself feel better. The third time was two days ago, at night. I had a very filling meal in the evening, though. But my face was still very very yellow and pale when my dad came home. And he was angry because I had already eaten. I mean, we usually eat early and he came home late so he expected us to wait. But I was just so surprised! Anyone else would’ve looked and me and said, do you need to sit down? Are you okay? And then here is my own family, with dad going on and on about how he should just go to a hotel and eat out because *insert exaggerated dialogs that he usually says*. As I set the table, I was literally breathing very heavily and telling myself just put this on the table. You’re okay. Everything is okay.
But you know what? Everything is not okay. All the unspeakable things happening… It will never be okay. And I have to live with that. These events might seem very minor to you, but for me, after this summer, after everything and then this, how do you expect me to hold on? I won’t. I can’t. It will get worse and after that, it will be lonely. Not much of a life to look forward to. Maybe I should just end it.
I am at peace. It’s a different feeling, one I don’t experience a lot. I haven’t said anything, not even to myself, but I realize this feeling is my heart in shukar. Gratefulness. It’s like I have conquered the world with my love. I could do anything at this moment, I am invincible. And yet, as a very sensible friend of mine once told me: Feelings are fleeting. I am so overwhelmed I do not even know what I can do to seize the day. It is a crazy, beautiful world indeed. I’ve realized I don’t look at people’s faces enough, although they are beautiful. I found myself trying to conjure up a few faces from memory and it pained me. I should pay more attention to the present, to living in the moment. So today I looked at all the beauty that is a human face. So many delicate movements, features. And all so entirely unique. It gave me a childish joy, as if time itself had bestowed upon me the revelation of the best kept secrets. I know for a fact that had I the opportunity, I could’ve sat the leaders of the world and sort their differences through nothing but love. Because what is love if not positive energy, and that is all we need.
“Ae watan ke sajeelay jawanon” by nur jahan plays in the background. And I look at old and new pictures. I am so entirely nostalgic. Perhaps it is because of the tears that flowed earlier today, they took with them all negative energy. I feel like I have been reborn.
Mere naghmay tumharay liye hain. Mere naghmay tumharay liye hain. Ae watan ke sajeelay jawanon…
September 2nd. The first Monday. A half hour wait for the bus admist dirt and mud — it rained a lot yesterday. The more I think about all the faces I’ll have to see in university, the more I want to avoid my department. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be happy to be back? The summer wasn’t exactly pleasant… I should be glad! But as the bus arrives and I fail to push my way through, being as usual the last one to get in and standing next to the door for the 40-minute journey, I just cannot smile. My earphones are screaming It’s all too beautiful but the traffic on the canal says otherwise. I grab onto a bar for dear life, all the summer breaks in the world couldn’t teach the bus driver to be gentle on the pedals. The bus smells of a cool shower on a hot day — you can tell everyone made an effort to look (and smell) nice. In the woman’s section at least. I can’t say anything of the guy’s section, all the times I had to stand there I nearly choked in the BO. I must smile when I get there. I can’t ruin anyone’s day. But then it’s just my face. How do I explain people that?! All faces look outside on the road, some look at me judgmentally, too. I pretend not to notice. Another year…. Am I ready for this? Clearly not. I couldn’t even sleep last night. Weird anxiety. But it wasn’t even for this day… It was the rush of excitement one gets when one realizes one can control time. But I can’t control time. So. This post is a disaster. I should’ve had breakfast… I just didn’t know what to eat. But it’s okay. I’ll make it through today. And the next day. And the next. And so on until next summer I will look back and say, “I survived every day.”
Ah such fond memories I shall have of life when I’m 80.
I am not sad. It is weird, not being sad. I have spent so much time and energy into being sad — an awful feeling. I’m not sure how I got over being sad. A friend of mine messaged me a couple of days ago and as the conversation continued, they said: Let me guess. You’re sad, right? They didn’t believe me when I said no.
It is weird, this feeling. Good, but weird. I am so full of life and so full of admiration for anything and everything around me. I am in awe of the universe and the sheer magic that holds everything together. I cannot fathom how everything is so put together and just so connected. This post is not something I like to put on my blog usually, because maybe I’d get bored if I had to read this on someone else’s blog. But this is my blog, I guess this belongs right here.
I haven’t kept my promise of writing regularly and I am a little disappointed in myself because I thought I’d be able to do it but I didn’t! Oh well. I can still try. I have written some things in urdu, and I really really like them too. I guess I might put them up here although I only have one person here who can read urdu (are you still here tho?).
Tonight is a nice night and perhaps I should sleep but the only real worry I have is that I haven’t written anything creative in a while. Except those urdu pieces. So. I hope I still can. That is like my only talent if I don’t write stories then I am the world’s most uninteresting person ever. I mean, I have a social life but not very happening. I am very ignorant and truly boring. I’ve read TWO books from the 1st of July till today. That is TWENTY days. I waste a lot of time and I have to hold myself accountable for that because wasting yourself is all fun and games until you realize you have to live with yourself. I am currently trying to read two more books and pretending to read a despicable third one as well. I have a month and ten days to actually do something productive that will help prolong this sense of contentment.
The powder that I put on today has a subtle smell that reminds me of very happy days in the past, and that is a nice feeling too. Today at five in the morning, it smelled like the first day of school: exciting but utterly terrifying. I’m not sure why, but it did. I love summer mornings and nights. Everything is so alive! I can babble for hours on my blog because this is me speaking to my mind, but I really should stop. I just hope I find something to do with my time and my life that helps me before it is too late. And by too late, I mean this magical feeling wanes away and leaves me exhausted with life. Humans are a truly magical phenomena and I see that in everyone, especially me. And I really have to stop using the word magical.
If you know a website where I can download pdfs of books for free, please do tell me. I’d be so grateful. And please keep me in your prayers. And please smile and stop and look around you. Smell the air at 5 in the morning. Whatever you’re going through, you have strength in you to overcome it. Pretend you’re in a movie. Everything will turn out great in the end, but for now, the plot must thicken.
I’m sorry for the errors in this post, my hands are so clumsy it worries me. I also have a hard time keeping my balance. I’m not sure why this happens, but it does. Maybe I should look for exercises to help. Anyways.
So it’s been eid here again. I mean, around everywhere. I think there’s too much pressure on eod to make it a happy, joyous occasion. We’re always trying to have that lit eid and those gram-able pictures that we forget to live in the now. What are lit eids anyway? Anything that you document is no longer lit. It’s the moments where the entire fam is sitting in the living room, joking and shouting away, well that’s “lit”. The rest is just pretentious. But we are always so focused on what’s not there. We always forget.
I’ve been upset a lot, lately. There’s loads of reasons, but mostly it’s just this uncontrollable sadness. I’m sad. Why? You have everything, hence you must not be sad. But I am. There’s been lots of negativity recently. And it gets too much at times. And I dislike it. And even when I put things in the simplest way possible, it doesn’t get better.
This morning I was sad. Last night I was sad. I woke up to someone saying something that triggered me. Not as in itt made me angry, but it made me sad and I wanted to end the sadness. I’ve been having lots of thoughts lately about wanting sadness and suffering to end. But it obviously does not. After the elders had had breakfast, I heard someone tell me to clear the table. I heard that, and I stood in the middle of the kitchen and the dining table for some time. I was still sad. Are you okay? I heard someone say. I turned around. Yes, I was okay. I went to my room and fell asleep. I woke up a few hours later. Someone was standing at the door shouting at me. It’s Jummah. It was hard, but eventually I had a bath. There’s a dinner tonight. I’m dreading it. I can’t even stand my family, it’s so exhausting. This dinner! I do not want to be hugged.
She just sat there, singing inside her head. Sometimes it felt like the screaming and shouting and crying never stopped, it felt like hors had passed and she still sat there on the sofa, looking at the people in front of her, supposedly her elders. You can’t think rationally. That was one allegation. Well, in that moment, no one was thinking rationally, except her, obviously. She was proud, though, that she had developed this special mechanism of removing herself from situations and analyzing them as if she wasn’t part of it. Every few minutes, she’d look down at her hands and remember her tea, and take a sip. Eventually, she had nothing to do. She couldn’t interfere, it wasn’t her place. But she sat and thought of all the scenarios where she could’ve intervened and saved a lot of trouble for a lot of people. Oh well, maybe one day when she was somewhere where she was valued and respected. A far off day, indeed. Tonight, she must sleep. The only way she avoided thinking. The only way she avoided all unpleasantness. But although she did fall asleep at first, she woke up after a half hour and found she could not sleep. This hadn’t happened to her in a long time. She could hear voices in the next room. Unpleasant. She wished she could go back to sleep. But she couldn’t. Her head was spinning, even though she was lying down. Funny. She felt as if someone was rocking the bed. She raised her head, there was no one. Now she felt nauseous. Nothing she could do would stop the noise from pouring into her ears. Well, time to sit outside. The only place that had some peace. It was a summer night. It was hot. The mosquitoes charitably added to the bites on her legs and feet. It didn’t matter. Right now was about God. She looked up. Before she could get a word out, someone called her inside. She sighed and said, “You know, just help.”
Perhaps peace was not for her. Perhaps she would never find peace in her heart, or around her. Perhaps it was better to not be after all.
na thā kuchh to ḳhudā thā kuchh na hotā to ḳhudā hotā
Duboyā mujh ko hone ne na hotā maiñ to kyā hotā
–Ghalib, meri jan.
(Rough translation: When there was nothing, there was God. If there was nothing, there would be God. The act of being destroyed me, what would I be had I not been?)