Sunday, March 20, 2011

mad mad mad women

Punjab diaries part1

On a bright sunny afternoon in Karachi, three very different women embarked on a journey for three days. Little did they know that these three days would become the three best days of their lives. They met, befriended and laughed at every joke, every chance they got. All three were from different age groups and backgrounds and yet this never affected the friendship they entered.
This is what I did for the past few days when I mentioned my trip. I felt younger and older at the same time. They made me feel younger because I was and older because they trusted my opinion. We cracked up at my supposedly high chances of matrimonial success if I could find a landowner there and inherit his millions. This was our favourite topic along with discussing the many kinds of men we encountered. All day, we would slave ourselves, trying our best to impart education, making sense to the poor senseless and then spend hours visiting other government schools in the neighbouring villages. At night we would have laughing fits and it was impossible to control them. I would tell them how much I loved the cook of the rest house and would do anything to take him with me. They told me better and funnier alternatives to keep that cook. Truly, his cooking did bring a smile to our faces.
Then we decided to go shopping to unwind a little. As they say, it is a woman’s best friend; we thought we should give this a try. A market, highly recommended by the locals, as having the wonders of embroidery and variety, we set off thinking exactly the same. A market it was but something that was utterly chaotic, disorganized and stretched for miles. We walked and walked only to find ourselves more lost and at times separated from each other then calling frantically to locate the dislocated. Tabby wanted to shop and take lots of clothes for her friends while nanny was indifferent. I searched for a nice funky bag for my Mac, something that I knew would be impossible to find. Khussas and chapals were a big disappointment. Shadow work was pretty and jewellery beautiful. My partners literally shopped till they dropped and spent every penny that they had. The tough part was to carry all that shopping back to our car. We did it, half cursing in our minds, half happy to have bought so many things.
We told each other stories we hadn’t before. Nanny talked about her husband and his brilliance. Tabby talked about her children and surprisingly, I was a lot like them. I often joked about her and my mother being future best friends because the resemblance was just uncanny.
At the airport, we encountered a mysterious looking man who apparently hated babies. His seat was supposed to be next to tabby’s but instead of taking it, he told her he’ll join her later. This became a good point to tease tabby after every minute that the gentleman will soon join her.
Before the trip, I was nervous and extremely apprehensive. I didn’t know tabby and briefly remembered nanny as she had been my kindergarten teacher. But the friendship we formed seemed like we had known each other for years. Nanny asked me on the plane if I had ever laughed so much in my life before and tabby told me that I was a good roommate . As nanny pointed out on the plane, when like-minded people travel together, they have nothing but fun. And for three days, coming from three different households, we connected so well that I would tell them that we must come here again or at least meet in Karachi. It was a hilarious situation when the ghee that tabby had bought with a lot of excitement was unfortunately refused by the civil aviation authorities. Seeing her sad face made us laugh even more and she was convinced that it was someone’s evil eye that had prevented this.
Our lives are short, sweet and very busy. And in this short life, we should try to make each day as pleasing, fun and interesting as possible.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

heres a little for the country in great distress. i know iam posting this a day late only because i was out of town and without any access to internet. lets all pray that Japan comes through... amen

Sunday, March 13, 2011

chocolate of life

alhamdolah... life is sweet, there are things to be grateful for. a bridal shower that was a huge success. a friend more happy and contended now.
my work at school is being liked thank God! today, my first book came out. i designed the entire cover and inner pages except for the colour. and everyone really liked it along with the concept that i came up with for the classic musical night. everything went well. and now a musician has asked me to design his entire rock concert concept. from the invitation cards to the posters and the back drop. i have started working on flip and fold again. i am slow but slowly making progress...
readers do wish me luck and say a little prayer for a dear friends grandmother who passed away today!
see you soon after my trip! inshallah

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

a life turned around

Can a trip change your life? Or least for a while. Well, it did change mine. I was at a stage where nothing was going well. Everything was extremely monotonous and mundane. I was certainly heading towards depression if nothing else. I am not a pessimist but life certainly wasn’t peaches and cream. I prayed for a tiny miracle and it came true. I got an escape. A tiny vacation. My head told me to accompany the kids on a trip to a remote desert of Pakistan.
I hurriedly packed my bags, borrowed a camera from a close friend, bought some snacks, charged my phone and with an adventure set in mind, I headed towards the bus. It was on a clear morning that we embarked upon a journey of seven hours. Ipods charged, bags of chips opened and with the stereo blasting in our ears, we watched the sun go down and come up again.
I had never seen a desert before. Never. I had been to the mountains several times but the desert never really interested me. Surprisingly as we approached the dry land, my eyes did not for a second leave the window, courtesy of my traveling partner who very willingly gave me the seat to witness spectacular sites throughout the trip. The sand dunes of the desert are like huge piles of dry, dusty sand that are as high as hills and extend for miles at a stretch. Little patches of life growing on yellow land are going on for hours and hours. Hungry camels nibble on leaves and shrubs. Small children run barefooted with goats and hens as companions. They stared at us as our bus crossed their path, some smiled, others mistook us as foreigners.
This trip also proved to be a reminder of old art history lessons that we dismissed as boring and unimportant. In the museum of Umarkot, I stumbled upon the original text of the famous Akbernama, a biography written under Akbar's rule. The tattered, sacred text of Persian before my eyes was more precious than anything I had ever seen before. Not just that, the museum housed currency from the mughal period along with miniature paintings. All of this was ducked inside of a large beautiful fort that gets lost somewhere in the darkness of night. From the top of the tower, the entire town can be seen, light emerging from small mud homes and tiny buildings.
The best moment of the trip was near a quiet lake with the sun going down, forming a huge splash of orange and yellow across the sky. We went to a place called Nagarparker, not far from the place where we were staying. Nagarparker can be a tourists delight. The hills there are more beautiful than ever and boast a rocky terrain. Below are huge rocks that make the view more picturesque than one can imagine. Right over there lies a quiet, undisturbed lake whose water only moves when frogs decide to jump into it. I sat there as long as I could, just watching, trying to capture as much as I could. One can actually get lost in the serenity of that place. It was maybe a small glimpse of heaven.
In the middle of that lovely scenery, sits a Jain temple in ruins. Beautifully carved into rocks, it stands straight and invites attention. As you go closer and touch the craftsmanship of mankind, it takes a while to absorb so much beauty.
It was during this time that I really understood a part of me and a part of life. As the kids traveling with us sang, danced and gossiped, I contemplated throughout. For the first time in my life, I did not notice the people around me. I did not feel lonely when I was alone. I did not feel the urge to talk to someone all the time. I was lost and so absorbed in the presence of nature that for a while nothing mattered. I had private conversations with God. I told him how beautiful he had made everything, how much thought went into it and how thankful I was for my life.
I realized on the trip how much I truly enjoy traveling. I loved that we woke up early morning and heard the cry of animals somewhere in the distance. How fresh we used to be at that time and how spectacular each day's view was.
I guess, somewhere along I finally discovered what I want from life. I was unhappy, unsettled and ungrateful. I was angry with myself for being single. I was upset at my family for pushing me towards a relationship that would have been a complete disaster and as the wheels underneath rolled everyday, so did my thoughts to a different level. I came to the decision that single hood wasn’t a curse after all but rather a blessing. Married cousins told me how lucky I was to just pack a bag and leave without any worry.
On my wall are small post it's that redefine the goals of my life. One of them was to be happy the other to buy a Mac. Alhamdolilah I have both now. They say happiness is short lived but as long as it is alive even for a short while, one should make the most of it.