Dear Amma: ‘Today Is All About You’

fgbYou have always had one complain which is that I have written about Abbu so many times on the blog but never about you. So here you go.

Dear Amma,

Whenever I think of myself, my identity and personality, I always go back to you. The beliefs that I hold so strongly and so close to my heart, are there because of you. You might not see it. But I can. Continue reading “Dear Amma: ‘Today Is All About You’”

Doha at 2:00 pm, on a Wednesday

February 17, 2016

2016The weather is perfect, the sun is shining accompanied by a slight breeze, I don’t encounter any traffic on the road, the 20 minute drive to the Pearl actually takes 20 minutes instead of 40, I find parking within two minutes of reaching the boulevard, a couple of people are jogging and I manage to eat with a spectacular view.  Continue reading “Doha at 2:00 pm, on a Wednesday”

Urdu- Just A Language

After dinner, everyone gathers around in Ammi Abba’s room and we read a couple of a Ahadees from a book. The book we read from is in Urdu and everyone has to take turns to read it.

The first day that happened, Abdullah made ten mistakes in three lines that he read. The next day, one of his siblings could not even get through the first line and the other was just okay. I was the only one who read the whole thing without a single mistake.

That observation made me sad. I love being bilingual despite the fact that growing up, I hated studying Urdu as a language because it’s very tough. It was the only subject I lost marks in, without any explanation.

You have what is called Tashreeh where you have to interpret the Poet’s poems and write about it in detail. There were essays written on topics I had not even heard about. On top of the language being so hard, the book that was assigned to us was ten times worse. The chapters were lengthy with literally zero meaning, dated 30 years back.

I never liked Urdu and used to object studying it. In my opinion, it should have stopped being a subject a long time ago. In the two years that have passed since I finished school, I have used it probably once and that also to write a recipe for someone who didn’t know English. So for me, Urdu was not even practical because it was not in our daily usage.

About a month or two ago, my mom gave me Bano Qudsia’s book “Rahe Rawan” which is a biography of her late husband and writer, Ishtiaq Ahmed. It took me about two weeks to read it, a lot of skipping in between and I still could not finish the whole book.

Honestly, I loved the way she wrote. It was not her writing style, it was what she wrote that was incredible. You realize what mind of thoughts she comes from. The fiction books I read daily are not even tenth of what she had written in that book. Her thoughts were a reflection of what I had in mind. That book made me ponder on her written words. That was the moment, I truly regretted not reading enough Urdu books. And I have read a lot of Urdu books. Even then there was so much I could not get my head around.

Whatever my past opinions have been, now I am grateful for studying Urdu as a subject. Because whenever I read something, it feels like I have a part of my roots with me. Not only does it represent me but my parents and extended family as well. I might not consider it home but it’s where I was born and where I am from. People who grew up there shaped my thinking, brought me up based on what they had learned from that country and it’s language.

…….

A Letter To Strong And Independent Women

Dear Nataliya, Nadia and Waliya Khan,

May 29, 2015. 

You do not know me but I know you guys quiet a bit. You see, I have been following you as a blogger and as a photographer for almost three years. That is a long time. Sharing a part of you on the internet lets the other person see that version of yourself.

The first time I came across you guys was through a friend who showed me this photograph, taken by Waliyah of your Dad’s army uniform. Then I  read about your father passing away from cancer and the hard time you guys went through. I cannot say that its over. Because losing someone is never over. Its an ongoing journey that just gets older as time passes by. That does not make it any easier or any less painful.

Picture taken by Waliya Najib

When I read about your father, I thought to myself that I could feel the pain you guys felt. Because I have lost loved ones in my life. Things that you go through everyday. The fact that he is not at the dining table for breakfast in the morning. Or his empty wardrobe are all reminders of who he was.

I never fully realized what you felt until now. My father was in an accident on April 5. Long story short, he was unconscious for 23 days and underwent 8 major surgeries and numerous minor ones. The first time I saw him, lying on that hospital bed, hooked to a million machines, I thought of you guys. I thought of the hole that is in your lives. And I could not get over on how you do it.

He is a lot better now. He is awake. He is still in ICU but he is doing much better. You see you lost your father and I was about to loose mine. Now I know what you all endured. I know how it felt sitting in that hospital numb to the core, praying for your father’s recovery.

Losing someone you love is very hard. You think that you cannot function without them. You believe that that loss is the hardest thing you will ever endure. But when its a parent on that losing table, the story completely changes.

I do not know why I am writing this letter to you guys. Maybe because I want to convey my words to you all. Or because I want you to know that you guys are strong beyond words.

Life is very hard. And the society we live in, is also very cruel. It doesn’t wait a second to take advantage of you.

I prayed a lot for your father. He must have been a great man because he has left behind his daughters as his legacy. And when I read Nataliya’s thoughts, I see the upbringing you all had. I see the love and care he bestowed upon you guys. And I see you all, living life the way he taught you.

One day, I want to meet you guys in person. I want to see for myself, those people who have been through so much in so little time. I want to experience your courage in real life.

I want you to know that our society needs more girls like you. We need more independent strong women who can handle things themselves, who are not afraid of anyone.

I wish I could say that it will all be okay. And it will be. But it will never be the same.

Your kids will never get to hear about the time you guys moved houses 9 times. Nano won’t be there to plan the holidays 6 months before their arrival. Or stock the pantry with their favourite snacks. Or give them endless rides as a horse or a lion.You won’t get the chance to have long discussions over a cup of Chai. You won’t be able to tell him that his tie is crooked. Or that his laugh makes you laugh. Or that you will miss his views on Imran Khan’s second marriage.

August 2, 2015.

My father finally came home on 22nd July 2015. We spent our Eid in the hospital, eating Biryani for breakfast and lunch, eating Almond Delight out of a dish. He had another 3 hour surgery on the third day of Eid, where steel rods were put in his leg. But he is okay. He is home. And he is okay.

You three are an example to many of us. You are a ray of sunshine because looking at you makes me realise that you can get through hardships in life. You can do it. Whether you are a girl or a guy, that is irrelevant. Gender has nothing to do with being strong or standing up for your parents.

People say that boys are ones shoulder in old age. I give these people your example.

My prayers and best wishes are always with you guys. I hope Anya grows up to admire her grandfather as much as I do. I hope that your mom continues to pain, write and inspire many more people. I hope all of you get the best of everything, today and always.

Yours sincerely,

SAP

………

Day 4, July 2, 2015

12:20 pm

I am on a very good sleeping schedule these days. I mean, I am sleeping less and am still active throughout the day instead of dousing every few seconds. I sleep after Fajr which is 4:00 am in the morning and than wake up at 10:30 am.

Here is the problem though. I haven’t been productive like I always dream to be. By that I mean, I have been watching Scandal. That is all I have been doing for the past four days. I would not mind it in normal circumstances but when your life is on the line, it kinda becomes important.

I do not know how to stop. The only way I know is to finish it.

4:38 pm

It was suggested today that I am a big spender. Unlike a loyal obedient wife, I don’t save every tiny penny that comes out of my husbands pocket. Instead, I get late night ice creams and eat out on weekends. I buy shoes, clothes and books. I indulge in things that I shouldn’t. I spend money when instead I should be saving it to buy property, build houses in Pakistan and buy Gold as a means of saving. Property that will sit there as some sort of back up, houses I will never live in and Gold that will sit in a bank locker only to be weighed and paid Zakat for, every year.

First of all, I don’t think that I am a big spender. If I look back on this year, my biggest expense would probably be my books. All of whom are paid by the pocket money I receive. I have bought one pair of shoes, that also in sale. Its not because I could not. Its because I did not need any more shoes. I already have a lot.

The one thing I did go all out on was Abdullah’s wardrobe. And trust me, that needed updating. Because it looked like a homeless person’s wardrobe where half the clothes didn’t fit him and half weren’t even his. So, yes. I did buy a lot of stuff. Because I like men to be well dressed. They deserve to.

I am pretty proud of myself for the fact that I have controlled the way I spend money and have bought things that I know I will use. So when you hear someone tell you that what you are doing is wrong. It hurts like a bitch.

It makes you realize the mistake you have made of considering your husbands money as your own. It makes you hate yourself for getting married before finishing your studies, before standing on your own feet, before being independent enough to not listen to someone slap you across your face with words.

The worst part is that we did save money. And we spent it, doing something good for them.

People say that I don’t have responsibilities. That’s why I can spend money on things like food and clothes. As if living with In laws was not the biggest responsibility ever.

Nonetheless, let me make one thing every clear.

Even when I am responsible for feeding, clothing and educating my family, I am not going to spend money buying houses in places I do not know whether I will live in or not. Instead, I will continue eating out on weekends. And watching movies. And going bowling. I won’t buy heaps of gold to add to my stash. Instead, I will be taking a vacation. Somewhere out of country, where my kids will get to experience different cultures and acquire knowledge. I will be spending on Disneyland tickets, ice skating rinks and seeing the view from top of the Burj Khalifa. That is how I will be fulfilling my responsibilities.

And if need be, I will be okay to cut down on all these things. But don’t for a second think that I will deprive myself and my family the chance to live a life in the moment in order to make a life in the future.

I have been blessed enough that I was given a lot of things on my wedding. And I intend to keep those as my saving. I don’t need a lesson in saving money for the hard times. I don’t need to be told to keep it in control.

If there was one thing I was taught, that was to spend what is my budget. And believe me when I say that, even when I am buying a double scoop ice cream, I know that its in my budget. You can set your own budget. You can set rules for how you have spent your life and want to continue doing so.

But please, I don’t agree with your views. Please, let me set my own budget. For once, let me do what I want. Let me be who I want to be.

Adieu !

SAP
…………