Day 2, June 30, 2015

1:29 pm.

I started reading Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys. It is so hard to pronounce her name. I read about the book on Pretty Books blog. She is a huge fan of both of her books. And this was the one I got my hands on. So far I really like it.

It is based in New Orleans. New Orleans is such an intriguing city. I first came across it in Vampire Diaries and then the Originals because Klaus and his family are from there and the story is based on that town. It is portrayed as such a cultural city with a bit of mystery hanging in the air. And that really makes me want to visit it. Some cities are famous for their landmarks which makes people flock on it from all the over the world. But New Orleans sounds like a landmark itself. It is known for its nightlife and the flow of music.

7:25 pm

I feel much better than yesterday. Still feel a bit woozy, other than that all is well.

I was talking to Abdullah about how the past few months, I have been focused on what clothes to wear to a party, recipe to try out, family feud to sort out or celebrate some occasion. A friend made me see the intellectual person in me after getting in heated discussion. Someone who had opinions about The Stanford Prison Experiment conducted in 1960. Someone who could prove her point. Someone who loved acquiring knowledge. It is not that I don’t like makeup or to get all dolled up. Its just that I like being smart much more. I like to balance a bank reconciliation.

We all perceive ourselves in different ways. Some are content with one thing while other spend their lives hunting after dozens of things. It comes down to how you want to see yourself. Do you want to be a pretty face in a friends wedding ? Or do you want to be representing a friend ? Or maybe you want to be both. Maybe you are okay being neither of the two.

11:59 pm

Just came back from polishing off a Stuffed Crust Pizza with a Berry Mohito. The traffic on the roads is insane. Its like Qatar just learnt that there is a thing called having a life. I am going to go into hibernation so I don’t have to face the horrific traffic everywhere.

Good luck to everyone who still has to shop for Eid.

Adieu !

SAP
…………

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Its What He Would Do

My father is a very religious man. The kind of man whose faith is undeniably strong. He not only tries his best to live according to the Sunnahs but makes sure that others do as well. He has traveled all over the world, dedicating his life to what is called “Tableeg” which is basically trying to become better Muslims and working hard to convey this to others as well.

I am very proud of my father for that. His eyes light up, words gain speed when he starts talking about Islam and trying to be bettet Muslims. Its his passion. Despite that he has never forced any of us to do the same. He has given us that freedom to do things because we believe in them and because its Allah’s order. Not because he has forced them upon us.

His journey started in University and since that he has had a beard. Its almost white now with bits of black here and there. But its something that signifies who he is. And what he loves doing. Its not just a beard for him. Its his whole life in form of memory cards with each detail meticulously catolouged. So what do you do when you are given the task of choosing between his love and his life ? Do you choose life because that id what you want ? Or you choose love because that is what he would want ? What do you do when you are forced to take a decision as hard as bombing a nation ?

After almost three weeks in the ICU, doctors said that they need to perform Tracheostomy, a procedure to help a patient breath. Now this is done by making a opening where your neck meets your body. And a pipe is inserted there with a suppory sustem to hold all that in place. The doctors said that its standard procedure to have certain portion where you are go to operate, be sanitized. They needed to shave his beard.

Huzaifa immediately said no. Me and amma said the same. We talked about it. First of all, my father himself had strictly told us not to do anything of the sort if something happens to him. Secondly, it wasnt our place to do that. Its his beard. Something that he has kept all his life. How can we take any decision regarding his beliefs ? You see, I believe in health being above it all. Had it been anyone else, I would have cared less. But this was someone who had spent his life leaving his family to do something good. It was not just a mop of hair on his chin. It was his life’s work, staring right at us.

So at first the nurses trimmed it a bit and cut some from the sides after getting our permission. But then it was noy working out. Because there was a high chance of infection where his beard touched the pipe.

We decided to ask someone more knowledgable and called my brother in Pakistan. He asked Muftis (a person who has learnt 50000 Hadees and is most knowledgeable about Islam). He said that you can shave the beard if its absolutely necessary. Even then Huzaifa relented. He kept saying no. The doctors were very cooperative and did their best to help us.

In the end, aftet a suggestion from a nurse, Huzaifa decided to trim his beard himself. He tied the longest at the chin. And then trimmed the rest.

My point is I am not that religious. Neither is Huzaifa. And it was really hard to take these decisions. It was like questioning whether to throw all my books or keep them in storage. The answer was hard and not ours to give. But under the circumstances we had to.

This was not about what we wanted to do. This was about what Abbu would want to be done in such a situation. Life has a sick sense of humour to do these kind of things. It throws oranges at you while asking you to make lemonade. What you have to do is make Orangeade.

Sometimes you do what the other person wants while putting your thoughts behind. You do it because deep down you know that you would want someone to follow your wishes if you were the one in that situation. We all have different things wr believe in. What we need to remember is what the other person believes in.

                           …SAP…..

Letters To The Moon # 7

Dear Moon,

Apparently, not knowing whether your husband is wearing the new shoes or not is also a crime in the married world.

I need some answers from these so called Desi mothers of ours. Why the hell do you bring up your kids so dependent on you ? They are independent enough to study in international universities, go to work at world renown companies but are not able to match their ties with shirts. How ? And why ? How is it a wife’s responsibility to pick up his clothes off the floor ? Or call him every two hours to ask if he had breakfast, lunch etc ? Is he not sane enough to go and eat by himself ? or is he incapable of doing that ? Continue reading “Letters To The Moon # 7”

Letters To The Moon # 6

Dear Moon,

Its hard when you are caught in between things. You are in the middle of one of those suspended rope bridges on top of a river, seen on TV which everyone wants to cross, but it turns out that you are stuck. You cannot go forward because what awaits you is more horrifying than the rope under your feet. And you certainly cannot go back. So you stand their, holding onto the side of the bridge with all the strength that you can muster, hoping and praying that the bridge stays secure. And some miracle occurs. Continue reading “Letters To The Moon # 6”

Letters To The Husband # 2

Dear Abdullah,

The reason I started these letters was because I like to say thing, explain my thoughts, put them in words or write them down, I like expressing my views. But here is the problem, you don’t like listening to me saying the same thing in ten ways for 15 minutes. I like saying everything that is on my mind, even if my theory has ten aspects and you understand it in the first two minutes. My mind needs to hear them out loud, for me to think it over and save it. So I thought, I will just write to you because you do read my blog.

You are a very content man and I love that quality about you. But being content stops you from aspiring for better things in life. It stops you from thinking ahead and you end up exactly where you were ten years ago. Living in the present is amazing but at the same time, we need to at least think about where we want our life to lead. We don’t have any control over what happens but we owe it to ourselves to at least try.

Something that my friend’s dad once said (which has stayed with me all this time), that I want the quality of my life to be good. When I work hard and get paid more, I am not going to put it all into savings for my retirement, first and foremost I will increase the quality of my life.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t envy people who have the luxury to shop in Louise Vuitton or Gucci all day. Or take endless vacations to exotic places. Neither am I ungrateful for everything I have. Because I know that I live better than 90 % of the population in this world. And I probably don’t deserve all that.

But I do like to aspire and work for better things in life. Whether that is the opportunity to travel more. Or buying more books. I like the idea of standing in my own apartment, a car parked underneath, studying further, a job that I love and all that being the result of our hard work. I say our, and I mean our. I do not mean YOURS or MINE. I know that a lot of the time, the things I say are either yours or mine. But this is OURS. I want us to have two separate lives intertwined with each others. The freedom to do what we want, at the same time be willing to compromise on certain things. But all that being OUR decision., not yours or mine or anyone else’s.

I strayed from my point again. SORRY !

Khair, my point is that while we are very lucky and fortunate to live the way we do. But it’s not all I want. It’s not all what you should want.

Lately, I have seen you talking about what you want to do in the future. And here is what I think. I think you should do it. You know what we were talking about the other day and I kept interrupting you, telling my ideas. Let’s do it. Right now. Right here. At this point in our lives.

If there is one thing I have learnt, it is that there is no time like the present to try.

Let’s do something that you love and I have no interest in. But I am willing to try.

Yours,

SAP 

Letters To The Husband # 2

Abdullah, (You do not deserve to be called dear today)

OMG ! You said something so insensitive that for two whole seconds I kept looking at you with zero facial expressions. Here is the reason, because I did not know how to react.

You ask what you did ? Good question. Here is a recap. Remember, when you asked me very politely why I cannot eat a small scoop of ice cream ? Why was it that my ice cream quantity had to be at least big enough for four people ?

I mean, how can you even ask that ? Who asks that ? Its ice cream. Its the number one rule of eating ice cream. You do not just get a single short teeny tiny scoop. That is like staring at it with puppy dog eyes. I have NEVER eaten a small scoop. I did not even know that they existed until I married you. You, my friend are a shame to the world of ice cream.

I do not remember even Moawiz ordering a small scoop for himself, even when he was four. That kids has better taste than you.

Here is the funny part. So today, after your stupid question, I ordered two small scoops, one Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and the other Mint Chocolate Chip. I was done before we even arrived home and it takes us like five minutes to get home. Ice cream should not disappear in five minutes. I seriously thought that someone had robbed me when I was eating it. Because it was like I had not even started that it finished.

This was a huge mistake on my point. Needless to say, that is not happening again.

Remember how we talked about my daily need of ice cream and you ooh so high and mightily pointed out that paying 18 riyals daily for ice cream was a little too much. I resorted to eating McDonalds ice cream. (Thank you McDonalds for keeping people like me alive and sane )

You need to remember this generosity of mine. Let’s be honest dude. If a time ever came that I have to choose between you and ice cream, you know what my choice will be.

My point is, the next time you make such an outrageous comment on my perfectly healthy and awesome lifestyle choices, please decide whether you want to live with me peacefully or just live with me. The choice is yours. 😉

Ice cream’s truly,

S

…….

A Miss Of Expat Life

Dij : “F just got engaged. “

Me: ” Whatttt ??? That’s huge and awesome. What did she wear ? What did you wear ? Where did it happen ? I need all the details ASAP. “

I am typing this while reaching for the laptop and logging on to Facebook, still in my Abaya, just to see if she has uploaded any pictures, to see what she wore to the big day, how her fiance looked, what the ring was like, what my friend wore, every tiny detail of the function. I checked my Instagram after that to see more of her pictures and comment my happiness on them.

When you have friends in different countries, at first its very exciting. But it becomes boring and lonely pretty soon. Here is the hard part, you miss your friends graduation, their birthday, then their engagements and weddings. The first time it happens, it hurts a lot. Because at the end of the day, there is not much you can do.

I remember, back in the day, when we moved from KSA, I never felt this because I was visiting Jeddah every two months due to several reasons. We did that for almost two years. And I was much younger at the time. So getting a phone call from a friend, in another country, on your birthday was a huge deal for me. We all made an effort to wish each other, post presents and still be the same way. But it did not work like that. Phone calls were missed, numbers miss placed or changed, presents lost in the mail and distance just created these invisible barriers between us.

When you are younger, you do not make that much of an effort to keep in touch with someone who is not in a hundred km radius. Its just the way it is.

But as you grow older, you meet other people, the ones you leave behind start coming back to you and you start keeping tabs on them. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, Viber etc have made this much easier than it was in the days of MSN emails, texts and actual phone calls.

I remember looking at my best friend’s (at the time) pictures from a birthday party, every single person I knew, people I even hated were there, except me. Hands in hands, or on shoulders, drinks in huge glasses, some of my friends trying to sit down, some bending to get in focus, smiling at the camera, that picture came out perfect. But I was not in it. That picture was still complete. Like I never existed. I hated being an expat at that moment.

I am extremely lucky that people message me to tell the important happenings in their life or their sibling’s life, or friends who get worried if I don’t reply, who don’t say anything if I forget their birthday or graduation. because they know that as long distance friends, we are past all that.

Its a hit and miss. Sometimes your wishes will reach them on time. Sometime they won’t. But the thing is, your wishes mean that much more to the other person. Because they know how busy you are in your life. Taking time out of it to simply message them, congratulating on their special occasions becomes a big deal.

…SAP…

Letter To The Husband # 1

Dear Abdullah,

First of all I sincerely apologise for what I am about to do. But I am going to do it anyway, that is write about you. Because I want to and this is a free world.

I love writing letters and doing sentimental things like that. But you do not even try to like that. I thought why not write a virtual one since you do read my blog.

I have realised that I do not appreciate you as much as I should. That is because I know that I am stuck with you for life, whether I like it or not. Like the fact that I hate your habit of throwing your clothes on the floor or never paying at a restaurant. Your wallet only materializes when we are at KFC, McDonalds, Shawarma place, Burger King, Baqala etc. Dude, be a man and learn to pay up.

The past year has been really weird for me because as much as the world and our society tried to change me, you did not try at all. And the ironic part is that I expected the total opposite. And while everyone else was busy telling me how to wear clothes or make a certain dish or go to someone’s house, you were there telling me it was okay to be whoever I wanted. Or not do anything at all. I felt okay, like even if I stopped studying or did not cover myself in a layer of make up, I would still be okay.

I have learnt a lot about people, how they are, what they say and what they really mean. But in all that, I have seen you as well. And every time I look at you, my optimism soars, like a bird flying higher and higher. Because you are the most content man I know. You are happy and perfectly okay the way you are right at this second whereas the rest of us, want this, achieve that or travel there.

I remember telling you, more like babbling about what I wanted to do in life, the places I wanted to explore, people I wanted to meet, food to eat etc. And I asked you, what do you want ? And you said, “Me ??? Well, I have everything I ever wanted. Actually, more. I don’t want anything else. I already have more than I deserve.”

Let me just tell you that my eyes almost popped out. And I did not believe a letter of what you said that day. But as I started to live with you, I realised that you were not lying.

I am not saying that you are perfect because lets be honest, you are not. And there are a million things I don’t like about you but this letter is not about that.

Its about appreciating you. acknowledging the fact that I do know about the good things in life.

I know that at times you have uncertainties about us. But let me tell you a secret, I think that as long you are you and I am me, we will be just fine.

Right now there are about fifteen trophies in our room and not a single one of them has been earned by either of us. And they are taunting me.

Can I drink coke in one of them ? Ooh, that would be so cool. I am doing that tomorrow.

I just wanted to let you know that I know what a good person you are. And I am glad that you are in my life. Because believe me when I say this, I would not be sitting right here if it was not for you.

Yours always,

S

P.S. I still hate you for bailing out on me, for getting Frozen Coke.
P.P.S. This was the good part. Eventually the bad ones will be out as well.
P.P.P.S. The only reason I am writing this is because at least you will READ what I WRITE this way.

This Society And Its Cruelness

There was a death in the city three days ago.

.
An aunty very dear to us, had the misfortune of losing her husband. He was in the hospital the past 1 and a half month, really sick, not being able to cope with pain but he was breathing, alive. 
I have seen that aunty go about her day, working selflessly for others. When she got married, her husband had a whole family to support, so she spend her years, cutting down her needs, educating and then marrying her husbands siblings. By that time, her own kids were grown up, so there studies became a priority. After that came marriages and finally after all these years, she was free. 
The time had come for her to sit back and relax. 
But destiny had something else in mind. 
Word gets around very fast. Its twisted like a piece of twine. Some of the things I heard were down right cruel. 
“See, his sons are Hafiz-e-Quran. But when I asked him to read Quran to his father, he put it on a mobile instead of reading it out loud himself.”
“We went to their house to pay our respects and his daughters did not even come out of there rooms.”
“I was sitting there for half an hour and I was not asked for water. Back home, we are served tea, samosas, biscuits etc.”
“All of there kids are so rude. What was the use of their parents sacrificing so much for such selfish kids ?”

“At least my kids are not like this. If I die, they will arrange for catering and make sure no one goes hungry from our house.”

“Ali Sahab and his wife were religious but their kids were not at all. They cared too much about worldly things.”

“Parents need to focus more on their kids upbringing. Ali Sahab should have paid attention to his kids religious education.”

“His eldest daughter was not even crying. Instead of tears dripping down her face, she was looking after her own daughter.”

“Where was their daughter in law’s family ? My neighbour’s daughter told me that no one visited, from their family in these three days.”

This is what is being talked about at a dead man’s funeral.

Yes, they are praying for his forgiveness in the next world, for him to be awarded Jannah, reciting Quran and Darood Shareef for hours. But when they go back to their homes, this is what they talk about. Apparently, this was more important then that man’s funeral.

So the next time, someone dies near to us. We need to forget our own grief and cater to the people around us. We need to make sure that they get tea, biscuits, eat Biryani, Qorma, Karahi and then Gajar ka Halwa for dessert. Then spread quilts filled with bird feathers, under them so they sit in the most comfortable way possible. We should assist them in every way so they go home and talk about some other nonsense.

You would expect that our society would leave you alone when a person you dearly loved, dies.

But no ! Not even death can put scotch tape on their mouths.

Lord knows what truly can. 

I Am Free

Right now I am sitting on the Rust coloured, disgusting looking but very comfortable couch, wrapped in Muaaz’s fluffy blanket, typing away with Royal Blue nail polish on my hands, without a care in the world.

Its 5:15 am now and my alarm for Fajr prayer just went off. I dismissed it.

That is what I do. I come here, turn off all the alarms on my phone, with that I turn off the monotonous boring judging routine as well. My ‘not a care in the world’ switch is turned on automatically.

I leave all of my worries at the door which has the “Pirachas” sign hanging loop sided above it.

I need this. After a hectic week or two, I need to come back to this house, see my life over here and know that this still exists. The ‘Live In The Moment” sign, Eiffel Tower and the colourful bed spreads are all reminders of me still being a 19 year old with a huge reading list, a small pocket and a lot of crap. I instantly become the Sumaica who says whatever comes in her mouth and tells her mother to stop taking everything to the heart.

In that house, I am the grown up version of myself. The version that got married, started living in a real bedroom with colour co-ordinated furniture, walls, curtains etc and has had to listen to more drama.

I am a free bird over here, where my mind actually works at 6 in the morning and I start writing. I dream, make plans, think of the future, hope for higher things and be happy in what I have.

The other me is just too busy dealing with everything else that at the end of the day, when she comes to bed, all she thinks about is if something that she did or said will go south the next day.

I take off the embroidered Bareeze suits, gold sets etc, put on my smiley pajama pants, double layer the t shirts, put my books in the bag, grab my laptop and I am out of the door to be my free self. My mom was not home today but I still came because I needed to lie on this crappy sofa, have a terrible back ache, eat a load of smoothie turned ice cream and let go of everything of the past week.

When you get married, there are these invisible shackles that bound you to a typical lifestyle which you have to accept. You may not see the binding but trust me its there. You start taking into account the things that are not even present. You have to think ten steps ahead.

Its not about you.

In my case, its about my parents.

And the wonderful guy in my life.

…SAP…