4:30 AM

The Siddiqui Inheritance.

I used to tutor kids for pocket money during my university days. Once, as fate would have it, my student's exams and my own mid terms fell on the same dates. Being a last minute kind of a student meant that I would stay up all night to go through the syllabus, squeeze in an hour of sleep before heading off to the exam hall. Get back, have lunch and teach the kid. By that time all I could think of was how to get just twenty minutes of eye shut. So this one day I thought of a brilliant idea. I told the kid to memorize a few questions and told him I would quiz him after twenty minutes and ran to my bed for a twenty minute eye shut.

That night Baba called me to his room after dinner. Now baba when he wanted to have a "talk" had this way of calling our names which would send shivers down our spines. I automatically assumed that my mama must have said something to him. "Aaj annie ko koee ladka chornay ayaa tha" (trans: Some boy dropped Annie back home) or "Aaj may nay phir is kay bag say cigarette ka pack nikala hai" (trans: Today I found a pack of cigarettes in her bag). Thinking of what would follow I went to his room.

"Beta, Do you know what an inheritance is?" he asked me. Now I knew that he knew that i knew what the word meant and clearly that wasn't a literal question. "Inheritance, you see, is not just the property and assets one acquires from there forefathers. Its a grander thing than that. Its also a set of values your forefathers established for the coming generations to follow. You might not have any assets left behind for you but the greatest gift that has been passed on to you is that you have halal (pure) blood running through your veins. You weren't fed a morsel of food that wasn't hard earned through honest means. Now you have to work towards ensuring that you pass it on to your kids."

At this point I was a little lost. I mean it just sounded so much like he thought I was earning money through dishonest means and I knew that every penny that I had ever earned was hard earned. The students i had were quite a handful.

"Baba, per may tou hamesha haq halal he kamati houn. I have never earned a penny which wasn't earned through halal means."

"Beta, Have you ever seen Nafees Siddiqui come home during working hours and sleep? Have you ever seen your father miss a day's work cause he felt ill or he was sleepy. Every kid that a parent admits to my school trusts me with his most cherished belonging. Wouldn't it make me a cheat if I didn't stay vigilant and ensured that every kid was getting the best of education while he was in my school. How could I ever for a second become lazy and relax and think what I was earning was halal? Halal is not just about the means. Its also about how you do your work. Its about hard work and doing everything to the best of your ability."

 Years have gone by and I still remember this conversation. Baba, my father, Nafees Siddiqui was an educationist. He passed away in 2010, leaving behind me and six of my other siblings. He had some odd change in his pocket and that was all that he left behind in terms of assets but when I look around and see the kind of corruption that I see, I often remind myself of my inheritance and six others who I share it with. Times can get worst but I like knowing that I have six mini Nafees Siddiquis who will never cheat, or be lazy at work, or be dishonest with their time. May that never change. 

2:02 PM

Premature labor and a world painted Grey.

I believed there were two kinds of problems in the world. The ones which could be solved and the ones which couldn't be solved. So you went ahead and got rid of the former ones by solving them and the latter ones by making peace with them.  I had a simple rule which I thought befitted our simple existences, simply. 

And then I went into premature labor and gave birth to a still born child. 

He was alive when I got to the hospital. Kicking his mommy and just floating around. I saw him when i had the emergency ultrasound. He was waving his arms. I heard his loud heartbeat. Superfast and strong. My boy was a fine one, I believe. I was in labor and around that time is when the contractions started picking up pace. 

Bringing life in this world is a miracle but then there is that portion of this world who does something in the middle. Like I did. I didn't bring life nor did I take away a life. Just something in the middle. 

Now the science of it was that my son was too small to put up with the contractions. Funnily enough it was my uterus who squeezed the life out of my little one. Ironic, isn't it. With every contraction the uterine walls closed in on him and lead him to his death. I sometimes wonder if it was acknowledged by him on any level; The sheer audacity of what was happening. Did he feel betrayed? Did he 'feel' anything at all?  Can you imagine doing something like that? Talk about grey areas and problems that cant be solved yet can't be made peace with either?

Human mind is a funny, funny thing. It makes up stories to make life more liveable. More bearable. I have heard so many of those. "You should be thankful to God, What if he was born with a disorder?". "God has his ways to teach human beings lessons. This just could be a punishment for something. Mend your ways and you will find peace". "You know this little boy of yours will hold your hand and take you to heaven". "You will have your next one and you will forget this ever happened". So many stories. So many well intended word. So much bull shit! 

I'm not sure I understand fully. I mean when people say this to you, is it cause they don't have any thing better to say? Or are there those who actually believe this? I mean how can some one deceive themselves like that? 

How can a woman ever think that a child with a disability is worse than a dead child? Do you see that in me, when you say that to me? Dear well intended-yet-stupid person, a kid with a disability would have made me as happy as a kid on a honor roll in an Ivy League school. 

How can anyone ever be ok with the fact that going to "heaven" is better than the life of their child. Parenting is not about what you get, its about what you give. If living a life in fire is what it takes to give your kid a good life, so be it. Look around you. You are bound to find people who literally did exactly that! A fire which only exists in imagination scares you that much, don't be a parent then.

I feel sad for the ones who think God dishes out punishment like this. I am sorry for not being able to relate to you. I hope whatever childhood trauma you suffered, no other child has to go through. Amen! Also one child is never a substitute for another. Don't insult me or my first born by saying that. He will always be a Mama's boy and Mama would never forget him. 

I wish everyone just understood how this is just how it is. Its a grey colored problem. There is nothing that can be said which explains it or justifies it. I wish everyone pretended that they didn't hear about it or just knew how it really felt. I wish I, a person who normally has no expectations, stopped expecting all this. I wish there was more black and white in this situation. 

The thing with this world of grey is that there is a lot of sadness. There is an empty heart beat. There is distance from the world cause the world doesn't get you and you cant explain it to anyone. As the above mentioned paragraphs yell out to you, there is a lot of bitterness at times. There is a lot of exhaustion and sleepless nights. There is rage directed at those who love you yet cant seem to get you. There are smoke rings and Billie Holiday. There are constant reminders to yourself that submission to God is saying yes and only saying yes. There are efforts at stepping out. There are attempts at conversations and living a life. God's plan, gotta say yes right... but mostly there is only sadness and grief and tears. No solutions and certainly no peace. 

2:48 PM

Girl Vs Boy?

You ask me what do I want? A girl or a boy. I smile and tell you either one would make me happy. 

But I pray to God it's not a daughter. I mean what mother could possibly want that? 

A girl can be so many things... each one more scarier than the other. I mean what if shes free willed for instance? Wants the right of choice and respect to  go with it. What if she wants to wear a veil or a bikini? What if she falls in love a little too many times? What if she expects to be paid as much as her male counterparts? What if she wants to travel the world on her own? What if she decides to be an activist? What if she wants to marry a christian man or for that matter a Muslim woman? What if she's pro-life? What if she's got acne and a slow metabolic rate? What if her complexion is too dark? What if she's flat chested?

So I shiver at the thought of it and pray to God for a son. 

11:39 AM

Dear Hilary,

On thursday you accused the forces of Libyan leader Moamer Qaddafi  of using rape and violence against women as “tools of war.” "It is an affront to all people who are yearning to live in a society free from violence with respect for basic human rights. We urge all governments to conduct immediate, transparent investigations into these allegations, and to hold accountable those found responsible.”

Now I am not denying the possibility of this actually being true. However my problem lies with your blatant audacity with which you adopt this self-righteous tone. I am sitting there, wondering if you actually expect anyone to buy this crap.

Why don't you start by showing the world exactly what was going on in Abu Ghraib? Why dont you give the world some transparency and tell us what exactly has been done to un do those crimes, which your government has even admitted to? Lead by example?

Fuck you, seriously!

12:11 AM

true me?

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." – Oscar Wilde

How much of me have I lost trying to be all that is me, I have often wondered. What if for a period I could just be me without any pressure of being what I am supposed to be me? For a day, living life without having to worry about being a wife, a daughter, a friend, a citizen. Sheer anonymity, sounds like a fairy tale really when one’s entire life has been spent in Islamabad.
Would I still walk the walk and talk the talk that I have been walking and talking for the past 27 years? Why is there such a strong need to constantly fib and lie about our true selves constantly. Is the compromise worth it? Who started it anyway?
Do you ever ponder over this?

10:12 AM


Today I was asked to list down my roles in the general scheme of life. For no apparant reason I did so in an order of priority. Without a thought it came to "Daughter, Sister, Cousin, Wife, Friends, Employee"...and then for some strange reason I remembered my last nights conversation with my mother. She wasn't happy. Her complain was the one I have been listening to pretty much everytime I go over to my 'rents. "You dont spend anytime with us". The day before my mother's elder sister, who I also refer to as mama had called complaining about the same thing. I thought of my mother's eldest sister, whose also in town from UK. I hadn't called her in some time too. Sara, my baby sister, who if I refer to as my life, I wouldn't  be too far from the truth, had asked me to come over in the morning. I got there at 9 in the night. Hashim, my cousin, my brother, my pride never asks anything of me. I never give him anything. Irfan, my husband has given me way more than I ever expected from life; A perfect home, the feeling of being loved and respected, a shoulder to cry on and the kind of love, fairytales are made of. I dont think I have been able to give back even half of it. I thought of all these relationships in my life and what a fail I had been at each one of them. Of all the failures in life the realization of this one has to be the hardest.

So today I made some resolutions and promised myself to not forget my priorities. I am writing this note as a reminder to hpw shitty I feel right now. Its my three cheers to priorities and living life the way I thought ideal as a 21 year old.

Anyone else wanna join the resolution-to-be-a-better-person brigade?

11:21 AM

How a Man should Love a Woman

Oscar Wilde said, and I quote:

“How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she were a perfectly normal human being?”

So I say to the 45% of the world population which has the tag 'Heterosexual, male' learn a thing or two from Mr Wilde. What's so grand about loving someone who is normal, who has no personality flaws you would talk about and people wouldn't be shocked or atleast be mildly amused? What's so grand about that love which probably found a window of convenience and jumped right into it? You think you are something when you marry that girl-next-door, who has never seen hot-insane passion in life, who has never believed in something so strongly that she would get it tatooed on her forehead, who has never gotten drunk and passed out, who has never been precarious in life? What's the fun in marrying a satti sawatri?

I get a lot of comments, sarcasm implying that my husband either must be high when he married me or regretting it now. I normally just crack a joke about it and move on, but you know what I am thinking inside? How end of the day, I am that lucky girl who got a man who gave her unconditional acceptance, knowing that he wasn't marrying someone who was easy? He married me knowing that I am not going to stay in the marriage if everyday wasn't made worth every sacrifice that I was going to be making? He tied that knot knowing that I have loved like mad before and a part of me will never stop? He married me knowing that the Love, i love is Insane and mad and passionate and extreme and obsessive.

He married me knowing I was me. nothing less. nothing more.

and that my friends, is how a man should love a woman.