Friday, November 25, 2011

Hai Jazba Junoon To Himmat Na Haar Justajoo Jo Karey Woh Chuay Asmaan Mehnat Apni Ho Gi Pehchan Kabhi Na Bhoolo

There was a bake sale today. Rather a Meena Bazar, and amongst the rows upon rows of stalls offering me things that I ABSOLUTELY do not need, but oh look so pretty lined up like that, was one selling me my double chin and that third tyre around my waist. As the cashier added up my purchase, one of the bazaar organizers came up to me with a clipboard, asking me with a smile to choose from a list of charities ,one, where they could send the proceeds of my sale to. I chose a charity that benefited prison inmates. Kindred souls we.

Yup, all things said, a mother's "I am in it for the long haul" love considered, and the memory of some good days, it all does come down to sitting on the prayer mat, "lengthening your prayers" so to avoid being the one putting the toddler to bed. I had shared elsewhere how my prayer mat is the last bastion of retaining some sanity in this crazy adventure that is motherhood. Bathrooms are no longer sacred retreats where one can catch up on some reading on a smart phone, for toddlers have mastered the fine art of banging on the door whilst they work on the lock. So yes the prayer mat it is. I have no idea whether this disclosure was helpful for any of the parents out there but it did introduce me to a lovely woman who manages the work from home, mom to two, thinking person hats quite well. She describes herself as someone who

is clumsily juggling marriage, motherhood, moving, and editorship of a magazine. Fortunately, she is able to see the humour in this.

Oh yes she does, and you too will be able to read up on how she does this if you were to click on
or cut/paste this in your browser window

and if you are REALLY short of time and cannot read all of the entries (though you must, you must)
just visit
 or and this which is so so brutally honest about the things we mothers go through , and yes it is funny, and moving at the same time
Oh just go ahead and just read her, please.

OK , so now my Lend Me Your Ears spiel does not end here. You  have to now go and vote for her. And the deadline is 1130 pm THAT IS HALF PAST ELEVEN IN THE NIGHT(Pakistan Time) November 28th THIS YEAR. And you ask me haw hai what craziness is this, we have not even heard what she is planning to do about the environment and here you are asking us to vote for her. Oh stop with that already. We have voted along caste lines, biradari, because we loved the candidate's father so, for the way a particular candidate looks,or to defy the current incumbent, or just because DADDY/MOMMY/HUSBAND/THE VILLAGE CHIEF told us to, 
so for just this once go ahead and click on the fifth star at

and it does not matter if you are not from Pakistan or have a grandmother who lived there at one time. Many, many Pakistanis with Green Cards and some with American passports end up in the Cabinet every now and then. We are all inclusive this way. So vote will ya?

 I could at this stage include some testimonials like how waiters from her local bistro love her for always tipping way way above the recommended ten percent, and how she was a conscientious little soul right from Grade 2. (Her art teacher tells us how she always colored between the lines and washed her brushes right after paint projects)

But I would rather just remind you of how incredibly easy it is to participate in this election.  Just point the cursor to this link and click. Many of us would like to vote come election time, but fifteen hours into queuing up for voter's registration or  the 39th time the guy at the counter asks us to Now SIGN THIS FORM IN TRIPLICATE AND WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOUR GRANDFATHER's DENTAL RECORDS AGAIN, we just give up. And you are left with that ache in your heart, for you too dream wistfully of the day when you could turn around and tell someone I Voted And I Felt Soo Good. And the euphoria, the euphoria, when your candidate wins. Oh man, oh man.

And trust me, can it ever get simpler than this? No moral dilemma as you ready to cast your vote, no one will ask you to take an oath on how you consider a certain sect non-Muslim. You do not have to bite your nails down worrying, OK so I voted for her/him but what if s/he decides to send more troops to Afghanistan. How does s/he look in a suit. The candidate's stand on Birkins. Whether the candidate's educational degrees are for real? Or whether their foreign policy experience is based on being able to view GHQ from their window. Or that they were plucky enough to take the winning last wicket some time. 

I ask you now to take a look at her Display Pic. Mashallah, what a beautiful set of teeth. Does it seem that the candidate will use state funds to pay for her gutka/pan habit. And she is a mother, a mother, even Bhutto had to give up on her Amazon daughter avatar and it was only as a mother that she finally achieved political success. So there you are:

Go ahead.

I think there is a Facebook page too, but as I promised I did not want this to be a stressful voting exercise for you involving logging in and looking up a page. (However, if you do yeah you)

Now hurry along, 
Yes You
Go Go Go

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dil Bole Boom Boom

If this was still 1990 and we were in Rawalpindi I would have torn a page from my notebook and tried in my best penmanship to write a list of songs; 
I would have called for truce and let the Great Sister Wars be for a while, just so that the combined force of the two of us could have begged,borrowed, stolen to get to Radio City in Islamabad and asked for a Mixed Tape.
 And we could have called it something like Lala Nothing Gonna Change My Love For U-1990.
And everyone in school would have run copies of it.

But it is 2011.

And I have not slept all night.

And someone once said right after the World Cup, a couple of months ago, that great moments like this should inspire great art, great writing; and I want to. But as I said I have not slept all night, Gman is away, I live in a country where they have not declared a school holiday even after all that you did, you beauty you, and I have to get busy with the business of mommyhood.

So for now, all I can do is trawl youtube,  and dedicate this to you, as homage. 

We start with this cira 2am Dhaka time:

And for all of you who do not understand the Hindi, (thought they were all singing in Urdu back then, oh well!) I suggest this which was released at the same time give or take a year or two.

Oh yes I could have. Danced. All night. 

For My Heart Went as Nazia Hassan so eloquently put it, and you breathed the life into her words, Boom Boom.

I too can wear pigtails.

For Lala you melt our hardened hearts. We laugh as we have not in so many days, and as we wake up to yet another morning, for a couple of hours we can forget our pain. I pray fervently that out there where the wild things are and madness rules others too find the fire, the inspiration, to face another day.
There is a spring in my step.
And this one goes out to you.

Lest you all think I am Lala Fan Girl Numero Uno, well sadly Tazeen and this post beat me to it earlier this year. Hurry up and read it, for many a time I see myself as Sir Syed going up to that Big Farm in the sky  up there and declaring "I bring for You, Mussadas-e-Hali-Version 2011"--this, this Ode To Lala.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Naam gum jaayega chehra ye badal jaayega Meri aawaaz hi pehchaan hai gar yaad rahe

Inspiration. Tribute. Imitation. Plagiarism.  In a world where nothing comes in water tight compartments; there has never been any confusion, there are no grey areas, while looking at  "borrowed" work. We all know instinctively under which of these four categories it may fall.

I am a strange person and I grew up amongst stranger people. So I have known people who have taken affront when someone in the village named their baby after them/their child/their husband "and they did not even take permission, imagine!" . I have also known people who named their child after a snooty relative' "just to spite them" and given them the same nickname as well "you think you are so superior with your fancy name huh, there you go". And then there are friends who will call you up and tell you they love your nephew so much. Could they name their new baby after him? How we hope he grows up to be just like him. Yes, not so strange actually. But that is the way we are. Where nothing is personal, or perhaps everything is. And so in our everyday life we walk the continuum of inspiration. Tribute. Slipping into the dangerous territory of imitation.  But what pushes us to plagiarize?

We borrow life experiences. But at what stage do they stop being "tales of caution" (remember what happened to X?) or "motivation" (if she can, surely I could stop procrastinating and move my butt?!) and move on to the "copy/cut/paste someone else's life experiences, their life choices" stage? (I have had one frenemy narrating my zany childhood tales as her own) It angered me, not just because it robbed me of my interesting dinner time anecdote, but as my eccentricity is all I have.

Words are all that writers like Parul have.

Yes, unke paas bungla hai, gaadi hai, maa hai, bacha and piyar hai. But in the end it is her words that stay with us. What does one do when someone shares their lives with us in such a non-ansgty way. You could be inspired to, as Oprah keeps on telling us "to live your best life ever", in honour of their approach towards life. I do not want this post to become a gush-fest, but dosti ki hai nibhani tou hogi, Parul has taught me to stop worrying and start living. Just as Kiran and Jammie have about creating a happy bubble and multi-tasking through motherhood. MayG , Trish, The MadMomma and Mona do, being as they are part of my Incredible League of Mommyhood. (And I stop here, not because I love you, you or you in the back row any less, but I can hear the music now). 


there is one thing about channeling them in your every day (or marvel how they are living your lives, and here I explore all the Lost and Found in A Fair Ground theories, Lady K this one is for you) and hope to face life as they do, but there is another thing when we start treading into dangerous "Single White Female" stalker-girl territory. What do you do when you start reaching into someone's life, borrowing their experiences, chiseling them a bit and constructing the edifice of yours? When you reach into someone's change purse and tell yourself Oh Well She is a Rich One, All Those Adventures, It is Not As If I Borrow Some Of Her Days and She Will Miss Them. What does one do about this, hmm?

and then you progress into passing off their life stories as yours. And commerce replaces just looking for platitudes?

And here I broach my Anu Malik vs Nadeem Shravan theory. Both copy. In fact you will not be remiss if you thought their full names were Shree Copy Cat Anu Malik. or Messrs Nadeem Shravan Plagiarizer. But there is a difference in my derision. Anu Malik I fob off with a, ah he has talent, but so lazy yara, why does he have to copy when he can come up with a decent tune. He claims "inspiration" and I grunt a little. But the duo Nadeem Shravan, now why do I resent them so? Yes, they were smarmy. And they wore awful clothes. But I hated them with a passion, for they robbed me of feeling good about my place in the world when there was so little already to be proud of. In their case there was no evidence of any original thought. They based their whole film career plagiarizing Pakistani music.. the 90s were a tough decade for me...I could not email Philips Top Ten every week or all the other chart shows STOP PLAYING THIS SONG AND/OR ATTRIBUTE OUR GUYS. Forget about "inspiration" and "art knowing no boundary" " great minds think alike" ..for in this case it also comes down to money. What I referred to earlier as the commerce of inspiration. Of picking up royalties. While the original artist may live in penury. I could not ask the young lad whistling the tune in Bombay " this is Mehdi Hasan you are singing bro". Or send links to Pakistani film tracks (Youtube why couldnt you come a decade earlier?). There is one thing of calling yourself Bjorn Again. But another thing of umm, we all have these cool hair cuts, wear play suits , have you heard our new pop number "Oh Mamma! Oh Mamma! Oh Mamaa-me-meow-mia!"

So for most of the 90s and some of the Noughties I could only rant and rave and channel 

Dard-i-dil likhoon kab tak, jaon un ko dikhlaon/ Unglian figar apni, khama khoonchakan apna

When do I stop writing of the pain that wrenches my heart? Should I show my Beloved these bruised fingers of mine – the writing-reed that drips of my blood?” 

But I have a blog now.

So when I see people borrowing, and I can see now profiting, from "channeling" "copying" "being inspired"  "imitating" a dear friend's life, I stick my head out. I risk being called The One Who Loves To Stir Trouble and invite all the trolls. Again dosti ki hai nibhani tou hogi. I have a memory that freaks people out. I remember phrases. I remember how they made me feel. And I can pick them out when I see them again even if it has been a couple of years.

Which brings me to you. How I could I forget you, for it was you who inspired me to write this. And this is but a tribute to your craftiness.

It remains to be seen whether you  are a Nadeem-Shravan or an Anu. 

But for now I suggest 


Try it on for size.

If the  cap fits and all that.