The shatter here is too great

Broken glass

She exercises great control and executes true care when in her home. Everything is meticulously in its place and not a fleck of dust in sight. Others marvel at her patience and some call in her obsessive tendencies. The psychiatrists on the other hand term it to be her only form of control in an uncertain life.

So, when the vase falls to the ground, the distance between her hands and the porcelain figure is too great. This vase of cherry blossoms and a Japanese spring she witnessed with her family is falling. The world has fallen quiet and the hair on the back of her neck stand alert. Her eyes go wide as the vase falls to its demise. And then it’s done.

At first she can’t breathe and the sound of the shatter continues to ring in her ear, every shard a lament. When she does gain control of her senses, she walks closer barefooted and crouches where every piece makes an intricate pattern on the floor, a constellation of broken pieces mirroring a life that she has always identified as her own.

Her body is numb to the pain of the shards digging into her bare legs, a fact she chooses to ignore before a sob escapes her mouth and she has to place a hand to her lips to control the wail threatening to escape. The hiccups are on the way and she can’t remember what her therapist told her to do in such a situation. She had promised her that such a situation would never occur again and so the coping mechanism would not be needed. So, how did she miscalculate something so important?

She can hear voices now whispering, broadcasting her failures at the simplest of things.

‘Pathetic.’

‘Pathetic.’

‘Pathetic.’

The word breaks her every time it’s uttered and instead of the vase it’s her that’s falling to the ground, slowly plummeting to her doom.

And then they’re all standing before her, picking each piece, one by one and depositing them before her. Her mother is smiling, her eyes crinkling at the corners. Her father is smiling, his moustache lifting like wings. Her sister is smiling, a mischievous glint in her eyes. They make a new pattern on the ground, a constellation that no longer looks like a black hole she could fall into – a web that Charlotte even couldn’t call her own.

 ‘It’s okay.’

Her mother whispers before she kisses her temple. Her father squeezes her shoulder and her sister just laughs, that melody she could never forget even if she tried. She wipes the tears from her face till her family no longer stands before and carefully starts collecting the shards.

She wants control on even the smallest of things because deep down she knows that she couldn’t have done anything to prevent what happened to her family. And yet she replays every scene from that unfaithful day, pressing pause at each point that she wishes she could have done differently. What if she’d woken up early? Gotten out of bed from the other side? Prayed the night before?

But even she knows, or at least tries to know that sometimes what’s broken should remain broken and there are times that no amount of glue can stick what was fated to be apart. Even if she had them tethered to her, tried to control an outcome with the hope that it could be changed, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

Being powerless is a part of life and no matter how much you confine yourself to a controlled environment; a shatter is all it takes to open your eyes to the reality before you.

Tucking 20 under the belt

To think that I started this blog when I was 17 and now a 104 posts later I am 20.

Yesterday, I turned 20. I am officially straddling the neither a teen nor an adult intersection. One foot firmly planted in 19 and the other slowly inching towards 21.

And when my phone blew up with ‘Happy Birthday to you in that sultry Marilyn Monroe voice (yes, I was trying to be ironic) at 00:02 I was happy. Birthdays always make me happy and then when through squeals and big smiles my friend asked me if I felt old I didn’t know an appropriate answer to that question. In all honesty it was only 4 mins into my birthday and the number hadn’t quite branded itself onto my skin. Still, I don’t quite know if I will ever have an answer to that question. Maybe when I’m old enough to shy away my age that would probably be the time I’ll be able to say, ‘Yes, I officially feel old.’ All I can say right now though, is that maybe I’m a bit wiser and maybe I’m not.

I’m not going to start belting out ‘G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S in my best Fergie voice but I feel it. I do. Like my body is making room for a year of interesting things. Like things might actually come together and there is a power surging through my bones that’s making my heart beat just a little bit faster and my fingers tingle as I type this out. As cheesy and cliché as it sounds, there is something different in the air today. Like a jolt of electricity that, in true cartoon form, shakes you all over.

And I’m ready. There is this new hope burning through me and a sense of invincibility that’s giving me a power I thought could never be mine. This time around life is going to be different. This time around life is looking optimistic. This time around I am ready for whatever life decides to throw towards me.

Maybe this is what I needed.

Maybe this is exactly what I needed.

Animation: Loek Vugs

I think life is a journey…

I think life is a journey, one we have no idea that we’re on. Every choice that we make is the road we take to the next town. Every person that we meet can either decide to take the journey with us or just remain a townie, memories held but no longer an active part. […]

Karachi, You’re Killing Me! by Saba Imtiaz

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In a city where gun shots and bomb blasts are a norm, individuals find themselves navigating life as if its ‘all in a day’s work’. Such is Imtiaz’s character Ayesha who lives the life of a journalist covering shootouts, rallies and surviving bandits all the while traveling all over in a rickshaw.

The book gives a fresh look into the life of those living in Pakistan’s Metropolis and the city deemed ‘most dangerous’. Here the sex is casual and the booze flow easy, even if Ayesha never has enough money to buy her cigarettes, pay her bootlegger or her taxi driver because her editor keeps putting off her salary.

Imtiaz, who herself lives the life of a journalist speaks in a tone so true to the characters that one knows instantly what it’s like to be part of a profession that clearly isn’t safe. Yet, as we watch Ayesha navigate her way throughout the book, her strength and determination is quite evident. She possesses the patience and endurance of being a journalist. That is exactly what made her character so enjoyable to read. Her tribulations at finding love in a city that takes up all her time and the man she finds herself trusting, only for him to use her for sex that came with a ‘i-will-steal-your-story-from-under-your-nose-while-you-sleep-in-my-bed’ made her out to be a character you were rooting for till the end.

The book had a very Meg Cabot and Bridget Jones feel to it, filled with humour and a heroine who you often found ranting about a city she loved and wanted to escape at the same time. It was filled with words that Pakistanis, or rather Karachiites will understand instantly and conversations that simply leapt of the page because they honestly felt so real.

Gone are the misconceptions about the women and the life that one lives in Pakistan, especially Karachi. A true eye opener for those unaware. The characterization of Karachi, with a voice of its own gave the book an interesting outlook at the way things are done here. A fun read even if the ending was slightly ‘Bollywood’ but then again living in a city like Karachi you come to enjoy the flair of the drama.