Tuesday, October 31, 2006after a most successful kidnapping orchestrated by E of Bella the Blue Truck we roared down the shady klashnikov-and-cocaine-smuggling alley where Mullick's daftar is to look at her new-paint and bookshelves wala daftar. where we met Ejaz who is always such a delight to talk to, and we started to talk books (as all people with more books than hair on their head are wont to end up doing sooner or later) and he told us about what i call the Theory of Book Borrowing, or the Physics of Chori. when someone comes to see you, say, at home, and they walk into a room that is full of books ("a room without books is like a body without a soul", cicero) they are struck with a wave of insecurity (he used a much better urdu word that i can't remember right now, alas): oh no!! this person's read all those books and i haven't!! MY LIFE AMOUNTS TO SUDDENLY A SQUASHED PINEAPPLE AND CREAM SHEZAN WALA CAKE! (okay this is my own dramaai tashkeel but it's my narration so there) and thus they immediately yank out books they think will validate them once more and ask to borrow them (of course, any self-respecting book-lover will promptly refuse because books that have your name on them are not meant to stray anywhere farther than downstairs unless person is on Sacred Exit Control List and even then with careful discretion). thus Books are Intimidating Markers of Something Desirable. hahahhahaha we were all most amused- Ejaz says he makes the insecurity worse by saying things like "what? you haven't read X? oh my god! you've missed out on so much!" hehehe. such evil glee :D
Mina at 3:47 PM
Sunday, October 29, 2006yesterday i found myself at what was supposed to be a nikah but was actually a dholki post-nikah but was actually a quasi-mehndi with tamboo, shiny yellow nylon chaadars and matching squashy gao takiye and a horrid DJ that eventually warmed up and dances to boot. missed having a handy boy around to borrow shawl off because i wore chiffon (season is going), so i eventually threw ladylike decorum to the nippy wind and tucked my cold feet under my legs. very toasty. anyhow, what happened was that as the DJ started to play all the really good indian shaadi songs it turned into a little friend-folder, which was lovely and nostalgic. m for that punjabi song. mo for another. z for yet another; one boy reminding me of ab, the way he was dancing around; balle balle was a's nikah all over again...i may have been cold (not hungry thanks to my awesome raider phuppo H) but i was nostalgic, and bouncing in my seat to the beat...not an altogether bad situation :)
Mina at 5:32 PM
Monday, October 23, 2006eid mubarik to everyone whenever they get to have it! despite doing impromptu moon dances in the lawn after iftari and shouting "mooooon! mooooooooon! come out moon!" encouragingly at the sky AND the strobe light some crazy neighbour kept arcing back and forth across the sky, eid is on wednesday here. siiiigh. will have to postpone day-long wanton sugar ingestion for parson. tomayto, tomahto i guess, in the end- have a wonderful eid, whenever it is! :)
Mina at 9:42 PM
Friday, October 20, 2006although i meant to self-absorbedly happily babble about how the allende is a first edition and how that discovery sparked a thorough search of all other books to find two more first editions [i must be getting on with Goals of Life, one of them was to be rich so i could have many first editions and lo and behold, i'm mildly affluent and have three first editions sitting on various surfaces in my room..you don't have to be rich to have first editions haha] but i'm distracted by this hijab issue that keeps cropping up these days. first it's jack straw. then it rushdie agreeing with jack straw. then kal it was pervez hoodbhoy calling the girls who wore a hijab/burqa in his class 'abnormal'. i notice that these are all men calling the veil oppressive. hoodbhoy and straw are both uncomfortable with completely veiled women because they can't gauge their reactions or know their facial expressions whilst interacting with them- and thus they are abnormal. straw also makes the veil an impediment to national integration. what i'm wondering is that if one is so concerned about community integration, shouldn't you be acknowledging that the composition of your country is a diverse one and so be working towards accepting difference instead of turning it into a point of conflict? jack straw doesn't give a hoot about "improving integration", he wants to effect an internal mini-colonization: if you want to live here, you better look, speak and act like us. so one could be a terrorist, but as long as one flipped their hair about nobody would notice? [am also recalling henry VIII and the whole separatist movement...sure, it was so that he could get his jollies legally but it was also about having the right to make your own choices about your religion. we have agnostics now but i guess being a king you couldn't not believe in some kind of God]
then there's hoodbhoy, whom i do respect, but whose vehemence mystifies me. are you calling the doctoral candidate in your class a moron because of her personal choices? are you automatically dismissing someone who is obviously not as oppressed as you think if she's sitting in your class with a bunch of boys, studying quantum physics? i don't understand- it sounds like he's judging a book by its cover. there isn't a woman alive who doesn't want to look pretty, so if she's choosing to cover herself there's a pretty good reason- and one that she's okay with. i'm sure there are lots of people who may be forced to wear a veil, but if one is doing it voluntarily, who are you to judge them as being oppressed because of your personal phobias? it's like saying that people who have strange piercings creep me out, and so if your face looks like metallic swiss cheese you're a self-abusing, destructive freak and a threat to society. which is balderdash, of course. the personal decisions i make have nothing to do with you, and as long as the swiss cheeser is not running after people with a piercing gun or a hot needle, what's it to you? isn't that what a democracy is supposed to be, a place where one has the freedom to do whatever the hell they want as long as it doesn't step on someone else's toes? we're down to fundamental ethics here, and very basic concepts of myfreedomendswhereyournosebegins, and also falling into the stereotype trap.
islam's increasing publicity [i.e public nature] is also something that continues to distract me. religion is a private business- nobody's wagging fingers at jews for wearing yarmulkes or going cross-eyed at christians for fasting at lent, so why is everyone after the muslims? one obvious reason is terrorism, that has sparked muslimphobia like nobody's business [the one man's terrorist etc debate is another issue]. methinks it's also got to do with putting religion into government, because that hoists it into the public sphere. which is not to say that there have never been religious governments before, but because of the terrorism all things muslim have been thrown into sharp relief. i'm not willing to believe that clothing is truly the issue. politics are. i honestly believe that a secular state is the only real way to run a government, because my religion and your religion invariably pokes each other in the eye at some point or another, and squabbling over witnesses and clothing and divorce is an utterly idiotic way to run a country. one needs to be concerned with health and literacy and libraries and sanitation and foreign debts more than how to punish fornicators. people will fornicate whether you like it or not, so it's probably in your better interest to make sure children aren't dying of diahorrea or there are no slaves labouring at brick kilns instead. concern for women is directed at them only when it comes to sex: what you look like, what you wear and what you do- your temptation factor, in other words. women who wear burqas are oppressed. women who don't are whores. women who fornicate are adultresses and women who do aren't supposed to like it [if they do then we loop back to the whore idea]. is nanga nachoing a symbol of my freedom? no, not really, just as my wearing a hijab is not the symbol of my oppression. what they are symbolising are stereotypes, and it's a shame that otherwise intelligent men and women constantly succumb to their lure.
hoodbhoy said that women who wear a scarf/niqaab are 'hiding' themselves. life is a series of masks, and wearing a niqaab is the least of them. we can be barefaced and just as inscrutable- e are. i don't know if i would ever have the gumption to get over wanting to be pretty and cover my head, let alone my face, but i do know that if someone chose to do it, props to them. they've got guts. and methinks we all need to learn how to be more tolerant of the choices people make- that's what 'integration' means: living with each other despite one's differences. being a german does not make you a nazi the same way being a muslim does not make you a terrorist. besides, hitler's the one who wanted a homogenous population.
Mina at 10:01 AM
Thursday, October 19, 2006Gorpy Has Several Things To Shriek About
1. AAAAH!! the Mean Girls've all landed themselves Fulbrights! as have Xebbie and Bilalty and Sammy and yeaaayy :D [happy shriek]
2. AAAAH!!!!I HAVE A SIGNED ISABEL ALLENDE BOOOOOOOK *rushes hither and tither madly waving her arms around* and it was such a random chance, i'm amazed, and aaaaahh [more on this later] [incredulous, avaricious shriek]
3. we're moving soon!! aaaa [sad-ish shriek].
4. someone stole one of the D's at the centre of one of my hubcaps!! and i was parked in front of a masjid! rrarrr [angry shriek]
5. i'm back to square one and a half [silent shriek]
okay, buss :)
Mina at 10:00 AM
Wednesday, October 18, 2006yay i love sammykins :D i tag reenie, bagheera, cheesoo and azka [H and Mo you've already been by sam, don't sulk ;)]
height: 5'6" when i bother to stand up straight :P
color: pale, i suppose- roza hai.
piercing: four...i ponder a nose or a belly off and on but haven't gotten either yet
tattoos: none :(
Time: 1:30 in the afternoon
taste: none in particular. a little thirsty.
the weather: gorgeous :))
bad habit: interrupting people when they're talking
current crush: none. sniffles.
biggest regret: hhmm i don't think i have one that qualifies as a life's biggest.
Perfume(s): I'm wearing Hugo Woman, which I love :)
Thing I want to do: don't get me started...lol
TV show: am watching Desperate Housewives these days.
book: i can't pick favourites...but i love love the Alice books.
non alcoholic drink: apple juice
milk drink: really thanda mango shakes :D
brand: not much of a brand bunny although nine west shoes are yummyyyy and nothing but prestige for cooky stuff :D
emblem: can't think of one.
perfume: i wear hugo woman and closer by gap...like ralph and romance too.
designer: i really like karma's aesthetic, but i don't wear it *lol*
Chocolate: the day lindt starts making a mint crisp in its 70% dark i will stop eating all other forms of sugar
Have I Ever
broken the law: i'm quite sure i have
misused credit card: nope
skipped school: yesss hehe
fell asleep in the shower/bath: almost
had children: none that i know of
been in love: yes
been hurt: yes
have a job: two, babiss! and the third temp starts soon.
My CD player has what in it right now: weeeelll not my CD player, but am listening to Indian film oldies these days...deewana hua badal la la la
if I were a crayon, the color? wild strawberry :))
what makes me happy? books, good food, good writing, proper friends, surprises and spontaneous displays of affection :)
When/What Was the Last
I got a real letter: some months ago
got an email: fifteen minutes ago
thing I purchased: a lot of books, and a box of lindt extreme orange dark thins.
TV program I watched: i haven't watched telly for two days yay!
movie I saw in the theaters: Pirates of The Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest. much fun.
hugged: how cheap, YESTERDAY!! haw hai
song heard: the dumb afghan rave song hahaha
place I was [besides home]: LGS, in class
phone call: doing jigs and shrieks with BT over his Fulbright yesterday
was depressed: the weekend, methinks, but only a little
What Comes to Mind When I Hear
car: angelita, bellissima!
murder: she wrote, and also that horrible Indian film
cape: the black and white one amma used to wear eik zamaney main....t'was tres chic to nine year old me haha
cell: freecell, the card game.
fun: rocking out in ayesha's car with the gang to tubthumping, on our way to lunch...classic fun moment :))
shoe: i still need really high sexy black heels...
crush: orange juice :S
music: little music notes
love: is a good thing :)
chalk: the strangely unnerving smooth texture of chalk dust on one's fingers
Mina at 1:35 PM
Sunday, October 15, 2006so guess what i woke up to today: a dull repetitive thud. i presumed it was some random activity going on in the hospital, that mass of clangs and bangs and dieselly rumbles and things flying off its roof and into our lawn when it aandhis ferociously. it went on for a bit and i looked up from my carol shields and asked amma what was going on and her voice sails in from the lounge, cool as you please, saying "darakht kaat rahey hain." obviously i leapt out of bed like one electrified and ran out to the lounge khirkies and saw a MASS OF BRANCHES on the lawn! and ABBU standing there like some kind of seasoned woodcutter, overseeing the tree-killing!! so i took my horrified eyes and open mouth and ran downstairs and out of the door wailing a plaintive "what're you doooiiiiiinnnnnnggg?' at him. he explained that the branches over there- that i had just kal admired from my nose-pressed-to-the-thandi-glass vantage point in my parent's room during the aandhi, loving the way the bougeanvillea had climbed up the eucalyptus and was growing up onto the roof like a green undulant canopy- were breaking tiles off the roof, so had to be cut back. of course that was all martian to me because i've never seen any tile fly off the roof and smash onto the basketball hoop thankyouverymuch, so i made an impassioned statement about how tiles are eminently replaceable and how it takes years for a tree to grow and marched back inside to secretly cry a little for the poor tree and the horrible chopping sound.. what an awful way to start a day :( :P
Mina at 2:19 PM
Saturday, October 14, 2006blogword of the week: red
is the colour your skin is when i dream of you,
a thousand glittering rubies torn
from the side of a mountain
Mina at 4:15 PM
Sunday, October 08, 2006my last prat, the super-duper pratanista of them all, F, said she wouldn't read the spivak for me. even despite the chocolate bribe i offered, and big puppy eyes. i can of course read it- and i HAVE been- but now it's just a test of how much people don't want to read spivak and also of love *lol* i don't understand why she must work in everything she's ever read and all her life's experiences into one paper, from richard rorty to marx, from meeting a teacher in a boonie of china to the columbia gym ka cuboid women's changing room (jee haan i am not making this up)...talk your eurocentrism and top/below reprogramming of the pedagogical flow and call it a day, woman, instead of creating a sub-clause graveyard and eleventh page peh saying "in this paper i will be discussing..."- hayeen?! to pichley duss pages main exposition khatam nahien hui? am torn between liking what she writes she she isn't digressing and wanting to slap her for her long-winded pedantic blather.
mullick is my superstar. she said she'd read it for me, and while i will finish it on my own, 'tis saying so that counts :))
Mina at 10:46 PM
Saturday, October 07, 2006on rites of passage
sana is so cute, she pulled her first ever real-and-proper 'nighter at lums!! and she's a SENIOR! she did the whole up-all-night-in-lab-one thang, i feel so proud of my little nerdikins who always paces her work out and thus always gets her 8.56 hours of sleep, but due to other people's work styles she maroed said 'nighter. i gave her tips like "wear jeans and just pack an extra t-shirt" "don't forget your toothbrush" and "eating shawermas from the khoka at 1 a.m on the sidewalk is mystical in the way only 1 a.m on a quiet campus can be" (okay that one i thought in my head, and vaisay bhi baad main khayal aaya when it was morning).
on creative balance
i wrote three poems in rapid succession after sehri parson on the bathroom floor, because i didn't want to put the room light on and wake sana up. when i have my own room and can turn the lights on and off at my will (gasp the hedonism), i will still write sitting on my bathroom floor, methinks. there’s a certain simple clarity in the tiles of a bathroom.
on books, as always
amma says to stop buying so many books, there's no space for them. i insist that books are better than furniture.
on nuptials, fake and otherwise
hahahaha a batchmate just asked if i were engaged! i love rumours sometimes. i wanted to know to whom, but she said she didn't ask whoever told her. darn! maybe some handsome, well-read and slightly psycho stranger is talking about gretna-greening with me. *gorps ponders this for a minute and then laughs* zaroor!! itni gumption kahan? when i propose elopement to my mother (not with her, as a concept) she always shrugs and says 'you wouldn't have to elope, we'd let you marry him.' really takes the fun out of the idea of a forbidden zaalim-samaaj-ke-moo-pe-thappar kind of gloriously complicated egalitarian love, parental consent.
gretna-greening, i wonder what the equivalent would be here....nikahkhwaan ka daftar? best friend's house? islamabad? sheikhupura? it's so easy in islam, *advert voice* na maulvi ka jhanjhatt, na maa baap ka signaychurr! do dost vitness, eik pen (ya availabul angoottha) aur eik aur dost jissko urdu parhni aati ho! aaj hi nikah parhwayen! english papurr also awailabul!
i wonder why flight was so necessary, probably to avoid enraged parents from locking girl away forever and enraged fiances/brothers/other assorted honour killers from turning boy into cold cuts. pun not intended, but wonderfully bad, because i did imagine the killers wielding swords like in some kind of maula jutt movie :D
Mina at 9:06 PM
Friday, October 06, 2006BlogThought of the Week: Because I Didn't.
Dante writes that the biggest awfulness one could encounter in his version of hell is regret: because I didn't. But all my didn'ts gave me things I never expected to have, or find such boundless joy in. Some didn'ts made me miserable. Which is the way everything goes, the trick is to skirt the inferno and keep the doors to one's heart propped open with bookends and ice-lolly sticks lest the good things pass you by.
Mina at 10:14 PM