The Magic

My sister is the best cook. When we had parties at our house,people adored her food. Bestowed her with titles such as, “you should open a restaurant, it’s going to be a hit” and “you are a great chef” and “you have magic hands”. I was proud of her. But when I entered the kitchen, everything I touched turned into a pale leaf and wilted. It bothered me. I wanted to make delicious food but I just could not.

When my sister got married, I thought the kitchen was all mine. Now I could mix and create my own magical food. But we had a cook who worked for us for ten years so I still didn’t have my space. I blamed it on lack of space and lack of time for cooking food. Being a medical student, I hardly had time to spend in the kitchen. In my semester breaks, I decided to join a cooking centre. I enrolled in a few classes. But that didn’t help either. I prayed to God to gift me with a magic wand. I baked a cake one day and surprisingly it turned out to be great! I took it to my aunt’s home and she was shocked. She didn’t believe I made it. She even asked if I was joking and had brought it from a shop. I had used my sister’s recipe she left behind. I always used it to bake a cake but it never turned out to be this scrumptious and appetizing. It had the right flavour and was well baked. Not too over cooked nor wet. Otherwise I burnt all my cakes.

After my second year of med school, I learnt the trick. Or rather I could point out my mistake. And I was glad. Or may be Allah finally blessed me with a magic wand too. Patience! That is a magic word for cooking and baking. In fact magic for life. A farmer waits for his apples to ripen. Sour apples cause stomach ache. So patience led me on to be a baker!

An Excerpt from my Travelling Log.

In plane

Date: 7th September 2012

My life is speeding up. I am riding a roller coaster and I have no time to breathe. There is so much happening. I feel very little to deal with everything. My flight has been delayed. I have been waiting in the departure lounge for nearly twelve hours now. That is pretty long and exhausting but I am glad it happened for it brought me so many surprises.

Due to the delay, I got a $12 voucher by the airline to pacify my tummy. I bought a huge slice of Mediterranean pizza with lots of feta cheese, 5 garlic breads without cheese, two packs of Lays chips and a Tim Horton’s coffee.I got a little bored after the food went down my tummy. I took in more than my stomach could digest so I decided to take a walk. After checking duty-free shops twice, I sat down to solve seek games. I looked around to find a girl sitting beside me. She smiled and I smiled back.She had purple streaks and it looked fabulous on her. I complimented her and chatted for a while. Afshan recently got married and had the same destination as me. Then she left to make a call and I was left alone.

I realized suddenly that I am not going to miss home, I am going to miss it badly. My eyes keep welling up and I control the dam building up. I can’t even make a call to hear their voices. I don’t remember my sister’s new cell number. My mom’s number is out of reach. What shall I do? Mom must be worrying. Dear Allah, do some telepathic magic. Comfort my mom’s heart. Tell her I am safe.

It was getting dark. I should have been scared but there was a crowd around me at the departure lounge, full of strangers-Indian,French, Arabs, Hispanics, British, Spanish etcetera. Just when I was waiting for my long-lost plane to arrive, I saw an amazing girl in lounge. She was dressed casually. An orange pajama with a pink shirt. “MIAMI” printed on it in bold and capital letters. It must be the collection I last checked at Victoria’s Secret pink store. Over it she had a navy blue jacket. She had a long green warm scarf around her neck which came falling all across her thighs. She was accessorized with beautiful silver rings, purple nail paint and a Lady Diana’s signature style navy blue hat with a big bow on it. Her pajamas ragged on the floor just when I noticed those black sneakers-same as my black Lacoste one’s. Her hair fell to her shoulders and had hints of blond and dark brown in it. A beautiful British face with definite features and a perfect happy child’s smile. Her bag looked branded but the odd part of it was that it was a huge rectangular carry with a dark brown leather body. She looked ready to walk on a ramp.
It looked as if she had a happy stay in Canada and was going back to England. She was traveling through British Airways and I saw her carry a maroon British passport. I had a view of this as she unzipped her leather carrier and left it open for some time.She carried a red pocketed Ipad, a Mac book, a soft brown Canada printed plane cushion, a white teddy, some odd pair of clothes and God knows what. A moment after rambling on her Ipad, she let go of her earphones and took out a DSLR from a black bag. I had not noticed it until this time. Squeezing one eye she focused through the lens, shifted its circumference to bring precision to her shot and click click she went. She took pictures for the next 15 minutes. She took pictures of people lined up for boarding, people loitering in departure lounge, baby lying on the couch, pay phones, ceiling, officers, etc in amazing angles which made her look like a professional photographer. I was stupid,I couldn’t help it. I constantly monitored her with a smile on my face. She noticed it too and smiled. Maybe figuring it out that I am a psycho or fond of her camera, she waved at me if I want to have a picture. I simply laughed and shook my head. She made a cute sad face. We were just two strangers connecting my mere picture picture session. But on the whole she inspired me-a Pakistani girl. Even though I go to a med school in Pakistan but foreign life appeals to me. Holding a DSLR in my hands and taking in my surroundings tmake everyday a memorable one, seemed exciting to me. Especially the cool Ipad and Mac book would have made me part of the t techno world. Her plane arrived and the lounge started to empty. She quickly jumped to her seat, grabbed her belongings and loaded her. She looked like a porter. I laughed out loud at the thought. Nevertheless her beauty and child like innocence never faded.

In plane: Yayy!! I got a window seat.

The rising of dawn a perfect moment of peace..Its eloquent and I lack a good set of vocabulary to describe it. Precise colorful brush strokes in perfect sequencing. Indigo, Violet, Pink, Orange, Yellow. A magnificent view!

I am realizing there is so much left behind. Fun trips to parks, golf courts and forests, Square One, my dearest library, kind librarians, go-carts, silly cooking experiments, comfort and luxuries, late night classic movies and TV shows, vast green meadows which are now having shades of brown, crimson, orange- a perfect autumn pallet!
My reel of memories from Canada is being derailed just because a cute couple behind me is doing silly romance and giggling. Ughh…I hate people doing romance in public spaces.

I am enjoying my home made chocolate chip cookies with a cup of orange juice and looking through the window into clouds, never ending sea of white and blue clouds. It’s a precious moment. I just saw in the map that we are right above Caspian Sea, flying at an altitude of 10667m and only 3:12 minutes left to destination. Time passed quickly!

This is making me chuckle with astonishment, a huge pile of paper cups on the eating table of my neighbor passenger who is an old, fat, edematous man( sorry I am rude:S)
He is indeed a sober person because he never bothered me even when I accidentally spilled his cup of cold water on his pants. He must be around 55 or 60 and loves chewing Clorets.

My 14 hour flight ends here as I watch the movie” The Exotic Marigold Hotel” and munch a small pack of French Cheese Lays.

The Day I Found Love

As a tender teenager, I always wondered what love is. Does it really exist or is it just a fake word used by the media to keep their dramas moving? May be a married couple found it difficult to live together so they invented this word as an excuse to stay together. The Valentine’s Day could be a major faux! Was it true that Shah Jahan ordered a Taj Mahal to be build in love of his wife? Or was it build so people could remember him?

Made In Love

That one night was reason enough to make me fall for love itself. My parents have lived in our house for nearly thirty years and our house is in that part of Pakistan where neighbours are like families. They share, fight, complain but never betray. What happens in one house, travels to the entire lane. Our next door neighbour,let’s call him Uncle Tom. He was quite social in the neighbourhood. With a height of 5.9″ , curly hair and a broad built, he was a man of love and respect. He was married to a beautiful woman. She’s quite social too. They have two bright boys and a beautiful girl. They led normal lives except that we heard a lot of chaos from their house. Sometimes it was the banging of frying pan or arguments that greeted us at weird hours of the day. We could hear the couple fight too but a day wouldn’t pass and we would see them going out with their children to khala’s or dadi’s  (aunts or grandmothers).

It was a  Monday night. I went to Sakina’s house to return her book which she forgot at my place yesterday. I called out Sakina’s name, in the midst of which I heard someone crying. Guilty that I came in late at night, I decided to back off but changed my mind thinking that someone might need help. Sakina came out, her face as childlike as any ten-year old would have, was wrecked with tears. I frowned. “Wh-What happened?”, I managed to ask somehow. She clutched my hand and pulled me inside where her mother was sitting crying bitterly. Here eyes were red and swollen. Thick drops of tears were pouring down. I held her hand which was shaking vigorously. All she said was, “I’m broken, I’m devastated!” and she kept on crying. I asked her to calm down but the more I pacified her, the more loudly she screamed.

Between sobs she explained that her husband complained about her behaviour to other relatives. He treated her badly at home and now he went to the extent of complaining about her to a newly wed cousin. The feeling of rejection was streaked across her face. Her eyes were different today not because of crying but being rejected. Of being pushed out on the street before the entire world.

I hugged her hard so I could hide my tears behind her.Rubbed her back to soothe out her pain. Part of her pain clogged my throat and I couldn’t utter a single word of comfort. I just didn’t know what to say to a woman who had been betrayed.Perhaps there are no words of comfort, no way of comforting her at all except her husband.  A man for whom she had left her parents house, had children with, had seen these children grow up with, was rejecting her and that too,not in a four walled room but before the relatives! After more than a decade of living together as husband and wife, they couldn’t understand each other. Wasn’t marriage all about understanding and loyalty? Wasn’t there love and care? Love had all that-care, sacrifice, respect, forgiving, security and commitment? Appreciating each other, giving space, listening to each other’s views and enjoying each others company is all about love. Just the feeling that you would like to keep a person happy is reason enough to believe that you love her.

I always searched for something grand and solid to define love but after that night, I discovered that love is a bundle of small things. When the entire bundle collects together, it adds to a lot-LOVE!I had never seen my parents fight, often an argument would erupt but somehow they sorted it and found a reason to smile. I never realized that it could have been love. It was the absence of it that directed me to believe that love exists.

Tribute

“What moms don’t tell their kids when they have left the nest, is that we miss them every single day”

This quote from a proud mom makes me cry. I have left my moms nest and I know by her eyes that she misses me and I miss her too.I cry now and then because my heart is way too little to hold so much love. There is just too much that my mother has gone through only to make us comfortable and privileged. She has spent sleepless nights…cleaned up my mess, pressed my uniforms, helped with crafts and portfolios. She has cried to God to bless me, made beautiful clothes for me, bought the prettiest shoes and accessories  with whatever little provisions she could afford . She has helped me grow smart, intelligent and beautiful. She encouraged me and consoled me in distress, helped me stand strong when I grew weak. What else I could ask for? She is a worry wart still she let go of me so I could breathe and fly by myself. Was I a blessing or a curse? Both I guess.

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Days gone by…

She asks for no rewards, no return. I can only praise her with every inch of my breath but I could hardly thank her enough. I am glad to have a wonderful super mom…Cheers !!