Friday, September 29, 2006

The bun in the oven

My sister is pregnant. At 23.

I'm in shock, my hands shake as I write this.

I don't know why I'm so upset/ shocked/ nervous/ anxious (insert any other applicable adjective. Insert the whole bloody thesaurus in here). I mean she IS married, it's not like she'll be a single mom or anything. She got married less than a year ago and although it's way (way) (WAY) too soon, I know they're both happy about it.

Calm down. Breathe deep. WHY am I so upset?!

They're happy. Ecstatic. She's excited.

I know I'm worried that she's not healthy enough to carry a baby; she's too thin, too young, too not-sure-what-she-wants-from-life. But I think my dismay stems from my own deep, dark, selfish reasons. The fact that I'm 25, no wedding bells on the horizon - not even close, and definitely no baby. I have a long way to go before I can catch up.

Life is changing way too friggin fast.

Stop the world God, I need a commercial break.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Divinely Zonked

The holy month of Ramadhan started this past Sunday. It's one of my favourite months of the year - not so much for the fasting and with it, the strengthened spirituality; but (and I'm almost ashamed to say it) the social side of it.

Fasting for me is transcendent. Although you certainly feel it in earthly ways - I mean you starve yourself and walk around with your tongue hanging out from thirst. But it's an experience and I fast the month without fail every year. It takes you to another level completely - spiritually, mentally and physically (what with losing all that weight).

I read somewhere that just as a blind man has other heightened senses because his sense of sight is lacking; when a person fasts, the body weakens but the soul becomes stronger. So you become closer to God and become patient and good and generous and all the rest of all that.

But after the fasting is done and a helluva hearty feast devoured, we head to the mosque for prayers and then after-mosque get-togethers full of more good food, fun and games with friends and family. Every single day for an entire month.

It's like a summer vacation. When you're on a diet. And have to work the next day.

Okay so it's nothing like a summer vacation.

Last night though, after 3 days of continuous fasting and the bloody flu, I dragged myself home from work and crawled up the stairs with only one thought in mind. Not hot, yummy food, or a nice tall glass of an icy drink. Not meeting friends for a late night gobble-fest. All I could think about was throwing myself onto my soft, comfy, welcoming bed for a long undisturbed night of deep sleep.

I think I'm getting old.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Value of a Woman

I read this somewhere and my heart melted into a puddle;

"The woman came out of man's rib. Not from his feet to be walked on. Not from his head to be superior. But from the side to be equal. Under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved."


Thursday, September 21, 2006

King of the Ants

Midas* was one of the most vain, conceited, arrogant guys I've ever known. Also one of the most annoying. We met through mutual friends and became sort-of pals. Sort-of because he sort-of liked me and I sort-of didn't. Not that he was bad looking or stupid or anything. Infact, when a friend told me he liked me, I remember thinking hmmm...

Then I got to know him.

Every time we'd run into each other, he'd smile, toss his head back and smoothen his hair with his fingers. Toss. Smooth. That was his peacock preen. Toss. Smooth. Just seeing him in action I'd want to swallow my teeth in irritation.

He'd send pages and pages of romantic (or so he thought) poems that he'd written, offer me a ride home every single day, and when I'd refuse, follow me all the way home. Like a bodyguard. Or an obsessive stalker. Every few weeks he'd send me seven cards, one for each letter of my name. And when I asked him to quit pestering me, he wrote me a long letter declaring his unending love. In blood.


After four and a half years of incredible crazy-ness, his father found out just how much he was troubling me and put an end to it. He gave me his number and asked me to call him if his son ever bothered me again. He promised he'd break his bones.

Midas did not harass me again. I did not call up his father. His father did not beat him up.

Sometimes I'm just too nice.

Midas now lives on a different continent. He is married but continues to email me regularly from different addresses (with IDs like onlyyours and made4u). ((ugghh)). All signed, your secret admirer.

More like, well-known-stalker-whose-dad-I'm-so-gonna-call-up.

*Obviously not his real name. And unlike the original Midas, everything he touched, wilted.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Our old security guard was a lovely man. Always ready with a quick hello and a sincere, generous smile.

Less than 2 weeks ago, he’d asked for his goodwill; money paid to employees who have been in faithful service over many years. He’d told our maid he wanted to enjoy the fruits of his labour while he was still alive; if left to his son, his years of struggle would be washed away through his son’s drinking habit.

It was not to be. Destiny is a fickle lady.

This morning, we heard the news he had passed away. A heart attack in the prime of his life, just before he could retire and return home to enjoy the dusk of his days with loved ones.

May he rest in eternal peace.

In other news, an elderly, half-paralysed, widowed woman in my neighbourhood got beaten and robbed in her own home. And my recently married cousin's husband has been diagnosed with a degenerative bone disease that will cripple him in a few years.

Whoever said "troubles come in threes" knows life so well.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hotel parking lot - the new art museum

It's been a while since I last had a girl's night out full of good food, aimless chatter and scandalous gossip. I’d become socially lazy and my life the past few weeks had been all about work, work and more work; with weekends spent with family at home, catching up with movies and books, and the occasional drives out for ice cream or coffee.

I'd forgotten how much fun gossiping was.

So Saturday night, our girl gang made it a point to leave behind kids (where applicable) and husbands (also where applicable), kick up our 4 inch heels and enjoy a night of fun and frolic.

After a huge (and I mean scarfing down so much that you need to undo your jeans button) dinner at a Moroccan restaurant, we headed for some much needed ice cream at a hotel in the city (we are such pigs).

We stumbled out of the car, barely able to pick ourselves up after the meal we'd had, and then stopped dead in our tracks. There, right before our very eyes, was a long line of antique cars. Porsches, Jaguars, a VW van that looked straight out of a classic cops and robbers movie, Fords, Buicks, Mustangs, cars I could not even identify.

Antique cars. In my city.

Oh my God.

I walked up and down the parking lot examining them, drooling over the cars for almost an hour, the security guards close behind following my every move (right, like I could fit a hubcap into my little sequined clutch bag); until one on each arm, my friends dragged me inside.

I have never seen so much beauty in one place. It was like walking onto the streets and finding out the roads were paved in chocolate. Except that we couldn’t eat the cars. Not that I wouldn’t have, but I was already stuffed with couscous.

Dear owner of the red 1960's Jaguar XKE convertible, will you marry me?

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Matter of Marriage

I just re-read yesterday's post and realised most people would probably be thinking "What the..?!" at the:

"and then proceeded to turn down marriage proposal after marriage proposal after marriage proposal."
No I'm not some miss world lookalike (although I do like to think I could be. heheh).

Let me explain.

In our East African-with-Indian-roots community, any girl hitting the ripe old age of 18 is likely to get atleast 10 proposals a year. This is done courtesy of eagle-eyed, match-making huntress aunties who are always, always, on the lookout for the perfect wife for their son/ nephew/ friends' neighbour's sister's son.

They catch you at weddings and in the shops and in deep, dark alleys; critically eye you up and down (trying to catch any physical flaws and disabilities) and, if you meet their requirements, find out who you are (who your parents are I mean, cause you don't matter), where you live and what you do. If you're pretty enough, educated enough (although that's not really all that important) and can cook, you're all set. Added to her list of eligibles, to be made un-eligible at the earliest opportunity.

There are two sorts of marriage set-ups. There is the "love marriage" where a boy and a girl (boy-boy and girl-girl fiercely frowned upon) meet each other somewhere, fall in love and end up getting married. The usual girl meets boy, live happily ever after story.

And there's the arranged marriage, which has evolved over time to become a sort of "arranged+like marriage." Thanks to the huntress aunty, the young girl stranger meets the young (or old) boy stranger (note: the girl always has to be young, attractive and preferably martha-stewart-esque in the home and kitchen. The boy on the other hand, can be young, old, divorced, widowed or pigeon-toed). (No offense to any pigeon-toed people out there). And if they like each other and enjoy the others company, they get married.

In the old days however, the "arranged+like marriage" did not exist. It was simply fixed between both sets of parents, dates set, trousseau bought, preparations made, and the bride and groom actually saw each other for the first time on their wedding night. How crazy is that. But my grandparents had a long happy loving marriage. As did their friends.

And that's that.

Now excuse me won't you, I need to go and fix my flaws.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

And then there were none.

My last single guy-friend just got engaged today. That makes 3 engagements and 2 weddings in the last three months. Three months.

It's weird how all my guy friends are either in serious relationships, or getting engaged or married (at such speed you'd think women were suddenly on the list of soon-to-be-extinct species), while us girls are still livin' the single life. A single non-dating life. And not by choice either.

Sadly enough, since all the guys in my city seem to be engaged by 23 (I'm totally serious, I know a guy who actually got married at 18), the only choice we do have are a) psychotic morons b) young, young, young boys c) psychotic morons. Our city is filled with men who sms "I would like to mak fraandship with you" or who yell, from their cars, "hi! can I get your number" (and who'd then probably sms, "I would like to mak fraandship with you"). Or else, if by some incredible stroke of luck, you do meet someone who's witty and interesting; he's either gay, married or 18.

Most people here do get married young... I'm not sure why, maybe there's just not much else to do. While most of my school girl friends got married at 18 (one divorced at 18 and a half), I announced to my family that I wanted to live my life on my own terms, that I'd marry who ever I pleased when-ever I pleased, and then proceeded to turn down marriage proposal after marriage proposal after marriage proposal.

Now at 25, knowing more about who I am and what I want, it's harder and harder to find a guy I really really like being with. My friends call me fussy mc fusser, but spending an hour with a guy who can go on and on and on about himself is really not my idea of a good time. Even if he's really hot. By the end of that "conversation," I knew the name of pets his grandfather had had as a child. He could not have told me where I worked if his life depended on it.

Anyway, I'm really not yet desperate enough to spend my life with a guy who can't spell friendship.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lady of Un-Leisure

When it gets as busy as it's been at work this past week, and I've got people breathing down my neck for deadlines that had to be met yesterday, and I can't find enough time to run to the cooler for a glass of water, I can't help but envy, E-N-V-Y, women who don't work. They have the luxury of long lunches and catching up with friends over coffee, endless shoe shopping and chatting on msn without interruption.

I've been working ever since I finished school. Three jobs in hmmm let's see, almost six years. I loved, loved, loved the first one, then I got ambitious (a.k.a greedy) and moved on to a better paycheck and the boring-est job on the planet. No internet and hardly any work, I got so good at computer games I would beat myself at minesweeper atleast 12 times a day. Solitaire I could play with my eyes closed. Well, you know what I mean. B-O-R-I-N-G.

Somehow I survived the year and finally moved on to where I am now. Never ending stress, workmares and hair-pulling heart-attack-inducing panic attacks. But I enjoy it. It's interesting for the most part, and it certainly keeps me on my toes. The only trouble is, I never have time for myself. If I need personal supplies, a haircut, a new pair of shoes, I have to make a schedule and actually work out how much time I'll have for what. Seriously, have you ever tried buying new shoes in five minutes? Won't happen.

Oh what I wouldn't do to have three months of free time for nothing but sofa-slouching and tv. And well, other things, because three months of living on the sofa is just plain crazy.

Meanwhile I gotta figure out when I can go pick up my laundry before they sell off my clothes.

Monday, September 11, 2006

History of Me.

Well not really. But since beginnings tend to be a little awkward (and I really don't know how to start this off), I'll tell you a bit about who I am and where I come from. I live in a coastal East African city - yes that's right, miles and miles of white sandy beaches and coconut trees and long, hot, sunny days... spent confined in a tiny little airconditioned office.

I'm quarter-Indian, quarter-Pakistani and quarter-exotic-African-Island*. Okay i know that only makes three-fourths, but I never said I was a math genius. My dad, born in said exotic-African-island, of Indian immigrant parents who had set out to East Africa in a dhow from India in hopes of fame and fortunes. Well, fortunes really. They were never really the publicity crazy type.

My mother of Indian-Pakistani origin met my dad at a wedding, they smiled at each other across a crowded room and thus I was born. Not immediately ofcourse. After a wedding and a decent interval. And another baby.

And this blog is born to tell my story. Also because everyone is entitled to my opinions.

*Names and places have been kept confidential to protect the identity of this writer. 'Cause who knows what I might want to blab in future. [Just because you aren't paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you.]