So I ran into my friend’s girlfriend today after a year or so. It wasn’t planned. I just met her while grocery shopping. She saw me, screamed, hugged and asked about my friend. The way she greeted me, I got the feeling she is not up-to date with the latest news on our common friend. Well, the story goes….my friend got married last year to a Pakistani girl in Pakistan. I had a feeling that he wouldn’t come back to the States and that’s what happened. Last month his wife gave birth to an adorable girl and now his chances of coming back are really slim. I didn’t know what to tell the girl. I didn’t want to break the news nor I wanted to hide it – so I just ran away and told her that I’m getting late but before I could run, she took my phone number and I bet she will call me to find out what’s going on.
I emailed my dickhead friend and told him about who I met today. He replied by saying just tell her you don’t know the details. God! I hate it when people ask me to lie on their behalf. He has left the girl hanging and put me in an odd spot.The girl knew what kinda player she was dealing with – she should have known better..oh well.
When we are not married, the whole idea about marriage is to find someone to love, care for and be taken care of. Once we do find that someone, it is all about getting married. Frustrated and desperate we sigh and moan and long to be together with the loved one. We are disillusioned into believing that once we are married, living with our loved one, sharing a house, a roof, a room, somehow everything will be fine. We believe it will be like the fairy tales of living happily ever after.
Without sounding too sexist, I must admit that it is women who generally hold such beliefs. I hope it is not the popular mass media & movies from India that emphasize so much on the pre-marriage aspect of life. But it is true that Indians and Pakistanis trick their youth in believing that somehow the wedding day is the pinnacle of happy life and life after that is all rosy and smooth. It could be said the same thing about Western Culture
As a matter of fact, married life is about adjusting to live with another individual and at times with another family. It is about learning to sleep while the other snores, to realize that blue is not everyone’s favorite color and that curtains are a good investment. It is about figuring out who will make the bed in the morning, walk the dog or do the laundry or vacuum the floor and how often & at what time. It is about mood swings, remembering the little things about the other, fights over remote, cleaning the bathrooms and about where to go and when. It is about grocery shopping, budget, paying the bills and being expected to act all mature, responsible and diplomatic.
And then … your first child is born.
I like the fact that countries like Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Yamen (hopefully in Libya too!!) are making headlines. This means Pakistan is not on the forefront anymore. I know, it is short-lived and Pakistan will be back in the spot light, since we have a monopoly on whack job citizens but for the time being, it’s a relief.
And just so I am clear, I FULLY support the democratization of all these countries. Even if it means that in the short-term life there will be miserable. But maybe in a few decades or even more … but eventually peace will prevail. I am under no delusion that somehow getting rid of one or two or even all the dictators of Asian countries will somehow make life better for these countries in the short-term. If anything, there will be chaos but such is the process of change.
One of the hardest things for me is to make a condolence phone call to a dear one. A high school friend of mine lost his father to kidney disease earlier today in Pakistan. I haven’t spoken to him in years, probably met his father once but I couldn’t help calling him. While he was the one who lost his father, he sounded much calmer than my nervous sorry self. Now, I have a heart ache from hell.
I have stopped defending Pakistan or Pakistani actions. People come up to me and make a comment about how screwed up the country is and expect me to take a defensive attitude like “Well, majority of Pakistanis are not like that” or “most Pakistanis are very tolerant” or … “actually there is more to it” .. “there is so much potential .. human potential” or “so what … we have the best mangoes”
Nope! Now, I just stay quiet or at times even nod.
I have shunned her!
But you know, as they say time heals all wounds. I too will slowly desensitize myself to everything. And out of sight is out of mind … so my next step will be to stop reading about it.
You can say I am disappointed in myself but probably I am more disappointed in Pakistan and more so in the Pakistani nation.
Recently, while talking to one of my friends about challenges in life, he gave me an analogy that really struck a chord. He said that people are like eggs and potatoes. Some of soft on the inside and some are hard. And life’s challenges are like boiling water. You put an egg in one and it comes out hard. You put a potato in one and it comes out soft. The idea being that it is hard to tell how someone will react to an experience in life.
I had a friend H, growing up. He used to live a few blocks away. His father passed away while we were in 7th or 8th grade. He, along with his siblings, transformed into these gentlemen who it seemed like they can shoulder any responsibility. He became exceedingly conscious about taking care of their illiterate mother. They married off their eldest sister but a year later, their brother-in-law, serving in Army, was shot dead somewhere in the south province of Pakistan, Sindh. For the next few months the incident made H very depressed and bitter about life but he came through. He is serving in Pakistan Army now, I wish I knew where.
We both had a mutual friend R, two years older than us. His father passed away when we were getting ready for Matric exams (10the grade, if I remember correctly). After that, we hardly stayed friends. He became rude and got himself in all kinds of trouble. Last I heard about him was when I visited Pakistan in year 2000 and he was on bail on murder charges.
As human beings, we are far more complex. What is common is that everyone has challenges in life and they affect us, one way or another.
When it starts raining outside and if I sit still and turn off all the electronics around me, I can actually listen to it falling down. I love the sound and can’t get enough of it. I remember getting so excited waking up late in the morning on a weekend and listening to the rain outside. I would stay in bed for long just listening to it. Sometimes brother or someone would be taking a shower and I would make myself believe that it’s raining outside and stay in bed. And though the dirt doesn’t smell the same as it used to in Pakistan, it still smells great.
There was a time when I used to walk in the rain, especially when it was just drizzling and would come home soaked, only to be yelled at but it was all worth it. I wish I can be that careless again.
It is hard to explain why I like the sound but it is warm and peaceful.