Abez sez Assalamualaikum!

Monthly Archives: April 2003

You are browsing the site archives by month.

Appallingly busy these days and moderately distressed. 🙁 Help!

Anybody wanna guest post? I’ll even make a little competition. Ok, here it is, whoever answers this following question (in the affirmative) first will get to guest post. (Sorry for the delay Usman, I can’t even post on my OWN site right now….) And the question is…

(drumroll please)

(opens envelope)

(looks at card inside)

(smiles at camera)

(turns card right side up)

(and the Osacr goes too…)

Do you want to guest-post?!

(que applause)

A little aluminum foil underneath your scarf will keep the aliens from sucking your brains out.

Remember how on one of my previous blogs I was complaining about my tailor? How he made my pants too small and made my shirt smell like armpits before I even got to wear it (and stink it up myself, he he)? Well, I sent the pants back to be fixed, and I retrieved them from his shop last night. He did make them a bit bigger, but you won’t believe what else he made them: FILTHY! like someone threw them on the floor and danced on them, and they were WET and they smelled like VOMIT!

Last night I got home all excited, I rushed to try the new and improved pants on, and as I stood in front of the mirror, frowning at the fit, I was suddenly hit with a horrible smell and a realization of coldness. I sniffed, trying to figure out where the disgusting smell was coming from, and why I suddenly felt cold and wet, and once I realized it was the pants that were cold and wet and smelling of vomit, I wailed aloud, threw them off and ran to take a shower.

I give up. I’m just going to start wearing home-made clothes everywhere. Just call me Ella Mae, Hill Billy, Pk. I’ll be starting a new, rustic, ’Tailor like it’s 622 AD’ line of jilbabs. From what I remember anyway, when the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, first recited the ayah from the Qur’an for the proper wearing of Hijab (it’s in Surah Noor, I’ll find it) the women made do with curtains and bedspreads because no one had too many clothes in that day and they needed something modest right then and there. Scarlet O’Hara made a dress out of curtains too, though the stuff I make pales in comparison to her sartorial skills. -sigh- I’m going to wander around in two flour sacks sewn together and aluminum foil on my arms as sleeves. It may look funny, but at least it won’t be WET AND VOMITTY! (AAAAaaargh!)

I suppose I have to go off and make a pair of pants, since my tailor wasted my other pair and I wasted my money on him. I have to make them myself. Now where’s the aluminum foil…? 😛

I can’t think of anything else to write. I woke up this morning after dreaming about centipedes all night, horrible dreams they were. Fortunately when I came downstairs there was halva and poori and chana (halva is halva, poori is fried flat-bread, chana is chick-peas) for breakfast from Chez Daddy. My daddy does that in honor of it being Sunday morning. When we lived in the states, it used to be donuts every Sunday morning, and sometimes on weekdays too. I remember once us kids came home from school and opened the front door, and there in the entryway, hanging from the ceiling, were four donuts. Each donut was a different flavor, with a name and a picture of each one of us kids attached to it.

We ate the donuts by standing and jumping underneath of them with our mouths open, and when that wasn’t working out too well, we had to drag in a dining chair and cut the donuts down. Listen up people: do cute things for your kids now (or whenever you have them) because these are the things they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. I remember another time when my dad came to pick us up from school (we usually walked) and he stopped the car and then said, ok kids, get out. We opened the door, and we weren’t home, it was the candy store. Now THAT was fun.

Even now, sometimes my dad just shows up with ice-cream cones. You can be sitting in the car waiting for him at the bazaar or somewhere, and suddenly an ice-cream cone will be thrust at you from the open window and my dad will be behind it, grinning. He says it because it’s psychic, and he knows exactly when we want ice-cream and what flavor. He’s usually right too, but probably because when do we NOT want ice-cream, and is any flavor really bad?

The moral of today’s story is: I love my daddy! Or, love your daddy! Or, be a loving daddy! So there.

Oh, and here’s the Ayah from the Qur’an about hijab: “..And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest; and let them not display their adornment except that which is apparent; and let them draw their head-scarves (khimar) over their chests so as not to reveal their adornments except to their husbands and mahram.” The Holy Qur’an, Surah 24, ayah 31

(The Arab women were already wearing khimar (scarves) but they were tying them behind their necks, like some women do these days. This verse told women to wear it properly, by putting it back out front to cover the neck and the chest as well as the head.)

Today, as my mother, Aniraz, and I drove through town, running our various errands, we achieved something of monumental and insidious potential: we distributed dozens of flies from our neighborhood to other parts of Islamabad, shooing a few out here and there every time we were able to stop at an intersection and swat at them with a handkerchief. See, this morning my mother left the car windows open for an hour or two before it was time to go, and that was sufficient time for a hundred or so flies to climb in and sit down. They must’ve thought they were hitching a ride.

We tried to shoo them all out before we left (at least those who didn’t have tickets, anyway) but flies are remarkably clever when it comes to hiding, so we drove away with dozens of them still in our car. We shooed a few out here, a few out there, and as I was swatting one of our home-flies out of the window in a downtown area, it occurred to me that spreading flies all over the city was a relatively easy and perfectly untraceable way of doing something really devious, if only we had something devious to do. I told my mother this, and she said, What, you want to spread some diseases?

No, I said, that would be horrible. I would rather infect the flies with something like common sense. Can flies carry common sense, I thought? No, I concluded, as one of them tried to fly into my eye.

How about SARS? my mom said.

SARS? I gasped, that would be horrible! Why would I want to spread SARS!

Not that SARS, she said, but Splendid Acute Religiousness Syndrome. We decided that we could give the flies a contagious Religiousness Syndrome and spread them throughout the city like we were doing now. I could just see it now: the city is struck with a sudden outbreak of Taqwa/God-consciousness. Fewer traffic lights are broken, crime hits an all-time low, instead of face-masks, people start wearing hijabs and kufis. A famous model is infected and the media struggles to deal with her sudden inclination towards modesty and charity. A hundred corrupt Pakistani politicians suddenly repent of going to Umrah on the Zakat fund and resign from their jobs. All the provinces start sharing water equally and no more nomads in the Cholistan Desert region die of thirst just so fat old bureaucrats in Islamabad can wash their Pajeros.

Rich, grasping phonies pretending to be saints would stop misleading ignorant people in their shrines. Villagers would stop making marijuana pakoras. Pakistani elite would dramatically smash their liquor bottles in the streets to end the double-standard, the hypocrisy, and the unregulated substance abuse. People might start spending money to help each other, the 2 million Afghani refugees in Pakistani would get decent water, housing, education and treatment. People would stop using the old skin-color caste-system and skin-bleaching cream sales would decline to null.

People would have so much Taqwa, that their daily decisions would be based on a humble and sincere effort to please Allah and to follow Islam to the best of their abilities, and since Islam forbids drinking alcohol, selling alcohol, or producing alcohol, our communities would be free from DUI damage and deaths. There would never be the need for organizations like MADD, and since the Mother Against Drunk Driving are often women who’ve had their children killed, I’m sure they’d be happy if they never had cause to get together either. We’d have significantly fewer cases of cirrhosis and other alcohol related diseases, and thus fewer income lost towards battling self-inflicted illness. The number of children marred by fetal alcohol syndrome would be zero.

Since Islam forbids using drugs, producing drugs, or selling drugs, society would be free from drug-related illness and crime. No children would be victim to their mother’s crack habit. (If you’ve ever seen a crack-baby, you understand why this was so important.) Families ruined by a parent’s drug habit would be a thing of the past. Like going dry, going drug free saves us from spending money to fight diseases we gave ourselves.

Since Islam forbids pre-marital sex, there would be no AIDS, no STD’s, and no murder of unwanted children. There would be virtually no single-parent homes where children are raised by TV or the streets when their mother is out all day trying to earn a living.

Since Islam enjoins modesty, there’d be virtually no skin cancer, and no pornography (child pornography included) because no one would be willing to take their clothes off in public. Since modesty is a frame of mind as well as a sense of fashion, no one would be willing to look at the pornography even if you managed to import it from somewhere.

Since Islam encourages nobility of conduct and God-consciousness, people would behave even when the cops weren’t around. If the lights went out in New York, and all New Yorkers were Muslims with Taqwa, none of the stores would be looted and no women would find themselves groped or assaulted by otherwise normal men under the cover of darkness. This would be because people would fear Divine wrath ten times more than state-prosecution.

God-consciousness is also a deterrent to:

· Sexual Harassment

· Cruelty to Animals

· Exploitation of employees

· Rape

· Theft

· Lying

· Injustice

· Oppression

· Gossip

· Pre-marital sex, and therefore, STD’s, sexually-transmitted AIDS and abortion.

· Tainting court evidence

· Bearing false witness

· Adultery

· Child abuse

· Forgery

· Murder

· Hate-Crime

· Robbery

· Credit card fraud and theft

· Hijacking planes

· Indiscriminate warfare and bombing

· Genocide

· Child Pornography

· Domestic Violence

· Suicide

· Incest

· Kidnapping

· Bribery

· Promiscuity

· Terrorism

· State-terrorism

· Long list, isn’t it?

· It could be longer.

· I think you get the point.

I know, I dreaming. I’ve yet in invent Splendid Acute Religiousness Syndrome, but hey, at least I have a way of spreading it if I ever do… 🙂

News Flash: My momma has a new blog, and I’ll try to get her to update it weekly by Friday. Visit at www.ourmarvymomma.blogspot.com

I finally put two pics up on my fotolog. They were both taken with a highly horrible borrowed digital cam, and so I apologize for the complete lack of quality. The first photograph is of Chez Daddy, my father’s restaurant and barbeque. The second is of our man-eating dog. She was the only one I could get to pose on such short notice. What can I say. Notice how happy she is in the photo. For a dog, she’s really quite a ham.

And now people reading this will go, eeewww! You have a dog! Nasty! And then I say, I think she’s kinda gross too, and initially I objected to having a dog, but then we cracked open our Bukhari Sharif and found a hadith that said, “Whoever keeps a dog for other than hunting or guarding will have one good deed subtracted from his record for every day he keeps it.” Then we decided fine, it’s ok for us to have a guard dog And that’s what she is, too. She lives at the gate and rages at people, and the fur on her back stands straight up and she turns into a bouncing, snarling ball of fury and teeth. It was either that or hire a guard, the human kind. Here’s why: shortly after we moved into this house, something happened that made my dad decide to get a guard dog. I was home by myself, asleep, when the bell rang. I went down and answered it, speaking from behind the gate. There were two men on a motorcycle, and they said, “Is your father in?”

I said, “No, what do you need?”

They said, “We’re the electricians. Your father sent us, he’s going to be meeting us here shortly.”

I said, “He’s not here right now.”

Then they said, “Can we come in and wait for him?”

I was kinda sleepy and groggy (I wake up after a tankard of black coffee, and not a minute before) and I said one sec. I walked back into the living room and looked around. It was a wreck. So I came back out and asked them if they would come back later. They implied that they wouldn’t be able to come back later, and that they wouldn’t mind waiting inside. I said sorry, my dad will be back in an hour. Come then. Then they drove away and I went back to sleep.

I told my dad later that he missed the electricians, and he said, what electricians? I didn’t send any electricians! And he asked the REAL electricians, and it hadn’t been them. Those men never came back, thank God. It actually makes me nauseous thinking about what could’ve happened if I had let them in. In our neighborhood there are a lot of burglaries in the daytime, people come to your gate, saying they’re doing a survey, or distributing polio drops, or they’re a cousin of your father’s or something, and once you crack the gate open, that’s it. You get tied up and locked in a room while they go through your house, or do worse things.

A man we know is a gems dealer, and word of his wealth got out, despite that fact that he’s been hiding it, living in a small neighborhood, in a simple house and with a very normal car. He had to move from his last house because people kept trying to burglarize him there. He’s already had a few men come to the gate demanding to be let in. They always come in the daytime too, because that’s most likely when the man of the house is out and only the women will be home. It’s scary, but you know, Alhamdulillah, he’s ok so far, and so are we. Anywhere you go is dangerous, so Islamabad isn’t any more or less dangerous than Chicago I think. But yeah, that’s why we have a ferocious guard-dog. She does a good job too, she goes off if she can see people just walking on the driveway. Beggars don’t ring our doorbell anymore, but then neither does the garbage man, so yes, there are some drawbacks. he he

I had an interesting afternoon today. After work, I was leaving one of my student’s houses and I couldn’t get my car to start. (treacherous bucket of bolts!) The battery transistors are loose, and the way to remedy that is to beat on them with a rock, or pour Pepsi on them. No, I’m not lying. The Pepsi eats away some of the erosion and helps conduct electricity. I popped up the hood of my car, and was standing there with a rock in one hand and a bottle of Pepsi in the other when the gardener from my student’s house came out and looked at me like I was crazy, and said in Punjabi, “Does your battery need water?”

I said, “No, it needs a beating and some Pepsi.”

He looked at me with his eyebrows raised and then came and stood beside me and watched me pound away at the transistor with a rock and then douse it in Pepsi. He offered his help, and he alternately whacked and poured while I tried to start the engine. We did succeed after about twenty minutes. I must remember to buy him some mithai. A very nice man.

That’s one thing I like about Pakistan, if your car breaks down, people will come out of the woodwork and help you. Once my car broke down while I was substitute teaching at the Japanese School here (where I first acquired the honorable title of Sensei) and all the school guards came out to see what was wrong. They popped the hood, and the six of them had a pow-wow while leaning around the engine. They did some tentative banging and debating, and then the car started.

Therefore, I dedicate this blog to all of the nice old uncles and gardeners and security guards that have fixed, pushed, beaten and doused my car at when I needed it most. May Allah bless them and reward them and show them kindness, as they showed kindness to me. 🙂

I am reminded of a Hadith found in both Bukhari and Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) said, “You will find the Muslims among themselves in mutual cooperation, love, and compassion as if they were one body, where when one part of the body is in pain (or trouble) the entire body feels sick and can’t sleep.”

Two fish sitting in a tank. One turns and says to the other, ‘Hey, you know how to drive this thing?”

Amazingly, this week has gone been much faster than previous weeks. Maybe that’s because I’ve been putting off all my work till the last minute, and the clock seems to move much faster when you’re running against it. he he. I haven’t even dreaded work in the morning! This is incredibly amazing! And it can’t last. Maybe my happiness has something to do with a change in atmospheric pressure, or the Aurora Borealis, or maybe the waffles we had for dinner. I think I must have the greatest mother in the world…I come home from work and there’s breakfast for dinner, quite often actually. Seriously, I love it, and her.

I think I’ll devote today’s blog to my momma.

My Momma

by Abez

My momma is the greatest momma in the world. For lunch she makes me dinner, for dinner she makes me breakfast, and for breakfast, she makes a mess.

My momma is full of wisdom and insight. One day, after we had turkey legs for dinner, she moaned and cried out, “Ooooh, I feel so guilty…now some poor turkey is walking around without its legs!!” My momma says things like, “Pour boiling water on his head,” and, “Us is two and she is one.”

My momma is nuts in the most fantastic way. She got a perm a day before a party, and it was unnaturally stiff. But instead of moaning about it, she went to the party and told everyone to call her Fifi the French Poodle.

My momma is ten times better than Aniraz’s momma. I love her lots. The End.

_________________

Hey, I learned how to play backgammon! One of my students taught me, it was very sweet of her. Backgammon is kind of a combination between Ludo/Parchesi and Mancala. (Sorry if you guys have played neither of these games, they’re both fun though, trust me) I enjoyed it, and maybe (with our powers combined!) we can start a backgammon club or something, me plus another one of my friends, plus three of my students who play, and anyone else who is willing to learn and likely to bring good food to the party. Yee-Haw!

Actually Islamabad is a great place for do-it-yourself socialization. Everyone is fully aware of the fact that everyone else is bored stiff, so once you discover some nice people, the first thing you do is form a club and try to convince other people to join it. That’s kinda how English Night came into being. I’m also a founding member of a book-club (Hi Dawn! Hi Jennifer! Hi Maria! Hi Sonia!) where we talk briefly on the book of the month and extensively on everything else under the sun. So far we’ve had one meeting. I think it went well. The next one is coming up soon, and we’re reading that macabre Roald Dahl book I mentioned earlier.

And here’s our Islamic quote of the day: “Be sure we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere.” 2:155

This blog is coming off as kinda sub-standard too, but what can I say. My eyeballs hurt and I can’t concentrate. Urgh. I have the heebie-jeebies too, y’ani I’m all grossed out because termites crawled out of the kitchen drain again. Now I can’t help but feel like they’re crawling all over my skin, ::shudders::: Filthy little buggers. I beat them once, fair and square, why don’t they know when to quit!?! Hmmph. When I’m rich and famous (and when pigs fly and Bush talks sense) I’m going to make termites illegal. Thus sayeth Abez.

Tamma.

You know, I’m starting to get some more of those Cosmoplanetary, Jesmopolitain vibes…just call me mellow yellow, cuz I feel like melting in the computer chair and chillin, just staring at the trippy ambience in the windows media player and listening to Raihan. (Syukur, syukur! syukur ya Allah!)

My brain’s on vacation today, instead of doing its normal processing duties, like English grammar, blogging, and actively not giving a hoot about how dirty the house is, it’s remembering poetry of questionable taste, Monty Python skits, and pondering meaningful questions in meaningless ways. For example:

Hello Mrs. Premise!

Hello Mrs. Conclusion! Busy day?

Busy? I just spent four hours burying the cat.

Four hours to bury a cat?

Yes, it wouldn’t stop wriggling about all over the place.

Oh, so it wasn’t dead then yet.

No, but it wasn’t at all a well cat, and seeing as how we’re just going off on a fortnight’s holiday, I thought I’d better bury it now just to be on the safe side.

Quite right, you don’t want to come back from Sarento to a dead cat. It would be so anti-climactic.

Yes, kill it now, that’s what I say.

We’re going to have to put our budgie down…

Really? Is it very old?

No, we just don’t like it… -Monty Python

And now, the poetry of questionable taste:

Oh I have been to Ludlow fair

And left my neck-tie God knows where

And brought half-way home or near

Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer

Then the world seemed none too bad

And I myself a sterling lad

And down in lovely muck I‘ve lain

Happy till I woke again

Then I saw the morning sky

Heigho, the tale was all a lie!

The world, it was the old world yet

I was I, my things were wet,

And nothing now remained to do

But begin the game anew….
-A.E.Houseman, 1896 (From ‘Terrence, This Is Stupid Stuff)

And now, the pondering of meaningful things in meaningless ways. How much benefit of a doubt should you give people? Where do you draw the line between trusting someone and being duped by them? For example, should I be screaming at my tailor? He always says he’ll make my clothes right, but they always come back way too big, or this time, way too small. Sometimes I get three shirts on the same day and no two of them are the same size. I think it must be a private joke of his, to somberly promise he will do everything right this time, Baji, and then give everything to me totally wrong anyway without flinching.

He’s ruined a pair of my pants this time, there’s no way I can wear them unless I lose twenty pounds and four inches, so what am I supposed to do? I may be a big-talker, but when it comes down to it, I have a hard time yelling at people, especially in another language. I could yell at him in English (provided I could work the nerve up to actually raise my voice) but he wouldn’t understand it anyway. Plus I’m a softie and I like to think, awwww, poor guy, he must’ve been really tired when he was making my clothes. He’ll do them right next time, honest he will…

I did yell at my last tailor. But that’s because his problem wasn’t with sizes, it was with belligerence. He was constantly making my clothes to how HE liked them. Aniraz asked for simple sleeves, and he made her a shirt with cuffs so long and so stiff that they looked like the gold wrist-guards that super-heroes wear. I asked him to embroider a little-bitty flower on one of the corners of a shirt, and he covered the entire shirt in hideous geometric designs. I asked him what the hibbity-dibbity he was thinking, and he said it looked better this way, he wasn‘t the least bit sorry or ashamed. I told him to fix it, and he never did. I ended up wearing that horrible shirt, I still have it. It lives in the bottom of a trunk.

I know that only the ultra-rich have tailors in the US and UK, but in Pakistan, where the ready-made clothes industry is under-developed and over-priced, everyone has a tailor. I have to switch mine again. I know who I’m going to switch to this time too. I discovered an excellent tailor a while ago, who speaks the Queen’s English (or at least the closest thing to the Queen’s English I have heard here in Pakistan) and fixes what he messes up. He also does very little messing up. Problem is he knows he’s good, and he charges you for it. Hmmm.

Oh oh! I forgot to mention the best part about today’s problems with my tailor…I got a new shirt back…and it smelled like MAN ARMPITS! Sweaty, stinky, acrid man-armpits, fouling up my new shirt in the relevant places…y’ani…the armpits of my shirt smelled like armpits. I handed it to him and said, smell this. And he smelled it and made a face and I said, do you smell anything? He gave the shirt a funny look. I said, what, has someone been wearing my shirt? And he shook his head and said, Baji, we hang them up right after we sew them… And that was all.

Aniraz thinks the tailors are all drag-queens. My mom says they wear my clothes when they have to wash their own,. and Aniraz says, no, they get dressed up and have parties wearing all these women’s clothes. I don’t care what they’re trying to do, I just wish they’d do it without wearing my shirt!

Aright, no more complaining about my tailor. My buddy at chaiandapplepie.blogspot.com got herself a tag board…so, ready, on your marks…get set…TAG! I am proud to say that I got there first, neener neener neener, and will be forever honored with the position of ‘First Tagger.’

I spose I shall elaborate on what’s been going on on my tagboard. InshaAllah, my sister and I are gonna go for Umrah this year in Ramadan. (InshaAllah, InshaAllah) and I’m really excited about it! My Uncle goes there in Ramadan every year, and my father might send us with him this time! Yay! :::bounces up and down in chair::: Yay! Yay! Everybody please do dua that our plans are fulfilled and our intentions are accepted as pure and our heaps and heaps of sins are forgiven. Ameen.

“And whoever does evil or wrongs himself but afterwards seeks Allah’s Forgiveness, he will find Allah Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” The Holy Qur’an, Surah An-Nisa – Ayah 110.

I mortally wounded myself, just to make you guys happy. I present: How to Mortally Wound Yourself While Cleaning Off The Table. -or- How to Make Carrot Upside-down Cake.

Clean off the remnants of Easter dinner, and cover a largely un-touched carrot cake with plastic wrap, marveling at the skill with which it is applied and the flawless, wrinkleless way it is stretched over the glass sheet-cake pan. Carry this cake to the fridge, still gazing at the taut plastic wrap is quiet admiration, then try to open the fridge with one thumb. Fail miserably, allow the cake to tip, turn over in mid-air, strike your knee heavily on the way down and then crash to the floor in a thousand shards of glass and a pile of cakey carrot crumbs.

Since the cake will have crashed just inches from your sandaled foot, tiny glass shards will embed themselves in your foot like mini-shrapnel, making your foot burn until you can pick all of them out. Well, most of them at least. I may or may not die of gangrene. I already would have died of sadness if Aniraz hadn’t rescued what was left of the cake and decided that glass shards, the smaller ones anyone, are edible. He he. She says it’s part of her training for the circus. Every freak-show needs at least one glass-eater. Fortunately, my mother is a very kind and un-materialistic woman, so she did not try to murder me for destroying her favorite baking dish.

You know what’s ridiculous is that as I stood there with cake on the floor and glass in my feet, I laughed to myself and thought, Oh well, at least this will make for an interesting blog…

I have a really bizarre way of looking at things, I know. Once, a guy broadsided my car (with me in it) and then took off. As I was standing there, barefooted, with a busted car in the middle of an intersection, I laughed to myself and thought, Oh well, at least this will make an interesting story. Why was I barefooted? Well, that’s an interesting story too. Ok, I’ll elaborate.

I had just gotten out of the shower when I got a phone call from my mom, saying she needed to be picked up from a friend’s house. (This was back when he lived in the States) I was like sure mom, no prob. I got dressed, but couldn’t find my shoes. I figured what the heck, I drive barefooted in summer anyway. So I hopped into my car and headed off to pick my mom up. I stopped my car at a four-way intersection with stop-signs. (Incidentally, they don’t HAVE stop signs in Pakistan, so some of you won’t have a clue what I’m talking about.)

I was the first car to stop, then came a blue car, and then a police car. It was my turn to go through the intersection, so I pulled out, and just as I was half-way through, I heard a nasty crunch and felt the whole car jolt. The blue car had gunned it, shot out into the intersection while I was still in the middle, and hit my car so hard that it was slammed to the curb and the axel was broken. He hit the car on the driver’s side, my side, and caved the door in. Alhamdulillah, I was ok. (Always wear your seat-belt!)

I got out of the car from the passenger side (cuz his car was still crammed into my door!) and said, Umm…dude? The policeman pulled up and asked to see our licenses. I produced mine, and the cop looked it over. He asked for the other guy’s license, and the other guy panicked, started yelling at me and saying it was my fault. The cop actually laughed and said, oh no, it’s not her fault, it’s yours. I was here. Where’s your license?

The guy said it was in his car, so he got back in…and then sped off. The policeman took off after him, and that’s how I was left alone, barefoot, in the middle of an intersection with a busted car. I laughed to myself, pulled my car to the side of the road and walked home, barefooted and with a quickly swelling knee. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but when the car was hit, my knee was slammed into the steering column and badly bruised. When I got home I called my mom and she took a taxi.

I went to the police station later that afternoon, and told them what happened, and they radioed around and asked that the policeman who was at the intersection come to the station. He showed up about forty-five minutes later, and we had an interesting chat. It turned out that the guy in the blue car was 15 years old, and the car was stolen. He led the police on an interesting chase that ended when he crashed the car into something else.

The policeman told me that he saw the guy in the blue car staring at him nervously, and so the policeman stared steadily back at him. The guy was still staring at the policeman when he punched the gas and crashed into me. Boy, a guilty conscious needs no accuser! I don’t know what happened to the guy, we didn’t sue for damages (boy did we feel sorry for his parents!) so my car was busted for two months before I could get it fixed. That was the summer that I realized I liked to cycle. The End.

This is turning out to be a very long blog, but I must include an update on my favorite three-year old. (He’s the son of one of my students). He snuck up on me (in plain view, again) while I was teaching a lesson, this time wearing neon-green swimming goggles, water wings and flippers. After we oohed and aahed over him, he came back ten minutes later, this time with just the goggles, and proceeded to distribute wet-wipes to everyone in the room. Very gracious of him. I must remember to write a thank-you note.

Here’s a really great (but then, aren’t they all great?) ayah from the Qur’an. It’s from Surah 9, ayah 71.

‘And the believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another, they enjoin the right and forbid the wrong, they establish worship and they pay the poor-due, and they obey Allah and His messenger. As for these, Allah will have mercy on them, Lo! Allah is Mighty and Wise.’

Sorry my comments aren’t working, squawkbox.tv is having server probs. Speaking of problems, the annual Battle of the Bugs is well underway. Every spring, once the weather gets a bit warmer, insects of all kinds come out in full force and lay siege to my house. I think I’ve already mentioned Major Mooch-a-lot of the Mosquito Marines, and Commander Lal Baig of the Cockroach Corps. Well, there’s a new enemy afoot: the Termite Troops.

Not to be foiled by the screens on the windows and doors, they found an under-ground entrance to our house, and set up base in the kitchen drain. It was a mighty battle, it was. My second in command, Mortein Lure n’Kill Surface Spray, and I fought a fast and furious fight, and in the end I triumphed and poured acid down all the drains. Regrettably, there were some casualties. Aniraz was caught in friendly fire. (“Dude, you just sprayed that all over my foot!”)

Sorry for the short blog. I haven’t done much today that’s worth writing about, I woke up late, I did a minor amount of work towards preparing Easter Dinner, I went to my favorite internet cafe for half an hour, and I came home and wandered aimlessly between the computer and the refrigerator.

Since my mom is a Christian we have Easter dinner, today we‘re serving leg of Qurbaani lamb. Ah, the irony. I don’t know whether this is an official family tradition, but holiday meals are always served late, and boy am I hungry…I’m going to go set the table in hopes that it will speed the cooking process somehow. My apologies again for the lame blog. You may amuse yourselves on my tag board until I come up with a better one. Peace!

“And verily, I am indeed Forgiving to him who repents, believes and does righteous good deeds, and then remains constant in doing them, [till his death].” The Holy Qur’an, Surah Ta-Ha – Ayah 82.

I beg a thousand pardons of y’all, for I overbooked my weekend and hadn’t had the time to write an update yet. Friday was English Night, this Saturday was a party, tomorrow is Easter Dinner for my mother. Aasif jiddan.

Party’s over, the house is *relatively* clean and the only things still lingering are two 3-D crepe-paper fish hanging from the ceiling. (I rather like them, perhaps I’ll leave them up.) Nothing spices up a party (even a party for grown women) quite like a bunch of tacky party decorations. These fish were part of a larger set of Hawaiian party decorations, which originally included those flower necklaces, a grass skirt, a huge 3-D paper parrot, and various under-the-sea themed junk. The grass skirt went home with someone already, and the flower necklaces went the way of the dodo, but the big parrot is still around.

Oh yeah, and there were two water guns. One has since been lost, and the other is in my desk drawer, since you never really know when you’re going to be needing one in this day and age. What with crime rates being so phenomenally high and all: Freeze, evildoer! Stand and be inundated!

Enough on today’s party, on to yesterday’s English Night. I will not bore you with the grammatically-oriented details, rather I will regale you with the menu. Turkish samosa, chocolate mousse, authentic German apple streusel, potato salad, hummus and crackers, ice cream, and of course, gallons and gallons of Turkish tea. I -heart- Turkish tea. (he he) And of course, there were Ferre Rocher bon-bons and Turkish Delight. Someone has recently complained that I am very food-oriented. With a menu like that, who can blame me?

Hmm, I’ll try to write about something other than food….hmmm…how about food from a cultural perspective? It was very interesting to note that the Turkish samosa was very much like the Pakistani one, but instead of being fried into little triangles, it was layered in a pan and baked. And the authentic German streusel was NOTHING like what Americans call streusel. It was pastry dough stuffed with apples, raisins and spice, and rolled. American streusel is a brown-sugar, butter, and oat-meal topping that you sprinkle on other things. I wonder how that happened…ok, no more food.

How about politics? No, politics these days are depressing. I don’t want to talk about Bushs’ plans for global domination. Afghanistan…Iraq…then Syria…probably Iran then. Bush has no right to talk about human rights or freedom, he alone is more responsible for more deaths worldwide than any other world leader at the moment. (Afghanistan + Iraq = Genocide, but these days we call it collateral damage, don’t we? hmmm) Ya Allah, it’s horrible and shocking. Now you see why I prefer to talk about food instead.

How about sports? The Cricket World Cup has been over and done for a long time, but what else is there to talk about? 😛 I can’t believe Australia won. I think the cup should have been awarded on the basis of sportsmanship. Australia would never have won if it was….they admitted they were bowling at peoples’ heads on purpose! Hmmph! I’m not going to say anything bad about the Australian cricket team, I don’t know whether or not I’ll get in trouble for it. (Hi Sonia! Happy birthday!) I’m still thinking bad thoughts though, I really am. grrrrrr

How about art and literature? It may not be art, but I just finished reading The Best of Roald Dahl. Aside from writing children’s stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dahl wrote wickedly funny short stories. His sense of humor was macabre, and at times, just gross. I wouldn’t recommend the book if you’re squeamish. If you’re in Islamabad (tell ‘em Three-Fingers Jack sent ya!) you can find it at Mr. Old Books, Jinnah Super.

How about medicine? I’ve learnt that other foreigners I know have gotten sick from eating at glitzy-shiny restaurants that are normally a foreigner’s mainstay in Islamabad: like Subway, KFC, and the Arizona Grill. Two people I know got violently ill from eating at KFC, my sister got sick from eating at Subway, and the US embassy here issued a warning to its citizens that the Arizona Grill was off-limits because there had been several cases of food poisoning. I say stick to the dirty little thela-walas (cart-dudes) in the bazaars, at least then you’re expecting to get sick, and a little *intestinal distress* is nothing compared to a case of food poisoning. I would know, I had food poisoning last week, remember?

How about science and technology? Ummm, my digital camera is broken….the atmosphere these days contains high concentrations of moisture…some old bread in the fridge grew some cool blue and green fuzz…now if that isn’t science at it’s best, then I don’t know what is! Oh, and I know three people who have come back from China in the last month, thank God, none of them have developed a dry fever and a high cough…or was it a high fever and a dry cough? Therefore I am still SARS-free. (BiFazlAllah! SubhanAllah! Phew!)

Hmmm, it’s midnight and I’m very much alive awake alert enthusiastic. (…ah the camp days, eh Amira? Burly Girls Rock!) I indulged in a little post-party snooze, which lasted for four hours instead of forty minutes. So I woke up at ten o’clock this evening and here I am. Everyone else is asleep, and the only other person up right now is the left-over birthday cake, which may or may not see the light of tomorrow morning. ::slurp slurp:::

Today’s Islamic quote of the day is another one of my many, many favorites. Some of you may remember seeing this on LionAround’s blog last week, but that’s ok. A good thing is worth repeating.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) said, “There are four bad qualities, if anyone has all four of them they are a perfect hypocrite, and if anyone has one them they are a hypocrite in part until he leaves it and repents. These qualities are: embezzlement in property and breach of trust, lying, breaking a pact or agreement or promise, and swearing in an argument and using foul language.” -Bukhari and Muslim.

Well, it happens every summer so today was a good enough day as any: I swallowed a bug. No, I don’t know what kind it was. No, it wasn’t salty, or sweet for that matter. No, I didn’t chew or swallow. Eeeee….I’m grossing myself out now, so I’ll stop.

The car is repaired (YAAAYY!!!!) and no one has tried to race me since. I must admit I’m a little disappointed. I was looking forward to making some greasy avaara eat my dust! (avaara= greasy, uncouth, lewd boy/man) For some reason, the engine has really good pick-up when the muffler has a hole in it. Or maybe the pick-up just seems better because the engine is louder. I dunno. But the car is quiet again and I am no longer Sensei Speed Demon, Terror of the Tarmac. Actually…I still terrorize the tarmac…but only a little.

Tomorrow is English Night. That’s where all of my ESL students get together and we play Scrabble and Pictionary and Madlibs and other stuff. It’s great fun, and there are prizes too. Unfortunately, I’m the one who has to cough up the prizes, but I don’t mind. I really enjoy seeing my students make use of what we’ve learned in class. Aniraz thinks I’m crazy because I get all excited and I talk about my students like they’re giga-pets. (Does anyone even remember giga-pets?) I’ll come home from work and go, “Guess what! I finally got her to say the ‘j’ sound properly! Isn’t it exciting!”

There’s always really good food at English Night too…mostly Turkish these days because five of my seven students are Turkish. I must say…Turkish food is really good. Lukumu…yumm…and I had some chocolate covered nuts…and one of my students periodically feeds me home-made chocolate mousse with hazelnuts, God bless her. I don’t know whether that’s specifically a Turkish dish, but hey, you won’t hear me complaining about it! :::munch munch:::

:::munch munch slurp::: I’m eating an overly-large piece of coffee bar. Tha’s one of the perks of running a bakery…the stale things are mine! All mine! Mwahahaaaa!! *gag* Well, actually today was the bakery’s last day. It’s not that it wasn’t doing well (Alhamdulillah) it’s just that the weather has gotten TOO hot to be running a home-made bakery. Plus, my dad needed extra space in the restaurant so the bakery counter had to go. We don’t mind, and besides, we still bake on order…sometimes. When we feel like it anyway. :p And we’re always baking for ourselves. He he.

I’ve signed up for a fotolog, but since my digital cam bit the dust, I only have a few pics suitable for public viewing, without any definite promise of more in the future. I do have pics of the outside of my dad’s restaurant, a pic of our vicious-ridiculous man-eating dog and we have a picture of our Qurbani sheep from this Eid, but Aniraz already posted that pic on her site a while ago. I couldn’t take a more recent pic of it even if I wanted too…all it would look like would be a leg of lamb in the deep freezer. He he.

We’ve borrowed a seriously cheap and crappy digital cam from Aniraz’s office, so I could wander around taking blurry pictures of the village in front of my house and the goats that eat our flowers, but I’m ashamed to be posting such low-quality photos after looking at the super-clear, super-nice stuff on Shad’s fotolog. Oh man…what a time to not have a digital cam, there’s a moon-bow out right now. I don’t suppose you guys know what a moon-bow is. I wouldn’t know either if my mom weren’t such a rainbow-buff. She was always dragging us kids around to see rainbows (real ones) and moon-bows when we were little. Well, a moon-bow is a rainbow at night. All you see is a yellow and orange band curving past the moon because it‘s really too dark for the other colors to show up. It’s creepy-looking, but MashaAllah, it’s cool.

I spose we really should get our digital camera fixed, it’s just that the place where you plug the USB cable in has come loose, so when you plug the cable in, the little pokey metal things don’t touch anymore. (All hail the techno-twit!) Does anyone know if there’s a FujiFilm digital service center here in Islamabad?

And speaking of Islam, here‘s our Islamic quote of the day. “Successful indeed are the believers, who are humble in their prayers, who shun vain conversation, who pay Zakat and guard their modesty.” -The Holy Qur’an, Surah 23, ayaat 1-5

Doctor: There’s nothing wrong with you that an expensive operation can’t prolong. -Monty Python

Well folks, I was kinda sick today and yesterday, but it was nothing that a day off work, a three hour nap and a two hour shower couldn’t fix. Antibiotics were a help too, and my mom made cream of mushroom soup. I sorta got food poisoning, and since the friend I went out for ice-cream with got sick too (Hi Sonia…glad to know you’re feeling better!) we think it was the ice-cream. She wasn’t too badly off, but me, my immune system is made of second-rate materials, so I got pretty ill- I had a fever and nausea and other fun stuff.

I’ve decided that my least favorite feeling is nausea, though there is an upside to being sick. You really start to appreciate your health, in a warm, fuzzy, sappy, Hallmark type of way, in direct proportion to how sick you were.

Ya’ni, the sicker you were, the happier you feel about being healthy. I know this is true for me, because after a day and a half of nausea, being able to eat a piece of cake without retching is almost ecstasy. It was the same for me when I had my appendix out in 2001, when rebel bacterial forces had staged an insurrection, and the appendix took advantage of the situation and tried to secede from the Union. They were winning the battle too, so I called for reinforcements and the first Battalion of Doctors from Aga Khan Hospital, Karachi, rode in and crushed the mutiny with an iron fist…errr…scalpel.

I learned three things from that experience, the first being, never trust your appendix, the treacherous little worm….

The second being: you never really appreciate your body, especially your arms until suddenly you can’t move them because they’re jabbed full of needles. Your legs deserve extra thanks for not going all jelly-like on a daily basis like they do after a surgery. It’s the same with all of you, every single part of you that doesn’t ache, throb, pain, or torment you on a daily basis.

The third, and most important thing of all is: Thank Allah for your health before you lose it! Most of the time people take being healthy for granted, don’t do it! It’s such a major blessing, and you’ll never know what you had until you’ve lost it.

I must clear Aniraz’s name. Before we realized it was the ice-cream, she thought (and I thought so too!) that it was the chicken she made for dinner that made me ill. It would have been pay-back for the time that I made chicken and we both got salmonella from it. Boy, was that exciting. There’s nothing like an ER visit at 4 am to spice up your life. I’m not going to go into the gory details, but it was basically a severely horrible experience. If Aniraz made me sick it would have been a fitting retribution.

Well since I’m in an internet cafe, I’ll cut it short here. One thing you gotta love about Pakistan: I’m sitting in the Mr.Net Cafe and Islamic IT center, and there’s a section of the cafe for women only. And they’re playing na’at and nasheed in the background. Gotta go to work now. I apologize cuz I don’t think I’ll be in Blogistan as much in the future…at least not until I get my paycheck and can buy more internet hours. 😛

Hey…one of my real-life buddies got her blog up! Visit her at www.chaiandapplepie.blogspot.com !

Eat My Dust?

Last night we had the first spring dust storm. I wish I could think of a word stronger than storm, because it doesn’t seem to fully describe the sight. The visibility is down to about 30 feet, the air is thick with gritty, yellow dirt, rising from the ground like smoke in 30-foot plumes and howling through the cracks in the window frames.

Now you say: How ghetto is that? They have cracks in their window frames!

Then I say: When the wind blows hard enough to tear our iron gate off its hinges (like it did last year) any window frame will suddenly have cracks through which the grit can come through.

I went up on to the roof (because I am a genius, remember?) in this big ole storm and was happy. Leave it to me to be rejoicing in a blinding swirl of dirt, (“The symbolism is astounding,” thus sayeth Aniraz) with the wind blowing my scarf backwards over my face and my pants swelled with air like sails. And my teeth filling with dirt. And my eyebrows and eyelashes turning khaki. And my skin dusted over so that I look non-white for the first time, ever. And my clothes a filthy dirty-color, and I swear they were clean when I put them on, scout’s honor. :::snicker:::

The sounds of a dust storm are quite interesting. You hear howl howl howl, crash, bang, bleat, crash, bang, howl. The wind howls, doors, gates and windows bang open and closed, sheep bleat in protest, medium-sized debris goes crashing all over the place. The dust storms always deposit the most interesting junk into our drive-way, cigarette boxes, feathers, straw, hats, handkerchiefs, cardboard boxes, old hard bread, and millions upon millions of used plastic shopping bags. Once after a really nasty dust storm there was a prayer rug hanging from the electricity wires for three days, but I’m waiting for something really interesting to blow up onto our porch, like a small goat or a ufo.

I also had a few random thoughts, one of which was that I think our prayer rugs are the original flying carpets. What do you guys think? It sounds plausible, no? I rather enjoy thinking about my prayer rug being capable of flight. Speaking of my prayer rug, the three year old snuck up on me again today. I was praying Asr and I heard him walking slowly up to the room I was in. He stuck his face in the door (which incidentally, was right in my qiblah) and when he saw I was praying, he stepped in front of the rug, right at the head, and stood there waiting for me, arms akimbo, not unlike Superman. He only had to wait for one and a half rakah, because then his mother came up the stairs, gasped when she saw him, grabbed him by the arm and took him back down. Boy was he upset about that. He he.

What was the other thing I wanted to mention on my blog? Umm, I haven’t made the changes to my fly-trap because I was home today for a grand total of FIVE minutes. I left the house this morn, went to work, chilled with a friend of mine, picked my sister up from work, went home for five minutes and prayed, drove back to work with a sandwich in my hand. Then I worked, and came home two hours ago, and here I am. (it‘s 10pm)

Btw, I award Aniraz 875974.4 Sugghar points for both my mobile sandwich and the baked chicken & potato planks that were awaiting me when I came home. Aniraz zindabad! Btw, The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, said: “Only an honorable man treats women with honor and integrity. And only a mean, deceitful and dishonest man humiliates and insults women.” Reported by Ibn Asaker.

Ahh! I can’t believe I forgot to include this: The muffler/silencer on the family car is busted, so now my car sounds like it’s burning nitro. Well, I’m being kind when I say that. It actually sounds like a contestant from a monster truck rally. It’s so bizarre, and so loud that you have to suspend all conversation when you accelerate, because otherwise you can’t make out what the other people in the car are saying. So anyways, I’ve been zooming around town in a car that sounds like ten cars, and people have been trying to drag race with me! I swear, it’s so weird. I was stopped at a light, running (but NOT revving) the engine, when I heard someone revv theirs in reply. I turned and looked, and there was a greasy guy on a motorcycle, grinning at me and racing his engine. When the light changed he burned rubber and shot ahead, giving me a smug victory grin and then speeding off.

Though I confess that I sometimes out-maneuver (but not necessarily *race*) other cars, I wasn’t even trying to race that time. What gives? There was one white car too, playing the creeping game with me. That’s where each car stopped at the red light creeps forward in turns, trying to get a lead on the other without actually braking the light. I was creeping independently of him, but the thunderous roar of my engine made it sound like I was revving again. He shot past the light when it changed and I’m sure he thought he was making me eat his dust. Sheesh. I hope the muffler’s fixed by tomorrow, any more of these bruises to my driving ego and I may have to take someone up on the challenge just to prove myself in the world of reckless (but not wreck-less) Pakistani driving. Peace!

-Terror of the Tarmac, Sensei Speed Demon

Ha Ha! My little brother in the states is reading my blog! Hi sir! I so happy! I therefore dedicate this blog to him. AssalamuAlaikum Zaman!

Well, I have distressing news to relate. You know that one fly trapped in my fly-trap? It escaped. :::drops head into hands and wails. Oh the agony!::: See, the fly got inside. And that’s great, but he was in there long enough to figure a way out. That’s because I forgot to poison him. A friend and anti-fly co-conspirator (Hi Maria!) told me that if you mix a little washing soap/powder in there then the flies will die in ecstasy.

Now, I can’t vouch for the fact that the flies would be ecstatic to be poisoned, but I think the powder would probably kill them. I find dead spiders in the laundry soap all the time actually, which kinda makes me sad. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend, the spiders eat the flies, therefore the spiders and I are buddies.) It’s too dark to go poking about my fly-trap at the moment, so I’ll make the changes in the morning and keep y’all informed of my progress.

My yesterday’s artsy-fartsy impulses manifested themselves not in painting, but in sewing a shirt. I’m wearing it now thank you very much. And, instead of rearranging the furniture, I busted out a hammer, a pencil, two screw drivers and no, I didn’t hurt myself. I repaired the shelf in my bathroom that fell down last week. It was quite an event when it happened actually. Aniraz came down the stairs and informed me that there was broken glass and the slime of mingled facial-maintenance products all over the bathroom, and a safety pin in the toilet. Since our bathroom had been in a *relatively* normal state when we left the house, it was kinda shocking to come home and find it in ruins.

It turns out that the two screws holding the shelf in place had finally given up, and the shelf dropped off the wall and struck the sink with considerable violence. The glass that held our tooth brushes had gone airborne and shattered on the floor three feet away from the sink, and all the safety-pins and straight-pins that we keep for our scarves flew in a roughly north-east direction, landing in the vicinity of the toilet. That’s how one of them ended up sleeping with the fishes, or the alligators, or the roaches, or whichever foul beastie it is that lives in Pakistan‘s sewers.

I, brandishing my trusty knife, tiptoed around the house checking to see if any of the windows were broken or the door left unlocked, or if anything expensive was missing, or if there had been safety pins thrown into any of the other toilets as the burglar’s calling card. We’re not paranoid, actually we’ve had our house burglarized before. Back in the US, we came home one day and there were muddy footprints on the sofa and my mom’s jewelry had been stolen, and lots of important papers torn into bits. I don’t know why the burglars ripped up my birth certificate and social security card, I know only that I had an existential crisis before I got new copies.

The cops came and looked around, taking fingerprints. They came into our room (Aniraz’s and mine) and took it all in: the clothes strewn about the room, the drawers dumped out on the floor, the closet doors open, the books thrown from the shelves and lying open, and said, “So, the burglar did all this?”

I cannot tell a lie. Especially when the truth is more amusing. I suppressed a smile and said, “No sir.“ The room looked exactly the same as we had left it. The cop was slightly repulsed. I don’t blame him, I doubt even the burglars set foot in it, they were probably too grossed out by the mess. I was actually kinda disappointed that they hadn’t carted some of it away. They could’ve saved us the trouble of cleaning up.

But, back to the here and now, the bathroom shelf is restored and I am without mortal injury. I have to teach tomorrow, and have a lot of work to do before then. It’s Sunday again, and have you all memorized the Sunday-Night chant dutifully and in American accents? Yes? Excellent, then we shall recite it. All together now class, (raps desk with ruler and straightens horn-rimmed glasses).

Eeek! Eeek! Eeek!

The beginning of another week!

I have to go back to doing work now, but I will leave you with what I think is one of the most beautiful passages of the Qur’an. It’s from Surah 5, ayah 6. I’ve broken it into lines to make it easier to read.

“O ye whose hearts have been touched by the Divine Hand, when you intend to stand before God for performing your acts of worship, then ablution becomes a duty.

Wash your faces, your hands and the forearms up to the elbows, and with your wet hands wipe over your heads, and then wash your feet to your ankles….

…God does not intend to put you in difficulty, but only to make you sound-headed men of proper discipline and excellent mind, and to set you upon a course of purity of thought and action.

For the actions of men are best interpreters of their thoughts, and He means to make all grace abound in you that you may hopefully actuate yourselves with the feeling of gratitude and gratefulness and lift to Him your inward sight.”

My second art gallery visit was much better than the first. I was quite impressed with the quality of the art there, and I came home thinking artsy thoughts…thinking about pulling out my sister’s water colors or finger-painting with food coloring if she won’t let me use her paint. I saw lots of things I liked, and though the prices were highly prohibitive (12,000 rupees for a painting= $200) I did get a lot of good decorating ideas. And I learned that the gallery also has pottery classes.

I used to throw pottery (not on the floor, at least not often) on a wheel back in my college days (Ah…ancient history) and I really enjoyed it. I was thinking about taking the class, the price is pretty good, but it’s outdoors. The only benefit to having an outdoor pottery class in a Pakistani summer is that you won’t need the kiln to bake the pieces. Just leave them out in the sun, yeah right next to you, cuz it’s 45 C/ 110F with 70% humidity anyways. Contrary to common belief, I’m not crazy, and I’d prefer to bake pottery than my head. I’ll wait till fall, or until they move indoors where there’s an air-conditioner!

So I came home after a lovely afternoon at the art gallery with two of my buddies (Hi Maria! Hi Sonia!) and was in the mood for doing some interior decorating. I periodically have these urges, and I usually satisfy them by rearranging all the furniture in the house. Maybe this time I’ll do some wishy-washy looking art, or sew a pair of pants. (sew a pair of pants?) Yes, pants. An ill-fitting pair that will tie with a string and be seen by no one but me and the family members who will ridicule me. And a shirt to go with it. It doesn’t matter what I wear around the house anyway. They all know I’m a bum. If they don’t by now, they’ll figure it all out by the time I’m done.

So anyway, I was feeling artsy when I sat down to a plate of leftover carrot sticks and hummus, when suddenly I was :::queue heavenly music::: INSPIRED!!! So, with my trusty dull fruit knife in one hand, and a solitary carrot stick in the other, I made art.



It was a difficult process.

A journey of self-discovery.

For what is art but a physical reflection of the soul?

What is art but a carrot stick carved into a crocodile?

It was an honest-to-goodness sculpture. I even feigned some angst while I was at it. If I hadn’t laughed hysterically at the finished croco-carrot and then popped it in my mouth, I might have been able to arrange an exhibit and sell it for at least 12,000 rupees. (see, this in itself is a testament to how hot the weather is already. I…feel…baked…) Eh.

And here’s one of my favorite Hadith. The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him, said: “By God Who owns my life, none of you can be completely faithful unless (and until) you like for your brother what you like for yourself.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

But wait, still there’s more! I found my high-tech ankle brace, so I’ll be the bionic English teacher from now on. My students already knew I was kinda dull and robotic, now they’ll know I’m a cyborg, yikes! I also found my sunglasses. Both of them. They were trapped in display cases in a shop, and the shopkeeper was holding them for ransom. The nerve!

I’m going to go see if my sunglasses need anything. They have been though a rather tough ordeal you know. Peace! -The Bionic Sensei

I May Not Know Art, But I Know What I Like!

I get tired of mortally wounding myself, and yet I just can’t seem to stop. Ere go: How To Mortally Wound Yourself While Baking Crackers

Don’t ask me why we’re baking crackers. Pakistan is a hands-on kinda place, and if you want your own saltines, you have to make them yourself. So anyways, roll out a batch of crackers and jab at them with a fork hurriedly because you’re on the internet and baking simultaneously and wasting time is wasting money. So, roll out your crackers, stab at them with a fork, limp to the oven (the ankle’s still purple) and throw open the oven door. Thrust the tray of crackers in, and then yelp out when the oven door rebounds (because you opened it too hard and it has sprung back) and bakes your knuckles. :: tsssssss::: Releasing your crackers into the bottom off the oven is optional.

The anti-war art exhibit was fairly interesting. There were a few nice looking pieces, collages done with obvious skill and thought. Then there some really weird things….a piece of red fabric thrown on a box. I thought it was a stand for a sculpture, then I noticed that there was plaque with the artist’s name. This piece was titled, “Grief.” I think I would’ve called it, “Missed The Deadline For The Art Exhibit And Have No Sculpture To Put On The Stand.” Hmmm

Two things I liked a lot: A painting of a pair of bloodied hands releasing a stained bird of peace. There was a Qur’anic verse next to it, which I can half-way remember in Arabic, but not where it’s from. It goes, And when it is said to them, spread no mischief in the earth, they answer, we are of those who do good! nay, they spread mischief, though they perceive it not. That’s just a paraphrase btw, can anyone gimme the actual quote?

The second one was an oil barrel painted with the stars and stripes, surrounded by a bunch of lotas. Lemme tell you what a lota is if you don’t know. A lota is a round container with a spout and no handle, used for pouring water in the uh…bathroom. But in Pakistani politics, a lota is a person who swims with the political current, or turns his political stance to whichever way the wind is blowing. This is because real lotas aren’t very stable have a tendency to tip over (and soak your feet!). So anyways, all these lotas were painted with the flags of the various countries supporting the US, or at least not opposing it. And there was a star of David painted on the floor around the oil barrel, but since I’m not a very big Jewish Conspiracy theorist, I didn’t think it was too relevant. The way I see it, Zionists in Palestine are committing their atrocities openly, good grief, what need have they for secrecy? Now I know at least ten people are going to jump down my throat for this, but I’m going to put this up anyway. It’s a site belonging to a group of Orthodox Jews opposed the very creation of Israel. (Oh yeah, and not all Jews are Zionists, and they make Christian Zionists too)

“… We also condemn the existence of the state of Israel forbidden to us by the Torah. Jews were not meant to be dispossessor of others’ property. Jews were not meant to wield tanks against children. Jews were not meant to wage war against any people on the face of the earth…” –Netureikarta.org

Mostly-Christian Russia is the one killing us off in Chechnya, and Christian France wreaked havoc in Egypt and Algeria, and Christian Spaniards massacred the Moorish Muslims and turned our Masjids into museums, and last but not least, our Born-Again-Christian Bush is blasting the Muslim world to smithereens, one country at a time. He’s got his sights set on Syria and Iran now, and with no one to stop him, who knows how far it’ll go?

What’s my point? Either we stop hating the Zionists or we start hating those Militant Christians (not all of em, just the militant ones) because we have a double standard. I think we should denounce whoever needs to be denounced, regardless of their religion. And I think I’ll start with Bush, and then my very own dictator Musharraf, and the bloody massacring pig Ariel Sharon (the only war criminal with not one, but TWO, count em, TWO girly names…) and the inept, oil-rich leaders of *some* countries in the Middle East. Aniraz sez wait, they’re not inept, just criminally negligent of the other Muslim countries. Nuts to all of them.

Never mind. My sending nuts to them as a symbol of my angst doesn’t count for much. That’s what Judgment Day is for. 😉

Signed,

Your Cosmoplanetary Electronegative Jesmopolitain Leader,

With a purple ankle and a baked knuckle. ( :: tsssss :: )

-Sensei

I can’t believe how busy I’ve been this week. I, who usually do something fun roughly every six months, have been out almost every other day this week. Saturday: Lunch with friends, Tuesday: Dinner with Friends, Today: Book club with friends, Tomorrow: Anti-war art exhibit, This Saturday: Tea and then to an art gallery. I’m not bragging, I’m just kinda overwhelmed. Yeah, I’m having a blast, but having fun is hard work!

Speaking of work, the most hysterical thing happened to me at work today. I was praying Maghrib in one of my student’s houses, when her absolutely precious, very serious, and very shy three-and-a-half year old son opened his bedroom door a crack and peeked at me with one eye. (He was supposed to be taking a nap, but he snuck out.) I could see him, though I wasn’t looking directly at him, as he opened the door and stood there uncertainly for a sec with a toy car in his hand. Then he started sneaking up on me, inching his feet forward in tiny little steps.

You could tell he was not trying to make any noise. I, in the mean time, was trying not to burst out laughing in the middle of my prayer. He would sneak a little, and then stop, and then sneak a little, and stop. It took two rakahs, but he finally snuck all the way up to the prayer rug, where he lined his little toes up on the edge, and parked his toy car neatly next to them.

When I went into Rukuh, he bent over and looked up at my face. When I went into sajdah, he squatted down and tried to see whatever it was I was looking at on the floor. I have never had such a difficult time praying, biting my lower lip hard to keep from laughing on loud, while he peered into my face with his very serious little eyes. When I finished my prayer and did dua, he sat down on the floor and very somberly put his toy car on the prayer rug. Then he went ‘pbbbbbb’ and pushed it to my knee. I took the car and pushed it back, and we played with his car for a few minutes on the prayer rug. Then I made a face at him, which he giggled at, then imitated, and I went back downstairs to finish teaching my lesson. He came down after me a few minutes later, bringing a lizard man and a Goku (from Dragon Ball Z) toy. While his mother was doing some class work, I got to be Goku and he got to be lizard man. Since he speaks mostly Turkish, our play consisted mostly of sound effects. I can honestly say I haven’t had so much fun in a long time.

MashaAllah, kids are so amazing. I’m not gonna sit here gushing about it though. If you know little kids, then you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know yet, you’ll find out eventually. I have one nephew, my brother’s son, who I miss like crazy. He lived with us for six months, from when he was five months old, and it’s the most amazing thing to watch a kid come alive…to become interactive! He started out this pink, squishy little thing that just cooed and looked stunned all the time. But by the time he left, he was crawling around the house in fast-forward, blowing squishy, wet-sounding noises on your cheeks (that was his idea of a kiss) and giggling all the time. I miss him so much…

The following verse from the Qur’an has little or nothing to do with children, but it’s a really good one, especially since some of my comrades in Blogistan have been feeling low lately (Serious Usman, Shad and a few others) and when people feel low, sometimes they become more susceptible to the suggestions Enemy Number One, Shaitan. Here we go: “If a suggestion from Satan assails thy mind, seek refuge with Allah, for He hears and knows all things.” Surah Al-Araf, ayah 200.

It’s true you know, since Allah hears and knows all, He knows exactly what you’re dealing with and can help ya! 🙂 Peace!

Mosquito bites are back in fashion. That’s my excuse for having so many of them. Being a hijabi-jilbabi no one can see the ones on my arms that are as big as pennies, but my face is not so lucky. When the mosquitoes start biting my face (that part of me tastes the best, they say) I’ll look kind of pink and spotty, and very un-professional and very un-teacherish.

Since the weather has just gotten warm, the mosquitoes are just beginning to amass their forces. Soon they will invade the house, using the dreaded whine-in-ear-while-I’m-sleeping attack and the equally annoying bite-every-knuckle-on-both-my-hands tactic. Both of these are marvelously effective at destroying my dignity. You can’t wander around scratching at yourself in public, otherwise people think you have nasty hygiene or something.

You know, when my sister and I were little, we used to take our mattresses and fit them in the bed frames sideways, so that they curved up and made a tunnel. Then we would put a fan at the end of the tunnel, and sleep that way so the mosquitoes couldn’t get us. Later in my life, I got smarter and rigged up an entire tent around my bed, not for the mosquitoes, but for the centipedes that invaded my basement bedroom back in the states. They were nasty things those damn centipedes, like fake eyelashes zooming around the walls…shudders….it still grosses me out to think about them. They would fall off the ceiling into my bed and die there, and I would lay down and find dead centipedes on my pillow and then run screaming from my bedroom and go sleep on the sofa upstairs.

When I lived in Karachi, cockroaches were the bane of my existence. One of them (the big ones, 2 inches long and one inch across) fell on me when I was showering and I nearly had a heart attack. Hordes of them would invade the house at night from the garden, and run around like they owned the place. That’s the problem with old houses in Karachi, they’re all built open, the living room in that house had only three walls. The fourth wall was a carved gate that opened up into the garden. It was very bizarre to be watching a TV that had trees just behind it.

Hmmm, this blog is kinda pointless. Perhaps this story should have a plot, and eventually a moral. Ok, here it goes. So General Lal Baig of the Cockroach Command swung his forces down upon my house from the north. Little did I know that at the same time, Major Mooch-a-lot of the Mosquito Marines was leading a secretive thrust in through my screen door defenses in the south.

I, Sensei, stood alone, grim resignation written over my battle-weary and itchy face. Would I be capable of fighting another battle in this never ending war? To my trusty sidekick I turned, my braided cap at a rakish tilt over one cold gray eye. Outside the noise of the new flame throwers went ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa…oops, wrong story. #

But yeah, so I whip out a can of bug spray and take deliciously malicious pleasure in blasting all the little buggers to their dooms. The moral of this story is: Mortein high performance surface spray kills bugs fast.

But the real moral is, “Let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day* either speak good or keep silent, and let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his neighbor, and let him who believes in Allah and the Last Day be generous to his guest.” -The Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and all prophets. Hadith on the authority of Bukhari and Muslim.

# Read The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, by James Thurber

*Last Day = Day of Judgment

Here we go again: How to Mortally Wound Yourself While Trying to Answer the Phone

In order to do this successfully, you must have only one phone, and it has to be downstairs. Now, go upstairs and wait for the phone to ring. When it does ring, run headlong down the stairs at break-neck speed. No, this isn’t where you mortally wound yourself. Once you get down the stairs, grab the banister and swing down the last few steps, planting your sandaled feet very infirmly on a slippery marble floor. Then slip ungracefully, toppling off your left shoe and twisting your ankle viciously. This alone may kill you. If it doesn’t, limp unsteadily to the phone, only to discover that is has already stopped ringing and then die of exasperation.

My ankle is discolored and swollen and I’ve got it wrapped. I actually have a really cool ankle brace, but I can‘t find it. It’s all black, and the splints are full of hi-tech squishy gel and it straps on with velcro. I still have it from the last time I sprained my ankle at the Taste of Chicago Food Festival. I was crossing Lake Shore Drive in a hurry and tripped. I didn’t go down, but I did falter, and the traffic cop actually laughed at me! But then when he saw that my ankle had swollen to three times its normal size within about two seconds, he called me an ambulance. (You stupid ambulance!) It was my first and only ambulance ride, overall, it was fun. He he. But not at all like I imagined. You can’t see the flashing lights because you’re inside and they’re outside. And it’s all rather anticlimactic to be rushed to the hospital only to have to wait in the emergency room for 45 minutes.

Then, when I was at the hospital waiting for my x-rays, I leaned over the bed to peek at all the levers and pulleys underneath, and an overactive intern (I learned it was his first day) rushed to my aid because he thought I had passed out and was toppling over. (Tiiimmmmberrrrrrr…) Well, that was my first ankle sprain. This is my second, and there were no flashing lights, no interns rushing to my rescue (handsome or otherwise) and no squishy, high-tech ankle brace. But then, I’m not on crutches this time, so it’s not all bad. I just limped to the car and went to work.

You may ask, why does this moron keep spraining the same ankle? The answer is: Purple, Diana, because ice cream has no bones. Aniraz says it’s tartar sauce, the fish that doesn’t swim, but I cannot concur. I mean really, the actual is preexistent to the actual in potential, is it not? Any suggestions here people?

My mom has gone out to Chez Daddy and I’m waiting for her to bring back something edible. Maybe even tasty. In the mean time, I think I’ll limp over to the kitchen for some random nibbling. Here, have a pearl of wisdom: “Don’t be silly by saying: If people do good, we will do good and if they do wrong then we will do wrong. Accustom yourselves to good if people do good, but do no wrong if they do wrong.” -Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of God be upon him and all Prophets. (Tirmithi)

If this blog is funny-lookin, sorry, we’re having technical difficulties. Anyone fluent in HTML: please email me! I need help!!!

You guys…I’m at it again…sometimes I have mad inventive schemes. This week’s is a fly catcher. Yes, a device to catch flies. No, I’m not nuts, stop looking at me like that. Pakistan has BILIONS of flies, and at least half of them like to congregate around my washing machine when I’m trying to do the laundry. It’s really gross, they buzz around in your face and fall into the laundry. I shake out pants and somehow there are dead (but very clean) flies in them.

I remember in the states, at the Lincoln Park Zoo, there was a fly-trap, it looked like a bottle hanging upside down. The entrance was funnel-shaped, and there was something (presumably) sweet and very appealing to flies inside the bottle. The flies would meander down the funnel-shaped entrance, just big enough for them to squeeze through at the end, and then get trapped in the bottle because…well…flies aren’t the brightest crayons in the box, ok?

Since spring is here (and the flies that died with the winter cold have now been reincarnated…as flies again) I’ve been suggesting the idea to my mom and sis, and they both just gave me a look, with one eyebrow raised and the faintest smile playing about their lips, and said, “Un-hunh you do that, ok?”

Being thus discouraged (and slightly ridiculed), I was ready to give up on the idea until I sheepishly told one of my friends about it, (Hi Maria!) and she thought it was a great idea. She hates flies and so wished me good luck. So I took a one-liter pop bottle and poured old jelly and rose essence and a little pop inside, and shook the bottle so the walls were coated in the gooey and fragrant slime. Then I taped a long funnel into the mouth of the bottle, and I’ve hung it upside down right above the washing machine.

Now this is the moment we’ve all been waiting for…are there any flies trapped inside…(runs up the window to spy on flies, emphatically denies charges of mental instability)…ONE FLY!!!! Mwahahaa!!!! There is one fly in my fly trap! Oh Joy! Do you realize what this means? Based on the appalling rate at which flies reproduce, there are now roughly one thousand less flies in the world.

:::a contented sigh::: Well I think that makes my work a success. I’m ready to patent it now…fame and fortune, here I come! And maybe when I get rich enough from this invention, I’ll buy a bigger house and move the washer/dryer inside. Which reminds me of a line from one of my old textbooks. It was a chapter explaining facetious tactics in logic and argument. It was pointing out the error of the ‘bandwagon approach,’ where you argue that your point is right based solely on the fact that many other people agree with you. For example: The theory of evolution must be correct because so many scientists believe in it. The book’s example was:

::drum roll please:::

Seven billion flies can’t be wrong. Eat garbage.

And on a much more sensible note, today’s Islamic quote is: “Modesty and faith are constant companions. When one of them is raised up, the other is also raised.” -Prophet Muhammad, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), reported by Ibn Omar.

American Christian + Pakistani Muslim = FUNdamentalist Hijabi?

In honor o’ Saint Patty’s day…oops…I mean cuz Yaz asked, here’s wassap with my family. My dad (a Pakistani Muslim) traveled all over the world (as a teacher, then a sailor, then a waiter, then a cook) and ended up in the US where he met my mom, an American Christian. Since they’re both optimists, they married, each thinking they were going to convert the other. And time has passed (as it is wont to do) and surprisingly, my dad’s still Muslim and my mom’s still Christian, and now they‘re both cynics. he he.

My bros and sis and I are all Muslim. If you ask my mom why, she’ll say it’s because my dad forced us. That’s just because she’s sore about being the only Christian in the house. If you ask us why we‘re Muslim, we’ll say it’s because my mother’s church made no sense to us and Islam made all the sense in the world. I went to church as a child more often than I went to the masjid, cuz my dad worked very long, hard hours and we kids were with our mother all the time. I still know more about Christianity than many young Christians do, including the hymns.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord

He is trampling on the vineyards where the grapes of wrath are stored

He has loosed the fateful lightening of his terrible swift sword

His truth is marching on!

Glory, glory hallelujah… (Teacher hit me with a ruler. I hit her on the bean with a rotten tangerine and she won’t do it anymore!…Yikes, who said that?)

And no, my parents are not divorced. The first thing I hear after I tell people about my parents is: so, how long have they been divorced? Which one do you live with? I think this is because the average person cannot fathom how my fundamentalist Christian mother and my practicing Muslim father have stayed married for over 25 years. It takes a lot of patience, and to be quite frank, that advice that I would give people is NEVER MARRY OUTSIDE YOUR FAITH!

Believe me, my parents made it work, but they are the are the only inter-faith marriage I’ve seen succeed, and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of failures. The kids are usually really messed up, especially concerning religion. Come on, who are you to believe when both of your parents tells you that the other one is damned to hell? It’s really confusing, and religion remains of a bone of contention forever. There’s no solution, if the kids go with the father’s religion, the mother gets angry. If the kids go with the mother, the father gets cheesed. And when the parents fight about religion every Friday or Sunday, respectively, the kids get traumatized. I speak from experience. Now you guys know why I’m so weird.

Hmmm, I think this started out as a story and has ended up as an earnest appeal to all the Muslim bros: NEVER MARRY OUTSIDE ISLAM! I’m deadly serious, please don’t do it. There’s a horrible chance that you’ll end up with kids with Muslim names and non-Muslim values, because the mother is always the primary educator. If you care about Islam, invest in a good religious instructor for your kids, viz- their mother!

Now you ask, if an inter-faith marriage is so bad for the kids’ religion then how come you’re a gung-ho Islamic? How did your dad save you? Answer: My dad didn’t save me, my Lord did. I have no one to thank for my faith except God. Not even myself. I had nothing to do with it finding Islam. Islam found me and hit me over the head (with logic, not force) and was like, “You dummy, you know this makes perfect sense, quit avoiding it!” So I was forced to accept some painfully obvious truths and here I am, here we are, all of us sibs Muslim, by the Grace of Allah. (by the skin of our teeth, he he…Astaghfirullah)

(Aniraz is trying juggle again and there are neon balls bouncing dangerously in my direction. Fire in the hole!)

Our house maintains a tense religious cease-fire. I won’t call it peace, because like India and Pakistan, the two religious factions are always trading shots over the border. We take humorous, and sometimes not-so-humorous jabs at each other and sometimes it gets laughs, sometimes it draws blood. (figuratively, not literally, thank God) It’s not the best situation in the world, but Alhamdulillah, we’re dealing with it I ‘spose. But yeah, prayers on behalf of my inter-faith family are always welcome. Boy this has gotten really long. I’ll end it here. Gotta go make a cookie delivery. Peace!

Your Jesmopolitain Cosmoplantery Leader,

Sensei

The process begins anew: my mother has just cranked up some gospel rock and started a triple batch of peanut butter cookies. According to the angry Christian guy in the stereo:

God’s got an army/not afraid to fight/soldiers of the cross/children of the light.

Warriors of righteousness/with healing in their hands/God’s got an army/marching through the lands.

(Sounds like terrorism to me)

Funny how people think they can wander around fighting God’s battles for them, specially the Christians, thinking God needs them to establish His kingdom, cuz apparently He can‘t do it Himself. I can’t think of anything more conceited than thinking that God needs pitiful little YOU to do anything for All-Powerful HIM. He created the entire world but needs you to manage it? Please. Boy, talk about hubris.

This is the point where an atheist reading my blog will go, “Well gee, if God’s so All-powerful, what’s He need you worshipping Him for?” Silly atheist. God doesn’t need worship, we need worship. To give props to where props are due, to put our stuck-up noses back in the humble dust where they belong, to meditate, to remind ourselves of higher responsibilities, to remember greater beauties, to avoid great uglinesses. It’s like giving your teacher homework. It isn‘t the teacher who needs it, it’s YOU who needs it, to help you learn.

Ah, the tape has been switched. Thank God! Oh nuts, now it’s church hymns. I swear man, they really need some new lyricists. Their music hit a peak in the 18th century and nothing good has been written since then. Even Greensleeves was plagiarized you know, the original had nothing to do with the baby Jesus (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon Prophet Isa) it was a song of lost love.

Alas my love/you have done me wrong/to have cast me out/so discourteously.

And I had loved you for so long/Delighting in your company.

Greensleeves was all my joy

Greensleeves was my desire

Greensleeves my heart of gold

And who but my lady Greensleeves?

I was talking with my dad last night about the general state of the world, he hasn’t read either Brave New World or 1984, but he agreed that the ignorance of the first world seems to be a combination of both ‘Big Brother is Watching’ and ‘A Gram is Better Than a Damn‘. I’m not saying the entire first world is on soma (the drug of choice in Brave New World) but they’re all high on comfort, ambition and freedom, and pliable to the manipulation of their minds through the media and government. Remember children,

WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

-1984, George Orwell

Je-tu present: Dinner Theater Blog

A one-act farce

by Abez A. Rat

Act one

Garcon: Good evening Madame, welcome to Chez du Rat trop Paresseux pour Cuisiner. Ey-yam Guy de Maupassant, and I vill be your vaiter tonight. ‘ow may I be of service to you?

Me: I’m hungry, you got eats?

Garcon: (kissing his fingertips) Oh Madame! Tonight ve ‘ave ze chef speshal…le Boeuf de Stewed de Gelatinous Froid, served with le Morceau Singulier de Pain de France with a glass of our finest le Café de Tepid.

Me: (grabs fork with one hand and spoon in the other, drools expectantly on table cloth) Uh, ok, whatever that means…I’m ready to punch a new hole in my belt…bring-it-on!

(The three-course meal arrives, carried at shoulder-level by three French waiters in matching tuxedos. The table is laid before me with much pomp and ceremony.)

Garcon: (Lifting the lids from the silver platters) Madame, bon appetit.

Me: (sputters) But…but…this is…

Garcon: Yesterday’s beef stew, ze last piece of ze French bread and a cup of cold caffe you left on ze table before you went to work?

Me: Yeah! I had this for lunch too, what gives?

Garcon: Madame, Chez du Rat trop Paresseux pour Cuisiner serves only what you have made. If you didn’t make it before you went to work, zen it won’t have appeared when you return. Surely Madame knew zis?

Me: (dropping forehead into hands mournfully) I know, I know, I should’ve stopped by Chez Daddy on the way home and picked up a pizza.

Garcon: Oui, do zat, and bring us one too, d’accord? Ve are ‘ongry too.

(here the remaining tuxedoed waiters prod me with eating implements until I run screaming off the stage in the direction of my father’s restaurant. )

(Curtain falls)

Ok, I et my yesterday’s stew. Some things, like lentils, curry and haleem, improve with age. Stew is not one of them. But I digress. I’m back from work and happy to be home again. I don’t know why, but riding in a taxi is mentally…umm…taxing to me. You sit there for the whole trip saying nothing to the driver, and the tense silence is not unlike the uncomfortable pauses in conversation you have when there are relatives over that you don’t really want to talk to.

I haven’t had too terribly fascinating a day, ergo this short and uninteresting blog. What can I say?

Garcon: (elbowing his way into my soliloquy) You say, C’est La Vie!

Me: (mashing his mustached face back under the stage curtain) Ukhruj min huna!

(enter three French waiters brandishing baguettes)

Waiter 1: You mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!

Waiter 2: Be gone filthy English pig-dog!

Waiter 3: I blow my nose at you!

Me: (Retreating under numerous baguette-blows) Run away! (I make it to the end of the stage, just out of reach of the flailing baguettes. Here I catch my breath and turn towards the camera for the last time.) And now (pant pant) the one and only thing of worth that you will read on my blog; the Islamic quote of the day, “Allah does not have mercy on that person who has no mercy on other people.” (takes stage bow)

The End.