Four years of amazement

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Anyone who knows me even slightly, knows that I always wanted 3 daughters, Shanzeh, Alizeh and Simran. Actually the third name has always been under debate. Not sure whether I would have liked to name her Simran or Lajwanti. But here is the thing about life. It never ceases to surprise you. So, exactly four years and one week ago, my gynecologist told me that my life is quite precious and I should be happy with two kids and stop thinking about having a third one. I think she was talking more in terms of how difficult my pregnancies are, but now that I look back she could also be referring to the sanity levels in a polite manner.

Four years ago, today, I was given a white fluff ball in my arms, and I will admit I didnt know what to do with it. Zoey was given to me a week after she was born and I took that one week to catch up on sleep, food that I had not been allowed to eat for the last few months and gossip. But here was this baby who had a frown, needed constant attention, had the attitude that she was Gods gift to mankind and didn’t want to deal with nonsense.

Fast forward four years, this not so little one amazes me every single day. She makes my faith stronger, my sense of humor better, my google searches more elaborate, the book shelves messier, our bed seem smaller and no argument small enough to be ignored.

Thank you for teaching me that a hug can take care of any situation, reading a book will fix a bad mood, packing for travel is as exciting as travelling itself, beaches and a dip in the pool are important for the soul, and persistence will always pay off.

Happy Birthday Noor. I can feel my weight increase ten folds when people say you have my personality. May you always be happily loud and ready for adventure.

Ps: One day I will hopefully be able to answer your question “Mama how do you know Allah Mian is a he? Also, do you think he laughs loudly?”

 

Hindi Medium

So, one of the things on my list to do before the Ramadan started was to go watch Hindi Medium in the theatre. There were two major reasons for this. 1) I love Irfan Khan’s acting 2) I had no idea who Saba Qamar is but I had been hearing fantastic reviews about her acting too.

So, after making and cancelling about a dozen plans, finally managed to watch it a day before the roza’s started. And must I say what a treat it was. Acting. Dialogues. Art direction. Everything was spot on. But the one thing that big time hit home was the subject matter. With the second one, we just went through the admission process and I will admit what I haven’t yet….I did manage to loose a few nights of sleep.

Here is the deal, at Zoey’s time, we were first time parents. Learning parenthood and taking little steps. With her preschool we had already missed out on a few deadlines but Allah Mian was the most kindest. She ended up in life where she is and I can take no credit for it.

Second time around though, the pressure was insane. We wanted her to go in the same big school as her apa. For personal reasons, for logistical reasons and for reasons which no one else will understand including some of my loved ones.

This is what the movie highlights. The things we as parents are willing to do for our kids to be in the institution that we feel is right for them. The lengths we will go thru, just so that we don’t loose out on that chance and the changes we are willing to make. I am not here to judge. As parents, we do what we think is best. But sometimes, we are so fixated on what is best that we loose out on what could be better than the best for the child.

Please go watch Hindi Medium, if you haven’t already. Even if it dosent strike a chord, at least it will be two hours well spent.

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How sushi changed my life

I am constantly amazed by how life changes and things evolve. Signs, coincidences, puzzles coming together seamlessly and the blanks automatically filled. These things make me realize that there is a greater force at work which makes sure that life moves on with bumps and turns.

Ten years and more ago, Uzi sent me a text in Mecca saying let’s get married. That’s the thing with him. He says things with such a straight face, one keeps on wondering what exactly he means. And honestly, a text message is difficult to decipher. So, I instantly messaged back saying it will have to wait till I get back. And that was that.

I came back. Met him a zillion times but there was never a mention about that message exchange. Which made me wonder what that was all about…

Till February came. And I could no longer hang in there. So, I pulled in a friend (because I needed moral support) and suggested to Uzi that we should go out for dinner. Kamameshi used to serve fantastic sushi at that time. So, we sat there, indulging in great food, lots of laughter and silly talk. And then I brought up the topic. And as life would have it, he had forgotten all about it. Till that dinner. And that’s when things took a turn to change our lives around.

Even now, there are nights when I marvel at how far along life has brought us. How, things would have been different, had I not planned for the dinner. And where I would be right now had the dinner not happened….

Ten years ago….today, life took a turn. A turn I am so glad it did not miss.

Ps: To everyone who reads this, please remember us and ours in your duas.

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Class three…then and now

November already. Cant believe this year is almost ending. I know I have been saying this every year since the past 10 years….but seriously where the hell did the time go. Between kids, work, school rounds, play dates and everything else that has to be accommodated in between 2016 has been a year of being on the go.

As Zoey says, it was Monday just yesterday…why is it Monday again! With her being in Junior school now, her homework schedule, post school classes schedule and Saturday schedule…everything is renewed. Which also means that our conversations and observations have gone up a notch. (I miss the simple old conversations full of fascinations and wonder). A few days ago, we were lying in bed and discussing Harry Potter (Can’t still believe she’s old enough to read them) and our conversation drifted from books to relationships and friends. It was during this conversation that she mentioned about how the class thinks that two of the classmates have a liking towards each other. and how the rest of the class teases them about it.

It took me a good 5 seconds to wrap my head across the conversation and for me to figure out how I want to respond. I continued with a poker face and tried my best not to sound like an interrogating mother in law. I don’t know what astounded me more. The fact that she was having this conversation with me or the fact that she is 8 and I didn’t think these conversations would happen till she’s 16! or 12, to be more realistic.

Once she was asleep, I messaged my friend, the only one who could help me put some perspective to all of this. And once she assured me its OK and normal, and I had indulged in a tub of ice cream I tried to go down the memory lane and think about what things were like back in my times.

My class three was all about being happily overweight. Thinking about whether to buy coke and samosa from the canteen on that one weekday or coke and ring chips. It was about discussing the house next to the school which was haunted and one day we saw a man peeping out of the window. I swear I am pretty sure one of the classmates fainted. It was about choosing friends who could share my gold and bronze crayola crayon (of course after they shared their lunch with me). And it was about puppet shows and birthdays and playing hide and seek and climbing the mango tree in the back yard. Ah. The good old days.

Times have changed. And hopefully so have we. The picture below is from my big birthday bash, back in class three. And interestingly it is the only picture that has me and Uzi in it back from the time. Who knew after all these years we would end up together. Even though none of our friends teased us about liking each other (I think we didn’t even acknowledge each others presence). Life works in funny ways and I hope and Pray that both the younger Akram’s always manage to see the humor in it!

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School. Homeschool. Unschool.

Every time we come back from a vacation, for weeks we are basking in the memories that were created. Endless discussions about the places that we visited, food that we ate, incidents that happened and even about our trips to Sainsburys and Seven Eleven. Then slowly, almost at the tortoise speed the vacation starts to seem like a far away memory. Everyday happenings. Homework. Nano house visits. Cousins playtime. A trip to the mall. And more bring us back into the routine. And we start mentally preparing for our next time out.

This time around though, for some odd reason getting out of the vacation mode just seems so tiresome. Even though the routine is back with a vengeance. But us 4 are still daydreaming and night dreaming about the holiday. I think alot also has to do with the fact that the girls are now acquainted with terms like Campervan and Caravan (thanks to Peppe Pig). Every evening we NEED to have a discussion about why school is important and why we cant just go buy a van and go globetrotting. Its difficult to explain to them that with our green passport we will barely get anywhere. But it is harder to explain why going to school is important.

Suddenly, there is quite a bit of discussion on homeschooling. On the whatsapp groups. The facebook closed groups and also between me and the hubby. Hubby is totally convinced on homeschooling front, but lets be honest he’s a dreamer and a half. I will admit that the idea of homeschooling sometimes is very very enticing. The thought that our school can start at 10 am and we can lie on the colorful hammock and learn about insects makes me very  happy but on the flip side there is some contentment in knowing that the girls will learn algebra (though they might never use it) and have a structured routine (which I know will never happen on my end). But I am very very curious to know how homeschooling works. And how do homeschooling mamas function. I mean I love my kids to the moon and back but I also love the fact that I have a few hours to myself. To work. To sip coffee with friends. Or just to stare into space. But those are my few hours. And I think one of the biggest reasons the idea of homeschooling scares me is that I will loose out on my time. And that I will not be able to teach them all that needs to be taught. And that they might not have enough friends or extra curricular activities. Or maybe I am a chicken. I dont exactly know.

But homeschooling is very fascinating. Especially the school starting at 9 am bit. 10 am would be even better.

Ps: If it was not the green passport, the campervan idea I am absolutely convinced about!

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Once upon a words

So last year, was a year of its kind. Well all years are….but last year was different. More testing. More strengthening. More taxing. And in some bizarre way, more healing. And in that year I wrote. Endlessly. I wrote to relive. I wrote to help myself understand the twists and turns of life. I wrote because one day I want see myself published and then I wrote some more because I wanted to heal.

And then one day. after having written so much, I put a fullstop to a story that really hasnt ended. But I was tired. And it had started looking monotonous. And I needed feedback. So, I shared the word file with a few people whose opinion mattered and a few whose opinion really didnt matter but its always good to get feedback.

And feedback I got. I was amazed with the varied emails, whatsapp and phones conversations that happened after the people had given it a read. I felt ligher, more at peace and more ambitious.

And then I forgot about it. All my dreams of being published and signing my books for people at the reading sessions just dissolved into thin air. Well, not literally. But yea. A publisher suggested I publish it as an ebook. Another acquaintance said it has no potential right now, but after some reworking maybe it will make it to a press. A friend very strongly emphasized that it should be given a blog format. But all this required time. And as usual life happened on my end. School runs, photography, selling cars. Everyday stuff caught up.

Today, while cleaning the computer, I came across the word document. And I started reading. I am amazed at my ability. As a human being. How pouring the words out there give me peace. Restrengthen my faith and make me miss blogging/writing so much. I dont think that the document will ever be anything more than a document, but hey, I tried, I dreamt. Even though the words didnt manage to change the world, but it changed my world for me.

That tugging feeling

The last school year ended with alot of mixed emotions for Zoey. And for me. Kindergarten was ending. Classes were going to shuffle. Summer school was starting. Plans for vacations were being finalized. Eid clothes were under discussion. There were just too many things to look forward to. Actually, it was all quite overwhelming.

Fast forward to two months later. The vacation has ended. Eid long gone. Countdown happening to going back to school. Again too much happening. The excitement of the new school bag and the new black shoes is brimming. The parents are called for an orientation two days before the school starts for the students. And that was when it all hit me. The fact that Zoey is now a Junior school student. No more wearing white PE shoes everyday. New aspirations. Bigger dreams. New friends. Lots more to learn and explore. As I sat there, during the presentation, I just kept on going back to the day this 1.3 kg child was born. When exactly did she become so big? And where exactly did all the time in between go by?

I did notice that our conversations have taken a different route. We discuss about why we should pray and how can one make a difference. We discuss about bikini vs a diver suit costume. We discuss about why education is important when all one needs in life is to own a caravan and roam about the world. But the enormous-ity of it all was felt on the orientation day. I am very excited about the new things she will learn, new friends that she will make and the new dreams that she will be able to see. But I am also very sad to let go. Let go of her childishness. The innocent conversations that once used to happen. The liberty of me going and picking up clothes without her approval.  And so many more things.

But here’s to wishing her and all the kids the best of luck for all the dreams that they want to make true, for all the skies that they want to fly to and all the new places that they want to explore and wander off to.

Walking down the memory lane

I love going through old stuff. Photographs, blogs, text messages, journal entries. Everything. And it was during this stumbling that I came across an old blog of mine which has made me realize how I am no longer the person I used to be. My priorities, my experiences, my lifestyle choices, all have made me into a person I might not necessarily like to be. But the good thing is that I can still go back to being who I was. Maybe, all I needed was this reminder – 25 randomings about me…

1~ Till before my shaadi, everynight I would open my cupboard, take out a piece of jewellery that would hold my fancy and wear it to bed.

2~ I really really aim to be a part of “The amazing Race” one day inshallah.

3~ I have saved all the sent and recieved sms’es from U man from the day I proposed till 4 months after the shaadi.

4~ I am a total tea person, though sometimes I wish the tea would smell like coffee.

5~ Since kindergarden my parents had to face the complain from my teachers that I was the most talkative student in class. In 6th grade as a punishment, my teachers made me sit next to this girl who was perpetually on mute mode. 2 weeks later her parents were called in by the teachers. The complain was that she was the second most talkative kid in class. Thats how I found my best friend.

6~ I can very very easily become friends with strangers.  Striking conversations with random faces is something that I actually enjoy.

7~ Before leaving for Hajj in 2006, I left a letter for my best friend with another friend, to be delievered if I died there. To date I have that letter saved and everyday I think if I should give the letter to my best friend or not.

8~ I talk to myself…in my head alot.

9~ I cant dance or cook to save my life. I started taking singing lessons back in college but the ustad politely threw me out saying I should just participate in cricket matches and shout slogans there.

10~ People find it hard to believe that I am a scorpio….maybe in a lot of terms I am not one. But even though I forgive I am not the one to forget.

11~ Give me a book and I can stay awake the entire night….switch on a movie and hear me snoring in the first 15 mins.

12~ I have watched DDLJ 127 times and I have cried with the same passion in the end all those times.

13~ I cannot wear heels. For the mere fact that I feel very tall. On my valima, I was shoelessly greeting people and by the end of the function I had lost my shoes.

14~ I am a very very very light sleeper. Change of pillows, change of beds, hubby turning sides, all mean that I am lying wide awake….I really hope and pray to god that My kids dont inherit this from me.

15~ I think Allah Mian planned  marriage in my life so I would know and realise the worth of my parents and siblings, I think I took them for granted before…

16~ Unlike the rest of my generation people  and the generation younger, i am not a late night person at all.

17~ I dream of owning a pent house overlooking the golden gate bridge one day, inshallah.

18~ I absolutely do not like ketchup…extra, by the side type.

19~ I dream of getting a book published one day, which will make me rich and famous.

20~ Flying gives me a high. Once I am over with my immediate responsibilities, I want to learn how to fly.

21~ No matter how much I like a book, I just cant read it twice.

22~ Investments plans, gold, dollars are not exactly my cup of tea. I still save up my money in the “matti ki gullak” or “boogie” as we call it in punjabi.

23~ As much as I used to be anti marriage, I think by far it is the best thing that could have happened to me, alhumdulillah.

24~ I love surprises……even if its just a hug.

25~ I love driving – yes even in a city like Karachi!

 

Going the wazifa way

So, I am surrounded by people who are very big believers of wazifas. They have wazifas for everything, no matter how big or small it is.

Me, on the other hand, if I manage to say the five daily prayers, it’s a reason to celebrate. I love the concept of wazifa’s though. Reciting stuff that will help you achieve your wishes. But recently, it has also started to scare me. What if what I am asking for is not something that is best for me? Also, if God has already ordained something, do I want it to get changed? But then God has also mentioned that ask, and I will respond.

This is an ongoing battle in my head. Something that needs to get resolved. Pray for what I want? Or accept what’s already written.