Do I feel my feelings?

#week5 #oprahblogchallenge

One of the questions that was part of this challenge was “Do I feel my feelings?” and my mind said what a stupid question and filed it away it for some unforeseeable future post. But then a friend’s husband had a heart attack (thank God he’s fine) and life moved into epiphanic state that Hussy and I had identified as “tragic clarity” some point during our college years, and this question poked its head around the corner and said hey you.

Feelings have to be felt, of course, in some measure pretty much all the time. But there is this sharp, startling, blindingly clear view you get of your life only post something-bad. It is as if all the cotton wool padding we tend to collect around us as we go from day to day suddenly foops away and you are left, shivering slightly, gasping gently for breath, as you see the vicious beauty of your truth.

Though I do not like the circumstances that may bring about these moments, these moments are quite stunning in how easy they make life, for at least a little bit afterwards. Choices can be made in seconds, priorities assembled in a blink and all things superficial unnecessary and toxic  shunned with effortless ease. You see, deep down we all know.
We all know the truth of what makes us, what breaks us, what we want and need and all that stuff we simply do do do, just because. And when life throws its curveball, you suddenly come to the decision that that which is not gold, not something that makes you happy or content, or slightly breathless and giddy, at least a majority of the time, is just not worth the beef.

A friend visiting from abroad recently would clutch her heart at the beggar kids who were cheerfully flinging fruit at each other and talk about the injustices of the world and how cold the people here have become. I laughed at how much fun they were having and she called me unfeeling. I live in Karachi in 2016 which means that feeling your feelings has to be managed well, otherwise you can end up in let’s say, not a good place. OF COURSE I feel for them and in my own way, I am revving for education of street children, contributing money/time/my skill set to create places where efforts are being made and opportunities created for more kids to study (may I plug in here that if anything, it is education that will change anything) but but BUT I cannot weep or hold my heart or go home and lie under a blanket FEELING all this every single day because well you know, my kids want food. Husband wants to know where his clean socks are and I, well I want to watch an episode of Greys in peace without feeling that iron load of guilt that all the feeling my feelings bring about.

Epiphanic moments of “tragic clarity” were put into life for a reason and they are brilliant, and someone like me needs them to be grateful, honest and better, but thank God they fade away, because really, life is too short to be spent in near shock of all that there is to feel for also. So yes, in words of the Queen, twisted for the sake of my art, keep calm but feel on.


Do I say yes enough?

#week3 #oprahblogchallenge

I know someone who says no first. To everything. If you initiate a plan her first reaction will be no. If you ask for help, she will hmm and haw and hedge around before saying yes. Every bit of her body language says no even as her words say yes. I mentioned it laughingly, because, well she is nice and still someone I like and she admitted that saying yes made her feel like people will take her for granted and think she has nothing better to do.

I used to be the kind of person who, if I was interested and you were someone who mattered, was pretty much game to go for most things. Do you want to go for a drive? Yes. Are you upto watching a movie? Let’s go have coffee. Sure. Sure. Let’s meet soon. Definitely. Let’s take a trip together. Let’s launch a magazine. Let’s start a shop.  There is such abandon and freedom in being able to throw a yes out into the wind. It’s as if you have now handed the responsibility of having your yes come real to the universe itself and it must conspire to make that happen for you. YES YES YES. Let’s do it all.

So when I came across this question today, it kind of slid things around in my head a bit, as I realized the multitude of times I have recently not said yes.  And it made me wonder. Am I not surrounded by people who make me want to say yes enough anymore? Or are the things that I am being asked to do not inspiring me enough to want to say yes anymore? Why have I turned into a non yessy? What is holding me back? Am I too tired? Am I too old? Why am I feeling like I don’t say yes anymore? I can feel a mini panic attack about to set in as I have detailed visions of my life slipping away as I sit and say no to everything that comes my way.

That dramatic vision aside, it is true that there comes a phase in life that can only be described an inward. Suddenly all your energy, your power becomes reserved for yourself.
Which is where the no’s come in. You become greedy and selfish, wanting to hoard whatever vibes there are for you and yours. You close the circle. You want to not share. So you dance around the yes. And say maybe a whole lot more.

What is next?

#week2 #oprahblogchallenge

Defined by Wikipedia as  “superior force” or “chance occurrence, unavoidable accident“, it usually in the aftermath of  a force majeure, as they say in legal terminology, that the question of what next arises, as the debris and dust settles and people get a bearing of their new coordinates.
But I ask myself this question regularly. And answer it too. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that life with its routineness, mundanities ands blahs was better lived if one was always looking forward to something. I look forward to things with startling regularity, whether it’s as something as big as a baby coming into our lives or as small as a shared coffee cake time with someone I haven’t seen in a year. My theory remains that as long as you are looking ahead, you are not stuck. So in no particular order, here goes. Twenty things “coming up next” in my life. Cue fanfare and confetti.

Zak’s first birthday
Going back to Manti to get back into that shape I was so happy to be in
Uninterrupted sleep (a girl can dream can’t she?)
Starting my design/lifestyle blog (the one that will make me famous)
Starting my book (the one that will make me even more famous)
My CTS meeting on Thursday
Compiling the Names of Allah project I started for myself
That design venture I keep planning
The friends holiday
Aanoo’s birthday on Saturday
Organizing the party pantry
Figuring out artwork for the green wall
My own birthday
Catching up with two of my core people in person over food.
Sorting through the desk drawer
Hunting down the new Sunday Bazar
The mela next weekend
A spring trip to the beach
A stretch of me time (when I am actually awake and not tired)
Redesigning my card.


image used is by Keri Smith, an artist whose work I love.

Do you feel at home?

#week1 #oprahblogchallenge

Last week, K brought home lilies. Nadi invited 4 boys over after school and Lily drew all over her chair. I had been thinking a lot about home ever since I read this question- What does it mean to me and after the first lot of pseudo philosophical answers came that feeling. That feeling of things being exactly how you want them to be. Slightly messy, undeniably chaotic and all yours. At home.

Let’s be honest none of us ever really start our 20s imagining belonging mind and heart to little people. The world is our oyster and we have dreams of little apartments in big cities, chasing the dream. It’s a vision almost any well placed graduate is very much at home with, thanks to many TV shows and the internet. So to feel at home with what life throws your way can take getting used to.

While I would love to say that home for me constitutes those I love, I am not quite that sufic. As Madonna would claim ” I am living in a material world” I love things. Pretty things. Well designed things. I like surrounding myself with that which gives me happiness. A much of fonts, some colour, a particularly functional pointless piece. Some smells are home also, motia for one. Raat ki raani. The smell of cologne after k has left for work. Frying potatoes. The way the afternoon sunlight shafts in.

Our physical space has taken its time to grow and evolve but yes it all adds up- the flowers, the kids, the lived in slightly dishevelled comfort, people traipsing in and out, friends coming over, it’s all that mixed with that certain yet not completely defined aura of happiness that tells you that you are indeed at home with how it has all turned out.



The Oprah Question Challenge.

Judge me all you like but I love Oprah. Especially those episodes with the makeovers. I really have always believed a good change in hwo you look is drectly related to how you feel. So when O mag came out I would go hunt out the latest issue and spend a few hours going through it cover for cover. It was literally my feel good fix. Then of course the iPad came about and I subscribed there (but secretly still bought the issues that stood out- nothing like holding a magazine in your hands I say) 

Do you feel at home? This was the first question posed in the Feb 2015 edition of the O mag  in an article title “20 questions every woman must ask herself”. They weren’t the ordinary run of the mill questions either- about priority and happiness etc. They were the kind that make you pause because you aren’t exactly sure of the words, even if you are sure of the answer.

So in an effort to resuscitate the blog as well as given into the writing itch that has been niggling at me- I have decided to take this 20 question challenge up. You are welcome to join in if you want, with your words, photographs whatever you feel does justice to the question.

I will be putting up them as we go along, possibly one a week. Or maybe two. You can answer ones you like and skip some if you want. No pressure! Answer it on your blog, facebook, notepad wherever.  Just tag/link me to it so I can see it!

Kicking it off with the first question in the post above.