ode to those afternoons

Our weekday afternoons are usually such a flurry of activity. There is homework to be done and household tasks to be managed. My work happens in spurts in the middle as I take a call or send off an email. There is a kind of beat to that routine too. The action spurs us, makes us energetic. There is no scheduled napping during the week- there are lego projects and games, there is is going to the park or visiting Nanna or some sudden plan or errand run.

But today the blinds and curtains are drawn, plunging the room into a shady mellowness, the AC is whirring- a soft comforting sound- the kids are on that brink of being asleep and I am sitting in bed with them on my laptop,my book open next to me, the room a perfect chilled temperature to offset the shimmering heat outside, no longer a springy April but a starkly summery one. It is a hushed Friday afternoon post namaz. No jarring sounds. No sudden movements. Words like harmony and happiness come to mind. Reminds me of my childhood summertime-  the room on the far end at 35/S, Filza Apa’s room in Raziq mama’s house and Nanna’s room at Ayesha-Fatimas’s.

Growing up, this afternoon shaded hush was such a daily staple in our lives. I remember us all being asked to come into our respective rooms to play quietly while the grown ups napped or lay down before the “shaam ki chai” wthe point at which everyone emerged refreshed for the evening ahead. I don’t remember frenetic activity or other agendas. I don’t recall homework even or projects or anything other than plain simple effortless fun living. Maybe that is the magic of  being able to filter through and remember the feeling invoked as opposed to nitty gritty surrounding it. The magic of being young and surrounded by grown ups who believed in that magic too.

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“Not all those who wander are lost” J.R.R Tolkien

Roughly eight years ago, on what I assume was a Wednesday, I sent out an email to a bunch of people who loved to write and share asking them if they want to start a tradition called Wednesday Wanderings. I would send out a word every week and we would all write our thoughts on it. (In 2014, these are called prompts by the way). The list grew from an initial 7 people to about 30-35 people, all writing in, and enthusiastically waiting for the next word. It lasted exactly 50 weeks, 2 weeks short of a year and then having shared that time well with each other, we all went about our own ways, some continuing to write and others not so much.

Today by chance I ran across that folder on my Gmail and as I scrolled through that list of Wednesday Wanderers and some of their mails, conversations and writings, I felt very nostalgic for that young, idealistic band of merry bloggers who were out to change the world with their words. We saw through the blog ban, using the pkblogs proxy, feeling like mavericks defeating the system. These is an innocence, a power, a kind of unfettered hope in those mails that make us sound so carefree. We are enthusiastic and unreserved that it is endearing. I want to take that bunch of kids and high five them for their contagious excitement over such a simple idea, something they instantly connected on at that time.

We keep waiting for the big stuff in life to happen. Looking forward, peering into the cloudy future. Our paths right now sometimes seem meandering and twisty and we get the sense that we are wandering more than decisively moving in the One True Direction. You know the one that will end with the books we will write, the businesses we will conquer, the lives we will live …when it all falls into place. When. Then suddenly, maybe in your Gmail inbox, you get a glimpse into the life you have lived so far, that you are in the process of living and you will be hit by the force of the realization that the big stuff you are waiting for, you are smack dab in the middle of it, that its on right now and you are the one who is making it happen.