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Showing posts from 2012

The Best New Year Party Ever

Wishing You a Very Happy 2013

It is December 29. At 8 pm we receive a handwritten note; an invitation, actually. The invitation is for a New Year Party and the party is being arranged by the four elder Lilliputians: Maheen, Saif, Zainab, Apple. 
There’s one invite for every adult and every invite bears the invitee’s name and sketch. I, for one, feel special.   
Though not really a party person, I know I want to attend this one.
The fact that my study was ransacked, my reams of paper ravaged, and my pens robbed to design the invites, is, of course, another matter.  
The invite is for 10:30 pm. And from 8pm to 10 pm a strange calm descends on the Land of Lilliputians. 
While we try to make the most of this unexpected peace, one room alone bears the brunt of loud noises and crazy thumping of the feet. It’s the room where the party will be hosted. The room is turned upside down to create the party mood. Rehearsals of dance and singing sessions are undertaken. And the menu is planned.
At ten, th…

A Home of One’s Own

The Lilliputians have abandoned us. They have charted their own course in life. They have become independent.
Now they live in a grand mansion of their own. The mansion is a 6 by 4 feet wooden plank and is nestled in the hollow of a garb tree.
The dwellers of this palatial abode have actually made it quite comfortable. There are cushions. There’s a shoe rack. Behind the shoe rack, there’s also a study of sorts where one book is strategically arranged in such a way that the onlookers may see it and remark: the studious Lilliputians.  There’s a strong possibility that for all intents and purposes the study in question is merely a showpiece.
While the residents of this luxurious lodging enjoy their newfound independence, the adults of the land of Lilliputians are reduced to being errand people for siphoning out food to the treehouse dwellers.
The Lilliputians are happy. But not so the birds. All the birds within 100- meter radius of the land of Lilliputians have been spotted wearing earp…

Eureka! A Journey of Self-Discovery on a Tricycle

Every moment in three-year-old Mobby’s life is a ‘Eureka!’ moment. He is so taken with the discovery of his own self. 
Starting with the revelation of being able to hold a full mug of milk, he is now onto some bigger self-discoveries. And for the last two weeks, this journey has been happening on a tricycle.
He starts wheeling. His concentration level is optimum. As he tries to push his feet downwards to roll the obstinate pedals and discover the power of being mobile, a new world opens up for him. He declares with an evident note of pride:
“See I can ride a cycle.”
A few days later, he decides to move out of his comfort zone. In a resolve to stretch his physical boundaries, he announces that now he is going to opt for some bigger feats.
He lets go of the handles.
Now the tricycle inches forward, zigzagging.  Mobby’s arms extend wide as if he has suddenly grown wings and he shouts: 
“Look! I can ride without even touching the handles.”
Incredible. Amazing. Not just the feat, but the sen…

We Mean Business

Life can change in an instant. Capitalism can catch you unawares. Some little people can suddenly become rich.
And this happens on a quiet evening when I have sneaked inside my study to somehow experience what silence feels like. Not even a minute has passed and I am still trying to get hold of the oh-so-elusive sound of silence, when Omar barges inside.
“You are so nice,” he coos.
“Thank you, Omar.” The compliment makes me feel good. Only it is not really a compliment. It is just a prelude to the sales pitch that now starts:
“Show me your finger.” Here he takes my finger, slips on it a piece of wool tied with a knot and continues, “this is a ring. See how good it looks on your finger.”
“Ring? Eh...yes, it is beautiful.” I try to be nice.
“Yes, designing and making it required a lot of effort. Now you have bought it, and you owe me thirty Rupees.” He wears the expression of a businessman who has made a real good bargain.
“I bought it? I see. It seems a bit expensive.” Something tells me I a…

Apple’s First Good Bye

One fine evening I receive a telephone call. It is Apple and she has to share something very important, as she informs me.

"You know about my best friend, Aimen Omair, my namesake?" she asks.
"Yes, you have told me so much about her. What happened? You two had a fight?"
"No. it is something else, something very serious." Here she starts padding out of the living room to huddle somewhere in the veranda with the cell phone. (Apple’s mother later recounted the scene)
"Aimen Omair has left school!” She says after settling down in a corner where nobody can hear her.
The nature of the emotional upheaval dawns upon me.
"Oh no! Apple this is so sad."
"Yes. Now I don’t even feel like going to school. You know she used to sit with me. And she always stood first while I came second. Now that she is not here I will stand first…not that I am happy about it.”
Good bye is a mixed baggage.
"Yes, standing first is no compensation for losing a friend. Do y…

Lessons in a Yellow Scarf

A yellow strip of cloth, with mauve ribbons sewn at the ends, hangs on my computer table. 
No, I have not draped my table to ward off some ancient or present demons.  Much as I believe in charms, I have found them impotent when it comes to demons. Demons, whether ancient or newly befriended, are here to stay. So I might as well make peace with them.
The yellow strip of cloth, which gently sways as I grope my way through words, is a scarf that is supposed to drape my neck and not my computer table. It’s a scarf even if it doesn’t look like one. It’s a scarf because Omar says it is; he would know because he designed it.
It was after much cajoling that I was allowed to hang the scarf on the table instead of adorning my neck with it. I had to rest my case on a built-in engineering defect: that of having too thick a neck on which such a beautiful scarf wouldn’t look becoming.
The cutting, sewing and designing business is the latest craze sweeping the Land of Lilliputians. Scarves were initi…

Martian in the Land of Lilliputians

“Are you really from Mars?” Saif asks me in his usual pitch of voice: loud. He apparently presumes I am sitting on the ceiling fan. 
“Saif, I am near. I can even hear you whisper. Yes, I am from Mars.”
Saif tries to lower his voice a notch. He doesn’t succeed.
 “No, you are not. You make up stories, and you don’t understand the language of birds and animals. You have made up also those stories about Selfishia and Kayseria.”
“Saif, first you doubt my Martian antecedents and then you challenge my communication abilities. Okay, if you don’t want to believe it, don’t,” I say with Martian nonchalance.
“But why do you say so? Okay, now that the Curiosity Rover has landed on Mars will you go back?”
“I don’t need any curiosity rover. I can go there on my own volition, just by snapping my fingers and closing my eyes.” Martian nonchalance helps to make your point.
“I know this can’t be true. You are not from Mars,” Saif asserts his nine years old adult-hood.
“Okay, don’t believe it,” I shrug my shoul…

How Selfishia got Rid of Her Feathery Moustache

Selfihsia the selfish hen was unhappy. And understandably so. After all, having a feathery moustache is not the same thing as having a new hairdo or a brand new dress from a well-known boutique. She couldn’t flaunt it.    
It didn’t make her feel beautiful. It didn’t even make her feel like an ordinary hen with a few feathers missing. She felt feathery at the wrong places and this made her sad.
One day when she was crying and looking at her reflection in the puddle of water near the grapefruit tree, Kayseria strutted toward her.
“Selfhisha, I have clucked at the thought and have finally come up with a solution,” she said.
All the hens had been thinking about Selfishia’s moustache for a while now. There had been five meetings under the grape fruit tree to get Selfishia out of her predicament.
“Really!” Selfisha clucked loudly with hope. Hearing Selfishia’s loud cluck the others came trotting and gathered around her.
When the cluck cluck of excitement settled into a hush of expectation, Kays…

How Selfishia was Punished

Napoleon the rooster was worried. 
Selfishia had not mended her ways. Since the day they arrived at the land of Lilliputians, she had been eating not only her own eggs but also the ones laid by other hens.
One day he lectured her: 
“Selfisha, you will land in trouble. When you are a hen and people buy you and feed you day after day, it is for a reason. And the reason obviously is not to listen to your cluck, cluck, cluck. It is neither to do research on your eating habits.  One reason why humans keep you guys as pets is your eggs. The other, more sinister reason for you, is your flesh. And even your hennish commonsense can tell you that it is much better to give them your eggs than to end up in chicken burgers!”
Selfisha gave a silly vacant look to Napoleon as if instead of scolding her he had been discussing the relative (de) merits of different political parties in Pakistan.
Her silly shifty look irritated him and he crowed loudly to vent his anger, and decided he couldn’t do much about…