The Happiest in the World

photo

As far as I’m concerned, Ramzan never started this year. Previous years I have tried to conjure up the routine, the rituals, the people even, to get a Ramzan feeling going. This year, with the NY heat, the crazy work and the guest at home, it seems impossible.

Appropriately, HD and I went to a 4th of July party last night. It was actually quite lovely even though I am not so much a fireworks person. Nonetheless, it was indeed quite nice being crammed on to a Manhattan rooftop with a view of Brooklyn Bridge and then to be crammed inside a smaller Manhattan apartment. But what can I say, it transformed unexpectedly to be a dancing hip hop party; the small space lent itself to an intimate vibe and it was perfect. The music, the friends, the cool summer breeze through the balcony, the old-time hip-hop to take us back to our uni days.

I have stopped resisting having to leave this place but as I spend this one last calm weekend here alone, I can’t help but feel that this was the best place ever. I don’t know why I think that because it is certainly wrong and I have had many other moments suspended in time that were wonderful in wonderful homes; but right now it’s this one and people are partying outside with loud music appropriate for a tropical island and it doesn’t bother me. It doesn’t bother me that I slept only 6 hours last night and got back late with the man that I love because I was telling him that I had such a good time with him.

I try to tell him to enjoy what he gets now because I don’t know what lies ahead and maybe the summer will whizz by and we’ll be apart and missing each other and I will swear to myself and God that I had never wanted it to be this way. Unless HD gets a job in DC sooner rather than later, we will learn to be apart. But nothing can change the fact that we will leave the best apartment that we have ever lived in. Looking at the pictures from last night, I can’t help but wonder if I will look back at our youthful and glowing happy faces and think that this was the most wonderful time. I won’t remember the angst and the struggle and the self-doubt and the ‘where am I goings?’. I will think these two people who go to rooftop parties are the happiest in the world and they don’t have a care in the world.

I like you

This is what I jotted down on my phone while I was on the train a few days ago:

“Sometimes I’m afraid nothing will feel as good as this fucking place. That nothing will be as classy, so full, and completely filling and fulling and fulfilling. That nothing will look as cool as a giant yellow cookie in the shape of a NY taxi.”

Sometimes life feels so raw and tender and good I want to bite it. Just like a crush who wooed me for months and joked that he wanted to bite me.

Yesterday when I was worn and aching and rubbing my head in a meeting that I also happened to be leading, feeling overworked and underpaid, I looked out the window onto the Manhattan skyline and couldn’t believe it. I was sitting on the 25th floor of THE non-profit institution leading a meeting. At times like these, I don’t even know how I got here. I sometimes take a minute from work when walking around to look out the giant windows to the street below. I see yellow cabs and people crossing the street and the Chrysler building and I try to breathe it all in as if the window were open. When working late, I have gone to the window to see the view at night; what is it about city lights?

This summer can just be a giant apple and I will be eating it. Get it? 😉

Songs dedicated to somebody else

https://soundcloud.com/talul/follow-the-sun-talul-edit

I don’t have the tools and language to explain what this music is and how it is. I just know how to feel it. A song dedicated to somebody else and I knew it would be good. It was okay but it led me to something better.

I love my life right now. I know I know it’s still so precarious. It’s on the tip. Of falling over. Who knows winter may come and my delusions will be blown away. But right now it’s summer, it’s humid and the AC is cold and the so are the cupcakes in the fridge. And I can come home too tired to shower and wash my scruffy hair even though tomorrow I have to be presentable again. I have to crank out one more day, one after another, to get towards that change. But it feels so close and as long as the tip doesn’t plateau it’s okay.

I can just lie here and listen to this.

I heard your heart sang love love love

Is this the only month I write a happy and optimistic post? Possibly. Not because the rest of the summer goes downhill after that but because I probably get far too busy and lazy enjoying it. So this post isn’t about anything in particular, just an amalgamation of things that I like. First of all, I just finished watching season 4 of Mad Men and it was so awesome. I love the show and I also just love the style of that era. The way things looked just perfect and of course the show makes everything look beautiful, the women’s hair, their clothes, their struggles and triumphs. I wish I remembered more of the 80s but I don’t remember the things like the style and the feel of the era. I remember the 90s really and I long for them even though I know childhood and adolescence weren’t particularly easy.

Anyway, back to Mad Men, I’m listening to a Man Men playlist and just checked out these black and white shots from the set of the show. So lovely. And here are a few lovely things I’ve been up to.

Trying to pick a nailpolish

A wedding in the park

Our bikes resting while we rest

Pumpkin pie and chocolate cake

Sadsies

For a loner I sure love company. When I was 6 or 7 I would get so excited about my family’s summer visits to Lahore where my favourite cousins were. Once there, my sisters and I would lose track of everything. My mom had to track us down to feed us and force us to use the toilet. Bodily functions didn’t occur to us otherwise. I remember waking up on the first morning in my grand-parents’ house. My parents were still sleeping and a little boy my age was standing in our room looking at us. He had jet black hair and round eyes and I didn’t recognize him immediately. Excited nonetheless, I got up to see who it was. He saw that he’d been spotted and slipped out and I followed. And that was the last I remember of my parents on that trip.

When we came back home to Karachi, I was a sad little girl. I would cry at school if anybody talked to me. I cried when I tried to talk to the teacher or the kids. My mother didn’t understand why such a big girl cried all the time and why I seemed so unconfident. I was embarassed by it all so I tried not to speak to anyone. I eventually got used to the new routine of being back at school and not on vacation and went back to being myself. I don’t remember if I told anyone what the problem was or whether I even knew myself. I had a hard time describing that sadness.

When another summer many years later ended and the hordes of guests at our house went home, I drew up a strict plan of daily activities to occupy myself. Those days a different set of cousins had been my best friends and our days all meshed together into a happy blur. We lived and breathed together and even at night, we all slept on mattresses in the living room. Sometimes we fought together. The day after they left, I started off with taking a run around the neighborhood in the morning followed by other very important activities. They were abandoned in time as I started enjoying life again and didn’t feel the need to regiment it. The only emotion I betrayed was when I was talking to my Dad who’d gone to Pakistan with them for a little while. I started crying for no apparent reason and couldn’t describe the loneliness I felt or even admit to it. Unable also to continue talking, I gave the phone back to my Mom and slipped away. No point in making a spectacle of myself.

Now I brace myself again for my life to slow down. The vacation back in Geneva is ending. I don’t have work to go back to at this point. My sister left for Zurich today, back to work and I know she was making to-do lists in her head. Back to a busy life for everyone but me. Here it felt full, going out for lunches, dinners, to see friends and movies, hang out with family, consulting work from home, clean up, work on decorating the house, cook, annoy my sisters, catch up w/ old friends…Back home in CT, I’ll have almost none of that. Barely any friends to see, no nice downtown to meet up in, no big house to sort out, no social calendar to look forward to. OK I exaggerate, I have people to see but no one as fun and familiar. No one I couldn’t live without. I’ll go to the gym alone, try to do my work alone and when it’s evening and HD is at work, I’ll have no one to call as my friends will all be asleep in another time zone. I’ll call HD every few hours when he’s at work and thank God for his patience with clingy me. It’ll just be me and HD, cooking for ourselves, running our endless errands and trying to work a way out of that town.

An Ode to May

I am a summer girl. I think I have said that many a time. Nothing makes me happier than stepping out on cool summer evenings in a summer dress to meet friends. That time of the day when the heat lets up and it becomes bearable to walk around in a cool breeze. The lights of the city in the evening that I can finally enjoy without freezing or wanting to go inside. Walks by the Thames or Lac Leman. Shawls around bare shoulders, twinkling lights. Walking out in the morning brightness, sheilding my eyes from the sun, looking down with a smile on my face. No need to blow-dry hair anymore, I can step out with wet hair confident that it will dry quickly. The beachy messy wavy hair that I can FINALLY have, it’s a look that only works in warm weather for me. Pool, sun, grass, sand, pavement, the feet get to feel it all.

Ofcourse, there’s an accompanying nostalgia with May. That, or a feeling that something is coming to an end and something new is beginning. Largely, associated with exam times, end of school years, graduations, summer plans and goodbyes to friends. I guess it has been only two years that I have been out of that system so May still holds its power over me. I felt a rush of it as my swimming trainer shook my hand good-bye and told me that he has just finished high school and is going to college in the fall, so he won’t be teaching next year. It reminded me that it is an important time for some people as they wrap up their school affairs, attend their final classes and year-end parties. Ah those year-end parties. Me? I am going for new beginnings. Not really wrapping up anything in particular, just discovering the area in spring/summer. It has become incredibly lush and pretty and it’s hard to believe that this was the same place covered in gray and snow a few months ago. I am making new friends and hopefully starting a new job soon. I have two holidays planned and some new ideas to implement. This is also HD and my first summer together on the same continent (and married!) so it feels particularly new and exciting.

If this post wasn’t enough to put you in the summer mood, go outside, lie down in the grass, under a tree preferably, plug your headphones in and listen to this song. Alternatively, drive through countryside with the windows down and this song playing. And if you can’t do either right now, just pretend that you are.