Thursday, January 29, 2009

Friday Night Fever

Fever is putting it mildly...the city is burning up and how...its Day 4 of a unprecedented heatwave in Melbourne....43 degrees and mercury rising...hopefully by Sunday it will be a relatively saner 35...I dont think it comes soon enough for the poor players slogging at the Aus Open (they say temp on court are 55 degrees Celsius and more with the administration ignoring pleas until Wild Wednesday to close the roof and offer some relief to match fans and the courageous players alike).
As the rest of the city sweltered I received news this Tuesday that had me forgetting Melbourne’s weather woes for a while...an irritating skin condition that everyone had brushed away as a pregnancy rash was diagnosed as problematic liver function...the obstetrician , God bless her, rushed me for a foetal trace, and started running blood work...she ‘mentally’ prepared me to ready for a C-section before the weekend was through...and ordered me home. Of course this was ‘consumed’ by me as ‘go back to work’ and started delegating deadlines and checking on what could be left until Feb end, till one of the Research Officers gently guided me to acknowledge that I should be on my way home. The blood tests continued until Thursday morning it was confirmed that I should be ready for Saturday morning as I would have started Week 37...the OB did say I could finish my shopping list (I had delegated most of it to my mom who was arriving in time for the Feb 14th deadline)..so it has been two days of finalizing cord blood banking and the hospital bag and calling Mimi about appropriate laundry aids and baby related stuff.
Its surreal...it was only last weekend when I started getting a grasp of the language of my body and the baby...Mimi had guided me towards recognizing what was an elbow, a turn...blindly I would trace its road map across myself...and now to ready myself for a new journey.
And all this while my liver kept on pumping bile and my skin continued to protest as we feared what it was doing to the baby...and sadly the first letter of caution to the soul to come was ‘what nourishes you can also kill you’. But then I made a list of other no-nos during the pregnancy and how the baby touch wood survived it: the first month I had binged on sushi and sashimi, it was later I read up on the joys of Listeriosis and thanked the Good Lord for not being exposed to it...exposed the baby to ‘depressing energy and hormones’ all of the second trimester as I cried over the carnage in Wah, Islamabad and later Mumbai...and the baby survived Pesho’s attempt of an emergency C-section as she jumped on my tummy one evening when she saw something move (the baby decided to keep its ‘ten movements of the day’ to a time when no one was awake after that)
On a lighter note: my boss called yesterday afternoon and commented on how mine must have been the shortest maternity leave before bub (three days), my mother thinks what is happening is courtesy my life long habit of fast fwding and rewinding movies, Congrats Aneela, you have fast forwarded your pregnancy... Gman took the news by joking Sharab peeney say liver kharab hota hai Deeno Ram but quickly realised I was not amused. (Note to doubters out there: no I didn’t turn a Devdas at any stage, these things HAPPEN and no one knows why confirmed the OB...I did ask her to put it in writing for my mom, yes, my first thought was How am I going to explain to my mom that I didn’t have any peeyakar/alcoholic tendencies that led me to this!!)
So we are all set...I know it sounds like a clich√© but my mind is blank and I just cant think beyond the moment...at this stage we just want the baby out, for him to be healthy and good humoured and hopefully drinking bile straight hasn’t ruined his constitution.
Prayers everyone?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dream A Little

They say that having a child is akin to going through your own childhood and ‘ticking’ all the rights , ‘crossing out’ all the wrongs (or words to that effect).. basically to relive all your highs and lows, all the while cautious that you are not living out YOUR life through your child fulfilling your own unfulfilled hopes and aspirations...so I find myself looking forward to ‘revisiting’ the dreams of my childhood. Is it a coincidence that the outside world is also giving me indicators of ‘dreaming again’?

For an Aneela who had laid her dreams down (and had them tread on) by a Bhutto et Zardari and Gandhi Jr earlier..who like many little girls dreamt of fairy tale romances every time she watched the Diana-Charles wedding video (yes I come from a generation where we actually watched videos of Top of the Pops and Royal Family weddings) and had her heart broken by all the revelations later.. who got a little kick every time someone would comment after learning her birth date “Hey, Born on the Fourth of July, eh” (rather than the sense of mortification now), could sing Yankee Doodle and dream American Dreams without cringing....the current occupants of the White House have me (in Obama’s words) exploring the ‘audacity of hope’...yes I shuddered a bit at Michelle’s gown but with a husband who had eyes only for her and Beyonce crooning in the background, it seemed a bit silly to fixate on that. Sigh! Hopefully the guy doesn’t take a penchant to smoking cigars or fantasizing about being Camilla’s tampon (worst sexual fantasy EVER).

And that he ushers in a kinder world...and the United States of our childhood dreams, delusional though the dreans might have been.

We have been disillusioned before...but as February and all that it promises to deliver rolls around, I hope that the young dreamer to come (AND ME) can hope a little, dream a little and not live to regret it!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Postcard from Suburbia

So this Sunday we moved to the suburbs, cat, baby in production and all....it seemed a pretty daunting task…but somehow all the talk about Obama and Bush moving house in what do they say 20 minutes (?) of each other had me impressed, " I am pretty sure we have less boxes than them" ... I told the packers. So Yes We Can!! And we did, somewhat…

I do have some misgivings about all that talk about the two President's stuff being moved on the day of the Inauguration, pretty sure there might be SOME glitches over the years. What do you think are the odds of our man George in Texas calling up Barack OH " woh aap kee bhabi keh rahee hain kai unki ek kali sandal reh gayee hai" (the wife is missing a pair of black sandals)….and Laura B saying something like "Oho Malia Sasha ka school bag has come in our boxes".

Anyways….so Monday night (our first day in the new house) my real LIFELINE the internet was plugged in…interesting observation here, all day Monday I had not felt the baby move but didn't want to stress the man too much and thought I would wait a day…anyways as we finally got connected (after 6 calls to tech support which was some call centre in Philippines) I felt the baby stir, DEFINITE movements once the browser loaded, so I told my husband Guess what

he was pretty blas√© and said " Bacha kis ka hai…I wouldn't have expected any less" So what do you think? Is my baby Wifi connected?!!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Notes to Self

I know that even with the best of intentions (and my declaring to anyone who asks me what I expect of you is that I want a child at peace with himself and the world with no inclination to land in a rubber dinghy on any shore) there might be a day in the future when I will say something along the lines of

"I wish you would...." ..."Mama will love you if...."
or even a
" You made me so happy when you..."

So for all those days (though I am guarding myself against them) I want to remember this Friday...its week 34 and I was watching you all teary eyed on the ultrasound. As the doctor and the technician were going gaga over the eyelashes (the dad's-- I have four eye lashes, six before I started wearing contacts) I could only stare at the screen enraptured (the baby also has the dad's pakoda nose but we will love it anyway). ..you clever clever baby nazar na lagey.

For a while I wanted to just stay in the moment, before an avalanche of EXPECTATIONS descend upon us..
isn't the baby born yet ...such delay doesn't bode well,
are you sure it can hold his head,
is he toilet trained,
ours was talking by now,
what about schools


so when one day I start scolding you to study harder, eat more greens, play more sports, listen to your parents I want you to remind me of this particular moment, when life was easier, simpler.. where just by ' sprouting' a decent set of eye lashes and poking your chubby finger in your nose (sigh!! yes that was embarrassing but SO cute at the same time) you could enrapture a room and make your mother so proud and so teary. Kisses little one, and I cant wait to meet you now.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

When My Comments Become Posts

Asaan blogged about this ..and it merited a reply.

So the whole of Oz (and sections beyond) are agog about the latest episode of 'hitting below the belt' (well I have been pretty late in posting about it and all the clever references had been taken). Now a teeny tiny bit of me will draw comparisons with the many many ' crimes of passion' our (read South Asian) men commit and later declare as a case of redeeming their honour, and I might say to our men "well welcome to the club" ...but I know its wrong...yes, yes I will marvel at the changing nature of 'embodied sexual violence' in Pakistan..on my last visit home I heard of a young woman who had done it to a paramour who had been cheating on her and how her fit of pique had been "understood" and "incorporated" in the community's "stories of self"...to the extent that conductors on the public transport route would refer to the bus stop near her house as "the Bobbit (actually the desi equivalent of) bus stop".

And then there was a husband taking a second wife with the first wife not very keen on the idea, but he wasnt listening , so she did a Zakhmi Aurat on him before he left for the nikah ceremony. And of course Aneela being Aneela I was wondering ( the news report kind of petered off after offering these details) what was transpiring in the shaadi ka ghar.For one I can imagine the maulvi going through the section in the nikahnama that confirms the first wife's permission and saying something along the lines of "Phir may na hee samjhoo?" (so I take it as NO?)

Public culture in South Asia has not been very kind towards women avenging their honour..anyone remember the Zakhmi Aurat I refer to? if you thought the movie lacked in good taste, I wish you could catch the Pakistani cover "Haseena Atom Bomb"...my eyes my eyes....Dimple K's coterie had scalpels, Mussarat had GARDEN SHEARS!!! Ive linked synopsis for both...go read!!
So my take on the issue? Citizen justice, vigilante justice, it is a slippery slope...and DEFINITELY not for our communities, we are not mature enough...actually not for anyone.Sorry...

And my next "comment that became a post" IHM on the 'blogging process'...Ok, so when I started this blog it was with the intention of having a 'forum' where I could moderate an exchange on public memory of non-violence in South Asia, it was a work thing...but the uni was not keen on the 'ethics' of using a blog...so it became an online 'archive' for some of my op/eds and a travel diary...eventually that petered off too and it became a scrap book project at best. Enter the 'site under development'. Now I am as you all know an ardent devotee of all things Bolly, and my social training declared that I have the mandatory eight letters for eight years ala Rani in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (if I am to kick the bucket during the 'creation' process)...khair I dont think I will have the time then (nor will I look as well groomed as she did in the hospital bed) so I thought I should have a forum where the kid in question would know my 'stories' as in what makes Aneela tick..and that is why this blog has more or less steered cleared of the 'larger questions of life'..for my political, ideological, theological views the kid can read my published research theek hai or my columns (when I have the energy to send them in). But I did not want the kid to be struggling about the 'every day questions' about me. For I did. I lost my dad when I was three and though over the years I have posed the odd question to his siblings, a friend, my mom but these were THEIR standpoints, their stories and how 'they wanted to remember him' and well we all have an occupational hazard of 'rewriting history' when the party in question is deceased...

I am not sure if I have explained myself here, frankly I wanted VINTAGE Aneela bak bak out there in the public domain for the consumption of ONE particular reader..So this is how I write a blog post IHM, I filter out the 'larger questions' and write all that might appear as the 'mundane observations' about life
to you my dear reader, but should hopefully be particularly helpful to a little soul (though fingers crossed I hope to be around for a LONG LONG time) who might just wonder about my life, loves and something along those lines.

Lest Gman Forgets


Recieved this take on Gajini in the mail...have to share it with others who might also have partners with ' failing memories'.
Gman has decided that he should have a blog too, if for nothing else but to have a space where he can put up (relatively) flattering pics (and stories) of him..I told him thats called Shaadi Online. I have long given up looking for pics that catch our ' good side'...suffice to say its only Pesho the poser who has the ' photogenic' genes in our household.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Lest I forget

I have been hogging on to these two awards for a while now.. and I do know good manners dictate that one passes them on ASAP rather than shamelessly hogging on to them...khair...so without much ado I announce * drum rolls please*
BLOGGERS FOR WORLD PEACE
Some bloggers we agree with a little, some not at all and some whole heartedly.Some bloggers give us Hope. They are bloggers who care, for ALL THE CITIZENS of this World. These bloggers can see above the generalizations of Caste, Community, Religion, Language, Region, Race and National boundaries. They are the hope of our UNITY IN DIVERSITY. This Special Award, very close to my heart goes to
Individualland, Life of An Indian Home Maker, D, kAy, Jammie, Khizzy, Chandni, Another Kiran, Kiran M in all her avtaars-Ive chosen this particular link so if anyone is not aware of what her group has been doing, they should have no excuse now and Orange Jammies

And this trophy for:
Mina, Jammie's Fun Fearless Female avtaar, D's party diva avtaar, Dipali, Parul, MayG Design Diva avtaar

And finally I come to Notes to Self: Repeat to yourself Aneela...no matter how many 'seasons' of Sex and the City Gman has watched with you, or copies of Marie Claire you have pushed on to him, HE IS NOT EXACTLY A WOMAN, so he doesnt give a tiny rat's ass when you ask him whether tailors from Karachi are genetically programmed to cut a better shalwar compared to Rawalpindi tailors...it will save you a lot of heart ache in the coming days.

Fingers crossed, the baby will , by the Grace of God (and Im hoping a capable OB) arrive on Feb 14th...I will resist all temptation to name him Prem Kumar, the jury is still out on " Mohabbat Man". Any nakhras, sleepless nights, or tantrums on the part of the baby and *insert evil laughter* we'll see who will be crying first day of school.

We will not compare the baby's ' milestones' with Pesho's..as in wasn't Pesho toilet trained by now? eating regularly? Responding to us? More demonstrative?

I will be adding to this list in the coming days.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Post Script

Lest we forget the year 2008 for me was classified as the year of NOT EXACTLY's

when a 'black man' (but not EXACTLY black) made it to the Oval Office...but isnt it exciting that we are even raising this question? As political commentators pointed out a couple of years ago even a 'drop of black blood' was enough to label you 'black'...and the idea of 'hybridity' was redundant.

A 'man' (but not EXACTLY a man) gives birth to a baby girl (and is preggers again)...interesting questions about reading the body and 'gendered expectations' eh.

And two women were part of the bid for a room with a view in the White House (but not EXACTLY good news for feminists any where).

and well it was the year that I could watch the fireworks and hold my tongue (as in not draw parallels with young families in the Gaza strip who would also be watching the sky light up for them)...but NOT EXACTLY... as two days later I am still thinking and writing about it.