Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On unnecessary distress

"Hush, Jane! you think too much of the love of human beings; you are too impulsive, too vehement; the sovereign hand that created your frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you. Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is round us, for it is everywhere; and those spirits watch us, for they are commissioned to guard us; and if we were dying in pain and shame, if scorn smote us on all sides, and hatred crushed us, angels see our tortures, recognise our innocence (if innocent we be: as I know you are of this charge which Mr. Brocklehurst has weakly and pompously repeated at second-hand from Mrs. Reed; for I read a sincere nature in your ardent eyes and on your clear front), and God waits only the separation of spirit from flesh to crown us with a full reward. 

Why, then, should we ever sink overwhelmed with distress, when life is so soon over, and death is so certain an entrance to happiness-- to glory?"

Excerpt from Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte)- a new favourite!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nada

A word that means nothing. I heard it first from someone on youtube- a teenage boy wearing a sea-blue tee-shirt, his arms raised in the air in exaggerated exasperation. And now my brain's taken it as a cue to replay that random insignificant act.

Also a word that means many things.
Nada, a mother of four, somewhere distant on my family tree. Eight floors separate us. If the world had separate divisions for thinkers and feelers, she would definitely be leading the Feelers. Might even be holding a banner with a big heart on it. When we greet each other, it's not the customary hugs and kiss in the air. She holds me close to her, draws in the air around me. She says "How are you?" like it's the first time the question's been asked, and scans my eyes like they're mini television screens.

Nada, the owner of a tongue dripping honey. We're sitting in the university's coffee-shop, a thick form between us. She's interviewing me on casual american dining for a market research, and apologizing politely at regular intervals. It's long and I have things left to do, but somehow I'm not bothered at all, because those nowhere as sweet as her take time away from me by force, so why not give it to a deserving person voluntarily?

Nada, a word of comfort in an uncomfortable year. Her rough long hair tamed into a plait, her big brown eyes filling the bigger face that sits on her seven-year old tiny body, feeling like it doesn't belong. I've moved into a new school, its hallways as unfamiliar and confusing to me as the people that fill it. Everything is a confusing blur- the games in physical education with rules I have no clue of, the identical blocks, the infinite rules I need to learn. But Nada is the clear constant, chattering incessantly by my side and expecting no entertainment in return. Which is relieving because I have none to offer. All she wants is to be listened to. On henna-ed hands, her older brother's philosophies on discipline, the different things she has to do to manage her hair and the handwritten letters to her grandmother in Yemen.

Nada. Us three girls sitting on conveniently-placed sofas in a store's men section, bored and waiting for our dad to finish deciding on which shirts to buy. We create an additional sister in our imagination, twin to Huda, complete with appearance and personality. Nada and Huda. She'd have the same straight and silky brown hair, big brown lashed eyes; wear the same clothes in different colours. Huda is giggling uncontrollably at the thought with sparkling eyes. She shyly begins to contribute: Nada will be the athletic twin and the more talkative one. She wouldn't be as good as her at school. We go on brain-storming, giving more life to our new sister, until it's finally time to leave and we both exchange a knowing look that needs no words to express itself: another her would be too much for our hearts to handle.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Delicate Dubai-ans

Put 'Summer' and 'Dubai' together and you have a bunch of whining, moaning, quibbling, nagging people who find no other discussion of interest besides the heat and how much of a nuisance it is in their lives. Greet them with a simple 'How are you?' and be prepared to spend the next ten minutes listening to a tragic soliloquy describing the unfortunate impacts of the summer heat on their social lives/skin/hair/energy/mood. Their walk from their cooled homes to their cooled cars and from their cooled cars to their cooled shopping malls is just too much. Perhaps the pitiable souls were deceived into thinking that Dubai, where palm trees are drawn on the sea surface, would surely have the capacity to condition the air, somehow? Maybe if they had been told the truth, they would have fled elsewhere to have mercy on their fragile bodies that can't withstand such a terrible plight!

Honestly. There are other places not so far from us where people LIVE in this heat, and worse- walk and work in it with no automatic breeze that switches on with a button. Where is the logic in basing your happiness on the weather around you? Whatever happened to enjoying every season as it comes along? Why has it 
become acceptable to greet people with such pessimism?

Try going through a day without commenting on the heat, and watch how your life and the lives of others around you dramatically improves :) 

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