Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Snippets from 2013

It's my grandmother's bed-time and it's going according to schedule. Like everything she does in her life. We lift her from her seat at exactly ten. At the sink, she takes off her dentures, soaks them. 'Did I take off my dentures?' she asks. 'Yep,' we answer. She washes her spotless, lovely-smelling hands in the same way, soap bar trying hard to slip away from her thorough scrubbing. 'I washed my hands?' 'Yes'. Once she is lying down in bed, I kiss her goodnight, wondering at the mystery of old age. How that re-emergence of childhood dependency blends gracefully with the demanded respect of elderliness, gracefully enough to make this dependency dignified. Before switching off the lights, we tuck her in, throwing the blanket over her. It covers her face for a second before we pull it away. Antin her helper finds this hilarious and bursts out in loud cackles. When my granny's face re-emerges, it's grinning- a toothless, beautiful grin.


Noddy and I bond over books, junk food, life questions, beauty care and silence. Today it's a combination. We're munching on flaming hot cheetos with our orange-powdered hands, big glass of water in the other. We look at the muted television screen without really looking- the sound of our crunching filling the room. When we're done, we down the remaining of our glasses, end the ceremony with a satisfied 'Ah' and sit there for a while with our full bellies in appreciative silence.

Later on, she watches me squeeze a honey-covered lemon slice on my face and lets me do the same to her. 'It's good for our skin' I tell her, and she believes me like she always does, just asks how long we have to keep it on. I brush her silky hair that doesn't need brushing while we wait, and she asks me her latest questions on life- why some people are social and others aren't, why I'm scared of animals and why the friends in the book she's reading have arguments. 'You're the perfect sister,' she says, but the truth is that she is perfect, with her round, curious eyes and her all-time trusting soul.


Awesomeness has another name- Skoon. You will never meet anyone quite like her. We're at her baby shower and she tumbles in, pregnant belly, still not ready. 'What do I wear?' she moans, before getting distracted and changing the subject. In Skoon's world, randomness and spontaneity rules and there are no protocols about ways people are supposed to behave. It's two hours into the baby shower and nothing has actually happened yet, but everyone is having a great time. Skoon moves around a natural ease, bonding with each of her guests without making any effort, spilling her thoughts and feelings on a tray and handing them to you as raw as they are.

I go to visit her at the hospital a day after she's given birth. Nothing can change Skoon and her down-to-earthness, not even hours in painful labour. 'Hi!' she says animatedly, eyes screaming fatigue but voice unchanged. We look down at her adorable little girl with red cheeks and puffy eyes. She giggles- 'When will she wake up, man?' Skoon was trying to take selfies when she was giving birth. I told you she's awesomeness. I don't stay long, leaving her to rest and bond with her baby. On the way back, I can't stop picturing how much fun Skoon and her girl will have growing together.


If there was a measuring device for positive vibes, graduation ceremony halls would win. I have never seen so many truly happy people at once. We march inside looking ridiculous in our blue hats and gowns- to a hall buzzing with the pride of parents, professors and friends. They watch us move around and go up stage with smiles that crease their teary eyes. When the cooped-in parents are finally released, they mix in with the blues. Everywhere around, mothers are crying and hugging their kids. I lean in to kiss mine, and we take a million pictures. There is enough happiness in the air to energize a nation. Then we group up and take that obligatory picture, the one where we throw our hats off. It's a symbol of the end of my academic life- that lovely, comforting world. Over the past three months since I have started working, I have had a lifetime of experience. From keeping confidential the sensitive information of some of the largest firms in the world, climbing fuel tanks, counting in locked warehouses to meeting new people- the inspiring, the weird and the ugly- and struggling to remain diplomatic in a politics-infested world. Some days are good, some not so good, but each one brings me so much more to learn, and though it hurts to wave goodbye at the dreamland period of my life, it is exciting that the real life has only just begun.



  1. Your grandmother sounds so cute. And taking selfies while giving birth? Man, that girl has courage. I'd be drugged at a time like that to escape the pain, haha. Graduation truly brings positive vibes, with weddings at a close ranking. I remember at my graduation random adults were coming up to me and congratulating me. It felt great!

  2. It is brave of that girl to take her photo while in the maternity room. Wow.
    Arn't old people the best. Your grand mother sounds adorable.
    Graduations are a glorious time. I would cherish the memories. I was married and moved with my husband in England right after my BA Finals. So never got to see my convocation in India.
    I hope that you and your family have a Happy New Year and years to come. Ameen.

  3. Those snippets are priceless. How do you always pick out the best? Some are just so subtle and yet so perfect... Congratulations on graduating! May I ask what you've graduated in? You sound like you've become a kind of ninja. A spy. Does that mean you can't admit to it online? o.O


    Okay, say no more.

    Happy New Year :) I wish you all the best, I hope you have a thousand more of these priceless moments, I hope you overcome every obstacle with a battle cry, I hope you have lots of cookies and cake. Insha'allah, I hope this year will be jizbillion times better than any other year before, for you and your family ^_^ Lots of love, favourite blogger ♥♥♥

    1. Hahaha, Laila! Spy, I wish. On the contrary, I've graduated in what is known for being one of the most boring areas of study in the world- Accounting. And I'm working for an Auditing firm.

      Thank you for your lovely words, I wish the same for you and more. ♥

  4. *clap clap clap*
    That was lovely.
    Skoon is one ass-kicking gal.
    I remembered your story about the nice-smelling hand-lotion when I read about your grandmother...They're some of the least-appreciated people around.Our grandparents.
    And congratulations on graduating!
    May your work never seem like work and may 2014 be bigger and even better than before!

  5. Congratulations on being a graduate! I love how you've let us have a tiny peek into your year in such a beautiful way. Happy new year, stay beautiful :*

  6. Awe! Thank you for sharing these beautiful snippets! Happy new year!

  7. Aww, that was so sweet 7abibti. I loved the part that you wrote about me.


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