November 26, 2012

If you think about it, like sit on a couch for 4 hours staring at the computer screen while browsing through miscellaneous websites for PhD (and other suitable getting-out-of-the-country-for-a-while programs) think about it, there is a cornucopia of things-to-do in this world, so why am I not out there doing them?

On the tip of the ice-berg, like if you decided to strike up a conversation with me and asked me randomly, not even very interested-ly but in a this-is-an-accepted-social-convention-kind-of-way, you would inevitably come across a burgeoning well of discontent. According to me-on-the-surface, life kinda-sorta-sucks. Why, you, still politely, ask?

Despite your utter and complete lack of interest, let me, let me tell you (oh-I-have-so-much-to-tell-you).

My job is getting to me, I think I've been at it too long and by now its causing neural dystrophy. I've spent three years stuck in the same city which, though it is still beautiful, in the shadow of the Margalla Hills, is filled with people I have come to dislike immensely (and those who I really liked have all moved on this year). Why do I dislike them, you ask? Because while they make an interesting anthropological study (sortoff like the cast of Gossip Girls would make) they make you really-really scared that if you spend enough time with them - like anthropologists who decided to live with chimpanzees in the wild you will go native and eventually before you know it you begin to accept - and begin to play yourself - the strange, vaguely incestuous, social-games that everyone plays. Point being, if you're stuck in Islamabad for long enough I suspect the twisted world-view commonly seen through substance-colored glasses begins to become your reality. And before that happens, the sane person (or almost-sane) should plan to leave.

So there you have it, scratch a little deeper into the surface (a few glasses of something later), out pours the truth. I'm not happy, I want out. I feel like I'm stuck in a bad marriage, except I'm not married (yet).

And if you must keep seeking soul confessions, that is another thorn-in-my-side. The Islamic Republic needs to know who you belong to in order to label you, put you in a comfortable box and move on to cross-examine someone else. Everywhere you go, the same question: husband's name? You say, you're single, they look-at-you-funny, then ask you to throw in your father's name - or your brother's - or any distant-breathing-male-relative who can somehow declare you kosher. I think, when I grow up (some more) I will write a book called 'Unmarried in the Islamic Republic', and after it becomes a best-seller I will confess that what I was doing all along was NOT making a series of bad decisions (you know, to turn down the marriageable types in favor of serial relationships with as many commitmentphobes as I could come across) I was actually engaging in research en-route to greatness.

Which might actually get us closer to the bottom of this issue. As I discussed at length with my chief-confessor the other day, the problem is I don't want to be ordinary. And I never thought I was. I was always unconventional, interesting, different, unusual, strange - call me what you will, you could not have called me ordinary. Except now, I think you can.

How is my life any different from the multitude of single, pseudo-firangi, working women that crowd the streets of Islamabad living on their own (very independently) while secretly hoping (rather fervently) that they don't have to any longer because tomorrow will be the day they meet their Prince Charming (damn-you-Disney) and life as it was meant to be will finally start? As I go through the daily grind from home to work to gym to home to work (and so on) how is my life any more meaningful?

So there you have it, my biggest fear may have just come true. My life might have no meaning aside from whatever I choose to invent (which will be a lie that I will share with a few friends who love me enough to live it with me). There may be no bigger purpose, no greater achievement, no fabulous-future waiting for me. And it is this fear that has been so all consuming, that it leads to paralysis. And THAT, I think, is the root of my problem.

As I said in my (completely disjointed) first paragraph - there is no shortage of things to do in this world, but I'm no longer certain I'm the one to do them. More importantly, without the cloak of baseless-self-assurance that I have worn all my life, I am no longer certain I can.

Solution, you ask?

I need to find a cliff and I need to take the plunge. Now, before it's too late and I resign myself to waiting life out in the comfortable shadows like everyone-else who can't bring themselves to fly because they're scared that they will crash and burn.


SaJ said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this.
This is EXACTLY how I feel! And I blame a large chunk of it on Disney; it gave us unrealistic expectations about the 'happily ever after'.


Anonymous said...

Please get married to saad before you plunge off that cliff. I will even chip in for your dowry. We can decide later what to do with the bitchy co-wife.

The Me. said...

Hold me nowww, i'm six feet from the edge and i'm thinking, maybe six feet ain't so far down.

Okay i just felt like singing that.

I found myself relating to this post in a weird way.

M said...

Oh Xeb,

I dont know you. But i think i do. Cliff, is it? Good you could write all that down whereas, I'm reduced to writing stuff in codes that reminds one of distant sighs.


Its a good blog you have, i may come again. :) :)