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Sunday, February 27, 2011

The joy of phonics

Conversation with Suleiman after returning from dinner out.

Me (showing him my wrist): What are these?

Solom: This is Mama CLIP.

Me: Nooo... these are BANGLES.

S: This is DANGLES.

Me: Bangles.


Me: Bangles. Buh. Bangles.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Don't call me Yellow

Conversation with Suleiman in the kitchen today.

Solom (upon seeing a lemon in the fridge): This is MANGO.

Me: No, this is a lemon.

S: This is LAYLLUM.

Me: LeMON.


Me: Lemon. LEMON.


Me: This is NOT a "layllum".

S (self-satisfied look on face): This is MANGO.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Annual Author Run - Part I

I'd pretty much been zipping around like the Energizer Bunny since hearing from my good friend, Maliha Zia Lari, that the Karachi Literature Festival was around the corner. For those of you who don't know yet (which means you haven't read all my blogposts... FOR SHAME!!!) my big project these days is revamping the Desi Writers Lounge magazine, Papercuts, for public consumption (vs. its previous status, where even the editors would forget to check how it turned out). The Karachi LitFest promised to be a veritable dream-come-true for networking and promotion (not to mention the chance to rub shoulders with celeb writers, hence the title of this post).

And so I went about preparing for the event, mainly by getting visiting cards and flyers printed. At this point I'd like to acknowledge my uber resourceful brother-in-law, Ali Imran, who runs an event management company and specialises in getting things done at the last minute (even if they could've easily been done earlier, but let's not go there for now). Master Imran got my cards printed and delivered to Karachi in 24 hours, quite an amazing feat by any stretch of the imagination. Ali, it would simply not have been possible for me to harass so many unsuspecting attendees at the festival without those cards. I thank ye, brother in arms (and law).

The afternoon before the event was supposed to begin, I received a call from Azfar. "Listen," he said casually, "I have an invite to the festival launch at the British Deputy High Commissioner's residence. You wanna go?"

Annoyed at the cosmic injustice of my book-averse husband getting Literary Me access to any part of the festival, I asked him why he of all people had received an invitation; to which he replied, "Oh, Tariq couldn't go and he saw me in the corridor, so he gave me the card."

The scales of karma restored, I grudgingly agreed to attend the ceremony. In retrospect, this was probably not a very clever idea because I'm nothing more than a germ on the literary scene at present, which obviously has nothing to do with what one's doing and everything to do with how many people know what one's doing. Fortunately, after awkwardly easing myself into several random conversations in the first half hour, I bumped into British-American journalist and writer Jonathan Foreman, who'd just flown in after attending the Jaipur Literary Festival and also wasn't familiar with too many people on the Karachi circuit. We wound up sitting together and rescued the evening by talking right through the video presentation and speeches, pausing every once in a while to clap politely or to point at the screen and ask, "Who's that?"

By the end of the launch, I'd distributed my entire stock of cards for the day, put away a large helping of smashing gajar ka halva and connected with my first celebrity author of the event: HM Naqvi (Home Boy).

In all, not a bad start. More on the main festival in the days to come!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

This is not my next blog post

Conversation outside bathroom this evening.

Azfar: I'm going in for a shower.

Me: Now don't take forever in there.

A: I nevah take forevah.

Me: I mean it. Don't take your normal amount of time.

A: Last time you said, "Don't take an abnormal amount of time." I'm getting confused.

Me: Take no time, is what I'm saying.

A: I'm back!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mothers are not for kids!

Earlier tonight, I told my mother to check out this blog. It was a tall order to begin with, but I thought she’d enjoy my conversation with Azfar from the day before. ‘Tall order’ because my mother is one of the most computer- and web-challenged people I know. She still has a dial-up connection, which runs on her one phone line, incidentally. And if she doesn’t use the computer for a few weeks, she forgets things like how to enter a URL in a web browser. So if I want Amma to check something on the net, I have to call her on her cell and walk her through the entire process.

Trust me, if you’d been through the conversations I’ve had with my mum from Houston to Islamabad, you’d feel my pain. Classic example:

Me: Did you see Suleiman’s pictures?

Amma: Oh! No I didn’t! Remind me again how to check?

Me: Okay. Click on that blue icon at the bottom of your computer screen that says ‘e’.

Amma: What’s an icon?

Me: Just click on the blue ‘e’.

Amma: Nothing happened.

Me: The window didn’t open?

Amma: What’s a window?

Anyway. Being the perennial optimist, I asked Amma to check my blog. To her credit, she not only made it here but also read the first entry, Conversations with Calliope – Part I. After she’d given me flack for using… uh… the slang for ‘feces’, I asked her what she thought of my conversation with Azfar. It turned out she never saw it.

“How could you have missed it?” I asked, incredulously. “It’s the latest entry, right at the top of the page!”

“Okay, I’ll check again. I’ll call you back,” she said and hung up.

A few minutes later I received two mysterious phone calls from my mother on Skype, in which I could neither see her nor hear her. She then called me on my cell and said, “It was nice… but I’ve already read that paper of yours before.”

“Ma, please don’t tell me you still haven’t seen the entry at the top!”

What entry?”

The one that says ‘Oh dear.’ RIGHT AT THE TOP!!!

“The 28th January one?”

“What?! 28th… uff… it doesn’t matter… I can’t… this is… it’s right THERE… why on Earth… JUST SCROLL DOWN, FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!!”

“I’ll check it tomorrow.”

Moral of the story? There is none, unfortunately. My mother will never understand how to use the PC and I will always be as amazed at this as if it’s the first time I’m hearing it. My annoyance is mildly assuaged, however, by the realisation that in the future I will be reliving this exact same scenario with Suleiman, except he’ll be shouting, “JUST DIRECT THE LASER BEAM AT THE TELEPORT FIELD, FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!”. After which he’ll turn to his wife and exclaim, “She wants to drive over!!!”

Well you know what? I'm ready. I've learnt from the best. Bring it on, suckers!