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Monday, November 28, 2011

Malaysia, Shukriya

All this talk of odd couples and Maldives in January has reminded me of our first family vacation abroad, which happened earlier this summer. We scheduled a two-week holiday with two small children to two countries (Singapore and Malaysia) and three locations (Singapore, KL and Langkawi), including an inter-country train ride, with a conference thrown in for good measure. Absolute madness. The children fell sick three times (each) and Azfar fell sick twice, in addition to tearing a ligament in his shoulder. How, you may ask? The incident I want to relate happened on our last night in Malaysia, at a lovely resort in Langkawi.

Our hut was located in the rainforest section of the resort, so there were standard warnings to watch out for wild animals, particularly baboons. We’d left a tray out one night on the advice of the room service staff and the next morning, as might be expected, had found remains of sandwiches and fries strewn all over the porch (they even dipped into the ketchup, which to me is a much bigger sign of rampant globalization than any other story one’s heard about fast food consumption in human beings; btw I’ve also heard of a goat that got addicted to Coke but more on that later).

Anyway, so we were aware that wild animals roamed the rainforest. On our last night, we’d put the kids to sleep, finished packing and were about to go to bed when the motion-sensitive light in the balcony came on.

“Oh my God, Azfar!” I whispered, skin prickling. “There’s something on the balcony right now!!” And I started tip-toeing across the creaky wooden floor towards the window.

“Aaf please let it be,” Azfar begged. “The kids will wake up and we have to get up so early. Let’s just go to sleep.”

So I tip-toed back sullenly and we fell asleep. At about three in the morning, I had a dream. We’d left the balcony sliding door open by mistake, and a wild animal was entering with the intention of attacking us. So I did what any normal person would do in my position: I sat up in bed and screamed a scream that must've crossed the rainforest, cleared the beach and woken up the mermaids in the ocean. I then saw a porcupine quill the size of Minar-e-Pakistan shooting in through the same balcony door… straight at me. A proper attack was underway. Again acting with perfect rationality, I moved out of the way of this missile - and fell off the bed. 

In the meantime, Azfar, who was fast asleep on his stomach, woke up to the sound of his wife’s blood curdling scream, turned his head and saw her two legs up in the air, falling backwards off the bed. Now anyone in their right minds would’ve figured that if most of a person’s body has already gone overboard, there is absolutely no sense in trying to grab their leg. But since he is very chivalrous and was obviously not thinking straight at the time, he shimmied across the bed while on his stomach and stretched out with all his force to catch hold of me. And that was how he tore a ligament.

The moment my head connected with the hardwood floor, I woke up (obviously). It occurred to me that I was looking at the ceiling from further away than when I had gone to sleep. So, being an utterly practical person, I climbed back onto the bed – only to see my husband sitting on the other side, clutching his shoulder.

Azfar: Ahhhh…

Me: “What happened??” (Ye acha hai, I’m the one who just fell off the bed and he’s groaning!)

Azfar: [insert story] is what happened.

Me: “Oh noooooo, poor jaani, what can I do to help?” (I can’t believe he missed my leg AND pulled a muscle!)

Azfar: “I’ll be fine. Just get me that cream.”

Me: “Yes OF COURSE, jaani!” (Oh my God, we’re flying to Pakistan tomorrow! WHO’S GOING TO CARRY THE LUGGAGE?!)

We made it to the airport in one piece the next day and Azfar, who’d funneled all kinds of pain killers into his bloodstream, was looking absolutely hale and hearty to anyone who didn’t know what had happened the previous night. Imagine the looks on the faces of the customs officials and passengers as this tall, healthy, top-quality specimen of Pakistani male stood to the side with his shades on while his visibly out-of-shape wife hrrumphed and hooed and haaed as she lifted suitcase after suitcase onto the conveyor belt. Has anyone ever gotten a dirty look from a customs official here? Trust me, no you haven't. I don’t think anyone in the history of aviation has been gladder to board a plane than my husband was that morning. Pfft!

So, yes… Maldives. You'll pardon me if I'm not biting the bait yet!

The Aafster Life is competing in the Best Diarist category of the Pakistan Blog Awards! If you find my troubles and stresses as funny as I hope you do, take a moment to vote! Click on the button at the top right of the blog. Thanks!


  1. amazing that you remember events so long gone...

    my mind is a seive.

    i have to look at photographs to remember whether we have visited langkawi or not. (we have). i was looking for our kota kinabalu pictures (we havent been there... only my friend was there and apparently was describing it too vividly)

    do you still have memories from your KL diary. would love to read... since you seem to be in flow:-)

  2. Dear MiM, I think it was picking up 4500 pieces of jigsaw puzzles off the floor that wiped off all memories of the Langkawi trip. sorry!!

    And A: did the baboons make it? Did that ringing sound in their ears post that epic scream ever go?

  3. LOL! I can JUST picture Azfar trying to pull you from your legs. He is such a sweet guy! Bechara.

  4. LOL! This blog entry made my day. I haven't laughed this hard all week. thanks for cheering me up . I've been working on 4 depressing research essays simultaneously today, and needed a laugh so badly ...

  5. Hi;
    Found the reactions of the customs folks most funny. Reminded me of my own airport experiences.

    While growing up, I was the only child, so my parents made sure that I did the heavy lifting, both literally and figuratively.

    Once I got married, oh boy did I get pampered. Hubby dearest, would not let me lift a thing in a public space. Ghar ki baat was a different story!!! (Don't we all know that).

    Anyways, to cut the aimless rambling..am sure a more exciting vacation awaits you.

    Till later,
    take care,


  6. Array kahan, Mim, I barely remember anything from the trip although it was just a few months ago. Will try to write something up, though... I feel that some documentation is in order! Btw where did you get a 4,500 piece puzzle from? I've been searching for one for years!

    Aneela, I believe you have raised a very valid point. There was nothing in the news about a mass baboon die-out at Berjaya, though... (looks worried).

    S.W. and Nadia, you are both in similar boats at the moment! Nadia, which research is this? I'm a research fan. Please tell me. It'll make me happy.

    Anu, I must admit that time spent with the customs people was very gratifying. ;-D And I'm very happy to hear that you weren't spoilt and home and driven into the ground by your hubby! Although yes, we all know what it's like when one has to run one's own house. Sigh.

  7. hahahaha,laughed out loud so many times while reading ths one....
    totally addicted 2 ths blog ever since u posted this link on WeldonMoms.
    ur blogs almost look like my very own personal daily diary (though i jst hv 1 toddler at th moment!)
    keep making us laugh:)))

  8. I couldn't stop laughing!

    I'm sorry but I couldn't!!!

  9. Haan haan, hanso meri dukh bhari daastaan pe... ;-)

  10. @blue wit, my research spans over 4 different topics, the first one is about St.Shenute the christian monk in ancient egypt and his coptic practices, the second is related to a tibetan monk in the 10th century in india and his travels, the third pertains to iconoclasm and iconophobia in islamic cultures specifically related to the destruction of the Buddha statues in Bamiyan and the last one is regarding jewish marriage laws and divorce in Rabbinic courts in Israel. and the sad part is that all 4 of these research essays are due next week and I'm not half done :D. If i may ask, what type of research are you interested in? Im a religion major hence the interest in Religious topics.

  11. I'm a social sciences research buff in general (there's something so enormously satisfying about a well-structured, well-thought-out academic paper). In terms of experience, my own research has been in education and gender. History is my secret love, though. I'd happily read every one of the papers you're working on, just out of interest!

  12. Hahahaha! This was such an entertaining read! Thank you for the good laugh. Poor Azfar.