Quarantine Diaries: Random Conversations

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Image swiped from here.

Quarantine Diaries: Random Conversations

My dad called me from Pakistan this morning at the unearthly quarantine standard time of 7:49. I heard the ringing, struggled to the edge of the bed and looked down at my disgruntled cell phone complaining loudly and saw “Daddy” on the screen. I turned back over and pulled the covers over my head knowing he would have a couple things to say to me when I called back.

At about noon I remembered I was supposed to do something but the Internet had sucked me into its bottomless hell and I wasn’t quite sure what it was I had to do. Till my cell rang and “Daddy” blinked accusingly at me. Daddy will be referred to as Eccentric South Asian Boomer because nothing could explain the enigma that is him better.

This entire conversation took place in Urdish (Urdu-English). Below is a close translation but some treasures will be lost in translation unless you understand Urdish.

Me: “Hello, Salam alaykum!”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Walaikum As Salam bhai (bhai means brother but is used when a rant is about to follow) where have you been?”

Me: “I’ve been-”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “I have been calling you forever!”

Me: “I didn’t-”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Why don’t you answer your phone?”

Me: “I-”

I realize it is pointless so I let him go on for as long as he needs to or runs out of breath.

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “All I get are your messages that sound like ‘mamamamam’? What are you doing? Why don’t you call back? DO you know how worried I have been? You never call!”

Me: “I didn’t get a single call from you. Are you-”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “What are you saying bhai? I called so many times, I got your messages, you kept mumbling ‘mamamama’ what is that?”

Me wondering if someone with a similar number to mine had been kidnapped and gagged: “I didn’t send you any messages, and why would I mumble like that?”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Messages on your cell phone bhai!”

Me: “You mean the answering machine thing on my cell phone? That is not me sending you a message, that is just a recording. And I don’t sound like ‘mamamama’ is your hearing ok?”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Mujhe budda kairee ho? Chaurral!” (Are you calling me old? Witch!”) Laughing at the ridiculous thought of himself being old. You know how dads call their daughters sweety or honey affectionately? Mine calls me Witch.

Me: “You are old. I didn’t get a call from you, at least my cell phone isn’t showing any notifications otherwise I would have called you back. When did you call? And by the way, I have called you like a dozen times on Whatsapp and you never answer!”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Haan bhai! (Yeah brother) that’s exactly what you would say, I didn’t get any calls from you on Whatsapp. I called you about fifteen-twenty days ago.”

Me, preparing to hear an earful after my next statement: “I was in Morocco.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “WHAT!?”

Me: “Eldest Child took me to Morocco.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Have you both lost your minds, do you even know what is happening in the world right now?”

Me: “We left when it wasn’t crazy like it is now, also Morocco still has a very low number of cases, it had barely any when we were there and of course we wouldn’t have left if things were the way they are now, I’ve been home for more than a week now. Calm down. Aren’t you happy I got that amazing opportunity? You know I have never done anything like that in my life.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer changing the topic abruptly lest it should start a comment on his parenting and my lack of fun experiences in my early life: “Are you taking care of everyone’s health? Are you taking Moringa? Do you have access to Moringa? Do you know how beneficial Moringa is?”

Moringa has been his favorite topic for the past few years. He is a walking encyclopedia on Moringa and family members are now reluctant to invite him to family dinners because he can’t talk about anything else.  He is also the major (only) supplier of Moringa to the entire extended family (that is his remaining sibling and the offspring of all his siblings as well as cousins and their offspring). He carries around a huge duffel bag full of carefully wrapped packs of dried leaves. Yes, my 75+ South Asian, arthritic, father is a dealer. Of Moringa.

Me: “I promise I will get some Moringa from some health store when the lockdown ends.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “I can send you some from here. You should all be taking Moringa every day, especially now.”

Me: “I don’t think mailing me a pack of dried leaves from Pakistan is a good idea. And don’t worry we are all taking vitamin C, warm lemonade with honey, none of us are going out. We are all fine, no symptoms.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Okay listen, I have a new number to use for Whatsapp. You need to write it down.”

Me: “Okay, but you know we can Whatsapp on this number too right?”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “No, no just write the number, it’s Zong.” (Zong is a network).

Me: “Okay I’ve got a pen.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Ready?”

Me: “Yes.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “OK write…are you ready?”

Me: “Yes, yes tell me the number already!”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Ok write  zero, three, three….you know you have to add nine and two first ?”

Me: “Yes I know, ok zero, three, three then?”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Zero, three, three..”

Me: “Yes, after that?”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “You got the zero, three, three?”

Me: “Oh my God, yes. What is the rest of it?”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Okay, nine, two, zero, three, three, four…

Me scribbling out the second set of nine, two, zero, three, three.

He finally manages to tell me the entire number.

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Okay now I am calling you using this new number on Whatsapp.”

Me: “Okay.” I hang up and wait.

Ten minutes later he calls me on Whatsapp not from the new number but the previous one.

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Hello? Hello? Hello?” He constantly touches the screen of his phone while yelling hello and the screen disappears.

I call him back.

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Hello! What’s wrong with your phone I couldn’t hear you?”

Me: “That is because you kept touching the screen and wouldn’t stop yelling. If you stop yelling you would actually be able to hear what I have to say.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer sticking his smiling into his phone: “Tum tho bohot moti hogai ho!” (You have gotten really fat!”

At this point, I must explain, this is not meant with ill intention, but it has been so ingrained into that generation’s minds that it is okay to say shitty stuff to other people and that the recipients of shitty stuff should laugh at their intelligent wit. It is a good thing the Boomers didn’t give birth to the Millennials.  Only Generation X can put up with this kind of nonsense.

Me: “Thanks, that makes me feel really special.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Look at me, at this age look how well I have taken care of myself, I am only eating one and half chapatti at a meal.”

Me: “I am 5’6 and weigh 129 pounds.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Oh well that’s not fat.”

Me: “No it’s not. Even if it was, it is not something to say to your daughter. Or anybody else for that matter. It is considered very offensive now.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Well your face looks really fat.” Laughing at his own intelligent humour.

Me: “Thanks Daddy.”

The line drops and I try to call him back. He does not pick. I call three more times then give up. After ten minutes my cell rings again.

Me: “Hi why weren’t you picking up? I called you like four times.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Oh my phone didn’t ring.”

Me: “You need to get your phone checked out.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Oh there’s nothing wrong with my phone. I just keep Whatsapp off.”

Me looking for a brick wall to pound my head against: “Why would you not keep it on? And how do you turn it off? No wonder you didn’t pick any of my calls ever. What is the use of you having a cell phone if I can’t call you?”

The irony that I have had to parent my parents, as well as my kids (and husband), is not lost on me.

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Okay listen, I have another number that I use as well, grab your pen.”

Me horrified: “What? Why can’t we just use either of these numbers?”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “This is the Jazz number. The first one was the PTCL and the one you wrote was Zong.” As if any of these cell phone networks would make a difference because he kept his Whatsapp “off” anyways.

Me going into mom rant mode: “No, no more numbers! You don’t deserve more networks, you need to learn how to use your cell phone first! I have eight different numbers saved for you! Are you kidding me! No more new numbers!”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Just write it.” He starts dictating the number. We do a replay of the previous number writing scenario. Exactly the same.

Me writing it down finally: “Ok I got it.”

I look at my cell phone, I now have “Daddy” with eight different numbers saved, “Daddy 2” which is the Zong number and “Daddy 3” which is the Jazz number. Ten numbers that he will not answer when I call.

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “What is your husband doing?”

Me: “He is cooking.”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “What? Why is he cooking? Why aren’t you cooking? What is the matter with you?”

Me, contemplating hanging up: “Listen I am in quarantine, I explained that to you already, I was in Morocco remember?”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Yes, you need to be very careful and stay quarantined! Are you staying away from everyone?”

Me: “Yes, I am. I know what the word quarantine means. Also, I have cooked for him for twenty-five years and-”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “And you will cook for him for the next twenty-five years!”

Me: “AND Prodigal Son can cook and so can Middle Child if they feel their father needs a break. You do know everyone is at home doing nothing right? There is no school and no jobs, everyone can cook!”

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “But it is YOUR job, you know that right?”

Me in my head: No but I know which generation’s job it was to ruin the world now.

Eccentric South Asian Boomer: “Okay I gotta go get some sleep, it is late here. You go back to enjoying doing nothing. Call you soon.”

Please don’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

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Ever feel like you were being watched? Yeah me too sometimes. Courtesy of Middle Child, Twin 1 and Twin 2.

Family Dinner Discussions: How to talk about politics, drugs, poop and bad jokes.

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Dinner time and weekend breakfasts are great. When you all sit and eat and talk about stuff together. With all the kids there. My kids have grown older so they spend less time with me now. Or should I say I no longer have some small child clinging to my ankles crying its little head off because the cookies are finished or the cat is sleeping or unicorns aren’t real. I know a time is coming when I will actually miss that.

That going crazy trying to cook and clean and feed and do laundry, all with kids fighting and crying and lacing themselves up around my shins. Ok I guess it won’t be too soon that I will miss all that because every time I see a pregnant woman I drop down to my knees and shout “Hallelujah that’s not me!” I do love my kids though.

Which is why eating together is great. You know food, talk, love blah blah blah. Food is an excellent catalyst when it comes to loosening up tongues and inhibitions. We talk about everything at the dinner table. From politics to lame celebrity news to drugs and farting. We use language that would be otherwise frowned upon, but food just makes everything ok.

A couple of days ago we were eating when one of my teenagers commented about weed. I have learned so much about weed since my annoying inbetweeners became teenagers. For example I had no idea you could make weed brownies. Not that I am planning to or anything. But I feel quite appropriately enlightened. My seven year old twins know what weed smells like. I always thought it was a skunk gone haywire somewhere. This was good motivation to convince the kids that anything that smells that bad can’t be good. They have assured my they won’t smoke it. I have assured them I won’t always be around and they need to make smart decisions and will be accountable for their own actions. I then went on to tell them the grisly details of drug addiction. I hope those nightmares stay with them forever and they pass it down to their kids someday.

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These are baked without weed. Really.

Political discussions usually come on Saturday morning when I am making parathas and Teen 1 makes the omelet (du fromage btw-always). No matter what we start out talking about, it always winds its way to politics. And then there is much shouting and screaming. Especially after Teen 1 claims I am racist. I then tell her, very loudly, exactly what racist it, I was born and grew up in Canada when people were less enlightened and very racist. I am not racist, I just have a keen interest in conspiracy theories.  War is a big money maker, wars are planned. For the greater good of the privileged few.  And I am Mom, I have seen the world. I am right. End of discussion. Go read some damn history books.

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Seriously though our kids only know what the media tells them, they need to read more books. I lecture on this at great lengths, I know they will retain some of it, and realize there are two sides to every story, someday. Just like I did.

Then of course there is poop. No discussion is ever complete without poop or fart jokes. Or some other jokes. Yesterday Teen 1 whipped out her cell phone in the middle of dinner to tell us some great jokes. They were awful. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did. (Note:extreme stupid ahead)

What’s worse than finding a worm in your apple?

The Holocaust.

Why did the boy drop his ice cream?

Because he got hit by a bus.

What’s red and smells like blue paint?

Red paint.

An Irishman walks out of a bar.

What’s green and has wheels?

Grass. I lied about the wheels.

A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

How do you confuse a blond?

Paint yourself green and throw forks at her.

Knock, knock.

Who’s there?

Dave.

Dave who?

Dave proceeds to break into tears as his grandmother’s Alzheimer has progressed to the point where she can no longer remember him.

What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?

Where’s my tractor?

Why are black people good at basketball?

Dedication and hard work.

Roses are grey, violets are grey. I am a dog.

What do you discuss at the dining table?

(All ridiculous humor from here http://anti-joke.com/)

Furniture Designers are Evil People Who Hate Kids.

(High End) Furniture designers are evil people who hate children (and mothers). They purposely design furniture that people with kids can’t buy ( not that we could afford it anyway). I suspect they had some sort of traumatic experience in their lives. Like maybe best friends with small children who visited once too often. Whatever, I still believe there is no excuse for their demonic furniture.  Let me introduce you to the furniture from hell…

Impractical Furniture

Treefury :“Have fun picking the Lego out of me b**ch!”

 

 

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Tibia Smasher the Wicked: “I love shins and knees. But I especially love the chins of your offspring.”

 

 

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Agrona the Poker: “Just waiting for the kids to push me over muhahahaha!”

 

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Slovenly the Spaghetti Lover: Name says it all. (It also loves play dough, mashed potatoes and Cheerios.)

 

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Jaba the Couch: “I am gargantuan, hideous and incredibly expensive. I also make embarrassing fart noises your kids will love.”

 

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Vertigo: “I can’t wait till the young ones learn to walk.” Not furniture but (stair) well deserving of mention.

 

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Poe’s Dining Pendulum: “I make sure the kids never sit still to finish their food. Ever.”

 

 

Furniture 2

Oakenfang: “Give me little fingers. Plump little fingers…..”

 

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Gollum Chair: (old, ugly, creepy and at $35000 it’s preciousssss). “We loves toeses, soft juicy toeses!”

 

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Brian Hyland Chair:

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Pinebelle the Insane: “once you start cleaning me…you’ll never be able to stop.”

 

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Banshee Recliner: “Hello little children, come closer. Don’t be shy…”

Which one was your favorite ( and ridiculously expensive) nightmare?

(All furniture names are a combination of my brilliant imagination and the Evil Name Generator. )

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Express Yourself

Expressing Myself…

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Doodle by me.

My youngest child likes to lick her “sweaty, salty” hands

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As a mother of five kids I have learned that it’s part of a normal (ugh!?) childhood for young children to put everything in their mouths. You have to be very vigilant. No matter how much you clean up and remove things from within their reach, they will find the most disgusting things possible to put in their mouths.

I have jammed my fingers between Firstborn’s little rose bud lips and extracted half eaten large black ants covered in baby drool. I can’t be sure if the poor creatures drowned or died of dismemberment. All my kids ate sand. After the first two I decided there must be something healthy in it and just let them sit behind the curtains and swallow that organic earthy goodness. If nothing, it helped them develop a great immune system.

Middle child was even more adventurous and once managed to down some phenol liquid (used as a cleaner). How she managed to climb up to a high shelf and retrieve it I don’t know. She also managed to unscrew the tightly closed cap. Anyways I thought she may have learned her lesson as the little blisters that popped up in her eyes, mouth and nose lasted some days. It was so painful, but she was ready for her next gastronomical adventure soon afterwards.

The twins delighted in feasting upon soap and tubes of toothpaste. When caught they would scream bloody murder as the soap and toothpaste were snatched away from them and their mouths washed out. I would explain to them lovingly, “we don’t eat soap and toothpaste.”

They would screech back, “we do eeef foap n toofpase!”

Then Twin 2 did the stuff mom nightmares are made of. She managed to get her hands on a bottle of Mortein liquid mosquito repellent and drank it down. She was playing happily after that and when I gave her a kiss I told her she smelt funny, my mom senses started tingling. She told me it was the funny thing she drank and then it hit me. We rushed her to the hospital and I had to hold her down while she got her stomach pumped. They usually keep the parents away at that time, but the two nurses and the stomach pumping guy couldn’t manage to keep her still so they called me in. Good times, good times.

Unfortunately none of my kids got any super powers in return, you’d think they would have. I honestly feel I deserve that much. I was positive Firstborn would be bestowed with Ant girl powers or Twin 2 would have some sort of super cleaning, mosquito repelling gifts that would benefit the world in some way or another.

Ah well, at least I am over that stage. Or I thought I was until I discovered Twin 2 licking her hands randomly as she watched T.V.  She didn’t even realize she was doing it. I stared at her for a minute.

“Did you just eat something chocolaty?”  I asked.

“No. Why do you have any brownies?” she asked hopefully.

“No, I don’t have any brownies. Why were you licking your hands?”

“I wasn’t!” she laughed.

“EEEWW! You were licking your hands! We saw you!” piped up Middle child happily.

“Yeah mommy, she always licks her hands!” added Twin 1 triumphantly.

Everything is a damned competition. Always.

“No I don’t!” Twin 2 is the worst liar ever. She had a guilty smile on her face. Then she dove into my arms when I gave her the look.

“Why?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” she was still laughing.

“She likes the sweaty, salty taste!” Middle child exclaimed and then went into peals of laughter along with Twin 1. This is somehow considered a victory for them.

“Listen, you are almost eight. I thought I was done with this stuff by now. Do I have to keep running after you to make sure you are not putting everything into your mouth like a baby?”

“No. I’ll try not to.”

“Good.” Hugs and kisses and cuddles. I love being a mom.

I had to remind her fifty different times after that to stop licking her hands. She’s trying to remember not to lick them.  Her sisters have agreed to help by reminding her when they catch her doing it.

“Does she do it a lot?” I asked Twin 1.

“Mmmhhhhmmmm!”

I am beginning to wonder just how good that salty, sweaty taste is. Maybe I will lick her hands when she’s asleep to find out. Oh I wonder what kind of super powers could possibly come out of this?! Keeping my fingers crossed.

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(Top pic from Google Images)

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You know you are Desi when…

I don’t want to make other races feel left out or anything and I am sure a lot of you could relate to the following traits, but there are just some things that really let you know you are desi.

You know you are desi when…

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“We are out of groceries” looks like this.  Desi people have this insane fear in the back of their cranium somewhere that when the apocalypse comes we won’t have enough groceries. So we should always be prepared with a surplus, no amount of groceries are ever enough.

You know you are desi when…

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Your freezer is full of containers that are highly misleading as to their contents.  For example you will not find yogurt, ice cream or cream cheese (who keeps cream cheese in the freezer?) in any of these containers. Surprise! If you are desi you will know that they all contain some type of curry. You can never have too much curry, never know when the zombies might come.

You know you are desi when…

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This is something you use for an earache.

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You have used these for toothaches.

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This solves every gastric trouble in medical history.

And this…

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…is the solution for every other ailment under the sun.

You know you are desi when…

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…every cupboard contains a bag …that contains countless bags. Every. Cupboard.

When the zombies come we will have plenty of bags to tie them up in. Of course up here in Canada we won’t have a zombie apocalypse,  that kind of stuff only happens in America.  We will of course send the bags to our American neighbors. Polite Canadians.

You know you are desi when…

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This bin is overflowing every two days.  I fear the day when garbage pickup will be scheduled for every other week.

You know you are desi when…

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…you still think the kids are feeling cold.

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Dear white lady, please excuse my curry aura.

Rural Indian Woman cooking food in the Kitchen

Desi cooking. It is the epitome of a love hate relationship. Love to eat it. Hate to smell it. The smell of spicy curry on rice is slightly different when it lingers on your clothes. Your walls. Your couch. Damn it even the cat.

It takes a small fortune on fabric fresheners, candles, and what not to keep our houses free from the infuriating curry smell. Curry which we cook many times throughout the week.  Dry wall loves curry. The entire house just soaks all that spicy smell up and that contraption known as the kitchen exhaust is a useless noisemaker.

There needs to be some kind of innovation in house making seriously, special materials for people who do a lot of eastern cooking. Yes I have to include the entire east because our lives depend on garlic, onions, and spices. And bak choy. Have you ever smelt the after effects of cooking bak choy?  Ugh!

We eastern cooking people are the reason the scent industry will continue to flourish, prosper and cause the remaining ozone layer to vanish completely.  We have cans of air freshener in every corner of the house, which we use fervently especially in winter when windows can’t be opened. Winter is the worst when it comes to curry…aromas.

The day of the winter concert my daughters were super excited to be performing (for the one millionth time). We were invited in the evening to watch them. My husband had forgotten about it and suddenly came down with every ailment in the book when reminded of the evening’s agenda.

I let him off the hook and offered to just go by myself. Even I had been trying to talk the girls out of it. (Don’t judge me, I usually get excited about watching them perform every year even after hearing the songs every day for two months from all three of them.)But it had been a very tiring week.

I was running late, I wanted to get dinner cooked before I left so the kids could come home, eat and we could just wind the evening up. By 7pm I am so sleepy I can fall asleep while eating dinner. Curry facials are not good for your skin.

Spaghetti and meatballs for the kids. Desi guy doesn’t like pasta. At all. So I had decided to cook bihari kababs that day for him. Biggest mistake ever. In my haste to get to school I just grabbed my coat after I turned off the stove and ran outside. Ignoring the yells of the spray cans containing various scented toxic liquids that decorated our house.

I herded the girls in the direction of their classes and then went to the gym to await the performance. There were no seats left so I had to stand at the entrance. Where it was nice and airy. Till my friend spotted me and dragged me back with her because she had an extra seat (she pulled her youngest out of said seat and sat him on her lap for the whole evening-I love my friends). It was crowded. Packed. You could smell snow and salt. And bihari kabab.

I felt like kicking myself. I whispered my horror to my friend who smiled and said, “yeah I wondered what you had been cooking. Great korma smell!”

“Bihari kabab,” I said.

“Well I don’t mind,” she giggled.

But the white lady sitting next to me did. A lot. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her stiffen. I saw her slowly rise and leave. To sit on some chair she was lucky enough to find in that packed gym away from me. Dear white lady from the winter concert at the school gym, I am extremely sorry, please excuse my curry aura.

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House Sold

Click to read on Dawn: http://dawn.com/2012/05/06/humour-house-sold/

I sold my house before I moved back to Canada, it was quite an experience and I discovered things I couldn’t imagine about people I have known all my life.

Remember the house I got renovated? I sold it. And I moved. But that is another story. Unless you have gone mad and decided to move half way across the world — and having gone through this extremely painful process myself I would not advocate it for anyone — never sell your house. First of all you should only sell your house, if it has a leaky roof, cracked floors, and crumbling walls. Or if a close relative has passed away and left you a mansion on Tipu Sultan road.

Selling your house is an uncomfortable process; it will keep you up at nights and give you plenty of indigestion. You will have all kinds of people invading your privacy requesting tours of your house at odd hours of the day. And they will want to know why you chose to paint your daughter’s room two shades of pink and why the kitchen counters are black. They will shake their heads unbelievingly at the ‘extravagant’ price, then bug you after you sell the house to someone else, why you didn’t inform them first, because they had their hearts set on it.

A house that you have lived in for a long time becomes part of you; it hosts your celebrations and shelters your rainy days. It watches your children grow and becomes their first friend; its walls hold up everything from little pink and blue bunny rabbit cut-outs to posters of sleek cars or rock stars with bad hair-dos. It provides a personal little haven known as the bedroom, where your moody teenagers retreat to when the world doesn’t treat them right. It listens patiently, never judging, never offering unwanted advice to the angry adolescent but pacifies them with the knowledge, that here, they are accepted. It sadly hears your fights and joyfully watches reconciliations. It guards every secret obsessively.

I miss my house. And it took me months to wind everything up. Twenty years of possessions are hard to get rid of. And you won’t believe the junk I had. Actually, you probably would because every Pakistani woman has an incredible imagination when it comes to recycling. Closets that were full of spare dupattas of cast away suits, clothes piled up for repairs or distribution to various destinations, shoes that had been worn out and forgotten about, hair clips, scrunchies and makeup kits that were never used. Stashes of candy, hidden from the children. I could almost hear my house moan sadly as I continued to deprive it of all its belongings.

The kitchen cupboards were stripped of countless empty ice-cream containers, unused dishes, utensils and plastic bags. Oh how we women adore our plastic bags! Of course my maid had a field day, and I felt a bit guilty at her bliss on receiving such trivial little titbits. I know my house will miss her too. The way she helped me scrub and dust out each and every corner was admirable, getting our house ready for the new owners as we reminisced and even shed some tears together.

Sniff. Enough! Never regret a decision, it wastes too much time. Just learn from it. Which gets me to the real point. When we put our house up for sale, a wise old person told us it is ethical to ask your neighbours first if they are interested. We did, fortunately everyone already had their own house. Neighbours are one thing. Relatives are another.

Never sell your house to a relative. Especially if you are the type of person with a lot of ‘lihaaz’ (read: doormat). That is where they get you, at your lihaaz. Because of lihaaz you will sell your house at a rock bottom price and then listen quietly as your relatives whine incessantly about how broke they are. They will also want to get it renovated some more before they move in. Never mind the fact that you still live there. Lihaaz aap ko mar day ga.

After the house is sold, your relatives will come often with the pretext of helping you wind up the house. They are actually coming to make sure you don’t damage any of the walls while moving out large and heavy furniture. Speaking of large and heavy furniture, don’t bother trying to sell it or give it to any of your best friends. Your relatives will do you a big favour by insisting that you leave everything and they will take care of it for you. Later they will complain to all and sundry that you left your broken down junk for them. That ‘junk’ that will later adorn their drawing rooms.

And then of course there is the large collection of electronic gadgets that you will leave for them. And they will have the gall to phone you up to tell you the stuff you left for them (that they had asked for, by the way) doesn’t work, and it is costing them a lot to get it fixed. So you offer to give them their money back… oops, you gave it to them for free. So what to do now?

Don’t let it come to this, heed my advice and never sell your house. Especially not to relatives.

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Resident Evil: Messy Kids

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Friday is the last day of the week the house stays clean. As the kids come home from school, my neat and clean abode slowly turns into Boxing Day aftermath.  Yes my kids have issues. They are suffering from “our mom is too good to us syndrome”. Yeah I need to work on that.

By Saturday there are dirty dishes in the sink. On the dining table. And on the coffee table, under beds, near the computer table and yes even in the bathroom. Unwashed clothes decorate floors in bedrooms and outside the clothes hamper, the litter box needs to be emptied and toys need to be put away. The walls are screaming their discontent at being adorned with what seems to be yesterday night’s spaghetti dinner. And this is the start of my weekend. Sound familiar? Well at least I’m not alone.

I am the mom, I do not get tired, I am never sleepy, I do not need to relax. My only aspirations in life are to cook for, feed, clean, wash, and pamper anything I have given birth to or married. I realize that: “you look tired today”  is not my friend sympathizing with me. That is her  saying “Woman you need a face lift, hair dye and a week at the spa.” The only thing I can afford from these options is the hair dye, which I am not gonna do anyways. Honestly I rather be grey than have to scrub that dye from the tub every time I wash my hair. Being perfectly coiffed is so over rated. I am just going to embrace my inner Carol. I mean just look at her!

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I have some suggestions on how we should deal with these problems:

1. Pack up all their stuff in black garbage bags and inform them it is being donated to the Salvation Army.
2. Take it out to the front yard and put up a garage sale sign.
3. Collect it all in the backyard, surround it with a circle of rocks, light it up and roast marshmallows over it.
4. Bury it in the compost heap.
5. Take pictures of it, especially close-ups of underwear and then post it to their Facebook walls.
6. Invite their friends over for a get together and not let them know about it.
7. Pack our own bags, get in the car and drive to South America. Take all their electronic goods to pawn off along the way.
I am thinking either # 3 or #7. Let me know which worked out best for you!