We had the sofa reupholstered. The store sent a guy who said he'd replace the springs and other innards which would cost Rs. 7,500. We got the same materials in the market for Rs. 1,900. He was a talented fellow, big, burly, but with the delicate tact of a ballerina as he neatly smoothed cloth on frame. I would have been his best friend, but his dishonestly bothered me.
Parent-Teacher meeting at school. I am always waiting for some sort of condemnation -- behavior, skills, unhealthy snacks -- but all was good. Are you sure he does not have an obsessive compulsive disorder? Surely, there must be a but... He could play 'Temple Run' all day long, he says stuff like "opening levels," he wants my samsung when he gets home, not lunch.
It's reassuring to know that there are mothers more neurotic than me; a few who take is a personal affront when their kid misses homework, or comes 4th in a race. They make me feel like I've been doing Tai Chi and Therapy all my life. But seriously, the world has so many problems, kid issues seem trivial in contrast. People swindle millions, enagage in encounters. And as I say this, I spend 15 minutes shoving my hand down backs of all sofas for that missing library book, as I chastise my children over the booming sounds of "Nick" about their carelessness, and feeling bad that Mrs. H, the constant librarian, will judge me as a parent.
I ask my partner, five year playing with himself in bath tub, ignore or intervene? Five year to me: ignore.
I've practiced the law in karachi now. Rather, I have observed court. It's an exercise in sociology more than actual advocacy -- and it's exercise. I take the stairs after seeing way too many on the verge of heart disease lawyers guarding the gate of the lift and eyeing me suspiciously. Granted that a flair of sexuality permeates all aspects of life, but no where is it so palpable and available for sociological experiment as in the karachi courts. And it comes down to women's unequal status. It is not possible for them to operate without being seen as stern/aggressive/unavailable or incompetent/exploitable/loose, or according to their physical attributes. Get sworn in. Fit in Slot. You walk into the High Court Library. Nausea. Older male colleagues hovering over much younger female lawyers explaining an arcane legal point or spelling the word "judicature." Women huddling, staring at books, dupattas on head, legs proper, as if they are studying for their intermediate exams. As I returned a statute book, an older lawyer beamed at me and said "Anti Terrorism Act of 1997, eh?" He expected cute propriety or mild flirtation? What slot would I be in if I gave him a friendly slap on the back and said, "Yeah, ole buddy, filling any lacunas?"
Seven (or nine) men quit the institution I work at. It confirmed my theory that men age 32 function on a unique moral compass; but it also confirmed how we must accept inflation. If you want to maintain a lifestyle, then you have to hustle and shufflle. Their legitimate grievances aside, and not judging people to want bread and butter (in this case carbonara and mousse cake), they should have, could have built solidarity with other employees, and legitimately worked through legitimate grievances. But then again, they have their own subjective considerations and unions are anathema.
And nobody's got a grip on morality. To each his own narrative. Some make Rs. 5 lac a month; others cheat for a mere Rs. 5 k.
In the afternoons when I cross the street to get to my car packed across, every riksha stops for me. I look gullible in my privilege so they vie for my patronage. In the evening after my walk, cars stop for me, until they realize I'm not soliciting. And both experiences make me feel awkward and anxious. The legacy of cruel socialization.
Observation of the day. You can not be a professional. You can not be a scholar. You can't be an activist. You can't be engaged in earnest conversation with another adult.
you are a mother.
case in point. just the other day an old school-mate, started me in a conversation which went something like this...
me: Students these days are smart. They will not stagnate in any job. They move on if the partners aren't sharing files with them ..
he: Cyril Almedia...
One of progeny in the background. "I need ketchuppppppppppppp!"
The moment was lost. The promising conversation slipped away like a sliver of soap down a drain.