I think the time has arrived for me to restart my blog. I set this up in 2008 and stuck my facebook notes out here. Last night I removed those, because I wanted to re start on a fresh slate. Facebook note writing is no longer serving my needs to write. I have started to self censor because there are too many too near, too dear, too young, too much in a teacher student relationship..for me not to be conscious of what I put out there for public consumption. This will add a degree of anonymity. And perhaps, I will sprout new wings, and find a new way of self expression. Besides fb notes have to be concise and tight - and I worry too much about structure. I feel here I can bullshit and curse, get uncomfortably personal, and ramble a bit more, or as Vidya Balan said...I know I am "mumbling"...
I have been mulling over stuff for the last few days. I seem depressed and I just got a free kiss out of S who thinks I am sad. But I have really been in confusion about what to write, and my head is full of thoughts. I like to talk about my addiction to coffee, the sweetness of raising kids and their inane and brilliant observations; I would like to say something insightful about students these days, about leftie activism because that, in a nutshell, is who I am.
But quite honestly, this is the one thought pre-occupying me. I had a dream a few nights ago that my father was cooped up in a tiny apartment in upper Manhattan, namely Harlem. Somehow I located him after years; he needed groceries and given that it is February and New York is cold, I offered to go get them for him. He said he needed five gallons of vanilla ice cream and chicken bologna. So I drove off. When I got back, he wasn’t there. Alternatively, as dreams go, I was stuck at a traffic light unable to, forever, make my U turn.
My father died in 2004. I woke up with an intense feeling that he was alive. And then I had to experience his death once again. In some sense, you never get over a parent's death. I say this not to alarm you. I wasn’t close to him, but it really does not matter. His existence was close to mine - his persona - his glasses – his kala kola green hair, his work with Gymkhana, his sitting in committees - his taste for sashlik, his junkyard Mercedes, his nice manners, his easy frustration, his listening to NPR in those last few days. And sometimes, unwittingly, I get mad like him when I am juggling car keys and sippy cups, book bags and dupattas. And sometimes when I get lost in the back streets of DHA, I can't find a way to calm my nerves - exactly like him - and then I resist and tell myself I can’t be like that.
A few days before he died, he told me, he wanted to die because the cancer was excruciating and his body was simply a fatigued reminder of his once towering frame. He quickly retracted when he saw my face. I was, after all, not the daughter who takes it, but a daughter who needs protecting.
I always wanted to write about those last few days, but didn’t have the courage, and still do not. In case some shit spills out that isn't supposed to. He could barely get onto the examining bed - his pants were old, and I felt a sudden pang of hatred for the Pakistani oncologist in St. Louis, in his spanking new shoes and his red sports car, and his audaciously telling my brother, “six more weeks.” Imagine..a deadline for living.
He had lost the ability to groom, to stand, to sit, to eat. He was troubled by the fact that he was dying in his 70s and dada jaan lived to be 92. Outside the post office, he tried to mail a letter and I had to rewrite the address because he had scribbled illegibly and I was jolted by how things had so quickly fallen apart. I got him in the car and sped home. And then the sudden expiration after the feeding tube experiment. The paramedic checked his pulse. It was gone. He addressed him, “Mr. Rizvi, can you hear me?” And I laughed. I laughed as I my father lay dead because to me it was the sweet tenderness of Americans, who are respectful and professional. And this tenderness made my father last a moment longer.
But to end on a positive note - and here’s why I had maliha. the only thing that made me happy those days (besides coffee and occasional swims at the Y) were Zoya’s visits. She is my brother’s daughter and she was 2 at the time. And when she came from Jersey, all was well. I caught her one day trying out his inhalers behind the door. And I still remember her cute round face, the guilty expression, and those big round brown eyes, her huggable cuteness. She would climb onto my lap and say “uppie uppie..” and demand to use the computer.
After he died, I went back to Sunnyvale and was finally ready to have a baby. This was a big deal for me…because I was decidedly anti child. You know how lefties are – kids interfere too much with life’s work because they become life’s work.
And here I am, mama, lawyer, teacher, and officially reblogging and no longer facebook noting.