I was on the flight to Orange County. Her images kept flashing before my eyes. I was cursing myself for the fights that I had with her for no reason. I was fighting my tears but they kept rolling uncontrollably. The pain was unbearable. Rajesh kept patting me on my back… I kept asking him why’s this is happening to me alone…?
There was pain on Rajesh’s face… He was confused… He didn’t have an answer… He just couldn’t answer me… I hugged him for comfort…
Not long ago…
We all have our own funny instances in life. Some are inside jokes in a family, some between friends and few between colleagues. But there are few instances when we are around people who absolutely mean nothing to you and yet you have to put up with them considering that there is no way out. I was stuck in a similar situation… The only way to get out was through…
Since Zoya moved into the apartment, it was officially no more my apartment but our apartment. How many times you might have heard India and Pakistan saying together – That’s ours!
One Sunday morning, Zoya made some tea and we sat on our kitchen table talking about college, professors, classes, her new job at the library and my new job at Subway. I even told her that I would be getting a six inch sub free of cost every evening before I left for the day. In all, it was the usual pleasantries. At that moment, a song started to play on a Hindi channel on the television and I increased the volume.
Zoya wanted me to reduce the volume as she found Bollywood movies ridiculous. Out of sheer enjoyment, I poked fun by saying,
‘I don’t know why but thank god we don’t call our cinema Lollywood…!’ (For folks who don’t know what Lollywood is, it’s the official name of the Pakistan’s movie industry based out of Lahore…Don’t ask me how?)
‘I never said Lollywood was any better than Bollywood. It’s just that Hindi movies suck big time with all the drama and never ending songs…Only Shahrukh Khan is the best in Hindi movies…’
‘You’ve got to be kidding… Seriously! Shahrukh Khan? He is the most overrated actor of all time…’
‘Oh! Whom do you like then?’
‘I love Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Naseeruddin Shah…! They are brilliant actors!’
‘So you still love those old dudes…Amitabh Bachchan and Naseeruddin Shah?’ She said sarcastically…
‘Yeah right…! Shahrukh is just 25!’
‘I am not saying that!’
‘Be thankful that I don’t like the sick SRK’ I said
‘SRK is a superb actor… You’ve got to agree…’
I didn’t want this crazy movie star topic to go ahead. Any longer I would discuss on SRK, I would start feeling gay and hence switched the topic. ‘Alright… Agreed! So what do you do in your free time?’
‘I read a lot of books’
‘Sometimes, when I look at you, I feel you are one of the few handfuls who have actually made it large outside Pakistan…Technically the other being ISI… Isn’t it true?’ I said with a satanic grin…
‘You are mistaken. There are great universities, beautiful places to visit, peaceful towns…’ she said
‘Then why does the media goes hammer and tongs about the grave dangers in Pakistan?’ I interrupted.
‘No. it’s just not the way it’s portrayed by the media and world. It’s merely exaggerated ’
‘I couldn’t agree on that… To me, the poor people are living a horrible life in Pakistan…’ I said
‘BTW, even I hear India is full of diseases, illiterates, poor sanity conditions, pathetic living experience and horribly maintained areas, corrupt politicians, baseless bureaucracy and many more. Will you be agreeing to it?’
It was game on for a Sunday morning and I was raging with anger but I gently placed the tea mug. I knew some of details what she said was true but the love for my country just didn’t let me go off the topic.
‘I wouldn’t agree to it. Of course, there are issues when you have such a huge population but we still have made it large. We proved that we can co-exist peacefully with different castes, languages and religions and show a lot of advancement in the field of science, education and technology.’
‘So it is in Pakistan…’
‘Yeah right…! That’s the reason why India is surrounded by failed states’
‘But remember… I always dream of a better tomorrow for my country…’ she said.
‘It’s really funny when you say a better tomorrow… It sounds like ‘I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives…’ I said with a mocking tone!
‘Given a chance, I would make KFC out of them!’ I said in a satirical tone…
She shook her head in disbelief and said, ‘Trust me, if you want to go on and on about India, so can I go on and on about Pakistan. The underlying fact is both the countries are flawed and at the same time equally good’
Man! She was super annoyed! I couldn’t agree but she has already ended the discussion as she stood, walked towards the kitchen sink, washed the mug, switched off the TV which was playing good old Hindi songs, took her laptop and started chatting with her friends…
I couldn’t take this crap and said, ‘What a bitch!’ with a smile…
She had to retaliate and so she said aloud, ‘Jack Ass!’ with a smirk…