Where do I begin?

This is Bilal.


This is how he looks like all the time. His expression never changes. It’s freaky.

Bilal’s my cousin. I’ve spent 23 years of my life being either annoyed, ignored, or verbally assaulted by him. I’m pretty sure he has a crush on me.

Bilal’s also  scary lazy. His idea of a good day is sleeping 18 hours, during the day. The six at night don’t count. Whenever he’d be over at my nani’s, nobody would be able to sleep on the bed because all 6’ 2” of him would be sprawled on it. Diagonally.
He’s monosyllabic, but the one syllable he’ll be able to spew all day will be dipped in acid. Guess where the acid dipped arrows usually land?

Now me, I’m very witty- with a keyboard. That backspace key is my best friend. But Bilal could make a simple “yes” sound like the biggest insult in the world. It was a gift. It’d take me ten minutes to think of a comeback and by then he’d be asleep.

Back when we were kids Bilal used to be obsessed with flying kites. Once he made I and my brother run up and down eight flights of stairs in his high rise apartment (no electricity hence lifts wouldn’t work), just fetching and carrying odds and ends so that he could fly his kite on the roof upstairs. We were exhausted and he was barely able to lift the damn thing above his head. Trust Bilal to want to fly a kite on the one day there was no wind.

When we were kids he used to eat four toasts for breakfast, dipping them in sugar- flavored tea. He lived on a diet of daal chawal achaar, and eggs; it was hardly fair he reached 6’ 2” while I stayed a measly 5’ 1” regardless of my protein heavy nutrition. He grew tall, I grew fat. God is a man, hence proven.

Somewhere around a few years ago Bilal and I grew up. We stopped being fren-emies and just became first cousins. I guess time had a lot to do with it. Boys and girls can’t stay friends in a jamaat-e-islaami family. We decided simply throwing each other a taunt once in a while was enough to keep familial relations going.

Two years ago, Bilal joined the army. My khalu made him leave IBA in his third year, for whatever reason, and packed him off to the PMA.

Bilal graduated on Monday. He’s home now, but in a week’s time, three days before my wedding, he’ll be reporting for duty in the artillery unit at Waziristan.

Please pray my cousin comes home safely.




People say I think too much. How little they know. I try not to think at all.

When my friends look through old university or college pictures they always say how much they missed that time. I can’t ever agree with them. I don’t miss anything. I never wish to go back to my school days, or college or university. I wouldn’t even want to go back to a few days ago, though it’ll mean more time with my family. Thinking back is a waste of time; thinking forward, pointless. Thinking of the present is asking for a headache. Solution? Don’t think.

Easier said then done.

My mind exhausts me. I wake up tired. Basic conversation is like philosophical discussions on Kant to me right now. Even random, meaningless questions seem either a jibe, or patronizing.

“Where are you getting your make up from?”

There’s no right answer to this question. Any answer, even if it was Nabila’s (which it’s not), would be a cause of consternation to the other party. If Nabila’s then from whom exactly, and why not Bina Khan who is much better? If not Nabila’s, then why not Nabila’s since no place else is good enough.

Oh, Sabs? From Saba Ansari, you mean ?

Um. No. Hiring her’ll cost more than my shadi dress and atleast that can’t be wiped off with baby lotion.
Make up is make up. The main difference in all these beauty salons is the price.

“Where are you going for your honeymoon?”
Well, I don’t know.
“Don’t go to Malaysia, pitt gaya he”
Err…ok, any ideas?
“Why don’t you try Greece?”
Thank you. Great idea. I’ll just sell my jewellery and S. can liquidize his assets or whatever and we can go there. In fact, why don’t we stop over at Switzerland for a weekend?

So what do I do? Act sweet and pretend that I don’t find this in the least annoying, or go on the offensive? After all they can’t do anything to me now, I’m getting married.

“So what do you plan to get me as a wedding present? Oh please, not that cheap set of dessert bowls you gave whats-er-face!”

“You are getting new clothes made for the shaadi na? You should check out Umar Saeed’s latest collection- it is to die for! And Nickie and Nina are totally worth the 15000 rupees they charge for a single outfit, if you can afford it!”

“Yeah…meri shadi ho rahi he. Feels weird but S. is a darling…absolutely devoted to me. So when will you finally nab a guy?”

Sigh. If only I could.


On Beauty

S. thinks I’m pretty.
It’s one of the reasons I love him. He’s delusional.

I know the hallucinations won’t last. A year, or two maybe; then he’ll notice the bitten off nails, and the dark circles and the not-so-glossy lips and he’ll think he was bewitched and probably want to have me burnt on a stake…I’m kind of ready for it when that happens. I’ve spent my entire life being told how completely unpresentable I am.

When anybody compliments me on anything physical I can’t believe them.
My mother has spent the last decade pointing out various flaws in my personal make up. Nothing I do is right, nothing I do is up to mark. I’m too dark, I’m too fat, my nose is the wrong shape, I don’t wear make up. My mother is my greatest, most persistant critic.

It’s what she does- that’s her job, she’s a mother.
She criticizes you so that nobody else does.
If she won’t tell you, who will?
It’s supposed to help you. It’ll make you a better person; a stronger person.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Congratulations ammi. You’ve made me very happy I’ll be leaving home in a week.

15 Responses to “8.”
  1. Humna says:

    WHY did his father do that.. 😦 will pray that he remains safe, InshAllah!

    oh and.. Trust Hira. you are pretty 🙂 and yes i have seen your picture (FB, HAH!) so i am not just saying that.. and no i am not deluded in any way cz you write an awesome blog, or a million other reasons you (i, we..) jump to.. you are pretty. Deal with it.

    The worse mistake you ever did, we all ever do is take what our mothers say to heart. Mine is the same. My best friends mum is the same. In all my friends, hardly two or three LUCKY ones got moms who dont make their daughters feel bad about their looks.. why.. on days you look the bestest ever, they will tell you you do kinda sorta look nice.. and then tell you ‘ab sar pay na char jana..’ why do they do that? i dont know. all i know is i wont do that to mine. cz it does make you feel so very very.. ugly..
    ugly is a very bad word. and an even worse thought.
    especially when you are not.

  2. farooqk says:

    dude, come on, S sahab is right, youre pretty good looking! for a monkey that is!!! khekhekehkhe

    P.S: i can so say this cause you cant kick me on your wedding day 😛

  3. pinkkay says:

    yar plz make it “it IS a gift”..on seeing the “was” i almost died of profound grief..AM praying for him at the moment…err just ask him to break his journey at isloo in case of any emergency 😉
    oh and you are soooo right about the annoying question part.

  4. shiny says:

    hey i’m 5 1 too. and all my life ive heard its in my genes. and now i see my very own brother growing like an ape..sighh..

    i’m praying for your cousin. Inshallah he’ll be back for your wedding.

  5. Hira S. says:

    No pinks, it was a gift. ever since Bilal joined the PMA , it’s like somebody pressed the mute button on him.
    I miss my cousin- the way he was. sarky, mean, and lazy.

    Thanks 😀
    It’s so hard to not believe your mom, you know? i cant understand when people tell me to not take anything one’s mum says seriously. who else are you supposed to listen to then?

    yeah. and you’re ugly even by ape standards 😛

    yeah that genetic thing is such a fraud. they said that to me too and then both my siblings grew like pine trees. Chromosomes are a bitch.

  6. Musab says:

    As someone who’s off to PMA myself in 20 days, I can empathize. Inshaallah he’ll be fine and return home safe.

    Apparently, that’s what mums are for. My kid sister’s 11, and I clearly remember that at her age I wasn’t bossed around and pestered half as much as she is, poor kid. But it’s an unbroken circle, lets hope you read this 20-odd years down the line,when you’re a mum and see where you stand…

  7. Minerva says:

    Oh mums are a handful. And when they’re facing a time when their girl is getting married, they go into ‘extra’ mum-ness and go apeshit crazy on you about how you like to do things, how you SHOULDN’T like to do them that way and of course tell you you can’t wear black after the wedding.

    My mom didn’t give me AS MUCH pain as I imagined (mainly because she was too distressed at the fact that I’d be leaving to a different country soon) but lemme tell you something, you’ll be in for a shock when you finally do get married. Once daughters are married, mothers become the most doting people in the world and I know it seems hard to believe but you miss them like hell. 🙂

    I cannot blv btw that your khalu pulled him out of IBA to put him in to PMA. I am utterly shocked and I really really really hope that he comes back safe.

    Where ARE you getting your makeup done from btw? Bina Khan’s great.

  8. Minerva says:

    PS. You’re a pretty girl.

    I’ll SHOW you ugly girls if you refuse to believe me.

  9. ibteda says:

    Uff, A used to say I was the prettiest in the world and what not and I used to think huh! pata raha hai and later poor guy, he has the rose tinted glasses on.
    But two years, loads of sick days, bad hair days, no wax days, sweaty, tired, grumpy, grouchy days, down the road – he still tells me I’m the prettiest. 🙂
    I dont believe him – but I do believe he means it & will mean it forever and ever and ever 😀

  10. Senilius says:

    Bilal just graduated? That means he’s from my friend’s batch. May he stay safe, Maula (A.S.) ke sadqay mein. 🙂

    Aur main shaadi pe chhota sa gift doon ga, agar paisay aa gayay! 😛

  11. Absar says:

    There’s no way I’m gonna read the whole post.. 😛

    But prayers for Bilal.

  12. Leena S. says:

    i agree with Absar….im not reading the whole post!
    but good luck yar, just a week away

  13. PD says:

    Bilals in my duas inshaAllah..

  14. falsa says:

    You’re kickass with your words. Kept meaning to say that, but your wedding’s got me all weepy eyed. Lol. No. Anyway, the point is mums are like that, sometimes, mine just doesn’t find me domestic enough because I can’t make biryani but I can make roti. I don’t think one can ever satisfy anyone. So don’t fret about it.

    Have a beautiful life ahead and shucks about your cousin. Hope he’s safe.

  15. falsa says:

    You’re kickass with your words. Kept meaning to say that, but your wedding’s got me all weepy eyed. Lol. No. Anyway, the point is mums are like that, sometimes, mine just doesn’t find me domestic enough because I can’t make biryani but I can make roti. I don’t think one can ever satisfy anyone. So don’t fret about it.

    Have a beautiful life ahead and shucks about your cousin. Hope he’s safe.

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