Tuesday, November 16, 2004

A look into the future

Chastised from originality, I begin to follow the herd.
I give in to the incessant chatter around me, and get married. I brush aside the questions of love and commitment, and with much fanfare resolve to enjoy my wedding. It comes and goes, and later on, I wonder what all the fuss was about.
We fall in love, but it lasts two months. She curses me for bringing her 'Up North', where cold is not limited to the winter months. When she wants to pick a fight, we even talk about going back to Pakistan.
A child follows, and we thrust our insecurities and unfulfilled wishes onto its meagre shoulders, a burden to be born for life.
We move in our lives. Buy a bigger car and move to the suburbs. She tells me how a woman never owns anything, her childhood home is her father's, and her adult home is her husband's.
I hate the constant noise in my ears.
Its time for school, and for the life of me, I can't stop telling the child how she is blessed. My wife brings brochures for the muslim school in her new car. I tell her its her job to pick and drop. She turns into a soccer-mom complete with an SUV, albeit with a scarf on her head.
I shift attention. The discussion about the kid turns into the discussion about kids. I change jobs.
Desperate for company, we start socializing with other young Pakistani couples. When we want to be seen as progressive, we criticize Pakistan around the dinner table. When we want to feel enlightened, we criticize Canada.
Meanwhile, the kid learns to hate. She hate the crochets in her bed linen, its another explanation to give to the questions she's asked, another nuisance that makes her stand out, rather than be part of the lives of her friends. She hates the greasy food. She hates the muslim school.
But the outside is not welcome inside, and they learn to live two lives. One inside, one outside. And they blame their mom for her dogmas and their father for being a spineless jackass, who isn't prepared to interfere when the former is indulging them.
Days turn into seasons that never change, and just like seasons, they never remain still either.
I look myself in the mirror and don't recognize the face. I buy a BMW.
My wife, a nervous wreck now, feels invisible. I secretly wish that were true. Her search for meaning starts with religion and ends at her kids. And she is menopausal, so there are no excuses.
So one day, she sits them all on the dinner table, and tells the teenagers how they need to know about religion. By now, they are sick of her hypocrisy and renewed zeal towards Islam. She tells the eldest to cover her head and hands her the Koran.
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At this point the picture gets hazy. I hope for the sake of that child, that she picks it up and throws it back at her mom. Because otherwise, it is just a series of cliches.
Some days the images are so clear that I forget its my worst nightmare.