Monday, January 31, 2011

Balancing Loyalties

Since my SIL came to visit, I haven't been able to spend quality time with my own sister... I feel bad :-| Will try to make up for it this weekend iA.

Today was the official launch of our company's new ice cream brand in Karachi. All the employees wore orange and pink and we got free ice cream... :)

Spent the weekend exploring Karachi with SIL... She knew all the hip stores and designers while I felt like a tourist in the city I was born and grew up in!

Mr. F's been feeling antsy since SIL's been sleeping with me while his cousin's sharing the guest room with him... lol

Friday, January 28, 2011

Engagement Flashbacks

I'm in the mood for reminiscing today...

My engagement party was rather spur-of-the-moment. Mr. F and I had been talking on the phone for a week (*sigh* I miss those awkward phone calls :)). He was in Lahore and I was in Karachi so I didn't see him at work. Anyway, on Friday evening, his family (mum, sister, cousin, sister-in-law, big brother and step-mom) flew in from Lahore to check me out :-p. I was surprisingly calm and self-assured (later, my mom commented at my composure... she thought I'd given the impression that I was haughty).

My grandmother made the small-talk since my mom was busy in the kitchen. They exchanged pleasantries, ate and decided on Sunday for our formal engagement party. My desire for a small affair was immediately vetoed by all parties... After all, I was the eldest daughter and my parents (and grandparents, and random aunts and uncles and neighbors) had waited a long time to participate in this event and "share in my happiness" (right :-p). Saturday was spent rushing around for clothes... My darzi made my outfit in one evening (and charged double the standard amount) but I was grateful. A close family uncle was in charge of getting a ring for my fiance-to-be (Mr. F's fingers are rather thick so we had to get the ring re-sized). My sister and I went to get our hair done while mom and dad took care of the arrangements. All my aunties (mom's gym buddies and school and college friends) were there to boost my parents' sagging spirits (at that point they weren't really comfortable with Mr. F or his family and were having misgivings... Mommy had spent the last few days crying in her namaz :-p).

I came back from the salon, got ready and waited in my room with a couple of friends. My sister would come to give us regular updates on what was happening: "Apa, they're coming! Apa! his jacket and trousers don't match! Apa! he's got a really nice bouquet for you! lol"

When all the guests were seated, I went to sit on the sofa where Mr. F was already sitting grinning from ear to ear (everyone commented on that :-p). First, I put the ring on his finger. It's funny now but I was mortified then... ready to pass out.. really

I'd never touched a strange guy's hand before, let alone slide a ring on it! So I tried to slip the ring on without skin contact. It sort of worked, except, everyone was hooting.. The video guy wanted me to do it again, "aap un ka haath theek sai pakrain" (hold his hand properly)... in your dreams Mister photographer!... once was embarrassing enough. Mr. F's turn came next. He took my hand in his and slid on the ring and kept holding my hand so the photographer could take proper pictures (supremely awkward, especially when your grandparents are sitting next to you, plus my hand was getting sweaty).

After dinner, Mr. F and his family wanted to take me out for coffee. My parents weren't too happy with the idea but they finally consented if my brother went along as chaperon. We went to Roaster's, I silently sipped my Pina Colada while Mr. F's family tried to make me comfortable. Mr. F was staring intently and I was steadily avoiding his gaze (later, he told me he was really hurt, lol).

The next day, we had to devise a strategy for conduct at work. Until that time, no one at work knew about it except for Mr. F's friend who'd officially brought the proposal.

Bombay Dreams

Went to see the show last night thanks to dear SIL who managed to get free passes :)
It was pretty decent for Karachi theater, a bit amateurish but enjoyable none-the-less. The soundtrack is by A.R. Rahman but it was all playback music (a far cry from live orchestra at Broadway :-p). Halfway through the play I saw someone who looked a lot like one of my classmates from A'Levels ... During a break, I texted him saying, "Hey, there's someone in the play who looks a lot like you" , he replies, "It is me stupid!" lol!

Since this is Pakistan, the girls were wearing body suits under their blouses and the dances were pretty conservative... All the local celebs were there too including Humayun Saeed, VJ Mahira, Javed Sheikh and a bunch of others who showed up really late and got VIP treatment.

So, for those of you who are in Karachi, it's at Arts Council, 8 pm. Tickets are Rs. 1,000/head on weekdays and Rs. 1,500/head on weekends.

Just now, I feel like eating fresh Dole Pineapple...
I really really really want to go to Turkey this year... and do the Eurotour

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My dearest SIL will be visiting from Lahore this week. I hope the visit goes smoothly inshalah and she has a good time. I've tidied the guest room, put fresh sheets on the bed and fresh towels in the bathroom...

I was supposed to be in Sukkur for work but the trip got cancelled... I guess it's for the better, although I was pretty excited to be traveling alone again :-p.

I'm coming to realize, marriage (at least in this point in time) is equal amounts pleasure and pain and rather extreme at that. I've been more used to a sort of contentment... takes some getting used to.

My life was like this:


Now it's like:


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Life in the Pakistani corporate sector is quite the soap opera... Now that I've been here for over a year, I've begun to take heed of the subtle nuances, the thinly-veiled jibes and the overall pettiness of people.

What really irks me though is when men talk about women... They'll be polite and flirty to her face. The moment she walks away, they'll comment on her dress, hair, makeup, rate her attractiveness/intelligence, they even have nicknames for their female colleagues :-P. It's no wonder why so many Pakistani women tend to cover up at work and develop a defensive "attitude".

I never thought I'd end up in this sort of working environment being rather soft-spoken, introverted and generally preferring the company of a few close friends than "networking" with every random dude and dudette :-P

I still aspire to be:

But I guess God had other plans... :) I might just end up like:


Monday, January 17, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Little Things Matter

It was around 9:00pm and Mr. F was sprawled in front of the tv after dinner, eyes half-closed. He'd had a pretty long day at work so I told him I needed to go to the the darzi (tailor) to get clothes altered and I would take the car. He mumbled something about driving safely and I went downstairs. Moments later, I got a call from my husband asking me to wait...

He drove me to the darzi himself :-)

*Sigh* for chivalrous husbands.... Alhamdulilah

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Yesterday, I was wearing a newly-acquired outfit from the Generation sale, a dull gold/black which I thought made me look older, more mature... Mr. F threw a fit and said I dress like his mom :-{

As a farmaan bardaar (obedient) wife, today, I'm wearing bright purple with a red border :"p.

The new analyst joined today. Seems like a nice person but it's super-awkward coz she's reporting to Mr. F and I don't think anyone's told her we're married... tough HR decision.

Any volunteers willing to write an essay for me about why I'd be a good candidate for an Environmental Economics program??

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The weather's turned moist in Karachi... warm and sticky :-p.

Our organization recently opened a day-care center :) Each morning you see babies and toddlers dressed up in jackets and mittens holding mommy or daddy's hand and making their way decorously through the entrance up to the elevators.... makes me smile :-)

I'm struggling to complete my financial aid application essays... Hopefully, inshallah the effort will be worth it. Sometimes, I question if going to Princeton, if spending all those hours studying in the library, sacrificing my social life in high school and basically being the "good kid" was really worth it... the notorious kids who did nothing but party through school and college are, in most cases doing as well, if not better than the nerds... :-) Mashalah...

I sometimes feel like I'm letting life pass me by... It's all too easy to sit back and relax than to actually take control and set out to achieve your goals. I miss the twenty-two year old idealistic Gaia bursting with ambition and drive :-(

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another 2 resignations today and a couple more expected at the end of the month. With the CEO gone and not enough work to do, company morale's pretty low these days.

Today, I went to Gizri during lunch break and bought flowers: orange roses and orange and white gladiolas. Then I went home, arranged them in a vase, changed the sheets, prayed dhuhr and returned to work.

Need to start working out... I can feel my thighs expanding under me when I sit :p

Did you know?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Great Dinner-Party Weekend

It has finally happened:
Gaia = domestic goddess

Although it felt a little creepy stepping into my mom's shoes, it was actually a fun experience :). We had guests over for dinner on Saturday and again on Sunday with a completely different menu each evening.

Saturday was Thai food (spring rolls, green curry, red curry, fried fish and seafood cutlets with ice cream and brownie for dessert). 100% home-made (ok, ok so the ice cream was store-bought). But, Alhamdulilah, everything turned out great...

Sunday was desi food (chanay, mutton karahi, biryani and kofta with orange trifle and raspberry tart)... Food was ok... biryani rice turned out rather mushy and I guess I'm just not that big a fan of desi cuisine to begin with plus, all the meat makes me emo :-P

Mr. F and I will now be eating left-overs for the next three days

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You know you're an old-fashioned aunty at heart when...

... you hear your eight-year old niece singing Shelia ki jawani, I'm too sexy for you at the top of her lungs and your ears turn beet-red...

... your husband kindly asks if you're approaching that time of the month and you go, "Shush! you're supposed to pretend like you don't know anything about it!"

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Garmi! Yayyy!

Back in Karachi after a 4-day trip to Lahore! Warmth flooding in... sigh :-)
Lahore was cold! Around 8 degrees C during the day with no heating! Humidity was so high that the socks I'd washed and hung outside to dry on Saturday morning were still sopping wet on Tuesday...

Most of my days were spent wrapped up in a shawl, wearing multiple socks and sweaters (borrowed from my dear sister-in-law and bhabis), clutching tissues to block my sniffly pink runny nose. A lonely gas heater in a large house with concrete walls is rather ineffective in the face of extreme weather... :-P

And why was I not adequately prepared? Having braved winters in New Jersey and London I had the necessary equipment (wool coat, down jacket, scarves, gloves, hats... the works) but Mr. F said I wouldn't need much for four days and he didn't want to wait in line for the luggage so poor poor Gaia showed up in chappals and shalwar kameez and a cotton-knit sweater :-(

Lesson unlearned: place complete trust in husband

In the end, I resorted to cooking halwa as an excuse to stay in front of the stove...