Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bhurban for the Weekend

Last Wednesday was a national holiday on account of the Prophet's birth anniversary so Mr. F and I flew to Lahore. The weather was gorgeous~!!!! Warm sunshine, cool breeze... :) The roses were in full bloom but my naughty nephews would break off at least a dozen every day just to annoy their grandma :-p.

On Thursday, Mr. F decided to drive up to Murree... We stopped at Gujranwala on the way and I sat in the "family section" of Shahbaz Tikka, a restaurant famous for its lamb chops and meat dishes. Mr. F was in the restroom when one of his friends came in twirling a thick curly mustache. He's a textile mill owner and went to the US for college but returned to his ancestral village to take over the family business... he reminded me of Sultan Rahi.

After a hearty lunch followed by ice cream, we continued our journey. It was my first time on the new Murree expressway. The roads were lined with fallen snow but there wasn't much traffic so we managed to reach Bhurban by 8:00 pm. I was disappointed at best... Bhurban used to be the best 5-star hotel in Pakistan and now it is totally run-down. The food was monotonous, the standards of the rooms had definitely declined and everything was ridiculously over-priced!

Next day we went to Kashmir Point and Mall Road. The walk was lovely and I was happy to see snow after 3 years but the Mall itself was filthy and crowded. I had coffee from the stall which tasted more like chocolate syrup. Thankfully, we didn't have internet access so we actually got a chance to spend time together instead of checking our emails and updating facebook :-p.

On Saturday morning, I went to visit one of my juniors at Princeton who now works for the AEDB in Islamabad. We caught up and reminisced about the best four years of our lives :-)

Later that afternoon, we went to have lunch at Mr. F's friend's farm. His ten year old daughter happily informed me that I was much nicer than the other aunty that Mr. F used to bring... :P Apparently, it was a popular hangout spot for Mr. F and his ex-girlfriend. The 6-hour ride back to Lahore was accomplished in silence:
Gaia: fulminating
Mr. F: trying to make lame jokes

I got over myself by the following morning and peace was restored...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wedding Crashers

The Palm is a popular venue for wedding-related events in Karachi. Since it's walking distance from our house, Mr. F and I decided to walk to our mutual colleague's valima rather than taking the car. I was wearing a bright green and gold zari sari with high heels. Mr. F was dandy in a white shalwar kameez.

The road was riddled with potholes but we managed to make it to the venue without getting splashed. Mr. F and I walked into the main hall only to be taken to separate sections. The even was gender-segregated so I found myself in an area full of aunties. I kissed the groom's mom, smiled at the sister and seated myself at one of the tables towards the stage. Since I didn't know anyone, I decided to call a friend in another timezone to occupy my time.

Five minutes later, I get a text from Mr. F: "Gaia, I think we're at the wrong function, meet me at the entrance"....


Meanwhile, Mr. F had spotted another colleague, Gul, at the entrance of the adjacent hall. We decided to follow him inside until Mr. F realized that the groom was wearing glasses and had a beard... wrong groom!

We finally made it to the correct venue where our friends were gathered... *thankful sigh* my heels were killing me :'(

The caramel crunch ice cream made it all worthwhile :-)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Crazy Busy Weekend

On Friday evening on the way back from work, I requested Mr. F to drop me off at my parents' house as I was feeling rather unwell and missing mommy. He complied, but reluctantly... When I called him a little while later to come pick me up, he made a mean joke, so I decided to stay the night (hoping he'd miss me a little).

Unfortunately, Mr. F thought he'd play the game my way and decided to ignore me completely :-P when I showed up at our apartment the following day.

On Saturday afternoon, we were invited to the beach and of course, Mr. F and I had to behave like the happy couple. So I plastered a big (fake) grin on my face, Mr. F turned up the volume on the radio and we drove to Hawksbay listening to Bleeding Love in a reasonably cheerful mood. To the Mr's credit, he didn't bring up "the night before" and pretended everything was normal.

We held hands, posed for photos and played the part well... On the way back in the car, I was silent. Mr. F mistakenly assumed that the storm had blown over and tried to lighten the mood by making polite small talk.

*I usually find this rather endearing* but I didn't want to let him off the hook that easily so I maintained the frosty facade. We came back home, got ready in half an hour and went to a photography auction at the Indus Valley School followed by a boxing game (Kinect) and coffee with friends. By then, we were too tired to enact a Bollywood scene... so we went peacefully to sleep and woke up refreshed and happy to be together again.

On Sunday, we went to the Literature Festival at Carlton just in time to hear Daniyal Mueenuddin. He is soooooooooooooooooo cute! *sigh*

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Princeton's Religious Life Council

I was a member of the Religious Life Council at Princeton... Monday evening dinner, spring retreats, events at the chapel and Opening Exercises = good times :)

Here's an article by Dean Paul Raushenbush,

Religion evokes intense responses because it plays an essential role in our lives. Our beliefs reflect who we are, what we care about, our purpose -- what Tillich would call our "ultimate concerns." I serve as the Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University. Much of my work involves encouraging interfaith dialogue between students of different religious traditions, including a group of 30 students called the Religious Life Council who have committed themselves to being part of a community of diverse faith traditions and beliefs (including atheists and agnostics) that acknowledges difference while maintaining respect and friendship. This stretches the students as Muslims and Jews, Hindus and Sikhs, Christians and Buddhists articulate their disagreements on questions of the existence of God, how society should be structured, the relation between religion and international politics and the nature of salvation. When speaking to someone from a different faith, we start out with the basic understanding that we will and should disagree, but we can sit down and have some tea and talk together.