Thursday, April 19, 2007

Suffocating self reliance...

I am stifled by the suffocating silencing of my independence. I am dependent on people to take me from one place to another. I run on other people's schedules and can't even entertain having one of my own. It's very difficult and I am losing my breath.

Last weekend I wanted to go to a nursery/greenhouse and get some plants and flowers to properly attire my father's resting place in Rawalpindi. Circumstances that were not in my control said otherwise. I was whisked to this place and then to that place and then locked away in an office for an entire day. Plans of a Sunday morning breakfast vanished and I was to take sympathy with my cousin. None of my needs of the weekend were met, a promise I made was broken and time won't come back.

I decided to ask my cousin Inam to borrow his vehicle so that I could get my things done. I have a lot of them and no one will let me take a rickshaw, they'll take me. We'll 'they'll take me' means that I usually have to twiddle my thumbs for hours on end before I reach my destination. I need not any more calluses on my thumbs, they've done enough twiddling for two months.

So off I went at 7am to the office with Inam. I was dressed completely inappropriately for an office setting and having none of my belongings with me. We enjoyed a great breakfast of chana masala, naan and cow brains. Yup, I had brains for breakfast ;) Ya, I don't get it either. All this consuming of animals tends to make people act like their respective animals they eat I think. I cannot wait to return to a proper diet sans the artery filling read meat and oil. I take smaller portions that most and don't take any of the shorba (the juice of the dish) and intense looks of "Is this boy ok?", "What's wrong with you?" or "How can you eat so little?". I can do so because I have seen what not doing so can do to those whom you love. I've learned a lot of lessons the hard way, this isn't one that I would like to entertain.

On with the story... the car was being cleaned and I thought afterwards I could just head back to the house, change into the appropriate clothing for the tasks of the day and grab all the essentials. Nope. Not going to happen. I had made arrangements with my nephew to grab him at school at 10am. The nephew happened to be Inam's son and so I told him of my plans to have Shaqeel at my side during the day to get me from place to place. He got on the phone with him and said this and that. This and that for me was that he'll be driving us. That's fine as long as we could leave soon so I could get my tasks done. Half an hour turned into and hour and then it decided to double and land up being a couple of hours. I sat in that office for five hours, five hours I could have been using so much more productively. I was upset with myself as well as my cousin for leading me down a road to what was to lead me to my independence.

Finally got a move on at about three in the afternoon and the car in my possession to wander about in. So I headed to Mr. Books in Sector F6 to find some Lonely Planet guides for my upcoming travels. Couldn't believe the prices they were asking and walked out. Have I become a cheapskate? The Indian experiences have caused me to respect the value of a rupee and always know I can always get it for cheaper ;) So off Shaqeel and I went to the Diplomatic Enclave to check up on the visa. I found out that my application had been sitting in Toronto for two weeks collecting dust and had them fax it to the Vancouver office. Mr. Rakesh in the Vancouver office instructed me that they cleared it almost immediately and they attempted faxing it to the Islamabad office but with no success. They will attempt it again and if I don't get it today, then try the next day. The funny thing about arriving at the Enclave this time was everyone knew me. As I walked by the mobile check, the guy hollars out, "Khayyam bhai... kee haal hai?" (Hey Khayyam brother, how are you doing?). The bus ticket guy smiled with recognition and didn't even ask me to 'Prove my identity'. The security guard that pats you down showed me something that resembled a smile compared to his steely grill that I'm usually greeted with. The guy who collects the tickets for the bus came over to shake my hand and offer his 'Salaam' and the bus driver gave me water after finding out the little store was fresh out of cold and warm water.

I walked up to the embassy and the gentlemen who had previously, I was about to write helped me, but rather spoke with me was there smiling. I knew something was a wry. So I just asked him if he received the fax. He said no. I told him that he should have received it and asked if they leave their fax machines on at night. He told me he would get in contact with me when it arrives. I asked him how and he responded that I left a number on my application. As if any of these lazy people would be bothered to pick up a phone and dial ten digits to save their lives. For some reason, it no longer mattered though. Everything was in it's motion to completion and I had everything thing bureaucratically dependent, sorted.

[to be continued]


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