Weaver birds, nostalgia, forgotten memories, over-talking …it’s been a busy three days since my last post. I never cease to amaze myself in how things catch me unawares. I will go for weeks without any incident in my life, just living the usual daily routine and not getting myself in too much trouble and then wham! every thing spins out of control all at once.
The brightest part of these days has been the little birdies on my windowsill. When I first started putting out seeds for them, they ignored my offering for 48 good hours. And now, they recognise the soft scratch of the shutters as soon as I open them. The other day, one little bird mistook my opening scratch for my closing one, and flitted up before I had put my hand away – I don’t which one of us jumped away faster!
At that time just after dawn, when you want those precious minutes of shut-eye and sleep beckons with its most siren call, the birds come up and start pecking at the last few grains. And then they start scratching at the window and generally making a fuss when there aren’t any more left. Owl that I am, I’m still getting used to the natural alarm-clock and the concept of waking that early.
And then there’s been the Attack of the Past to deal with. I’ll be sitting doing some writing or working on a crochet piece and suddenly, out of nowhere, I remember things that I had forgotten so completely, I have to stop and consider whether these memories are really mine or belong to some other person from whom I heard of them.
The most recent one was that of having my brother climb up on a chair and pick out a hanging plastic shard from our chandelier (the kind that everyone used to have one of in the 80’s). We’d use those fancy, pointy spikes to follow the verses of Qur’an as we recited them. There was something about pressing that edge down on the paper and following it across that made the Arabic words easier and added a sense of special-ness to the reading.
Reciting was just not the same without huddling over the wonderful pages with a huge shawl covering you, nose close to the book, and fingers grasping that plastic pointer and marking faintly line after line of achievement.
Remembering the slow balding of that confection of light and plastic made me realise just how far out of reach that childhood and those times are. The hopelessness of wishing to ever go back, even for a moment, to the past and bringing back some of the innocence it had is the greatest reminder of where we’re heading…where I’m heading. It impresses on me how much of the journey has passed me by, how much has gone without being utilised or taken advantage of. How much of it there is to make up for.
And then as if to counter my inability to bring it all back, I went and shot my mouth off today. I always (!) do that when I have a sense of pending accomplishment. So when I was asked for my opinion on a subject, instead of the more sophisticated, and wiser (and safer) option of saying I would send an email with my comments, I started to explain everything I could in a space of ten minutes. Not. A. Good. Idea.
Maybe that’s why I hate the phone so much. I know what a potential mess I can make of it. 😦
On the writing front, no word from the Publisher yet, but they did say in a week or so – I have to give them another 7 days at least. No word from the Sports Editor either. I DID call him and asked him about the article, and he said not to worry about it, he was working on it. That was on Tuesday. At this rate, this paper is going to destroy my reputation before I even establish it!
Am working on the Sahifa-e-Sajjadiyah project in the background. I got lovely Arabic text and now have to get the English part printed. Then begins the study – which is kind of scary. Everyone says this is one book with so much depth and we don’t even know much about it. I just hope I can manage to do what I want to with it.
And finally, the guy whose book I was to critique. Oh my! What can I say? I want to have more Muslim writers publishing their work, but I’ve always maintained it should be work of a high standard. This just isn’t. How do I say that nicely, without offending anyone? Critiquing is hard, but necessary. I guess I’ll have to do the kind of job on it that I’m hoping the publisher does on mine!
Magic Seeds by V. S. Naipul