Wednesday, December 10, 2008


You know how you sometimes just know - even though the grime of the World still gathers beneath your nails and you're not averse to public nose picking - that you're destined for greatness? Sure, you're unable to articulate the thought adequately, but you feel it in the 'different-ness' that surrounds you like your skin. And you smell it as acutely as your fart that has your siblings running for cover.

In the quest for realising this destiny, the pain of life being an unco-operative, unwilling accomplice bites worse than a bout of shingles. Rather than find a solution, you take to your heels at the smallest whiff of catastrophe and cry 'Foul!" with as much verve as you can muster. Life is- after all - happening 'to' you, rather than 'through' you.

You watch your children enter the world, wailing bundles of hope, possibility, and yes, even dreams. Their smiles become your sunshine even when the World witholds its sunshine and everything conspires to steal from you your 'almost-greatness'.

Yes, they will fulfil your destiny.....

But then the unspeakable happens.

They discover the concept of free will - one the opposes yours. And worse still, they chose to exercise this newfound liberty.

They set out upon a path that you know - having experienced lifes bitchiness first hand - that no greatness lies there. They disappoint you... a metaphor for your life.

Your life continues - an endless cycle of mindless consumerism, disappoinment, betrayal. You fail to notice the lines and creases that creep onto your face. And then one day, you wake up and look into the mirror. The face that stares back at you, bemused, resembles a Dorp, complete with all the little side streets and scratches in the dirt for roads. There's even a clock tower.
In a state of near panic, you realise that the time shows ten to twelve. Your midnight looms.

You begin scrabbling around to fill the gaps, grab the dreams, fulfil the destiny. A dream rises out of a weed-ridden plot of land. This one, at least, will reach fruition. The pillars tower over your head. The driveway is sweeping, impressive. The money runs out. You move in. You'll complete time.

Midnight inches ever closer. Your accumulated possesions fill the dream, crowding around you, like death. Incongruous in their new surroundings. The faded furniture, bereft against the shiny splendour of hardwood floors.

The decadent curtaining snubs the Made in China linen. And everywhere, little bits of 'incomplete' litter the dream.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A promise is a promise

I'm stunned! Was it really in March when I blogged the first portion of this here tale? Called the post Inspiration from the Recycle Bin. If you need your memory jogged, go here It's been so long ago, that I think I need my memory jogged :P

“You ready?” Moon-faced Nahla – the Sultans have a knack for regal names. She stops. Stares for a moment. “Wow!” She breathes. And in her mind she says, I want to look just like you when I get married. Like too many Indian girls her age, her ambitions in life seldom venture beyond the six foot walls of a house in a suburb and two children strapped up in designer prams.

“As I’ll ever be. Can you believe that I’m actually married? I’m nervous.” Though there are no trembling henna-ed hands. These pattered hands speak of anxiety to sit beside her new husband. His initials are hidden in the pattern. She asked the nice Paki girl to do that for her last night. He’d have fun finding the letters. She’d have fun with his having fun. She followed her sister out to the car. Mrs Sultan had insisted on a Limousine, much to her husband’s ire.

“R2000-00 to hire that thing for a few hours. Are you mad? How many tubs of home made malai burfee ice-cream can that buy?” He’d challenged.
“Aaw, come now Abu, your eldest daughter only gets married once. You want to give Rajaa a day to remember, ne. So why not a limo?”
“Because I could get Farouk to borrow me his Merc for the day, that’s why.”
“Please, that kanjoos brother of yours. He won’t give you ice in winter. Borrow you his Merc? Fat chance! What is it that he’s paying for at the wedding, just remind me. The Chevro. Cheapskate. He could at least have offered to buy the meat for the leg roast.”
The argument was becoming personal and Rajaa knew where it would end. ”Mummy, it’s okay. Ismail has a nice Jetta. It’s almost new. I won’t mind going in that.”
“What, a Jetta from your school friend. Do I look mad? You have to create an impression Rajaa. And first impressions last. See what car they came to propose in? All BMW’s. And gold too. No. Limousine or horse drawn carriage, you choose.”
The image of steaming smelly horse turds floated into Rajaa’s mind. Turds missing their mark and splattering the ivory gown.
The matter was settled.

As Rajaa, helped by Nahla, straightened out the skirt of the gown with all five metres of stiffening that was more than just scratching her soon- to- be- caressed- by- Haarith’s- hands legs, she was thankful for the much quarrelled over limo. At least the skirt wasn’t smothering her face. Imagine mascara on the ivory fabric. It would be a problem explaining that to the boutique from whence it had been hired. At the bargain price of R3000-00 at that. For just a moment, Rajaa felt a pang of guilt at the cost of the wedding. But then she said to herself, “ A girl only gets married once, right?” That had been her mother’s reasoning whenever her father’s kanjoos genes had become dominant.

Of course she tried her best to drown out the voice that reminded her of two of her best friends who, after extravagant weddings, had had marriages that lasted three months and six weeks respectively.
Not us, she said to herself, while Nahla nattered on in the background. We’re here for the long haul.

Monday, December 01, 2008

What exactly

It's an important question, no? What exactly... What exactly what? Is that what I hear you say?What’s the point? That’s what I mean. Is there a method in all this madness?

Why do I willingly traipse around in public with fresh cream on my jilbaab? Why do I deal with thankless, sometime rude people? Why do I listen to requests like : I’d like custard slice. A dozen please. But I want the pink custard on top…?

Why do I answer the: 'Is it fresh???" question a zillion times a day without telling anyone “No it isn’t. It’s been in the freezer for the last year. Thanks for asking.”
Even though those are the words that strain to get their way past the smile that I plaster on at times like these.

Truth is, I’m making history. Unlikely, I hear you mutter. But it’s true. Not world history, Not history that involves the great. But history that involves the greatest.

Ah, so now, I’m getting ahead of myself, am I?

Allow me to elucidate. Imagine you’re seven. It’s your birthday party. You wanted a cake that looks like caterpillar. Unlike others your age, Barbie does not impress you.

The caterpillar arrives. It’s long, curly, has dozens of multi coloured legs. Wears a jaunty hat (one that you can eat!) and is covered in Smarties. Yummmy.

The cake will linger in your memory long after it has left the sewer system. The sweetness will remain a memory that haunts. Until one day, someone takes the time enough, or care enough, to produce something with as much love, as much attention to detail. And for a moment you will be transported to that birthday all those years ago. And you will feel loved, and cherished, and special.
It is that, that I seek to achieve at Lazeeza’s. To create that special memory. Since everyone knows that everything always tastes best in your childhood. Can you imagine how many kids will hear about the after-school-donut from their parents some twenty years hence? By which time I’ll be an old (and hopefully famous writer) woman. And Lazeeza’s will hopefully be more than just a legend.

So if I continue this way, I will have the opportunity to be part of many celebrations. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries. I will have a place amid the joy, laughter and all of the things that make us so wonderfully human.

And when I weigh it up against the cream and the - I need to phone home and see whether I can take this custard slice, since the pattern on top is different – customers…
It’s worth it!
P.S. I'm going to post a bit of writing later today. I think you all deserve it after humoring me so :P