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•   A BIANNUAL LITERARY MAGAZINE BROUGHT TO YOU BY DESI WRITERS' LOUNGE   •

Volume 3


Spring 2008


Reportage

Maria Amir

Written by
Maria Amir

How do you solve a problem like Maria? Well, as my man Cohen puts it "There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in". You don't

        
      
       
            
              

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Bottled Green


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I woke up today with a near desperate urge to paint everything around me a deep shade of bottle Green. This inanity is made all the more ironic by the fact that ever since I was thirteen I have been obsessed with all Blue hues, save perhaps royal blue…my bohemian truancies prevail at all times. I don’t really know what this means, only that the urge to see the world through matrix vision follows immediately after my entire world has been suspended in time and space.

My country is dying, quite literally, before my eyes. And it is no longer possible for me to ignore the ‘big picture’ because my job and my jumbled priorities at present both necessitate that I take our prevailing Martial Law very seriously. I have never seen this before: people taking to the streets with black bands; people being arrested right left and centre without cause or need for it; all media channels (especially my own) on the verge of closure because of the back-log of programming yet to make screen time…but really it goes deeper, somewhere in the past week I have given up on any hope of something good ever happening to this place. I am the first to admit that unconsciously harbouring such notions was naïve to begin with, but in the past week, for the first time I have actually seen people stop reading newspapers because it no longer matters. ‘Something’ no longer matters. Whether we will be bombed into oblivion, die out or be taken over by the US.
Somehow, those of us who can actually read and comprehend these words aren’t really part of it all anyway, and with our ‘one foot in, one foot out’ stance we will always be okay in the end. Whether in two years that leaves us country-less, identity-less or passion-less hardly matters, we are pretty consistent at embracing apathy over empathy in any given circumstance.

Yesterday I was trying to talk myself out of another political down spiral when my mother posed a rather interesting analogy to clarify why my efforts were repeatedly proving futile. “It’s kind of like indigestion, loads of crap piled into the pit of your stomach and no release. You know how they say that the greatest anatomical gift are the ‘bowels’ because the greatest sensation they provide is release…(in all honesty I haven’t heard this one before but now that I have, it makes good sense) , but right now its all the crap just sitting there.” In effect that means that even though I am trying to talk myself out of it with my usual flux of films, music and inanities, the crap is still sitting at the base of my gut and the sensation of needing to let it go is overwhelming.
That’s present day patriotism for you: A shit analogy

Earlier this month, I was scheduled for a move to Karachi and try as I might I couldn’t contain the thrill that being on my own posed. Its that weird, electric excitement that lingers despite the sound judgment in you stating that Karachi is the ugliest city in the world, living alone with your best friend will be a financial travesty, facing the elements—quite literally—will rip your naïve idealism apart. But it was my chance to FINALLY deal with myself. Regardless, that option ended when our Karachi offices and the news desks were the first to be raided. I think what I hate Musharraf for the most, is that he took away my chance of flight, and that’s a good thing. If enough people are personally pissed off, it might actually make a dent in our conflated sense of apathy.

I have turned for solace towards two entirely independent texts: “Your God is Too Small” by J.B Phillips, and ‘Don Quixote’ for the third time. I am enjoying reading over my commentary in the pages of the Man of Le Mancha and Sancho’s glorious travels. But mostly it is Cervantes’ preface that has forced me to forego the familiarity of being flippant about the important things. The three page author’s note deals with a conversation he had with his friend about what to put in the preface that would impress critics and readers alike. What would make him sound smart enough, witty enough, brave enough?
The two men indulge in all manner of Latin phrases, Biblical botches and Salacious sidelines. The note ends with him basically saying, “My protagonist is a balding, emaciated knight travelling the lands for the woman of his dreams and contemplating all stories he can narrate later on to make her think him worthy of her affections” …I think he should do all the impressionable fibbing.

I love this man. I love the truth he carries with his insecurity. I love it because it is mine and at present it is the only thing that gives me hope that all of my ‘pathetic neediness to be good’, can someday prove more fruitful than actually being good. I will forever think of Cervantes as a four year old, dressed in a knight’s costume with a stare so curious it can solder the paint off walls.

And I choose to think of myself as the unfortunately rotund sidekick who needs to live vicariously through those who live vicariously.

 

 

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