This particular reading didn't feel like a reading. It felt like a discussion with a bunch of bookish friends. Thank you so @adiba.peshimam & @danish.peshimam Love you both. Abiba, I will never forget looking across the room at you and seeing the tears streaming down your face. It's you who make me proud.
Signing copies never fails to feel odd to me. What you want my signature on that? Why, oh, why?
I have been invited to read at a book club this evening, and quite honestly, I much rather sit quietly and listen to everyone else. The things readers find in these stories never cease to amaze me, angles which hadn't even occurred to me.
'In this world they are people who will ease your way and others who won't. And you will ease the way for some and not for others. You'll eventually forget about the ones who froze you out and they'll forget about you. The world is for you and for the ones who roll out the carpet, even if it's tattered. They're scattered all over. And if you look carefully they will help you find your way home, wherever you are." - Jasmine and Fire, Salma Abdelnour
Salma Abdelnour is a food and travel journalist, and it shows in this book about the year she spent in Beirut, trying to figure out whether home was this city of her early childhood or if it was New York, the place where she grew into herself. I drooled over her descriptions of Lebanese food and accompanied her on walks around the city. While she struggles to decide on home, she also struggles to decide on her relationship with her boyfriend, and I was able to feel the entire spectrum of emotion she experienced as she swung on that pendulum between yes and no.
I love the quote above, especially so because I have spent the past couple of days with people who rolled out the carpet for me. I was running on empty, but no more; I am, again, full to the brim with love. In the past four, five days I have hardly slept, and yet, I know I am glowing. Never underestimate the therapeutic nature of being surrounded by love. I have laughed and cried with my friends for the past three days and there is nothing in the world that beats the replenishing power of female friendships.
"But this was to be the dawn of her resurrection. Her new masters wanted to hide her knobby, varicose veins under imported fishnet stockings, cram her withered tits into saucy padded bras and jam her aching feet into pointed high-heeled shoes. They wanted her to swing her stiff old hips and re-route the edges of her grimace upwards into a frozen, empty smile. It was the summary Grandma became a whore. She was to become supercapital of the world's favourite new superpower. India! India!" - Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
I have waited over a year to read this book. I was looking for the perfect moment. Some peace and quiet to savour Roy's writing. Life is not quiet right now. I haven't read a single word in the past two days and I don't know when I will next have time to read, but as wonderful and busy as I am right now, I am missing my read.
The plane just landed. My first thought: I am home. Even now, after so many years, this city of my birth still calls to me. I stepped off the plane and was immediately assailed by the smell of Karachi; an unique mix of sea air, heat, and sewage. An awful smell to most, but even this assault warms my heart. Wah, kia mazadar baad boo.
Truth is, I haven't actually lived here for very long. Perhaps, a handful of years, but this place holds some truly special memories for me; of family, friends, my first love.
The strange thing is that Toronto is also home. It's the city I associate with my marriage, adulthood, and my children. Toronto is where I went from being a pampered brat to being who I am today.
My heart belongs to both places. Or perhaps, it simply doesn't belong anywhere. "I was a tourist in a bizarre land. I was home." Hakawati by Rabih Alameddine
Spent six hours in transit here. Managed to read 200 pages of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and finish Jasmine and Fire by Salma Abdelnour.
Do you spend your time in transit sifting through books at the airport bookshop?
Philip Roth has been on my list forever. I finally got around to listening to the American Pastoral this week, and it blew me away. His characters are fully fleshed out, his writing superb. I could fill a book with quotes from the American Pastoral.
The main character intially comes across as an all American success story; a good looking, athletic, rich businessman, a real innocent. But then as the story unfolds, he life unravels before us. A daughter who is a terrorist, a marriage wrought with infedility, and yet, there is no judgement in the telling of this tale. "You get them wrong before you meet them, while you're anticipating meeting them; you get them wrong while you're with them; and then you go home to tell somebody else about the meeting and you get them all wrong again. Since the same generally goes for them with you, the whole thing is really a dazzling illusion. ... The fact remains that getting people right is not what living is all about anyway. It's getting them wrong that is living, getting them wrong and wrong and wrong and then, on careful reconsideration, getting them wrong again. That's how we know we're alive: we're wrong. Maybe the best thing would be to forget being right or wrong about people and just go along for the ride. But if you can do that -- well, lucky you.” ― Philip Roth, American Pastoral
Yesterday, it was mist. Today, we had snow. There is beauty in all Her moods.
It's seven degrees centigrade and feels positively balmy. Luna, my long suffering taller half, and I ran 5k through the mist this evening. Luna ran because we drag her along, while hubby and I ran because we ate enough at brunch today to feed a small village. Our family has discovered a really good Turkish restaurant close by, and now invent reasons to have brunch there. Today's reason: my brother and sister-in-law's birthdays. It's not enough to overeat ourselves, we must also feed others.