A new year doesn’t guarantee anything. It owes us nothing. To base all hopes of change on a simple flip of a calendar page is pointless. I’ve had my share of new year resolutions to know they work just as much as every coming Monday where we vow to join the gym.
As I look back, any significant and rare change that I can acknowledge in my life has been sudden. At an ill-timed, unplanned moment with no grand accolades attached. At times it was a realization that simmered and boiled till it spilled into action. Other times it was completely unexpected.
So while this new year mantra works for many, I still think it’s overrated. I have yet to see a January First that lives up to our expectations. Personal transformation is slow, often-subtle and nothing like we’ve experienced before.
It is also important to realize that everything has a designated time attached to it by God. Did HE plan for significant change to happen only on the brink of a new year? Lasting change looses its merit once associated with a simple date change. It’s a more intrusive process. And then comes the monster we call consistency. For change to matter, it needs to be an ongoing process.
The World at large turned upside down and transformed with the pandemic. All the losses and gains accumulated this year need to be dissected. For some there was irreplaceable damage. For others it was a monotone of surrealism. Extremes of unimaginable dimensions ripped through seams of normalcy. Either way it all deserves to be torn apart for answers.
It is worth asking ourselves, did we change? A whole lot? A little bit. At all?
And if not, what are we waiting for? The New Year?
A shunned, pariah, guilty individual sentenced to life imprisonment. With not a thing to look forward to. And not a loving memory to look back at. An individual who feels completely worthless no matter how much he or she atones to innumerable sins.
That’s how some Pakistanis(inside and abroad) treat the country. Like a crippled stray dog. Like a child begging on the streets with mud-lined fingernails and mucus-flowing nostrils. We show no mercy. We show no reprieve. We spit in its face, time and time again.
I see a huge, growing disparity. Between generations. Older generations are either now indifferent, too sick, or just too bitter as a result of years of carrying the burden of hope. Everything infuriates them. But it is an anger that is meant only to simmer, not to boil over and create revolutions. It is an anger that hides regret. It is an anger that regurgitates toxic fluids of despair.
And then I see younger generations. Swooning over the latest social media gimmicks, television hypes, fashion trends, happening restaurants. Or hatching plans to fly abroad. Consciously assimilating into the society to keep things status quo. Or putting on masks of beauty to conceal all that’s rotten.
And then the chosen ones. The few, unreal-real people who don’t belong to any one generation. They are few but everywhere. They are timeless and don’t need petty categorization for self-identity. They don’t change countries. They don’t play the blame game. They just stay and make a difference, big or small, it does not matter. They put on their blinders, and just keep moving forward. They don’t care what people say or do or don’t do. They don’t care what happened in the past or how hopeless the future is ahead.
They bring their own colours. And they bring their own light. They enter those dark tunnels and paint. And paint.
Some of us will come out of this box different. At least that’s how I imagine. Abrupt speed breakers, detours and dead ends. That make up our new Boxed lives. Though temporary. But for now stories have stopped writing themselves because we’ve lost the illusion of control. Where uncertainty is the new black. So when it’s time for Unboxing. When it’s time to return to this world. Where we run. From what we’re afraid of. Where we run. From what we’re made of. I imagine something will have changed. One neurone there. One neurone here. A collective burial of old ways of ingratitude. Towards new waves, in unison For deep within our blood is this mastery. Of much good. Of much bad. So when unboxed. With a swift pull and tear. With a silent annihilation. I imagine. I’ll squeeze my lids, to adjust vision. Hoping to see the old with new eyes. Hoping to see the new with old eyes. But then I fear I’ll see That nothing changed. Not in here. Not out there. And then. I’ll take a huge breath in, fill up those lungs, and start where I left off…. Like last night’s chess game abandoned midway… I’ll get back in there. Find my spot. In that old box. Anxious to run again. From what I’m afraid of. From what I’m made of.
So grocery in times of #covid19 has been well…interesting. Though I’m forever grateful to be living here in Canada 🇨🇦 with easy access to food. We haven’t stocked up per se, but yes we’ve got essentials most of us brown people can’t survive without. You know it’s not toilet paper.Then with kids, you’re always running out of something. So isolation/social distancing is a tough nut to crack. It also doesn’t help when you have a buzzing Desi Store behind your home. And yes in Canada. I think that I am a responsible citizen. But with a store that’s so close in proximity, the concept kind of muddles up in my brain. It’s just an extension of my backyard, I convince myself. I put on my gloves, wear a longer jacket (thinking it would protect me more somehow), pass a wistful glance at the family I’m leaving behind and walk out. It’s also interesting when you’re cautiously practising the 6 feet distance between other people, that too at a Desi store. And then… you accidentally put your coriander bag in the cart of the person standing behind you. Let’s just say those were extremely awkward 3 minutes of my life. You also learn to be slick with your movements. Taking off the glove, to reach for your wallet and make payment and then putting it back on to reach for the bags. You can’t take too much time. And you can’t itch your nose or eyes during any of it because you haven’t jumped on the mask wagon yet. So that thought consumes you throughout, “Don’t touch your face, woman!!!” So I go back home with tons of bags, my upper body working overtime. I enter with one leg sliding open the kitchen door and the other leg left hanging outside. These acrobatics saved me the day’s workout. I place the bags on the floor. Normally I take my time putting everything away. But now it‘s me racing against time whilst ticking away a mental checklist. Wash hands. Rewash hands. (Because mom. And paranoia. And scarcity of hand sanitizers) Put away the food. Quickly hide imli-ki-chatni and other such extras that don’t qualify for urgent groceries. I finally sit down to catch my breath. I almost smile. And then it hits me. I forgot to buy the salt.