It is extremely annoying when we are left to rot in the dark or on the limited amount of backup power an above average Pakistani household maintains. I got a couple of extra sockets connected to the U.P.S so that I can stay online. I plan to make arrangements next month to go wireless and move to a 1 mbps connection. And finally we'll stop fighting over who gets to use which computer and which computer gets access to the internet. When the U.P.S runs out of battery, I usually go out for a walk under the night sky and it feels great. I amuse myself with how the sky above me is a picture of the past and some of the stars we see might not even exist today. An exploding star that is a 100 light years away will only be seen exploding a 100 years later on Earth. Speaking of Earth, I want to come back down to it now.
To my right is my dad's new work table and other office related furniture with lots of files and dust. Its funny I still call this table "new". It has been there for 7 years now (and that explains the dust I guess, yes we do have maids but dust accumulates fast when you live on a ground floor apartment). Maybe because it has taken place of where me and Amma used to sleep on her wooden bed that she used to call "takhat" in her Rampuri Urdu. Its been 12 years since she passed away. She was the first of my grandparents to pass away in my presence. They're all gone now. Sometimes I wonder why death comes to all of us. Why is it greater than all great men?
Had great men been spared, my grandfather would have been one of them. He was almost in his 90s but could recreate all anecdotes from his prime with the most vivid and colorful detail. How he killed that Lion or how he escaped the mad Elephant or how he hunted down that big cursed Peacock worshiped by the Hindus. And how he later fell mysteriously sick for a few years, with half his body paralyzed and then his amazing recovery. A top athlete, a gold medalist all his life at the Aligarh University...he lived the rest of his days in reminiscence. As if nothing else mattered after that. In his final years, his short-term memory left him. He could recall conversations from the 1950s but couldn't ever get enough of the nine o clock news. And to test my theory, I always wanted to ask him who the current prime minister was...and I knew that he didn't know. Partly because he was old and partly because prime ministers come and go fast here so I don't entirely blame him.
Its funny how I came up with names like Amma and Abba for my grandparents. I miss Amma and Abba. Cancer and old age took their lives. I feel sad for my parents sometimes when I empathize. Their parents are gone. My mom never got to see her mom. She passed away when my mom was an infant. And I confess I take my parents for granted sometimes. And I don't say it enough but I love them. And I wish I could say it more often. When I think of my life without them, it brings tears to my eyes. I feel like someone just took the roof away from above my head and I'm walking under the night sky again looking at that picture from the past. Only this time...the feeling isn't great.
And I better click publish now before the lights go out again...