REFLECTIONS IN THE TIME OF CORONA (8)….THE FAN CLUB

Senor OCD is being promoted to Senior OCD tomorrow (it’s his 65th birthday) and I want to try and be nice to him. To be fair, he needs to be vindicated from all the gossip against him. I mean, if not now when he’s ageing (not so gracefully), then when?
He has decided that he is done with adults and wants to spend his birthday only with his four grandchildren so guess who’s coming for a sleepover? The excitement is palpable (for Senor OCD) and he’s been busy planning a camp in the living room, a pillow fight, movie, popcorn, ice-cream, games, prizes and unlimited snacks – I hope their parents are not reading this. This is one time he’s not thinking of keeping the condo clean as he already has cleaning lady lined up for next week so he’s letting go (a bit).
To give him his full due, Senor OCD is a total charmer. After all, 43 years together has proven this. However, he is a charmer not just to me but to most people around him (as those of you who know him, will vouch). Especially if he wants to get some work out of you, he can work those baby brown eyes and chubby cheeky smile to full advantage and you’ll find yourself hard pushed to say no.
This is a strategy I never learned which remains much to my disadvantage.
Today the handyman came to do some work. Robert is in his seventies (but still a sharp cookie) and from old Italian stock. I guess the times he grew up in were largely patriarchal (and I mean this in a totally factual, non-offensive way). As I opened the door, he asked “where is your husband?” I said “he’s gone to the bank but I can show you where the work needs to be done”. Fifteen minutes later Robert asked me again “so where’s your husband?” I said “he’ll be back soon”. Then Robert asked me if he could have a bowl and added “your husband knew where it is”. When I produced the bowl, Robert said “Ha this is one your husband gave me”.
Seriously? Is Senor OCD giving off vibes that the wife does not know where anything is in the house?
By the way, while Robert was looking for him Senor OCD had gone to see if he can get a head oil massage. The owner of the beauty parlor he goes to said they are not allowed to give head massages but the two young ladies said “No – this uncle is special” so they took him into a side room and gave him a 20 minutes head massage. Uncle indeed! Lucy, his regular haircutter will drop all clients for him as well. Oh the perks of having a fan club made up mostly of women.
Then I go to the dry-cleaning store which is run by a lovely Vietnamese girl called Kim. As soon as she sees me Kim says “where he?” I explain that ‘he’ is busy. She takes the clothes from me with not much of a smile. As I leave, she smiles a big smile and says “say hello to him and tell him next time he come – okay?”. Okee dokee. I get the message.
The lady who does the laundry doesn’t even want to see me. She calls Senor OCD “honey bunch” and actually folds his underwear (something I refuse to do as a dutiful wife) so he ensures that she gets presents on Christmas and any other occasion. So, when I go to Pakistan, Senor OCD’s shopping list is full of women’s presents which is embarrassing to explain to my family for whom this whole fan club phenomenon is an anomaly.
Not to forget, there are the ladies from his airline stint. I still remember at least five of them telling me they were his “airport wives”….hai wish someone had told them he’s allowed only four and I get all the travel benefits!
Oh, did I mention Yu Yu the massage therapist who talks non-stop and he listens to her without comment! And the Mississauga ladies who cook for him which I use to my advantage.
Did I tell you that Senor OCD is a collector? I once saw a TV show about hoarders and seriously wanted to suggest OCD as a subject of interest. Like a chipmunk he collects and hoards every small thing – not being able to throw anything away. So, when he sees me (rarely) going to throw something out, he knows I’m hiding something I don’t want him to see. Actually, I wait for him to go out and then quickly clear the ages old stash. Today while tidying the kitchen cupboard (okay I actually DO sometimes so stop smirking) I found old Chinese fortune cookies, dried soy sauce and hot sauce packages, ages old sugar packets and teabags, dried up cookies and much more (to gross to mention) so I packed them in a bag but he actually checked the garbage (Senor OCD does that regularly) and saw them. I made sure he couldn’t retrieve the stuff by putting soggy veggie shavings on top. Two can play at the game of messy vs clean you know.
He’s still pouting.
But all in all, when he spends his birthday with his beloved grandchildren, he will mellow (I hope)

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REFLECTIONS IN THE TIME OF CORONA (7) – The Cleaning Lady

This week was our 43rd. wedding anniversary..tau blog tau banta hai na? (have to write a blog, right?) because we still haven’t killed each other.
Since the last few episodes, a lot of time has passed but global events had become so serious that even thinking of writing anything humorous felt like ‘cancel culture’ – I mean I don’t really hold an elite position in any organization, but if I did, I felt I would be silenced. So, I prudently remained silent. But not for long as you know.
There were murmurings last time about my use of the term OCD (mostly from his friends and relatives) so out of respect for 43 years, I have decided to be sensitive and will use the term Senor OCD from now on. Okay with everyone?
Where to start? You all know about the cleaning fetish but the house has been spiffy, disgustingly clean. So, Senor OCD now moved his attention to the cars – mine in particular. Clean the car, get the interior vacuumed blah blah blah. But every time I get the car cleaned, it rains so I figure no point. Yes, I have wrappers of food I munch, and a few tissues and yes, an empty coffee cup – but its my sanctuary. Oh yes there is an empty bottle and the back seat has scuff marks from when my grandkids rode in it and no one can say anything about my grandkids! However things sort of came to a head when the whole family (in different cars) was going for dinner and before I got there, I got a phone call from Senor OCD saying in a stern voice “ no dinner unless you get the car cleaned and there’s a car wash at the corner”. I was about to retort when I realized my grandkids were in the car with me, so to set a good example I obediently went and got the car washed (and yes, I got dinner)
But now that things have opened up (sort of) in Toronto, the first visitor to our house was the cleaning lady. Now I’m a very broad-minded person but the smile on Senor OCD’s face on the day cleaning lady comes, is a bit much to digest. He sings (off key of course), cracks jokes and has a kick in his step. Cleaning lady is no Lady Gaga, but her cleaning – OMG its as though she trained at a home economics institute.
Now who leaves the kitchen towel rolled up into an animal shape on the stove (see photo); or decorates one of the stuffed toys on the pillow (Aha you now know that Senor OCD has a ‘stuffie’ collection and I didn’t tell you this); or folds the edge of the toilet paper in a triangle (you know like they do in hotels); or cleans the inside of the fridge and under my cabinets without being asked or mentioning what a mess they are in? I mean I don’t even see the messes and I’m fine doing superficial dusting, but the cleaning pressure is too much because he feels like he’s died and gone to heaven and I’m a messy Maina. The pressure is too much so usually I leave and go have coffee with my friend till she’s done. Then cleaning lady texts “you like?”. What’s not to like?

Incidentally last week cleaning lady accidentally broke a plate – now if this was me, I would have heard no end of how clumsy I am but when I pointed it out, Senor OCD just smiled and said “its okay, accidents happen”. Sheesh.
There is no way I could ever compete with Cleaning Lady who by the way speaks not a word of English (as she’s a recent arrival from Brazil) so the sign language is worth seeing (all done by you know who).
The other hobby Senor OCD has acquired during COVID forced to stay-at-home, is to become obsessed with WhatsApp. Now we all are, but this is a man who hardly ever used social media. Now he’s on more WhatsApp groups then a teenager and even when I’m trying to do serious work (like now) he’s listening loudly to old Hindi songs, inane jokes, conspiracy theories and chatter etc.
But I had my revenge. Senor OCD has no stomach for movies that deal with superstitions, science fiction or magic. I told him that an old Hindi movie Om Shanti Om (which I had seen) is worth seeing and an award winner. Only half way through he realized its about the hero being reborn but his pride wouldn’t let him walk away. Ahem.
Of course, the biggest message is on the T-shirt with meaningful slogans like the one above which he wears with pride.

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REFLECTIONS IN THE TIME OF CORONA (6)… LOSING IS HARD!

Ohkay, there was a bit of a lull as things looked like they were getting serious and I didn’t want to be the one to be labelled silly or frivolous. But it was also getting dull and frivolous is fun so I’m back because there is stuff to report and people are wondering if OCD is still alive and kicking. Cleaning I mean.
Yes, he is! And cleaning has gone to a new level. I mean how much can you clean something that is already clean? Those of you who are OCD will know what I mean. This time if was the big shelves with very small artifacts. Now this gives a whole new meaning to cleaning. I immediately called in sick from my home work place faking a few sneezes and coughs which was enough to absolve me from this onerous task.
From my hiding place, I observed that every small artifact (and there are dozens collected over decades from various countries) was carefully taken out, washed and dusted. This of course gave me the perfect excuse to stay away from the kitchen as well. This cleaning process took the whole day, done to the loud sound of old Indian songs (not him God forbid – can’t carry a tune, but on Google music play).
At the end of all this, OCD was quite exhausted so it was the perfect time to challenge him to a game of Scrabble. Now all OCD supporters can come out in force for the rescue because OCD came to the game saying “get ready to lose bigtime” and “I’m a scrabble champion”. Well, well, well. Guess who lost three times in a row? First time he said it was because he was tired. Second time he said he was not concentrating because the floor looked messy. Third time he came to the game full of bounce – until he lost. All this while holding a Q, U, Z and a J! Hai hai – such pouting and resistance. So now I am a cheater, cheater, curry eater. He checked and rechecked the score (which I was keeping) on the calculator. All the time I had to check his ridiculous words on scrabble check and promise I did not cheat.
Since then he has tried to get his revenge by asking me to do mundane, inane stuff like untie the ties of the dining table chairs, and re-tie them. Hello? Are you listening to the madness here? I have learnt that the most used word in these times of Corona is NO. You can always evilly add “and which part of NO do you not understand?’ So, NO is my mantra and savior.
This is how it goes from the morning.
OCD – “lets clean the store today” ME: No
OCD: “It’s raining outside so let’s put on music and clean the kitchen shelves’ ME: No
OCD: “Good morning. Which part of the house do you want to clean?” ME: None
And No – I have no sympathy with OCD’s. I swear I sometimes have the urge to strew bits of paper and clutter around the house. Just like I see him resisting the urge to spray me with Lysol. It would be the ultimate partnership revenge.

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REFLECTIONS IN THE TIME OF CORONA (5) – RANDOM THOUGHTS

Ohkay….things are settling down, but not OCD. After his below-the-belt remark about the ‘broom’, I tried to ‘socially distance’ myself and pout. Neither worked. Because I need his brain for my writing and his brawn for the housework. Besides pouting is not my thing. It only suits people with rosy chubby cheeks who have mastered the art of.
I decided to find a way to wreak revenge. So, I challenged him either to a board game or cards. He chose Scrabble (which is good because he’s undefeatable in cards) announcing “I only play to win!” He must have been referring to the games he plays with his grandchildren. He also accused me of cheating. So, the Scrabble board was set up. But wait. First it was sanitized, then the board had to be placed at a particular angle. He watched me like a hawk and vice-versa and irritated me by constantly re-arranging the tiles so they were perfectly synched. Plus, he made me draw straight lines for the score keeping which was also checked and rechecked. Sheesh. But I beat him with a huge margin. So, he’s not really speaking to me and pouting again with mumbles about how he got no vowels. He’s calling up all his cronies for support. Sad OCD. Well that’s that – so he will have to heat his own dinner tonight.
On the more human side, yesterday on the radio, while the newscaster was reading serious news (obviously from her home) a kid started crying and she burst out laughing saying it was her three-year old daughter. Same thing happened during a serious webinar I was part of. The facilitator’s two-year old son ran into the room so he had to excuse himself to take him to another room. All this puts such a warm, humane face to things we take for granted. I love it!
Lots of phone calls. Interesting one was from a Toronto family where the husband went to Pakistan (his friend gave him a fully furnished house there) while the family is still here. He was calling desperately to find ways to come back so I called the wife. She said “please please let him be there as he’s a problem and would have driven us crazy because he will not stay at home”. So, I shut up and immediately assumed the ‘social distance’ pose. I am not telling on her.
I confess that with the isolation and reflection, I’ve become a bit quieter. Reminds me of my school reports which were always Grade A but each one had a remark that said “Talks too much”. If only they could see me now.
Winning is a high. We shall live to play another day. Signing off for now.
On a serious note, Happy Passover and a Blessed Easter.

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REFLECTIONS IN THE TIME OF CORONA (4) – THE REBUTTAL

(Full Disclosure: produced exactly as directed and dictated by OCD)
People are dying & the world in in a crisis. COVID 19, 5G (Haanhji) or Deep State Conspiracy – whatever it is, its here and we have to dutifully follow the directives (easy for me as I’m used to following directions).
We have two choices: either to get consumed by the misery laid out by media and social media and die being spooked before the virus even gets to us or build the ability to laugh at ourselves and have a smile on our face even if the virus hits us. We choose the latter.
To be honest, there’s no one I’d rather be with in quarantine or isolation than my wife of 43 years (on 25 June if we live till then). I have many names for her and they keep changing according to the circumstances. These days (and for the sake of this piece) I call her either Googles (because she knows everything) or Goodzilla (when she breaks everything).
These three weeks have actually been more intense than our 43 years together because (a) I always preferred to do shift work so the crossover was pleasant and (b) I had an escape plan every three months with friends. This entailed going to a Caribbean Island with clubbing, consumption, cigars, cuisine and eventually getting accosted by some form of authority (If you’ve seen Hangover 1, 2 and 3, you’ll get the picture).
Coming to the point: a lot has been said without my permission depicting me as some kind of clean freak, a nut-job who’s obsessed with house cleaning and an OCD – all of which is true.
I wake up every morning thinking it’s all over and I can go back to regular life. But when I turn around and see who’s sleeping beside me, I realize God wants to test me some more.
Now if I had taken advantage of sharia allowance, I would have had four wives. Then I could ‘socially distance’ them and give a new meaning to the term ‘self-isolation’ just like our beloved Prime Minister who refuses to come out of isolation.
Now that I’ve been labelled OCD by Goodzilla, let me say that somebody has to do the housework. After all I’ve been doing it for 42 years anyway. The first year she tinkered around pretending to clean the house to make a good impression and because her mother was still alive and she knew I would complain. She still pretends because we’re in isolation and just the other day she said “I’m sore from using the broom” and I replied “Next time take the car instead!”
Bottom line is that I truly love my wife and when all this is all over, I want us to renew our vows and take her to Wuhan for our honeymoon where I’ll treat her to the now world-famous Wuhan bat wedding soup.
If I live to tell another tale, I will. Otherwise be safe and healthy.

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REFLECTIONS IN THE TIME OF CORONA (3)…THE TO-DO-DO-LISTS

Every evening for the past two weeks OCD announces, “we have a LOT to do tomorrow so let’s make a To-Do List”. Like a good submissive wife (yeah right – in your dreams baby) I grab a pad and paper (remember we have these all over the house in case of emergency) and sit down. I jot down whatever he says and do not remind him that the last five lists, mentioned most of the same items. That would be just mean 😊 All I do is put the paper on the side of the desk knowing that he’ll only look if I remind him – which I don’t. Survival mode.
My To-do list is simple – write a book and write a script. I am doing these as diligently as I can given the constant interruptions to pick my clothes, clear the sink, provide a snack, check the fridge and other banal stuff which gets mostly ignored. Everyday I have to do a check on the fridge to see what’s running low. This is something I’ve never done before so I find it quite irritating. I mean the fridge always has so much stuff that I can manage for two weeks but if something is low, it has to be replenished right away in case (God Forbid) we run out.
I got yelled at for walking around barefoot after reading in one meme that this is good for reflexology. Apparently, it leaves marks on the floor! I am a sucker for these things and will follow almost all suggestions for natural health cures. In this regard I suggested to OCD that he drink Apple Cider vinegar and his response was “only if you leave it out for me”. So, like a good submissive wife, every night I pour the vinegar in a shot glass (just so he thinks he’s taking a regular shot) and put Vitamin C and Echinacea out for him.
Today I was given an ‘Executive Order’ to fix the cigars i.e. humidify them. That’s been my job for years. I have to first clean the boxes with antiseptic wipes and then gently add the special humidity liquid because OCD does not want to use distilled water since its needed for hospitals. He took a special trip to get the special liquid. I’m not allowed to touch the cigars – not that I want to since I suspect they must have been rolled on Cuban maiden thighs – yuck. Although he’s well stocked with lovely Cuban cigars, I’m gently suggesting that once this fracas is over, he take another trip to Cuba with his friends (Aaaahhh soon)
This is to prove that I’m not completely useless and do a few things that he can’t. I do all the computer and technology work because OCD never learned to do banking online. I want to teach him in case I am no longer around but he is resistant to old-age learning.
He’s quite chirpy for all the attention and sympathy he’s getting. I’m ready for him to dictate a rebuttal which I will happily type up and post but that’s a challenge I’m waiting for him to take up when he’s done cleaning, mopping and wiping.

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REFLECTIONS IN THE TIME OF CORONA (2)…a day in the life of..

7am: Wow slept in. Its late. Must jump out of bed…ouch that hurt the back. Ok slowly wash up and say prayers. Read the usual one page of Quran making marking in pencil stuff that needs more reflection or discussion. Realize hubbly is catching up fast so decide to fast forward a few extra pages.
7:30 Daily conversation with God. Look outside and see the weather. “Dear Allah..I know you are really really busy with the Corona stuff but if you have time, could you please make the weather a bit better? Someone recently quoted you as saying natural sun is good inhibiter of the virus so we could all use some sun. No pressure. Whenever you can as we have months to go. Thank you so much”
7:35 Hubby is asking for breakfast. I run to the kitchen (well ‘run’ would be an exaggeration so let’s say I breeze into the kitchen) where OCD has already started to clean. Before he can ask for eggs benedict, I boil the kettle and make his regular peanut butter on toast. I mean he knows too many eggs are bad for cholesterol. Put two Tapal teabags and Earl Grey loose tea in a teapot and set to brew while I fry an egg for me. Still at breakfast and he’s asking “what’s for lunch? “. I leave him to clean and go to the other end of the house which is only a few yards away but I can hear him.
8am Is it evening yet? OCD is busy disinfecting the house so I sneak away to the computer pretending to work from home, but as soon he sees me he says “ I have something really important to do so vamoose”. I slink away not letting on that was just a ruse. Now I can peacefully read the newspaper in the bedroom. But he’s looking for a way to respond to the first piece I wrote exposing his OCD. So, he sits at the computer and yells “How do you spell ‘responsibility’? What do you call “bekaar” (useless) in English? How do you spell ‘cleanliness?’ etc. etc. I get the message.
8:30 Can’t concentrate on the news as its mostly negative. Look at my whatsapp messages to figure out which conspiracy theory is the best. It’s the Chinese! No, it’s the Russians! Actually, it’s the Israelis but could be Iranians. Not to forget that it’s all done by Trump and Pharmaceutical companies.
Pick up pad and paper. (There’s pads of paper and pens everywhere because what’s not written is soon forgotten). Try to make a list of what I should do today. Not much comes to mind. So, start thinking of lunch. The freezer is fully stocked but I decided to cook something fresh. Bad move as it creates a mess in the kitchen and OCD is hovering
9:00 Start calling everyone I know in Pakistan. Sister-in-law complains that I always call when it’s her prayer time so apologize and make mental note (written note) to not call for a few days. Call brother-in-law in London who is coughing and hacking but won’t go to the doctor. Give him a piece of mind – I guess he won’t be calling back. Exchange recipes with niece and call my sister who is suffering from major anxiety so do my therapy practice on her. Then get tired already.
10 Take a shower and put on red lipstick (it’s down to its last but hurray found another one stashed away in a drawer I had not cleaned before) OCD makes special note of this fact and reminds me to clean the drawer. I gently suggest that if it bothers him so much, he should do it. He takes this personally and goes to the solarium to pout
Full Disclosure: Hubby is a Cancerian who wears his heart on his sleeve and is prone to being over-sensitive and pouts when told off. There’s a lot of that going on these days. Cancerians also love to hug, cuddle and demand lots of expression of love but social distancing is the excuse I use to keep him at arm’s length. Anyhooo……
11 Lunch is ready but I don’t want to eat so early so munch on some snacks which become a lot of snacks. Snacks need a drink so have a Fresca while OCD counts how many are left in the stash of dozens.
12-1 Lunch while being forced to watch a mindless, thoughtless game show – not my choice obviously. Gently suggest he take a walk. He agrees and goes outside while I walk in the corridor outside the condo – Okay its short but sweet and I feel great so in a gesture of goodwill I decide to do the dishes. No point. OCD does them again mumbling something to the effect of “wish your mother could see you”.
1pm Lie down for a nap. I try read for a while. Hubby asks “what are you reading?” I show him the book. “What’s it about?” I smile and say “you read it when I’m done” at which he turns over and in 5 minutes he’s snoring. Takes me a while to nod off.
2-3 We wake up according to our body clocks. Mental note to fix the radio clock that automatically comes on to loud music because when the time changed and clocks were being reset, somehow this one got on an automatic timer. Mental (written) note to ask my son about this and all the other technical issues we face
3-4 Evening tea. This time no teapot brew but straight in teacups. He wants a snack and lists a lot of things. Cookies do the trick. I had a go at making corn muffins which are just okay. Baking is not my forte
4 Write a few lines of my script (yes, I’m working on a script for a play) and reply to the 3 emails I’ve received. Learnt a new word “ikigai” (Japanese word meaning a reason for being”) and wonder how to use it in my writing. Facetime my grandkids and talk to them for a while. Am teaching my six-year old granddaughter one Urdu word everyday while her Dad tries to intervene with naughty words. Those are the only ones he knows.
Is it night yet? I’m yawning
5 Time for another snack. Looking for an excuse to go out but can’t find one because everything we need and more is already here. Watch one episode of a Pakistani drama but it’s depressing so decide not to watch anymore. Thinking of who else to call. Work on my book but am stuck
6-7 Putter around kitchen to make dinner. Mental block on recipes. Manage to put something together. Prayer times are great markers in the day. After Maghrib (sunset) prayers we have dinner while hubby consumes ….. he is so grateful that LCBO is considered essential service. Then we argue over which one movie to watch and who gets to sit in the recliner. Thank God for Netflix. So far, we’ve seen five Hindi and five Hollywood movies. The Indian ones were sweet arty films but after that hubby needs to get his undercover agent, FBI, Law and Order fix so I leave him to it.
Another month of this and the forensic experts who will come to investigate will be amazed that the “motive” was the TV remote!!!!!
9 Walk again and ingest medicines and try putting off going to bed early. Ipad comes in handy while hubby watches non-stop TV.
11 I’m in la-la land. Tomorrow is another day but will be a repeat of the same day.

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REFLECTIONS IN THE TIME OF CORONA

Remember the blackout in 2003? I was at work downtown and then stuck on the roadside because there was no public transit. My two loving and dedicated sons meanwhile took over. One handled the phone and the other who worked in a bank, handled the finances (ATM’s had stopped working). Somehow, they managed to find me wandering around Lakeshore and bring me home.
Seventeen years later, in a unique COVID crisis they said “Mama and Papa you are old. Don’t leave the house”. Which is a reality that we don’t want to acknowledge. We dream that our kids will be there for us all the time but they have their own families and jobs that they have to attend to. One son owns two restaurants which are now closed so he’s at wits end wondering how to cope. The other one works in an office where he is the only person on site running the place. The stress is real and we, as parents worry about the future.
My daughter in law is a flight attendant and she tells me about the difference in attitude. The privileged ones who are returning from West Palm Beach, Florida grumble, moan and groan the entire way. The ones coming from South America thank the flight attendants profusely and show immense gratitude and empathy.
So, what does COVID 19 mean to two retirees living in a small two-bedroom condo? Well let me tell you it can strain the best of relationships. Even after 43 years of being happily married, we are getting on each other’s nerves. To be honest the success of our marriage lies in the fact that my husband worked for an airline and therefore he worked shifts. Which meant that we were rarely home together, even on weekends so when we did meet it was great to catch up and show some love and romance.
However, as we know, too much togetherness can wear you down. With one computer in the house we have to take turns and time each other but there are moments when kick-kick, nudge-nudge is needed.
I am in self-isolation because (as reminded constantly by the kids) I’m a senior and my immune system is not the best. While kids say we are old, the grandkids think we are gold and keep in touch a few times a day which is the highlight. We send each other jokes and riddles. It’s hard to explain to my four-year-old granddaughter why she can’t hug me but we tell her its only for a short time – I hope. I miss the physical contact a lot.
Hubby who should also be home gets cabin fever and takes a drive everyday complete with mask and gloves (Thank God). He has discovered where all the coveted items are available and arrives home every day with paper towels (I swear I have enough paper towels for the next year and no place to stash them), toilet paper, masks, tissues, sanitizers etc. etc. I don’t believe in hoarding so am now supplying stuff to the kids, friends and neighbors.
However, on his rounds hubby also picks up odds and ends of exotic food items he wants to eat. In the best of time, I was never much of a cook but now there are requests for different foods every day. So, I pulled out old recipes hand written by my mother-in-law and this brings back wonderful memories. By default, we have become foodies! And with very little exercise, the weight gain has started to show. Only one friend is allowed into our home and that too after sunset. He’s from Scotland and his name is Johnny Walker. He puts a smile on hubby’ face.
Added to this is the fact that hubby’s OCD syndrome is at its height. I mean he was always a ‘clean-freak’ but now it’s over the top. The house is smelling of Lysol and you could eat off the floor. I mean how many times can you clean a small home? According to OCD, all day long and while he tries to rope me into the cleaning, I fake a backache and decline politely the first time, and with a growl the second. My brother in Pakistan was telling me that he cleaned his bedroom and bathroom for the first time in his life and I guess they are facing challenges with no household help which they are so used to.
When the term “social distancing” was announced it should have included a small warning not to go crazy with WhatsApp and bombard everyone you know with every conspiracy theory, warnings of gloom and doom, memes, jokes, spiritual healing, prayer chains and cures. (I’m guilty as well!). Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for prayers but also for prevention and precaution.
BTW I don’t like some of these terms. “Self-isolation”? Should be ‘stay at home’ or ‘homebound’ – isolation is real for many people and I feel for them. “Social distancing” should be ‘keep your distance’ even in the best of times i.e. don’t be in my face. But the need to connect with people is more urgent now than ever before.
Happily, I’m now in socializing mode. I just pick up the phone and call people and have re-connected with many relatives and friends which is so therapeutic.
I’m also trying to get back to writing prose and poetry – something I was able to do without any effort all my life – but then got writers block. It’s easy to just hang around in pajamas all day but I recall my mother (may her soul rest in peace). Despite immense pain and medical issues, she would dress up and apply red lipstick and go about her daily chores. She repeated the old cliché “when you smile, the world smiles with you. When cry, you cry alone.”
So, I’m trying to do the same. Only problem is that I’ve used up all my red lipstick and since this is not ‘essential’ service, I’ll have to do with pink.

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THE LIGHTER SIDE OF…..NO OFFENSE!

COVID 19 has brought the world to its knees. The news, social media and conversation is all about the virus. And rightly so because it seems that at least in my lifetime, we have never experienced anything like this global threat.
In my Province of Ontario, an emergency has been declared which means everything except essential services is closed. (BTW the liquor store is not closed as I guess this is ‘essential’). This is not a big deal for those of my generation from countries like Pakistan who are used to such ‘shut downs’ having lived through Martial law, coups, “piyya jaam” and major strikes. We are pretty resilient. But the peace-loving Canadian who is born here has not experienced a major crisis and is therefore in a state of shock and mild panic.
However, with every darkness there are always rays of light. Stories of people helping out show that humanity and compassion are still alive and with a mixture of awareness, precaution, dava and dua, we pray and hope that everyone remains safe. Families are bonding whether they like it or not. In a fast-paced world where parents go to work and kids to school, they are being forced to take stock and spend quality time with each other.
Keeping our sense of humor intact is also important. There are dozens of memes floating around which do make us laugh and while some people are offended, it’s a kind of therapy in a world gone mad.
And mad they have become. The ‘toilet paper” wars are very real – I’ve actually seen them happen. At the grocery store, people were lined up till outside and there was no place to park so I just left.
In Africa people came out for a rally against COVID 19. Seriously? When we are being told that social distancing (dafa ho in Urdu) is necessary, a rally?
South Asians are being pretty complacent. The desi stores are well stocked and full of buyers. The “lota” has become very popular and selling like hot cakes. I saw people buying Ludo and carom boards while Dettol is out of stock. My doctor’s appointment will be over the phone.
Indians are falling back on the practice of “namaste” while others are using “Adaab” after a long time. Many niqabis are delighted that their faces are covered and they don’t shake hands anyway.
Desis claim (like me) that we always have enough ‘daal chawal’ in stock for two weeks. We are hoarders by nature so there is always enough backup for emergencies but now there is more.
From my native land of Pakistan there are rumors that the elite Begums are self-isolating because beauty parlors are shut down so they dare not show their faces; in other news, the ‘hired help’ must come to homes for sure because what would life be without “Maasi”, driver and cook – some people are justifying this by saying they are helping them get clean but the poor people have to clamber on buses to get to work. No sympathy here.
This is also a time when evil shows it face. In Toronto a group of thieves dressed in white are knocking on doors and saying they are from the health department and need to check the house for health and safety. Then they rob the house. There are many alerts to warn people against this hoax.
I’m using this time to work on a book and binge watch Pakistani dramas – Alif being my favorite. Then we have discussions over the phone. I am also using this time to read the pile of books on my bedside.
Since kids are generally immune, but can be carriers of the virus my grandson asked me “are schools closed because the teachers are afraid of getting it”? I do not have an answer.

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THREE JOKERS AND A TRUMP!

Canadian elections are in less than a week and the cards dealt to Canadians from the political deck are: Three jokers and a Trump!

Although these may be the most crucial elections of our times, the one word that describes them is “boring”! It’s no wonder then that most Canadians are more interested in the U.S. 2020 elections rather than their own just a week away (October 21).

WARNING:
Enter the Islamists. As a Muslim, I am encouraged to see more Muslim candidates, but I fear of the entrance of the Islamists, particularly those influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood or their affiliates like the Jamaat-e-Islami or the Pakistani Interservice Intelligence (ISI) operating freely in Canada and sticking their nose in politics.

Let’s focus on the front running parties in this election which are the Liberals and Conservatives. They are so paranoid about being portrayed as “Islamohobes,” they are paying no heed to political wolves coming in sheep’s clothing.

Case in point: the introduction of Motion M103 by a Liberal Islamist member of parliament. This is a prime example of playing into the Islamists agenda.

Unfortunately, the conservatives — although promising to stand behind moderate Muslims — have shunned moderate Muslim candidates like Salim Mansur and Tahir Gora for fear of criticism.

Now they are both running as candidates for the People’s Party of Canada.

The Parties
Liberal:
Mandate: More money for middle class families, climate crisis, stronger gun control, environment and gender equality.

Conservative:

Mandate: peace and freedom on the world stage, responsible management of taxpayers’ money, a welcoming land of refuge for the world’s persecuted and afflicted, the defense of clean Canadian technologies and a clear understanding of responsibilities between levels of government.

NDP (New Democratic Party)

Mandate: Universal pharmacare, climate, clean energy jobs, affordable housing, rights of indigenous people and affordable child care.

PPC (People’s Party of Canada)

Mandate: Canadian identity (ending official policy of multiculturalism and preserving Canadian values and culture), immigration, freedom of Expression.

Bloc Quebecois:
Mandate: Canada’s leading separatist political party (only runs candidates in Quebec).

Green Party
Mandate: Environment and climate change

The Players
Justin Trudeau (Liberal)
Charismatic but plays identity politics. Famous line: “A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

Justin Trudeau has taken a beating on many fronts and is embroiled in controversies:

Paid over $10m self-confessed convicted terrorist Omar Khadr
Tried to cover up the SNC Lavalin scandal through political interference and fired Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould
While Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, a top-ranking officer was charged and accused with breach of trust for allegedly leaking confidential details of a cabinet discussion about a supply ship contract, Trudeau had to have the case dismissed due to lack of evidence
Exposure of photos with “Brown Face”
Scolded more than once by ethics commissioner for taking a family vacation at an Island of the Aga Khan
Took a family trip to India where he pretended to be a Bollywood star and danced the Bhangra while he was snubbed by Prime Minister Modi causing great embarrassment to Canada

Andrew Scheer (Conservative)
Some would say he would make a great mayor of a small town but has a long way to go in order to establish himself as the leader of a G7 country.

Scheer is terrified of being called a racist or an Islamophobe so his advisors keep him politically correct. This also means allowing Islamist candidates to be nominated by his party, as well as having meetings with known hate-spouting Islamists while promising moderate Muslims that he is on their side.

He has kept out winnable Muslim candidates who have criticized radical Islam while parachuting in prominence Islamists and Khomeini lovers.

He has learned from Justin Trudeau how to play identity politics and even though he’s a front runner, his policies on immigration, health care and climate change are similar to those of Trudeau

Jagdeep Singh (NDP)
Although the most eloquent and seemingly most caring of the lot, policies of his party veer extreme Left. He keeps calling everyone racist and will not speak out against troubling issues like the Khalistani Sikhs who want a separate homeland in the Punjab or radical Islamists.

Maxime Bernier (PPC)
Here is a man who says it as he sees it. But from the outset he has been labelled racist and is running at three percent of the popular vote.

All he wants is to be able to discuss and debate issues like Immigration, freedom of speech and trade. But in this politically correct environment, he has a real challenge on his hands as his party is brand new, so he is being shunned from media coverage.

Yves-François Blanchet (Bloc Quebecois)
Bloc Quebecois is a Left-wing nationalist party which believes in Quebec sovereigntism, regionalism, republicanism, environmentalism and social democracy. They have a very small following

Elizabeth May (Green Party)
This tree-hugging party has supported policies strengthening participatory democracy, nonviolence, social justice, sustainability, respect for diversity and ecological wisdom. Their main mandate is climate change. They have a very small following as well.

My Prediction for the Canadian Elections
My position is not unique. The majority of Canadians believe that there is going to be a minority government, which means that Canadians will have to go through this boredom once again (probably within two years).

I can only pray that the cards dealt to them at that time will be better for all of Canada.

Meanwhile my humble suggestion to Canadians is: Vote you must even if it means the choice is between three jokers and a Trump.

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