Yesterday waiting outside a Gynecologist’s office, in a busy bustling hospital of Lahore, I let my thoughts free to wander, got lost in my favorite pass time, people watching. Trying to realize what is going on in their mind. These moments of realization are often the best creative exercise. I love making up stories in my head of the people passing by or sitting beside me. I wonder about their life, their love, their tragedy. The thought that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex, or perhaps more than my own, populated with their own ambition, friends, routines, worries, and inherent craziness, is exhilarating.
The small basement room was crowded and crammed with women, a few men, and quite a lot of kids. The place had a strong smell, a heady mix of spirit, floor cleaning liquid, with strong notes of anxiety, apprehension, perspiration and fear, with a few whiffs of joy and hope. Heavily, recently or wanting to be pregnant women of all shapes colors, sizes, parity and social status were parked and perched on highly uncomfortable navy blue leatherite sofas. Some alone, some with hubbies, a few with mothers or mothers in laws, or friends and sisters, kids, nannies, and quite a few with all of the above. They all seem to belong to the fertile female fraternity, strongly bonded by eternal sisterhood, chatting animatedly about all things estrogen, The nuisance of nausea, the length of labor, the effectiveness of epidurals, the troubles of teething, feeding and weaning, the complexities of schooling, the management of maids and the un ending quibbles about Ils (In Laws), the plots and plights of Soaps, the tacky tailors and yes, you guessed it right Energy crisis and power outages.
I have never felt a part of that Sana-Safinaz clad, blingy chappals wearing, gold bangles sporting, typical marriage material crowd, neither have I ever felt any kind of solidarity with them. Do not take me wrong, I respect motherhood immensely, so much so that given a chance I will trade my life for a child of my own, I even considered egg donation or opting for a cloning experiment, to have the satisfaction of the continuation of my own self, the creation of something human, with feelings, dreams, intelligence. How much I long for my own bundle of joy, you have no idea.
Bored I sat, for endless hours, and I think the other species of female kind identified me as a foreigner as well, no one smiled back at me. I felt uneasy, bitter and hot, and nearly snapped at some over friendly twenty something when she asked me how old were my kids and why was I sitting there?
And then I saw her, a strangely familiar oval face, someone with a certain Déjà vu, surrounded by a mysterious aura of self-assurance, and I felt an instant connection, as I looked into her dark circled heavily Kohled chocolate brown big blood shot tired eyes, and she maintained eye contact with me, her gaze was intense, mesmerizing.
There was something scarily sexy about the way she expertly twisted her shoulder length overly coloured curly frizzy hair at the top of her head with her long artistic fingers into a messy chignon, tilted her strong jaw, and smiled at me, the slightest of the smiles, a smile that says, I know your little secret, I can see across you, read your thought bubbles………….I got completely lost in that moment, that less than a second eye contact lasted for an eternity…….and the receptionist called my name, for the third time,…………and i had to come back to the real world……only at that instance, I realized that I was vacantly and absent mindedly staring at the mirror in front of me……….and that was for the first time in my entire life, that I failed to recognize Myself…………..I failed to identify Me………
11th June, 2013