The beautiful month of september in Oslo felt more like summer than autumn...
a hundred years later and exams are over with...so far I have completed exams in farmacology, pathology, genetics, mokrobiology and biochemistry. Exams are strange in that as soon as I have left the exam room, I have literally forgotten the subject. D tells me that all the information is there somewhere or other. It's difficult to imagine...

September was a beautiful month, with lots of sunshine and the shimmer of gold shining of the leaves of the trees, my mother's visit (in 8 years) and my birthday. Because of the exams I never got to celebrate in a big way so I am planning a birthday party, one month later, on saturday. Have bought some beautiful candles and naplins for the occassion.

D and I have been discussing what I should make food wise. He's great at starters and choosing wines! the menu will be a little something like this:

starter: pasties filled with salmon and chevre.
Rocket salad with baby tomatoes on the side.

Main course: Baked salmon in pasto sauce of garlic, ginger and fresh coriander, served with sweet potato chips and a huge green salad.

Cheese time!!! I hope they are all into the cheese thing...

Desert: Nigella Lawson's chocolate cups, hot out the oven and divine served with chocolate.

I have invited Gabs, Cecile, Tora, Marianne, Sonya, Karin, Tracey and Bjorg...

D and the boys are off to the cottage in the weekend so I have the place to myself...

Looking soo forward to cooking for these special bunch of people I am grateful to know!

taking the boys to the cinema today and then out to eat! It will be Elias's first cinema veiwing!!!
things are strange at the moment
I am exhausted.
Woke up at 4am and started washing down doors, sinks and bathroom floor. Listened to BBC world. Iraq is close to civil war after an attack on a shia tomb or something. 40 million pounds were stolen in what is one of UK's biggest bank robbery. ...and the news goes on. We are today afraid of terrorists, bird flu, cancer, AIDS, drug addiction, depressions, allergies by the dozen, not having the looks, not being good enough, finding that we would just love to fall out of the rat race...

He is making me aware of my ratty side.
It's a good thing. He tells me when I am growling, hollering, snapping. He is making me aware of the traces of maliciousness that are there on the tongue. I appreciate it, in my new found journey of the self. I need that.

I rob myself of the pleasure of life, cause half the time is spent feeling guilty about how I treat the people I love most in the world. But there must be a pay off or I wouldn't do it? I have asked myself this question a hundred times and honest to God its just a moment of combustion (literally)...I get it out instead of allowing it to simmer inside me. The ragged ends of a dirty home, or crowded hallway, full of us, who are dressing in winter clothes and a baby crying at my feet and a little boy of 7 who can't find his gloves...and then I want out and away and then I holler and we are all out, shuffling down the stairs with ice skates and rucksacks and baby blankets and don't forget his pack lunch...oh god the car keys...

Back home after delivering them to the designated workplaces and schools, I pick up the newspaper, the glasses and plates, wipe down the table and put out my books...

The people I love most, and ploughing through the medicine books because of them..It's worth it. Every bit of it, minus the hollering.

ps its nice to blog again.

Now back to the blog.

posted by aminah at 9:54:00 am 0 comments

The christmas holidays have given me a bit of a break from my studies. I had nearly forgotten about this blogsite until a friend recently mentioned it over dinner. I haven't had time and I feel rottem to have began something which has no end in mind...mind you I think the blog dies with the blogger and I ain't dead yet.

The weather in Oslo: icy though on Christmas day it was unussually mild and the sun was blindingly bright as I drove the kids towards my sister's place. D prepared dinner: salmon pasties, small petit brouches filled up with an assortment of smoked duck, prawns and caviar, salmon...the main course consisted of a whole roasted duck (roasted very slowly until the skin was soo crisp and the meat fell clean from the bone), new potatoes roasted with herb de provence and olive oil, asparagus, and a green leaf salad. We forgot to buy cheese! After all the french delights we forget the best part of tasting the red wine! Polished of the meal with the chocolate orange cake. H was sick with a high fever as was my mother in law so there was a lot of cake left for the rest of us!

I am coming down with something right now...the flu. Itchy throat and heavy headed.

I have a pile of books to read for school. Back there on the 6th january. We are moving to a beautiful building which was Oslo's old Mariner college. It has this magnificent veiw over Oslo's fjørd! I was just trying to find a picture of the place...but instead ended up looking at people looking joyfully happy! Amongst others Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes! Lovely!
There is nothing not worth eating these days. I feel hungry all the time. Went jogging this morning to get away from the fridge and it's calling. It was minus 4 out and I felt out of shape, unhealthy and my heart felt like it was being slammed against a brick wall. Came home defeated, made myself a cup of camomille and cinnamon tea, read the newspaper then set about reading my philosophy books. I have an exam in less than 4 weeks time and I should be panic ridden but I'm not.
I am strangely calm and strangely focussed and weirdly self disiplined. Who is this new me?
Well she's still aching for something sweet...somethings just never change.
Our walks of late are webbed in silence &
The cold keeps our fingers interlaced.
The sharp edges of falling stars sear the backdrop of an ebony canvass,
Revealing ancient wounds from our pasts,
Which bleed upon us during these walks upon silent streets.

The moon swings over us; a pendulum of the time we hold sacred to us;
For is it not with that you measure your certainty by?

There is an apartment overlooking picturesque homes, with windows fringed with flowers
And weeping willows.

Our walks of late are of sightings of possible homes, with warmly lit rooms.

I dream of rooms
With clusters of cushions and the spill of books and glasses of winter wine standing tall on mahogany tabletops.

I dream
Of husbands and wives reliving those first kisses, those first moments just after the little ones are tucked up in bed and they sigh a sigh of relief.

“I thought when I saw you today…God she is beautiful” the tiniest hint of something unfounded grazed your words and I wanted to bandage up my feelings and keep you at an arms distance because my wound was seeping too.
And bloody words are so cruel.

4 hours later my eyes bloodshot
and imaginary movements have flung objects across each room and smashed everything that was home.
Was home to me and a stop off for you.
My hands are bleeding and my revealed veins are pathways to horror, dripping blood across the floor and wounding myself wasn't intentional but now is irrevocable.

I am but a heap of flesh in a corner.
You will find me if you follow me down that thick muddy garden path.
I will be unrecognisable and you will hardly remember that girl…

God she was beautiful.



















I talk death and I assume you comprehend,
Such merriment.
HA!
I stalk the sun in May
Making the most of the good weather
I dig up mounds of earth in
My designated plot in the garden.
I
Brush up the remnants of winter
& wash down the chairs and the table
Where we sat last night & when
I interpreted your loyal patience as an opportunity to talk
Death...I got it all wrong.

You in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt
& smiling widely, asking me to smile back
& I couldn’t cause it hurt.

Me in my sphere
You in yours,
&
Never overstepping that tentative line
Between us
Even in a photograph.
Me in my designated plot
knee deep and our laughter
catching the moment together!
I was far from inconspicuous in those rags and the powder painted face.
Lipstick slipping from my mouth onto the wine bottle I drank from.
The party was full of bad disguises.
& I was by far the worst.

I found a seat on the sofa and clung onto my bottle of wine;
A nervous wreck washed up on the strangest of shores.
I first noticed you when you came out onto the balcony,
Where I stood with my friends;
An entourage of eccentrics blowing rings of smoke out into the sharp
Autumn air.

You were clad in a Victorian shirt and fake blood ran from your mouth.
The girls were craning their heads to the side for the fatal bite.
And you bit into their dainty pallid necks.
Aha! A vampire!
But something gave you away when you stood before me
Preparing to bite me and I had said ever so politely “No Thank you”.
Your beautiful eyes gave it all away…
Perhaps even deceived you.

Later you asked me to dance and I declined.
Again you had asked and I had stumbled fourth
Moved my arms and legs, said that the music was crap
And stumbled back to my seat…
(I had already left you with no prior warning.)
You found someone else to dance with,
A faceless girl in black or red,
I don’t remember.
I recall feeling drunk and being daring enough to kick you.


My eyes followed your every move,
And the rest of the party was only a backdrop
For greater things…
In the bathroom, hallway, someone’s bedroom, perhaps even the kitchen (Did we?) we kissed
…till our mouths swelled with the taste of mango…a glorious fruit.

Even then I knew my hands had found a home
Entwined in your hands.

But here we are 5 years later

And I can still taste the mango of our first kiss.


How you can help What UK charities are doing to help the relief effort in south Asia James Sturcke and agenciesMonday October 10, 2005
A number of charities have already launched their own appeals to help with the earthquake relief efforts in south Asia, with most stressing the need for money rather than gifts.
The British Red Cross has pledged £250,000 and is asking for donations to help support thousands of people whose homes and livelihoods have been devastated by the quake
Oxfam, Islamic Relief, Unicef and London-based relief agency Muslim Aid have also started urgent campaigns for donations.







Islamic Relief has pledged £2m to relief efforts and is hoping to raise further money from collections at British mosques.
Oxfam reported that £50,000 was generated within the first hour of its appeal.
Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, estimated more than £3m would be collected from mosques across the country as the shocked community prayed during Ramadan.
A total of more than £2,900,000 has already been pledged from charities since the earthquake struck on Saturday.
These are the details of how to make donations supporting Asian earthquake relief efforts:
British Red Cross: www.redcross.org.uk/asianearthquake or call 08450 535 353.
Oxfam Asian Earthquake appeal: www.oxfam.org.uk or call 0870 333 2500 or make a cash donation at your local Oxfam shop.
Islamic Relief UK: www.islamic-relief.com or call 0121 622 0622.
Unicef South Asian Earthquake appeal: www.supportunicef.org
Muslim Aid: www.muslimaid.org or call 020 7377 4200.
We are starting our lives anew.
I can see that edge of apprehensions bladed indecision cross between a look, a glance, a retake of, is she the one?
I love him.
I know that now when I see that this is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, for better or worst. What does that mean? Is it my hand in his at a hospital bed? Is it looking after a sore back with warm bottles and paracetamol? I see companionship and a friend I am scared of losing. We share so much but I still have my sanity and that’s the beauty of the love we share.
Today I walked with M through the woods. It was a long walk and I felt the muscles in my legs shake from the strain of the downhill trek. We stopped at a little café. There they sold fresh bread and lovely home-baked cakes. We were ravengeous with hunger and ate cake and slices of fresh bread, washed down with cups of steaming tea. I thought of him as I sat there at the little table sprinkled in crumbs and thought it would have been nice to have done this walk with him. I know he would have enjoyed the sharp air and the beauty of autumn’s colours. The expanses of lake we passed and which I threw stones down into. M had brought her dog and that too had made me laugh. How her legs waggled, that strange doggy walk. It would have made him laugh to.
We are starting our lives anew and I am excited and worried all at the same time.
This is a lifetime decision. Will he be there on my more than likely ugly than uglier days? How will I cope? More importantly how will he cope?
There will be days when we will sulk and there will be days when all we will want to do is hold around each other in the most perfect way.
Lets start afresh.

a drawing
Feed me mouthfuls of love. Nourish me. Cherish me. Bleed for me a tear of crimson blood. Full of vigour and sudden impulse, could you do that for me? Nurture my strange proclivities, whatever the caprice. Revere, adore & treasure me. Devour my words as your own. Drive me but allow me dominion. Tust me. Kiss me. Be mine solely. Speak to me! Think outloud! Learn, teach, express with me. Love me for little me & not a momentary fancy, but a tangible happy everlasting union of 2. Never mislead me with a feigned devotion. Trouble me with the truth. Never spare me. Feed me chaste love, untarnished of uncertainty or dishonesty. And in every way and more I will reciporate.
There is no harm in voicing a doubt. Should be well thought out. Yes now before submitting your heart into the sanctuary of marriage with pragmatic little me.
My memory is a fist tightly clenched around things I would otherwise have forgotten. I've tried to prise open the bloody knuckles. Tried pleading for her to let it go. But her determination is astonishing. Rolling up an arcade of images and scenarios I'd thought deadened by the years, are now searing through my mind, tearing up the one time peaceful ambiance I thought I'd attained, until she turned up...
And I thought this would help. I thought that putting things in perspective was helping...Until she robbed me of the irrevocable. A new day.

Morning mist over the lake. Not long before the sky turned a brilliant blue.

Decidedly out of character, my lone walk in the woods early yesterday morning.
Beautiful is not big enough word to describe the expanse of clear sky and the rich autumal colours I witnessed. There was not a soul around to disturb the ambience, well apart those of a few crows who had settled to watch me take these photographs.

A whole new world has just opened up for me; I can now walk in woods alone and not feel afraid, but only wonderfully alone. The reassurance came in the twitter of birdsong and undisturbed branches.. and a stretch of quiet reflection.

8am
As we walked through fields ravaged and salted by the winter wind and rain, your hand in mine, my hand in yours, it was as if there had never been an argument. It was as if that unsettling feeling of hurt in my gut had never been.

The cold had smartened the pain, but only momentarily. Soon your arm was around my shoulder and we braved the weather together.
.
Ugly were those words, spun by the agile hands of insecurity.

I was feeling isolated and alone. I didn’t feel as if there was anything completely mine in your country, including you. The walls in the guest bedroom felt as if they were closing in on me. I had read and reread the few English books on the shelves heaving under french novels, dictionaries and ancient magazines. Out of that room and down the wooden steps and into the kitchen, I had prepared a meal or two for us all. Afraid I was stepping on our host’s toes, in his kingdom of copper pots and african utensils, I had rushed about my buisness, eager to be finished.

I’d left a roast in the oven and a cake to cool when you asked me if I’d like to go for a walk. Or did I ask you? Perhaps it was me who had asked and it’s just that my memory wishes to remember things otherwise.

Out there, it was just us and that clean slate of countryside jostled by the mistral. We to seemed to be cleansed by the fresh air. A picture unfolded before us: wiry trees and shrubs, grazing horses and penned in geese. The muddy footpaths led us past houses which we could not see inside for peeling shutters. We wondered who was inside and was that room the living room or the kitchen. You said it could be nice to live here.

I imagine us old and grey, wisened by the years, less regretful and only grateful.

I am full of regrets I tell you. Regretful for what I said. I think you understand. perhaps not. Perhaps your silence spoke a thousand words, perhaps I was just not listening hard enough.

You were talking as we walked. I listened, wanting to understand, showing you I too could be a good listener. I think you had a lot on your heart. I did too, but then when did I not ?

Turning back to our host’s less than humble abode, I almost wanted to pull you back, afraid I’d lose you again for the rest of the vacation.

Something in your eyes told me you were here to stay.

Could we get a dog when we move here ?
Yeah if it can live outside, you had laughed.

In a falling golden leaf
The first sign of autumn.
Sitting on red benches
We
Watch a centrepiece of
Beautiful colours thrown
By the stemful
Our way.

Smudged irregular patterns
Carpet our walk
Home.
The good news first : Passing my driving test! About bloody time to. I had first started driving in 1990. Riffit was taking me out on trips round Milngavie and back, telling me to lay off the clutch a bit and showing me how to switch gears smoothly. Later I'd go out alone around the local area enjoying the freedom of a car, going round and round Baljaffray at 25mph! I'd switch on the radio and roll down the window and make a circuit of our local area and be back home for dinner. Mum would warn me that my dad wouldn't like me going of with his Datsun Sunny. Soon dad allowed me to drive on his trips to Polloksheilds, over the wet and windy M8, listening to Urdu Ghuzuls. He would warn me stearnly "SLOWLY now". Two years later when he was diagnosed with cancer, I missed the comfort of his voice as I drove illegally along streets in search of late night pharmacys.
Mum relied on me to pick up groceries and halal meats and Riffit could ask me to drive her car to the local garage for a service and I would eagerly agree to these errands. In that tiny space of a car I had my music, the heater and the sound of the rain pattering against the windsheild. What a joy!

I remembered that joy and so I decided it was about time I took my driving test. I hadn't driven in 11 years but I suppose it's a bit like riding a bike...once you've mastered it...you won't forget it. The driving test in Norway is not a simple case of theory and then 30 minutes of driving. Quite the contrary! One has to take a driving on ice test (since there is no ice on the roads yet, we had to drive on a tarmac slippy with a combination of oil and water). Also there are obligatory courses in long distance driving (we drove around 8 hours), overtaking, theory test and night driving!

And after the ordeal of 0ne month of taking all these courses and tests I passed my test!

My dad would have been proud!

This morning as the kids ate breakfast halfheartedly and I complacently brushed the crumbs of the table and onto the floor, reading the newspaper and wondering how the hell our street seems so picturesque and calm when only a few flights away there are wars, famine, floods...

...................................................................
the wind was cutting us back from the shore, the tide lay a brave walk away. The sheer distance frightened me, but allured you. You had already grabbed my arm and pulled me along with you towards it's black tongue out there in the pitch darkness.
Head still reeling from the celiah and the drinks, I wanted home.
We made an odd pair, me in my kilt and you in your simple shalwar kameez.
Now
I can see your eyes smiling, that wild mad look of come on lets do this, laughing that huge laugh that seemed to fill the silence of the entire coast.
I wouldn't follow you. I
Let you go on alone.

You almost disappeared from sight.
I was shouting after you.
Nighat lets get home now!
Come on...For f's sake!

I had to go after you. found you by the water's edge,a lonely figure, your shoes wet and your face speckled with sea water.
The smile had left your lips.
The laughter and dancing of a students night out seemed a million years ago...
As you said
It's soo beautiful. I wish it would just stay like this forever.

Perhaps already then you knew that those moments were few and counted.
Perhaps if I knew I would have stayed out there longer, less afraid

instead

of insisting it was
late
cold
dreary
and not beautiful at all
Out there at 2am on a beach in the middle of nowhere.

In memory of Nighat Waliat Ali 1973-1998
Yesterday Sabha and I drove in her new car around the city. Inevitably we didn't have anywhere to go. Everyone else we knew were decently at their workplaces and schools, while we were just aimlessly driving around the city with her new car, a nippy VW Golf, and finding great joy in listening to songs we listened to together almost 10 years ago. We ended up finding pupose in IKEA of all bloody places, piling our trolleys with unneccesary objects which we later deposited on shelves just before the check out.
We laughed alot.
We talked non stop.
I think that sometimes when we are together we end up alienating others who may happen to be around us. It's as if we were speaking a foreign language, closing out others who would love to join in on our laughter. It's just they wouldn't get it. Jokes in Urdu are difficult to translate into English and Scottish jokes are difficult to translate into Norwegian etc...but it's not just that. We have all these hidden references and are sarcasm is not for the weak hearted...no definetly not...

Today I canny just waste my day.. I have 6 books to get through before the 14th October. The kitchen is freezing so I have done like we'd do in the southside of Glasgow and that is heat up the oven and open it's door to warm me up. It was still summer weather till yesterday.
Damn.

Today before the kids woke up and robbed the tablecloth from it's place

Medina sweet house makes the best mathai (pakistani sweetmeats) in town!
Aminah's Words & Pictures

The weather is so bright and shiny and reminds me of my 20-something days, first time living in Oslo, and wanting to be a writer. No aching to be a writer. The search for the perfect diary, a must for every wanna be writer. They were always gorgeous covered notebooks, colourful and decorative. Excited to fill the untarnished pages of my book, exacting each emotion and thought. I usually sat by the sea and wrote on days like this.
And so today I was reminded of those days.
The weather is ice cream weather.
People are sporting huge sunglasses. Half their faces are hidden behind these monstrous, latest fashion accessory.

I'd wear glasses like those on my bad days when I'd need to lock the world out.

And so today the weather and the way of things reminded me of her

D bought me a china doll on a recent trip to Denmark. I had related to him a story about how when I was 7 years old I had received a china doll from my eldest sister. I loved that doll. I carried her around with me everywhere, carefully, aware of how fragile she was. One day when I returned from school I couldn't find her in my room. I searched around the house and by nightfall was in tears. My mother asked all my sisters whether they had seen the doll, but they all had shook their heads. Sister nr 4 had denied emphatically how she had not taken the doll. It was several months later when I finally found the doll, hidden well beneath R's bed. The head was cracked right through the middle and the leg smashed.
At 7, it felt sore.
When D brought the doll to me I cried and cried.
25 years later and i've healed the loss .
Stupid really.

I wish they would last longer than they inevitably will. They are soo beautiful. But still D doesn't suppose I deserve them, since I had to buy them myself! huh! Beautiful all the same and have made me happy!

finding the words to describe love
Been reading a book about family legacy and how one's upbringing has everything to say about what kind of person you are today. I had decided when I left home that I would create my own personal history and leave the past truly in the past, but there are ghosts from my childhood that still haunt me. They manifest themselves especially within the relationship I have to my siblings and ofcourse rear their ugly head under stressful circumstances.

I grew up in a house full of girls. We literally brought ourselves up. We were of course dressed and fed and given the basic necessities. Unfortunately we were given no tools what so ever to deal with school, developing our own independent ideas, battling adolescence, conquering feelings of low self worth/doubt etc. It was a constant struggle to please and appease our parents and the elder siblings.

I have six sisters. I am the youngest.

The legacy which seems to have marred us is the incapablity to love each other despite belief, choice, etc. Our parents taught us the rudimentary rules, which were among others...
!. Always keep your izzat, in other words, remain chaste, decent, polite and show that the family has a wholesome and worthwhile countenance.
2. No boyfriends or male friends.
3. No skirts after the age of 10.
4.Shalwar kameez to be worn when at home.
5. Disobedient behavior would lead to a good thrashing.
6. Don't answer back to your elders. They always know best. (you can imagine the frustration of having to live with that rule, being the youngest of nine people!!!)
7. No loud music (played when father was not home)
8. Home straight after school.
9. Work in family business...
10. No overnighters with friends
11.No friends overnighters (mum couldn't wait till my visiting friends had left. 'When is She going?*!! she would hiss at me.
They were not written rules, just a bundle of rules which I remember existed but were never discussed. My father would blow up about my sisters wearing long skirts to their first day at school and that was enough to imprint on my memory a big no no to skirts!? Ridiculous as it sounds, I am glad I got away from that whole mad weird thing about skirts and legs and thinking one is less chaste if she wears short or long skirts! I know that some of my sisters still have a problem with it and to this day I have never ever seen them in a skirt! Thats what I mean about the whole family legacy thing.., If you don't watch out, it will scar you soo badly that you will find it soo difficult to make up your OWN mind about what is right and wrong. Instead we can easily fall into the trap of mimiking the way our parents did it, and hopelessly fail with our kids, that unspoiled generation, teaching them what we were taught, by parents who meant well but didn't have the know how to know better.

If I am angry, my brow furls up like my father's did. D reminds me not to do that cause I look scary. I always end up laughing!

My sisters are repeating the same mistakes with their kids. They too demand that they are chaste, not cut their hair, not leave home, not develop, cause if they develop it means they have changed and apparently any change is bad, listen to them, use their fury in different form, either with fists or with screaming voice, demand their educational successes, prowl into their diaries, throw their clothes in the rubbish bins (those skirts!!!), tear up their books (I am guilty of tearing up H's donald duck books...learnt it from my dad, but take full responsibility for the act, and regreted it at least 5 minutes afterwards.). What is funny is the hypocrisy.
The hypocrisy where as adults they have conveniently forgotten their own rebbelious teenage years, in fear that their children will find out and use it against them.

Thats ridiculous! I'm commited to being 100% honest to my kids, even about all those times I screwed up, fell on my head and nearly broke my crown. Commited to being truly human and not without failure ( I am allergic to self acclaimed superhumans).

My second eldest sister had asked me why I never wanted to live at home again. I replied it was because nothing I did was good enough and that they would never feel proud or excited about me being their sister or daughter. Frightningly enough my father had almost predetermined the outcome of my early twenties when he would say outloud to the whole family '
'this girl will be nothing but trouble'.
Still makes me laugh.