December 2, 2012

Love in the Time of Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Part 1

In Rome, studying the menu. 
"There's a reason we refer to "leaps of faith" - because the decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable, and I don't care how diligently scholars of every religion will try to sit you down with their stacks of books and prove to you through scripture that their faith is indeed rational; it isn't. If faith were rational, it wouldn't be - by definition - faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark." 

Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabet Gilbert

My husband is traveling this week and I miss him like a fat kid misses cake. What can I say, I'm a stage-5 clinger. 

When I travel, I always pack a book, even if I don't end up reading much of it. I purposely pick a travel-tome mindless enough to skip entire chapters and still not lose the plot. I find it's fantastically useful for looking obviously antisocial on a flight

As utterly unsophisticated as I am, a lot of my friends are literature-snobs. For them, fiction is frivolous and I'm pretty sure they have some secret code that mandates they only read stuff published in an era before electricity, or set in an age of corsets and cravats, or written in cipher-like English.

My requisites for selecting a read? Peer pressure. Most recently, I got suckered into the Fifty Shades trap. So really, I'm a literary mongrel. For cool points, I occasionally pretend to have read and understood the profundity of books I've never even heard of, but the truth is, best-sellers are my best friends.

One girl's trash is another girl's treasure.

One of my all time favorites? Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, LoveHere's the gist: sad, emotionally-damaged thirty-something travels the world trying to "find herself," and love. Sounds cheesy,right? Well, before you jump to any conclusions, I'm going to ask you to take a tiny leap of faith. 

Do you have faith? Do you believe in miracles? Me? Absolutely! I'm not sure it's possible to answer yes to only one of those questions. And trust me, after what I'm about to tell you, by the end of this little chit-chat,  I'll have made a believer out of you too.

I believe in love with all my heart and soul and I'm convinced love believes in me too. How else could you explain my falling head over heels for the boy next door. Okay, not literally next door, but the husband and I did live down the street from each other before we got hitched. I mean, that has to be some sort of a sign, right?

He's also my sister's husband's best bud from back in the Aitchison days. Very convenient, huh? No stiff introductions, no awkward dinners, no stunted conversations. Fate? Who knows? I'm just telling you the facts. 

The Boys with their Biwis.`
The thing is, leaving logic behind and reveling in irrationality can make mundane facts so much more fun. It can make you believe that anything is possible. It can even make you believe in miracles.

So, what would you do for love? Usually, that's a rhetorical question, but I'm notorious for using it literally to manipulate my man. "If you love me, you'll change the channel." "If you love me, you'll get me a bag of chips from the kitchen at 2:00 am because I'm too chicken to go myself." "If you love me, you'll call McDonald's for delivery because I don't want to waste my breath talking to an annoying customer rep." It's cool, though. He knows I'm not serious...most of the time.

I'm just grateful he still dignifies my yammering with a response, even if it's a negative one (although, it rarely is). But it's not the snacks and servitude that make me sure that I've picked a winner. I really believe we were meant to be.

How can I be so sure? Well, let's get back to the facts.

Observe the glazed look. He mastered the art of
zoning out before he signed the paperwork.

My husband and I met when I was 24 and he was 25. Wait, that's not entirely accurate. I've known him since I was 14, but it took 10 years, moving to the ultra-convenient location of "down-the-street," and the Miracle, for us to realize we should get together. What can I say, we're both super-lazy. After that though, it took no time to go from neighbors to newly-weds.

So what exactly is the Miracle?

I'll tell you in a second, but let's get something straight before I launch into verbal orbit. What I'm about to tell you is 100% real. No lies, no exaggeration, no frills. I swear, I'm not pulling a James Frey on you. Everything you read from here on out is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me, God! And trust me when I say, it's a tale worthy of being a top-seller.

The premise of the story is fairly simply; two young, irresponsible fools in love plan an evening out. Diamonds go missing, chaos ensues, and the night closes on one heck of a dramatic note. If you think there's nothing remarkable about losing jewelry, I'd have to agree with you. What's fascinating is the things people do for love. 

Always dancing like no one's watching.
I would dress to the nines. Make-up, outfit, hair, the works. And of course, jewels. It was during one of these attempts to wow my beloved that I lost my mother's enormous  diamond earring. How could I do that, you ask? Frankly, I blame my grandmother. 

Basically, Nano has a regulatory procedure in the event that my sister or I decide to don giant jewels. Accessories must travel in one's purse to the final destination. You must then spend 10 suffocating minutes in your car, contorting into awkward positions to adorn yourself with said jewelry. And once you decide to return home, you are required to waste an additional 10 minutes of your life, twisting and turning to remove all adornments and place them back into your purse so that they may return home safe and sound. If you make it back in one piece too, that's just a bonus. Once home, the jewelry must immediately be returned to it's legal guardian, my Mom.

In theory, it's a great plan. In reality, not so much. 

See, I followed Nano's plan diligently, down to the tee. In a car packed with way too many people, I somehow managed to remove my earrings and slip them into my clutch for safe-keeping. At that point, I had no idea being so responsible would become the cause of so much rage!

The couple T and I can only hope to become one day. Over 50 years
together and not a day goes by when NanoNana don't hold hands.
"Just one last step and I'll be relieved of this diamond-encrusted burden," I thought happily. 

The second I got home, I popped open my purse and absently fished around for the earrings. It was 3:00 am and I could picture my Mom sleepily accepting her property. I pulled one out while my man recapped the highlights of the evening. But as I rooted around some more, I realized my purse was empty!

Time stood perfectly still for what seemed like an eternity as the gravity of the situation slowly sank in.

One half of a pair of diamond earrings, that probably cost more than my college tuition, was gone!  

In my head, I began to plan my funeral arrangements. My mother was going to kill me!

Let me tell you a little bit about my mother. She's a champion at child-rearing, just not in a conventional way. She's my best friend, but is also completely capable of striking fear into my heart in the blink of an eye. It's cool having a mom like her. I never had a curfew, my boy-buddies were all her betas, and having fun was totally fine. But with great power comes great responsibility and she never let her kids forget that.

Long story short, you don't mess with my Mom. 

My best friend, my heart, my soul.
My heart was pounding at a hundred miles an hour as I quickly told T (my future husband) about the missing earring. He looked at me in disbelief, insisting that I reinspect my purse. I begged him to check in the car. We both came up empty.

"You have to tell you mother," he explained.

I sat stunned in silent contemplation. "We have to go back," I blurted out. "Back where?" he questioned.

Okay, let's backtrack a bit to the part where I told you that the car I was riding home in was packed with an entire posse. For a short drive, I see nothing wrong with piling in, but being stuck together like sardines all the way back from Thokar to DHA? That's just ridiculous and that late at night, dangerous too. 

So in an attempt to create a more secure scenario, we pulled over at the side of the Canal, flagged down a friend's car, struggled to unload passengers and struggled some more to get them into their new chariot. And during this manic hustle and bustle, I dropped my purse roadside. I picked it up in a hurry and jumped back into the car.

"You dropped your purse where?" he asked. "Stop yelling at me," I whined. He wasn't yelling, but his absolute shock at my stupidity brought on the waterworks.

"We have to go back," I pleaded.  "You have to tell your mother," he insisted. "But we have to go back," I cried. "Okay, but first you have to tell your Mom," he replied. "Fine, fine," I said, knowing that if I wanted him to head back in search of a needle in a haystack I'd have to budge on this one.

Wearing a diamond , only this time it's on my finger.
Walking to my mother's room, I could feel a sickening feeling rise in the pit of my stomach, the kind of churning only brought on by the fear of death. I saw my life and my inheritance flash before my eyes. And finally, I knocked on her door.

No answer. No sound of movement.

I felt weak with relief. My mother was still asleep. Suddenly, fantasies of going back and recovering that diamond sprang into my head. I just needed to stall long enough. And in the morning everything would go back to normal. Yeah, totally normal. 

I didn't have the nerve to knock a second time. And that's when I heard it. 

The rustle of a blanket, followed by padded footsteps, and then the door's lock clicking open. In retrospect, I think that click coincided with what I was convinced would be the last beat of my heart.

To be continued...

Read Love in the Time of Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwiches PART 2

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  1. post part 2 please! love the narrative :D

  2. Hira, thanks for your support! Part 2 will be up soon. To stay updated, join the Hunger & Haw Hai facebook page at and remember to tune in and give me you thoughts :)

  3. Never knew the adventures behind your love story :)
    Can't wait for part 2...

    1. It's definitely a story I'll enjoy telling my kids :) Part 2 is coming up over the next couple of days so, stay tuned!

  4. Loved da way u explained ... and i cud visualize it too ... waiting for da next part

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Aisha :) The next part is out too. Check it out here and do let me know what you thought of the ending. Thanks a million for reading!

  5. Insha!!! Lol. Love it... you write like you're having a highly animated conversation :) so enjoyable especially love your comment about how friends look down at fiction hahaha rings so true!!!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And it's great having a fellow blogger here :)Love how beautiful your blog is. All the good things in life in one gorgeous place. Two thumbs up, my love!

      Check out Siddy's blog at for all the beautiful things in life, now!

  6. Thanks for stopping by, Steven! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post.


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