Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Aunties and Uncles..... and very random thoughts...

Desis call everyone in our culture who would be "Mr." or "Ms" , uncle and auntie. The slightly older than us are bhai/baji (brother/sister). The blood auntie's and uncle's have further specific names like mamoo/mamee (maternal uncle/his wife).

Today I saw an uncle who lost his children. He had a bewildered expression. "school gayai thay... vapus nahin abhi ayain". (They went to school.. they aren't back yet).. It struck me how he was "Uncle". If I saw him a stranger on the street here in America, I would call him Uncle. When my cousins first immigrated from Pakistan we got a kick out of hearing them call Americans Uncle/Auntie/Baji. My brothers would often say "Is Summer Baji, or Tiffany baji coming over?"

when I saw Uncle it felt like something holding me up collapsed.... I think its because I understood him. His inflection, his bewilderment. If his fortune was different I might have taught his students in Sunday School and seen him at dinner parties.... To call someone auntie, or uncle is a very close term.... Why shouldn't it be? Arent they my uncle, auntie? What makes them not? They are a part of me and I am a part of them. They are my family. I am their family. We come from the same place. We believe in the same things.

It's not all about race ofcourse. The pain of the people losing loved ones in Guatemala is devestating.... entire ancient cities covered in mud.... generations wiped out. We cant see ourselves in the little compartments based on skin color and religion that we shelve ourselves into and only care if it affects "us". We are all part of one race. We are people. The only thing seperating me from "them" is the good fortune to not be where they are.

But can I say that the devestation of Pakistan haunts me particularly? The faces coming out of the rubble look eerily familar......They are my Uncles, Aunties, Baji's, Bhai's and I hate that I can't be there for them like they need me. I want to go there. I want to dig through the cement. I want to hold the motherless children. I want to pass out water and food. There is nothing more helpless than sitting a world away just watching. I don't want to watch the images on TV but then I feel I must. I owe it to them to care. So what if I cry. Maybe if I watch them I wont get desensetized. I will remember to think of them, and to pray for my uncles, aunties, baji's and bhai jaans out there.

If you made it to the bottom of this incoherent ramble, thanks for listening. I just feel low, I needed an outlet to express it.

25 comments:

Ejaz Asi said...

helplessness often results in outrageous passions. But you're not helpless. it was really a heartfelt post indeed. but the truth also is that many like you in your locality can contribute wherever they are by mobilizing other people to donate to the charity of their trust and more accessible. People didn't get any food on 10th morning after the sehri of 8th. Sure people r doing whatever they can and hundreds of thousands of people each hour contribute and flock to the centers of earth quake camps but over 3 lakh people being homeless, shattered with their hearts broken and lives filled with abyss, you still can do alot more than feeling helpless. Please ACT now and help others achieve some solace and a glass of milk when you still can.
Wassalam

BBCD said...

Aisha, you took the feeling from my heart and expressed them so well. its so true, the distance for us desis abroad makes watching the news so much worse. over the past three days ive donated more and more money every day, it feels like something but not enough. these people they are my auntys and my uncles and my children. The Prophet SAW said that the Muslim comunnity is one body, when one part is hurt we are all in pain. SubhanAllah, he was very right. He knew the unity of his followers.

Khizzy said...

theres this painfull helplessness at watching the footage...u just want to pick up a giant remote and press the rwind button.undo everything...make it not happen...
my khala, who cant stop crying at all the children who have died and are crushed dead or alive under rubble...keeps saying "if it had to why couldnt it have happened on a sunday!"
atleast the children would be home with their families, and not under the rubble!

Obese Girl said...

Hey Aisha,

Sometimes I feel the same way too.

Sometimes I wonder why God gave me the ability to feel - I hate feeling the feeling that I can't do more.

Sometimes I forget and get angry and frustrated but alas, the truth remains - I am a mere mortal with limited capability.

Then it hits me. Whatever we experience here in this mortal world is precisely that - mortal!

It is only temporal and everything (disasters and all) is but a trial for the eventual comings.

But still I feel...

However for now, I feel like bear hugging you.

Thanks for sharing yourself.

~ruthie said...

Aisha,
we all feel helpless when we see things that happen that impact us directly. with the plethora of disasters that have been globally publicized as of late (essentially since 9/11), it's hard to stand by and watch and NOT be able to help.

I am sorry for what you are feeling as you watch the events unfolding in Pakistan. I only hope that you can find peace within yourself for those that have been lost. I will pray for you and yours.

Aisha said...

Ejaz, thanks for commenting and you are right, aside from donating myself its important to mobilize others to do so as well..

BBCD I'm glad you could relate to what I talked about. It's difficult to watch a world away...

Khizzy I think they said a huge percentage are children under 18 who're affected.... do you know if there are any true orphans out of this? By which I mean kids who lost anyone who could watch over them....like all relatives are gone but them..

Obese Girl, It's true we're mortal and all of us will die someday. When I ask myself why, I also have to acknowlege that there were no promises life would be easy. It's a test. Sometimes I wonder if the poor are given the harshest of tests so that they will pay for any sins on earth and enter janaat quickly.

Ruthie, it does seem like since 9/11 its just one thing after the other. It can leave you eventually jaded... its the struggle not to get jaded... thanks for thinking of me.

ASH said...

By shedding the tear, by wringing your hands, by donating money, and by writing in your blog you are doing something. You are not forgetting people who are suffering and you make those who have left this dunya (this life) be remembered.

I too sometimes rail at the fact that I am not in a position to jump on a plane and just fly anywhere in the world and roll up my sleeves and move rubble or feed starving people.

But as long as a pray for them and continue reaching out with my soul to them....I am at least doing something.

estarz said...

Anytime there is a disaster it is tragic. This one is particularly horrendous for any Pakistani because we all know someone that has somehow been affected. Either thru family or friends.

Just viewing the pictures and listening to the stories brings tears to your eyes. How could this happen? is there a just god? For me particularly it is difficult to fathom.

Your post is well written..thank u.

Peace.

mystic-soul said...

In August I was feeling exactly same "low". You know what I did..I went to embassy, stamped my visa - went to travel agent - took direct flight to karachi and was drinking chai with my cousins at 3 AM...and it really worked...

"Jese bimar ko bewajah qarar aa jaye"

(Apna shaher to ma ki tarah hota hai - bulaye to jaane chahiye)

Shabina said...

Whoa, that's so strange that you posted about being desensitized, I just did that, too. But I'm reassured that our souls haven't been completely novocained yet, since there are people like y'all out there who feel the loss so heartfeltedly.

Tee said...

{{AISHA}}...It's beautiful that you call people Uncle/Aunt, etc in your culture. When I was spending a lot of time in the Korean community I picked up some of the language and ettiquete. I had an "O-pa", which means "Big brother". I wish we did this English.

I think it's normal for it to "hit home" when the faces are those who you can feel a personal connection, but the beautiful thing is that, after that, you can see yourself in anyone... Since becommning a mother especially, I can feel the sadness of any mother of any race/culture/religion when losing a child.

I wish I could be there and help in a hands on way too... There are so many all over this world who are suffering...

Keep watching, Aisha - and feel their pain. May it spur you into action to do great things. I know how deeply you hurt. Your sensitivity to this will increase your compassion for all humans for the rest of your life and that is a blessing.

Keep praying.
{HUGS}

momyblogR said...

Great post. It made me cry. More people should have your sensitivity and compassion. You are truly a blessing to all that know you. I can tell just by what and how you write.

Be Blessed.

Mia said...

Aisha,
This post truly touched my heart. I understand where you're coming from in terms of "aunties and uncles" although I am latina I have many uncle and aunties that come of different countries, races, cultures, and religions thanks to the diversity of my parent's life long friendships.
In the end we are of the all family, humans. I can feel your pain and please know that you are not alone in your sadness. I too am in pain and wish I could do more than donate. I offer my prayers and try to make sense of it all. Peace...Mia

roora said...

Pray for them Aisha, it is a disaster but it is God's will at the end that we have to submit for.

Praying and donations , each bit can help them out and less from their frustration.

BTW, you can check islamic relief website, it is a good one as I guess.

In Egypt , there is a union called " Arab Medical Union " www.amu.org.eg , they are contributing to activities in pakistan and in other countries like Palestine and Darfur

Aisha said...

Thank you soo much for your kind kind comments. They really mean a great deal to me.

Saadia said...

I agree with all the postings but I want to ask, is it just me who is desensitized or is there just a more desensitized feeling to this in compared to Katrina. For the Katrina victims I cried and rushed to donate. With this I just have little confidence that my small amount of donation would even reach the people in time, given that it takes days for me to figure out how to do anything in Pakistan.

Aisha said...

The post below this one has links to sites to donate. Particularly BBCD and Baraka have Edhi foundation on their sites who is supposed to be doing direct work there. They even take online donations. For me this event has left me heart broken. I was looking at pictures in class today and started crying. It's my family out there. Just like a family they can do things to make you mad... but in the end they're a part of you and that can never change... But even if your donaton got there three weeks later, it will still help. They need so much and those needs are going to be there for years to come...

Saadia said...

Some of these sites (redcross.org and Doctors without Borders) are donating to general emergencies around the world and I don't get why. When there was a tsunami we didn't donate to a general int'l relief fund we donated to a tsunami fund.

I'm looking for the ones who do donate specifically and so far found UNICEF and Worldvision.org, both Christian funds.

Aisha said...

try this: http://www.developpakistan.org/ Edhi foundation is helping directly

Aamina said...

You know, I just don't know what to write in these things. Maybe I'll do my klukked thing.

Sonny said...

Why did you only post pictures from Lahore landmarks? What about other parts of Punjab and more specifically Pakistan. I know you must love your home city more than anything but you are talking about Pakistan not Lahore?

Aisha said...

Sonny thanks for commenting. I havent been to Pakistan since childhood. The pictures of Lahore are there because my father went to Pakistan a year ago and those are pictures from his trip that he took. The pictures of devestation are ofcourse not my own photos but pictures from the internet.

My home city? Thats funny because Lahore is not my home city.

Dalulla said...

Aisha...
Pray for them, in your prayers, hug the motherless children, pray for the mothers and fathers that lost a dear one, Pray for them all to be patient and to pass this in as much stregth as possible.

I am sure your prayers will not be in vain. WE are all praying for them and others in distress.

Hasan the Not-So-Great said...

it hurts not being able to be there to help them. What hurts me more is seeing people stroll aobut not caring for others. Often I was one of those people and now i know how it is to see the situation from this view.

Hasan the Not-So-Great said...

also you might want to try to get peopel to donate through Islamic Relief.

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