My friend Rema got back in touch a few weeks ago, and over the last couple of days, we've...exchanged opinions on burqas, not necessarily in the calmest of fashion on my part, to be fair. Suddenly, after I made Rema's status, a familiar name from the era of maxis and big collars popped up and I HAD to answer. My heart leapt: "OMG, it's Aunty Farida!"
Aunty Farida is related to Rema by blood, but was a friend of my family. I remember her being glam and hip - she still looks it - envying her long hair, her freedom, her utter coolness - ooh, and that RICH alto voice. And her husband, Uncle Akhtar, used to draw for me, and that totally rocked my world. I was spellbound - I was amazed someone could do that so...easily.
Aunty friended me whilst I was dealing with some 'she's crazy' (true)/'she should know some real Muslims' (I do) comments on Rema's status, with a 'Irim, I don't know if you remember me...'
Oh please. Like I could forget.
As I was typing on her wall, a chat window popped up, and off we went. Immediately, I felt surrounded by her love and warmth, totally safe, and the edge that everyone but those closest to me see just disappeared. I felt like a hedgehog whose prickles just flattened.
Finally, we got to the parent thing. And as proof that you can take the girls out of the Punjab, but not the Punjab out of the girls, it went a bit like this:
Farida: Yeh! it is good advice. Nothing can be so wrong to warrant this. You do need to talk to your mom. God forbid, if something happened to her, you will regret it for the rest of your life. So "fix it before it's too late".
Irim: *Grins* I so knew it wouldn't take you long to call it like you saw it.
If you're not Punjabi, I make you an honorary one - that was worthy of someone from Okara... ;) Ja, I know - and your kids are so lucky to have you
Farida: I am Punjabi. The guilt trip always works. [future status update]
Irim: AUNTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Darn it, I fell for it again
Farida: Next time I talk to you, I hope you will tell me you have already spoken to your mom. I love you XXXX
Irim: My mother is a travel agent for them! Love you too xxxxxxxxxxx
Farida: For the guilt trip? HA HA HA. We all mothers are alike. When you become one, you'll be the same, don't worry. [Also future status update with previous few lines] Have to go now. Hope to hear the good news soon. Love you xxxxxxx
And she does, pure and simple. When she later said, "You are like my daughter," I believed every one of those five words.
Was she blunt? Yes. But the love and support that held me as she said it, the 'I am here for you as you are' allowed me to hear it without prejudice.
She reminded me that the truth told in love is more powerful than almost anything else.
I can't even begin to know how much will change yet, but change it will.
Love changes everything.