Thursday, 13 May 2010

olde New York, new New York

For the record, the title has absolutely nothing to do with New York and is a play on words, taken from the movie Sex and the City in reference to the changes we experience in our lives and those inevitable changes that occur in places over time. Maybe you’ll find that one day, your favourite coffee shop or restaurant has closed down. Maybe your friends decide to move away to other towns, cities and countries. Maybe it’s time to change that job that you’re a little too comfortable in. Maybe a healthier lifestyle is suddenly the way to go. Maybe you’ll get married or get that baby mill working long before you planned to. Maybe you’ll find that your dreams and aspirations change as you go along because “Life happens while we’re busy making other plans”. It’s amazing how things change all the time.

Take Facebook for instance. It used to be this beautiful haven where you could stalk people as you liked, in the comfort of your own home. That was before all the bureaucratic red tape. Gone is the social media platform where one could keep in touch with friends and make new friends… misty water coloured memories… those were the days. These days, Facebook has become that horrific 10-year-high-school- reunion-that-you-desperately-wanted-to-avoid-but-got-tricked-into-attending-anyway-wearing-your-gardening-gear... the past just found a whole new platform to come back and hauntingly bite you in the ass, and on a global public scale too.

The old Facebook reminds me old cinema. There’s something enchanting about those vintage reels of tape hooked up to a projector in the middle of the room. It’s warm, timeless and a little romantic. The new Facebook feels like your life is on display at half price, on a mass produced IMAX screen in 3D, for the world to scrutinize through a microscope. And it doesn’t matter how much or little you choose to reveal, it’s still leaves you feeling… cold.

A few days ago, I received a friend request that nearly had me pee-ing in my favourite black pants. It was from a guy I knew way back. I mean WAAAYYY back. Back when I was still counting on my fingers and toes and thought that multiplication and division was God’s way of punishing me for taking more than one choc-chip cookie from the jar. I had known him for a couple of years after that (more like a decade or two) but we’ve NEVER EVER exchanged a single word! In fact, he was an ass and such a colossal ass that I had branded him and his entire family as Onagers, named after the Wild Asian Ass aka the Fugliest Donkeys in the whole world. And even that was giving him too much credit.

Needless to say, I was shocked BEYOND my core. Why on earth would he want to be my friend? This is the same guy who not only thought that he shat Italian gelato and pissed liquid gold, but spent most of our primary school days ridiculing “lesser” beings like me for not conforming to his kinds’ definition of sick inbred cultural practices. But I always gave as good as I got, sometimes even better and spent a significant amount of my seething-cussing-through-slit-eyes-&-clenched-jaw-quota on him.

So why want to be my friend? Why now? Is it because we have all these “friends” in common? (I knew that having close to 150 friend’s acquaintances from my schooling days would have its pitfalls someday). I honestly don’t see what he’ll get out of it. It’s not like I’ll ever invite him for tea, or to my wedding, or the birth of my first child. And it’s not like him and his kind are the remorseful-we’ve-changed-and-wish-to-make-amends type.

I don’t see why someone like him should be privy to my personal information, my photos, my life, after he has done absolutely NOTHING to deserve to be there. I’d rather have complete strangers looking through my intimate details; and I’d rather have freaks and stalkers going through my stuff too (provided it’s harmless). So his invitation hangs there in the electric abyss of cyberspace, looking at me questioningly, waiting to be answered.

And so Facebook has; like many things before it, and many yet to come; changed for me completely, forever. The warmth is gone. I have over 475 “friends” but I only ever see and converse with 20 of them. I’m either online at all the wrong times or they’re avoiding me. And either way I don’t care.

I just think it’s sad though. How things change. It’s like this moment right here is the best it will ever get because it will soon be gone and come tomorrow, you will never be able to re-create it, no matter how hard you try. I always think of my girls and I, and the summer of 2005. For me, it was the greatest summer of my entire life not only because we were all living and working in London, but because there were so many moments during that summer that I wish I could have captured and bottled for eternity.

After 1001 beautiful moments, the summer had waned and things had changed. Some had moved to Paris, other’s had evolved to take on adult responsibilities and I waved goodbye to what was probably the best era of my life. And even now when we meet, all of us in the same spots, in the same season, in the same mood… we can never re-create those moments. It will NEVER be the same again.

And just like that, life goes on right before your very eyes, before you can even realise it's happening. And this ladies and gents, is just another reason to live each moment like it’s your last… because technically, it is your last.


  1. your writing always makes me feel as if I was there, witness to every moment. I think a part of that is because we have had many similar moments in life, experiences you've had that I can relate to.

    Thank you for the feelings it always evokes :)

    Here's to living every moment as if it is our last.

  2. Aw thanks Shameema :) Know that when I write this, it's with alot of feeling and emotion... so those feelings these words evoke are real and mostly raw... its like a vivid memory that replays in my head, tugging at the heart strings. I keep the good memories very close to me ;) Heres to La Dolce Vita!! :D

  3. I have done a huge cull of my friends list on facebook and now have only close people and "real" friends. Much better that way.

    There's always Limited Profile for casual acquaintances! :-)

  4. AA-

    Very nice post, but I have two very important questions:

    1. The past tense of shit is shat?!

    2. Is it normal in your neck of the woods to invite people to the actual birth of your first child?!


  5. mezba - I really don't mind those who want to be my friend... alot of the people who come and read this blog want to be my friend on Facebook and as such, I tend to accept every friend request, because I really don't mind getting to know others or having them look through my stuff.
    But there are *some* people who have had a very negative role in my life and while I don't dwell or am not defined by that, I just feel like I want to leave that behind and don't want to go back there... in those instances, nothing good can come from being "friends" with those specific people.
    Incidentally, I do have a Limited Profile list lol. But I feel like I should be having people on my FB that do not require them to be on a limited profile :)

    Naeem - Wa-salaam. LOL! Ok:
    1. It's colloquial... I also like to say "Who would have thunk?"...and
    2. LOL! I said that to illustrate how he'll never be anything to me.
    Some people come and see the baby. Usually, they will have like a gathering for a few people, others have like a baby-naming ceremony. Some will just perform Haqiqa in honour of the child and feed people. Most people attend these things to gawk at the baby and to gossip.

    Some background info:
    If you go into South African lingo and dynamics... we have 4 racial "types": the Whites, Blacks, Coloureds and Indians. These racial types are not exclusive to ethnically specific people and encompass a wide variety within them. For example, the "Indians" are made up of all the "desi" people with ancestory in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India etc etc... most of whom have inter-married etc (eg. my grand-dad was from border of Pak and Afghan but he married my Grandma who was born in SA, but her parents were from India). So all us Asians are like the 4th and 5th generations and as a result, no longer identify with any Mother-land. Ask anyone here, and they will say they are South African and don't know any different. Thing with the South African Asian population though is that they have certain practices - social niceties that they adhere to. In my opinion, they are some of the most pretentious people I know... if not, THE most pretentious.

  6. hmmm...this got me thinking of the one time i decided to 'clean up my friends list' and by that i mean deleting all those that were not really friends and would not know what i am up were it not for facebook.

    then comes along a message from One Of The Deleted "Hi I notice I am not on your friends list anymore and blah blah blah." I ignored it.

    It does NOT MEAN THAT WE WERE ACQUAINTED IN HIGH SCHOOL AEONS AGO that I want you to know what shite I am up to now.

    and now that that rant is over..Thanks for the space Azra!

  7. Prixie - LOL! I find it funny how some people think that they have Rights over your information and your space. And that is how the Limited Profile was born ;)