Saturday, December 19, 2015

Mo's boxes!

Ventnor, Isle of Wight
And there I was once again in beautiful Ventnor, tranquil and pristine, cozily perched on a cliff facing Ventnor Bay, cloaked in the wintry hues of blue and grey. According to Charles Dickens “the prettiest place I ever saw in my life”.

It has been almost four months since I last met Mo, so I could hardly wait to see him upon reaching the Isle of Wight. Once in Ventnor I quickly deposited my luggage at the B&B where I was staying  for the night and and rushed off to St. Catherine's to meet my boy.

The steep climb up Grove Road that leads to Mo’s school building is flooded with emotionally charged memories for me. The first time I walked up that road was when Mo spent two nights at the school as a trial leading up to his admission.The next memorable walk up the slope was when I dropped him off to school as a new student. You can only imagine what that was like! Thereupon followed numerous picks and drops during half-term and term breaks. Today was another such trip, this time to bring back Mo to London before Christmas.

I was let into Mo’s boarding house by his classmate and walked into the common area where he was sitting with his care staff wrapping Christmas presents for us, his family. Mo stood up when he saw me enter, his expression changing imperceptibly, hinting at a mix of happiness and excitement that he was probably feeling. Before he could say or do anything I gave him a hug. Only, Mo was not hugging me back, in fact he seemed to want to get over the act as quickly as possible. I immediately picked up on his discomfort and let him go. That instance, Mo’s classmate Nikki entered the room and excitedly began introducing herself to me. Extremely enthusiastic at seeing a visitor at school Nikki offered to show me her room and I simply did not have the heart to say no. I went along with Nikki whilst Mo quietly slipped away to a sofa on one side of the room where I found him sitting on my return.

Just to make it clear, I was not in any way offended by Mo’s distant behaviour. “Oh my god he doesn’t love me any more, Mo has forgotten me!” were not my thoughts at all J. For Mo’s reaction did not come as a surprise to me. It just confirmed my hypothesis about Mo and his ‘boxes’.

Mo’s ‘boxes’ live inside his head. They help Mo organise his environment into neat little categories which assist him in figuring out the world outside his head. Following are a few of the ‘boxes’ that I have managed to figure out so far:

The Family box
For Mo family consists of his  brothers his father and me his mother.  Every one else can go fly a kite! Well not exactly. Grandparents and cousins were in some other category for a long long time till  years of insistence and long winded explanations by ‘ ‘Mo’s family’ finally bore fruit and the latter were allowed the privilege of entry into the family box. At least outwardly Mo agreed to let them in perhaps just to get the rest of us off his back.

The School box
Mo’school is in a very exclusive box. The fact that Mo was not entirely comfortable to see me in St. Catherine’s was because I did not belong in that box. I had crossed the boundaries of the family box into the school box and that had disturbed the balance of the boxes in Mo’s head. Hence, throughout my stay at the school, I could sense the poor chap wanting me to leave. Alas I had not travelled 10,000 miles for nothing. I had meetings with the staff at school and I was adamant to have them. Anyway, once Mo and I left the school for London, he was back to his usual self “Mama I adore you”… I had returned to my little box and restored the balance.

Likewise, it is inconceivable for Mo to think of Murad or Mikail, his younger brothers, as his friends as well as a brothers though Murad at least has played the role of one since forever. But Mo will not allow the possibility of mixing the two relationships and I have left it at that.

Nationality and Religion boxes
This box is a funny one. Hence if you are Pakistani, you have to be a Muslim and if you are Australian or Italian (basically white) you can only be Christian. There is simply no choice in the matter! Since Mo has spent most of his life in Singapore this box could potentially present a huge dilemma for him due to the multi- cultural aspect of the city. However, Mo’s figured it all out. Thus, there are only Indians in Little India and Chinese in China town and you can hit your head against the thickest wall and turn yourself black and blue but this will not change!  In Little India, Singapore, the following conversation was overheard x100.
Mo: “There are only Indian’s in Little India!”
Murad pointing to someone:  “Look, look Moeez,  there is a white person there, look!”
Mo shaking his head firmly: “No, there can only be Indians in Little India,” very conveniently ignoring the many other non Indian faces in the crowd.
Murad almost about to tear his hair out: “MOOOOOOOOEEEZ!”

Have I told you before that Mo is one of a kind?


  1. I don't know how I found this blog ! But I love it .. U put everything in such simple words yet conveying the depth of the matter ! Reading through the blog gives such a happy view of the world at large . Keep up the good work ! And Mo is so adorable may allah bless both of u always !

    1. Thank you for your lovely wishes Faiza. Glad you found the blog :)