women are powerful

today i had lunch with the brilliant karen whose work i got to see in her new studio. even got a beautiful piece of art i cannot wait to frame. then high tea and catching up with dear noor. finally dinner with the gorgeous obaida – superwoman who cooked all this delicious food even though she had a full day of work today. women are incredible. women are powerful <3

akimbo opening and a dholki

akimbo bookshop’s soft opening at 714 university ave (its new location) today. so proud of my dear friend rachel and the spaces and connections she creates in our community. just amazing! went to the opening with my lovely friend roberta. later in the evening, was delighted to attend a dholki for a beautiful young lady. congrats dear mariam, fazeelah, uncle akram and aunty bushra. how i love being in rochester <3

russell’s memorial service

a wonderful memorial service at the university of rochester’s interfaith chapel today, for the larger-than-life professor and human extraordinaire, russell peck. a fitting tribute with reminiscences from his children and colleagues and wonderful music and readings by his grandchildren. meant so much to me to see ruth again after many years and meet some of their family. russell’s love for literature, scholarship, innovation, performance, gardening, nature, and the outdoors, emanated from the beauty and music inside of him, everyone said. he fell in love with ruth and married her in paris, where she was studying at the sorbonne, after he saw her play rachmaninoff. what could be more beautiful. one of his students said, “he saw me.” i think that’s how i feel too. as i sat quietly in their living room waiting for my kids to finish their piano lessons with ruth, year after year, he saw me. he would discuss plays with me. he insisted i join them for their theatre in london course. he also urged me to put a book together with all of my artwork. that thought is still with me. as many said, he knew what u were meant to do, before u knew it yourself. an astounding legacy. thank u russell <3

back in new york

it’s difficult to leave pakistan. to leave family and friends and their extraordinary warmth and generosity. people have hard lives in pakistan. it’s not an easy place to navigate or survive. yet it’s saturated with vibrant colors, sounds, textures, tastes, smells, stories, music, poetry, languages, complicated histories, legacies, and constant human contact. the air is filled with this polyphonic mishmash and emotion. it’s something one lives and breathes. returning to the west feels like being stripped of rich human drama, a thick sensorial ether, the full-throated experience of life’s ebb and flow. everything uncluttered, systemized and scrubbed, but lacking soul and connection. antiseptic. oh, i know pakistan can drive one crazy. i know i will get used to the ease and conveniences of the west again. but right now, i feel loss.

art and cafe beirut

yesterday pakistani art at artsoch contemporary and ejaz gallery and then a delicious lunch at cafe beirut in gulberg. we had mutabal (an eggplant dip with a smoky flavor, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds), arayes (grilled pita stuffed with spiced ground beef, onions and parsley, a street food), and om ali, which i fell in love with in oman (it means mother of ali, a traditional egyptian bread pudding, layered with puff pastry, milk, and cream, flavored with rose water and sprinkled with lots of nuts). in the evening i took my parents and daughter to see a play at alhamra. more about that later.