Now I have not been asked to introduce myself since the first day of Grade 5. (‘I am Amna, 10 years old. I like reading. I want to grow up to be a doctor. My favorite subject is English, and my favorite animal is the cat.’)
But I think I owe an introduction to all the 15 people from my friends’ list who have been forced into reading my blog, and the 3 people who googled ‘Sahir Lodhi’ and ended up here.
So hello, I am Amna Shoaib. I celebrated my 16th birthday this June. I believe that birthdays and numbers have nothing to do with a person’s intellect and maturity level. Growing up is a conscious decision that you take, and I refused to take the decision.
I still love reading. This passion has only grown with age. I have read almost all the Jane Austen novels, hated almost all the characters in them. I have since read Jung Chang, Albert Camus, Arundhati Roy, Mohammed Hanif, Faiz, Jalib and Reza Aslan to name a few. I am starting Rushdie and Manto and Kafka and Ayn Rand this year. All my favorite books have taught me one thing. It’s not the unnecessary plot twists or a thrilling plot that make a writing. It is the story telling, how the author chooses to engage with the reader, the type of immersion the author him/herself has with the characters, and the traces of his/her own thoughts that the writer has left on the pages. That is what has the power to make people laugh, weep, reflect.
Turns out, I will not grow up to be a doctor. I have no idea what put me off from my ‘life-long dream’. Perhaps it was that I grew aware of my increasing interest in subjects like globalization and economies. Or perhaps it was Grey’s Anatomy. Definitely Grey’s Anatomy.
I don’t know what I will grow up to be. I like to tell people that I am an aspiring writer. This makes me look like a person with an aim, a goal to work towards. Frankly, I don’t have any future plans. I plan to write books and direct movies and understand global economics and act and read and bungee-jump and travel and whatnot.
English continues to be my favorite subject, primarily because of my love for reading and writing. Also because English teachers are the kindest. Economics is also popular with me. I enjoy Math sometimes.
I never liked cats much. They never liked me much. If I pass a stray one on the street, I have no desire to take it home and cuddle it and take photos with it. No. We both will give each other dirty looks, and scoff. The cat will then move aside, accepting the superior position that this unfair world has accorded me with for being a human.
Oh, and I am a feminist. This is one word that I did not know back in Grade 5, along with a million other words like chauvinism, sexism and patriarchy. I think we need equal rights for men and women in our homes, workplaces and place of worship. Being aligned with this movement has made me feel liberated and empowered.