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Our Lady of Alice Bhatti

Mohammed Hanif

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Men constantly feel hungry and women constantly feel sad. That's what marriage does to them. ~Teddy Butt, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti”

“She tries to maintain a nondescript exterior; she learns the sideways glance instead of looking at people directly. She speaks in practised, precise sentences so that she is not misunderstood. She chooses her words carefully, and if someone addresses her in Punjabi, she answers in Urdu, because an exchange in her mother tongue might be considered a promise of intimacy. She uses English for medical terms only, because she feels if she uses a word of English in her conversation she might be considered a bit forward. When she walks she walks with slightly hurried steps, as if she has an important but innocent appointment to keep. She avoids eye contact, she looks slightly over people’s heads as if looking out for somebody who might come into view at any moment. She doesn’t want anyone to think that she is alone and nobody is coming for her. She sidesteps even when she sees a boy half her age walking towards her, she walks around little puddles when she can easily leap over them; she thinks any act that involves stretching her legs might send the wrong signal. After all, this is not the kind of thing where you can leave your actions to subjective interpretations. She never eats in public. Putting something in your mouth is surely an invitation for someone to shove something horrible down your throat. If you show your hunger, you are obviously asking for something.”

“Any man who reaches for a book when he thinks about you is a man that you should think about.”

“She wants a surprise so big and so heavy it could flatten her in the middle of the road. She want a tied-to-a-rocket-and-launched-into-space kind of surprise.”

“Alice Bhatti walks the walk of someone who thinks they can overcome their fear by taking measured steps.”

“Now she has lived long enough to know that cutting up women is a sport older than cricket but just as popular and equally full of obscure rituals and intricate rules that everyone seems to know except her.”

“Don't be frightened of your own reflection. We all have bad moments in front of the mirror," says Noor. "You should probably get married. I have heard that a good husband is the only cure for bad dreams. You know why? Because then you are sleeping with you nightmare.”

“Men don't understand. Just remember that. They don't. I mean, they might have a fine understanding of how a carburetor works or how a human brain is wired, but ask them to understand your sadnesson a sunny afternoon and their brain starts doing push-ups.”

“If something has to be done, one might as well do it when one has a lot of free time.”

“So what is it really like? What happens when people die?" Noor asks Alice Bhatti, who after finishing her shift has changed into a loose maxi and is lying down on a wheelie stretcher, her forearm covering her eyes. A half-torn poster on the wall behind the stretcher says : Bhai, your blood will bring a revolution. Someone has scrawled under it with a marker: And that revolution will bring more blood. Someone has added Insha'allah in an attempt to introduce divine intervention into the proceedings. Some more down-to-earth soul has tried to give this revolution a direction, and drawn an arrow underneath and scribbled, Bhai, the Blood Bank is in Block C.”

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Book Keywords:

human, doubt, humor, understand, tradition, time, men, death, free-time, fear, patriarchy, marriage, self-consciousness, misogyny

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