*This post was updated on July 6th, 2019.
Today, I wanted to share a deeply personal post because for the last several years I have been working really hard on my spirituality and finally seeing the results now. Through the journey, I realized how much my childhood really affected me and how I rise and fall to each challenge based on my experiences as a child. The crucial lessons I have learned in life I try to inculcate in my two nieces. The first lesson I taught them, which has taken years to fruit, is to communicate aka use words. I remember when they were toddlers, whenever they hit a mental roadblock, their first reaction was to cry. It took many, many tries to get to the point where they learned a set of methods to express what they need and how they feel.
Today, I wanted to do a post on being gifted. You can find more information on what a gifted child is HERE. I was called gifted by my teachers because of my exceptional reasoning and creative abilities. I showed early signs of intelligence by making odd shapes (undefined motor skills people) and adding some sort of complex meaning to them. My first home in Islamabad was an attest to it as there was this one wall on which I was allowed to draw to my delight. What started with a picture of my family turned into poetic words (puns I called them) and full-on astrophysics concepts about space-time and “bending them”. My parents and grandparents (and sister at the time) were extremely proud, but there is always more to the story. Today, I wanted to talk about that aspect of the story.
I won’t be lying if I said that my childhood was unlike many kids around the world. Very privileged. I have mentioned my school memories with you, but I have glimpses as far back as being a few months old. Of course, this is not normal, but a sign of a gifted child, a title I don’t shy away from. The first time I thought I was gifted was when people from around the world began to visit my school to meet me. It was exciting, scary, and curious at the same time. The background of the situation must have been similar to America’s tech boom in the 2000’s because that IS what I was taught. But now I feel that I may have had something to do with it as well. Honestly, how many people can say that they have met tech entrepreneurs of the 1980’s like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates or future US Presidents like Barack Obama before the age of 10? Not many, I assume. But while this was very exciting, my subconscious was weaving a whole different story.
I loved charming these visitors to Pakistan. No one was surprised when I went to Barack Obama and asked to sit on his lap, while Michelle Obama (now) was scared he would hurt me. Or when I took Steve Jobs to my classroom on a school tour (something I did with everyone) and he taught me to work hard for any achievement, whatever it may be. I do remember seeing Bill Gates and Tim Cook from a distance. I think they were huddled together with the “Hewlett-Packard guys”. I am not sure why we didn’t get to talk, but I think both Bill Gates and Tim Cook, although the nicest people in the world, can appear a little cold.
Another memory from my childhood was meeting Andre Leon Talley at Evan Spiegel’s house in Islamabad for an afternoon tea. Afternoon tea or high-tea as it is called in Pakistan is an important part of the day. I remember my grandmother being there (and I think her sisters) and my mom. I don’t remember the whole “picture” because my mom instructed me sternly to keep my eye gaze low there. Lol. While we were having tea, Andre was complimenting my grandmother on her sari and asking about the material and its heritage. She proudly said it is Indian and added nothing more. Barack Obama was sitting next to me on the sofa (they is no concept of couches there) and we shared a conversation, which I don’t remember, but I realized then what a quietly-witted man he was.
As beautiful as these cherished memories of mine are, there is a whole other side that holds equal importance to me – my psyche specifically. While I was popular, I had a small group of enemies scary enough to rattle me to my core. These so-called Muslims, who I think were rejects from India, would challenge my intelligence, my morals, even my lineage. And these girls were my age supposedly with their mothers. And I wasn’t the only one with this problem. Anyone with an exceptional gift, whether intellectual or physical was bullied. I remember getting visited by Kareena Kapoor and Karishma Kapoor and I was mesmerized by their eyes and skin, but some girl just came to them and said, “you are white, not Indian, because of the way you look” and left. I was as mortified as a little girl could be and hurt beyond belief that someone would say that to someone in Pakistan. The trend continued when I met Aishwarya Rai. She had gorgeous olive skin and those green eyes that show a soul’s depth. She was beautiful. I remember crying to her over what happened with Kareena Kapoor and Karishma Kapoor. She made me feel so much better. After she left there were rumors in our school that if she competes in the Miss World contest she will win. She did by the way. Lol.
However, what followed was horrific. I am not trying to make my readers feel bad, but my friends and I were bullied afterward by these “illegal immigrants” (See HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE). They suggested we change our skin color, hair color, eye color (?) and get a nose job. They were screaming that to us. I yelled back that these procedures were for people who have deformities. And then there was this terrifying silence after this one girl smiled and said shrewdly, “yes, we don’t get surgery, ‘they’ need plastic surgery”. And I think I was done with fighting.
The point is that while gifted children and adults have beautiful and successful lives, there’s also a painful aspect that people know, but forget. Sure these painful experiences affect their performance in school and work, but they leave behind a legacy that is impactful. I have never regretted my experiences, but I do wonder and imagine what I would do if I see these girls again.
Personal Anecdote On Individuality
A wonderful memory I have of my grandfather went something like this. It was before dawn when I was awoken by my grandfather and placed in the back seat of his Mercedes. I knew it was my grandfather so I didn’t scream although my worries kept increasing at each passing minute. I remember him fumbling with the radio and being angry over finding nothing but the static noise. Meanwhile, I was afraid what will happen if I spoke up. An hour or so later (he may have driven me around for a while) we reached to our destination. It was perfect timing because I could see the rays of sunshine. He quickly pulled me out of the car and carried me to the edge of the small mountain in a mountain range in Islamabad, Pakistan. I was so happy but confused at the same time. I turned to him and I asked why he planned this. To which he replied because it was “our” birthday. I laughed because it was not (I actually don’t remember because I was so young to remember my birthday). He told me it is December and that is all I need to know. I said okay. And just then another car pulled up and out came the very young Taylor Swift with her dad. We had the biggest smiles on our faces as we both realized what my grandfather planned for our birthday month. Her dad placed her right next to me and stood behind her like my grandfather stood behind me.
At that moment when the sun was coming up rather fast (and large!), I realized my life dream. I saw Taylor making music and music videos. And what my grandfather (and friends) planned for my life all made sense to me at the moment. I whispered in my grandfather’s ear that I have decided something. And that something will be related to tech and computers when I grow up. And the four of us remained silent for a while until we were tired. Best day ever!
Entertainment to check out on gifted people that stand out:
- A Beautiful Mind (See HERE)
- Einstein: His Life And Universe (See HERE)
- Genius: Picasso (See HERE)
- The Theory Of Everything (See HERE)
- The Hours (See HERE)
- Hidden Figures (See HERE)
- Frida (See HERE)
- The Hollywood Medium (See HERE)
- The Long Island Medium (See HERE).
- Fictional drama like Good Will Hunting (See HERE), Dead Poet’s Society (See HERE), and The Sixth Sense (See HERE).
Interpretations about Frankenstein:
- “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life and stir with an uneasy half-vital motion.” I wonder if she was appalled by what people were thinking and doing at the time of the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment/Romanticism. I wonder if she was really frightful of the whole notion of technology “playing God”. I think she was also grappling with what the industrial revolution really could mean for future generations and humankind. I definitely think it was more of a social commentary of the time instead of a feminist perspective. She just happens to be a female and so the focus is firstly put on that.
- No one really knows who Frankenstein really is as a character. Most scholars (like me!) believe it is the scientist whereas the majority believe it is the monster. A few think that Frankenstein is the story itself – from a social commentary to an epic monster.
- Was Mary Shelley Frankenstein herself? Horrid times for women writers and they were treated badly. Women felt lonely, much like the loneliness felt by Frankenstein in the book. Were feminists considered monsters at the time? It was considered very “Romantic” to talk about individualism.
- A fun read is HERE.