One fine not so sunny day, I decided that I would have a chai party in my home, invite all my friends, and give a talk. Poor friends :).
Nah, they're pretty nice. It was I who was a nervous wreck, having never ever done this kind of a thing before. But this time, I thought to myself,
"Every tea/dinner/lunch party I go to, is exactly the same. Moms talk about their kids' antics, students bad-mouth their profs, we curse our research progresses, we talk about celebrity gossip, compare america and pakistan and how bad pakistan is, compare america and pakistan and how bad america is, praise the cooked food, enjoy ourselves, and come back."
How utterly fulfilling a way to spend a few hours in the company of our fellows.
I know having fun and relaxing is an important part of life, but that's just it. That's all we do in our lives. What's different?
Hence, I decided to be the oh-so-bold one. And host a party in which we will talk about something worthwhile. I thought that countless people do it. It should be easy.
Suffice it to say that that first attempt - was probably one of the most failed experiences of my life. Not only was I cornered and my attempted explanations rebuffed, I felt like a total ------- fool.
A complete moron, who kept trying to draw attention towards the fact that the perception of Islam around the world is a humiliating one and this situation is getting worse by the day --- what are we doing and why aren't we waking up? And all my efforts, seemed to be falling on deaf ears.
Of course I have really nice friends, so nobody would outrightly say anything bad or something, but it's easy to discern what kind of impact your words are having. And I could see a big fat 0 (zero) everywhere around the room.
It didn't help that my best friend was listening in to this conversation and later had a load of bitterly critical comments about this whole deal ... the choicest of comments were: "You're not assertive at all ... how could you let the conversation get steered away so easily....you weren't in control.... you're too nice..... this is not how a speaker should be.....etc etc."
Its been rare that I have cried this much after an event of this type - in my life. Usually these events are a big high.
Anyway, I can let myself be comforted by the fact that this was my first ever attempt - but even this fact doesn't REALLY help. We're our own worst critics. We know our own shortcomings. And this is a big one. Hence, inevitably....