What to Say?

Daily Prompt: Head Turners
We often hear strange snippets of conversation as we walk through public spaces. When was the last time you overheard something so interesting, ridiculous, or disturbing you really wanted to know what it was all about?

As a teenager though I understood my mother tongue Pushto, I couldn’t speak it fluently. The reason was — at home our servants talked to us in Urdu or Punjabi, and at school English was mandatory. I grew up with basic rudimentary words of Pushto.

My Pushto improved with my marriage to my husband. Although I can’t write in it, but I can speak it fluently, and can read it too. In the beginning people around me would laugh at the words I spoke. At home R would hold his stomach, and laugh at my feeble attempts (at Pushto speaking).

A few years back at a village wedding, some village women were discussing me right in front of myself. Thank God for mercies, it was all complimentary. Nothing derogatory was said. They thought that I wouldn’t know what they were talking about. I moved away from them.

On one occasion my cousin’s wife went to visit her young widowed relation to offer condolences.

She laughingly asked me, “Do you know what you’re called behind your back?”

I braced myself for embarrassment. She kept on laughing making me assume God knows all sorts of things.

“The villagers call you an Angrez (a foreigner).”

Ooh! I breathed a sigh of relief. I was mentally prepared for something worse.



Different Phases

Daily Prompt: August Blues
As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?

As a kid: nothing but relief at the beginning of summer holidays. Days of playing stretched ahead. Our cousins would come, or we would go and stay with them. Summer holidays were fun.

Later on homework given by teachers was an aspect I didn’t like. Two and a half months homework would be crammed into fourteen days. It was a dreaded finale to summer holidays.

With my own children growing period, I looked forward to holidays. My husband and I planned our vacations for the summer absence from school.

Summer holidays came, and now they are gone. Last year and this one, I enjoyed spending time with my youngest grandson IB. It was fun and joy.

As a bonus this summer, my daughter along with her youngest three came to spend a week with me. They will be going back to Riyadh in three days time.

Yesterday we went to the Aquarium in downtown Houston. We enjoyed the Ferris Wheel, train ride, seeing the Sharks, alligators, Octopus, and other big and small fishes. We saw the white tigers of the Maharaja Temple. We had a ride on the Aquatic Carousel.

A lovely experience was having lunch at the Aquarium Restuerant.

Here are a few pictures.

From top of Ferris Wheel a view of the highway.








What It Really Means?

Daily Prompt: Why Thank You?
What’s the best (or rather worst) back handed compliment you’ve ever received? If you can’t think of any — what’s the last time someone paid you a compliment you didn’t actually deserve?

I take compliments with a pinch of salt, and let them wash overhead by not taking them seriously.

Sometimes people say things which they actually don’t mean (in their hearts), specially what women say to each other (sorry ladies).

One always say “thank you” to compliments; but what should one say, when some mean souls let you have them couched in words which means the opposite of what they are saying.

At moments like those while I get their actual meaning, I never know what to say. In my heart I deeply wish to insult them the same way (they are doing it).

Alas! I get my retorts when the moment is no longer there.




Daily Prompt: Discussion Enders
We’ve all had exchanges where we came up with the perfect reply — ten minutes too late. Write down one of those, but this time, make sure to sign off with your grand slam (unused) zinger.

I never have the appropriate retort when someone decides to let me have a barbed zinger. It’s hurtful. Words fail me, and I look at a person at loss what to say.

My son’s room in our village home have two single beds instead of a double bed. Before ordering the furniture for his room I had asked him as to what he would like. This was when he was studying for his Engineering degree, and he wasn’t married.

He didn’t want a double bed. His best friend Ilyas would stay sometimes at our home; so he said he would be uncomfortable sleeping in one bed with his friend.

One relation came on a visit. She did a tour of our house. On seeing my son’s room, she asked why single beds?

She remarked after my explanation, “S deserves to be bashed on his head by the bride on his wedding night”.

I was taken aback by her rude words, but didn’t say anything in reply.

I wish I had said, “When his bride comes, and is not happy, she should buy herself a bed, or bring one in dowry.”

This lady had set her sight on S for a possible son in law.



Twigs, Leaves and Dirt

Daily Prompt: You, Robot
Congrats — you’ve been handed a robot whose sole job is to relieve you of one chore, job, or responsibility you particularly hate. What is it?

Silk cotton tree Credit: Google

When a dust storm hits our city (it’s an every day affair), it leaves tons of dust (it pours from the sky); seeds from the trees, flower petals, leaves, broken twigs littering the terrace, and the verandah. It’s a nightmare chasing cotton seeds of the cotton tree. They try to escape the broom, although the trees with red flowers look beautiful.

It’s a back breaking job to clean up the aftermath. If you leave it as it is (woe betide me when I did an omission like that), the whole debris shifted inside the house. One culprit was (the male servant we had) Noman, who never bothered to look downwards.

Last year when I went back after an absence of two months (this time it’s more than a year), I had forgotten what lay ahead.

After arrival, I asked Noman to take my bags upstairs after giving him the keys to open the doors.

I can shake my head at myself. One never learns, in my case I am the one who forgets easily. I cursed myself when I went upstairs, and saw the havoc Noman had wrecked inside. He had dropped the bags while opening the door. The bags had been rolled in the dirt, and there was a trail from the front door through the bedroom, and onwards into the dressing room. The bags fared better in traveling than when they reached destination.

A robot would be exactly what I need, but that’s all fantasy. I will be the first one to que up for it when it becomes available.



In Life’s Journey

Daily Prompt: Opening Lines
What’s the first line of the last song you listened to (on the radio, on your music player, or anywhere else)? Use it as the first sentence of your post.

In life’s journey the places we pass
They never come again, never again

One voice which I liked in a forever kind of way is Kishore’s voice. He was an Indian singer. This song “Zindagi ke safar mein guzr jatain hain jo muqam” never lost it’s charm for me.

There is a heart rendering sadness to it. It’s a kind of song which is appreciated by young and old alike. Whenever it was sung at functions (although it’s a sad song), people gave a shout when it came up.

Our life is just like that. It passes in a blur. Moments keep moving forward. We can never have them again. People in our life, once we lose them, we never see them again.



Morning Tea

Daily Prompt: Pick Your Potion
Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?


I can’t forgo my morning tea with breakfast. I love the taste of Earl Grey tea, but I like the Twinnings’ Classic more. They are heavenly.

I used to use two bags per cup. After learning that too much black tea is likely to cause cancer of the stomach, it made me a bit wary of tea drinking. Now I use only one tea bag.

In the beginning using one bag was a struggle, as I like strong tea (soothed my head), but now I have got used to it.

I take a big mug of milk, add one tea bag, no sugar, and microwave it for two minutes. Wait a bit; meanwhile empty the dishwasher of its load, while waiting for the tea to infuse the milk. Put everything in its’ proper place. Then I go back to the microwave, and press the start for one more minute.

Tea is ready. I gather my bowl of porridge, and a boiled egg, and I sit down to savor my breakfast.