Stop Analyzing What I Said!


I am sure most of us must have read or heard of this piece of advice “Think before you speak”, or “Speak less, listen more”.

A week earlier we had a get together at my son’s home. I have a tendency to give compliments where I feel it’s due. I just can’t withhold it. It’s the way I am, and my this habit is very old. 

I remember I was singing praises of some girl before my uncle, and he asked me, “don’t you feel envious of her?”

“No! Why should I”, was my reply.

Now I think I should curb this habit, but changing myself is a bit too late. A lady I like for her ready wit, was at this dinner. I said something admiring  to her. Another lady X listening said, “are you complimenting her, or finding fault with her?” For the moment I was speechless.

I was suddenly at a loss for words. I was mentally aghast at her interpretation of what I said. 

Today is another party at a friend’s home, and my own advice to myself is, “keep away from X”.

Powerful Suggestion

What’s the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you a year (or five, or ten…) ago?

The Dilemma


Tired with the old prompt I am writing my own story.

My home country is an amalgam of languages. There are four provinces, and each has its own dialect—- Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi, and Pushto. Then there are  more languages — Saraiki, Hindko, Gujrati, Hydrabadi, Kohistani, and three versions of Pushto. The unifying language in the country is the national language Urdu. Then there is English which is a kind of world language, is also spoken; not on street level, but in schools, and colleges which are English medium.

At home my (late) husband R, and I used to speak Pushto. Both of us were Pathans from the North Western Region. Our first born, our son was used to Pushto.

A problem occurred when he started playing outside with the other children. He couldn’t talk in Urdu. The children shunned him. The first time he came inside in tears, “nobody wants to play with me”.

To remedy the situation I started with Urdu. Children are quick, and in no time he picked up easily. He adjusted with the other children happily.

We never thought two languages at home would create a problem, and that’s what happened. Our daughter who is two years younger than her brother wasn’t saying a word even. She was two, and half years by then, and wouldn’t speak. We were scared that she might be mute.

We never realized that she was having difficulty in speaking because of us. Our little daughter was confused. R and I talked in Pushto. With our son we spoke Urdu, and with her we continued in Pushto. After getting over my initial worrying I started speaking Urdu with her.

Within a week, or two she was speaking words, then sentences —a chatterbox was born. She speaks very fast — the words tumble down in a hurry to be let out. My husband was forever telling her to slow down.

The children grew up, and a new problem surfaced. Their grandma (father’s mother, mine wasn’t alive) was annoyed as to why the children couldn’t speak Pushto. That was the only language she understood.

We tried to bribe the children with money to learn to speak their mother tongue, but they wouldn’t.

Actually they tried at first, but R would mimic their mistakes, and make fun of their attempts. This put them off, and they refused altogether. No amount of cajoling by me soothed their ruffled feathers.

They know Pushto now, and make good use of it in places where they want to communicate privately.

Take That, Rosetta!

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

My Mentor


My mentor has always been God, and the book He gave us —- Quran. I am lucky I found Him at an early age. In moments of stress, ill-health, calamity, I find solace by turning to God.

I strive to better myself at my failings, and one of those were I couldn’t forgive my two paternal uncles, and my aunt (who was my mother’s younger sister). They ill treated my younger brothers. I just didn’t have it in my heart to forgive them till a few days back.

The last time I visited my parent’s grave yard was when my husband R was alive in 2011. We were on our way to R’s ancestral village. R stopped the car on the roadside. I got down to visit my parents, and younger brother in their last abodes. 

I stayed away from both of my uncles’ graves. My aunt died in 2013. She is now buried in the same place. After her death her son sent the body back from New York. 

God forgives us our blunders, and our sins, so I realized I should let go of my ill feelings, and resentment for my these relatives. I feel relieved that I finally let go my feelings of anger.

Mentor Me

Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?

Holding Back Anger


I wouldn’t be human if I say I never felt anger at someone —- that will be a lie. At many instances I have been angry, but I have tried to contain myself. 

Why? Because if I let go, I may say things which are better left unsaid. Why say words for which I am sorry later on. I won’t write about the tiffs outside my home, but in all instances I managed to keep quiet. To tell the truth I would be simmering inside, ready to burst.

My (late) husband R, and I did have different opinions. Sometimes he would say something to make me boil with indignation. But husband, and wife relations are such that your anger goes away quickly too. You can’t hold onto anger in married life, otherwise there are repercussions.

Mad at R, I would go out of the room after telling him I was not going to speak to him again. An hour, or so later I would come back (totally forgetting) I was supposed to be annoyed with him. He wouldn’t say a word till I would snatch the newspaper from his face.

“You told me you are not going to speak with me?”

I would then remember how angry I was.

Mad as a Hatter

Tell us about a time when you flew into a rage. What is it that made you so incredibly angry?

I Won’t Be Alive

From the Collection of the Artist

A hundred years from now, a major museum is running an exhibition on life and culture as it was during our current historical period. You’re asked to write an introduction for the show’s brochure. What will it say?

My Planet My Space


Photo is of insides of Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila) in Lahore, Pakistan. I cut out the images of my daughter, and son-in-law FJ. Photo sent to me by FJ.

Interplanet Janet

You get to design your own planet: tell us all about your planet — the weather, the seasons, the inhabitants. Go.