Days of Horror

Son, and I reached Peshawar on the nineteenth of November. Literally everything was covered with dust. I didn’t know where to start. Anyway first thing first was the kitchen. With Son in tow you have to think of food first. By evening I was grimy, and my bones ached with tiredness. Meanwhile Son, and wife rested the whole day, only surfacing briefly to eat.

Bad news hit us in the evening. My evil step brother in law Bashir together with his nephews Omer, and Bilal had told my chowkidar (watchman) in the village home to handover the keys of the house to them, and vacate the house, and land. Our next day started with waiting at the office of the DPO of police. We had to give them duplicate copies of deeds to our home, and land. We were directed to meet with the SHO of our area. It was already four in the evening.

We arrived with the police at our village home. Bashir was in the village attending a marriage. The police took him to the Thana (police station), while Omer, and Bilal had run into hiding. Midway to Peshawar, we were told to come to the Thana too.

We were made to sit with Bashir. He had retracted on his threats to our chowkidar. The police let him go. Tired, and hungry (we had been without food the whole day) we made our way back to Peshawar.

Since the death of Aziz (my late husband’s younger brother) in November 2017, Bashir, and his nephews had started harassing us over our property in the village. If you see my earlier posts of Nov 2017 you will understand the background. Since then I had redoubled my efforts to sell the property in the village, but to no avail. Bashir, and his cohorts would drive away the prospective buyers.

As if B, and Co weren’t enough of a headache, we fell into the land mafia snare. The land mafia has powerful lords of the area, and their thugs looked for people like us (meaning a widow, and her only son living out of country). They are land grabbers who basically try to get other people’s assets for free, and kill them on some pretext, or other. Soon we were getting threats from them too. The person was a local MNA (member of the National Assembly)

Our woes weren’t enough. Son got COVID from our tenants down below. The mother who was living with them died from COVID. The whole house was infected. Son had a near death experience. Meanwhile Coco (my daughter in law) got COVID too. I had to look after both of them. I wasn’t well myself . With lack of sleep from worry, and tension, I rapidly lost weight. I suffered from travelers diarrhea throughout my stay. I was washing hands every second, and continually wore a mask, but thankfully didn’t get COVID.

Nola ( my daughter) was frantic with worry on our behalf. Son had to take leave without pay. He had recovered from COVID, but Nola made him stay so that I wasn’t left alone sick, and facing the threats. Meanwhile B took a stay on our village property so that we would be unable to sell it. B has laid claim to our property. We had to engage a lawyer. It will take years to resolve the case. I have given power of attorney to another lawyer so that if the the case is resolved he can sell it.

We are back here, but don’t know what’s going to happen next????

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The Return

Son, and I returned after a tumultuous two months from Pakistan. Can you believe I lost ten pounds. I became a caricature of my former self with sunken cheeks, and wild eyes from all the worries, and tension I went through. Although this post is more about our day of returning.

Son kept badgering me the whole day about leaving at exactly five for Islamabad. He never realizes that shutting down a house isn’t easy. I have to cover everything with dust sheets, making sure that electricity, and gas has been turned off, cleaning the fridge, and house. Meanwhile all he does is eat, and the person providing him food is me. Thankfully his wife got her spouse visa just in time to come with us.

We left at seven at seven in the evening. At the airport I realized that my iPhone was missing. I became so flustered 😩 with confusion thinking that my Resident Card was missing along with the phone. My ticket was cancelled, and woefully I was resigning myself to staying back, and traveling to Peshawar again. After a terrible thirty minutes of doom, and gloom I found that my driving license was missing (it was in the flap of the missing iPhone) instead of the Resident Card. All was well again. My ticket got re issued, my bags were marked for Houston. Son got his breath of relief after muttering wrathfully at me for the past thirty minutes for forgetting important things.

Glad to be back!

The Land of the Free

Divided we stood. Nola (daughter) alone on one side, and all of us on the other side. Nola was (is) all for Trump, while we wanted Biden to win. M1 (granddaughter) threw up her hands in a victory stance on hearing that Biden had won.

It’s still uncertain whether Trump will accept his defeat. Let’s hope he comes to his senses, and not create further turmoil in his bid to hang on to the Presidency.

The Neighborly Thing

When Son, and I occupied the house (where we live now), I would be found (most of the times) digging up weeds in our front yard. However hard I tried to get rid of them, you could be sure that they would be in a jiffy sprouting back again. I would devote two days of the week to the task of removing them, but with vengeance they would make a re-appearance. Son wanted me to use a weed killer but I was going the old fashioned way.

It appears I was doing the right thing. Son used a weed killer in one part of our backyard. The weeds are back in great profusion, but there is no grass.

On the days I was working in our front yard, a lady would pass by on the side walk. We would exchange smiles, and greetings. One day, Son brought in a sweet dish from the lady. She lived in the street which was at the back of our house. Son pointed out her home to me in case I wanted to return her friendly gesture.

A few days later I made Karhee. After deciding to take some to her, I filled a bag with snacks just in case she didn’t like my dish of Karhee. I’m terrible at remembering. I had forgotten which house belonged to her. I went upto a house, and rang the bell. When a man answered the door, I hesitatingly asked, “ Does the Turkish lady lives here?” No was the answer.

I didn’t remember the lady’s name. It really was embarrassing. The next house I visited, I quickly looked at the mail lying beside the door. The surname on it was Brown, so it definitely wasn’t her. I hurriedly retraced my steps back to the street. Entering the driveway of the third house, I saw the American flag flying in the front. So it certainly wasn’t her home. I went to the next house, and rang the bell. After a while two cute children answered the door. I asked, “ Is your Mom Turkish?” I heaved a sigh of relief when they both answered yes.

A few days later she came to visit me. I got her name, and phone number. I told her my tale of how I found her house. We laughed together. She wasn’t home the day I was trying to find her. Being a mother, she had instilled in her children not to answer the door when she wasn’t there. She had scolded them, “How could you open the door to a stranger.”

Their answer, “Mom, she was carrying food.”

It’s Never Easy

When Son, and I moved back to Houston from New Bedford, I thought we will be here for keeps. I bought a house. Son, and I went nuts with planting cherries 🍒, lichees, apples, avocado, orange, lemon, grapes, roses, and so on. It has only been eight months since we lived in our house, and now Son’s job is folding up, and I’m afraid of what is going to happen next.

Son has been a traveler for most of our time here, and I’ve been on my own worried, if something untoward happened what will I do. I try to push the worrisome thoughts aside whenever they come to mind, and go on with living one day at a time.

It’s coming to a head. In the coming week, we are going to know what God has decided for us — whether we will be still here, or moving elsewhere. For Son it will be parting with IB (his youngest son) again. While we were here, we could see him every two weeks, when he would come to stay with us from Friday evening till Sunday. Son’s face is gaunt with worry that he won’t be able to see IB frequently. For me it’s IB, and the house.

IB as a four years old

I never knew our time here will be so short. It’s never easy to say goodbye.

To the Rescue

The Okra Plants

A few days back, there was a mild storm. Because of incessant rain, I didn’t go out in the backyard. I got a reprieve from watering the veggies, and other plants. I spent the time bingeing on movies on Netflix. It was the third day, I ventured out. Imagine my consternation on finding the okra plants in total prostration on the ground. If I had known, I would have gone to their rescue.

For a minute I was flummoxed 😶 on what to do? Son was in Sacramento, California, and I was on my own. Gradually my senses resurfaced. I needed to find nails, so I could hammer 🔨 them into the fence, and then tie the okra plants to make them stand. There are two sets of these plants. The second set was already leaning into the fence, so they weren’t sagging into the ground.

A quick tour of the garage, and then Son’s bedroom, and closet didn’t yield the whereabouts of Son’s toolbox (the search for nails). Giving up, I was looking at the plants in frustration. And then my mind flooded with relief. There was no need for nails. I could tie the plants to the fence with the polyester thread I had. It’s not actually a thread, but not a rope — something in between, and that’s what I did.

In between, I kept glancing fearfully at the lizard 🦎 like thing in the okra plant. It was green, but much prettier than a lizard. Nether the less, I was afraid 😱 it might decide to jump at me, and what the ….. I was going to do ? Thankfully I was spared from that evil fate. The okras are standing as you can see them in the photo.

Day Sixty Four (A Journey with Quran)

Surah Al Maidah: Ayats 81–90

If only they would’ve put their faith in Allah and in the Prophet and in what was revealed to him, then they would’ve never taken (idol-worshippers) for allies. However, most of them are disobedient. [81]

(Muhammad,) you’re going to find that out of all the people who hate the believers, the Jews (of Medina) and the idol-worshippers (of Mecca) are the strongest (in their hostility). However, those whom you’ll find to be nearest to the believers in love are those who say, “We are Christians,” for among them are priests devoted to learning and monks who have renounced the world, and they’re not arrogant. [82]

When they hear what was revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflow with tears for they recognize the truth of it. Then they pray, “Our Lord! We believe! Record us among the witnesses. [83]

What can hold us back from believing in Allah and in the truth that has come to us, since we’ve been constantly yearning for our Lord to admit us to the company of the righteous?” [84]

Allah will reward them for what they’ve said with gardens beneath which rivers flow – and there they shall remain – and that’s how Allah rewards (those who do) good! [85]

However, those who reject (the truth) and call Our (revealed) verses nothing more than lies will be companions of the raging blaze. [86]

All you who believe! Don’t forbid the good things that Allah has allowed for you. Just don’t overindulge (in lawful things), for Allah has no love for the overindulgent. [87]

Eat from the resources that have been provided for you by Allah, and be mindful of Allah – the One in Whom you believe. [88]

Allah won’t hold you to any unreasonable things that you (foolishly) swear (to do), but He will hold you to account for your serious pledges (that you make and then fail to fulfill). So to atone for breaking (an unreasonable or foolish) pledge, you must feed ten poor people with what you would normally feed your family, or you may clothe them, instead, or free a bonded servant. If all of these options are too difficult for you, then fast for three days. That will make up for the (foolish) promises (you made but cannot keep) – but safeguard (all) your (solemn) promises! This is how Allah explains His verses clearly for you so you can be thankful. [89]

All you who believe! Truly, liquor and gambling, stone altars (dedicated to idols) and (making random choices to decide distributions of goods by blindly picking marked) arrowheads (from a bag) are all the disgraceful works of Satan, so forsake them so you can be successful! [90]

Translation: Yahiya Emerick

Explanation for Ayat 82:

Ayat 82 when revealed was the reality of the Prophet Mohammad’s time. Peace be upon him.

It doesn’t mean that all Jews are bad people, or others like Christians, Muslims are the same. Good, and bad exists among all sects. It’s up to an individual as to how he lives his life.

Ayat 82 which addresses the Prophet directly doesn’t imply that all Jews will hate Muslims for all times, or that all Christians will love Muslims for all time. It’s a reflection of certain realities in the Prophet’s time. This verse is incorrectly applied to contemporary realities. The truth is interfaith relations between Muslims, Christians and Jews have risen, and fallen through the centuries.

Life of Sheen

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