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.

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