My father had remarried— not to the girl, grandma had chosen, but to a widow with four children. Grandma got wind of it. There she was planning to get her niece wedded to father, and father had dashed all her hopes to the ground.

Unannounced she managed to reach Rawalpindi, where we lived,  from our ancestral home in the village. She rarely travelled, and the farthest she went from home was Charsadda. Father didn’t know where to hide from the fury of his mother, and he took refuge sitting in his car in the garage.

Stepmom spoke Urdu, and grandma could only talk in Pushto. Neither was making head, or tail of what they were telling each other. Unfortunately grandma espied me as I came out of my room searching for God knows what. She took hold of my hand, and almost dragged me to sit between the two foes. It looked like I had to translate whatever they were saying to each other.

Grandma was saying, “why did you get married to my son? Couldn’t you stay on your own?”

Stepmom said she was having problems, and needed a husband to take care of things. Grandma was asking why her son? Couldn’t she get someone else?

This went for a while, and grandma started cursing. Poor me! I was frightened, fearing they might come to blows. Grandma was intelligent enough to know that I wasn’t exactly translating what she was saying. The moment had come for me to make a dash for my room, and bolt it from inside.

I don’t know what happened later after I left them. Grandma departed in the evening –sad, and disappointed to her home.



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