I have not received my army pension for the last two months, so I kept phoning Lala (my older brother) to find out whether it’s just me, or there is some new protocol to be followed. Lala wasn’t picking up his phone. I tried different times to get in touch with him. The result was zero. Yesterday I mentioned it to Son. He said, “why don’t you ring Ibadat? I was mystified. I didn’t know anyone belonging to that name. Son elaborated, “your brother’s daughter in law”.

I told him, “I don’t think her name is Ibadat!” Son was adamant, “No, her name is Ibadat”.

Rather than insisting it wasn’t her name, I called her. After giving her my message for Lala (at that moment Lala was enjoying his afternoon nap), I asked her whether she could give me the correct spellings for her name? She did, and her name turns out to be Liaba. Son corrected her name in his phone index.

Lala gave me a return call. It turns out the army people needs constant reminders of my being alive– once in March, and another one in September. Before leaving I had made several copies of alive certificates, signed them, and left them with Lala to be posted regularly to GHQ. One reason for leaving them with brother was more money is spent in postage when sent from US. He promised to send them a copy immediately.

I asked Lala for a phone number for the pension department, but he said there is no phone number, or they don’t give their number. It would have been useful. I could have called them to show them on camera that Masha’Allah! I was still alive, and needed my pension to stay alive.


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