All posts by sheenmeem

Constant

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.

Constant

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Compromise

After Son got the apartment, he arranged the furniture in my room. He hadn’t told me that mine was a mini room. If he had asked me (I was still in Peshawar– miles away from here), I would have told him not to put the smaller sofa in my room. Now there is hardly any space to move around.

When I saw the arrangement after my arrival, I was really upset over it. We tried to find hired helpers to move it to the Living area. The quotation in removing it from the room was too high for us. Son joked, “Let’s put it on the Craiglist. Problem solved. The person who buys it, will do the removing.

Son clearly forgot. Before moving from Houston, we had put it on the Craiglist for half the price. It didn’t get sold. Yesterday I thought over it, and found a better idea. If the verticals are removed to the recess, there is ample space. The room wouldn’t be so cramped, and I won’t be selling my lovely love seat. That’s a compromise, if only the management agrees.

Compromise

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The Present to Myself

The lady who had come to buy the double bed in Son’s room in Peshawar, looked at the rocking chair first, “How much for that chair?”

“I wasn’t selling that”, was my reply.

I wasn’t interested, but she kept asking. I wish I had taken a shot of it. I was tired, and wanted her to leave so I could get some food to eat. I hadn’t eaten anything since my breakfast, which I had very early in the morning. I had been climbing up and down the outside stairs since daybreak. Okay! I named an exorbitant price. The lady snatched the chair up, and pushed it towards her male servant to take it away. She probably feared I may track back.

Oh God what had I done? My lovely chair became a distant memory.

The chair above is my present to myself. It’s my new rocking chair where I live now.

Time to make new memories.

Feb 18, 2018

DAILY PROMPT

Present

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Rube

Though it’s rude to call someone a rube, but it brought to mind my driver Waqas. He was definitely one. I had to employ a driver, when Son left for Houston in December, leaving me on my own. His new job in Massachusetts required him to reach there by January sixth. I would have coped without a driver, but driving in Peshawar was truly hazardous. Another thing was keeping the car not getting stolen by leaving it without a person to guard it.

Waqas belched when he would have his food. Although I had not signed him for giving him food except his pay. I had to give him food when it was meal times, and he was still with me. For the first few times, I ignored his ill manners. Then I had to find my courage to tell him off. It didn’t work. He told me, “I always belch”. I told him he can do it when he is alone, but certainly not in front of me. It was so crass. I had to repeat several times before he decided to heed me.

Another thing which was very off putting was the smell coming from his clothes in the small confines of my car. Oh God! What am I going to do? It was my reaction every time the smell hit me. For some time I put up with it by rolling the window a few centimeters down. Then it was enough. I knew I couldn’t last a month with the foul smell. I was across my limit of endurance. I bought a nice smelling bag of detergent, and gave it to him to have his clothes washed in it. That took care of the problem.

Next time Insha’Allah I’m coming back the minute Son has to leave.

Rube

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Costume

At a recent function where I was welcomed to my Son fiancée’s home, we all are wearing colorful clothes. Mine is the mustard, and yellow one. The girl’s parents had asked me to come over for lunch. I told them that I would be coming late as men would be working at making my veranda enclosed, and extended. I had totally forgotten that Lala (my older brother) had asked me to lunch too.

As I was getting ready to go, Lala phoned to ask me when I would be coming? It was a an embarrassing moment to realize that I had accepted two invitations at one, and the same time. I made my excuses to Lala, and hurriedly got myself in the car. We made it to the village, got the guide to direct us to the girl’s village.

Rabia’s parents had invited all their. close relations. I was showered with rose petals, as I got out of the car, and then garlanded. They had made it into a grand occasion. My cheeks were on fire, as I was on display with so many eyes looking at me. I wanted to shrink, and disappear. It took me some time to recover.

So you see we don’t need costumes. Our shalwar, qameez essemble are as colorful as costumes.

Costume

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Lecture

Son needed curtains for his room– the eclipse ones–dark, which didn’t let the light through. We spent a whole day at IKEA. While the bookcase and chest of drawers he wanted weren’t available, I was lucky in getting a rocking chair I liked. I had earlier wanted a blue covering. Not finding it in that shade, I opted for an off white one.

Son bought three pairs of curtains after spending a considerable amount of time in deciding. I despaired whether he would ever finally make up his mind.

The very next day Son wanted to have another look at curtains in shops we had not visited. He wanted a better deal. We began at Bed, Bath and Beyond. The ones he liked, I didn’t, and so on. It continued through the many stores we visited. My energy level went spirally down as the day went. I was tired, my feet ached, I was cold, and I badly wanted to get back home.

Son lectured me on the parking of my car. According to him, it wasn’t straight enough. I ignored what he was saying. You decide?

DAILY PROMPT

Lecture

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