Whenever I visit my son and his family, I feel I am in Seventh Heaven. The days pass so quickly. There are lots of changes in my grand sons. They are growing up. The elder two, specially the older one is meta morphing into a prickly creature. Both of them are sporting bushy unkept hairdos. To tell you the truth, in my heart I was pretty much aghast, but when their friends visited they looked the same with their hair. I breathed a sigh of relief that my grandsons are not the odd ones out.
The youngest one, IB is still his sweet, sunny self. He loves to perform his magic tricks. Yesterday he put a coin in my hand. Before closing my hand over the coin, he as quickly removed it, and touched my ear. He showed it to me, rather triumphantly, and told me, “See, I got it out of your ear.” I tried to look suitably impressed.
They are standing with me, a few years back.
The elder one as seen from the back now.
I made a cartoon on my previous blog and I was worried. You will ask why? Simply because my sister is a stickler for truth. She will be at you like a dog gnaws at a bone, if she notices a slight discrepancy in what you say or do.
That cartoon was based on a friend, who visited after a gap of eight years.
My sister and I discovered each other later in life. She was away living with grandma. When she joined us (father and the other siblings) Baba (our father) passed away. We were together at uncle’s house, but I was busy with exams and got married soon after I finished.
We took baby steps towards each other in the ensuing years. I can say that now we are friends. We got to know each other. Unlike me, she dresses beautifully. She looks immaculate even after a twenty-four hours long flight. I wonder how she does it? In comparison, I look like a scarecrow. She cooks like a dream. Her house remains tip top. Sadly, she suffers from Parkinson’s disease, and is heroically battling it.
When I got married, my husband was in Rajshahi, Bangladesh (former east wing of Pakistan). We had a marvelous Bengali cook. He was a culinary wizard. God bless him wherever he is. My husband, Hano (his nickname), told me to stay away from the kitchen. He didn’t have any inkling that on my part I had no desire to be there as I didn’t know the A to Z of cooking anything. From Rajshahi we went to Sylhet. We were fortunate to get another good cook.
My life as a cook started when we came back to Sialkot, Pakistan. Hano was at the border guarding our homeland. My father-in-law was staying with me and our baby son. Our orderly/cook asked for two to three hours leave. Seeing my woe begone face, he promised to be back by twelve. I waited for him to come back. Seeing that there was no sign of him, I could not delay going to the dreaded kitchen knowing my father-in-law would soon be asking for food. It looked to me that my doomsday had arrived. The chap before leaving had soaked mash dal (lentils) and rice in dishes. I cringe and shudder when I think back to that day to what I cooked. It was simply terrible but hats off to my father-in-law for bravely eating what I put in front of him and not saying anything.
A few weeks later, my life as a cook started in earnest as I was unable to find someone to do the cooking for us. You can guess what Hano had to endure. After practicing on him for a few months, I started getting the hang of it. He used to say, “Whether it is chicken or something else, there is no difference in taste.”
Finally I did get better. Sometimes I would crave a few words of praise at my culinary achievements. Hano would reply, “Look, I eat what you give me. That means it is okay.” Sometimes when I truly excelled (please do believe me), he would say, “Oh, you have reminded me of my mother’s cooking.” Oh my! His mother was one of the best.
Dear Nola, you are the best daughter in the whole world and I love you. When you came in my life years ago and I had my first sight of you, I felt extremely grateful to God that he gave you to me.It was the same with your father. You were his bundle of joy many times over. When you were a baby the first thing he used to do when he came home from his office was to take you up in his arms and swing you around. You would be all smiles. The years passed so quickly. It seems a blur already. I feel so proud of you that you turned out kindhearted, generous in nature, helpful and always doing whats’ right. You are a precious gift, to be cherished, given to me by God. You will be forever a part of me, one I relish.