Category Archives: Life

Reading romance novels, I often come across the paragraph where the hero buries his nose in the heroine’s hair, and loves doing so. Alas! That was not quite the case with us. 😢 . By us I mean my late husband, and I. He would rudely say, “Cover your hair, it tickles my nose, and I can’t sleep.” It would effectively kill any romantic thoughts I would be having towards him.

I was quite young. I disappointedly used to wonder that something must be wrong with the hair I had upon my head. I was dejected. It’s recently I’m able to see his view point. My hair has been falling intermittently. Sometimes they land upon my face, or arm. They tickles the skin annoyingly. No wonder my poor husband felt irritated with my hair.

And another thing I have realized is that whatever the romance writers write is never the truth.

A Day at Galveston

Beach

Till the last day I didn’t know whether I will be traveling by bus to Houston, or Nola (daughter) was going to take me back. The children were having a spring break. Since the nearest beach was at Galveston, so it was decided we would spend a day there.

A storm was predicted over there in the early hours, so we departed for the beach after two o’clock. The younger ones were soon knee deep in the ocean, while the older ones TJ, and IB went further into the waves. They would jump the incoming waves. At times they went further, and Nola, and I had to shout that they can’t do that. A little while later they would again do the same thing. We had to constantly keep an eye in their direction.

TJ is the taller one.

Earlier we had bought pizzas to eat on the beach. The wind blowed sand into it. We were hungry enough to swallow sand with every bite. Couldn’t do anything about that.

I gathered sea shells in a paper plate soon after eating our food. The children wanted to stay till sunset. Nola put her foot down despite the children’s clamor to stay. We gathered our things, and trudged towards the car. Turn, by turn the children changed their wet apparels for dry ones inside the car, while we waited outside. In the process of changing they managed to get the back seats full of sand.

Nola had to clean the inside, and outside of the vehicle once we got back to Houston. I kept her company with brushing leaves off our driveway, (putting them in bags) which the two trees in our front yard sheds all the time profusely. I’m still in Dallas, and the leaves are having a merry time in my absence by littering every nook, and corner of my front yard.

The Implant

It’s my third week in Dallas. A few days before coming, one of my tooth broke. I like whole almonds. They taste much better if their outer shell is removed just before you eat them. Same is the case with walnuts. I didn’t take any precaution in not cracking the almonds with my teeth. Shouldn’t have used my teeth as a nut cracker. I can call myself all kind of stupid names now, but I had it coming. A broken tooth was the end result.

I tried to get an appointment with a dentist in Houston. The clinic couldn’t give me an earlier appointment. After coming to Dallas, my tooth started getting more painful. I could no longer put off seeing a dentist. After getting x rayed, the verdict was getting an implant. Son was of the opinion that since I lived in Houston, I should be having my tooth fixed there. We forwarded the tooth x ray there, but the clinic said they could do the extraction, but I would have to get an implant elsewhere.

At the last minute, I didn’t want to part with my broken tooth, but the doctor said my tooth had already a root canal done before, so my half tooth couldn’t be saved. Besides there was an abscess beneath it. I never knew how dreadful it is the first day, and night. The blood wouldn’t stop. I went to sleep with difficulty knowing the blood would be going down my throat. Felt like a vampire. I woke up the next morning with congealed blood in my mouth. Simply horrible!

After my bone heals the next part will happen after a period of three, and a half months. I will have to take a trip to Dallas then. Nola has no intentions of leaving me in Houston, once she takes me there in the coming week. I have been making all type of excuses like not having summer clothes, footwear etc. She is trying to make me promise that after gathering things I need from home I will come back with her.

I miss my home. Son has already given me the bad news that all my flowers, and plants have died in my absence. It negates the hours I put in the whole year in caring for them. First I was absent for a period of two months when I went to Peshawar, and now I’m away in Dallas. The indoor ones are still surviving, but for how long ? My son, and daughter in law mostly remain away from home for five to six days a week.

Nola says why do I want to come back to an empty house? What to say!

Unexpected

The snow was unexpected. Getting my breakfast, I glanced outside, and saw the outside covered with snow. I called to Coco (daughter in law) to look outside. She was delighted, and came down the stairs to take photographs of outside to send to her parents, and sisters.

In the evening Son was assigned a case in Dallas. Just before that, he asked me whether I would like to go to Macy’s. His second wedding anniversary was coming up, and he needed to buy a gift for his wife. I declined to go with them, as I didn’t want to leave the warmth of my bed. Few moments later, he was again in my room asking me to get ready for going to Dallas. I snuggled back in my blanket telling him to let me doze, and wherever they wanted to go they were welcome to it, just let me lie in peace.

“You don’t won’t to visit Nola? We are leaving for Dallas.” And then it registered what he was saying. I got ready in record time. We were soon on our way. The roads were hazardous. Our car skidded twice, and we barely escaped injuries. Son had to drive slowly on the icy roads. There was hardly any traffic.

The snow outside daughter’s home in Dallas.

The snow melted two days later.

Days of Horror

Son, and I reached Peshawar on the nineteenth of November. Literally everything was covered with dust. I didn’t know where to start. Anyway first thing first was the kitchen. With Son in tow you have to think of food first. By evening I was grimy, and my bones ached with tiredness. Meanwhile Son, and wife rested the whole day, only surfacing briefly to eat.

Bad news hit us in the evening. My evil step brother in law Bashir together with his nephews Omer, and Bilal had told my chowkidar (watchman) in the village home to handover the keys of the house to them, and vacate the house, and land. Our next day started with waiting at the office of the DPO of police. We had to give them duplicate copies of deeds to our home, and land. We were directed to meet with the SHO of our area. It was already four in the evening.

We arrived with the police at our village home. Bashir was in the village attending a marriage. The police took him to the Thana (police station), while Omer, and Bilal had run into hiding. Midway to Peshawar, we were told to come to the Thana too.

We were made to sit with Bashir. He had retracted on his threats to our chowkidar. The police let him go. Tired, and hungry (we had been without food the whole day) we made our way back to Peshawar.

Since the death of Aziz (my late husband’s younger brother) in November 2017, Bashir, and his nephews had started harassing us over our property in the village. If you see my earlier posts of Nov 2017 you will understand the background. Since then I had redoubled my efforts to sell the property in the village, but to no avail. Bashir, and his cohorts would drive away the prospective buyers.

As if B, and Co weren’t enough of a headache, we fell into the land mafia snare. The land mafia has powerful lords of the area, and their thugs looked for people like us (meaning a widow, and her only son living out of country). They are land grabbers who basically try to get other people’s assets for free, and kill them on some pretext, or other. Soon we were getting threats from them too. The person was a local MNA (member of the National Assembly)

Our woes weren’t enough. Son got COVID from our tenants down below. The mother who was living with them died from COVID. The whole house was infected. Son had a near death experience. Meanwhile Coco (my daughter in law) got COVID too. I had to look after both of them. I wasn’t well myself . With lack of sleep from worry, and tension, I rapidly lost weight. I suffered from travelers diarrhea throughout my stay. I was washing hands every second, and continually wore a mask, but thankfully didn’t get COVID.

Nola ( my daughter) was frantic with worry on our behalf. Son had to take leave without pay. He had recovered from COVID, but Nola made him stay so that I wasn’t left alone sick, and facing the threats. Meanwhile B took a stay on our village property so that we would be unable to sell it. B has laid claim to our property. We had to engage a lawyer. It will take years to resolve the case. I have given power of attorney to another lawyer so that if the the case is resolved he can sell it.

We are back here, but don’t know what’s going to happen next????

The Return

Son, and I returned after a tumultuous two months from Pakistan. Can you believe I lost ten pounds. I became a caricature of my former self with sunken cheeks, and wild eyes from all the worries, and tension I went through. Although this post is more about our day of returning.

Son kept badgering me the whole day about leaving at exactly five for Islamabad. He never realizes that shutting down a house isn’t easy. I have to cover everything with dust sheets, making sure that electricity, and gas has been turned off, cleaning the fridge, and house. Meanwhile all he does is eat, and the person providing him food is me. Thankfully his wife got her spouse visa just in time to come with us.

We left at seven in the evening. At the airport I realized that my iPhone was missing. I became so flustered 😩 with confusion thinking that my Resident Card was missing along with the phone. My ticket was cancelled, and woefully I was resigning myself to staying back, and traveling to Peshawar again. After a terrible thirty minutes of doom, and gloom I found that my driving license was missing (it was in the flap of the missing iPhone) instead of the Resident Card. All was well again. My ticket got re issued, my bags were marked for Houston. Son got his breath of relief after muttering wrathfully at me for the past thirty minutes for forgetting important things.

Glad to be back!

The Land of the Free

Divided we stood. Nola (daughter) alone on one side, and all of us on the other side. Nola was (is) all for Trump, while we wanted Biden to win. M1 (granddaughter) threw up her hands in a victory stance on hearing that Biden had won.

It’s still uncertain whether Trump will accept his defeat. Let’s hope he comes to his senses, and not create further turmoil in his bid to hang on to the Presidency.

The Neighborly Thing

When Son, and I occupied the house (where we live now), I would be found (most of the times) digging up weeds in our front yard. However hard I tried to get rid of them, you could be sure that they would be in a jiffy sprouting back again. I would devote two days of the week to the task of removing them, but with vengeance they would make a re-appearance. Son wanted me to use a weed killer but I was going the old fashioned way.

It appears I was doing the right thing. Son used a weed killer in one part of our backyard. The weeds are back in great profusion, but there is no grass.

On the days I was working in our front yard, a lady would pass by on the side walk. We would exchange smiles, and greetings. One day, Son brought in a sweet dish from the lady. She lived in the street which was at the back of our house. Son pointed out her home to me in case I wanted to return her friendly gesture.

A few days later I made Karhee. After deciding to take some to her, I filled a bag with snacks just in case she didn’t like my dish of Karhee. I’m terrible at remembering. I had forgotten which house belonged to her. I went upto a house, and rang the bell. When a man answered the door, I hesitatingly asked, “ Does the Turkish lady lives here?” No was the answer.

I didn’t remember the lady’s name. It really was embarrassing. The next house I visited, I quickly looked at the mail lying beside the door. The surname on it was Brown, so it definitely wasn’t her. I hurriedly retraced my steps back to the street. Entering the driveway of the third house, I saw the American flag flying in the front. So it certainly wasn’t her home. I went to the next house, and rang the bell. After a while two cute children answered the door. I asked, “ Is your Mom Turkish?” I heaved a sigh of relief when they both answered yes.

A few days later she came to visit me. I got her name, and phone number. I told her my tale of how I found her house. We laughed together. She wasn’t home the day I was trying to find her. Being a mother, she had instilled in her children not to answer the door when she wasn’t there. She had scolded them, “How could you open the door to a stranger.”

Their answer, “Mom, she was carrying food.”