Category Archives: Life

What I liked

Most women like to buy jewelry, clothes,lingerie, shoes and branded handbags. I am sure there may be other stuff too, but at the moment my recall has reached the low level, or say zero point. For myself, I loved crockery. I could never get enough of it. Whenever I saw a piece to my liking, I had to have it. I used to gather dishes and cups the way a person hoards money.

The cupboards in my kitchen and the floor to ceiling display in my dinning room were filled to capacity. My husband would often shake his head at my crammed spaces. My friends and children knowing that I liked crockery as a gift, also bought items to my liking. Once, my daughter’s children had to carry a Lazy Susan with five dishes all the way from America to Pakistan. They were ready to ditch the heavy package in route, but my daughter didn’t let them, much to their disgust.

A few months after my husband passed away, I decided to divide the house into two portions. I moved to the upper portion. It had two bedrooms with attached bathrooms, a small spare room and a long verandah in front. My husband had added another kitchen upstairs on the side of the terrace. There was a servant room with bathroom to one side of it too.

I had to part with most of my beloved items. There was no space for them upstairs. I gave away most of my things, much to the delight of my friends and relatives. In the beginning I had terrible pangs of regret, but thankfully they have subsided. My son would often say to me, “mama,you are allowed only two pieces of baggage by air. All your stuff is going to be left behind, you can never carry it with you.” So true.

Below is a picture of my favorite cups, which I used in rotation for my morning cup of tea.

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Coming Here

This month I remained busy with tying up odds and ends at home. Actually I was coming to US to spend time with my son and grand children. My younger grandchild IB was very much excited and kept asking his father, as to when his Dado will come. He drove his father up the wall with his questioning. IB was there at the airport along with his father. Both had to wait one and a half hour for me to emerge out finally. I was exhausted with the long journey and the long wait in line for the immigration. There were few booths open and the Aliens were far too many.

Whenever I come to US I feel I have arrived home. The people are extremely nice and they are always smiling. You always feel welcome here. The trees and the greenery are another lovely sight to behold. I simply love it here, although I do get a lot of discreet stares which I try to ignore.

Reaching my son’s home my daughter in law in her own way to welcome me, had prepared a lot of dishes. There was quite a spread on the dining table. Later on I went up to the room which they had assigned to me. IB joined me after sometime. He brought out his wallet. It had three dollars in it. He took out one dollar from it and put it in my hand. “Here, Dado take this. You will need to buy something for yourself.” It brought tears to my eyes over his generosity to share what he had.

Che, Here I Come!

My hair is in pretty bad shape nowadays. I am waiting for Che, till I reach her to get a good hair cut. She is still far away. Personally, I prefer a basic hair cut which does not require any maintenance. Just a flick of a comb and you are done with it. I hate spending time in front of a mirror styling hair.

Most of the time I am living in Peshawar, Pakistan. For the past fifteen years, I used to go to Sophie for a hair cut. I would go to her after three months or so and my hair would still look nice. She sort of realized that I went to her after a longer period. She started giving me a hair cut which lasted only twenty days or so. I would start looking like a moron at the end of the said period. Another downside to it was that my hair got shorter and shorter. To look good I had to visit her.

Then one day she went too far with my hair. There are no words to describe it. In plain words, it was just terrible. I was horrified when I looked into the mirror. To this day, I have not gone back to her. I hid from my husband beneath a cap for two months. I was lucky that it was exceptionally cold that winter, otherwise my husband would have cracked a multitude of jokes at my expense.

Living With A Lizard

I dislike lizards bordering on vengeance. They are so creepy, and hideous. If they didn’t try to get inside the house, I wouldn’t have disliked them that much. Somehow they find their way in.

When my husband R was alive, at least I could count on him to get rid of them. Now that I live alone, I get heart attacks every time I see one, especially when I am chasing it with a broom, and it gets entangled with my foot. I make  so much noise like someone is about to murder me. I won’t like my neighbors to hear me shrieking, but that’s what I do.

Why can’t they stay outside? With colder months coming they hide near doorways, and get inside the minute you open the door. Once they hide inside they are difficult to find except when you see them on the roof. It’s a heart stopping moment.

Strawberries And Cream

Last week, I visited our village. I brought back with me fresh strawberries from the fields. My brother and neighbors were delighted when I sent them the fruit. The thing was, it was fresh and larger than the market variety.

Equal amount of sliced strawberries and whipped cream makes a nice dessert when it is chilled properly. I simply love it. My favorite is strawberry jam. Way back I used to make a huge amount to last us a year long. I would sterilize the bottles and store the prepared jam. Now, I take an easy way. Suppose it is four cups strawberries, I add two cups sugar to it. Add to it the juice of two lemons plus half a cup of water. Put the pot on slow heat till the sugar melts. Increase the heat so that it is bubbling. Keep stirring (I suddenly remembered this part) till it reduces slightly, or the consistency you want. Add one table spoon butter to bring a sheen to it. Another second or two and take it off the cooker. Pour it into a clean jar and after it cools put it in the fridge.

Its mouth watering and a million times better than the store brought variety. The plus point, it’s free of preservatives.

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The Cult Of The Tomb

In our society some people tend to go the mazars. Mazars are tombs of holy or pious men. They go there to pray to God to help them. In realty most of them, the ignorant ones pray directly to the dead person buried there to help them and take away their woes. They think it is a panache for all ills. They will be sick. Instead of going to the doctor they find it easy to go visit the the last abiding place of some holy person.

Once a road was being widened near Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar. Along the side of the road a person was buried a long time ago. The tomb was festooned with a lot of little colorful flags as is usual here. The person in charge ordered that the tomb should be erased and the remains buried in a cemetery. A lot of hue and cry was raised. The grave was opened despite that. A long stick was found instead of the skeleton. Somebody wanting to mint money had built that fake mazar. People visiting give gifts of money and food.

There is a mazar in Lahore which is very famous, the mazar of Hazrat Data Gunj Bahksh. Many people go there for their prayers to be answered. I pity the poor chap. Imagine day and night the ding dong (music) going on. I think if he could, he would have run away from that place.

One of my husband’s relative was suffering from breast cancer. Instead of going to the doctor, she kept visiting a mazar in Swat in the hope of getting well. After she became more ill she went to a cancer specialist. It was too late. How can a dead person grant you a wish? His own account closed at the time of his death. May be he was a good person, but who answers prayers from the grave?

I see so many of our ‘Great Leaders’ going to such places. They are the death knell of our country. They have only brought chaos to our homeland. Why don’t they directly pray to God ? There was a photo of President Zardari in the newspaper visiting the mazar of Lal Shebaz Qulander. Probably he was praying for a second term. I hope and pray to God his wish is not answered. He and his cronies are done with.

It’s really ironic that in this age educated people are so naive as to believe in the power of dead people of long ago.

Ads

Usually my evenings are spent watching those shows which I like. I am in luck when there is no load shedding of electricity which is a common occurrence here.
I do my cooking at this time. Cooking bores me now and it’s repetitive, so while I do my cooking I watch my favorite TV shows if they are on. My pet dislikes are ads. I know they are a necessity. If there weren’t any ads the shows won’t run. I have noticed whenever a show is popular more ads are there.
I wish the ad people would come out with more interesting ads so that we don’t get bored with them. I think they should change them frequently too, like the coke ads. Some are so bad you dread watching them. I wish they come out with more innovative ideas so that (unfortunately) when I have to watch them I won’t take out huge chunks of hair from my already thinning patch in despair.
There is the milk ad. You are told if you add it to your tea it will be marvelous. You are bound to say, “What is wrong with that?” The thing which jars me is their prancing about. If they had done it imaginatively it wouldn’t look so cheap. Then there is the cream ad. A lovely lady with a smile tells you to use it. Somehow I doubt that lady using it on her arms and legs. If we did I am sure most of us will start resembling gorillas, because the non-existing hair will also come out for a breath.
Now the meat cubes ad! This one tells you to add it to your veggies. The cubes will make you feel you are having meat. What a choice! While the cost of meat is spiraling up and the currency is going down (thanks to our govt.) the cubes will do the trick and that at a steep price too.
Next in line is the cellular ad. You are told to spend a lot of bucks every day to get a shiny new car. It is your money which is being spent, not theirs. If they had such big hearts they would have given you a lower price of their phone package instead of minting you for money. They lure you with the tune that the more you spend; you will have a better chance of winning.
The one I like is where the sale person has a drink and he dances to get the escalator moving. To come back to my original bone of contention, I hate it when I am bored to death and would like to see a movie, there are so many ads linked to it I end up not seeing it. They waste your time. You start feeling sleepy and to keep awake you start munching this and that. Normally I give up and go to sleep.
Being starved for entertainment we are forced to watch such ads. My escape route is either to switch off or surf while the program takes a break.