Category Archives: Memories

My Own Ghost Story

My husband was posted to Quetta. We were living in a nice, spacious house. It was probably built in 1935, after the Great Earthquake, in which many people died. It had huge lawns in front, and towards the back were an orchard and a vegetable garden. The orchard had trees full of almonds, walnuts, white cherries ( white cherries, I am told, are very rare) and apples.

Both my children at that time were, nine and eleven. At one end of the house was their bedroom. One wall, facing towards a side of the front of the house, had large windows. My elder brother (an Army officer) came on a short course to Quetta. My children, sort off, looked to him grownup, so he suggested to us, to give them separate rooms. My son got shifted to a smaller room, towards the entrance of the house. My daughter, however remained in the existing room.

I woke up at night to see in the dark, Nola peering at me. I had a fright. “Why are you here?” I asked her. “Mama, I can’t sleep. There is someone in my room. I am frightened.” To which I replied, “How can there be someone? Go back to sleep in your own bed.” She wouldn’t budge and insisted she would sleep with me rather than sleeping in her room alone. So I let her sleep with us. Every night I would sit with her, till she went to sleep. When I was sure she was asleep, I would tip toe to our room. Twenty minutes later, she would be in our room, standing besides my side of the bed, begging to sleep with me. This went on for three days. In the end, my husband decided, that I should sleep with her for a week or so, till she adjusted to being alone in her room, and got over her fright.

The first night, both of us laid in our beds, (my bed was towards the window’s side) Nola was fast asleep within seconds. She probably felt secure in the knowledge, that with her mother beside her no harm could touch her. I had trouble sleeping. This always happens to me when I am sleeping in another bed than my own. Moonlight was streaming inside the bedroom. The minute I closed my eyes, I felt someone sitting beside me, staring at my face. It was such an eerie feeling, I opened my eyes, frightened. There was no one. After a few moments, I closed my eyes again. There was again that person staring at my face. I opened my eyes, there was no one. This went on and in the end, I couldn’t close my eyes. I would dread the moment, that person would sit beside me. Sleep eluded me.

In the morning I told my husband, but he didn’t believe me. I stuck out in that room, along with my child, for a week. I would try to delude myself, that there was no one there, it was a figment of my imagination. The apparition was real. It was there beside me, every night. I couldn’t close my eyes the whole night, and I would remain awake. Finally, we shifted Nola’s bed to our bedroom. I closed the door to that bedroom, till the remaining of our stay there.

Years later, a lady visited me. She had stayed in the same house as ourselves. I mentioned what happened to us. She told me that we were lucky people, as nothing happened to us. She and her family only lasted a month in that house. They were frightened to death, and same was the case with other people.

All of us, said our five prayers regularly. We were spared any frightening experience. We were under the protection of God, that’s why nothing could touch us during our stay of over three years there.

Forgetting Things

Lately I have started forgetting things. It’s not at this stage, where I should feel alarmed, but I do feel worried a bit. I do hope I am not at an early stage of Alzheimer.

Before going for groceries I do make a note, but the thing is I forget it at home. It’s either that, or I misplace it some where else. If I put it in my purse, it magically loses itself in the labyrinth of my purse. I keep searching for it, and in the end I gave up. I return home, and whoa the things I needed most, were the things I forgot.

The other day, a funny thing happened. A friend talked to me about something about her grandchild. Later on, probably she was worried that I may talk to the person concerned. She kept phoning me, day in and day out. I kept wondering as to what she wants, and you will ask why? The answer is, she phones me once in a blue moon. Anyway the cat came out of the bag after two days. She asked me not to say what she had told me. I set her mind at rest, and finally when she was assured of my “good intentions” I asked her, “what did you tell me?”

Has this happened to you?

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Time Changes

Time passes so quickly. Babies you saw in their mothers’ arms suddenly are adults somehow. Last October, my sister came for condolences from US. She couldn’t make it to the funeral of my husband. While making the rounds of shops (she wanted some dresses) I caught sight of myself in a mirror. A haggard old person looked back at me. I was startled at myself while looking at the apparition. Few months had passed, but for a person who had looked years younger now looked years older.

What a change!

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My Idea Of Heaven

I discovered books as a child. My mother died when I was about five years old. My siblings and I were divided among our relatives. The youngest one, who was ten days old, went to our maternal grandma. My ten-month-old sister went to my father’s mother. My father took my older brother (eight years older than me) along with him. My three-year-old brother and I went to live with my elder uncle. After a period of four months, when our father came to see us, I clung to him and refused to let him go without us. Baba (my father) took us with him but was unable to look after my kid brother as he was away from home a lot because of his army duties. Baba had to leave him with his mother.
I used to be alone in the house most of the time. Lala (my elder brother) would be out playing with his friends. That’s how I discovered books and found a totally different world from the world I lived in. It was a world of magic for me. Snow White, Cinderella and the Mermaid Princess became my friends. I came to know dragons, wizards and Greek Mythology. Hercules and Zeus came alive. When I would wake up, I would find books lying near my pillow, brought by Baba, and left for me. When I was in grade six, I think I finished reading all the books in our school library.
As I grew older most of my pocket money was spent on books. When I could not buy, my time was spent in bookstores. My younger brothers by that time had come to live with us and the three of us would be visiting the local bookshops on bicycles. My favorite authors at that time were Leo Tolstoy, Jane Austen and Agatha Christie.
Alas! such a heavenly atmosphere could not last forever. My husband disliked books as much as I loved them. He only read his military books and newspapers. With my husband and two kids to look after, the world of books became a distant paradise.
Now with time on my hands, I have re-discovered my lost world. For me books are fun. My books are my companions. They were that in my childhood as they are now. I have to confess though I may go down a few notches in some people eyes but one of my favorite authors is Stephanie Meyer. I love her vampires and all, though I do not like the movies made so far based upon her books. My other faves are Suzanne Collins and Jodi Picoult.
My idea of bliss is to curl up with a book in a quiet place with no one disturbing me.

Gone!

I saw him standing in white clothes. I am seeing him exactly after a gap of two months. Joyfully I rush forward and put my arms around him to hug him tightly. “You are not going to leave me, are you?” Smilingly, he promises,” No never.”
But he is gone and never holds on to his promise. I wake up and realize it was just a dream. Tears stream down my face whenever I think back to Aug 2, 2012 the day the sky and everything around me turned black. My husband embarked on this day on his final journey. He was suffering from Signet Ring Carcinoma of stomach, the worse type of cancer imaginable. I used to block thoughts about his impending death to hold on to sanity.
Friends and relatives say he was a person who graced any occasion with his presence there. He was always smiling but cancer took away his smile.
He is gone but in a way he is still there for me. He is there in the smile of our son, the sounding of his footsteps and his voice. He is there in how our daughter conducts herself. She is really a chip of the old block and in so many ways resembles him.
I know he will be there when I begin my final journey.

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On the road to Chitral, Pakistan
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Twilight outside my home

The Smell of Earth

There are smells which, when pervade your senses, evoke and bring back memories of those far away moments which will never come back and are gone forever. The sense of smell varies from person to person. Those that one person likes probably won’t smell so heavenly to others.
My first loved smell is when the first drops of rain hits the earth and a sort of earthy muddy smell comes out. Lovely isn’t it? I love to take deep breaths at that moment. The smell of freshly cut grass is another one of my favorites. Another heavenly smell is that of Raat ki Rani (Cestrum Nocturnum). Small buds open up at night and the smell is exquisite and simply out of this world. It spreads far and wide. I wish someone can make it into a scent. I would love to have it for always.
The smell of Motia (Jasmine Sambac), a white flower found here, gets to my heart. Whenever I smell it, I go back to my childhood days. Once where we lived, the whole garden was filled with it. The bushes were planted thickly and they formed a low hedge. It smelled incredible when the flowers bloomed.
I love the smell of Jasmine. This was the name given to me by my mother but sadly my father didn’t agree. It’s a climbing plant. Our house in the village has pergolas covered with lush green leaves from which peep small white flowers smelling like heaven.
And the last ones which I love are the smells of burnt toast in the house, coffee, and baking. Ah ah & oh oh!