Tag Archives: Abbotabad

The Old Stump

In 2009 we (my late husband and I)  visited our old friends and neighbors in Abbotabad. Our visit was a huge surprise for them. We had almost forgotten the way to their home.  The previous empty plots of land had new houses built on them. It was no wonder we couldn’t find our way. The area was un recognizable.

While we waited in the drive way, their man servant went inside the house to tell them about our coming. I looked at the garden, and was delighted at finding the old tree stump I had given them was still part of their landscape. It looked enchanting with an urn of flowers on top of it, and more plants and flowers planted around it in the soil. 

I felt a pang of regret at the moment, why did I part with it? 




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Fierce reminds me of a neighbor’s mother. We were living at Thall. Our home was inside the Fortress. My daughter Nola, and I were the only ones at home. My late husband was at that time a Lt. Col in the army, and commanding a Unit. Mostly his unit was at the border. My son was at Burn Hall in Abbotabad. He would come home during school breaks.

Our neighbors were army doctors. Lt. Col Dr.Q’s mother was living with him. She had no other children beside him. She was fiercely protective  of her son’s children. When the children came out to play, she accompanied them. 

She would be dressed in black. I think I never saw her in any other color. I never could understand her. Although both of us spoke Pushto, but the dialect changes from region to region. Mine had softer edges to it, whereas hers’ was difficult to understand. I would just nod when she would speak to me, trying hard to decipher what she was saying. Most of the time I wouldn’t understand a word of what she would say. I could only make out a word, or two, with that I would try to carry on the conversation with her.

My son S had come home on one of his breaks. He had a slight altercation with Q’s son. Nola came running in to tell me. I went out to see what had happened. S had come to blows with one of the boys. Q’s mother was crying as she said something to me about S fighting her grandson. As a punishment I gave a slap to S’s behind. At this she started to wail. I was horrified at her crying, not knowing what to do. It turned out she was now crying because of my son’s tears. She didn’t want me to punish S. I saw her hugging S, drying his tears, giving him a sweet from the ones she carried around.




Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


Cringe – Worthy


What will make me squirm?

Getting caught in somebody’s quarrel. It’s totally embarrassing. It has happened to me. I try to disappear at the first whiff of trouble brewing.

My (late) husband, and I had invited my cousin Z, and her family for Skiing in Nathiagali. We were staying for a night there. We had driven from Abbotabad where we were (at that time) living. Z had come on a week visit from Islamabad.

After the day was over, we were gathered in the living room of the lodge where we were staying, having tea. Z got up, and went for a minute to her room. She brought out some knitting with her. She had barely knitted a few stitches, when her husband told her to stop. She didn’t, and in a few minutes there was turmoil in our midst. We were so taken aback, and didn’t know what to say.

I never knew her husband was so hot headed. Thankfully they retired to their room, and we were spared the rest of their heated words. They came out for dinner, but the rest of the evening wasn’t the same.

Cringe – Worthy

Do you feel uncomfortable when you see someone else being embarrassed? What’s most likely to make you squirm?

A Tale of Home

A Plot of Earth
by Michelle W.
You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

When am I getting It? Please let me know. It’s no fun getting it as an imaginary one.
Here is a tale of one we bought.

When my (late) husband R got posted to Abbotabad, and we moved there, I fell in love with the place. I kept badgering R to buy a plot, and build us a home, so we could retire there in the future.

A two canal plot came up for sale, and we got it at a reasonable price. We built a lovely stone house on it. It was a single story, three bedroom house. We left one canal for a garden, keeping in mind that later we might build an annexe on it.

We didn’t get time to live in it, because R’s transfer came. We put the house up for rent, put our son in a hostel, and left to where R got posted.

Our last tenant didn’t pay two months rent. He didn’t pay electricity dues for a year. How he managed that, and the electricity didn’t get cut off, that’s a mystery. He left doors, and gate opened, and the house remained like that for a period of two months, till R was notified by an acquaintance.

R put the house up for sale. After selling it R cleared the electricity, and gas bills. For the eight years it was occupied by tenants, none had paid the water charges. R paid all those plus the sales tax. Ten years later the same place got sold for millions.

Only wish we didn’t sell it. Should have kept it shuttered, and had a go at the millions.


Old Memories

Buffalo Nickel
by Michelle W.
Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?

I looked through one purse. Shook out all the pockets — no coins. Took out another one. This one I use for traveling, since it’s big, and roomy, and has lots of pockets. No luck! I am not getting hold of any elusive coin. The coins have gone into hiding.

I had to answer the prompt, so I didn’t give up. Had to keep looking.

The third purse I took out is black in color. I found a coin. It’s a quarter of a dollar. Here it is, and the year is 1993.


In January 1993, I was here in the US. I visited my sister. She was in between houses. She had sold her previous one (was small), and the new one my brother-in-law had purchased was getting ready for them to move into. For a short duration, my sister, and her family were staying in a rented home.

I remember her sons were toddlers. She kept the house very warm. All I had were warm clothes for winter, so my skin was really sizzling in heat. On the quiet I would open windows to cool down her home. The other alternative was turning the thermostat down as soon as her back was turned.

Whereas my sister kept her home very warm, a cousin who at the time was living in Staten Island kept her home as cool as a morgue. My luck that I had to deal with two extremes.

At the end of February I returned home. It was the first time my husband, and I had remained away from each other. My husband, and son had kept each other company in my absence.

All the happy feelings of finally reaching home evaporated at the sight of dirty rooms. They hadn’t bothered at all with keeping things clean, and tidy. I was so annoyed with both of them.

Another remembrance is my younger uncle’s son getting married. It was in Islamabad since they lived there, but they held the Walima (reception after marriage) in the village.

In the summer my husband, and I went to Abbotabad. We visited our old friends in the area. We stayed in a Mess for the duration of our stay.

Rest of the year I don’t remember much, except it was happy, and peaceful.



The Spools Doll

By Hand
by Ben Huberman
What’s the best present you’ve ever received that was handmade by the giver, not store-bought? Tell us what made it so special.

Our new friends when we were first posted to Abbotabad were, Col and Mrs. Q, and their daughter Talat. They lived in their own house on the opposite side of the street from us. Our home was a rented one.

Mrs. Q, and Talat lovingly befriended my children, and I. We were in, and out of each other houses on a daily bases. Either they came over after eleven, or I would go over to their place. Mrs. Q made the the best cups of tea I have ever tasted.

My first handmade gift came from Talat in the form of a doll. This was a special doll carrying spools of thread, a scissor, and needles. It came in very handy, and hung in a corner near my sewing machine.

I had the doll with me for many years till 2012. I parted with it when I cleared away many things from my home.