Tag Archives: Charlottesville.

Spicy


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When I went to live in Charlottesville in February 2016, I became friends with my daughter’s friends. Nola had lived there for quite a while. She had a beautiful home in Crozet, which she sold this year. My late husband, and I visited her in this house in the summer of 2010.

When Nola had purchased the house, the basement wasn’t done. When she learnt that we would be coming, and would stay for a while, she quickly did up the basement for us. The basement had a bedroom, bathroom, a tiny kitchen, a giant size living area with a huge tv and a computer room. She had also installed a washer and dryer just for my use, so that for washing I didn’t have to climb upstairs. 

The patio doors opened to the outside area. She had even put two deck chairs on the patio for us to sit, and enjoy the marvelous view. She did all this to tempt her father into staying permanently. We went back home to Peshawar in September, and learnt that her father had stage four cancer. The next two years went in a blurry of sadness, and pain.

When I bought my own small place, I became friends with all her friends. They invited me to lunches and dinners. I invited them too to a lunch. One lady A who is a doctor, and teaches at University of Virginia arrived early before the other guests.  I had completed my other dishes, except for the rice. She is an Egyptian American. She watched with interest as to what I was adding to my rice. 

I like mildly spicy food. My main spices for adding to the rice were cumin, cloves and large cardamoms. It turned out that A boils her rice, and that was the only way she did hers. It was a revelation for her, when I sautéed the onions first, then added chicken pieces, spices,  chickpeas, rice and raisins. 

DAILY PROMPT

Spicy

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Tender

Last year I had shifted to Charlottesville, Virginia. The cold winter night of February saw us–my daughter Nola, her two eldest M1 and M2 lugging my newest purchases to the condo. We were extremely tired. In the afternoon, we had vacated the hotel, and had gone on a shopping spree trying to get what we needed to set home for me.

Nola was setting up the mattress in the spare bedroom for herself. I stepped back. My feet entangled in the plastic covering for the mattress, and fell jarring my bones, my toe nail throbbing painfully, one front tooth chipped, a leg twisted, smashed face downwards into the cold floor.

One arm felt tender for days on end. It was a horrible first night in my new home.

DAILY PROMPT

Tender

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Hike


My son S, and I were on our way to Houston from Charlottesville. We were traveling in a hired truck which contained my furniture, and household items. This was the second day of our journey. We had started at nine in the morning from the hotel where we had stayed the night. It was the last Friday in the month of Ramadan known as Jumatul Wida. S is very particular about Salat (prayers), and it was time for the Zuhr Prayers.

He exited the highway to enter a city road. Finding a place to park he found out a nearby mosque on the map. It was a new place for us, and it took some time to find one in the area. He found an end road to park our truck. It took some manoeuvering on his part to park it.

We got down. Many cars were already parked near a single story building. I thought it was the mosque. It turned out I was wrong. It was a long hike uphill. The sun blazed overhead. You can imagine how the temperature sizzles in June. We went up and up. I was perspiring badly. I was tired with the traveling we had done, and my legs ached. The road climb was steep. I hauled myself with determination to the top.

At the top, the women’s entrance to the mosque was at the other end. I got there, and looked here and there for a restroom before getting ready to say my salat. My fate that day wasn’t in working order. I had to go all the way back to get to a restroom.

By the time I managed again to enter the prayer hall from the women’s entrance the salat with the congregation was over. S rang me to come out, but I couldn’t answer as I was saying my prayers. As soon as I finished, a woman tapped me on the shoulder saying my name, telling me S was waiting outside. I was surprised, how did she know who I was?

S had got worried while waiting for me, and had given my name, and description. After coming downhill, we got into the truck. We weren’t fasting because we were traveling, so we looked for a place to get a midday meal. Finished with eating we got on the highway to resume our journey.

…..

Sep 19, 2016

DAILY PROMPT

Hike

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Crossroads

Pen Park
In driving across the winding roads of Charlottesville the name changes are highly confusing. It doesn’t change once……..it changes thrice in a row. I stare at crossroads — now where do I go? Take a right turn, straight ahead, or a left turn. I turn a deaf ear to the honking behind me, as I try to make up my mind quickly.

I am calmer when the roads are almost empty at certain hours, or like on Saturdays. There is no one behind me, and I can take my time to decide.

When the passenger seat is occupied by M2, and she doesn’t enlighten me which turn to take, I am sure to take a wrong turn. I turn back again to find the right direction.

Last Friday there was a picnic party at Pen Park, and M2 wanted to attend. M2 made me under take two trips to her dorm, once to fetch her and again to bring her class fellow who wanted to go to the picnic too. The girls got busy talking, M2 failed to point out the correct turn, and the result was more delay in reaching the park.

 

DAILY PROMPT

Crossroads

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A Box for a Suitcase

Last November I left US for a home visit. While there I changed my plan. Instead of coming back to Houston, I came to Charlottesville to live. I needed my clothes, shoes and other stuff lying at (my son) S’s home. Earlier he had sent two of my suitcases via post. That cost a hundred and six bucks. S had not checked the suitcases. One of them was empty except for a long coat. Thank God I got the coat. It was freezing, and I was thinking of rushing to a shop to buy one, and it came handy. Houston is a warm place, and I had left wearing summer clothes.

I still needed to get my things, and empty my locker at a bank. I flew to Houston on 11th April. S had brought my stuff to the hotel room. Obviously I couldn’t carry them all back with me. I sorted them into three piles. One were things I needed more. The second one was left for another trip, either S was coming for a visit, or I made another visit later in the year. The third one was a give away.

Back at Charlottesville airport at midnight the next day, we (fellow travelers) were waiting at baggage area for our luggage. An inquisitive lady couldn’t stop herself from asking me, “Why the boxes, and what’s in them?”

I explained, “I didn’t want to spend extra money on taking suitcases with me while I was going. I am using the boxes to bring my things back”.

She gave me a thumbs up sign, and said, “Good idea!”

 

DAILY PROMPT

Suitcase

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