Tag Archives: Charsadda

Bridegroom to the Rescue

On my last visit to Peshawar, I never had the inkling that I will be arranging Son’s marriage in a few short days. On the day of his marriage I had to go early in the morning to the shops to get the gift boxes of sweet meat, and have my car decked out in flowers for the coming nuptials, while Son was still sleeping. He had arrived at three during the night after a long flight from Boston. The orchids above are those few ones I retained, after removing the rest from the car after the wedding.

After getting back home, I changed into the clothes I had bought for the wedding, and soon Son, and I were ready to be on our way to Charsadda where the wedding was going to take place. Midway we saw the stranded car of the bride on the roadside. Our bride was waiting for her father to send her another car. We waited with her for quite a long time. I asked her to come along with us, but she was hesitant in accepting our offer. I phoned her father, and asked for his permission, which he readily gave, saying she was already ours, and it didn’t matter whether she came in our car before her marriage.

It must have been a first time that a bride, and bridegroom arrived at a wedding venue together. Her brother was waiting, and he hurriedly whisked her away before it could be known that she had come with us.

Saintly

Maybe I’m prejudiced, but I’ve stopped believing that good people (saintly) exist.

Maybe they are there, but I haven’t come across them.

I feel I’m in a quagmire with the death of my brother in law. I feel I’m orphaned once again. Someone has pulled the covering from my head, and left it bare.

My step brother in law, his wife and his demised brother’s two sons are trying to grab my home, and land in the village. They tell me that it’s not mine. Their treacherous, and ignomious behavior is terribly upsetting.

At the moment it’s in my possession, but the minute I’m gone from here they ‘re likely to do their mischief. The administration in Charsadda has assured me it won’t happen, but I won’t be here. 

I’m wondering at extending my stay, and actively looking for buyers. No one has come forward. For the villagers it’s fun watching the live drama in their midst. A widow (that’s me) on one side, and the the land grabbing mafia consisting of dear step brother, his wife, and two sons of his brother.

I just wonder with which face they face Allah now. Have they forgotten the Hereafter? We all are going to meet our Creator one day, or they think with their prayers on one side they will brazen it out.

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Saintly

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Faint


My village home front lawn

Feeling faint with worry I listened to the phone call from my chowkidar (watchman or caretaker) who looks after my village home in Charsadda, Pakistan. He let me know that my brother in law A had been sick for some time. His wife had died thirteen years earlier. He had no children, and there was no one to take care of him. The chowkidar Hakim wanted me to give him permission to bring A to my home so that he could take care of him.  Barely three days later Hakim wanted me to care of the incurring expenses. Seeing no way out I had to agree to it.

I just don’t understand where has his money gone from his bank account, saving funds, and from his property? He wasn’t poor. Why didn’t Hakim told me earlier, so that I had a talk with A? 

I had gone early to bed a day earlier. Wakened by the phone I listened to the news that A had died. It was night here but the day of 6th November had already dawned back in Charsadda. I had to give permission for the burial expenses, and so on. 

I sometimes think it’s becoming harder to exist, and God piles on to test your faith. Son has been without a job since August. His bills,spousal, and child support has become my responsibility too. I hope Son soon acquire a job, otherwise I don’t know what we are going to do? 

Please pray for us. Thank you.

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Faint

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Exposed


Photo Credit: Google

My marriage was an arranged one. I had never met the members of my late husband’s family, except for mother in law, and one sister in law. My marriage took place from my uncle’s home, as he was my guardian after father’s death. Uncle had arranged for their stay in an adjoining rest house. The in-laws had come from Charsadda, where as my husband to be flew directly from Rajshahi, as he was stationed there.

It was about 4am after the wedding night. I had come out from the bathroom, and was going to lie down, and catch further sleep, when the bedroom door opened, and the in laws entered unannounced into the bedroom. I was caught in my pjs. I felt exposed meeting my in laws that way without an attire of qameez shalwar ensemble, and without a dopatta covering my head.

No one had told me that they would be leaving the next day, or I was expected to meet them so early in the morning, otherwise I would have been more, or less prepared.

My brothers in law, one by one started with shaking my hand, while the sisters in law hugged, and kissed my cheeks. As suddenly as they had come, they waved goodbye, and left.

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Exposed

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Translate

My father had remarried— not to the girl, grandma had chosen, but to a widow with four children. Grandma got wind of it. There she was planning to get her niece wedded to father, and father had dashed all her hopes to the ground.

Unannounced she managed to reach Rawalpindi, where we lived,  from our ancestral home in the village. She rarely travelled, and the farthest she went from home was Charsadda. Father didn’t know where to hide from the fury of his mother, and he took refuge sitting in his car in the garage.

Stepmom spoke Urdu, and grandma could only talk in Pushto. Neither was making head, or tail of what they were telling each other. Unfortunately grandma espied me as I came out of my room searching for God knows what. She took hold of my hand, and almost dragged me to sit between the two foes. It looked like I had to translate whatever they were saying to each other.

Grandma was saying, “why did you get married to my son? Couldn’t you stay on your own?”

Stepmom said she was having problems, and needed a husband to take care of things. Grandma was asking why her son? Couldn’t she get someone else?

This went for a while, and grandma started cursing. Poor me! I was frightened, fearing they might come to blows. Grandma was intelligent enough to know that I wasn’t exactly translating what she was saying. The moment had come for me to make a dash for my room, and bolt it from inside.

I don’t know what happened later after I left them. Grandma departed in the evening –sad, and disappointed to her home.

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Translate

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Squat


Back in 2012 after an operation, my doctor told me never to squat. I can’t now, and had terrible times back in home country (I spent December, and January there), where Asian toilets are in profusion in public places. I dislike them with a vengeance. 

Recently on visits to Charsadda Courts for settling land matters, I would go without water, and food for hours on end, simply to avoid using a public toilet. I was miserable from thirst, and at the same time dreading kidneys failure. Hunger –one can bear but going without drinking water was torturous.  My son, and I would leave home at eight thirty in the morning, and till evening  I had a terrible time. One of my brother in law had a house there. I couldn’t go to his home either knowing all six bathrooms had Asian toilets. 

How can one use these messy creations? I fail to understand.

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Squat

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Graceful

I am trying to think of someone about whom I am able to write — she is graceful. No one comes to mind, except for the portrait of a woman which hung in my room during my growing up years.

I had asked father, and got a mumbled reply in response.

The lady had timeless grace. Her flawless complexion, sleek hair in a chignon, the graceful arc of her neck, her white sari, gave her a beauty beyond words. I wish I had prodded father more about her, but as an eight year old,  I wasn’t an inquisitive person. 

The picture bugged my step mother to no end. She believed it was my mother. I didn’t correct her assumption, and strangely my father kept quiet about it too. In realty my mother’s picture hung in our ancestral village in Charsadda. Step mom never went there, so she didn’t come to know who was who.

…..

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Graceful

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Plop

Photo Credit: Google

My one year old son was running a temperature. My husband had been posted as an instructor to the School of Mountainaring and Snow Warfare, so he wasn’t with us. I was with my in- laws in the village. No doctor was available there. Doctors prefer cities to earn a better living.

I couldn’t go on my own to the city. My father-in-law took us in a tanga (a horse drawn carriage) to Charsadda. He didn’t drive, and in those days there were no taxis available in villages, unlike now. The tanga went Plip-Plop. I was holding my little son in my lap. I sat in the tanga after a very long time. I was wearing silken clothes. If I had known how I was going to fare in a tanga, I would have changed into cotton clothes.

I was sitting in the back seat. My father-in-law sat in the front with the tanga driver. With every jolt of the tanga, I would slip down from the seat. With one hand I was trying to hold onto the tanga rail, with the other I was clutching my sick son. I was near tears on my predicament. 

Finally we reached Charsadda, and got into a taxi to reach Peshawar. After showing my son to a doctor, we went to stay with my elder brother for a night. I wanted to make sure the medicine was working, and my son would be alright.

That was my second ride in a tanga, and thankfully I never rode in a tanga again.

….

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Plop

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A Life So Changed

Daily Prompt: Modern Families
If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?

I think we will be more shocked than grandfather Danish (pronounce a with ah, the name means learned), if he comes back from the dead. If he is in a skeletal form, which is very likely, we all will be scared to see a walking, talking skeleton among us.

Definitely, he will be confused to see us. We will be frantically dialing 911, while he would be going out of his mind at the absence of grandma and his children. All of them are in the land of dead.

D died when my father was barely ten years old. Grandma travelled on horseback, from a village in Charsadda to distant Loralai in Balochistan to see his final resting place.

D wanted to see who he was marrying. (Remember arranged marriages and strict purdah). His own mother was not alive and his sisters were arranging the marriage. He insisted on seeing the girl, before saying yes. They devised a method. D wore a burqah (please see a dictionary for all the terms used here, and sorry for the inconvenience), and went along his sisters to the girl’s house. You have to imagine a six foot two man in a burqah. It’s a wonder no one caught him, otherwise he would have got himself beaten, or shot at, by the girl’s father and brothers. He got a glimpse from the doorway and ran.

At the sight of my short hair, he will get another heart attack. (He died of a heart attack). In D’s times women had long hair in braids in my home country. He will consider it a sacrilege.

He may get used to the modern comforts we have, and decide not to go back to his dark grave.

I am sure the food we eat will push him to the grave again. Food is being genetically modified. It is laced with pesticides and toxins. (Visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey and http://www.foodgenetics.com)

People are now suffering from so many forms of cancer, and other diseases all because of the food we eat.

The music of Titanic reminds me of a bygone era.

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A Life So Changed