Tag Archives: Islamabad

Where Did it Land Me?

My two months stay was coming to an end, and I had to catch a flight from Islamabad. I refused the invitation to the wedding of a relative, but accepted the Walima invite on the third day of the wedding. It was a mistake. I shouldn’t have gone there, cause it was the last day before the flight which was early the next morning. I should have stayed back at home, and rested before the long journey ahead. The whole day was tiring, and I didn’t get any respite in resting my poor feet.

Traveling in economy class is sheer hell. You sit in a cramped position aggravated by the person sitting in front of you who tilt their chair into your face as soon as the plane gets into the air. With aching feet I got through the customs, and immigration counter, although the official mercy fully was really quick. The drawback was the multitude of passengers, and waiting in line was tough. At various moments I kept thinking I was going to drop to the floor with fatigue.

Next step was the location of finding the rest of my bags. Son was supposed to come for me, but when I phoned him there was no reply. It was then I found out that he was up in the air coming back from Austin. There were two options— waiting for Son to arrive, or take an Uber to get home. Son was arriving at Hobby airport while I had landed at Bush International. While I was trying to decide, Son sent me a message to stay put while he came to get me.

I waited inside a resting area, but when an employee told me she was locking up, I exited to the outer area. Half an hour later, I realized that when I was loading my other two bags on to the cart, I totally forgot my carryon in the baggage area. It had all my important stuff. In near panic, I rushed to the door from where I had exited a while ago. Since the door opened from the inside only, I decided to get through when the inside travelers were coming out.

An airport employee yelled at me to stop. She said I couldn’t do that, it was illegal. My dashing through the door would have the airport alarms ringing, and police would have come, and I could have been sent to jail. Thank God I escaped that fate. She thought I was up to no good, and was mad at me. I held my hand up in her face to stop her tirade, and told her to listen to me, explaining about my carryon. She relented, and told me to stop where I was, and wait for her to come back to me. It was the longest twenty minutes wait of my life. She took me inside through another door, and from behind a counter, without even knowing my name, she brought the carryon to me. Probably it was the only one there. You can’t believe how happy I was. Relieved beyond measure I thanked her, kissed her astonished face, and walked outside.

The Kindness of a Stranger

We had come to Islamabad from Peshawar for attending a marriage. Those were the good old days (2009), we didn’t know cancer cells were brewing inside R, and one day take his life.

We had never lived in Islamabad. We usually came (once every 5 years) for a visa, or like on this occasion for a marriage ceremony of a relative. For the night we had stayed at Frontier House near the Marriot. It was the day after the ceremony, and we were trying to find out a way to get out of the city, and head in the right direction for Peshawar.

The war on terror had messed our lives, and our cities. Each road was barricaded, and wherever we tried, we ended with no exit. It was frustrating, and as usual R’s patience graph was spiraling downwards rapidly.

There was another uncomfortable scenario. One of the car’s window had jammed, and it wouldn’t close. It was the month of June, and the sizzling heat outside was roasting us alive.

Whenever we faced this type of situation (where we didn’t know the way) R would hire a taxi, and it would guide us, to the right way out. Our luck wasn’t working, because a protest over rising prices of petrol was taking place, and there was no taxi in sight. 

We were wandering, when R stopped to ask a youngster on a bike. The boy donned his helmet, and guided us through the maze of blocked roads. It was due to that stranger’s kindness we found our way out.


The Kindness of Strangers

When was the last time a stranger did something particularly kind, generous, or selfless for you? Tell us what happened!

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?

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.



A Few Words

Connect the Dots
Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.



This was the third sentence on page 82:
Only the haunting knowledge that her time was running out gave her the drive necessary to get up ……….. the sentence goes on.

The woman in this story was suffering from cancer. Her daughter goes on a cruise, and she is missing. There are others like her, who have gone missing too. They are presumed dead by the police. Through the efforts of a lawyer turned psychologist the killer is apprehended, though she barely escape death at the hands of the killer.

The sentence reminded me of my (late) husband R’s battle with cancer.

I could feel R’s hurt at those people, who were always in, and out of our home at all hours, and when we needed their presence in our world (turned topsy, turvy by sickness), they opted out. They weren’t there for us.

One such couple was a nephew, and his wife. We wouldn’t have felt it, if they were in a different city. They avoided contact with us even through phone calls.

Cancer is not a viral disease, which a person will catch through a contact.

Then another close relation, who could visit us, went into total oblivion. Once we badly needed a driver (for two, three hours) to drive us to Shafa in Islamabad from Pindi. We had taken accommodation in Pindi, to get treatment, once R was diagnosed with cancer.

Our own driver had gone on a three days leave, and a week had gone by, and he hadn’t returned. In desperation I called the relation, reaching them with difficulty. He could have easily sent his driver, but he didn’t. Meanwhile our errant driver came back finally. He got a thorough scolding from a very sick R.

Many stayed away with never a phone call even. There were other sweet people (they were not friends or relatives), and among them R’s PMA Course mates, who used to visit regularly. With their visiting, they would take off my husband’s mind from his illness.

A short visit, so as not to tire the patient, and a few words of comfort, that’s all one needs.