Tag Archives: Peshawar

Frozen

How not to get frozen? The thermostat in our home is generating a false cold wave in our home. I drape a shawl around my shoulders to keep the cold hitting my most vulnerable place ie: my back. It seems we have moved to an Alaskan winter in the dead heat of July.

When Son, and I moved to the apartment in New Bedford this year, I would never had anticipated that we will have any problem with heating, and cooling. The management is there, and it’s their headache to take care if there are problems. We gave up, once we came to know nothing can be done. It was that, or getting a flow of experts banging on our doorway at all times.

What basically the most expert one did in winter was, to set the thermostat to 82. While the rest of the house became bearable in the cold weather, my room was an inferno of heat. Now the reverse is taking place. The rest of our home is cool, my room becomes an ice box in which I shiver.

I prefer to spend my time in the sitting area, but come bed time, I have to sleep. I try to get warm while piling on a heavy blanket over the quilt to warm my frozen feet. I have to wait a while for my feet to thaw out. Till then I wait for sleep to take over.

At moments like these I thank God for being here, and not in Peshawar. Can you imagine being without electricity in summers, or winters? It used to be 100 degrees outside in sweltering heat, and electricity being off. Same thing in winter, the whole house a giant freezer — no gas, and no electricity. The biggest wonder is getting the huge bills requiring payments. The charges keep getting higher each year for the minuscule services provided.

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Compromise

After Son got the apartment, he arranged the furniture in my room. He hadn’t told me that mine was a mini room. If he had asked me (I was still in Peshawar– miles away from here), I would have told him not to put the smaller sofa in my room. Now there is hardly any space to move around.

When I saw the arrangement after my arrival, I was really upset over it. We tried to find hired helpers to move it to the Living area. The quotation in removing it from the room was too high for us. Son joked, “Let’s put it on the Craiglist. Problem solved. The person who buys it, will do the removing.

Son clearly forgot. Before moving from Houston, we had put it on the Craiglist for half the price. It didn’t get sold. Yesterday I thought over it, and found a better idea. If the verticals are removed to the recess, there is ample space. The room wouldn’t be so cramped, and I won’t be selling my lovely love seat. That’s a compromise, if only the management agrees.

Compromise

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The Present to Myself

The lady who had come to buy the double bed in Son’s room in Peshawar, looked at the rocking chair first, “How much for that chair?”

“I wasn’t selling that”, was my reply.

I wasn’t interested, but she kept asking. I wish I had taken a shot of it. I was tired, and wanted her to leave so I could get some food to eat. I hadn’t eaten anything since my breakfast, which I had very early in the morning. I had been climbing up and down the outside stairs since daybreak. Okay! I named an exorbitant price. The lady snatched the chair up, and pushed it towards her male servant to take it away. She probably feared I may track back.

Oh God what had I done? My lovely chair became a distant memory.

The chair above is my present to myself. It’s my new rocking chair where I live now.

Time to make new memories.

Feb 18, 2018

DAILY PROMPT

Present

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Rube

Though it’s rude to call someone a rube, but it brought to mind my driver Waqas. He was definitely one. I had to employ a driver, when Son left for Houston in December, leaving me on my own. His new job in Massachusetts required him to reach there by January sixth. I would have coped without a driver, but driving in Peshawar was truly hazardous. Another thing was keeping the car not getting stolen by leaving it without a person to guard it.

Waqas belched when he would have his food. Although I had not signed him for giving him food except his pay. I had to give him food when it was meal times, and he was still with me. For the first few times, I ignored his ill manners. Then I had to find my courage to tell him off. It didn’t work. He told me, “I always belch”. I told him he can do it when he is alone, but certainly not in front of me. It was so crass. I had to repeat several times before he decided to heed me.

Another thing which was very off putting was the smell coming from his clothes in the small confines of my car. Oh God! What am I going to do? It was my reaction every time the smell hit me. For some time I put up with it by rolling the window a few centimeters down. Then it was enough. I knew I couldn’t last a month with the foul smell. I was across my limit of endurance. I bought a nice smelling bag of detergent, and gave it to him to have his clothes washed in it. That took care of the problem.

Next time Insha’Allah I’m coming back the minute Son has to leave.

Rube

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Strut

What’s there to strut? Even if there was, I wouldn’t have known how? 

Since getting up in the morning, I’m packing. It’s at moments like these that I wish we didn’t have to move. Even those essential items are the bases for a terrible headache. My left foot is swelling with no time to put both feet to rest, and my Sciatica is ready to blow up to a horrible, and constant pain. It’s because of the bending in putting things in boxes, and bags.

Getting last minute air tickets to Peshawar has made a bigger hole in my account. Son had assured me that there is a great demand for the apartments where we live. In a week’s time new tenant occupy once one is vacated. It was just a misconception. The manager has let us know that there is no escaping from paying for December, January even if we vacate in a week’s time now. We were going to put our stuff in storage, but now it’s of no monetary benefit to us, so we are thinking of letting it remain here. 

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Strut

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Egg

While returning to our city home after a few days stay in the village, my late husband R would stop at the Bakshipul Kabab shop on the way to Peshawar. There was a huge rush on this shop while there were few customers at the other shops in the vicinity selling kababs.

My only contention with dear husband was to buy less rather than more which he was prone to do. He would buy enough kababs which could last for an army. I like fresh food. I don’t like storing in the freezer. The fresh ones tasted much better. I disliked them when taken from the freezer to be heated, and served. It created a mess in the frying pan. They wouldn’t remain whole, and if I heated them in the microwave they tended to be dry.

One other thing which I didn’t like was the shop bought kababs had too many eggs added to the meat. It was like eating eggs not meat.

A time came when R stopped buying. Why? A new highway got built which was a shorter, and swifter route to the village. We stopped using the old motorway, and having kababs from that place became a thing of the past.

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Egg

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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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