Tag Archives: Rawalpindi

A Time to Heal

WARNING: Please don’t read this if you are getting treatment for cancer.

My late husband R was lured by false hopes of cure from cancer to a hakim by one of his relatives. We had come back from KSA after my operation. I needed more time for recovery from surgery, but we didn’t stay as he needed his treatments for stomach cancer.

When R told my son, and I of his intention to visit the hakim, we did our best to dissuade him from doing so. I wasn’t a believer in hakim therapy, and R’s previous visits to such people bore testimony to this fact. The sad thing was R was at the stage where he was clutching at straws. It pains my heart about writing this.

Despite our pleading, he didn’t listen to us, and went to the hakim with his relative. On returning he took the medicine, and vomitting started. We took him to the cancer ward of the hospital. He was taken from there to the ICU of Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC). When his heart stabilized, he was moved back to the room at the the cancer unit where he was getting his treatment.

The day before his last day of life, I trimmed his beard, and hair. I changed his clothes after feeding him. He went to sleep, and he never woke up. The reason was the nurse forgot to give him his heart medicine for the last two days. Another was she gave him tablets for sleeping whereas he was in deep sleep, and his vomit went to the lungs.

At night when he wasn’t waking up, he was moved to Intensive Care. Sad to say the nurses, and the doctors there were inefficient too. He died of cardiac arrest at 11am. Prior to his death he was struggling to breathe. My children, and I made repeated visits to the doctor in charge to come and take a look. No one came. 

I believed he still would have a few more years with us, but it didn’t happen. 

I wish he had never gone to the hakim. It hastened his death. He thought he would get healed, but he didn’t know it will get him sooner to the grave.



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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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My Cinderella Shoes

My husband R and I were living in an Army Mess at Rawalpindi. We had shifted there due to R’s bout with cancer. He needed to be near to CMH (Combined Military Hospital) to get chemotherapy. Staying in a hotel in the long run was an expensive issue, and R didn’t want to be 24 hours in CMH where he had a room in the Senior Officers Ward. 

Almost all his course mates rallied round him once it was known he was residing in Pindi. Many bought home cooked meals and soups when they came to visit with R. God bless them. 

To show how much he appreciated them, R wanted a party. We arranged for a dinner in the dinning room  of the Officers Mess. The only problem was with me not having party clothes or shoes. I had brought along with me (from Peshawar) few clothes, and hardly any shoes at all. I wasn’t expecting a party, and never thought that in the circumstances we were having I would be the one hosting one such event.

As soon as R had his chemo of the day, I went with our driver to the local market to look for shoes and clothes. None of the tailors I met with that day were ready to stitch me clothes in two days time. I came to the conclusion that I will have to forgo new clothes and will have to wear one of the washed (many a times) old one. 

I searched for shoes in some of the shops, but none were to my liking. Finally I spied what I wanted. It looked like glass shoes, but they looked beautiful. It had one drawback. The front of the shoes was decorated with gaudy material I didn’t like. Fortunately it could be removed. 

I still have those shoes in my wardrobe in Peshawer. It’s a reminder of a day in my life.




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Stairs and more stairs

I was hungry, in need of sustenance and a restroom too, but I kept climbing  the stairs stoically after my brother in law B. There was no elevator. At every turn I felt hopeful that I was going to reach the final step —- no such relief.

There was a painful stitch at one end of my side. We reached the roof. The rooms were in a row. It was bitterly cold and the wind blowing made me shiver in spite of my warm clothes. I said no to that room, and told B I would stay in the ground floor room which I saw earlier in a different Mess.

All the Messes were booked, and there was a shortage of rooms. I stayed alone in a different Mess whereas B and Shahida stayed elsewhere.

I had gone to Rawalpindi with B and his wife Shahida. They had come to attend a marriage. I had tagged along to give the necessary documents to the Army department concerned with it.

The officials kept asking why three and a half years after my husband’s death I had come to collect the arrears. Where was I? What could I say? I wasn’t in the country, or I couldn’t come? 

The irony was that the department concerned was also on the top floor of a building. At every turn I kept hoping to see the final step but I wasn’t in luck. 

10,000 Spoons

…When all you need is a knife might not be ironic, but it is unfortunate. Add your own verse, stanza, or story of badly-timed annoyance to Alanis Morissette’s classic.


Flip Flop

People change as time go by. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. In my case, I learn from my mistakes, and try not to repeat them. I have my faith, and a certain code of values which will never change, but to err is to be human. So here goes ……….

It was the beginning of 2004. The Cardiologist told my (late) husband R to have an Angioplasty at Rwp CMH (Combined Military Hospital). We drove early from Peshawar, and checked into an Officers’Mess for the stay. R was told to come  to the Hospital the next morning without having breakfast. He was scheduled for Angioplasty at eleven.

Before coming we were told the expected amount for Stents if they were needed to be implanted, and to bring the money along. The Angioplasty was done, and we found out that ninety eight percent of R’s arteries were clogged, and he needed a by-pass instead of stents. R was to stay the remaining day, and night in the hospital. We were to go back to Peshawar the next day, and return after a month for surgery at  AFIC (Armed Forces institute of Cardiology). 

I wasn’t allowed to stay the night with my husband, and leaving him to the Nursing Staff, I went back to the Mess after seven thirty in the evening. R’s niece B, and her husband came to take me out. They asked me where I wanted to go. I had never gone to the China Market, and that’s where we went.

While passing through a shop which was a treasure trove of beautiful objects, I saw a Water Fall. It was twenty, or something in height, and about eighteen inches, or so in width. I haggled the price, and of course after we reached a certain amount he wouldn’t go further down.

 I had to make up my mind. The trouble was the little money I had with me I had already spent on a thank you gift for B, and a pair of unstitched clothes for myself. The rest of the money I had with me was R’s for the stents, and Mess stay. I briefly debated with myself. We were going back the next day, and any money I spent I could return it to R’s amount after reaching back Peshawar. I went ahead, and bought the Water Fall.

B, and her husband dropped me at the Mess’ entrance, and went their way. Meanwhile I learnt that in the time I wasn’t present R had phoned. I phoned back to the hospital. They didn’t let me speak to him, and only told me to bring all the money R had in the morning. and that it was needed.

I was in a fix. I had gone, and stewed myself well, and proper. That night I couldn’t sleep.

It turned out in the morning, R needed his wallet for a small amount he wanted to give to  the cleaning staff. The person who phoned misquoted him.

It taught me a lesson. Never to go unprepared without money. God spared me the embarrassment in front of my husband.

Flip Flop

Think of a topic or issue about which you’ve switched your opinion. Why the change?

Breaking the Law

Think about the last time you broke a rule (a big one, not just ripping the tags off your pillows). Were you burned, or did things turn out for the best?

Today’s prompt brings to mind our driver Bilal. We (my late husband R and I) had to stay in Rawalpindi for R’s chemotherapy. We had rented out a suite. We had a bedroom, sitting, and a dinning area, a bathroom, dressing room, and a small kitchen. I would cook R’s favorites, so that something could pass down his throat. Mostly they were soups. It was our home (for one and a half year) away from our home in Peshawar.

The chemo sessions took 15-21 days. We would go back home for two-three weeks, then come back for another round.

The minute we were on the highway, Bilal changed into another person. He would be speeding over the limit. We would be literally flying on the road. My chief worry was having an accident.

When he would go over the speed limit, and keep accelerating, I would tell him to slow down. Few minutes later he would be doing it all over again. I was fed up with telling him the same thing again. My sick husband had to suffer my cries, and Bilal’s disobedience. My heart used to be in my mouth watching Bilal chasing a car ahead of us, and banging into it.

Short of finding another driver, I didn’t know what to do? No other driver was willing to stay away from his family for two to three weeks at a time. Besides my husband thought him trustworthy enough as not to run away with our car, or do any abduction of us.

We put up with Bilal for quite some time, till we found another one to take his place. I am thankful to God for surviving Bilal’s antics.