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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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Tale of a Stepmom

Daily Prompt: Not Lemonade
When life gives you lemons … make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an orthodox way.

During childhood, I identified with stories of Cinderella, and Snow White. It wasn’t because of the fairy tale endings, but there was a step mother in the stories.

Our step mother brought with her, four kids from her first husband, when she married our (widower) father of five children. Our eldest brother was at PMA, Kakul, so that left us four at home.
With the addition of four other kids, we numbered eight.

A year later our step brother was born. We were thus nine children living in one house. With the addition of our baby brother, our step mother started showing her true colors.

Our father got a new job in another city. Meanwhile we were left at the mercies of our step mother.

Barely fifteen days later, step mom began her daily beatings of my youngest brother Salim. At first we thought Salim must have done something to irk or annoy her, but one day it went overboard.

One evening, while he was eating his food, she got up and start hitting at his head. My other brother Sher (three years younger to me), and I stood in front of her to save Salim from her blows. We got hit too. We were too innocent to hold her hands, or something like that. She wasn’t stopping.

Sher in desperation, rushed outside, and brought a neighbor with him. Seeing him, our step mother left her beatings. She told him her tales of the brats misbehaving with her.

The neighbor quietly told her, if she didn’t stop her daily ritual of beatings, and if he heard any of us crying, he was going to call the police.

Next day while we were at school, our step mother left with her own kids to join father. God knows what she must have told father (about us) when she left us alone at home.

Three months later, father had a heart attack. She didn’t accompany father’s body for burial at our ancestral village. I never saw her again.

She wanted us out of father’s life, and in the end we became fatherless too.

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