Tag Archives: Thall


Fierce reminds me of a neighbor’s mother. We were living at Thall. Our home was inside the Fortress. My daughter Nola, and I were the only ones at home. My late husband was at that time a Lt. Col in the army, and commanding a Unit. Mostly his unit was at the border. My son was at Burn Hall in Abbotabad. He would come home during school breaks.

Our neighbors were army doctors. Lt. Col Dr.Q’s mother was living with him. She had no other children beside him. She was fiercely protective  of her son’s children. When the children came out to play, she accompanied them. 

She would be dressed in black. I think I never saw her in any other color. I never could understand her. Although both of us spoke Pushto, but the dialect changes from region to region. Mine had softer edges to it, whereas hers’ was difficult to understand. I would just nod when she would speak to me, trying hard to decipher what she was saying. Most of the time I wouldn’t understand a word of what she would say. I could only make out a word, or two, with that I would try to carry on the conversation with her.

My son S had come home on one of his breaks. He had a slight altercation with Q’s son. Nola came running in to tell me. I went out to see what had happened. S had come to blows with one of the boys. Q’s mother was crying as she said something to me about S fighting her grandson. As a punishment I gave a slap to S’s behind. At this she started to wail. I was horrified at her crying, not knowing what to do. It turned out she was now crying because of my son’s tears. She didn’t want me to punish S. I saw her hugging S, drying his tears, giving him a sweet from the ones she carried around.




Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


In Line Of Fire

Daily Prompt: With or Without You
Tell about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum. If you’ve never handed out an ultimatum but secretly wanted to, describe the scene and what you would say to put an end (one way or another) to an intolerable situation.


My husband was posted to Thall. We put our son in a hostel, and took our daughter Nola along with us. As it was usual with us, my husband was at a border post while Nola and I, kept each other company.

The senior officers’ families were inside the Fortress. We lived in close proximity to one another. The children after coming back from school would play outside. Nola was eight years old at that time.

My immediate neighbor Mrs R was a nosy person. Probably she had nothing better to do. As soon she would see Nola, she would call her and would start grilling her about me. Questions like: “What’s your mother doing inside?
“What did you have for lunch?” “What’s your mother giving you for your evening meals?” I don’t know why she was obsessed with me.
Nola would dutifully answer, “Mama is in the bathroom,” or “Mama cooked ….” Or, “Mama is sewing or knitting.”

One day I sat down with my sweet, innocent daughter. I coached her in replying to Mrs R queries with a simple reply, “I don’t know.”
“How come you don’t know what’s your mother doing?”
My child would answer, “I don’t know.”

This reply drove Mrs R up the wall. You can’t imagine how frustrated she was. I didn’t know that I would become the target of her frustration. In our gathering of Ladies she would divert attention towards me. She would make a snide remark, or a joke directed at me. I would pretend in not hearing it and letting it go without saying anything.

One evening it was Tombola Night at Officers Club. Our husbands were back at a weekend. The men were sitting on one side and the women and children a little bit away, on the other side. It was the third round of buying tickets. My husband had paid for the three consecutive rounds for everyone. I didn’t feel like playing and gave my ticket to a nearby lady so she could play on two tickets.

Mrs R had her watchful eye on me. She made a derogatory remark of me being a Scrooge. I felt I couldn’t take it anymore. It was enough.
“Can you shut up? Tell me, who are you? I am tired of your crude jokes and remarks. Don’t speak to me ever again.”

I gathered up my things, moving my chair at a distance from her. The Ladies were smirking at my finally putting Mrs R in her place.

In The Line Of Fire