Tag Archives: Urdu


My handwriting in Arabic : Ayats(verses) 97-98 from the Quran, Surah(chapter) Al-Mominoon


And say, “My Lord! I seek refuge in you from the incitement of the devils

And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they be present with me.” (at the time of death)

In the beginning of my married life, I couldn’t make out my (late) husband’s writing. Not all of it but some of the words. With time I managed to read his letters. He would send them to me through those who were coming on leave. He would write when he could, sitting in a tent, trying to snatch some minutes between his daily routine.

Sometimes the words would be scribbled upon a small piece of paper– all my love, R.

He wouldn’t write what he was doing, or when he would be coming on leave.

On the other hand his Urdu and Arabic writings were fantastic. Simply beautiful!

My own handwriting has detoriated from my earlier days — but it’s too late to do anything about it.  One reason: I am always in a hurry to do things.
Daily Prompt: Handwriting


My Namesis

Maths was one subject which I hated. But determination, and hard work paid off, and I ended up getting higher marks in Senior Classes. No subject other than Maths gets you full marks when the answers are correct.

There was another subject which I hated more than Maths was Urdu. You couldn’t ditch it, cause it was compulsory. I never got marks in the ninety range in Urdu. The highest I ever got in it were sixty eight. It was a dismal score. It pulled down my over all report card at the end of the year. There I would be standing first in class, but a look at Urdu marks made me want to hide my face, when I presented my report card for father to sign.

Another thing I hated about it was memorizing hundreds of poets’ biographies. There were three centuries of Urdu poets we students had to remember. We had to paraphrase the stanzas that was a real headache. The hidden depth we had to delve into was sheer torture. I would often think, if no Urdu poets had existed, my life would have been easy.

When I got to college, the first thing I did was to get Easy Urdu (an option I got). Finally I could breathe a sigh of relief.


Land of Confusion

Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!

The Dilemma


Tired with the old prompt I am writing my own story.

My home country is an amalgam of languages. There are four provinces, and each has its own dialect—- Sindhi, Balochi, Punjabi, and Pushto. Then there are  more languages — Saraiki, Hindko, Gujrati, Hydrabadi, Kohistani, and three versions of Pushto. The unifying language in the country is the national language Urdu. Then there is English which is a kind of world language, is also spoken; not on street level, but in schools, and colleges which are English medium.

At home my (late) husband R, and I used to speak Pushto. Both of us were Pathans from the North Western Region. Our first born, our son was used to Pushto.

A problem occurred when he started playing outside with the other children. He couldn’t talk in Urdu. The children shunned him. The first time he came inside in tears, “nobody wants to play with me”.

To remedy the situation I started with Urdu. Children are quick, and in no time he picked up easily. He adjusted with the other children happily.

We never thought two languages at home would create a problem, and that’s what happened. Our daughter who is two years younger than her brother wasn’t saying a word even. She was two, and half years by then, and wouldn’t speak. We were scared that she might be mute.

We never realized that she was having difficulty in speaking because of us. Our little daughter was confused. R and I talked in Pushto. With our son we spoke Urdu, and with her we continued in Pushto. After getting over my initial worrying I started speaking Urdu with her.

Within a week, or two she was speaking words, then sentences —a chatterbox was born. She speaks very fast — the words tumble down in a hurry to be let out. My husband was forever telling her to slow down.

The children grew up, and a new problem surfaced. Their grandma (father’s mother, mine wasn’t alive) was annoyed as to why the children couldn’t speak Pushto. That was the only language she understood.

We tried to bribe the children with money to learn to speak their mother tongue, but they wouldn’t.

Actually they tried at first, but R would mimic their mistakes, and make fun of their attempts. This put them off, and they refused altogether. No amount of cajoling by me soothed their ruffled feathers.

They know Pushto now, and make good use of it in places where they want to communicate privately.


Take That, Rosetta!

If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?

What to Say?

Daily Prompt: Head Turners
We often hear strange snippets of conversation as we walk through public spaces. When was the last time you overheard something so interesting, ridiculous, or disturbing you really wanted to know what it was all about?

As a teenager though I understood my mother tongue Pushto, I couldn’t speak it fluently. The reason was — at home our servants talked to us in Urdu or Punjabi, and at school English was mandatory. I grew up with basic rudimentary words of Pushto.

My Pushto improved with my marriage to my husband. Although I can’t write in it, but I can speak it fluently, and can read it too. In the beginning people around me would laugh at the words I spoke. At home R would hold his stomach, and laugh at my feeble attempts (at Pushto speaking).

A few years back at a village wedding, some village women were discussing me right in front of myself. Thank God for mercies, it was all complimentary. Nothing derogatory was said. They thought that I wouldn’t know what they were talking about. I moved away from them.

On one occasion my cousin’s wife went to visit her young widowed relation to offer condolences.

She laughingly asked me, “Do you know what you’re called behind your back?”

I braced myself for embarrassment. She kept on laughing making me assume God knows all sorts of things.

“The villagers call you an Angrez (a foreigner).”

Ooh! I breathed a sigh of relief. I was mentally prepared for something worse.


Are You Turning Sheenistic?

Daily Prompt: A Name for Yourself
Some writer’s names have become adjectives: Kafkaesque, marxist, Orwellian, sadistic. If your name (or nickname, or blog name) were to become an adjective, what would it mean?

My blog name Sheen is an alphabet of Urdu language, and it looks like this: ش

It is the first alphabet of my real name.

In Pushto language it means green.

If Sheen becomes an adjective, it can be sheenistic.

Now let’s make sentences.

She has a sheenistic color.
This would mean green color, and the sentence meaning would be that she is sick.

Or I become world famous (haha), you would be using the sentence:

She is a sheenistic girl.
This would mean that she is like the real Sheen.

Are you turning Sheenistic?
This means you are turning into me.

She is wearing a sheenistic shirt.
Means she is wearing a green shirt.

My own mind is turning round and round.

Imagine everyone adding new words to the vocabulary.

A Pandora Box let loose on the unsuspecting?

Are You Turning Sheenistic?

A Nightmare

Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion
Which subject in school did you find impossible to master? Did math give you hives? Did English make you scream? Do tell!


Urdu and Maths were my most dreaded subjects in school.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love Urdu, but in school I hated it with vengeance in my heart. I wished it didn’t exist.

I would cram my head with the life histories of various poets. It would have been easy, if we were studying Allama Iqbal, Faraz or Faiz. We had to remember the life histories, poetry of poets on the other side of the border, because they were Urdu poets.

Despite all my efforts, the highest marks I ever got were 65/100. Terrible! Isn’t it? Those marks put me off it.

In senior school, I ditched Urdu for Elective English. My subjects being science I had to take Elective Maths. From the frying pan into the fire, cause Maths was a nightmare too.

I was one of those students, who was idealized by the teachers. I always stood first in class. Girls from senior and junior classes often told me, how I was held as a shinning example for them to follow. Their ears stung with my praises, from the teachers.

I did work hard in Maths to get the hundred per cent marks. It wasn’t easy. I was the average student in 70-80 bracket.

To this day one of my recurrent nightmares is that I am back in 7th grade, and Miss B is taking a test. My heart thuds painfully in my chest and I don’t know the answers to any of the questions.

A Nightmare

No Change In 2100

Daily Prompt: 2100
The language of the future: what will it be like? Show Future

Today our internet stopped working. I am writing quite late as it is.

Growing up spoke three languages
Pushto, Urdu and English
Got the three jumbled up
Would forget to my anguish

People I’ve known don’t use slang
So don’t know what to say
I don’t think English will change
It will go on the same way


Images Credit: Google
No Change In 2100


One of my favorite dish is Pulao. It’s an Urdu name for a rice dish. My memories go back to my childhood days. Back to Baba, (my father) when he was alive. It was a tradition in our home that on Sundays we had Pulao for lunch. It was a must and never to be missed routine. It had raisins, almonds, apricots,mutton,chickpeas and rice. We used to stuff ourselves with it.

Fast forward to me after marriage. I didn’t know cooking. I took time to learn how to cook. Fortunately I learned from magazines, friends and by watching other people. Woman’s Weekly and Woman and Home from UK were my guides in baking. My other must have mag was from US, Good Housekeeping. I simply loved it for ages. Still do.

I will always feel indebted to some of my friends who gave me their recipes. Now back to my Pulao dish. The basics I learned by watching my mother in law, whenever my husband left me at her home. This happened at regular intervals. He would be posted to a new place or in winters he would be called to ‘Army School Of Mountaineering and Snow Warfare’ to conduct Courses in Skiing, Mountaineering and Snow Warfare. I would be without a home and so would be back to m in law.

She was really great at cooking. So this is a family recipe with additions and alterations by myself. I like it made with mutton but it can be made with chicken. The ingredients are as following:—–
Basmati or any long grain rice 2 cups, soaked 1/2 an hour before cooking
Mutton 3/4 kg 🐐 or 1 whole chicken cut into pieces🐓
Chick Peas 1 cup, cooked
Almonds3/4 cup, blanched and skin removed
Raisins, washed and fried for a little while, till they fluff up
Garam masala made up with black pepper, zeera (cumin seeds), a few sticks of cinnamon, 4 large cardamoms, all finely ground
Cloves. 6
2 large onions, sliced
A piece of ginger and 8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil 3/4 cup.
2 Tomatoes, chopped

This recipe is enough for four people.

Cook meat till it’s tender. Fry onions in oil till golden brown. Add meat, ginger and garlic. Add tomatoes. Add 1 tsp salt and 1 1/2 tsp garam masala to the mixture.Fry for a few minutes. Remove the fried meat with a slotted spoon. Put 4 cups of water or left over broth from meat. Let it come to a boil. Now add chick peas and rice and 6 cloves, plus salt to taste and another 1 1/2 tea spoon of garam masala. When the whole thing comes to a boil, lower the heat. Cover. When water is partially absorbed, add meat, raisins and almonds. Cover and simmer on low heat till rice is cooked and water absorbed.😋

Life of Sheen

%d bloggers like this: