Journal: Day Two

My Dad is transferred from New Delhi to Rawalpindi

Our journey from New Delhi to Rawalpindi ( by foot, tonga and train): first we had to walk from our house to our Dad’s office on foot. It was a Sunday, the streets were quiet, there were no tongas in sight, only some humans who were having fun watching us, dragging our feet to reach our destination. They knew we were in trouble, there were some who asked, ‘where are you going?’

My Dad and all of us pretended we did not hear them. Finally we stopped at a place, where there were two or three tongas waiting for passengers. Dad felt it was safe at that point to hire the tongas to go rest of the way to reach his office.

From the office we were transported to old fort, New Delhi. We stayed in tents for a couple of days. My Dad was informed, arrangements have been made for us to travel by train.

How we went to the station and got in one of the compartments of the train, is a complete blur on my mind. I only remember the compartment was pitch dark and filled with passengers, there was hardly room to move. My baby brother was thirsty, he was crying, one man said, ‘it’s better to kill him or our enemies will kill all of us, if they find out there are passengers in this compartment.’

This is how racism looks when man does not hesitate to kill another man because of religion.

Our train was stopped for a long time, we could hear shots fired by Indian army against those who wanted to kill the passengers of the train. The train tracks had to be cleared of large branches of trees before the train could move.

After many long hours our train stopped, we finally reached our long awaited destination. We were welcomed by Pakistani officials. There was water, food and everything to make us feel at ease. But the fact that we were safe made our day.

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365 days, June third: Tourist Trap

File:Pharwala Fort.JPG

Rawalpindi a city in Pakistan is the place I loved, I wasn’t a tourist but went there with my Dad because he was posted there. We met a few serious obstacles on our way there. I will not remind myself about the trials we faced for it sure will put a damper on my beloved Rawalpindi.It is a beautiful city in Pakistan.

It has a long History of nations occupying it, but remains untouched. We arrived here when everything seemed perfect, the people the landscape it was almost like a paradise on earth.

I studied in a school where the motto was, ‘spare the rod, spoil the child.’ It did not matter the teachers were awesome, they taught us beautiful songs I hum even today.

In the morning I was in school, afternoon was adventure with my three younger siblings.

We had a race course nearby our house, we could watch horse race standing at the back of our house.

Each day we discovered a new place. One day we landed in a place where there was a huge outdoor gathering, some of the people were frying parathas in large woks. They were celebrating Muharram and we were offered these tasty fried breads that kind of resembled tortillas but tasted heavenly.

Another day the four of us walked at the back of our house and saw houses, in one there were some plants, they looked interesting. One of my brothers plucked one to bring it home. He was caught by the owner, we ran away leaving him there to get the punishment he deserved for being so naughty.

He wasn’t punished but was allowed to bring it home, when they found out our Dad was an Assistant secretary in the ministry of defense. If my Dad ever found out about this incidence, I’m sure we’d be grounded for the rest of our lives.

We were children and God knew we meant no harm, therefore we were forgiven I guess.

If I was given the choice to go for a trip, Rawalpindi would be the place I’d visit.


365 Writing Prompt: We can be taught

Tell us a moment or an incident that you treasure– not necessarily because it brought you happiness, but it taught you something about yourself.

Back when we lived in Rawalpindi, there was a woman who used to deliver milk for us, I loved seeing her and in my unusual Punjabi, I’d speak to her.

She never forgot to say, “Hi, bibi , how are you?

This would get me going and I’d start my conversation with her in Punjabi, I wasn’t as good as her, when we are little we do not think whether the words we choose are right or wrong we just speak, the fact that we have no inhibition, we easily learn new languages.

The milk woman would relate the story of her buffaloes, that she didn’t get as much milk as the day before. She wouldn’t make as much money.

I’d sit in the veranda and listen very intently. She liked this part of me, even though I was little I listened to her stories with interest.

One day she came as usual to deliver milk, I wasn’t very talkative, she was disappointed. She asked me questions why am I not my usual self, was I upset with her. I told her I wasn’t, after all these years I cannot recall why I was quiet.

She sat beside me and told me she would bring me some milk the following day and will not charge any money for it, then she said, “Now smile bibi!”

It taught me that day a very important lesson, all those people who knew me loved my interaction with them  and my smile, that I should never disappoint them.


Daily Prompt: The Early Years

pad2015-s1.png (308Ă—60)

Write page three of your autobiography.

Six months after my father passed away, we packed our bags and left Rawalpindi and arrived in Dhaka city, capital of Bangladesh. We stayed with my Dad’s youngest brother for a few days.

My eldest brother made arrangements to go by train to my maternal grandpa’s village home. We stayed in grandpa’s home for almost a year.

My brother took several trips to the little town named Comilla in Bangladesh. After months of looking around he found a home which in his estimation, was perfect for us. He bought the house and came back to the village to take us, my mom and the siblings to live in our new home.

It was nothing extraordinary it was a relatively smaller house than the one we lived in Rawalpindi. My mom was happy, we the siblings felt all right, it was a home we had to get used to , that we did in a very short time.

Next thing was to find a school for us to get registered in, my brother located a school which was near our home.It was run by nuns, they offered both English and Bengali medium of instruction.

The school was divided into two sections, one was for students who registered for English medium, the other one was  for Bengali medium students.

My brother told me to take my siblings to school to get registered , the three older ones for English medium and the two younger ones in Bengali medium. Upon questioning my brother’s intentions for  registering the siblings in two different mediums, I was told it was cost effective. I was fourteen then and didn’t quite comprehend what he meant, but did as I was told.

I was yet to know what will happen to me, the school only had up to six grades, I could not register in a lower grade because I was in third standard when we left Rawalpindi, it was equivalent to grade eight. My brother hired a tutor to coach me at home to prepare me for high school exams privately.

The tutor’s whole appearance gave me a very negative attitude, his demeanor, the way he spoke, his English pronunciation, everything was distasteful to me.

After about three days I announced I did not want a tutor, I’ll study by myself. My brother was not convinced he arranged with one of the nuns in the school where my younger siblings were studying to give me private lessons once or twice a week.

The Principal agreed, my attitude towards homework annoyed them, they declared they didn’t have enough time to give me private lessons.

I was glad with my freedom from two tutors I knew were not capable of helping me, and the fees they charged was more than my mom could afford.

Thus began my journey of helping myself to get through the ordeal of preparation for high school exams or face the possibility of ending up married to someone who’d be close to my Dad’s age. It wasn’t a rosy picture for me.

I wrote page three of my autobiography. For now I’ll end here. If anyone is interested I’d be more than glad to continue!

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Writing 101 Day Eleven: Size Matters (in sentences)

Today’s Prompt: Where did you live when you were twelve years old? which town, city and country? Was it a house or an apartment? A boarding school or a foster home ” An airstream or an RV? Who lived there with you?

Today’s twist: pay attention to your sentence lengths and use short, medium, and long sentences, as you compose your response about the home you lived in when you were twelve years old.

Situated in Punjab, Pakistan is the city of Rawalpindi.It was restored by Jhanda Khan after the devastation by the white Hun. This was the  place where I lived when I was twelve years old.

Our house was located  on Peshawar Road. At the front, close to the main road were three majestic Eucalyptus trees, the scent of their leaves awakened the passers by who looked curiously at them.Behind the trees was a  fence  built with bricks, it was a tottering one , ready to collapse any moment. The herd of buffaloes obliged us by leaning on it. The fence came crashing down which made extra work for the gardener and the servant.

The house was a large one, it had to be, to accommodate fourteen living souls, Mom, Dad, and the kids.

In all there were twelve rooms, four larger, eight smaller with attached bathrooms.

Mom and Dad occupied one  large room. The bossy older sister wanted one large enough to entertain her friends,one was designated for our parents’s  friends, and the left-over for us unimportant kids.

Kitchen was a separate building where my mom cooked and the two servants, prepared the vegetables and washed the dishes.

Hi all I’ll appreciate your feedback. Thank you. 🙂








365 Writing Prompts: No thanks

Is there a place in the world you never want to visit ? Where, and why not?

No, there isn’t a place in the world I never want to visit. However I’d like to revisit a place where I spent a few years with my parents and siblings. We were very young ,we enjoyed roaming around in the neighborhood on days when the school was closed.

I’m curious to know how that place looks now, is it the same when we were there or has it changed a whole lot. It is possible, with the increase in population there are not that many open spaces as there used to be, a lot more buildings has to be built for housing, there must be more schools and colleges. Let us visit this place and find out if I can recognize it or the many changes has turned the city into a completely different place.

Rawalpindi, Pakistan is the name of the place where we lived and played and loved.

I found some pictures from wikipedia. They are awesome, I know when we lived there wasn’t a separate college for women. I’m not sure of the bazaar, it probably was there but this one is larger I assume.

The buildings are new, I would love to see the city now.


Images from wikipedia

Government_college_for_Women_Dhoke_Kala_Khan.JPG (1600Ă—1200)

Rawalpindi_Bazaar.jpg (1656Ă—1242)



Writing Prompt: Childhood Revisited

Yes,I turned out pretty good, but the thing I would have liked different was to have my Dad longer than twelve years. To make him proud that despite my flimsy excuses of skipping school. I was able to continue and complete my education.

I would also have liked to be able to live in Rawalpindi rather than Bangladesh. My reason is I was comfortable there and I had friends whom I would have liked to be with,even after the completion of my education.

I have nothing against Bangladesh,my parents are from there. We adapted very quickly,we knew the language,thanks to my Dad who taught us how important it is to know one’s mother tongue. I missed my childhood friends, it’s the only reason and also my Dad’s presence in our lives would have been awesome.

“I know the saying man proposes,God disposes.”

I have kids they were fortunate to complete their education in Canada . This is what I wished and luckily my wish was granted. 365-days-feb 8th-childhood revisited/

DP Writing Challenge: Traces Ranu’s Post http://

The 17th century Badshahi Mosque built by Mugh...

The 17th century Badshahi Mosque built by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Lahore (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I left my footprints on Peshawar road Rawalpindi years ago. I loved the city.Our house was on that street. I remember going up to the gate of our house,waiting for the bus. It picked me up at 6 A.M.We were the first ones picked up on that street and dropped off at 4:30 P.M.

I would come home hungry,I’d have my breakfast at 4:30 A.M..It was my last meal before 4:30 P.M.  I was too shy to eat in front of all the people including my classmates.Mom religiously gave food for my lunch. I left it uneaten. I’d come home and give it to my younger siblings. I told them not to tell Mom.

I had another option,my Mom sent food for me and my elder sister,I never ate it. My sister had fun sharing the food with her friends.

One day I was so hungry. I came home and rushed to the kitchen to eat. Our servant served the food. The food was cold.I started crying .My Dad asked me why I was crying.I told him, Bari,the servant gave me cold food. My Dad was furious. The servant was warned .From then on,Bari heated the food when he saw me getting off the bus.

I liked my school,we learned so many different things. The nuns were strict,they were also very kind. We left Rawalpindi when my Dad passed away. I still miss walking and running around with my younger siblings.

The other picture is of the famous Badshahi mosque in Lahore. I was a student at Lady Maclagan College. We used to go sight seeing when we had time. I was keen to see the mosque.It is a beautiful mosque. We had to take off our shoes before we went in. I took off mine and threw them on the pile.The guard at the gate, looked at me and let me know by his expression, I should not throw them. I picked them up and carefully placed them.

Something that amazed me about the gate keeper  was he could hand over our shoes without help. His memory was unbelievable!

English: A view of peshawar road rawalpindi cantt

English: A view of peshawar road rawalpindi cantt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DP Daily Post: The Road Less Travelled Post By Ranu

I got a job in a Residential Model School forty miles from Rawalpindi. When I applied for the job,I was not sure I will get it. I was the first one called for the interview. There were five or six other candidates,who applied for the same  job. In the interview the Head Mistress of the school,showed a lot of interest. She told me about the school,she said she would like me to take the job.

The problem I faced then was the distance. The school was too far away.I did not give my word and asked her to let me think.I consulted my older sister. She did not think it was a good idea.I informed the Head Mistress of my problem. She took it well.The following year she wrote and offered me the job again. This time I told her it was not possible for me to live that far from home.

If I had taken the job,I do not think I would continue more than six months. I would be homesick,and would be a nuisance for the staff.I am glad I made that decision,or else I would be a very unhappy person!

My nostalgic memories of Rawalpindi


English: Rawalpindi Train Station

English: Rawalpindi Train Station (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Horse and Rider

Horse and Rider (Photo credit: Istvan)


Gardener Gardening

Gardener Gardening (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My Dad was transferred to this wonderful city named Rawalpindi.My Dad worked for the federal government.I was admitted in a convent school.My Dad thought,it was the best school in the city.Our house was a three-storeyed building in Lal Kurti Bazaar.Our school was close to my house I walked to school. One day instead of taking the usual route to my house,I decided to make a short cut.I noticed a huge swan with its babies,in one of the lanes.I don’t know why but I started to feel scared.I was walking slowly.The swan must have felt I was going to get her babies.Suddenly she bent her long neck and started chasing me.At this point not knowing what to do,I started running and crying.Somehow I escaped this frightening situation.I then made up my mind to walk along the road in the bazaar. One day as I was walking down the road towards my house,I had an eerie feeling  that the guy behind me on the bike was going to crash into me.Sure enough he did just that,I fell on the road with a few cuts and bruises.After this incidence I did not have any more trouble. My big sister hated the house we lived in,she told my Dad we must move and live in a better neighbourhood.We moved to Peshawar road.It was an area where all the army hot shots lived.The owner had several large bungalows,these were requisitioned by the government for the officers .In this area, Rawalpindi looked very different than it did in Lalkurti bazaar.There were beautiful houses where all the wealthy lived.My Dad was not one of them,he had a good job. My siblings and I had a lot of fun in the park,which was walking distance from our house. Rawalpindi the city was fairly large,it was very clean.We did not have the fear of kidnappers or evil people.I always remember,going at the back of the house up a dirt road,they used to have horse races.We would always go up the hill to watch the race.One day our part-time gardener told me he was also a jockey.Among all the questions I asked he told  me that he was going to take part in the race.He gave me the description of the horse,when next day rolled around,I was ecstatic I was going to watch the horse race,this time it would be a lot of fun,because our gardener would be one of the jockey’s participating.When the race started there were anxious moments for us siblings.We took it for granted that our gardener was going to win.Our white horse was ahead of all the others,suddenly I noticed the other horses were starting to overtake the white horse.When the race was over the white horse was almost last.Our gardener had some explaining to do.When he came next morning I was the first one to nab him with all my questions.I was angry with him because he let us down. Why he didn’t win, he told me that there were a lot of people who bet on the horse and his owner told him to slow down,to let the other horses go ahead.I said,”It means you purposely lost,.this is cheating”.He told me ,”don’t feel bad Bibi,this is what the owners do”. I also remember going to a restaurant.It had shiny floors,it felt slippery,I was about to slip and fall,my brother caught me and said”,You are such  an ignorant girl I can’t take you any where”.He ordered juice for us,this was my least favourite.I tried to finish it but couldn’t.The next time he took us,my brother ordered milkshake,I sipped it in record time. Things were going great we lived in a city we loved.As they say,”All good things come to an end”.My Dad suddenly became ill and passed away. My Mom did not want to stay In “Pindi any more.Within six months we packed all our things and bid goodbye to our most favourite city.


English: A view of peshawar road rawalpindi cantt

English: A view of Peshawar road Rawalpindi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)