‘Tarr Tarr’ of frogs

Do we speak too much sometimes?


imagesOne of my favorite jokes is of two frogs sitting side by side and ‘chatting’… one says:

‘Tar’ (that’s what frogs say!)

The other one says, ‘tar’,

This goes on for a while till the first one says: ‘

‘tar tar’

‘Why did you change the topic?’ the second frog gets angry.

So this is how most relationships go. We all go in same kind of circles. The moment we try to say or do something new, the other person retaliates, angrily.

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Life can be funny….


Basically, I love life. Why not? My God has made this whole earth, this universe for us humans. – Me actually. (Okay, You and me!) So, why not enjoy living here? Why not celebrate this stay here, specially, when we really have no idea about the ‘departure date.’

So, one can’t help but be grateful for it all.

I heard the twittering of the happy birds outside my bedroom windows, and kept it partly open to hear them, even though it was rather cold. When I looked out to see what they were so happy about, I found out they had already finished off half of my precious cineraria plants which I had lovingly brought yesterday. They were busy eating up the rest of them!images

I had put their flower pots with the saplings on top of the wall in front of my bedroom window. Because on the floor, my dog Magic would have finished them off. He wouldn’t eat them, but play, and break the flowerpots. Sighhhh! What am I to do???


My golden Labrador Magic has finished off my precious lawn. Now, I’m wracking my brains and Pinterest while planning a grassless garden! My Cocker Spanial Paprika never did anything to my lawn except to pee in it. Black-Cocker-Spaniel-Dog-Picture1She was conscientious about not pooping in it, unless hard-pressed. She preferred to do it in my front door neighbor’s lawn. Irum’s husband hated Paprika, so my precious pet wanted to give him this gift of her poop. Of course, I’d have to hear about her death threats from him. ‘I’ll kill her!’ He would shout across the road. He also had a precious cat, which my dog loved chasing…. So, anyhow, cats will be cats and dogs will be dogs.

Neighbors will be neighbors. His wife is a good friend of mine. Believe me, she is.  Now, with Paprika’s death, (a natural one) my neighbors’ husband has also mellowed down.

So, the other day when there was this wonderful painting exhibition of mine along with 24 other artists. Generation Rahi’s exhibition –  which I was hosting also –  there were many guests, and afterwards we were having snacks outside in the cold. It was a very sophisticated environment of course, with the ambassador there and what not. 27332145_554574008253026_5973474362128823692_nSo, as I was talking to a guest, I tried to pull out my tissue as my nose seemed to need one. I put my hand inside my purse to get a tissue out, and out popped a pair of pop socks! I looked down in shock. The person also looked in. ‘Oops,’ I thought, ‘where did this come from?’


Then I remembered, yesterday, I’d bought a couple of these, and while the salesman tried to get me a plastic bag, I said, ‘no, it’s not needed.’ (I’m trying to reduce plastic bags.)  I put them in my bag, meaning to put them in my cupboard drawer, later.  So, I forgot all about it. That was embarrassing, and so funny.

Life goes on, and a couple of days ago, I was still recovering from my loss of my mentor, and then Asma Jehangir passed away. Such a great person, died at 65.

download (1)– A woman who felt the pain of all downtrodden people in Pakistan. Since there are many downtrodden people in Pakistan, so she spent a very busy and a very angry life. Due to this she was even more loved by all the downtrodden people of Pakistan. No wonder she was one of the most popular women.

So, Nageen Hyat (a gallery owner and women’s activist) had arranged a meeting at her place, of the Women’s Action Forum and all others who were interested. We all made a statement that we want an official burial ceremony for Asma Jehangir.

So, before that I had gone to visit a school for the poor, near my place. A person named Usman had called me up earlier, and asked me to see it. I had made my appointment many days ago with him.27867772_1842956129071004_2884846866221277722_n

As life is, it was raining heavily when I went, barely saving my car from getting stuck in the mud and puddles on the way to it. However, the trip was amazing. The children kind of stole my heart.27973158_1842956249070992_3607491057637702539_n It was a great pleasure meeting Usman. But I won’t tell you more because I’ll write properly later on about them. From there, I rushed across Islamabad for the meeting, for which I knew I was late. I had informed Nageen about it, she said it is okay as long as I do come. So, I managed to get to her area within record time, but missed her turning (due to my speed), and had to make a detour…. I found myself stuck in an unexpected traffic jam quite near her home, in F-6/1. I had never seen such a rush before. Pouring rain, and all cars jam packed and stuck. I thought perhaps there is an accident ahead. I saw a motorcyclist coming from that side, I asked him,

‘Bhai sahib kiya  ho gaya hai?’ (‘What has happened?’) He pointed towards his mouth in an eating motion, saying, ‘samosa ki dukan hai.’ (‘There is a samosa shop there.’)

I was shocked. Everyone had created a traffic  jam there due to going for samosas to the Bengali samosa shop. (Samosa is a very tasty fried saltish snack of Pakistan, if you haven’t had one yet, do find a Pakistani who will know how you can have one.)


I shook my head in frustration, I thought

‘Pakistanis!’ no matter what happens, ‘food’ is their first thought. So,  because it was raining so badly, everyone had to have samosas!  No wonder they are so good at it! I made up my mind to come here next time. (I’ve just taken this picture of their shop from an article.)

Meanwhile I finally managed to dash off  to the meeting, hoping to get samosas after the meeting, as Nageen usually has them. While driving there in the driving rain, of course I got the furthest parking from her home, as there were so many cars parked outside. I was walking to her place wearing my rainproof jacket and putting the furry hoody up, I wondered how Nageen would manage with all the wet shoes on her carpeted drawing room!

On entering the entrance area I faced the barrage of shoes on the floor.

‘Good one!’ I thought, as I took off my joggers, I realized the socks I was wearing had my big toes peeping out from the holes! (- Why doesn’t such a thing happen when my socks are fine? I wondered.)  It was too cold to take off my socks.

So, I walked in proudly with my big smile. Oops, I shortened the smile, as it really was a very sad occasion. My eyes, couldn’t help noticing that the dining table set up, had only biscuits with tea today…


Luckily, due to coming late, I had to sit behind some other folks so my holy socks couldn’t be seen by almost anyone. The meeting going on was a very good one, with people remembering the great activist with love and all of us feeling very sad. Everyone wondered  now who would be standing up for our rights, or for anyone going through a bad time.

I feel that, the best part was the fact that she died her own death in spite of the constant death threats she kept getting for standing up for the minorities and others.-  Especially, those who stood up against the misuse of the Blasphemy Law. She stood up to fanatics, murderers and all those who were unjust. (Unfortunately there are many in this part of the world, as in others.)

Afterwards, I quickly disappeared, yes, to hide my torn socks but also as it was lunchtime at home, and I wanted to be in my warm bed for an afternoon siesta.

I put on my joggers, and  dashed off for home. On reaching, I realized I had lost my mobile phone. When my daughter called me up, it was picked up by Nageen’s staff, who found it. (it must have fallen out of my jacket pockets when I bent down to wear my joggers.)

Last time, I had gone there for another meeting, it had been my car keys. Her staff had found them, then too. That time, it was because I had gone to the next room to say my Maghrib prayers.

They must think I do this all the time.

Actually I do! I’ve done it since my childhood, and so I have a lot of practice doing it. losing my keys, books and phone. My mum often said, ‘You’d lose your head if it wasn’t screwed on!’

This time I’ll have to agree.

How about you?

Well no one is perfect here. Nor am I. Every night, my daughter beats me at Monoply deal. It is our addiction to play.  My only demand is that I won’t budge till I’ve won at least once!

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So take a chill pill and relax, make sure to enjoy the funny bits that life throws at you. They are only there to make you smile as you go about the business of life and living in this beautiful planet of ours!

…. stay blessed, and keep smiling!


Note: Almost all photographs by author except photographs by members of Generation Rahi, and from Google of Asma Jehangir. Also those of the Labrador  and Cocker Spaniel from Google with thanks.


My Mum, Cheema & Chatta and Islamabad.


 Ever since my parents moved to Islamabad, they kept remembering Safari Villas in Bahria Town, and Lahore, – places where they had lived for many years.  Don’t get me wrong, they love being with me. The problem is with loving Islamabad. Try as I might – I kept failing. Here is how my Mum finally got to love Islamabad too.

Two days back, I took my Mum for an outing.

‘Where do you want me to take you?’ I asked.

‘Anywhere! – I don’t know.’ She said.

24899828_1767777593255525_6016527917049784133_nSo I drove her around…. we drove to the car park of Faisel Mosque which has a fabulous view of the mosque. She liked it but she enjoyed the corn and chanas from the ‘thaila’ nearby even more. These she enjoyed, fresh and hot from the ‘sand-filled karahi’,  which is a wok like container.

Then I drove her to Rawal Lake – after great struggle – as all points to the lake have been closed to public due to recent poisoning incident where many fish were killed and drinking water was made undrinkable. So, rightfully they had closed it to public.

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The flying flying-saucer!

 Formal functions can be so funny


In the College of Home Economics, we had to live in a house and manage it on our own. It was called ‘the residence.’ All Homec students have many stories about their residence experiences. What do you expect when a bunch of novices try to behave as ‘pros’? So, here we were at a dinner in our residence. Not everyone was used to cooking, and nor was everyone skilled at using the knife and fork.


I admit a flying saucer is not a formal meal, but that is what had been cooked that day. The meals had to be planned within the budget and preferably interesting dishes.

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Meetings sheetings!

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I don’t know if it is just among us Pakish people that we have a way of saying things like…. ‘meeting sheeting’, ‘school feeses’…. (sounding like the other feces!), saying ‘electric city’ to electricity, and so on. ‘Meeting’ being added with ‘sheeting’ can be quite appropriate as many meetings in establishments do end up quite ‘sheeting’!

Sudden meetings at one of my work places would end up being a horror. A normal day had one up at six a.m, with a commute of one hour. Office hours 8.00 a.m. till 3 p.m.  and getting home by 4 p.m.   Many times,  just when I would be thankfully leaving, the guard  would inform me at the gate, ‘Madam, the boss has asked all staff to be in the office for a meeting now.’ So, I would have to cancel any other things I’d planned for the rest of the evening.

Finally, the meeting would start, with entire school staff there wondering what it was all about through half of it. It would come to the point: by giving us  more work to do after that ‘meeting’,  and having to stay on another two hours! Now, if this work had been given earlier, around 10.30 a.m. that day, it  would have been completed by 3.00 p.m. No Sir, the boss was too busy at that time. So, yes, I’d say meetings sheetings is the right terminology in most cases. Otherwise, if one would have been warned a day earlier, at least one would have been prepared for it.

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Outside the box

Sometimes you need to think inside the box!


After spending a lifetime of thinking outside the box, I had to accept that sometimes, it is vital to think ‘inside the box’. It happened when my two-month dream holiday in Seattle, came to an end.

 It was time to pack my stuff into my suitcases. The ‘stuff’ refused to be pushed in.  You may note that I hate shopping. My daughter became my mother as she lectured me on the importance of travelling light. (It had a familiar tinge to it. I believe I’ve said those words too!)

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Papita and papiti


Story of my papaya tree

Four years ago, when we moved into our own home, my parents got fruit for us, and there was a huge papaya in it too. My cook planted those seeds, and very soon twelve ‘trees’ were growing one foot tall in my tiny ‘lawn’. When he wasn’t looking, I pulled out eleven of them as the flower beds were too small. I kept one, just to not break his heart. Unknown to me, another one was growing outside the boundary wall. It turned out to be the male. It was perfect distance for the bees and butterflies to do the needful. Within a few months, the trees had grown high and little papayas started appearing. Now, it’s a sturdy papaya tree but the funniest of its kind.

Instead of the one large ‘trunk’ there are so many branches sprouting out of the one main trunk. Instead of five to seven huge papayas, I get at least twelve or sixteen small 5-6 inch funny shaped papayas.

Last night I walked with my daughter Waliya to the nearby market, and saw the awesome huge papays growing on the one large trunk of my neighbours papaya tree. There were several planted in a row. Each one had at least four to six huge papayas!

Mine is funny to look at and has really odd shaped papayas too. What to do now? I’ve decided to call mine ‘papitis’ as they are so small in comparison. Well, no complaints, as I get a steady supply of papayas most of the year round. And I love my  tree just as I’d love my own child no matter how she or he looked!

Recently, I’ve noticed the ‘male’ plant outside has become all leafless and miserable. Is it dead? Now I’ll be needing a male.

I was in college when I’d hear mom and my aunt Ismat laughing when she said, “I had just moved into our new house, and my neighbor arrived and looking at my husband, while saying “I need a male from your house!” I  was so shocked. But I realized she was talking about papaya trees!” The two of them would go into peals of laughter. I never understood that joke.

Now I do!

…Stay blessed and happy my dear reader. 🙂 PS: I’m trying to cheer you up after yesterdays’ rather sad blog.