Grand Parent’s Stories ~ 1 ~ Going Back In Time ~ Some Pages From My History Book ~

Some Pages from  My Life with My Grand Mother 
Hamida Begum aka Apa Jan of the Whole Family  


Writing from my desk, presently based, in a small town called Bani Gala in the outskirts of the capital city Islamabad Pakistan, I am drifting far away into another world of the happiest and peaceful of times.
Migrating from a land, tormented ripped apart and crushed by a great Two Nation Divide for Freedom , in the Indo Pak Sub continent, I was carried across the border  cautiously and secretly by my brave mother Ms Saeeda Begum ,along  with my two year old sister, to a newly created state. We traveled for three days and three nights, fearing ambushes by the enemies but we managed to survive by the Grace of Almighty Allah and with the help of  some close friends who knew about our coming. How the news reached them is still vague as no one dared to speak about any matter  with anyone. No one could be trusted. Once across the border we were in safe hands but still miles away from Father, a serving army medical doctor., who we knew had managed to cross over to Pakistan with a friend. Well, what a beginning to life!


The first  living place was the famous Hill Station Murree, at 9000 feet above sea level, fully surrounded by tall pine trees, spersed with fresh water springs and sweet juicy apple trees. Winters were cold and snowy, but Summers were cool.

Murree Memories

September 2019

What a wonderful theme for September. Grand Parents’ stories.  This month being a month of changing season, new beginnings, new school year activities and a think back time on sweet and sad memories.  ‘Come September’ and along come flashes of sun filled and love filled days.
I was fortunate to spend some years of my childhood with my own Grand Mother Ms Hamida Begum the only sister of four handsome brothers, a native of Kashmir State (now occupied by India)  born and brought up in the state of Punjab and lived a short married life in the Northern Areas of Pakistan specially in the towns of  Gupis  and Gilgit.
I never saw or met my Grand Father Ghulam Qadir Qureshi  A gazetted civil officer in the services of pre partition British Indian Government.

Grandmother Hamida Begum became a widow. Two daughters and a son were the survivors with her. When I awakened to Life I found myself very close to my Grand mother. I was in the KG class .Every night my sister and I would snuggle up to her and ask eagerly for ‘stories’ and smilingly laughingly she would recite  usually a poem in praise of the Almighty. She knew many stories of the life of saintly and religious people.
I never saw her  cry. She had a fine sense of humor.She could bake and cook, surprisingly baking without  an oven was a great skill…and she  made the sweet flour biscuits the best of all.

Imagine my Grand mother was so fond of reading that she had a magazine subscription  from another land as Pakistan did not have the printing facilities in the early 1950s .The magazine had  stories of Sufis and saints and were full of miracles. I would be very touched by them and unconsciously my love for the unseen grew with these true anecdotes.
Soon Grand Mother left our house to live with her son  who had returned from Saudi Arabia to settle in Pakistan and there came a big time gap. I would miss my grandmothers guidance stories and her  baked sweet  biscuits called ‘Mathhi ‘  but most of all I missed her prayers and recitals. She would sit calmly on the carpet and sing in a low soft voice…’Oh why did you delay when it was my turn’ a sort of loving complaint which I  understood much later in life. She was a great supporter  a motivator but very strict regarding socialization  when it came to us sisters. ‘ No going out unnecessarily’ Prayers first, cover your head,’  but I think it was all because of our love and protection’
The country was new and our family had migrated from Kashmir and opted for Pakistan. But it was a good time then. Grand Mother would always help me and I missed her when she left.

Grand Mother Apajan was an expert in making ‘Vegetable Pickles’ It was such fun to watch her preparing washing and cutting the  green stuff. This would be in the Winters , sitting on a charpoy in the small back yard in the sun.


She passed away after a brief illness in the year  1974. At that time I was married and expecting my second child. Life was so different without her. She was a pillar of strength and I believe that she passed that strength over to my mother.


And now I am  myself a Grand Mother. But this life is so different. My life as a grand daughter was simpler with more love,  lots of creativity, sewing knitting and cooking early to bed and early to rise’ life style. But times have changed. This is the 21st Century. A digital technological world and a demanding one for a Grand Mother…I must say. My Life with my Grand kids is also full of love fun laughter and much more advanced in learning.

And from hundreds of stories I would like to share one with the readers.

I believe  children must have the company of grown ups as they learn and experience life from two ages. Mir Abdul Sami my five year old grandson visited homeland Pakistan in 2012. Coming from UAE he found life much different in Grand parents home. He came with his mother and elder brother. One day I asked him.

‘Sami what are you doing?

‘I am playing, I need cars and Nascar games’ he said

I knitted toy cars for Sami  and Abdullah my youngest grandson…Grandma must know how to knit…


‘Mom! Mom  where’s my mom, I have to find her, I must find her’ and this was about his mom’ Mom cannot be away for even  a minute’. She is preparing some food Sami’.

In food yogurt  was  the favourite and in vegetables  fried ‘lady fingers’, no rice at all.

All play would be in Grand father’s room where he would be resting all day  after a heart bypass surgery. Sami was totally fascinated by toy cars,cars all over the bed, under the bed and around the bed…arranging in lines one after the other then racing into each other and sometimes crashing and rolling over…all of them  models of  Hotwheels Brand

Grandfather would say, ‘enough now close up time’ and all would go in a bag or a box.Sami was a  responsible boy  and he kept  all his toys safe and collected till it was  time to take them out again. No outdoor activity attracts him. That was the difference…all the time we would be playing outside the house in the sand around the trees marbles, hopscotch, hide and seek, but what a difference in games..

Our time questions were permissions to play outside and now I as a grand mother am asked ‘Nano can I play a game on your laptop’ Ahan’ Grandma has to be very tech savvy’.

And they are so innocent like angels but very practical too…once my daughter narrated an afternoon anecdote. She woke up from her nap to find a dozen eggs broken against the back wall of the house..the space was all sticky, Oh what happened, ‘Mama our teacher said in our science class that there is a chick in every egg, we were looking for them but there was not even one in any egg’ Oh Dear  ‘curiosity killed a dozen’ Mama had to do a lot of cleaning and explaining later.



Children are loving they need care. As a grandma I am an online teacher helper and an emergency standby.I must know how to write letters, short speeches, make lunch for at least a dozen loving famished guests at two hours notice and  stay awake all night and never feel tired…I  wait for the happy reunion  time all the time.



A Dialogue of Memoirs Continues ~Kashmir- Day —— ~ We Walked for Miles ~

292377_2328590941145_4353954_n.jpg        Being a witness to historical events is part of life. In fact life is made up of events happenings,mishaps, joyful moments and moments of sorrow and pain. What a beautiful image of Dal Lake in Srinagar now besieged …wonder whether boats are sailing and selling on the lake ? no food…

Salam- O grieving one, turn to your Creator in times of tragedy and pray for forgiveness and also pray for others in pain and forced  innocent or so it seems, captivity. It comes as a test for all in this world. So remember
O you who believe! seek assistance through patience and prayer; surely Allah is with the patient ones(Surah Al-Baqara verse :153).

Walekum asalam ( Peace be upon you too) Grieved I am deeply for my place of birth Srinagar is under curfew,it is besieged by the enemy, everything is locked up and today it is the 43rd day, as I write the days move on and I am left behind. I think about a time of the good past.The past is always good. 

Just yesterday
around the trees we ran ,we used to sit on the walls and talk
and play hop scotch drawn with chalk, we used to build castles in the sand
and act like pirates with the one eyed band, we used to read stories of wonderland
and sing and dance in our little fair land we used to look at the far off stars
unaware of the terrifying wars, we used to find love and care
peace and happiness everywhere we used to …but wait…
I will tell you more, if it is not too late.

It will be late soon, but waste not your time in fruitless thinking.Pray more and ask forgiveness as many times as possible throughout the day.Wish you well but stay alert and calm and patient. My duties increase in these days of turmoil.

In the early years of the newly independent country Pakistan, we as a family were happy and content to breathe and live peacefully on our own free land with meager incomes and just enough belongings.  Pakistan was faced with numerous problems  but all these were possible to overcome after the greatest blessing of a free state.
I started KG in  the Presentation Convent originally established for the children of the serving British Indian Armed Force officers was now catering to the children of Pakistan Army officers too, and later to civilian students 

The school in Rawalpindi was close to our residence in the cantonment, and many a times we would walk back home happily.

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Photo of double decker bus courtesy Google
Later when college began our means of transport was the local public Omni Bus, a double decker, for a couple of years. Often the bus would drop us halfway, and leave us to walk about a mile and a half, back home.We enjoyed those walks and never felt tired. The roads would be clear with just a vehicle or two or a horse driven tonga. It was a peaceful walk without any fear. We did not mind the weather for it would be pleasant perhaps the city was much cleaner then. It surely was.

I see hundreds of small houses crammed all over the hills. How people are living is a mystery of the modern times.Staying clean is a problem and then being able to pray, mosques are targeted.people have forgotten Alas I am grieved too, I must be away now , flying in the dense foggy air is heavy on the wings but my Master has ‘ease with every difficulty’ ‘Indeed there is ease with every difficulty’…

No walks on roads are possible now no buses, no trotting bell tingling tongas’
where have all those good things gone?

Special Feature and A Poem ~ For Lens Artists ~ Ann Christine Pattimoed Amy & Tina Schell ~

My Pine Scented Home Town,    Abbottabad

The Journey to Abbottabad KPK  Province begins on the  historical Grand Trunk Road aka GT Road, built by the Emperor Sher Shah Suri  (1486 – 22 May 1545), he was the founder of the Suri Empire in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent.

As one is on road the signs guide the traveler on…Image result for sher shah suri






Crossing the Nicholson Memorial  here it is still the main Peshawar Road until a small but famous town and road junction called Hasanabdal also famous for The Educational Cadet College.  For Abbottabad we leave this road and taking a right turn we are on way-



I took the road I always traveled by, the road that took me home.



Here is the Provincial border Gateway marking the end of Punjab Province  and the beginning of Khyber Pakhtun Khwa Northern Province

Welcome to Hazara’ 


The road has lush green and fields of harvest on both sides.Further on there are fruit gardens…oranges  guava and loquats or Japanese plum.The fruit farmers set up roadside shops when the crop is ripe.



Roadside Pottery Point. One can select and buy.


A Tribute  to   My Pine Scented Home Town Abbottabad

The last five miles are winding winding ways,
As the bus turns the corners, I remember the winter days,
Home, home on the range  reflecting autumnal grace,
Before you know, its  behold ! the town itself, reveals,

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At its own, the evergreen stature, the spiritual presence of Nature
Majestic melodious mountains, blow the Highlanders March,

As early as cool February
As fresh as is the month of May when Spring awakes
and apple blossoms call,  soft snowflakes greet you,
Sinking and vanishing, as they fall;  Serenity intense,
beauteous nature  crisp and pure white and sure;

Oh! Let me feast my eyes on the beauty of my town,
breathe in the sweet smell of pine,


Oh! Let me live the truthful moments
While they are there
And let the freshness creep into my soul;


    Home is not far now, home sweet home
You will always be in my heart,
and I will never be  alone










Lens-Artists Challenge #63 –For Ann Christine’s Magical Mother Nature ~ My Magical Roadside World of Nature ~

My traveling by road was limited from 2011 on wards, though inland from my city Rawalpindi to the Capital city Islamabad,  due to social circumstances as well as medical reasons.It was a difficult uncertain time as tests were done and results began to change my life. Trips for medical checkups were tense.Finally one for the major surgery and later (with Allah’s Blessings) back home trip, when lying on the backseat I held on with the pain while my younger daughter (May Allah bless and reward her and her family for the best of everything amen) slowly drove the car home.Nothing could I see but the roof of the car and passing flashes of treetops and buildings. There are times when one is so bound and helpless.Then the only thought is the prayer to the Almighty for forgiveness and help….

Allah is Most Gracious and Most Merciful
With His Blessings I was well enough to travel and on the way, to capture the  Magical Beauty  of Nature. Here in response to Dear friend Ann Christine’s Theme of Magical Mother nature I would like to share some views I managed to capture. In all of them I see the Magnificent Majestic Power of the Greatest Artificer The Divine Creator

On way to Islamabad~ Sunset with a cloudy sky.The spread out developing outskirts of the twin cities


As we drove on the sunset remained in view for quite some time and as it grew darker some lights were visible at a distance. How wired is city life. We depend on these lines. The clouds spread the magical amalgamation of gold and blue.


My younger sister came to Pakistan   from Buffalo New York last year  for a short visit. Landing at the Provincial capital of the Punjab i.e. the Historical Mughal City of Lahore, she drove straight to our home town Abbottabad in the Northern Province The Khyber Pakhtoon Khwa (aka KPK ) This gave me an opportunity to travel by road, a two and a half hours journey home. It was a highly emotional trip. I watched the scenery through the camera lens, through the window of the Daewo Travel Coach. Many magical green images kept flashing past. Sharing two selected for this feature I hope you will like the country side  on way to my beloved home town. 

A small mosque came in view built amid the lush green trees and bushes.A peaceful and serene setting. A few miles from the growing town of Haripur. 

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Fertile fields are spread left and right of the main road, now a grand four lane motorway also the beginning of the Great Silk Route to Place Khunjrab  Pass at the Chinese Border 

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When the distance is about ten miles short of Abbottabad the road leads from the harvest fields  into the mountain ranges. A pure magical sight, endless beauty, fresh air and a heavenly fragrance is spread all over mixed with the sweet scent of pine. While writing I am experiencing severe feelings of nostalgia, going home but knowing that I will not find my loving welcoming parents was  a heavy feeling at the time, but meeting my sisters soon removed that sadness.


Back home another short trip to Islamabad for a Reading Session.Outside the Pak-China Cultural center I found this magical cluster of wild flowers 

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                             “No one weaves the exquisite quite like Mother Nature.”

Foster Kinn

Lens-Artists Challenge #62 – Silhouettes For P.A.Mooed ~ Darkness in Light ~

This week, we invite you to explore silhouettes for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #62.   Feel free to include silhouettes of buildings, people, objects, and/or elements from nature.

Most people chasing their dreams don’t see the bigger picture, they just see the silhouette. Make the vision real.                                   Joel Brown

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Silhouettes  in the skies reveal themselves. They manifest messages for the discerning eye.                                                                           Anjum  Wasim Dar 

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                               “For me, the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of
                                                          intuition and spontaneity.”
                                                             ― Henri Cartier-Bresson

© 2019 CER

                      “That’s what I’ll be. A silhouette, rarely seen, and yet believed in.”

                                                                       — Ellen Hopkins

© 2019 CER

When a silhouette or shape is as beautiful as it is functional and relevant,
             that’s true luxury.           

                                                             Reid Krakoff                                                          

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For Literature ~ After Nine Years ~ A Review and A Story

A few days ago read the following news :


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Roman Catholic school in Tennessee has banished JK Rowling‘s universally popular series of Harry Potter novels from its library shelves after its pastor took exception to their portrayal of magic, warning the spells and curses the author describes are real and “risk conjuring evil spirits” when read.    

The Story

This news item took me back to the year 2010 when my application for Teaching English Literature was short listed and I was called for an interview. A local well reputed school with excellent facilities and experienced staff but managed by a foreign Principal.

Well, lets see. English language does need the support of native speakers and require Native Teachers along with Non Native. English for Asia is a Second Language.After the brief introduction the interviewing panel had some questions for me.The first question
that was asked was:  Would you recommend Harry Potter books for students ?

My instant reply was in the negative.

‘but why,please share your reasons.’

‘well the stories though exciting mysterious and gripping and the books bestsellers, even so that inspired by the adventure side they give many ideas for creative writing but are set in an unreal world.
Secondly there is too much magic which may have dangerous effects on the young minds and may not benefit them in real life.I believe Literature is a reflection of life and that is the truth and reality.’

I was never called to teach.





For Lens-Artist Challenge # 59 : Angles ~ By Ann Christine ~ Fajr To Sunrise Through The Angles at Bani Gala, North of Pakistan.

“Perseverance and perspective until victory.”
Lincoln Diaz-Balarty


In 2014 we shifted from Rawalpindi City to Bani Gala Town. Our home was a two bedroom flat on the first floor and my favorite activity was to capture the wonders of nature from the  bedroom window with the handy modern camera. There was a huge Telecommunication Tower close by which blocked part of the view but it did not deter me away from my passion of taking photographs. Today I am delighted to share the view of The Sunrise (many views of sunsets but very few of sunrise, probably due to late night browsing and writing and then missing the beauty of the early hours.) I am happy I kept myself alert that morning. Allah’s Blessings.

The Guidance Is:
أَقِمِ الصَّلاَةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا
“Offer the prayer from the decline (westwards shift) of the sun till (the beginning of) the chill of the night, and during the accumulation of red lights of dawn. The accumulation of red lights of dawn is certainly visible.” (Al-Isra / The Night Journey 17:78)

The part of the verse relevant to the issue is “accumulation of red lights of dawn”. Accumulation corresponds to the translation of the word قرآن (qur’an). Qur’an means, to gather, to accumulate. As a noun, qur’an is the thing that accumulates, or that is gathered. [1] As a noun, fajr (الْفجْر) refers to the redness of dawn that reaches from the Sun to the eastern horizon during early hours of the morning.[2] That means, fajr is the morning light, which is also called subh = الصُّبْح.[3] الصُّبْح= subh basically means redness. 

Fajr (الْفجْر), as an infinitive; means splitting, shedding and eruption.[6] Lights of the sun start to erupt from the horizon until the end of night. These create a weak light dome resembling a dome created by water’s eruption from thin pipes laid in a single row.

Red and white colored lights mix into the darkness of the night. As the sun approaches the horizon, colors start to become clear and distinguished. Thereafter, a light accumulation occurs which looks like the waters erupting from pipes that turn into a pond below. The expression qur’an al-fajr =قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ in the verse states for accumulated red lights.
The following saying of the Messenger of Allah explains this:
ليس الفجر المستطيل في الأفق ولكنه المعترض الأحمر
“The light that stretches upwards in the horizon is not the dawn. Dawn is the redness that stretches transversely.”[8]

© CER 2019

“Eat and drink until the black line could be fully distinguished by you from the white line due to dawn (redness)” (Al-Baqara/ The Cow 2:187)

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Photographs  open doors into the past but they also allow a look into the future. 

                                                                                                                                   Sally Mann

© CER 2019

“And the daybreak when it shines…” (Al-Muddassir 74/34)

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Changing Angles     ~   A Little From The Left

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Love is looking at the same mountain from different angles.’    Paulo  Coelho  


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A good photograph is  knowing where to stand’        Ansel Adams

© CER 2019

Deeply grateful for your visit.


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