VERSE | REAWAKENING

I remember, I remember 
A little girl I used to know
She was bright-eyed and joyful
Her spirit had a special glow

She was filled with compassion
And a courage that fairly roared
The world was her oyster
She had found her wings and soared

But then I lost sight of that
Special one when I left home
To let marriage settle me
In its no nonsense folds

Time went on as it does
And more and more I found myself
Thinking of the little girl
A tender nostalgia for a friend

I looked for her on winter trips
That I occasionally made back home
But she seemed to have melted
Into the fading mists of dawn

When life came full cycle and
My youngest daughter was wed
I came back to write and roost
To my childhood homestead

There one balmy summer day
As I began to write
The story that had been hiding away
In the tumultuousness of life

The little girl peeked out at me
Not from behind the door
But from the page that I was writing on
From the ink on it that flowed

That day I met her again
Her happy laugh warmed my heart
Even as she flitted in and out
Of my vision at the start

But then she gently held my hand
As I wrote page after page
And I remembered, I remembered
As I found myself again.

VERSE | STARS

She carried a little bouquet 
Of golden-hearted nargis*
Her face flushed, her eyes bright
She was going to make a gift of them
To someone special.
The bus stop was empty
Save the woman with the flowers
And me. I had my phone in my hand
She sat on the bench waiting
Clutching her bouquet
I stood nearby, holding my phone
Watching her secretly
Trying not to spook her
But she was mesmerizing
In the tender enchantment
That surrounded her

The bus was late
She sat there almost motionlessly, quietly
But the thrum of her joyful energy
Was taken up by the gay bouquet
As it danced gently in the breeze
She wore yellow shalwar kameez*
With little white flowers
Or were they stars?
They were tiny, almost imperceptible
So small I was sure even she wouldn’t know
But they shimmered in her gaiety
She smiled as she adjusted the stems
The flowers bobbed back happily
She sat there like a painting
Full of joy and anticipation

The bus rolled in
Carrying its load of passengers
I lingered a while to see
The recipient of this picture of love
That waited brightly on the seat
Together we watched people alight
People go left and right
Until the last passenger stepped down
I climbed on, slowly, hesitantly
I sat down near a window and looked out
The bouquet now lay inertly on the bench
Its sunny heart wrenched
Where it had been clenched
In the ardent embrace of a pair of hands
Drenching it in the liquid warmth of love

They were stars, not flowers
On her kameez, five-pronged tridents
Piercing, lancing, shattering
The perfection of beautiful things
Hidden, Unbeknownst to her
The fault, I was sure, lay in the stars.
* Nargis: Daffodil

* Shalwar kameez: the long shirt and trousers worn by women in Pakistan and India

HAIKU

A haiku is an unrhymed Japanese poetic form that consists of 17 syllables arranged in three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively. A haiku expresses much and suggests more in the fewest possible words. Trying my hand at the lithe and sinewy art form.

Some gladness, some strife
Mixed in with some love and hope
Faultless slice of life.


It opens again
Haltingly, poundingly, my
Newly love-drenched heart.


The light shone, my soul
Soared. The monitor too glowed
In final farewell.


The pane shudders, shakes
In the wind. The pelting rain
Renews, whets the pain.


The old men sit snug
In their fortressed halls waiting
Out the raging storm.


She lay down to rest
The crickets were still. There were
None six feet under.


The breeze kissed my face
Whispering, praying we would
Never meet again.


Tea with buttered toast
A little sip, a bite, my
Broken heart revived.


The wind pulled at him
The kite pulled at his laughter
Heart in hand they soared.

VERSE | DIFFERENT

I met her on the internet
We had a little chat
For fifteen or twenty minutes
It wasn’t more than that

The next day at 3pm
I saw my screen light up
There was a message waiting
She had not given up!

I smiled, nay beamed it was
Uplifting and sublime
That this lovely lass could one day
Be a real friend of mine

She had put up a photo
In the app display online
I tended to opt for staid old men
Quoting their pithy lines

The weeks they turned into months
She suggested finally
That we should meet up somewhere
For sandwiches and tea

I was torn, I was in two minds
To go or not to go
I had had some experience
Of dejection and of woe

But she seemed different
Grounded, honest and mature
So I bested my insecurities
Of one score years and four

I walked in early and sat down
I ordered a latte
I waited looking at the door
And then I saw her face

Gleaming, hopeful, expectant
She glanced around the room
Our eyes met for a bit and then
She looked away confused

She lingered for a while before
She glided out of there
With my disillusionment and coffee
I sat in my wheelchair.

VERSE | THE BRICK-FACED HOUSE

The morning glow touched its face
The brick-faced house in the street
It stretched out in the morning rays
Hide’n’seek with some it played
Its favourite morning treat

In the bedroom facing the east
I lay in sleep’s placid arms
The sun wore its morning beam
As it shone into my dawn time dreams
Oblivious of my late alarm

The house shook out its paint and bricks
Its nooks and crannies too
The mynah was already collecting twigs
To fix its nest, repair the rips
From last night’s stormy brew

The day wore on, the house filled up
With daytime smells and sounds
It shook and shimmered, belched and laughed
As it held us all in its matronly arms
Safe in its blessed compound

Evening came and with it the skies
Turned a beautiful rosy pink
T-41 too flushed with delight
Its terracotta facade catching the light
As it watched the twilight sink

The resident crickets began to perform
Their night time symphony
The house sighed softly gathering its form
It seemed like tonight would bring another storm
But inside its walls was warmth and sleep.

VERSE | LOVE

I look at you with a thrum of love 
You look back with a smile
Your eyes crinkle affectionately
We’ve been together a while

I have stopped lingering upon
The outside of your being
For, years ago I fell in love
With what lies within the seams

Now I look into the depths
Of your twinkling, smiling eyes
And I see the gracious soul
That reverberates inside

I see the kindness that you bring
To the tumultuous world around
To the big and small, the young and old
You bring an empathy that’s profound

I see the pain and the passion too
Both heave in your very depths
One keeps you wise and rooted
The other keeps you forging ahead

I also see peace and calm
They rest quietly in your heart
When life sometimes disturbs, disrupts
They play their blessed parts

At your very centre I see the man
That you always strive to be
Dignified, upright, aware and true
All while you nurture your humanity.

VERSE | TEA FOR TWO

It was two for tea and tea for two
Both meeting after a decade or two
Friends of old, kins of the heart
Separated by time and circumstance
Chatter and laugh over tea for two

Tea for two and two for tea
Neighbours for a year, kindred souls for twenty-three
They’d seen each other through thick and thin
Loving Kintsugi* mending walls where they’d grown thin
Catch up over two for tea

It was two for tea and tea for two
From working together their friendship grew
They had rejoiced in one another’s highs
And had held each other’s hands in trying times
Rendezvous over tea for two

Tea for two and two for tea
The sister and the brother sat quietly
The coolness of bruised hearts lay around
The air was rent with empty sounds
As they tried to build bridges over two for tea

It is usually two for tea and tea for two
That brings hearts together, both the sunny and the blue
Loving ones forge more joyful memories
Aching ones for a while find some peace
When they come together over tea for two.
* Kintsugi: The Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.

VERSE | SWEET AWKWARDNESS

They look at each other 
Awkwardly
It’s been thirty five years
Since they’d last seen each other
Blood has flowed thinner, starker than water
For the two sisters
Now standing together

They sit down
It’s in the younger one’s home
The older one perches on her seat
Hands clasped around her knees
Knees bunched together awkwardly

The younger one makes the tea
The steaming, billowing pour
Softening, mollifying the tension
That has stretched like taut skin
Raw, painful, blue-complexioned
On the surface of the atmosphere

The older one reaches for the milk
She pours it into her cup of tea
Hesitates and looks at her
Wondering if she still drinks it
The same way she did before

The younger one nods, smiles ever so faintly
She puts the sugar in
Looks at the older one inquiringly
No, she didn’t have sugar in her tea
From each other, they both look away
At the steaming cups on the tray

The brews in the cups
Swirl for a while
Spin and beguile
Then come to rest
Pulling a film of whey and casein
Around their hearts
Hiding away from the scene
Hiding away from the awkwardness

“Do you remember -“
“Do you remember -“
“You used to love the milk skin on the tea”
“I used to love the milk skin on my tea”

They look at each other
At last
They laugh
Sweet-awkwardly
Eyes moist, hearts beating fast
The tension is torn away
Finally
In the gush of warmth
From the tea
From she looking at her
From her looking back smilingly

The older one looks at her cup
The smile still playing on her lips
She picks up her spoon
To remove the cream
Her sister never had it
Today she wouldn’t too

The younger one looks at her cup
Gazing down at the membrane
Floating in the milky brew
She picks up her cup
Her sister always had it
Today she would too.
Featured

VERSE | NOSTALGIA

She steps into the car
Its gleaming surfaces
Adorned with gladioli and motia*
She’s the bride tonight
Garlands also lovingly
Entwine in her hair
Their fragrance filling
The nighttime air
Eyes bright
Face shining with expectation
She glances behind her
Just for a moment
One last time
At that spot where she stood
Leaving behind her childhood
Marking the end of her maidenhood
She smiles
Nostalgia now sits there
Young, hopeful and light
Eyes bright
Face shining with expectation
Waiting to fill the space
That has been so tenderly placed
Into her sacred embrace.
* Motia: The Jasmine flower.

VERSE | UNTIL THEN

He looked at me with eyes of love 
I could not hold his gaze
My heart lay closed and tightly bound
In yards of purple lace

It once had soared high above
Where eagles roam the skies
But since then it had plummeted
It had shrivelled up and dried

By and by it beat again
As I slowly found my peace
But it still liked to hide away
In its blue-violet niche

So when he looked at me with eyes
That spoke of tender starts
I looked away, there was no way
Into my blue-bruised heart

Someday when the colours change
Of the blood that flows within
Of when my heart reddens anew
And once more soars and sings

I hope that I can hold that gaze
So full of affection
Until then I hope to heal enough
To want to love again

SHORT STORY | SAMOSAS WITH TEA – Part Three

(1)

Shahnaz came home from the office one evening to find a guest. It was Sikander’s mother. Shahnaz had met her at the office once when she had come to get some bank related work done. Sikander had introduced her to his mother then.

She freshened up quickly and came out to the lounge. Their guest was getting up to leave. Before she could get a chance to crossexamine her mother as to the purpose of the visit, Mahjabeen had breezed out of the apartment. It was a neignour’s son’s wedding, and the women of Mall Court were all caught up in the communal festivity and frenzy of preparation.

The next evening, mother and daughter sat down for tea as usual. Shahnaz took a sip of the hot, spirit-fortifying brew as she eyed the plate of samosas. Today her mother had made her favourite, delicate little beef samosas and it was difficult to not reach out and pop one into her mouth. But she’d been good; very good. She had not touched a samosa or a pakora* for the last two months even though the former, in its various delicious avatars, lay temptingly before her at every tea time. Shahnaz sighed and focused for a while on the new hollow concavneess of her belly. She smiled and looked at her mother. Mahjabeen was lost in thought.

“Aday, walay?”(1), she asked her mother.

“Shah sb de”(2), her mother responded simply.

The head of their committee and their communal lives had proposed for her daughter. Shahnaz blinked, taking in this bizarre information. And then she laughed; uproariously, until the tears streamed down her face.

“Lewanay de buda”(3), she finally said to her mother.

Still wiping away the tears of laughter, she asked her mother about the guest from last night. As it turned out, Sikander’s mother had gone to university with Mahjabeen in Islamabad. When they had moved to Karachi about a year ago, the two women had reconnected. They had both recently realized that their children worked in the same bank and at the same branch. And so she had come over with a profound request in mind: to enlist Mahajbeen’s daughter’s help in finding out about Annie; a colleague at the bank and Sikander’s love interest.

Shahnaz confused and dazed, looked at her mother. The bubbles of her recent rollicking laughter were still floating around in her belly. What was her mother saying! She was saying other things, about Sikander’s marriage. To Annie. About timelines; wedding cards. She suddenly felt like the breath had been knocked out of her. Disconnected phrases pinged on Shahnaz’s brain as she felt around for some semblance of order, of sense. A cacophony that had started in her head came crashing down into her ears and then grabbed at her throat. She looked at her mother unhearing, unblinking.

“Shahnaz, bachay* …?” she saw her mother mouth the words, but she still only heard the roar of a tumultuous ocean in her ears. Even as she let the tsunami of her broken, flooded heart carry her away inside, she remained silent, tomblike on the outside. She sat there quietly for a long time.

(II)

Mahjabeen was agitated and then thoughtful. She had balked at the quiet confidence with which Shah sb had presented the proposal. It had not been too many years ago that he had made a similar offer to Mahjabeen for herself. She had immediately and resoundingly rejected the notion of remarrying. Shah Manzoor had never brought it up again, until now, extending the offer a generation down the line. He was 50, Shahnaz was 23. Mahjabeen did not outright refuse the proposal and from that absence of a rejection, there bloomed hope like a wild flower in Shah Manzoor’s besotted heart.

Over the next month, Mahjabeen’s domestic burdens were eased in big and small ways as Shah Manzoor bestowed his largesse on her household. His driver made the arduous trips to the bank for her to pay her utility bills, took her appliances for repair, took her linen to the dhobi*, brought it back and deposited hefty bags of fruit at her doorstep, compliments of his employer. Mahjabeen who had always been reliant on taxis and rickshaws, was suddenly elevated in great part beyond these mass market modes of transport for the general mobility and flow of her life. These subtle and overt facilitations slowly picked their way through the reticent iciness of Mahjabeen’s heart where her daughter was resident. And so, the proposed union that had seemed ridiculous a month ago, began to appear less bizarre while also holding the conventional glimmer of longevity and ease. A large part of that aura of acceptance was lent to it by Shahnaz herself: Two days after the discussion between mother and daughter, Shahnaz had informed her mother that she would marry Shah sb. Mahjabeen had told her to think about it, that the world was her oyster. Her daughter had looked at her as if she’d just swallowed that oyster whole; her entire world lying vanquished and decomposing inside her.

Preparations for a winter wedding began at TP-2. Mahjabeen had informed her brothers of the union; they were completely supportive. They had always been somewhat offended and on edge after their sister moved to Karachi. Grounding, entrenching milestones like respectable marriages meant less for them to worry about in terms of unexpected calamities defiling their family name and also the ever present possibility of having to extend themselves financially. It didn’t matter that they had had nothing to do with their sister for the first ten years of her moving to Karachi, and when they did reconnect it was as unemotional as it was practical: After the initial pleasantries were out of the way they wondered if a distant cousin visiting the city by the sea for the first time could stay with Mahjabeen for a few days. Of course she could; the hospitality had been extended graciously and generously.

Mahjabeen had kept in touch with her older brother after that, more out of an innate compulsion to feel like she still belonged to a larger family of siblings, cousins aunts and uncles rather than any sentimental bond; if ever there had been one, the sibling tug of affection had long since relaxed its pull. Now when Karim lala* heard the news of his niece’s impending nuptials he was genuinely happy. He had never met Shah Manzoor but had heard of him from his sister off and on, always at the influential front and centre of life at Mall Court. The man’s age was irrelevant; he would make a good husband for his niece. He had informed Mahjabeen that he and his family would attend the wedding in December.

(III)

Shahnaz gave up her evening walks, devoting herself entirely to assembling her trousseau and to baking. She baked every weekend, ferociously, constantly, going through her recipe book twice over. Everyone bought her delectable desserts. Shah sb made fliers for this home economics enterprise of his fiancé : “Shah’s Bakes” they proclaimed in big green letters (‘Shah’ after all was the first part of Shahnaz’s name too he had said to Mahjabeen). He even had their newspaper delivery man pass them around in the city. At some point over the next month or so he suggested to Shahnaz that she give up her bank job and focus on her baking business. And with time, a burgeoning family he thought. Shah Manzoor devoutly believed in the divine strength of numbers; theirs would be a vast, happy family.

Shahnaz gave in her one month notice and continued to bake up a storm that in its growing undualtions found its way further and further outside Mall court. Shah sb had got a rickshaw to do deliveries for those who could not themselves pick up the delicacies prepared by the talent-abundant hands of his wife; the soon-to-be prefix was just a formality now.

Soon, the nippy winds of early December began to blow across the city making its denizens don sweaters, jackets and even woollen caps in its 20 degree coolness. Shahnaz had steadily put back on the seven kgs she had lost. She didn’t need the scale that was lying in a forgotten corner of her bathroom to confirm that fact; she could feel it in the satiated plumpness of her belly and the chafing of her upper arms against her body.

It was one week before the wedding. Shahnaz and Mahjabeen were having their evening tea. Tea time with her mother had now become Shannaz’s single anchor of reminiscence, a vestige of a warm, safe past that she had let go; buried in the space of her liver, allowing only the pleasure of this little evening repast with her mother to gently flow towards her heart, to remind her just a little bit of her old self. She was quick to banish any vulnerability that threatened to overtake her during this dusk time mother-daughter companionship. She had already in her mind, put her frivolous, childish past forever behind her.

Shahnaz looked at her mother who was gazing at her daughter, as she did nowadays, for signs of capitulation, of rethinking her decision. Shahnaz smiled reassuringly at Mahjabeen even as she felt something wrench in her belly. She willed herself to focus on her bubble of calm: having tea with her mother and samosas with her tea. Still smiling, she breathed in deeply and reached for her third samosa.

(1): “Mother, what is it?” in pushto

(2): “It is Shah sahib” in pushto

(3): “The old man is crazy” in pushto


* Pakora: fried fritters made of vegetables such as potatoes and onions, coated in seasoned gram flour batter and deep fried.

* Bachay: Child in urdu and pushto

* Dhobi: A washerman/ woman who washes clothes for a living in Urdu

* Lala: suffix used with a name to show respect for an older man/ brother.

SHORT STORY | THE CASE OF THE CHEATING SPOUSE – Part Three

(I)

Qayum Alam: (smiling at his wife’s uncharacteristically mysterious manner) “Where are we going Bats? The suspense is killing me”

Batool: (Awash in a wave of overwhelming anticipation) “Oh, you’ll soon find out. I can only tell you that it’ll be the surprise of a lifetime”

Qayyum Alam (smiling to himself, thinking he wasn’t the only one, after all, who’d been busy lately)

[At the KILLA office]

Batool: “Tum*!”

Qayum Alam: “You!”

Madam J: “Hain*!”

Inamullah K: “Allah khair*!”

Chaddu: “Ji, ji! Bismillah*!”

Batool: (Pointing to Masood Khan who was sitting comfortably in a chair) “What is he doing here?”

Qayum Alam: (To Jahanara who was also sitting comfortably in a chair) “What are you doing here?

Madam J: (To Qayum Alam while adjusting her billowing chiffon dupatta and releasing a petrichor of roses that engulfed the room) “What in the world are you doing here?”

Inamullah K: (Sweating profusely and looking around like a caged hare) “Please sit down. Everyone, please. Let me explain. There was a mistake. A little error … Chaddu sb, will you tell?”

Chaddu: (Standing unobtrusively in a corner, shaking his head vehemently; no he would not)

Batool: (Refusing to sit down and glaring at Inamullah Karamat) “Inamullah sb, is this some kind of a sick joke?”

Qayum Alam: (Sitting down in a chair) “Bats, what is this place and why is Madam Jahanara here?”

Madam J: “Masood Khan and I have arrived just a few minutes ago. To get to the bottom of all this. (Turning to Inamullah Karamat while the bracelets on both her wrists jingled briskly)

Madam J: “So, Mr. Inam is it? Why has your colleague there been taking photos of the guard at my apartment building, Masood Khan here? Not once, not twice but a few times now. Are you planning on launching a modelling career for him or are you voyeurs of some distasteful variety? Hmm? Masood Khan caught him today getting into a rickshaw outside my apartment building and brought him to me. He wouldn’t say much except that there was a meeting today. So we came to see what the fuss was all about”.

Inamullah K: (Still sweating profusely and mopping his face with a large red handkerchief) “I … the thing is madam …” (looking towards Chaddu for some helpful interjection) “Chaddu sb ___?”

Chaddu: (Still standing away from the group, still silent as a tomb, looking studiously at the ballpoint in his hands).

Batool: (Taking matters into her own hands and turning on her husband who was now sitting near the other man) “I know you’re having an affair QA!”

Qayum Alam: (Perplexed and confused) “What? Have you lost your mind Bats?”

Inamullah K: (Having given up trying not to sweat up a storm, the perspiration now flowing in sopping rivers down the front of his shirt) “If you will just let me explain __”

Batool: (Reddening with frustration and indignation) “I have photos! (Turning to the sweating sleuth) “Inamullah sb, the photos!”

Inamullah K: (Pulling on his suspenders, unconsciously facilitating the even flow of his secretions down the entirety of his shirt) “The thing is Mrs. B … the thing is that the photos are definitely of this guard whom your husband used to sit with. Yes! there is no mistake there”.

Inamullah K: (Losing steam and looking desperately around for inspiration and courage to continue. Catching sight of Madam Jahanara’s beatifically smiling face) “The thing is Madam, your .. err … Mr. B sat with the guard waiting for Madam Jahanara to finish her morning classes. Singing classes. So he could get his singing lessons. She’s a great singer!” (Smiling foolishly while pulling out a second handkerchief, this one white, like a flag of surrender, and mopping his face again, looking just a tad hopeful about this nightmare ending).

Qayum Alam: (Throwing up his hands in exasperated defeat) “There goes my anniversary surprise!”

Batool: (Still standing rooted to the ground and still red and wrathful) “What singing classes? What about my husband having an affair with the guard? (Pointing to a bewildered Masood Khan) “With him!”

Qayum Alam: (Finally shocked and stupefied) “An affair? With Masood Khan?!” (Now watching his wife for signs of a mental breakdown) “Bats my darling have you finally lost your marbles? (Then looking around) “What is this place?”

Inamullah K: (Having finally stymied the outward flow of his life force) “Sir respectfully, we are KILLA. We have been private investigators and settlers of truth for …” (looking at Qayum Alam’s darkening expression and deciding it was a good time to let the situation play itself out while keeping his marketing spiel and his investigative findings to himself).

Madam J: (Tinkling like bells while raising a pudgy hand to hold it daintily under her chin while looking at Batool, her whole posture one of barely contained mirth) “An affair! Oh dear!” (Laughing now full throatedly while the scent of roses floated delicately around her).

Qayum Alam: (Also seeing the comedy of errors, joining in the laughter).

Inamullah K: (Attempting a few sporting grins but each time being almost masochistically drawn to Batool’s face which had morphed into a Mughal battle field complete with stampeding elephants and red eyed soldiers with murder on their minds. Immediately tamping down on any lightness of spirit he might have called upon, and looking straight ahead with mouth pursed as if about to painstakingly whistle).

Batool: (Finally sinking into a chair. With Masood khan forgotten, now looking at the diva sitting in front of her, unsure for probably the first time in her life of what to say) “The messages! The texts! Laila!”

Qayum Alam: (Placing a hand on his wife’s arm, still looking for her missing marbles) “Laila?”

Batool: (Collecting herself) “The laila with whom you wanted to do your dil diyan gallan!”

Qayum Alam: (Looking stunned for a moment, then placing both hands on his wife’s indignant shoulders) “Those were the songs I was rehearsing for our anniversary. Madam Jahanara was coaching me. It was a surprise. I was going to sing them for you. Layla by Eric Clapton and Dil diyan gallan by Atif Aslam”.

Batool: (Lost for words again. Then instinctively) “You spelled it L.A.I.L.A. That’s L.A.Y.L.A …”

Qayum Alam: (Trying hard not to laugh) “I never was good at spelling darling” (then looking at his wife’s face as she slowly, hesitantly changed mental gears and began fitting the offending blocks of information into their non offending places. The laughter that had been bubbling up in the pit of his belly came booming out again, pulling at his tear ducts on the way).

Madam J: (Chortling along gaily).

Chaddu: (Still standing in the shadows chuckling abashedly).

Inamullah K: (With its intended purpose served, pushing white-flag handerkerchif back into the pocket of his trousers) “What a blessed ending. What a blessed ending”.

Qayum Alam: (Standing up and pulling his wife into an embrace) “Oh darling bats, dearest darling, batty bats!”

(II)

Batool Alam:

The thing about love is that it makes you do the strangest things with the best of intentions. Old love like ours; young love like in the movies, in the face of adversity (real or imagined) it all rallies in the same way. I would not call what happened a misadventure, I told QA. No, it was an irrefutable testament of my loyalty and devotion to our marriage of 40 years, and counting.

Speaking of money, Inamullah Karamat offered me a 50% discount seeing as how fictitious his “facts” had turned out to be. I was very much of the mind to retrieve the original 50% too but QA thought it was a fitting 40th anniversary gesture of magnanimity. I hrmphed noncomittally, letting my husband have the last intelligible word this time. He had earned it.

The annivaerasy party is 3 days away and QA has persevered with his singing lessons. I insisted of course; it’s not important how you start an enterprise, but how you finish it, as someone has so aptly said.

Of course, I can’t speak for the croakiness he might visit on the world when trying on a melody. Time will tell, because his audience definitely will not … thankfully. That reticence would be yet another wonderful social foible: being compassionately tone deaf and unfailingly appreciative of the host. At least to his face. I too will probably have to keep what my ears hear, to myself; after all, he is going to be giving Eric Clapton and Atif Aslam a run for their money just for me.

But when all is said and done, we will have been together for 40 years and nothing on that day could spoil that abiding fact.

That dear readers, is how this story ends, quite fortuitously and for the betterness of all. (I looked it up – that is in fact a word, and what a charming word it is).

Read Part One here: https://theroamingdesi.org/2022/08/09/cheating-spouse-part-one/

Read Part Two here: https://theroamingdesi.org/2022/08/11/the-cheating-spouse-part-two/

* Tum: You in urdu.

* Hain:
a colloquial expression in Urdu indicatin puzzlement and confusion.

* Allah Khair: “May God protect us” in Urdu.

* Ji, Ji, Bismillah: Ji = “Yes/ Ok” in Urdu. Bismillah = “may god endow this event with his blessings” in colloquial Urdu.