The Menace of Advancement

There was a time when things were different. Samina wondered where that time went. When there were no mobile phones and social networking services and people just sat face to face to talk to each other. Nowadays these young people didn’t have time for anything. Just rushing about everywhere glued to their mobile phones. Texting had replaced real conversations. And the children were even worse. Instead of playing outside they were playing those dastardly games on their iPads.

Samina adjusted the chair in front of her and put her legs up so that the sunshine would warm them. Her doctor had told her that she needed Vitamin D and the sun helped produce it in the body. She put the newspaper to one side and looked around. The gardener was completely useless and the garden looked a mess. How she wished she had more energy to do it herself. She would show him how to look after a garden. She remembered how she had won first prize in the “Best Garden” competition and she had been too shy to collect the prize. Instead Ahmed had collected in on her behalf. What a wonderful time that was. When husbands would come home from work much before night fell. And these young ones today; they seemed to spend half the night at work. They didn’t know how unhealthy it was for them and their families.

Samina wondered what Ahmed would have thought of this new lifestyle. It probably was good that he didn’t live to see this day. She remembered how he would make sure that all the children sat together at meal times and recounted their day. Nowadays everyone had their own timings and nobody sat together. There was one eating in front of the TV, another one in her room and the youngest just ate like a bird.

Just then her oldest granddaughter came sobbing into the porch “Oh Grandma, my life is over!”

Drama, there was too much of it these days.

“What happened, dear?”

“It’s Imran, I’ve had it with him. I never want to see him again.” Imran was her fiancé of ten days.

“What did he do? He’s such a nice young man.”

“He told me that my new hair style doesn’t suit me. If he’s not going to support me in my decisions what kind of life will we have?”

There was too much contact these days between the couple before their wedding. Samina remembered how she had seen Ahmed for the first time on their engagement and the second time on their wedding. Still they had spent a wonderful 52 years together.

“I’m sure he didn’t say it like that. And please dear, don’t jump to conclusions over such a small matter”.

“Oh Grandma, you don’t understand!” wailed the distraught young girl and went back inside the house.

Yes it was true, thought Samina, she didn’t understand this young lot at all. They didn’t have the resilience and tolerance that she had as a young wife. Of course there were going to be problems but you were supposed to stick together and solve them, not just quit on each other.

With the sun shining on her and a breeze blowing across the garden, Samina had begun to feel sleepy. “I’ll just have a quick nap before afternoon tea” she thought to herself.

She dreamed she was sitting on a boat in a lake full of lotus flowers. She was drifting without any paddles when she saw Ahmed on the shore. Her heart skipped a beat. She wanted to row towards him but she didn’t have any paddles. He was waving and smiling from the shore. She used her hands to steer the boat towards the shore. Ahmed held out his hand to her.

“Grandma isn’t waking up!” shouted the little boy clutching an iPad in one hand. “Mummy, come quickly”.


This story has been written for the Speakeasy #147 in which the first line was given as “There was a time when things were different.” and reference was to be given to the photo prompt (two parrots).

24 thoughts on “The Menace of Advancement

  1. That was lovely. It was quite a beautiful and endearing (if slightly cantankerous) reflection on both the present and the past. The end gave me chills. Very well done.

  2. That is a sweet, peaceful ending. I’m glad she got to go home to be with her love. And the girl with her fiance? If she falls apart at the hair comment, she probably should wait on marriage until her skin is thicker… that’s nothing 🙂

  3. Another beautiful piece from you. I really love your style of writing. Your characters really blossom and draw the reader in. Well done!
    On another note, a bit of a confession. I did not, in fact, look at my book on Friday. I will try again! How is yours coming along?

  4. Just fell in love with this one-such a real reflection of the times we live in.Loved the touch of humour in the phrase,”Drama, there was too much of it these days.”So true about lack of resilience and tolerance in today’s generation-sigh!Beautifully poignant ending and so fitting that she would go peacefully in her sleep!Well done Zainab!

  5. Having watched another generation changing the landscape of my life, there is much to mourn and recognize and celebrate too. This piece captures that emotion. I liked the detail about how if she had more energy she would show the gardener a thing or two. Take care

    • Thank you, I borrowed that detail from my mother’s life. She was really fond of gardening and whenever she comes over she always has a thing or two to tell the gardener.

  6. A lovely story…I can understand aspects of Grandma’s feelings…seems there IS too much drama among the youngsters…but then I think back to when I was young and realize how dramatic I saw the world then…the last scene was beautiful a lovely passing.

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