Cinderella and the Designer Shoes

A 100 word story written for the Weekly Writing Challenge…

IMG-20130507-WA0000Mrs. Hussain’s favorite activity, even more than telling stories about her wonderful international trips to the ladies at the coffee parties, was shopping for designer shoes. Every few weeks, she would go out and spend her husband’s hard earned money on a new pair of expensive designer shoes. With great pride she would carefully place them in her cupboard ready to be worn on the next coffee party.

What Mrs. Hussain didn’t know was that in her absence, her maid who had the same shoe size as her, would wear the new shoes as she dusted and cleaned the house.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Flash fiction

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Flowers

We have these amazing pink flowers blooming here in the desert of Dubai. I’ve been seeing them all along the roads as I drive by and for this challenge I just had to stop and have a photo session. The different shades of pink look so striking!



Photo of the Week: Posing

Today when Nadir and I went for a walk, he stopped by a tree and asked me to take his picture. You should have seen the look of amazement on my face, because this is the same boy who I have to run after and plead with whenever I have a camera in my hand, “Please, please stay still for a second, let me take your picture!” And here he was posing by the tree and actually ASKING me to take his picture. Something strange is happening, either he’s growing up or I’m growing old!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

My son was being naughty while playing with his box of sand and construction toys so we told him we would put away his box if he continued. He quietly got a marker and wrote his name down on the box as if to tell us “It’s MY box!” Even though the ‘N’ was upside down this is the first time I saw him write down his name. He also with one stroke of a pen (marker) was able to tell us who’s really the boss around our house!20140104_101719_1
Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

Embracing Change

And so we are at the end of one journey and about to begin a new one. My son asks me everyday “Mama, are we going to Bahrain today?”

“Not today, but soon” is the answer he gets.

Change is always good. We’ve had a wonderful 4 years in Dubai and there are so many beautiful memories that we have made here. We had just landed in Dubai and not even moved into our own home when I noticed that my son had grown his first tooth. He celebrated his first birthday here and for the first time we had so much space to be able to call family and friends for the celebration. I’ll never forget the first little unsteady steps he took towards me as I held out my arms to catch him. He started nursery here and he progressed from being shy and awkward with others to a confident and talkative little boy.

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We took our first vacations as a family of three, to Al Ain a place 2 ½ hours away by car where we stayed for two days in a hotel just to visit their famous zoo. We also made our first international trip together to Maldives where we got to watch dolphins in their natural habitat.

Nearly two years back my husband was posted to another country and he used to commute over the weekends. Life became very unsettled for all of us but we have stuck it out.

It’s now time to move on. This change is especially good because the three of us will be together and there will no longer be a commute for work. I’m especially excited because I’ll get a chance to set up my house all over again, something I love doing. My son will start in the big school after the summer holidays and my husband will start a new dream job.

We can never say for sure what’s going to happen in the future, I always feel humbled under the shade of God’s Grace, but I sense that there are good things to come.

Friday Fictioneers: The Maestro


Ashiq Hussain hangs out his shirt on the clothes line as he watches his grandson playing in the dirt next to a big pile of rubbish.

An all too familiar beat comes wafting out from the shanty next door. Ashiq strains to hear; somebody is listening to his brainchild “Dama dam mast qalandar” on the radio. He wonders about the city people who interviewed him and told him that he was a great maestro suffering an immense injustice.

“Oh well” he thinks, shaking himself out of his reverie, “I hope Ali beta can earn a few rupees today so we can have dinner before going to sleep.”

Ashiq Hussain, the man behind the melody “Dama dam mast qalandar” that has been sung by famous singers of the Indian subcontinent; today resides in a slum near Bhaati Gate, Lahore.

This story has been written for the Friday Fictioneers. For details see the link below:

Pakistani Handicrafts

I was very fortunate to get a chance to pick up a few handicrafts from Pakistan on my visit to Islamabad. I was very happy to see a government handicraft shop at the Pakistan Monument with crafts from all over Pakistan. This post is dedicated to the skilled artisans of Pakistan who despite their many talents are striving to make ends meet.

These are hand carved brass ornaments made in the city of Multan. The work is intricate and beautifully done.

Also from Multan comes their famous pottery, hand made and painted with the dominant color of blue.


This is a jewelry box and earrings made in silver and stones.

Lastly this is a replica of a “riksha” a three wheeler used for public transport in many areas of Pakistan. Rikshas are actually this colorful!


Different Perspectives

Isn’t it amazing how differently adults and children think?

When I was visiting Islamabad recently, I was complaining about how dusty everything was and how the power extensions kept burning up and the rooster next door kept crowing night and day and how the next door neighbors liked to play cricket on their terrace at night and just how noisy it was.

Meanwhile my son was having the time of his life. He absolutely loved the house, the fact that he could shower without a tub, that there were so many mysterious dark nooks and corners to explore and everything was so compact. And the staircase was his absolutely favorite. He would make several trips up and down the steps carrying either the “jharoo” (traditional broom) or a “gao takiya” (a large oval-shaped cushion) ignoring my nervous pleas. He didn’t seem to mind the blaring music coming from the house next door in the middle of the night either as he slept soundly after a hard day’s work. Nor did he bother about the power cuts or the ever running toilet. It was also quite fascinating for him that big black spiders came running out of their hiding places every now and then.


Going up the steps with a jharoo

It used to be a difficult task to get him out of the house because he thought we might not come back there. He identified our house with the “Real Pakistan” and until we didn’t get back, he thought we were not in Pakistan.

We were talking with his Grandma on Skype and he just wanted to somehow get inside the laptop screen and go back to his “Real Pakistan”.