Throwback Thursday # 69- Gifts

Lauren and Maggie are hosting this challenge.

Since I’m running really short on time, and last year I wrote a post about gift giving and receiving, in response to Throwback Thursday # 6, I’m sharing this post again in the hope that you may have forgotten it and would enjoy reading it again.

This week my subject is memories of gift giving or receiving.

Today I ask you to reach back into your memory bank and tell us about a gift you received or gave.


I would write about the many amazing gifts that I received

But alas my memory refuses to recall any of them clearly

Though I know that there have been many that gladdened my heart

And made me proud to be that person who inspired that loyalty

As for the gifts that I thought up and presented to my loved ones

Those have been so many and so varied

From a simple bouquet and a homemade card

They include expensive gadgets and
pieces of jewelry for my daughters

It matters not the value of the gift you give or receive

What matters is the love that accompanied that gift




You Don’t Have to Be American to be Thankful

This week’s prompt is: Being Thankful


On last Thursday I wished my American readers a very happy thanksgiving. In the comments many wished me back. When I explained that I don’t celebrate thanksgiving, a blogger said that we all have something to be thankful for so we all should celebrate thanksgiving.

This indeed is very true. We all have so many things to be grateful for and when we express them or write them down, we realize their significance more.

Things I’m grateful for are, in no particular order;

My health, and my faith

My family and their health

All the luxury, like home, transport, food, availability of affordable health care

The ability to read and write, and blog

My friend old and recent who have been by my side through thick and thin.

My blogging friends who I feel are like my family

My country Pakistan where I’m free to be myself.

Independence of thought,enlightenment and awareness.


Written in response to;Throwback Thursday #65 – You Don’t Have to Be American to be Thankful Today, hosted by Maggie this week.



Thursday throwback- Then and now

Then and now

This week’s prompt is: Then and Now

Think about yourself as a child and tell me :

  1. Were you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
  2. Did you have a boisterous or a more reserved personality?
  3. Were you more confident or did you tend to be insecure?
  4. Were you social or were you more of a loner?
  5. Were you a good listener or a good talker?
  6. Did you like school or dread it?
  7. Did you like the outdoors or did you prefer staying inside?
  8. Did you have deep thoughts about the world, the universe, etc., or did you only see as far as where you lived?
  9. What did you want to be when you grew up?
  10. Looking back, how did you fare as an adult? Are you still that same person or have you changed? If you changed, was it a dramatic shift or just slight changes? Did you end up in the profession you thought you would?

I’ll answer the questions in one composite post.

I was a shy child, probably because I lost my mom as a child and had no sister. My father devoted himself to his three kids but he was a busy man, working in a high-ranking government job.

With my father and brothers, I was boisterous and talkative but very quiet with strangers. The same was with my level of confidence, with family I was confident but outside home I was hesitant.

I liked to daydream alone. Making stories, roaming the lawns of our home, and imagining things, probable and improbable too. I was both a talker and a listener as a child. As I grew up I became more of a talker than a listener. Now I am trying to be a better listener. It’s hard.

When my father re-married, our home life became quite stressful so I preferred school to stay at home. Holidays were hard for at any moment something may trigger my stepmom into a fit of self-pity and a feeling of not being treated well ( it was always something to do with my very opinionated elder brother)

As kids we were always outside, riding our bikes, making sand castles, and playing cricket and hockey. But I had the ability to entertain myself, wherever I was.

I was a philosopher from my teen years. I loved Allama Iqbal, our national poet, and would memorize his poems and discuss them with my father and grandfather who also loved his poetry. My deep thinking gave me the gift of strong faith in God and it strengthened my character.

I dreamed of being a doctor, a female surgeon, we had a few of them in our country at that time. But fate decreed something else for me. I have never regretted this change in my life’s path. In fact, I’ve been able to help my family and friends through my part-time medical education!

I’m quite satisfied with the person I’ve become. It was an insidious change, gradually increasing my confidence, making me able to speak up more and let my voice be heard. 4 years ago I started blogging and that opened up a whole new world for me. My mind opened up and became receptive to new ideas. Blogging has made me a better, more well-informed person and has gifted me so many friends from all over the world.


In response to Thursday throwback memories# 63- Then and Now, hosted by Maggie this week.



Bookworms in my family

Re-shared in response to Throwback Thursday, hosted by Maggie and Lauren

This is a post I wrote more than a year ago in response to Michael’s Tale weaver prompt; Book worm.

I felt that I’ve answered most of the questions asked by Maggie in her prompt post in this one, so I’m sharing it again today. Sorry if you’ve already read it!


We all are bookworms, at least the girls/ women of my family. It has come down through genetics. My grandfather was a huge lover of books. He would read continuously. And had a massive library. I idolized him as he was the best sort of a grandfather any girl could have.

After him, my father was another bookworm. He would always have a stack of books on his nightstand and would often read late into the night. I was the most bookish among my siblings, though my younger brother also was fond of reading too.

My husband bought a lot of books but very rarely would he finish a book that he started reading. My son’s interest in reading was somewhat in the middle range. While I and my two daughters are avid readers. We have between the three of us, bought and read thousands of books.

The good thing is that we share similar interests in reading and exchanging our books. The youngest bookworm is my 12 years old grandson. He goes through books at a very high rate. And it costs his mother a lot of money to keep him supplied with new books!




Doctors and Dentists

This week’s prompt is: Remembering Visits to Doctors and/or Dentists

These are the questions that Lauren has asked us;

1) Where doctor/dentist appointments a regular part of your childhood?

Only when we needed to go. My father wanted to become a doctor when he was young and couldn’t, so he had read up a lot about different illnesses and would doctor us himself, that’s until it becomes obvious that his treatments weren’t working!

2) Did you go for well-checks or just when you were ill or in pain?

It was the later! Only when we ‘had to’

3) Were you frightened by the medical professionals? If so, were there specific reasons?

No I never was frightened of the doctors and was studying to be one.

4) Were your parents afraid of medical professionals?

Not afraid, but reluctant to go themself or take us in for a routine exam.

5) Was waiting in the exam room stressful to you?

Not that I remember. We all three older siblings went together and would amuse ourselves.

6) Did your early visits result in your being afraid of needles?

No, I never was afraid of needles. And when I was studying medicine, I couldn’t understand people being afraid of an injection or blood being drawn.

7) Does the sight of your own blood bother you?

It did when I was younger but not anymore. Though the sight of any of my kids bleeding makes me upset.

8) Did you ever have the need to go to an emergency room?

In college, I had an injury to my right knee and had to visit the emergency. It turned out to be a torn meniscus and I needed to have it removed a year later. That was my first surgery in general anesthesia. I went on to have three more knee surgeries later. One to remove another torn meniscus from my right knee and two for total knee replacements. I’ve had many more surgeries and am planning to have another one this summer to fix the pain in my left ankle. You can say that I’m not afraid of taking care of my health issues even when it involves an operation under GA!

9) Did your early experiences impact your current attitudes about medical care?

Yes, it made me want to be a doctor and help other people. When I was studying medicine, there were very few female surgeons in Pakistan and I wanted to be one. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.

10) My nightmare dental experiences;

I won’t go into much detail about my dental experiences since my teens. Suffice to say that I’ve had root canal treatments without anesthesia which made me hate going to the dentist for a long time. Due to my thyroid disease, I’ve had issues with my teeth since my teens and had to go to the dentist since then. Now I’ve found a great dentist who has installed 4 implants in my mouth and has done many other procedures. I’ve no complaints regarding him.

In response to Throwback Thursday, hosted by Lauren and Maggie



Religion’s importance in my life

Lauren and Maggie host Throwback Thursday every week.

This week Lauren’s prompt is: The impact of religion.


Religion is the most important aspect of my life. From very early on in my life, we were given a sound foundation about our religion, Islam.

I am a Muslim, Islam is my religion. Since most people aren’t aware of our practices, I want to briefly explain what we do.

Islam starts with faith in one God.

We believe in supremacy of Almighty Allah in each and every aspect of our lives.

There are five pillars of Islam;

  • Tawheed; There’s no God but Allah and Muhammad (PBUH) is his last prophet
  • 5 obligatory prayers ( namaz) every day
  • Fasting in the month of Ramadan
  • Giving Zakat ( alms); 2.5% of all the savings per year to deserving people
  • Performing hajj; the ritualistic visit to Makkah in the month of Zilhaj.

Both my paternal grandparents who often lived with us were very staunch and practicing Muslims. My grandfather taught us all to read the Holy Quran in Arabic. My father would ask all four of his children to pray with him, 5 times a day.

This gave all of us a good foundation to build our faith on. But we all, siblings weren’t the same. Some were more ‘ religious’ than others. We practice our faith by ourselves, educate ourselves by reading Quran with translation, and meditate. People go to mosques to pray but not everyone does that and women rarely do it.

Not all of us siblings stuck to the teachings of Islam.My brothers chose their path and it’s fine with the rest of the family. Lucky for me that I was able to stay on the path my father showed me. I guess I always had it in me and my faith strengthened with time and age.

I have found solace and strength in my faith in all difficult situations of my life.

Written for Throwback Thursday, hosted by Maggie and Lauren



Falling sick in childhood and home remedies

Lauren’s choice for this week’s prompt is: Ouchies, owies, and boo boos.

This week, I’ll answer the questions posed by Lauren.

How did your family take care of minor injuries?

My father would use the trusty pyodine, and bandages, unless anyone needed stitches then it would be to the emergency room.

Did you have home remedies you used?

Hot water with honey and lemon for sniffles, salt water gargles for sore throat, cardamom tea for tummy ache.

What was the typical way to care for a cold or flu at your house?

See above! In addition to that my father would give us soluble aspirin for fever.

Were you pampered when you were sick/hurt or told to buck up and deal with it?

It was somewhere in between. We were given medicines for the malady and told to rest. Unless it was malaria. When one of us had malaria, all three of us children had it, perhaps the mosquitoes carrying the parasite bit us all. Then my father would sit with us almost all through the night and tend to us. For anyone not familiar with malaria, it’s quite a tough illness to bear. Headaches, nausea and high fever are it’s usual symptoms.

When you got sick as a kid did you stay home, or did you have to go to school?

Anyone who was sick with fever stayed home. But no fever meant going to school.

Did a parent stay home with you, or did you fend for yourself?

My step mom was always home so we stay home with her.

Was a doctor visited when you had a minor injury or illness?

If the illness warranted a visit to the doctor, we went to the clinic or hospital. But none of us usually were that sick.

Did you ever have a major illness or injury growing up? How did it impact your life?

My most painful experience was the numerous cavities in my teeth fixed. It gave me a dread of the dentist and his drill. In those days there was no concept of giving local anesthetics before drilling into your roots!

Written for Throwback Thursday, hosted by Lauren and Maggie



My role models and inspiration

This week’s prompt is: Mentors and Role Models

The person that I admire the most growing up was my late father. He was the kindest man I’ve known. All my life I tried to be a woman he could be proud of.

My paternal grandfather was another kind and considerate man I greatly admired. From him, I’ve inherited the love of reading. He had a modest collection of books and I think I read them all by the time I was done with school. He was always willing to spend his time with us and with patience, he taught us many games like chess and various card games.

My parents-in-law were amazing people. Both were very generous and considerate. The love and guidance I received from them both will always be precious to me. I consider them both fantastic role models and I was lucky to be married to their son.

My husband is not strictly my role model but he has taught me a lot in life. He is generous and easygoing. He is a great planner and has made wise choices with money and has always looked after his family very well.

Allama Iqbal is our national poet. From the time I was old enough to understand his poems, I have been an ardent admirer of his values and ideals. He has advocated to rise above the ordinary and be extraordinary in life. I credit his poetry for my canons in life.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the last prophet sent by Allah for the guidance of humanity. He is cited to be the person who has had the most influence in the history of the world. This is a list chosen by Michael H. Hart, from the book ‘100 most influential people in the world’. Every Muslim wants to be a reflection of his amazing character. We try to be kind, generous, forgiving, and steadfast like him.

Kindness, and generosity always inspires me. I try to be a role model for my children and grandchildren. And those around me.

Written in response to Throwback Thursday, hosted by Maggie and Lauren



Let’s talk about pocket money!

This week Maggie asked us about; Chores and Allowances

I grew up in Pakistan where household help is very readily available. So when I was young there were no chores assigned to me or my brothers.

When I grew to be a teenager, I was supposed to handle my own laundry, ironing and was supposed to keep my room tidy. I didn’t have any responsibility regarding other household chores.

I kept on looking after my own room and my stuff till my stepmother had to undergo breast surgery. At that time I was around 18 and was waiting for admission to med school. It was the first time that I did regular cooking for the family. My grandmother would tell me how to cook some dish and I would follow her directions and produce food for the family. One thing I never could do was to make roti. It was either too thick, too thin, not round, or had holes in it. It was a temporary situation and that was the only time I had to take responsibility for the meals.

We always got pocket money. First, it was Rs 5 per month. It was enough to buy 2 books per month. All three of, the older siblings would use our money to buy books. It gradually kept on increasing as I grew up. There were no conditions linked to getting our pocket money. In fact, since I don’t have a job, my husband still gives me pocket money! I think it’s very sweet of him.

When I became a mom, I didn’t give any chores to my kids either. They could fend on their own but it was voluntary. When my daughter moved to America for her studies, her son was 5 yo. She taught him to be independent and also to help around the home. But he still doesn’t get any allowance. His mom takes care of his needs and wants!

After reading the responses to this prompt, I realized the difference between eastern culture and western. Over here the people who can afford, have household help and their kids don’t learn to manage on their own. There is someone to do their chores for them. But in western culture, kids are made responsible early in life and hence grow up with the knowledge of how to manage their own affairs. I admire this trait and feel that it should be the way all kids are brought up.

Written for Throwback Thursday, hosted by Maggie and Lauren



My cooking adventures

This week Lauren has invited us to share some of our coming adventures!

This week’s prompt is: Cooking Skills

First of all I must admit that I’m not a dedicated cook. I cook when I have to. In the past I had a love for baking which has also frizzled out with time.

My culinary journey started around age 13-14. I and my younger brother would go to the kitchen when the elders had retired for the night and we cooked up treats for ourselves. French fries, pakoras, parathas, French toasts…. We made whatever we could find the ingredients for at home and then we cleaned up leaving no trace of our activity. These were our secret forays in cooking, unauthorized you can say.

I discovered my mom’s cookbooks when I was in grade 9-10 and the mouth-watering pictures in those of cakes and pies etc made me interested in baking. I started trying out these recipes for which I could find the ingredients. Remember it was around 45-50 years back and we could only get basic ingredients.

I tried out different cakes, pies, desserts , donuts etc from these cookbooks. Gradually I became quite good at baking. I tried making breads, buns, rolls, muffins and cookies, which were quite good too.

When I got married I could bake pretty well but couldn’t cook traditional Pakistani food. My mother in law taught me basics of cooking curries etc and since she was a great cook, I too learned to cook well. But it was not my passion and I used to cook only when I had to. We always had someone to help in the house, and it included cooking. On special occasions like Eid or a birthday, I’d make a meal but since I wasn’t very keen on cooking, my interest soon diminished.

Right now I live with my elder daughter and am in charge of menu planning and occasional cooking. My specialties are haleem, biryani, chicken tikka masala, and parathas. I do bake an occasional cake or brownies but due to diet considerations, these are rare occasions.

As for mistakes during cooking, they are not very entertaining but numerous. The kids always eat if I’ve cooked a meal and even praise it. I remember in school we had to make pistachio ice cream once and it was so horrible that it had to be all thrown away!

Thanks Lauren for this lovely journey back in time.