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!

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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!

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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

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Religion’s importance in my life

Lauren and Maggie host Throwback Thursday every week.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Style, past and present

This week’s for Throwback Thursday, our prompt is: Sense of Style

(This week we are revisiting our foray into fashion and how you learned to express yourself through your outward appearance and adornments)

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Like decorating adventures, my sense of style has seen many changes too. But then I suppose that it’s but natural that our style evolves over time as we grow.

When I was a teenager following the latest fashion trends seemed to be very important. Our national dress is Kameez shalwar and we keep on experimenting with the length and styles of this ensemble. The shirts can be mid-thigh or even shorter or nearly to ankles. The shalwar can have wide lower end or ankle hugging ones.

I remember shortening the length of the shirt by cutting it off or increasing it by adding a piece of cloth to it with some artistry as the fashion changed.

In the eighties, big hair was in so I got a perm! Blow drying the hair to fluff then out was also on the agenda. And as a young mom, I followed all the fashion that I could given my self imposed restrictions of always being decently covered.

It’s only lately that I have stopped trying to follow the latest trends. Now I look for;

1• Comfort

2• Easy to manage clothes

3• Looking graceful

This latest change is because I’ve stopped bothering about how others perceive me. I only do what I feel I should do!

Me, in November, at a wedding

Written for Throwback Thursday- Sense of Style, a prompt by Maggie this week

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Going wild while decorating!

Something like what we used to have!

As a kid, I shared a room with my younger brother. When a room became available, I was given my separate room but never had the autonomy to make any changes to it.

My first experience of decorating my space was after I got married. I had full control over what I deemed right within the budget. I took the input from my husband but majority decisions were mine. And I went quite overboard with it.

It’s not that I spent a lot of money, but I the décor I chose was very elaborate and over the top. Three layers of curtains, pelmets and whatnots! I also bought a lot of decoration pieces, wall hangings, etc. it was quite a busy space.

I remember how excited I felt when someone visited and showed them proudly my interior decorations. I guess it was excusable as it was my first attempt at it.

It’s gradually that I have downsized my home to something more reasonable. Now I feel less is more and something elegant is better than something ostentatious.

I wish I had photos to share with you of the contrast from then to now.

This week’s prompt is: Decorating Your Space

Written for Throwback Thursday- Decorating your space, hosted by Lauren

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Is is luck, superstitions or something else?

Written for Throwback Thursday, Hosted by Maggie and Lauren

This week Maggie asks us;

What makes you feel lucky? Is it a four leaf clover, a rabbit’s foot, or a lucky penny?

Strangely enough, I never had any superstitious about things being lucky or unlucky.

Perhaps my brain is wired too logically but labeling anything as lucky or unlucky doesn’t fits my way of thinking. If something good happens it is because we have worked for it and that is the result. If we fail at something, it could be that we didn’t put in enough effort into it.

But……

I believe in fate and destiny!

I think that fate is different from luck but maybe I am just trying to state things differently, but saying the same thing!

I believe that if I am destined to get something, I will. And if I am not, no matter what I do, I won’t. I believe that fate or destiny is a part of a bigger picture. According to my beliefs, everything in the universe happens for a reason. Our birth, our lives and ultimately our death are are predestined. And hence everything that happens in between happens as it should.

This logic doesn’t leave any room for things to be lucky or unlucky. I do not think any number, outfit or any action will bring good or bad luck.

I guess that makes me a boring, pragmatic person, but that’s who I am.

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