Category Archives: Pakistan

reuniting love

They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but is it true even after 35 years? 

Yesterday there was an article on BBC about a man named Kashmir Singh who was released from a Pakistani jail after 35 years and reunited with his wife and children in India.  It was a Human Rights Minister in Pakistan named Ansar Burney, who worked for his pardon after Mr. Singh was convicted of espionage in 1973 and was lost in the red tape of the prison system.  But no, this is not a political story.  It’s a love story.  His wife, Paramjit Kaur, struggled alone to raise their three children as a single parent.  Below is an excerpt from the article: 

“Referring to his spouse using the honorific, ‘begum’, Mr Singh said that when he last saw her she was a pretty young woman. ‘She is still beautiful but has grown old now,’ he laughed admitting that he remembered very little about his three children. He said it was his memory of his wife that kept his hopes alive through the 35 years of solitary confinement. ”

 True love & respect doesn’t need roses and diamond rings; this is as good as it gets.

Paramjit Kaur - wife of Kashmir Singh - with their photo before he disappeared

 Mrs. Kaur waiting to see her husband after 35 years. 

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Filed under India, love, Pakistan

home & calcutta

Shideh & Manata, I really enjoyed reading your posts. When I think of the places I call “home”, it is defined by the people who are there. In the past 3 years I have lived in 3 different cities. And each time I have left one place, the new place never feels like home even when all my “stuff” is there. There is a cliche that says “home is where the heart is”. I find it very true. I speak of my “homeland” as Pakistan, though I have never lived there for longer than a few weeks. My “home” is still in the small town where I grew up, although I haven’t lived there in 7 years. I feel at “home” when I am with my family & the dear friends I call my ‘family’. For me, it is not the boundaries of our houses or the soil of a nation that make me love a place or make it a home. It is my experiences, the people and my association with that place.

Last summer I went to Calcutta, India as a chaperone for high school students who were traveling to do hospice work with the poor. Calcutta is where my father was born and where my great-grandfather opened the first optics shop that turned into the family business spanning three generations and four countries. Continue reading

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Filed under belonging, calcutta, culture, homeland, India, love, Pakistan

plug-in air freshener

It’s ironic how Manata’s post reminded me of my own memories of flowers in Pakistan. My grandmother would take the small jasmine flowers and place them in her ear lobe as earrings. And at weddings the bunches of tiny white flowers can be seen hanging over the bride’s shoulder; when you bend close to congratulate her, you can catch a whiff of the intoxicating sweetness. As I type this, I can smell the faint sweetness of honeysuckle….unfortunately, it isn’t from my garden but from my plug-in air freshener. It is interesting how these beautiful smells from the east have found themselves on specialty store shelves in America as scented candles, sprays and air fresheners. Smells that come from flowers sold for a few rupees are bottled up, marketed as “exotic fragrance from the east” and sold in expensive containers. My husband and I get so excited anytime we find a candle or perfume that smells like jasmine, fresh roses, or sandalwood. And we try to fill our home with these smells to compensate for the fact that we can’t have a lush garden outside with all these flowers native to our homeland. With Valentine’s day just a few days ago, I’m sure grocery stores and florists around the world are struggling to sell off the last remaining fresh cut flowers. Below is another pic from BBC that is quite thought- provoking.

Kenyan refugee boy smells a rose

A boy displaced by recent violence in Kenya smells a rose at a refugee camp in Nairobi’s Mathare slum. Kenyan flowers account for about a quarter of Europe’s cut flower imports.

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Filed under Africa, America, culture, homeland, Pakistan