A Dialogue of Memoirs ~ 2022~ Steps to Freedom ~The Day I met the Quaid in Kashmir.

The day dawned at last.
Apprehensive but extremely excited I got ready. My white shirt shone clean and bright, and I made sure that my grey trousers were well pressed. My hair combed and set.
I felt I was just right for my first ever meeting with the great Lawyer Leader of the Muslims of the Indo Pak Sub continent.
I had heard so much about him and seen his photographs but now I would be meeting him personally.
I had decided to ask him about ‘leadership’ and had prepared the questions I would ask him in the time permitted.
I reached precisely three minutes before the appointed time. I knew he was very punctual. The very important person was none other than the great Quaid e Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah and I was representing my school. I held the folder of papers tightly and waited.
“You can come in now”, said the guard at the reception hall, and led me to a small office at the end of a corridor.
“Ah, so you are the eager young man. Asalamo alaikum”.
A firm voice with a perfect English accent, greeted me. I looked at the great leader in awe.
“Walekum Asalaam Sir, I am so honored Sir. Thank you for your time.”
“Well, yes, let’s see what I can share with you, as I don’t want to waste time. “You look prepared and confident”. The Quaid e Azam stood straight , spoke calmly and firmly and then smiled a bit. “Take a seat”.
I sat down and opened my file. “Please sir”.
“Oh do not call me sir again, I am a lawyer of the common people, you can call me Mr Jinnah”.
“The Punjab is now awake, ask boy what can I tell you, are you following the people’s movement?”
“Yes, Mr Jinnah and I am very much inspired by your methods and manners. Please tell me how can I be like you”. ?
“Ha! And I am inspired by your enthusiasm, your curiosity and the effort you have made to come here. Pakistan will come sooner than I had expected. Well first point , If you decide to do something you must do it. Never look back because if you do, you stumble.
“You must develop the spirit of nationalism. Be aware of yourself, your identity as a Muslim. I honor the responsible person and the one who thinks and acts with reason. These are the foundations of developing character. Honesty and loyalty go side by side. So now , young man Khurshid, good beginnings, I see the spark in your eye, time is short.”
“Mr Jinnah, what was the key factor that enabled you to bring the nation together?”
“Good question, I believe that if you want to bring a change in society you must set and then lead by personal example. If you wish your street to be clean you must first begin by keeping it clean yourself, then slowly others will follow”.
“Please tell me Mr Jinnah, what was the source or sources of knowledge that you followed?”
“I am first a Musalman. I follow the guideline of truth equality and discipline. To work is to pray and to serve the people is the purpose of life. Honesty dedication and country before self has been my aim. I have tried to follow the principles of justice and fairplay. You must have a big heart and the willingness to ‘give’ and above all learn the best language to motivate and guide. Show courage and be sure of yourself.”
I stood up happy to gather the precious jewels of guidance. As I waited to say Salam, Mr Jinnah picked up the green and white flag with the crescent and star and handed it to me, and said, “Here take this, this belongs to you now, do your best, and once you make a decision, stand by it”. He smiled and with steady steps walked out of the room.
I looked at the flag for a long time and felt as if I had received a message , opening a clear view of the future. I could see the true path I had to follow and make my life worthy and meaningful.

The Cowbird Collection ~Short Tales and Reflections from Real Life ~ Tale 16 ~ Something Fishy ~

  • A lot of confusion about its plural “fish or fishes” but absolutely no doubt about the universality of its
    “value”. The abundance , the catching, hooking, cooking,frying, fishing, serving, selling, and then the pleasure of eating.
    “Pleasure? Who said that ? I looked around.
    “Oh dear me, eating fish is quite a task. A great risk of getting the hairline fish bone stuck somewhere down the larynx or gullet, if one is not utterly vigilant. “Eating fish is a technique to be learnt”. Many cultures around the world have fish as staple food.
    A home coming from Europe, after a gap of a year and a half, my son wanted to revisit the special places which enriched our family life with happy memories.
    Here I refer to the many happy food memories. I would call them memories for in the present times its a great risk going out for a treat, lest something sharp, blazing may fall from the sky and there goes the fish and the dish, and the spoon and the wish.
    Times change.The house emptier quieter and giving a packed up look, no longer filled with girlish giggles, colorful clothing and all sorts of music, food and fun, yet it was home. My son, feeling the quietude, definitely missing the sisters,smiled while he seemed to be engrossed in news or views on the mini screen, raised his head and said, “Mom!”
    “Yes! dear”.
    “Mom, let’s go out , let’s go for a treat of fried fish”.
    “Murree Road Committee Chowk? (a special place but about ten miles away)
    or closer than that was Saddar, the Main City market area.
    “Well, it could be the closer one”.
    Soon we were on the road, the main Dalhousie Road-
    (Rawalpindi Cantonment has many roads named after prominent British officers)
    as we turned left on to the old Massey Gate Road so named during the Colonial Times, the area seemed quite lit up, “people are coming in still” I thought. It was 9 p.m.
    “People love fish and the “Fried Fish”shopping section was all alive with colored lights, flashing.
    “Well, business has its own styles’.
    Fried fish was delicious, just the right amount of salted masala and served with hot naan roti fresh from the tandoor.
    We sat for an hour or so, quite relaxed though I wondered if anyone would be interested in buying the stuffed toy animals being sold just outside, at this hour of the night.
    yes, may be, something “fishy” may be going on in the country but for the time the treat of fried fish was once again a memorable event. Soon my son would be flying back to Europe-
    Next home coming ?A hope and a prayer~

Lens Artist John’s Challenge # 193 ~ Birthdays ~Family Birthday Memories ~Difficult Choice as All are Unforgettable – Some from Grand Kids Album

I will eat it all , can I , should I, it’s my birthday- No I think I will enjoy more by sharing-
Happy Chocolate Cake Birthday Rayyan -Yummy
Masha allah -Continue to share and Be Happy – Changes tell us the time.

Grand Daughter Mahnoor- When one is too small to see and cut the yummy cake- A chair enables one to see the world.

Grand Daughter Rastte The Artist -This image speaks for itself.
Mir Abdul Rafay – Turning 16 -A Pandemic Time Birthday- 2022

Lens -Artist, Amy’s Challenge # 192 -Earth’s Story ~ The Way I perceive Home Land ~

I see from above, this land abound
only one land mass, one ground
open to view amid the vast ocean blue, 
no line, no divide all in one stride, 
all in one piece like a ball,round.
so grieve no heart on Earth,
nor make bleak, a life
you will soon be away
from struggle trial and strife,
‘Something there is that does not love a wall’
something there is that does not love at all-
Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world. John Muir.
Without trees, life could not exist on earth
Earth is a place of solitude and peace for all. Recognize it.
linking all
brick by brick, arch by arch
curve by curve,edge by edge
unlike walls forsaken,
built around lands taken-
“If  the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both salt water mixed with air.” ― Nayyirah Waheed

The Earth has music for those who listen.

The Cowbird Collection ~ Short Tales and Reflections from Real Life ~Tale 15 ~ The Story Basket ~

“This stash of wool must be sorted.”
“Either I should use the wool or should I give it away?”
These troubled thoughts sailed through the heart and mind every time the cupboard was opened and the entangled various sized colorful clusters rolled up in different shapes, appeared.

“These are left overs and have beautiful precious memories associated with it, can’t be just given away.”
“Well let’s see. This green reminds me of my friend, the one I met in the examination hall. She was knitting which attracted my attention. “Oh,she loves knitting too”.

“The dark green is from the pullover I made for my son when he was six years old.”
“Hm, lovely”.

And then came the loving grandchildren.

How quickly time passes,we knit and knit and one fine day, one finds children have out grown the sizes in vision.

Why had this colored yarn stash been saved for so many years? asked an unseen firm voice.

“Don’t you see?” my heart answered, “they teach you something most important in life, that is “value”.
“Yes, the value and meaning of life. The colors, the warmth, the love and the relationships.The memories of childhood, are all woven into these fiber strands.”
“Oh now I see, so true”.
“Each color has its own value like each child. Like these preserved leftovers, we have the good memories and the good deeds that will always bring color warmth and joy to the lives of families.Each strand knitted into a garment brings joy, love and tenderness. It strengthens the bonds of love ,sharing and caring and so much more. Significantly there is the satisfaction of weaving something for a loved one, the joy of creativity and the blending of color and design. I simply love this basket which tells me stories.
and reveals the blessings of the Lord.
What joyful stories are knitted into the basket, no wolf can take them away.

The Cowbird Collection ~ Short Tales and Reflections from Real Life ~ Tale 14 ~ The Flowers Were Sent.

In the afternoon, trying to beat the heat, I sat in front of the open terrace door, straining to catch a passing whiff of cool air.

I had to finish the Chapter of the Holy Book before the hour.

I could see the pink and purple flowers blossoming on the creepers just outside our house,but on the neighbor’s wall, gently swaying from time to time.
Their joyful movement told me how nature had created enough air for all to breathe. It was strange that we were unable to perceive the Creator’s Blessings all around.

While I was trying to read I was also conscious of the flowers, the trees and a cry or two of the afternoon black birds. Nature was close and I felt how far we had drifted.My heart and soul urged me to stop reading and offer a prayer of gratitude. I found myself saying, “Oh Lord if You have heard me, I know You have for You are the All Knowing perhaps You may show or send a sign.”

“Do you realize what you are saying?”
For a moment the mind stopped me but I continued “Perhaps the flowers that are visible on the trees will come inside my room?”.
“Hey, who do you think you are?”.My mind sounded a bit angry.
“Oh Ok, I understand but well…”
And so I finished the Chapter and shut the door as it was growing dark and the electricity had been restored, the fans brought some relief.

Next morning when I went in the lounge I saw a beautiful bouquet of pink and white flowers.
“Oh am I dreaming?”
The answer.
It so happened that my husband had gone to meet his younger brother, a very senior officer of a leading national bank.It was an official dinner meeting On the way back my brother-in-law gave the bouquet he had received, to my husband saying, “Here take this home, for I will be leaving for Karachi by the first flight tomorrow morning and there is no point in carrying these flowers so far”.

I knew then who had sent the flowers inside, a miracle only I knew. The color perfectly matched with the ones growing outside our house.

(The trees outside our house had pink and purple flowers while the creeper that grew on the neighbours wall bloomed with white ones)


From Darcie Friesen Hossack

The Mennonite families of three of my grandparents came to Canada from Ukraine. I don’t know if I still have relatives there. The remainder may have all come after WW2. I do know I wouldn’t exist if not for those who lived and farmed in Ukraine. So, this week, Chefhusband and I are making Varenyky in thanks and hope and love for one of the lands of my ancestors.

darcie friesen hossack

Varenyky with cream gravy was a staple at my grandparents’ house. Grandma filled some with cottage cheese and the rest with sweetened Saskatoon berries that I helped Grandpa pick from a wild grove near their farm in Schoenfeld, Saskatchewan.

(makes 16)
3 large eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
½ cup cream
2 tbs butter, melted
1 tsp salt
flour to make a stiff dough (5-6 cups)

In the bowl of a powerful electric mixer (ie: Kitchen Aid) whisk together eggs, milk, cream, melted butter and salt. Using the dough hook attachment add flour, a cup at a time. After about 4 ½ to 5 cups, turn dough out onto countertop and knead by hand, incorporating more flour as needed. (The consistency of the dough should be similar to pasta dough, but it’s a matter of preference.) Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Divide in half and cover…

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The Cowbird Collection ~ Short Tales and Reflections from Real Life ~ Reflection 13 ~Wires,Wires,Wired.

Our lives are wired
above and below the ground
Clouds surround
gather in the sky
some are dark some light
up high
here they come rumbling
why they are grumbling?
raising a storm, hue and cry!

Our lives are wired
Now with the wireless~
Clouds gather in the sky;
are they showing us a fire?
frowning on a sinful desire?
warning of Heaven’s Ire?
or to cool the bonfire?

Our lives are wired
All over-
clouds gather in the sky
I wonder if their thunder
is a song of the celestial choir?
praising the Divine Moist Sapphire,
Dust we see and dust we are
yet the particles conspire~
and relieve us from our misery-
cooling comfort we do require;
clouds gather in the sky!

Unplug the wires
Look at the sky
Hear the silence
Perceive The Unseen
Receive the Rain~

Clouds are here
I know they come to admire
and blessing us,will soon retire
away to their ocean home entire;
they leave a message , a purifier-
be at peace and mercy
be not a crier or a liar-
be like us
without any fuss
a bold graceful high flier-

Clouds have no wires~

The Cowbird Collection ~ Short Tales from Real Life ~ Tale 12 ~ A Gift of Courage,Remembering Mother ~

On the 25th of July 1925, The Lord Most Gracious, sent a graceful charming and loving person to this beautiful planet.
Mother, you belong to heaven so rightly and I cling to the millions of memories that flood my heart and soul.
Life changed. Much that I thought was mine, no longer exists.
Days, afternoons, moments of talking by the fences, standing in line, starry night story telling and listening ended without a trace but moments that touched and created ripples in crystal clear lakes of thoughts,lying cool and precious,surface on special occasions.

Then we try to gather strength to return what we received in life.

A gift of courage support trust and affection,a gift of words for the comfort of all.

The days dragged, felt humid and at times depressive.Life appeared strange,horrifying,tragic, yet balanced with flashes of joy, happiness and fun. At times one would laugh at its twists and turns,its alleys and avenues,through which one had to walk,rush and tread heavily,worriedly or happily. There would be a fresh canvas after every twenty four hours, which called to be prepared for a vision,comforted our minds in meditation,developed a dream illustrated the images of our colorful worlds.
Why cease to enjoy the heavenly glory, the manifestation of truth in nature.To look at the tall trees,the solid brown trunks, cracked cut and chipped,but clasping the depths of the nutritious mother Earth with faith,rooted with purpose,waiting for the advent of Spring.

The music of myriad of creations crawling creeping or flying amid the changing season. Some branches sprouting some still bare, reflected a strange loneliness. That reminded me of the lines :
“sadness and sorrow fill my heart, when I see the leaves silently leave the tree”
Mama left silently, without a sigh, without a tear. A gigantic monument of patience courage and acceptance.Winning a battle,not losing it, against the corrosive cancer.Not a morsel could she touch for months.
Seasons surrendered.Time crept by. I wept secretly and slept cautiously.From the ITC to the special room No:8. From the Oncology Department to the CTScan Center, from the agonizing spells of chemotherapy to the uncertain hours of unconsciousness. I prayed for inner strength.
A frosty November evening,the last moments by the bedside,the tender sensation of the last touch of her hand on my cheek,the wordless,voiceless,hushed up and helpless goodbye.
It seemed as if it were yesterday, when there was hope, when I held tight to the wheelchair, ” Ammiji would would you like to go inside to your room now?”
Many years ago father was in command of this very hospital.It was clean, smelling of antiseptic lotion.
“Take me around for a little while more”. Mother replied.
I gathered my reserves of energy and turned the trembling wheelchair, the rubber lining of the left wheel was hanging loose,the seat cover was torn. “Thank God at least the chair is there”.
I started to push it, soon we were back in the room.
“Changes tell us the time”
Traffic was heavy and the road was blocked.Sirens wailed in the distance.Another suffering one, a loved one, a dear one, in critical condition. May Allah shower Mercy, aameen.
The Month of Ramazan was passing through July, weather felt cooler. Fasting and praying with flashes of memories. I knew.
Mother rested in heaven and all the coolness and peace was a gift from her loving heart just as she had the Gift of Courage and taught us to “Be Brave”. “Life is a Test, prepare for it with patience courage and prayer”, her gift of guiding words, which helped me to move on without her.