Posts Tagged ‘Peshawar’
It was September 1965. I had cleared my 10th grade with flying colors. We lived in Peshawar then. Our house was so big that if one called from end the voice could not be heard. The house was in the middle and lawns and fields surrounding it. It was built of mud. Walls were as thick as one meter if I’m not wrong. The rooms were huge with high ceilings. The doors were as big and wide that elephant could easily pass. The ventilator in every room was so big that two men could easily sit there.
I’m not at all exaggerating. It is said that Prime Minister of India Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru also lived there before partition of India, Pakistan. My brother had bought that house. And after he sold it the Excavators found many items of ancient time. Peshawar is one of the oldest cities of the world.
My brother was in Air Force. His family was in Karachi then. I lived there with my mother.
The war was going on between born rivals, India and Pakistan. Lahore was most raided city. So a family of 11 members came to Peshawar to run away from death. They had come to stay with their relatives. That bungalow was as big as ours, just across the road. Two families lived in that house. One was Air Force officer Squadron Leader, Musa and his family and the civilian family.
One day my brother called me from Rawal Pindi as he was on war duty. He asked me to come immediately there with mother. We did the same. My brother always said that in war, dusk and dawn time and full moon night is best to raid and bombard. It was full moon that night.
The airport was not far from our house. We lived on Mall Road. India bombed the airport but missed its target so the bomb hit that house where the family had come all the way from Lahore to escape death.
All members of that house died except one mentally retarded brother of theirs. But surprisingly everything was saved like furniture and all household things. But Musa’s family survived as they ran to trenches hearing the alarming siren. Surprisingly every bit of their household broke smashed and finished, but their lives were safe. As they ran without slippers and in their sleeping dresses so the neighbors provided them with everything. But the unfortunate family couldn’t save their life from death.
One should not fear death. It is fact of life and every breathing soul has to pass away
Seeing books and copies drenched in blood
Seeing how our future is going to waste
Nobody to play games in school now
Saddened eyes see blood-spattered sight
No words to describe the horrible incident,
Mothers are symbol of shelter; saw them scared
Insomniac fathers and disturbed mothers
They remember their lost child’s mischief
Brave are the ones, who silently endured,
Sighs and sorrows of bereaved mothers;
Even today we’re engaged in our thoughts
Consider one so desolate and broken down
If mind and rapport is broken into pieces
We’ll only be saddened and feel sorrow;
The incident is agonizing and vulnerable
What a pity, no words to bear or comfort
Speechless, with heads down with shame,
Look up to see the sky in belief and hope
What more to write, pen doesn’t support
The sky shedding bloody tears as well
Basically I’m very obedient by nature. My mother like all mothers used to teach me DOS and DONTS and ethics of life. Hence she told me once that one should never give year to anyone else’s talking or try to peep and seek what others say or do. She further said that such people who intervene, sneak or spy others will go to hell. Being a very obedient child I promised to obey religiously to what she said. And believe me, I did.
It was a beautiful spring morning of Peshawar in 1966. Peshawar blooms and booms in spring season. Flowers, colors, freshness and fragrance enthrall the life of humans and animals equally. Birds twitter, butterflies flutter and cool gentle wind engross the heart and soul.
I was going to my college as my normal routine every day. I was in 11th grade. I had walked a few yards from my house when I heard a group of people following me, talking something to each other. Though I know Pashto very well and could have easily understood their conversation but, as I was told and taught never to listen, what others talk so I ignored. But, after few minutes or moments to be exact, they walked faster than I and crossed me. I didn’t know what their intention was. The mall road was empty. It was me only who was seen on the road or that group of people wearing big white shawls. They walked hurriedly and not more than 200 yards from me they stopped in front of Air Force Officers Residential Mess. One of them setting the stain gun opened the burst at the old shivering man who was hiding behind the tree. The begging old man died immediately. It was some rivalry case. It was in the newspaper the next day.
Stupid as ever I stood there with them. Then all of a sudden I remembered that one should sit or bend down to save from the firing bullets. So I bent down and moved toward the side of the Mess. I saw an open kitchen. The milk was boiling and was just about to overflow the pot. I quickly switched off the stove. A school boy of around ten years of age came to me saying; “What are you doing here. Come with me. You are the only girl here and they have seen you. Aren’t you scared?” He taking me to a family living in that Mess asked the lady to let me stay with them until the men left. But the lady was wise or miser I don’t know. She refused to let me stay in their home as I was the only eye witness and could be under observation. So she asked me leave at once. I had no option so went to my uncle’s home, which was very far from there.
By the way I was not scared a bit J
There was no way to inform my home about me. They all were worried as the firing was clearly heard. Many people hid themselves in our lawn behind the trees and in flower beds, as no one had the least idea of the happening.
I was followed by those men daily while going to college. They waited outside my college. My principal called my sister in law and asked her to send me somewhere as I was the only eye witness so the killers feared if I may not report to the police. I enjoyed at my cousin’s home for ten days. No studies no books, no tests no worries. Every one tried to make me happy and relax. When those people felt relieved that I was not a danger for them they stopped following me. The college studies and tests started once again and life got back to normal.
( extreme left sitting is Sabz Parri’s husband, I, Jansher Khan, Qamar Zaman, Mohibullah. Standing are Atlas Khan and his cousins at 8th World Open Championship Karachi)
It is rightly said that champions are born.
Every second person can’t be a champion, no matter how hard he tries. Its God gifted talent that excels with training, commitment and consistent effort.
For many years the name Khan had been synonymous with success in the game of squash.
Jansher Khan born 15 June 1969, in Peshawar, Pakistan is a former World No. 1 professional Squash player from Pakistan. During his career he won the World Open a record eight times and the British Open six times. He won a total of 99 professional titles and was ranked the World No. 1 for over 10 years.
Jansher Khan is considered to be among the sport’s most illustrious figures.
Jansher first came to prominence when as an unknown he won the world junior championship. Two of his older brothers, however, excelled at the sport. Mohibullah, a top touring professional, and then Atlas, a highly rated amateur, competed in the 1970s.
It is an honor and pleasure for me that I know this champion family when they lived with us in Peshawar. His father was a storekeeper on the Pakistan Air Force payroll.
His eldest brother is Khan Sher, then his sister, Sabz Parri (green fairy)
Gulsher Khan, Mohibullah, Atlas and Jansher Khan
They belong to Nawai Kali a small village in Peshawar. Once in winter it rained nonstop for many days. Their mud house failed to resist the torrent rain. The house was filled with rain water. Hence his father brought his family to our home. We had many quarters for staff so they settled there. I was a child then. Having no neighborhood or anyone to play with so felt very delighted to have them in our home. Sabz Parri was my age. We became good friends. Jansher’s mother was a very nice lady. She used to give us crushed ice mixed with sugar in summer afternoons. It used to be a treat for us, the children. She was very modest and caring responsible mother. Though poor having meager income. But she daily washed clothes of her children to keep them clean. Boys usually are careless and spoil their clothes. The mother was very strict. She used to send her sons to Officers’ Mess to help officers by picking up the squash balls for them.
These brothers practiced playing squash after the officers left. This is how they learnt playing squash.
There’s always a woman behind every successful man. The success of their championship is entirely their mother’s effort and support.
I watched his 8th World Open Champion match live in Karachi Creek Club.
In October 2011, it was revealed that Jansher was suffering from Parkinson. He is being treated in Peshawar. I sincerely pray that he gets well soon and live a happy life again amen.
My cousin gifted me a few days old puppy on my birthday. Boofi was chubby fluffy puppy. He looked at me with a frightening looks when I held it in my arms. That very moment I fell in love with it.
He was very playful and cute little pup. I was in sixth grade then. We became very good and close friends. I washed him fed him and played with him. He used to sit by me when I did my homework. Days passed and he grew into a handsome young dog. He accompanied me everywhere I went; to my school, to my friend’s homes to market to park and even to cinema halls. He would sit outside and waited for me. Everyone in Peshawar cantt knew us.
It was hot summer night. We slept in courtyard under the open sky in summers. Counting stars and enjoy the fresh breeze was comforting. It was common practice in those days to sleep like that. Human beings were lived simple life close to nature. There was no fear of thieves or any such tribulations. Though we lived in cantonment which is safer than other places yet it was not dangerous for any one like today for any one.
It must be after midnight I suppose when I woke up with Boofi barking almost on my face. The first thing crept in my mind was that there’s snake somewhere. I looked down and saw a huge cobra near my bed. Boofi warned me. He knew his friend was in danger. My mother and brother woke up. I told them that there’s a snake. The snake wriggled away.
Snakes and scorpions were not a something uncommon for us. Our house was a huge one made of mud. Thick mud walls kept it cool in sizzling summers and warm in winters. Lawns and fields were all around our house. So snakes scorpions wasps and things like this lived with us. Neither they harmed us nor did we hurt them.
In short, my dear Boofi proved his faithfulness. He was such a darling. Someone shot him dead. My nephews buried him in the backyard. Luckily I wasn’t home that time so didn’t see his last moments.
No dog has ever taken my attention so much as Boofi did. His memory is fresh in my mind. I can never forget him
Bhai Akbar was a simple honest and God fearing man. He lived in our house officially as a cook but we all respected and cared for him as a family member. He joined us when he was in his thirties and stayed until he got fifty. He had low I.Q so he did what and when pleased him. No one could force him to do anything. In short he was never treated as a servant. He used to drink left over tea and eat left over curry in plates no matter how much he was asked to eat fresh when he came to our house.
He loved children. He was very fond of my youngest nephew Adil. So he carried Adil on his shoulders when went to market. The market was quite far from our house in Peshawar . The guests always left before Akbar Bhai returned.
Akbar would leave everything and anything he was busy in for Adil. Adil was hardly 3 years old then.
Adil’s girl friend had come with her parents. Adil would never go to sitting room unless he wore his best suit and polished shoes. So he asked Akbar to polish his shoes instantly.
Akbar was making roti but as obedient servant he left the roti on the stove and started polishing Adil’s shoes grinning all the time. Roti burnt to ashes. No body could say anything to Akbar Bhai for he wouldn’t listen to anybody but Adil.
He served tea at 5 p.m. every day. Akbar Bhai asked Saba without fail if she will take tea though she refused every day.
My brother’s new bicycle was stolen from outside his office. Though he was an officer in Pakistan Air force but in those times riding a cycle had nothing to do with status. Well, after 20 years the cycle was found by the police—– don’t laughJ the police was honest to dutiful too then.
Surprisingly the cycle was in good running condition.
Children were small. They had their own cycles. So it was decided to gift the lost n found classical cycle to Bhai Akbar. Akbar when told this news he smiled shyly as if a bride was arranged for him. He did not know to ride a cycle so when he went to market he would walk with it. Even if he had to bring ice for the party, he would unshackle the cycle first then walk with it and came back walking with water in the bag instead of ice.
We had a very big house so bought a goat. Children loved to play with it.
It was winter season. Akbar Bhai tied the goat under the shade of a tree where charcoal was dumped. As it was winter so charcoal was not visible.
Next day the goat kept sitting all day. Children came and told this. It was surprising so we elders went to see. The poor goat sat still staring at us. Actually she had wedged in the charcoal. Its body melted the charcoal but the cold night again froze it so the goat was jammed too. It was sheer depressing to see the poor animal in such agony due to Bhai Akbar’s foolishness. Cans of kerosene oil were poured on the goat to let loose it. Then it was taken to shave off her body hair. After that it looked so funny. Akbar Bhai felt it too and abundantly fed her.
Akbar went on his annual leave to his village in Murree. He had saved his one year’s salary to marry during his stay there.
When he came back after one month we asked him about his marriage n bride. What he told us was depressing. His father married the same girl whom Akbar wanted to marry. They spent his savings too.
Akbar was very fond of watching movies. I used to write application on his behalf asking permission from my brother J
Once when going to see movie he dropped his wallet somewhere and lost all his money. So after that incident he promised and asked forgiveness from Allah not to see any movie again. He did keep his promise. He became very religious and prayed 5 times regularly no matter what. Once he made a beggar sit in the sitting room when he was going to offer namaz. Poor beggar was astonished too. On inquiring he said simply that since it was very cold so he made him sit inside. It’s difficult to find such pure innocent people like Akbar Bhai now. His character was unmatched. He was dead honest. May his soul rest in peace. Amen.