September 9

My eldest uncle, dad’s oldest brother, lost his battle to cancer on this day around 26 years ago. 

Each year, as September 9 rolls by, it is a dark and gloomy day for us. Even though I was only 1 when my uncle  died, and I don’t remember anything about him- only stories, I am just as much affected by his death.

All of my family gathers at my grandparents on this day. Aunts, uncles, cousins. Dad and his siblings don’t go to work today. We have lunch and dinner with my grandparents. Dad visits my uncle’s grave with all the men. They feed the poor in my uncle’s name. We desperately try to lift my grandparents sad moods. It’s a ritual that is happening ever since I can remember. 

Of course, losing a child is hard. And it is the worst thing ever. Especially, if it’s your first born, too. My uncle died at 35, leaving behind two children. Babies, really. 2 and 4 years old. My grandmother raised them. His daughter is like my sister and we have grown up together. And maybe that’s why her pain is my pain and why this day is painful for me, too. 

I have never seen my grandmother break down before. She has always stayed strong, composed. She is the kind of woman who takes on a challenge and climbs the highest mountain without a sweat. She is never weak to the world. Sure, she has been emotional at times, but barely. Until today. 

It’s a worst kind of feeling, when you hear your grandmother sob like a child does. It wrecks you, it shatters you… It cuts like a hundred knives. And I can’t get the sound out of my head… 

I started crying, too. Everyone did.

Today was a very gloomy day, indeed. 

It’s been 26 years, but some wounds never heal… I have so much love and respect for all the parents who continue to have courage after losing their children…. You are brave and surely, your patience and courage will be rewarded. Amen. 

No matter how old or young, children should bury their parents. Not the other way around.  

Something to be thankful for 

It’s been a busy week. My sister is here from UK for Easter break. She will go back on Sunday. 

My brother, Hassaan, has chicken pox. His twin, Safi, will soon also get it. They’re 13. Also, to make things worse, Safi fractured his hand and wrist by falling down in school today. Right now, he has his whole left arm in a cast. And soon, he will get chicken pox and it will be quite difficult for him to be in that cast. 😦

On a lighter note, my siblings and I are talking again. We are finally getting along.We laugh, watch movies and cricket matches together. We go out shopping and have dessert and icecream. We’ve even started eating dinner at the same time, the whole family together at the table. 

I guess one can never really hate their siblings. Even though at times, you’ll want to tear their heads off. But there really is a natural bond that can never fade away. 

Anyway. It’s been a good week. 🙂 Very hectic, though. 😅 But I am thankful. ☺️ 

Nose piercing? 

In Pakistan, usually girls about to get married get their noses pierced. In my family, unmarried girls are not allowed to, as all the grandmas say it’s a sign of the girl being engaged. That’s what I was told all the time I was growing up.

However, all my younger girl cousins had their piercings done last year. I wanted to, as well, but mom reckons I’ll look really above my age as I’m not skinny and thin anymore. True, I’ve gained a couple of (okay, a lot of) pounds in the last two years, and I’m not skinny as I used to be. 😐

My mom has a point, too, I guess. Because I’m 26 in August soon. And she’s frantically trying to find me a husband. And because of my fatness, I’m having trouble keeping the attention of potential proposals. 😏

Ugh. Tbh, I really just wanna get it over with. 😐😐😐 I’m a huge scaredy cat when it comes to something involving needles and skin and pain. 😟 and sometimes, I just change my mind. What if I look stupid with a nose ring, what if it makes my nose look fatter? All these questions keep me overthinking up at night… 😕😕😕😕

Back in Pakistan 

Hey guys. I’m home now. My days in UK were quite busy, had no time to post. We just got home and the flight from Istanbul to Karachi was horrible. HORRIBLE. My legs are cramping, my upper body is stiff and my neck hurts. 😫😫😫

We always fly with Emirates, but Turkish Airlines was cheaper, and so dad decided to book that. But never again am I setting foot in that plane again. 😒 Especially the one that goes to Pakistan. Because I’ve seen that the plane from London to Istanbul, and vice versa, is really nice with spacious seats and huge leg room space. But they give us the pathetic planes from Karachi to Istanbul and vice versa. The seats are not meant for a tall person, especially on long flights such as this one.  😕😕😕

 

Norwich 

Hey guys. We arrived in Norwich two days ago. It’s colder here since the last time I was here. Also, it just keeps drizzling all the time, which is cool I guess, but the constant rain is kinda annoying me now… 😕😏

Don’t get me wrong, I love this city! 😍😍😍 I find Norwich very beautiful and breathtaking! ❤️ And I’m so happy my sister is going to study here for 4 years! That means I’ll get to visit a lot. 😂☺️☺️☺️

She’s starting her undergrad from University of East Anglia and the campus is very impressive! 😍 My parents want me to apply for masters here but I prefer to study in the US. Let’s see what happens. 😁

We had my sister settled in her room today and mom bought her all the cleaning supplies etc and set up the things at her dorm.

While parents were helping her move in, I waited in the lobby/reception and met some very sweet boys who were from Pakistan, too. They’re one semester ahead of my sister, and in a different program. They probably won’t have classes together but it’s always nice to know someone from your own country.

Sitting in the lobby, talking to them, made me feel as if I was home and not in a foreign place. They were really sweet and fun, and genuinely nice boys. I helped my sister make friends with them as she’s quite shy and doesn’t make the first move when it comes to talking and meeting new people.

Anyway, here are a few pictures! 😌

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November: baking month

These days I’m baking a lot. Cakes, cupcakes. Different flavours. Maybe it’s so that I don’t feel sad or think, because baking is my happy place and I feel better when I’m baking. Also, my friends and cousins have been making requests. They just love my baking. Sometimes I don’t even get to taste because they all just gobble it up in seconds. 😂

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Technically, I didn’t “bake” the pudding.

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Making my famous orange cake. Well actually, it’s my grandmother’s recipe that I’ve tweaked.

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It was my Nana’s birthday. We call our maternal grandfather ‘Nana’ in Urdu. The cake on the left is my orange cake, and the other is the frozen cake my aunt brought from the bakery.

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The process of baking relieves me from stress, I guess. Maybe that’s why I’ve been baking almost every single day of this month.

The reason why I make orange cake a lot is because my parents and grandparents do not like chocolate and they prefer this.

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It smells so good! And I just love the orange rinds that come in each bite of the cake.

So, I met with some of my college friends after years, and they asked me to bring my famous chocolate cake for them. In college, I’d bake a lot, and everyday I would bring them something new to eat. But they all are huge fans of my chocolate cake. 🙂

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Please excuse the mess. 😳

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I put melted chocolate in the middle of my cupcakes. Yes, that’s a piece of Hershey’s dark chocolate bar that you can see in the middle. 😛

Needless to say, my friends loved the cake. ☺️

It was my Aunt’s birthday on Thursday and she likes fresh cream pineapple cake, and so I decided to make that for her. The thing was, I googled pineapple cake recipes, but I didn’t have all the ingredients at the house that day, so I just made up my own recipe and went with it.

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100% my own recipe. ☺️

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😕The frosting kinda melted. BUT it tasted heavenly as my whole family says. ☺️☺️☺️

Mina loved it so much, she couldn’t stop digging her fingers in the fluffy homemade frosting. 😋👌🏽

Then on Friday night, my sister asked me to make chocolate cupcakes because her friends were coming over for lunch the next day.

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I made 54 cupcakes. And a cake.

Since I was out of Hershey’s chocolate bars, I used Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. You can see the pieces melted in the cupcakes.

I wanted to frost these but my sister’s friends do not like frosting, as I was told.

On Sunday, all my family came over at my house for lunch, and this is what my cousin Maha did to my cake. 😂

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Best of joy 

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So, today at our traditional family Sunday lunch, where my whole family gathers at my grandmas house, Mina tried her hand at painting. This is the result. She used paper after paper, all spread out on the table and the floor, until she got bored and then I became her canvas.

Honestly I’m so blessed to have her in my life. She brings me such joy. She’s a bundle of sunshine and happiness and you’re just bound to love her!

Mina is my 8-year-old cousin. This is her. ❤️❤️❤️