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#WordsMatter – Outside my window

Fiction- Outside my window

Buzo’s welcoming bark told me Sakina has arrived. She is this 16 year old Kashmiri girl who comes in daily to cook and clean for me. She possesses a chirpy demeanor which goes well with that hard working attitude of hers. Not to miss are those incredible Kashmiri apples nestling in her cheekbones which blaze with sunshine every time she smiles.

A dry cough told me Badi Bi has decided to grace me with her presence today. Ah Well! I wasn’t quite getting into my writing mojo today and a break is just what the doctor ordered.

Badi BiBi

Badi Bi is Sakina’s grandmother and your typical harridan; mind you not average but typical. She is extremely cantankerous and can rant for hours on end. It takes little to set her off. The weather, the sunshine, traffic on the roads, her aching joints…… you get the drift.

She has one of the worst cases of hypochondria I have ever come across in a human being. A mouth sore turns into a tumor and she will drive everyone insane over it including the dentist who proclaimed it for what it was. He is now trying to kill her – that’s her “medical” opinion of him these days.

Outside my Window

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This picture was taken at the Mountview Villa in Kashmir on one of my travel trips

I poked my head out from the open window to greet her with a quick Adaab and wondered if she will join me for a cup of tea.

She took that as a command to brew me a cup and leapt up with an alacrity that is at odds with her aching joints and rheumatism complaints.

Sakina bought up the tray to me while Badi Bi chose to sit on the bench in the garden, outside my window. She chose to hold court from there as was her norm.

I braced myself for the latest storm and was not disappointed. Its Zeeshan’s turn today – he is Sakina’s older brother and at 17 is the bane of Badi Bi’s expectations.

Badi Bi’s sons and daughter in laws hold many jobs. The sons own shikaras (Kashmiri boats) which they ply in the tourist season to earn well in the summer months. They also tend to their tiny patch of rice field where they grow seasonal vegetables too. Winter months are spent in weaving and embroidering shawls – something that fetches them a tidy sum of money. It gets so cold in winters that the months are spent indoors, people hardly venture out. So this is the best vocation to keep them busy and make a neat bit of earnings too.

Winters are just setting in Kashmir and the family is preparing to settle down to weave and embroider now. Zeeshan has shown great aptitude at weaving but dithers when it comes to embroidery.

It’s his eyes you see.

He has the most gorgeous gray eyes that I have ever seen; placid and calm like the lake. But he has a squint in the left eye, leaving you wondering where he is looking.

It’s this squint which is the bone of contention for Badi Bi. She kept moaning about how this affliction has robbed him of the ability to embroider and made his future bleak. On top of that, when he weaves shawls, he makes the most absurd patterns which she fears will never sell.

If you have ever seen a Kashmiri shawl, you might have noticed the delicate web of diamonds woven in the weave. This is the famous Chashme-bulbul pattern that is basically concentric diamonds woven in very intricately.

Zeeshan’s weaves wavy lines and circles that seems satanic to Badi Bi, She is considering an intervention from the Ojha to jhad-phoonk the evil spirit out of his body. It’s not just the weaving but he seems to pick colorful threads to weave when the norm is to use neutrals like gray, brown, etc.

“Definitely some evil is at work”, she intoned ominously and waited for me to say something over her discourse. Badi Bi welcomes opinions for it lets her argue on for hours and she has absolutely no intent to give in at all.

Being a city slicker, she expected me to make light of her superstitions.

On one hand she is quite taken in by the notion of the single me who lives alone and apparently has no intention of settling down. On the other, she feels it’s her duty to make me see the error of my ways.

So you can say that I present quite an interesting conundrum for her which is why she ambles over once a week to have a “chat” with me.

I have been quite persistent in explaining my motto of “Live and let live” to her and that the Divine made us all with a purpose that we alone have to discover.

Intrigued? Pin it for later!

window-fiction-story-kashmir-writing-chair-garden-nature-flowers

With a sigh I launched into it again, mentally sympathizing with Zeeshan.

I have spent a lifetime battling parental expectations, which ruined my childhood to some extent and gave me intense complexes as an adult. I am in the process of eliminating them from my system at the moment and you could stay this is my catharsis for it.

“Badi Bi if you constantly moan and groan over Zeeshan, he might come to believe he is an unwanted and unloved child.

Allah made each one of us unique – you have to agree with that at least. And children are his greatest gifts to us. I know so many childless couples who bend over backwards every day, just to have a child.

And here you are with a healthy, happy and normal child whose only sin is that he was born with a squint in the eye. Have you ever stopped to consider why Allah made him so?

Stop looking at his shortfalls and appreciate what he brings to your lives. Perhaps what you see as rubbish might be considered the most unusual weaves by others. Have you ever considered that, that is what his gift might be?

Tell you what, you bring me his woven work and I will show them around to some of my friends in the city. You never know, he just might be the very next thing in the fashion world.

All five fingers of our hands are not equal; do we spend our days trying to make them of equal length? ”

There was absolute silence from outside my window; making me wonder if she had dozed off. So I peeked out and there she sat in a silent repose, carefully turning my words over in her mind.

Little bit amazed at the turn of events, I turned back to the keyboard. It was time for me to get back to my writing.


Have you experienced parental expectations? Are you one such parent who burdens their child with them? It would be great to hear your thoughts about this topic.

I am participating in the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and this post is in response to the prompt “Outside my window”. I received this tag from Anjana at Myriad Musings. It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Jyoti Babel at Jyoti Babel

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I am dabbling with fiction after a very long time and am feeling a little bit rusty. So apologies if this post is not upto my usual standard. Just in case you enjoyed my fiction writing style, then perhaps you would like to check out this post

Next in this series is:  Hami Asto-for paradise truly is here

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53 thoughts on “#WordsMatter – Outside my window

  1. That’s a sweet piece of writing. It’s sad that any deviation from ‘normal’ has people worried. One doesn’t even pause to consider that it might be better if not as good as what we think is normal. Parental expectations can be tough. Though I was lucky in that my parents pretty much let me be. If they were disappointed in either me or my sister, at least they never expressed it. And for that I’m grateful.

    1. I think you are lucky if you never got parental expectations at your back while growing up. I faced a lot of it and it’s scarred me to date. Worst is when I tried talking to my parents about it, they denied ever doing anything like it. Sigh!!!
      Thank you for liking the story- I am trying fiction again after ages 🙂

  2. Shalini that was such an interesting chat you had going on with Badi Bi! I felt I was there with you. This post comes at a time when the place in question is going through a rather tense situation. Kashmir and Kashmiris are special to me too since we have good friends and memories of happy holidays spent there. Parental expectations are something that will always be there, irrespective of the times. Sad but true.

    1. Oh Kala that praise coming from you is really sweet as I love your fiction writing so much. I envy the flow and content of each of your stories.

      Yes Kashmir is going through a rough time right now but hopefully this will be all foe the better.

  3. Is this really fiction? 😉 Parental expectations are rife in India, aren’t they? And so achievement focussed as well as what’s ‘normal’ and what’s not. Having said that, I’ve seen it here too but Indian and Asian families probably burden their kids a whole lot more. And then kids end up feeling like they’re never good enough.

    1. Ha ha Sanch – thank you for that 😉

      Yes parents can be terrible to their child with the expectations, never realising how much it erodes the Self worth of a child.

  4. Till the end, I had no clue that it was fiction. It kept me glued and I loved the moral of the story. I had to face parental expectation but thankfully for a short duration. My dad wanted me to become a doctor which I obviously didn’t want to. We had tension for a while and then everything settled down. Lovely post Shalz.

    1. Thanks Balaka – I am glad for you the parental expectations got over soon. Parents distance their kids so much by doing this and later in life complain that their children have no affection for them.

  5. Ahhh parental pressure. I actually would like to see his designs. He doesn’t conform to normality. Maybe his perspective is a breath of fresh air. Absolutely loved the narration. The warm and gentle chit chats I miss dearly.

    1. Thank you Raji -I am going to explore more on this story and its characters- let’s see where it takes me.

      Parental expectations can be insanely terrifying and have the potential to scar one for life. I really wish parents would learn to go easy on their kids instead of seeing them as an extension to themselves

    1. Wow Corinne that is pretty high praise -Thank you so much. I am glad this story found some resonance with my Reader’s. Stay tuned this is a series that I am developing – let’s see where it takes us all 🙂

  6. Very well written Shalini! I was thriving to read more of the post but it ended with a open view for the readers to ponder on. You have used the Kahmiri local terms so well in your post. It is very nice to observe and learn atleast few things of the native when we visit new places. It is not only refreshng to us but connects us with the people there. Home Away from Home feeling can be experienced when we resonate with people.
    My post for the #WordsMatter is – https://anjus.home.blog/2019/08/03/rosy-smiles/

    1. Thanks so much Anjana – delighted to hear how much you enjoyed reading this story. I will be doing more of these, so hope you d stay tuned for more 🙂

  7. While it didn’t face such things personally, I have seen how in India people have huge expectations from their kids. I was quite out of the normal too in many ways. Luckily, all I ever got was only support from my parents. But when you come down to it, all that kids entry deserve is support from their parents.

    1. If parents ever thought of the expectations a child have from them; they will be gobsmacked by it. To be loved and supported are the only things a child cares about and his parents are his whole world, his first influencers and for the rest of his life the only ones whose approval matters. Sadly parents kill this in their need to compete with other parents or their demons from childhood and set out to take it all out on their kids.

  8. I loved reading this work of fiction. It gave me an insight into the lives and livelihood of Kashmiri people. It was also thought provoking at the same time. How easily do people blame the evil spirit for someone being different (not normal) from others! I am in awe of the readers here who say they did not face parental expectations. I have gone through a phase of expectations, both parents’ and in-laws’. It was deeply stiffling and I gave up on them. It does not show on my calm and composed face but I am a rebel internally. Such a situation can lead to self-destruction.Therefore, with a fresh dose of wisdom from your story and a revisting of my past, I hope to stay grounded to not dump my expectations upon D as he grows up.

    1. Thanks Anu and hugs for going through the turmoil with not one nut two sets of parents. Yes rebelling is what even I resorted to when it got to be too much for me. I too am jealous of the peeps who didnt face this at all – my parents dont give it a rest to date; I have just put them on a mute for now 🙂

  9. Parental pressure can be quite destructive but parents always want the best for their children and it is normal to worry about them. In the end they will do what they want to do and what makes them happy. And as parents we should support them in that

    1. Yeah Suzy parents do want the best for their children but often without understanding what is the capability of their child. Is the child ready to become a doctor or not – its doesnt matter as thats what the parents have thought for their child and so he must do it. They are convinced he will have a great income and be set in this life if he becomes one. There is no talk of dedication and intellectual accumen for studying to be a doctor or whether the child wishes to be one or not. This is the frustrating part when the parents load their child with their desires without thinking about what the child would want from his life.

  10. Parental expectations made me have nightmares at times. It’s very difficult to make them understand my point of view but that’s not easy even when logic is on my side. But, you dealt with Badi Bi with logic and respect, I commend you for that! It was Avery refreshing read. Thank you for this.

    1. Hey Keerthi I am sorry to hear you went through this too; its indeed a very troubling issue and near impossible to deal with. I find it very painful to argue with my parents to date and generally just avoid talking to them if I can help it. This is one of the biggest reasons why I live on my own. Thank you for liking the story!

  11. Wow what a weave of story outside the window, which kept me intrigued till end.
    And I admit I learnt a new word today – cantankerous which I was not aware of thanks.
    Parental expectations, chit chats convincing sessions, and Kashmir you have covered it all.
    The window corner with the chair is a beautiful corner which I loved a lot.

    1. Thanks so much Pragun – so glad you enjoyed this post. I love this word as it totally describes a grumpy person to the core 🙂

  12. Ah! The burden of parental expectations!! Loved reading this well woven story which enthralls and engages as well as gives a lot to ponder too. A fabulous take on the prompt, Shalini ♥

    1. Oh thank you thank you buddy- this means so so much to me as I was writing after ages and wondered if I have lost my touch 🙂

  13. Shalz… you write sooo well… You must get to writing more fiction. I love reading such short pieces of fiction that communicate a thought wrapped in a simple narrative. It gives you a feeling of expereincing it. I have had similar people in my life, who share their daily lives and tales. A domestic help who earlier worked for me, still pays me a visit to rant about her personal life.

    Parental expectations are always there in some form or the other. Maybe its a very Indian thing. Much as I as a parent try not to impose much on my girls, they somehow creep int my psyche and I end up telling them what to do and how to do. It takes a conscious effort to shrug it off and let them be free enough to explore a bit.

    1. Wow and wow!!! Ramya your comment has been the best one on this post. I truly appreciate your words and thank you for the thoughts and feedback. I had probably lost my writing mojo and this post was written after 3 months of a dry spell – so when I read how everyone is reacting to this story; you can imagine my relief and happiness.

      I really wanted to explore this style of narrating something – so glad you like it.

  14. I loved this and the underlying message. We are so sacred of any deviation from the expected and accepted that we don’t realize we are stifling ideas and independence. I wish you had written more. I would have loved to go on reading how his shawls created a sensation in the city 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Naba; I am going to explore more on this setting and story. There is a series being done by me on this – lets see if I like it enough to post more. And yes I hope Zeeshan finds success 🙂

  15. Burden of parental expectations can be scary it might leave a child with wounds. It was refreshing to read the narration and the valid logic you stated. Till the end I flowed feeling the valley around.

    1. Thanks so much Pragnya. I am glad my writing touched a chord within you. Thanks for dropping by – I think its your first time on my blog 🙂

  16. Ah, parental expectations will always be there! Yesterday only I fought with mom and dad over something! They wouldn’t understand our point of view no matter what! :/ This is a wonderful piece of work, Shalini. Loved it! Thanks for participating in the bloghop. Hope you had fun!

    1. Ah yes parents and kids do have such an irreconcilable generation gap and no matter what either sides do, this gap doesnt close. Hope you find a speedy resolution with them girl and I am just loving the bloghop ❤

    1. Exactly – we never know who has what gem hidden inside them. If only we let people be and let their inner diamond shine on its own!! Thanks Vinay 🙂

  17. I couldn’t believe it is a fiction. Seemed so real. Yes parental expectations and the followed pressure are destructive. Luckily I didn’t experienced that and neither am I going to do any such thing with my toddler. Thank you for sharing your views on such a sensible topic.

    1. Oh wow thanks so much Nami for saying so – thats huge praise for the writing 🙂

      I am so happy and a bit J to note that you never got any parental expectations – you are indeed blessed and good of you to pass that onto your child too!!!

  18. This was beautiful, Shalini. A message that’s relevant. I particularly loved the Kashmiri setup and the language you used to being is close to the region.
    Parental pressure is every where and for an offspring, at all ages. I’m glad you joined #WordsMatter with a fiction piece. We wanted this blog hop to encourage us all to write bravely and you did. You wrote a fiction piece after long. Kudos.

    1. Thanks so much Parul – I really loved this blog hop as it got me writing. I quite enjoyed writing this story, it had been fluttering in my mind since a while now. I am so thrilled to see so many peeps loving the story, especially the setting. Kashmir is very close to my heart 🙂

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