I don’t understand all the fuss about living in a foreign country. We were perfectly fine, and all of sudden, out of nowhere, came the immigration papers. I don’t even remember clearly if anyone bothered to inform me. So we pack up all our stuff. So much stuff Allah tauba! But the highly-educated-wife-of-my-good-for-nothing-son did not understand the importance of taking enough lotas. Lotas here are no good; and they are so expensive! My lota, a very high quality plastic one that I bought from Itwaar bazaar, cost Rs50. Here, that watering can they are trying to use is for four dollars! That is close to Rs400, and it does not even throw water in the right direction. So I ask my good-for-nothing son’s wife, “are there diamonds in your foreign lota?” I did not get any answer from her.

We find a flat that everyone is always calling a candominyum. Just say ‘flat’ I say. But no! Now we must call it cando. It is nice and clean, but it is tiny, so tiny and there is no place to hang clothes to dry. The highly-educated-wife-of-no-good-son says we don’t need to hang clothes as there is a de-ryer and washer in our cando. Allah tauba, how are the undershirts going to get shiny and white without the sun? And they did not let me bring any Robin Blue neel, now the undershirts look like dead gora people. Gray! No more shiny white undershirts for no-good-son.

I take my grandchildren to the park. It is a very nice park. Lots of fresh air, good for growing children. But when we go, everyday the old gora neighbour sees me and says “good afternoon” then he smiles. He has no shame! Allah tauba, at this age! I made a new friend, she is also from Pakistan. She brings her grandson to the park. We go to the market together, on the bus. Buses travel too slowly here, wasting too much time and the drivers are always smiling like idiots; they never even check how many coins people put in the box. They don’t realise that good-for-nothing desi boys put in Pakistani coins.

We shop in a big, big department store. Everything here is big. And clean. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it is any good. Big, shiny vegetables — and aik dum tasteless! Same with the fruit! I remember my grandmother’s saying, may she be forever resting in Heavenly peace, “the bigger the chicken, the smaller the egg”. Yes it is very true. So I buy big beautiful tomatoes that have no taste and give no taste to salan. No taste in any food here and still everyone is getting so fat. Yes the people here are fat. And on hot days those big fat people wear very few clothes, Allah tauba.

So on hot days, wearing few clothes, these big fat, shameless people take walks with very small dogs. Allah tauba! Little dogs with loud barks. The smaller the dog, the louder they bark. So loud that I think kumbakht I will have a heart attack. Big dogs don’t make much noise, but Allah tauba they make so much gundagi everywhere! They see a tree, they lift a leg. They see tall grass, they lift a leg, they see that red thing for water and they lift a leg. Such dirty filthy creatures Allah tauba! And the big fat people wearing little clothes walk behind them with plastic bags to pick up doggy chee-chee. Chee!

Now one day I tell my friend from the park all about the tasteless food, useless lotas, and the shame I feel going shopping with big fat people wearing little clothes. She happily takes me to an Indian store. At the Indian store none of the shop keepers mind that I am from the enemy country. The young girl at the counter gives me a smile and a respectful head nod. She also wears proper clothes. The shop is very tiny and dirty. The vegetables are small with a lovely aroma and are full of taste. I am so happy and grateful. Now my salan will have plenty of taste. And in one corner I see lotas. Real lotas which throw water in the proper direction! I buy two. They are for ten dollars, Allah tauba!

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