A Hill Station That Was by Anjum Wasim Dar

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Anjum Wasim Dar

You don’t have to be Irish to visit writing.ie – we are delighted to have visitors and members from all over the world. This week’s memory story is brought to you from Pakistan…

Fruit trees, sweet scent of pine, cool breeze during the day,warm sunlight but occasional,smoky evenings transforming into misty sunsets,the faint smell of coal fire lit at short distances at the gates of battlement like structures, two figures wrapped in almost blanket like cloaks huddled over the small fire looked like blobs placed before the entrances…they were night guards…these are the memories of the night we reached this small town one October night in a white Bedford wagon booked only for our family… 

The atmosphere was cold. I shivered slightly as the vehicle whirred and entered the gate, grated on the gravel filled short drive to the main door and came to a steady stop. 

We had arrived at 12 Kakul Road Abbottabad. A station with green hills, winding ways, small houses with slanting tin roofs as winter received some snowfall but lots of rain. 

After residing for three years in the hot town of Mirpur Azad Kashmir, established after the building of the great Mangla Dam on the River Jhelum, this cool place soothed and calmed the soul and spirit. 

Early morning survey revealed open areas all around the house.The kitchen slightly away from the main house but connected with a short cemented covered open path.That seemed romantic. Coming out of the dining room one stepped onto the verandah walking twelve to fourteen steps and Lo’ the kitchen door opening to all the tasty delicious aromas of curry and fresh chappati. Tea for breakfast was made by the electric kettle in the dining room…electricity did not desert …nor blink or shiver even.It behaved well…and so began a lovely memorable stay in this green cool pine filled hill station.Father was posted as the Commanding Officer of the local Combined Military Hospital commonly called CMH…it would be memorable for no one knew then that… we had shifted into a haunted house…

(c) Anjum Wasim Dar

About the author

I was born in Srinagar (Indian occupied Kashmir) in 1949.

My family opted for and migrated to Pakistan after the Partition of India. I was educated in St Anne’s Presentation Convent Rawalpindi from where I passed the Matriculation Examination in 1964. Graduation with Distinction in English in 1968 from the Punjab University ended the four years of College with many academic prizes and the All Round Best Student Cup but I had to make extra efforts for the Masters Degree in English Literature/American Studies from the Punjab University of Pakistan as I was a Back to College Mom with three school going kids.

My job required further studies so the Post Graduate Diploma in TEFL from Allama Iqbal Open University Islamabad and a CPE from Cambridge University UK (LSE British Council) was added to my professional qualifications.

I always enjoyed writing poems articles and anecdotes and soon my written work found space in local magazines and newspapers. My real breakthrough came with the Internet when a poem submitted online was selected for the Bronze Medal Award and I was nominated as Poet of Merit 2000 USA…

Accepting the Challenge of NANOWRIMO, 2014 saw, ‘Freedom is Not a Gift, A Dialogue of Memoirs’ a novel form, as a winner. Although a Teacher and a Teacher Trainer by Profession, I love to knit and am trying to learn Tunisian Crochet these days…Memoir writing is my favorite form of creative expression…

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