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Sunday, September 6, 2009

I don’t know why, but I have always been interested in skimming different textbooks. In my childhood, when after every academic year I used to get new textbooks, I would just sit down with them and go through their pages and contents, even when I knew that by the end of that new academic year, I would be hating most of them. (I also used to think that the books smelled nice. Weird, I know, but I really like the smell of the pages of a new book.)

My interest in an unseen textbook used to make me skim my siblings’ textbooks as well. I used to examine the contents of my elder brother’s textbooks to see what I would be studying in the coming years, while my younger sister’s books used to make me reminisce about different things… like, for example, the chapter that was really, really boring.

So naturally, I am also interested in textbooks that my younger brother (who is the youngest of us all siblings) has to study. Much of my interest is also triggered by the changes that have been made into the curriculum during the past 10 years. I don’t reminisce much because of these changes, but I still enjoy the skimming.

It was quite a surprise then when I noticed that English Grammar & Composition for Classes 9 and 10 (published by the Punjab Textbook Board) was, for the most part, unchanged. It still had the same essays, the same stories, the same letters, and the same translation exercises.

It even had the same Aabi.

I was introduced to Aabi in the following Urdu-to-English translation exercise:

عابی میرے بچپن1 کی دوست تھی۔ اکٹھے2 کھیلا پڑھا۔ پھر میری ایف-اے کے بعد شادی ہو گئی اور میں اپنے میاں کے ساتھ لندن چلی گئی۔ عابی نے آگے پڑھا یا اس کی شادی ہو گئی مجھے کچھ خبر نہ ملی۔ جب میں پانچ برس کے بعد وطن لوٹی تو ایک روز بازار میں اچانک3 عابی کی بڑی بہن سے میری ملاقات ہو گئی۔ میں نے بے تابی4 سے عابی کے متعلق5 پوچھا تو ان کی آنکھوں میں آنسو6 تیرنے لگے۔ میرا گھر نزدیک ہی تھا۔ میں ان کو اپنے ساتھ لے آئی تاکہ وہ اطمینان سے مجھے عابی کے بارے میں کچھ بتا سکیں۔

1. childhood 2. together 3. suddenly 4. impatiently 5. about 6. tears

I remember it very clearly: our English teacher had read aloud the above quoted paragraph, and all of us had cried together, “Ma’am! Translation can wait. Please tell us what on earth happened to Aabi!”

To this day, I have been unable to find out the truth about Aabi. Maybe she died. Maybe she got married and her husband turned out to be a nutcase. Or maybe she left for college one day and never returned. The textbook doesn’t mention the source, but I doubt that the paragraph belongs to a proper story. And if my doubt is correct, how hard it really would have been to add a sentence or two, explaining Aabi and her family’s ordeal?

Okay, so maybe I am over-dramatizing. Because now I am certainly not as curious about Aabi as I was 10 years ago.

But still.


exercise, punjab textbook board, textbook, translation

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Sep 6, 2009 at 5:28 pm

I don’t know nothing about Punjab Board, but I do want to know what happened to poor poor Aabi!


Sep 6, 2009 at 5:40 pm

I had a thing for the new text books and hence I always prefered first hand. My dad started to think I have some superiority complex but then he too preferred the new books because he told me once, ‘i never wanted u to grow up thinking i have not given u what ur heart felt contented at’…
but i dont really recall any text.
there was no story i held close to me.
i just read on and forgot about it after an exam.


Sep 6, 2009 at 6:02 pm

look who’s back.
and will probably be gone again after this post.


Sep 6, 2009 at 10:11 pm


i luvd new text books.. its a different story that sum books were passed onto me courtesy my elder bro.s .. it was fun knowin the chaps before nayone else.. and it was hell fun wen u knew the chaps included bfr other kids.. hehe!! i hav had my good times with the txt bks.. but was studyin Sindh board, as they all say its easir than Punjab board!! .. we dint hav this aaby text!! :(


Sep 7, 2009 at 1:50 am

I dont know about Aabi, but how many of you young’uns remember “markhoom ki yaad main”>? Ha


Sep 7, 2009 at 9:53 am

If you get to know, do inform me!

Actually, my interest in textbooks used to increase after the exams. Many concepts used to make much more sense to me when the talwaar of exams disappeared.

Hehe. Can’t really argue with that!

Really? I never knew that Sindh board is easier than Punjab board. And yeah, textbooks are fun — if there are no exams.

You mean, Marhoom Ki Yaad Mein, right? Yep, I remember it. It’s difficult to forget anything by Patras Bukhari.


Sep 9, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Aur phir Aabi marr gayee?


Sep 9, 2009 at 6:15 pm

I too have a thing for text books, it comes with being a book worm i guess.
I have always wondered what happened to Aabi. Infact there were many paragraphs in that book which left me wondering what happened next.

We can start a game here called “What happened to Aabi?”.

By the way do you like fantasy novels?


Sep 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Yes, I remember Aabi vividly. And many similar pargraphs too. They had this annoying habit of leaving you hanging in the middle.

Saadat you aren’t alone in this fascination with textbooks. I used to read all of my new textbooks as soon as I got them. As a result, it bored me no end when we had to read the same thing in class. And to this day, I read my younger cousin’s textbooks.

Jman, I remember not only Marhoon ki yaad mein, but also many others, including Kelay ka Chilka, Punjabi Zameendar ki Kahani, Aswa e Kaamil etc.


Sep 10, 2009 at 8:09 pm

Ghalib gumaan hai ke Aabi kay sath kuch aisa hee hua…

Feel free to start the game. And except Harry Potter and some Tilism-e-Hoshruba, I haven’t read much of the fantasy genre. Or maybe you can include some comic books too.

That Urdu textbook was filled with gems, wasn’t it?


Sep 11, 2009 at 12:16 am

dont be so negative. Ho sakta hai khushi kay aansoo hon? Ya aankh main kuch chala gaya hoga :P

Finally, a post!! :D


Sep 12, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Farooq, we did consider the possibility of happy tears, but then rejected it. Albatta aankh mein kuch chala janay wala muamla ghaur talab hai. :D


Sep 13, 2009 at 5:19 pm

yes, you should also check the weather report for that day, ho sakta hai aandhee chal rahi ho! :P

No One

Sep 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Lol, daim that’s a long time to wait-10 years-to still be curious about I am daim curious…haha…take care…peace


Sep 14, 2009 at 11:14 am

I smell new books too. ;-) To me, Saeed Book Bank is like… erm… shall I say, Marriott’s kitchen. I swear I gain weight every time I go to SBB. :( It must be the deep breaths.

New glossy magazine smell is also very nice. :D

@ text books, I did that too. Except for the maths book. EW.

My youngest brother just got promoted to 6th grade and he’s got all these new books that I have to read all over again. I’m supposed to be helping him with his homework, but then I start reading… and tis time for iftar… and er, the homework didn’t get done because I had the book. :$


Sep 14, 2009 at 11:16 am

If this Aabi paragraph was from a Shuaa or Khawateen (hints: early shaadi, going to lun-dun, meeting in the bazaar, tears so early in the game… and AABI?! What kind of name is AABI?! Just the AABI hayat and AABI Janver jokes would kill the poor kid in school… not spelled the same but pronounced the same!!)

Aabi probably got married to a mean man named Daud. He was one hot guy but oh-so-mean to her. He sent her home with her little baby because it was a girl. Now she’s had a nervous breakdown.

Cue hot doctor.

The narrator knows said hot doctor. Introduces Aabi at the hospital. Cue pink hearts and flowers.


End mey ‘us ney akhain moond ker sukh ka saans liya. Aabi parinda apney ghar pahunch chuka tha aur aik nayay din ka sooraj talu’ ho raha tha.’ (Sorry, aabi ley saath parinda hee match kerta hey!)

I can actually see the woodcut weird girl-holding-dupatta pictrue that would be on page 1. Can’t you? Can’t you? (You had better…)


Sep 15, 2009 at 2:09 am

speaking of textbooks, i used to make sketches of people at the back of all my textbooks. Id fill all the empty holes of letters with a pencil, and i used to tear bits and pieces of the pages off. I used to make my pens wrestle, and i threw chalk and spat at kids i didn’t like. I also used to kiss little girls and run away. School was so much fun. I cant kiss nobody no more. They say its haram and all. :(

As i hit puberty, the ppl at the back of the book started making out. Needless to to say i was utterly disgusted. Im a good boy, you know.

Man, i’m so bored. i like how there’s always an empty space in your comment box. And its so neat. Hence i scribble. Scribble scribble.


Sep 15, 2009 at 2:10 am

I like what i wrote. Ill copy it and post it on my blog too. Saadat, yaar, koee naya post to likho


Sep 15, 2009 at 2:11 am

do you like a lotta comments on your post?! Bet you do! :P


Sep 15, 2009 at 2:12 am

Your blog says: ‘You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.’

I dont think it likes me :(


Sep 15, 2009 at 2:12 am

Do i look like a spambot to you?! :-x


Sep 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

No One,
Hehe. I am not so curious anymore after reading Specs’ comment!

Hahahaha! You have some seriously wicked imagination. I specially liked the ending… tulu’-e-aaftab ka iss say behtar istemal mein nay pehlay kabhi nahin dekha! :D

Aabi might have been a nickname for Aabida, who knows. But, as you point out, it’s an unfortunate nickname to have.

I can imagine your poor brother not being able to do his homework, but I don’t think he minds. (I won’t!) As for Saeed Book Bank — I go there not for buying books, but to have a good time. Or when I have to wait for some other shop to open.

And come on, maths textbooks are fun! :P

You, my friend, are a perfect example of a genius gone nuts! :P

I used to sketch on the back of my books too. Except that they weren’t sketches of people making out, but random geometric patterns (with a random cartoonish figure sometimes making a guest appearance. Now I think that I should have given him a name.).

And no, WordPress does not think that you are a spambot. And it does like you. It just thinks that you are a human too fast for its comment processing skills.

A new post will come on Eid. :)

Hira S.

Sep 15, 2009 at 1:17 pm

I dunno…
In Khawateen Digest or Shua, Aabi would be the name of the guy (short form for Aftab, or Shahab, or Zahab whatever) and he’d be the cute doctor. Dr. Aabi Jahangir.
And the hot wife-beater would be called some random loser name like Sohail, or Masood, to give you the idea that he is not the hero.

Oh and the ‘heroine’ would be Samara Talal
Or Ahmareen Asif.
Or Zanubiya Ashfaq.
Or Abgeeney Shabbir. (Ok, maybe THIS is the Aabi!)
(yes, i read Khawateen. So sue me.)

Maybe this excerpt was from Pakeeza.


Sep 17, 2009 at 3:01 pm

HIRA!! You read KD????!!!!

*dies of shock*


Sep 17, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Hira S. WOW!! Ha ha ha ha haaa!! Abgeenay Shabbir it is! ;-) Sounds very right!

Daud just seemed like a wife beater to me :( The ganday manday people always have common names and the heroes have unpronouncable new ones.


Sep 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm

An Eid post please? :)


Dec 24, 2009 at 12:50 am

I also had translated the same paragraph into english and have also helped many to translate it after then being a part time tutor.
The style of the paragraph is somewhat like stories in Khawateen, Shua, Kiran Urdu Digests..
May be it was taken from some sort of Dukhi Teen Auraten Teen Kahanian of Akhbar-e-Jahan..
Finding the reference would be like
Jooay Sheer Nikalna
Lets suppose Aabi is X and X died after it….


Jul 1, 2010 at 1:57 pm

sweet :)

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