The Princess and the Pauper Woman – Zu Bibi  (Part 2)

Peshawar, Pakistan 1997 There is a pair of well-worn, muddy shoes outside our door. On the inside, a faded shuttlecock burka hangs on a hook, and the sound of scrubbing comes from the kitchen. I look up from the rattling keys of my word processor. The thing I admire about Zu Bibi is her faithfulness. She comes across muddy fields, rain, hail or shine. She always comes. I’d never get all those letters done for the bishop if I didn’t have her coming part-time to help around the house. She’s …

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The Princess and the Pauper Woman – Ayisha (Part 1)

Peshawar, Pakistan. 1995 Grant and I are living in a block of flats. At 11:30 each day, five women gather for morning tea and a chitchat. Five women, with five different backgrounds and five different mother tongues. But each of us knows some Urdu, so it works. We all love Ayisha from Flat 2, the one with royal blood in her veins. She is refined, educated and quietly elegant. She buys her expensive perfume on visits to Dubai, but she never flaunts her genes or wealth. Ayisha is a member …

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