“Where do you study?”

The guy sitting next to me in the bus asked when we got back to our seats after the loo and tea break. I was coming back to Lahore after spending a week at home in Islamabad where I disturbed everyone by launching a renovation project in one of the rooms because that’s what I do—clean, rearrange, renovate—whenever I am there.

Anyway, coming back to the guy in the bus, don’t you like when people assume that you must still be a student? I do. So, after congratulating myself for aging well, I smilingly told him that I was not a student anymore.

“So what do you do?” he asked the next question.

“Well, I write.”

“That’s it?”

“Yeah, that’s it.”

“Oh,” he paused for a while and then said in a sympathetic tone, “waise is kaam mein izzat koi nahi hai aaj kal…”

“Izzat ke liye thori likhte hein. Mann ko acha lagta hai.”

He gave an umm-okay nod.

“What do you do?” it was my turn to ask.

“I am an engineer with GHQ but soon moving to Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. I was in Islamabad for the job interview.”

“Now that’s what do you do for izzat.” I said with a laugh.