A post about lovely events and its takeaways. You see every event has something which is of use to us all. So, I’ve noted these too. There is the bonfire writer’s meet up, the wedding of my loyal staff member Abdul Rahim’s son. Also, the gifts of paintings I’ve received. All these are takeaways of life.
One of the most happening art galleries…
Ejaz Gallery is located in Gulberg, Lahore. The owner used to have a framer shop in Gulberg, near Mini Market. Then it grew into an art gallery, and there was no turning back. Lately, it has become one of the most prominent Art Galleries of Lahore. About ten days ago, I was in Lahore, and walked through this gallery.
An exhibition of the Iranian artist was on, Fairy, my friend took me over. She is herself a great art connoisseur and her house is full of original works of art. It was just great walking through the gallery, with her. Let me take you along .
What I like most is the fact that the owner takes pride in his back ground of starting out as a framer. So, he has put ‘framer’ at the bottom of the board declaring it as Ejaz Gallery.
I love it when a person is grounded and candid. After all, that is what true art is all about. It is being candid in an artistic way. A moment of contemplation, an accumulation of thoughts and pride in one’s self. Pride in one’s city, back ground, and ideas.
Stay blessed, my wonderful Reader, do follow your passion. Make time for it, and also to see how others are working in their fields of interest too. I came back very inspired. How about you? 🙂
Hi, Everyone! I’ve grown to love you all so much. What amazing folks you are, in spite of your heavy back-to-back busy days; you give me time. Your Instagram comments make it all worthwhile. Such amazing bloggers as Tamania (Urdu Mom) and Shehzeen, and many others like Anum, have bowled me over. Most of all, I love your comments here on my blog posts. Specially Kiran. Thank you all so much. I was deeply touched, when I saw a post on New Year’s eve by a follower who remembered me and my family while standing in front of Kaaba. (I loved it when she wrote, ‘shireen, mother of Waliya.) This sight became hazy as tears of gratitude misted my vision. How much my Allah has blessed me to have such readers and followers! Truly humbled.
Honestly, you all rock!My blog posts are a sharing of our mutual experiences, while living in this world of today. Feeling good that others too are in the same type of boat, and we aren’t alone. We laugh, we cry, we bond with each other. We share our moments of revelations, our moments of panic and our moments of joy.
Alhamdolillah – and Subhan Allah!
I’m glad the Instagram pictures will give you an idea of all that I’ve been up to. So, I’ll keep it brief here. (If that is possible for me… I’m trying!)
December was all about weddings! (And blasting one’s budget.)
I attended three functions in Lahore, hosted by my friend Ayesha and her husband Shahid. It was their son Azeem’s wedding, he has worked in one of the top-most international oil companies, and studied from Harvard. Having known the groom from the time of his birth, it was fun attending the wedding. I stayed with my good friend Riffat and her husband Naim bhai whose hospitality I’ve enjoyed always. His stuffing me with fruit every morning, is always a treat. Our chit chat is full of humor and fun.
Nikah sermon by Shehzad:
The nikah ceremony of Azeem and Rehab was great. The sermon itself was the best I’ve heard in my life. The young man Shahzad who has a PhD in study of Quran, from USA, spoke about the relationship between spouses:
During the sermon, Shahzad mentioned the importance of tolerance, being forgiving, not keeping score, importance of fidelity ( belonging completely to one another,) and being each other’s source of comfort and tranquility as mentioned in verse 21 of Surah Rum.
Then, every few years to ask yourself:
‘will she, (or he) marry me now, if she had a choice?’ – wow, that was a big one! I just loved his casual and ‘straight from the heart’ way of speaking which was in Minglish – a combination of English and Urdu.
Loved it. (If I ever marry again, I’d ask him to be there! – just kidding of course!)
In between the functions in Lahore, I managed to meet my dear friend Fairy, whenever I could. We’d meet late night and afternoons, at her home which is the picture of grace and beauty.
Most of all her home reflects her taste. Fairy is the epitome of the ultimate in thoughts and well being. A teacher of Holy Quran at Al Huda for many years, she teaches the complete Holy Quran in Ramzan which is called ‘dawra-e-Quran.’ Also, throughout the year, she teaches on a daily and weekly basis. She is down to earth, loving and very grounded. She, has always been there for me during my down periods of life. May Allah bless her.
Tanveer, my BSc friend, arranged a get-together at her place, so I could meet our mutual friends. There was Yasmin Anwar and Shehla (Tabassum couldn’t make it due to guests). We sat and wondered at how long we all have been friends.
Parvaiz bhai, went to make tea for me. This has been his tradition right from the time they got married. He (a prominent business man of car’s spare parts in Lahore,) has always prepared amazing tea for me.
So, later on I managed to meet Tabassum and Saadat bhai also. I wanted to go by Careem, but it was a late foggy night and my friends were apprehensive.
I couldn’t understand why can’t they let me go by Careem? I said, ‘But why? Isn’t it great being our age? What’s to fear?’ I had a good laugh. But they didn’t find it funny at all. Riffat sent me with her driver, in her car. Okay, so with Tabassum asking me to teach her how to send her current location link on WhatApp, I explained by sending her pics of each step, till she ‘got it.’ So, I went through the crazy labyrinth of Lahore roads to her home, with Google’s help! (Thank you Google!) There, I asked her to take me to Mum’s oldest friend, living near her home in Kot Lak Pat. So, I met my Aunty Surraya who was present at my parent’s wedding.
Ten Golden friendship rules:
We counted the years, and the quality of our friendships, (lasting for over four decades.) We have never had a single fight or misunderstanding.
- We have loved and accepted each other as we are.
- Just laughed off and enjoyed each other’s idiosyncrasies.
- Have always been there for each other.
- Never counted how many times who visited whom.
- Learnt good values and ideas from each other.
- Enjoyed each other’s company.
- Understood, if another couldn’t ‘make it’ to a meeting.
- Made allowances for each other, no matter what.
- Kept each other’s confidential sharing of situations.
- Gave gifts to each other, no matter how big or how small.
Directing 101 classes:
Returning back to Islamabad, and dashing off to my Directing class, it was a treat as usual.
You all know of my Screenwriting 101 classes for beginners written here, which I attended last October. Now, it was the next one on Directing 101 from December 3rd till 27th . . It was another amazing session. Imagine studying about something where you get ‘homework’ to watch movies! Yes, great.
We were shown scenes from epic movies, and some unknown ones (for me). The age difference among us students was evident when one of my ‘class fellows’ asked ‘who is Clint Eastwood?’ Of course, they were shocked at my ignorance of several young stars of today! Our class was divided into two,
- Those who were okay with violence in films.
- Those who weren’t.
We saw Arsalan’s amazing film on YouTube on the APS students. It gave us goose bumps. Yes, it is one talented group here.Loved being part of it. We all are full of plans. Lets see if anything comes out.
After attending the course, we appreciated our instructor Mian Adnan Ahmed’s work in his film ‘Heal’ even more.
Mansoor Rahi’s birthday on 1st January 2019:
Simply love this couple who is so down to earth, great, full of humor and love. They are so talented, so disciplined in a very nice sort of way, and so focused. They are clear about where they are, and where they want to be.
They are unstoppable.
Mansoor Rahi’s birthday falling on first of January, every year have us all drawn to this function. Why? This is why:
- We all (his students and friends) are invited for lunch by Mansoor Rahi.
- He gifts us his paintings. – yes, to every one of us!- And to his guests.
- We are given some more of his pearls of wisdom.
- This year, there were two documentaries shown:, one on Mansoor Rahi and other on Hajra Mansoor.
- As usual there was delicious lunch of chicken palao, salad and korma, finished off with gulab jamuns and cake for sweet dish.
It is always Aania who manages the event in her smooth manner. I was asked to host the program, and everyone listens so sweetly, that I feel like going on and on. Ofcourse, we all love hearging from our mentor about why two things are the most important.
Two factors to follow your passion :
Mansoor Rahi has always insisted that we have to take care of two things when we want to follow our passion in life:
- Take care of your health:
- Drink plenty of water,
- Sleep on time,
- Take a healthy diet
- Do plenty of exercise daily.
- Lead a disciplined life.
He said, ‘I’ve met many artists in my time who left this world prematurely due to not following a balanced life pattern. Excess of drinking, drugs and lack of sleep and proper diet, ended their lives and their output. This is why if you want to make something of your life, make sure you mind these two factors. Only then can you pursue your passion in life.
We all come back home, inspired, satisfied and dying to get to our canvases to start painting again.
Quite a good start to the new year, isn’t it? How was yours?
Do let me know, I’d love to know how your life is going. Stay blessed lovely and handsome ones. 🙂
If life is difficult for us in these times, consider how hard it is for our children. Remember ‘for love, you need time’. When you get the time, don’t throw it away, by putting children into ‘summer classes’ and ‘winter break activities’. Spend the time with them. Otherwise, later on don’t wonder why there is no bonding, no caring. How can it be when at every opportunity you are looking for ways to get the children out of the way?
Come to think of it, how much time, do we have with our children? Most of the time, one is telling them, ’get up’, ‘get ready’, ‘have food’, ‘time for school’ ‘Finish your homework!’ So, after all that is done, how much time is there? Even when it is there, we are busy with something or the other.
So, while making the weekly, plan during summer or winter vacations do plan for activities with children. Cook nice dishes for them, arrange fun activities. Let them feel important.
Remember when you have guests, then you are with them, your children are not getting your attention. So, when you give time to your children, it means giving your full attention to them also.
Every summer, I’m being asked about classes for art or other activities, where mothers can put their children. Why?
Why not take every vacation in school as an opportunity to bond with your child at home? In fact, many times, I’ve taken the children with me by taking leave from school. I believe, our children learn more through travel.
Lots of time, I’m asked how have I got such lovely daughters, well it is because I had special ‘family time’ on a daily basis with them. During vacations I planned out lovely outings and activities for us to do together. Even on weekends we went on outings. Such outings and activities are important for bonding among family members.
If such times are not planned properly, I knew we would mostly get on each other’s nerves. (That doesn’t mean we never got on each other’s nerves. We still did some times.) So, it was best for us to balance it all. If there were ten days of winter or spring break, I’d make a plan for activities for at least four to five days. If possible, we would bring their father also into our plan. Otherwise, we went on our own. I’d get a tourism department brochure on places to visit in the city. (Remember, it was the time before internet.) Then I’d check out the activities and events in newspapers. Most of the time I knew what was going on, as I was writing about many events, in magazines and newspapers. So, we’d mark out what we wanted to do:
- Just get the house tidied up, so we come back to agood neat home.
- I’d make sure there was food in the ‘fridge. Mostly, I’d take along snacks, or even a meal to be taken as a picnic.
- We would often use the opportunity to eat out.
- Usually, I’d have the food cooked a day before.
- Water, (yes, there were no mineral bottles then.) Juices, and we were ready.
- Sometimes, we’d take our pets along too, if it was an outdoor location.
Where to go?
- Art gallery.
- Puppet theater.
- Fun land.
- Science museum.
- Folk heritage.
- Have a picnic in a beautiful spot.
- Watch movies.
- Take them for theater plays.
- Specially, take them to book fairs.
- Take them to literary festivals, and get them books.
Points to keep in mind:
- Keep it short and crisp, if needed. Avoid dragging an event. This will make them hate such outings.
- Keep it fun.
- Have their favorite snacks hidden in your purse, to give when their moods get bad.
- I’d ask you to keep your personal calls and smart phone time, totally limited. (I’m being realistic enough to not ask you to avoid altogether.)
- Do not take your maid with you. Do everything for your children yourself.
Of course you don’t go out daily. So, have indoor activities too. Let them help with household chores too. Then all of you can do something together. It can be any of the following:
- Reading out the holy book, (one person reads andeveryone listens.)
- Cuddle up on the carpet to watch a movie,
- Play a game.
- Sing songs together.
- Dance together with music on full blast.
- Just talk for hours, if you feel like it.
- Share important events in life with each other.
- Cook their favorite meal with their help in the kitchen.
- Throw a party, with party games in it. Let it all be a family event, where each person does something. (Instead of leaving all the work for you alone.) Remember to give them full credit during the party. One child can lay the table, other can make the salad and sweet dish. One of them can serve the cold drinks to the guests. Everyone can help clean up afterwards.
- Cleaning up, or sorting out clothes, cupboards and drawers.
- Planning and doing a new setting of lounge or the kid’s bedroom.
There are times in life when you do not have to play your role as a parent too much. Just be a friend to your kids, play silly games with them. I tell you, laughing together is the best medicine for all.
Stay blessed, lovely ones. Parenting can be so much fun, if you let it be so.
Ever since Prime minister Mahatir became the head of state of Malasia, I’ve been pondering. I mean, he is ninety three years old, and is elected as prime minister for four years? Till the age of ninety seven? (He was born in 1925!)
Here is a man who has completed three trimesters of life and now starting out as a prime minister?! He is on to his 90-plus years already – along with his wife. He isn’t existing , he is living it out!
I’m wondering if it can be like the nine lives of a cat? With each ‘life’ a decade?
All my life I’ve been reading books and taking support and guidance on many topics including ages and stages of one’s own and children’s ages. I noticed that there is a lot of guidance and support in early stages and adulthood. Later on, we are left on our own.
First trimester of life – 1 to 30 years:
One to ten years:
Each and every month and year has loads of books written on every stage of these ages.
Ten to twenty years:
Lots of books and videos would be around for how to care for teenagers, and their social, emotional and physical needs.
Twenty to thirty years:
This one is considered to be the peak of life, and has a great deal about becoming an adult. There are many books on how to take care of yourself, and your body. Your social, emotional life is also dealt with, and specially finding the right life partner. All data is freely available. All fiction, movies, and videos are full of this prime time of life. (As if no other life is really worth having, or worth documenting!)
Second Trimester of life – 30 to 60 years
Thirty to forty years:
Most of us dread turning thirty. As if it is the end of youth or something. Once over the tip of 29 into 30 years, one realizes it isn’t bad at all. The starting years of career, ending of education and specialization in fields of interest, and the growing family are all well documented in books. You still feel great. You feel physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually fine, actually, quite on top of the world! (I discovered I could write in my early thirties.)
Forty to fifty years:
Suddenly, with a bang you are forty!That is quite shattering, but then, you again realize it isn’t bad at all. All that ‘propaganda’ wasn’t correct. Forties can be pretty cool too. You are beginning to get a bit of a paunch, but never mind! You’ve most probably found your life partner and are well adjusted in career and children who are well settled in schools. Life is really good. You are getting to middle and senior posts in your job scene. Yes, books are getting fewer now. More books are there about illnesses and ‘how to reduce’.
Fifty to sixty years:
Every decade of life you enter with apprehensions, as it is a ‘no-mans-land’ with few well known personalities to help you through them. Thanks to internet, now we know ages of most actors and we know Ellen, Opera Winfrey, Bushra Ansari, Saba Hameed, Humayun Saeed, ShahRukh, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and many others are in this range too. Look at them, they are amazing!
Third trimester of life – 60 to 90 years.
Now, its beginning to get scary, isn’t it? All those folds cannot be hidden anymore. You realize, you’ve got to move those muscles or else! Either ‘move it, or lose it!’ So, stay active and do everything that you’ve always wanted to do now.
Sixty to seventy years:
I’ve known of Kentucky chicken guy who began his first franchise at the age of sixty two years. I’ve known of a publisher beginning her business at sixty five. Also of an artist who began painting at this age, and continued till she was over a hundred. Sixty has been the ‘retirement’ age too. You turn senior too. If it gets you to the front of the queue, then its okay! Also, it means you can be your own boss now on.
Seventy to eighty years:
My mentors Hajra and Mansoor Rahi are in this age group. Both are blooming with good health. They are living legends in the art scene of Pakistan, and live in Islamabad. They are living in their own home, running their own art business, travelling abroad and within the country. They regularly hold exhibitions and hold art classes twice a week. They have a daily routine of working on their art work from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm daily. I find them going for walks, drives, traveling, and leading an active successful life. Only last week they went over a thousand kilometers by train to Karachi, for an art exhibition with their students.
Eighty to ninety years:
My mentor Shahida Azeem, a great philanthropist lived to eighty-eight years of age, working on her organization Mashal, for the under privileged children. I’ve written about her in this blog post. She walked independently right till the end. In fact, I could hardly keep up with her activities. All the time she was organizing private or Mashal functions and inviting me over. I’d often have to excuse myself from her programs. (So, she would send me my share of food, if it was a dinner at her place.) She was just lovely.
There are no books to help one through these years, today. You are on your own.
Ninety years onwards to hundred!
As I write this blog post, and reach this point in my writing, I want to share these current personalities:
- We all know of Dr. Mahatir Mohammad (ninety-three years old,) the current prime minister of Malaysia, and his ninety-one year old wife. He recently took office, so he is looking forward to taking care of his country for four years at least.
- Then there is this 106 year old blogger in Sweden who lives alone and takes care of herself.
- I know a Ninety-five year old lady who lives alone in F-10 Islamabad. She invited me to tea with her literary friends. Loved it. She has a staff who takes care of her, a driver who drives here around too. She moves around with the help of her walker.
- My own father was driving around till age eighty-seven years, here in Islamabad.
- Ninety-eight years old yoga instructor:
Just remember, all these are persons who did what they wanted to do. They stayed involved with activities and kept their minds (and bodies) active in constructive ventures.
Now, get ready to make your new-year resolutions, keeping all this in mind. Plan out your life like the nine lives of a cat! Lots of love and best wishes to all of you, my amazing readers.
Hi my delicate drivers! Most of us want to drive a car, so let us be responsible for maintaining it too. I’m telling you, it is not that big a deal. Watch the guys … do they repair the car themselves? No, they don’t! Precisely, they get it done.
So, can you!
Here is what you do:
- Always go to a recommended place. Get a reference from a good friend..
- Be courteous, and not condescending. If you don’t know something, just ask or Google it. There are YouTube videos for every problem under the sun, (and under the bonnet too!) You can ask the person frankly. Also, write down what work he did on your car. Let each experience be a learning experience.
- You can go with someone in your family first, just to get ‘acclimatized.’
- I’d suggest, you dress with least make up and accessories, and in grays and browns, so you just blend in with the environment at the workshop.
- Try to get the work done when there is least rush at the workshop (and in your life too!) This time can be coordinated with the workshop owner or mechanic.
- Generally, you can get your car service, oil change, tires’ repair or change, and minor repairs done yourself. Most of this work can be done at the petrol stations.
- Going to the big workshops of known companies is very easy. I’ve been to Toyota Motors in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, they are good. I’m sure it is the same for Honda, Suzuki, Audi, and others. All you do is wait in an air-conditioned room, sip a cup of coffee as you browse through that book you wanted to read. – Don’t tell me you forgot to bring the book along? Okay, then you can read my blog posts, on your mobile phone, as you wait! 😉
- Smaller workshops are fine too:
Just cut out the ‘air conditioned room’, so be ready to rough it out. (Even in the heat of summers, and cold of winters – kutch nahi hota! Good for the skin pores.)
- You will find the courtesy of the workshop owners is here too.
- I’ve got maintenance done by a small workshop owner named Rashid who was also the picture of courtesy. He would come to the home too, to do my car repairs. Also, if I had a car breakdown, he would come over to help wherever I was. So, this was in Dhok Choudhrian, near Safari Villas, Bahria Town, in Rawalpindi.
- The other was in F-10, a very good denting painting guy, Imran. Later, I heard he had moved to Saudi Arabia.
- There was Muhammad an expert electrician in F-10 (he is now in Peshawar.) He would even go to my daughter’s college, get the car, then return it after repairing it.
- Farhan, of Chaudhry UPS shop in F-10, has helped me with all my battery problems, even with UPS at home.
- I’ve had these young men coming over to my home to repair the car even at eleven pm. Our people are amazing, may Allah bless them.
I’m not saying, ‘don’t take help from the men in your family,’ just that when they are busy, you can do it too, and not bother them. Frankly, I’d started repairing my car, even when my husband was alive.Since he was an engineer and brilliant at this work, it really tickled him. But as he became very senior in his office, I knew he was getting too busy. I didn’t like using the official drivers to do my car either. (As a writer, I enjoyed doing anything outside the box anyways.)
Time spent on repairs will be a lot more than you expected. Do, keep asking, but be prepared for delays. Last time I went, every half hour the guy would say, ‘half hour only!’ – It actually took several ‘half-hours!’ So, cool it! No point in being flustered. You also want the work to be well done. So, take more time than expected, with you. It also makes you realize when the men folk go to get the car done up, why they take so long! Do go in the first half of the day, for car repair work.
You know Daniyal Waqar who is an auto engineer, he had this garage. Now, he has a new garage with his own name called DW Garage, since October 2017.
It was a very pleasant surprise to meet an educated auto engineer, in his workshop some years ago.
I’ve seen him working there with BMWs, Audie and Mercedes too, and why not? He was the supervisor at Toyota Motors . He has studied about automobiles and has done courses from Dubai, which includes special courses on Audie cars. He is paying special emphasis to the high tech maintenance requirements of the modern cars. He regularly trains his workers about new technology and methods of car repair.
At this young age, he is a young and brilliant entrepreneur with his own business. His workshop is on the road to D-12, after E-11, Islamabad.
I’m not saying, ‘don’t take help from the men in your family,’ just that when they are busy, you can do it too, and not bother them. Frankly, I’d started repairing my car, even when my husband was alive. Since he was an engineer and brilliant at this work, it really tickled him. But as he became very senior in his office, I knew he was getting too busy. I didn’t like using the official drivers to do my car either. Simply because I don’t believe in using government equipment or personnel for one’s personal use. (As a writer, I enjoyed doing anything outside the box anyways.)
Did you think of it like this?
This date should make every Pakistani contemplate for a while. Just as we celebrate our good times; a wise nation also ponders over its failures and mishaps. A wise nation learns from its mistakes, and makes sure these are never repeated in living history again.
In today’s world it is enough to be progressive and economically strong.
Let me share with you some things that I really want to share, it was the darkest night of my life:
Flash back to December 16th 1971:
It was the darkest of dark nights, even though, the full moon shown brightly outside. I ran out of the room which was very dimly lit.
These were ‘black out’ nights.
While sitting inside, it had got unbearable for me to sit and watch the picture of Gen. Yahya on the black-and-white television set. He was announcing the surrender of Pakistan to Indians, in East Pakistan. Tears poured down my face as I rushed outside. I ran in to the shadow of the moonlight, next to a wall. I sat down on the ground, my legs unable to carry me anymore. I lent against the wall and cried my heart out.
From the shadow where I sat, I could see my cousins, coming out of the room calling out for me.
I didn’t answer.
Totally heartbroken, I knew my country had broken into two. Though a school girl still, the enormity of those moments were too hard to bear.
How could I not feel it? My own father was in East Pakistan. He was in the throes of it. My maternal grandfather was in Dhaka. The city had been under air attacks for days. My Dad’s younger brother Jafar Khan was in Jesore. My Bengali best friend Naheed Rehman was in Dhaka too.
There was no communication with anyone.
Were they alive ?
We were living a nightmare….
It took months for my mother and myself to find out finally, that my father and uncle and my grandfather were alive. What we went through those months can only be felt by anyone who has gone through it.
I hope no one ever knows how it feels.
Alhamdolillah, my loved ones made it. But many others didn’t make it through that terrible night.
The night my country broke into two! December 16th, 1971.
Fast forward 2014, Islamabad, Pakistan.
I’m driving home from my day at the job in Finishing School, next to Fatima Jinnah Park, Islamabad. I put on the radio as I drive home. A man is talking about something bad that happened to some school boys … I reach home wondering what?
As I put on the television, bit by bit the terrible news keeps trickling in.
Another nightmare is unfolding.
My heart broke into two.
Why? Because my heart is in those bodies of young children brutally killed.
Today is December 16th , 2018.
I’ve prepared a blog post to upload, but can’t.
Not on December 16th 2018. There is too heavy a load on the hearts and bodies of every Pakistani today.
If this pain isn’t there, then it should be.
Alive nations remember their faults and follies, and learn from them. Otherwise, such things can happen again.
History has a way of repeating itself.
So, what can we do?
Never forget the sacrifices made for us. Many families are still bearing the brunt of those sacrifices. May Allah give strength to the families of the ones affected by the APS tragedy.
We can do this:
- Become the best version of yourself, to help our country become strong.
- Stop arguing and criticizing each other. (for arguing only weakens a team,) and do our bit to build Pakistan into the strongest economy.
- Be the most honest and bravest form of ourselves.
- Use all talents and creative ideas for progress and development.
- Even if you live abroad, do something for your home country which no one sitting here can do.
I know, you are capable of all these things. Whether you are living abroad or in Pakistan, please do whatever you can to pay homage to the suffering that your forefathers did for this land. We owe this much, to the sufferings of the families of APS students and teachers killed during that ill-fated attack. Let us pray for their strength. Find some way to make this country a developed one.
Today, I sit here in the winter sunshine, enjoying the fruits of sacrifices of our forefathers. Let us do our bit to leave a legacy for our coming generations too.
I was really happy to know that Alhamdolillah Pakistan is one of the happiest countries in this region,( according to a recent survey.) I’m sure we can make it one of the strongest and most progressive country in the region too.
Stay blessed! Freedom and progress are two priceless commodities. Both come with a price tag. Yes, each one of us has to work hard for it, on a daily basis 🙂
Hi Everyone! I really hope you all had a wonderful year. Alhamdolillah, I’m sure you achieved alot. Mine was awesome too. (It wasn’t exactly as I had planned, I’d like to say, it was even better!) So, how was yours?
Especially, I want to wish you this season’s greetings. So, before we get busy with all the fun of ending this year, and beginning the new one, let us do an important exercise.
Let us plan out next year now.
Why make the Annual plan now?
This exercise won’t take more than fifteen minutes. If not, then even five minutes are enough for you to brain storm now and decide what you want to achieve next year. Sit down and write the stuff you wanted to do, but couldn’t achieve this year. In fact, it can be the first point!
So, when the year begins you are clear where you are going!
A quick round up of 2018:
First the 2018 Successes:
Well, I’ve made a list of all the things that made me feel very happy this year. How many points did you make? (Be smart, write the sad ones in such a way that they may look like successes too!) For instance, my mother fell in February, and that really shook me. So, I just noted that when she fell, how wonderfully she recovered, in spite of it. See? So, it is more of a success in dealing with a crisis, than a setback.
Be kind to yourself during this process.
Of course, be your own trumpeter and wallow in all the successes this year, which were planned or unplanned. Yipppeeee! Keep it short and sweet. 5 to 10 points are enough. (- As you can imagine, mine went up to a hundred! (Do I exaggerate sometimes?) Well, if it makes you happy do it. But remember, we are preparing our next years’ plan! Stay focussssed!
- The super best part was when my Waliya got engaged, and my third son-in-law to be got welcomed into our family. Alhamdolillah!
- Then, the time Nadiya spent three weeks with us, before leaving for Canada. (I went to Lahore to see her off too.) Alhamdolillah, Haaris and Nadiya are well settled in Halifax now.
- The best parts were the gifts that my friends Sabahat, Shabnam, Shagufta, Ayesha and Fatima helped me in giving the CSS school. ( it is a school for under privileged children) We did it for Eid-ul-Fitr. I even had an online donor Dr. Maira who paid for the teachers’ clothes. I realized how generous you all are. Also, there was Sana, from Australia who paid up for education of a student in Mashal. Nataliya and Bilal decided to pay for tuition of my domestic help and manager, Hasnain. I was also now able to pay for education of two students, one in Mashal and one in CSS school. It is a great way to give sadqa or charity.
- Then the tree plantation of 200 trees that we did with Shabnam Riaz of Arts and Literature group. It was awesome.
- Yes, my friend Shagufta reminded me of the Rain water conservation project that I did too. The blog post on it is here.
- The Screenwriter 101’ course, and now the Directors 101 course which I’m doing. (Learning is very important)
- Workshops, art classes and meet-ups of writers at my Shireen’s Studio. (Teaching and sharing knowledge is very important too!)
- The wonderful stay of my tenants, and the leaving of one, who is also in Halifax, and joined Canadian Airlines. The arrival of some wonderful personalities now. Finally, getting rid of one horrid tenant. MayAllah give them hidayat! Yes, I should have written one blog post on them! Grrrrrrr! Some people can be obnoxious, but why should I bother my pretty little head writing on them! (See? How smartly I put it in successes?) 😉
Year 2018 Failures:
- I wasn’t able to publish my second book, Allama Iqbals’ Message from the East, this year. Even though the work has begun, I’ve done more than half the work. I was unable to achieve the goal, due to several factors including my immediate family, and lack of finances. So, I had to postpone my goal. 🙁
- Should have done more paintings this year, though I made quite a few. that was because I was unable to attend the art classes at Hajra Mansoor and Mansoor Rahi’s gallery.
Forgiving others and oneself is important.
I don’t know why we expect perfection from ourselves? It is okay to not be able to do everything! Kutch nahi hota, jo hota hai, achay kay liye hota hai. (Whatever happens, happens for a good reason.) I really believe that one.
Best thing is we are alive and kicking right now.
- Just roundup year 2018 with its’ successes and failures’ round up, along with lessons learnt. (Keeping it short, sweet and to the point!) Remember to forgive yourself for all the shortcomings.
Special thank you to my readers:
You know? I can feel that you all pray for me. My family and I wouldn’t be very far but for your prayers for us. In the same way, I also pray for you all’s well being too. I wouldn’t be here now, if it wasn’t for that! So we are here for each other. Thank you so much!
We are ready now to prepare for the coming year:
2019 Annual plan:
Why can’t we make an Annual Plan for ourselves, just like every institution? If you are a working person, you know how detailed it is. That is why they get so much done.
How many of us do it for our personal lives too?
As the quote from Quran says: Allah will help those who are ready to change themselves to get something done!
I love this quotation:
Work as if you were to live a hundred years, pray as if you were to die tomorrow.
You can’t work unless you have a work plan! If your plan is ready, the majority of the work will get done. Especially, plan the financial aspects of it. As you know,we did the weekly plan here, and the monthly plan here. Now, our annual plan can be in the same pattern.
Goals of the 2019:
As you did for the monthly plan, just make a random list of what you want to achieve in 2019 :
|Sr. no.||Goal/ project||Time required|
|1.|| Physical: |
Like semester system in institutions, let’s keep it in four batches of three months each:
Annual plan of 2019
Ever thought of making a five or ten year plan?
The other day, I heard Bill Gates saying that people do not realize the value of the ten year plan; People do not realize how powerful it can be. So, we are going to go for it too.
As usual, we are doing everything in reverse order. Chronologically, one would sit and plan out one’s lifetime goals. Then put them into the ten year plan, then the five year, then the annual one, and then the monthly and weekly ones. – If you know what I mean! Those of you with small children, would be able to do it noting the ages of your kids at that time too!) It is fun.
I’ve done five year plans. It is even more fun, when you look back on it later on.
Stay blessed my Readers. I’ve grown very attached to you all. You rock! 🙂
It is the burning issue on my mind these days. I agree that life is challenging. Yet, it doesn’t give one the right to walk away from one’s own helpless baby. You are the only person on earth who can give him the greatest love on earth. You are choosing to deny your child this right to your love?
You can want to leave for any reason, please hold on. Don’t do it. Your child needs you.
By the way, if you are doing it for another man. He too will reconsider going for a woman who can walk away from her own baby!
Do the right thing now:
Keep your baby. Most probably, if you are walking away without your baby, then you are walking towards another set of greater problems. It won’t get any easier by your leaving your child.
Once you keep your child, and decide to stay, you will definitely have more confidence knowing, you have done the right thing. That alone, will make you stronger.
A real life story of giving up one’s child:
Let me explain why I’m saying these things:
Over three decades ago, Tania (not her real name) decided to give her child to her childless eldest brother, (on the insistence of their father.) I had known the wife of that brother too. (I also knew that she didn’t want to take a child from the family, (as there would be too much interference,) instead she wanted to adopt from an orphanage.)
Anyhow, I was in Karachi in those days, when I heard about it, I decided to call Tania and her bhabi to talk them out of it. In those days I was close to Sara, a friend in Karachi, who was childless. So when I told her I want to talk Tania out of this, she convinced me to stay out of it. ‘Did Tania ask for your opinion? So, she convinced me to stay quiet. But I knew they weren’t doing the right thing.
Many years later, after the baby had been given to the brother and his wife; One day, Tania confessed, that she never knew how painful it would be to let go of her baby. By then it was too late. There were the congruent issues of who would be the grandparents of the child now? How were the real grandparents to feel about the child?
In Islam, the child’s real father’s name should be kept with his name, so how would that look in the school records? So many other issues also kept happening with time.
Now, I know, the child doesn’t really care about his biological mother, even though he knows her. The actual father of the baby, poor chap, never had had any choice!
So, I kept realizing, why I should have listened to my heart (and not my friend) and gone ahead with that phone call. It would have saved them a lot of pain. Also, perhaps an orphan would have got a home. At least I would have done what I thought was the best thing to do.
Now, I’m listening to my heart and writing this blog post, saying what I’m thinking, about something so important.
People ask you for your child:
When a grown up like a parent of yours, or anyone else, is trying to push you to do it, refuse to listen. Tell them to mind their own business. This is your baby, and you decide about her. No one else has that right.
By the way, I too was asked by my father-in-law to give away my child. (If his other son was childless, was that mine or my child’s fault? Why should my baby and I have to pay for their misfortune?) I flatly told him, ‘If she was my tenth child, I wouldn’t give her away!’ (I said this, in spite of the fact that I had great regard for him.) But giving away a child is another matter.
Of course our society condones adoption of this type, and talks as if something ‘great’ has been done.
It isn’t great. Also, it is mostly, to get a hand on some wealth lying around!
Coming back to the Tania story; in hindsight, the child is better off with his other mother. Allah compensates in His own way. But his mother has definitely regretted that decision of hers!
It is now too late for her.
It isn’t too late for you!
Adoption is discouraged in Islam:
Much later in life, I understood the nuances of it all- the mehram aspect and what not. An adoption isn’t an answer for a child who has both parents alive. There has to be a better solution.
In the end, you realize, Islamic concept of things are actually right. We have to go through the whole process to realize some facts.
Exceptional situations are exceptions, but do not make a normal case into an exception.
My silent plea:
While counseling, and observing things happening, I want to make this silent plea to all mothers of small babies:
Please, never ever let your baby go, under any circumstances. Just don’t.
Have faith in Allah to provide for you and the baby. You will manage. Why don’t you just surrender to Him who knows best?
Things change, have faith:
Today, I sit here under a roof that Allah helped me have. Seven years ago today, I didn’t know where my next meal would be coming from. Today, I’m not only taking care of myself, but others too. Grown men come to me for help. Can you believe it? You cannot imagine the forces that were going against me just seven years ago.
Just have patience.
Some success stories:
I know of many cases where a mother has held on to her children in the toughest circumstances. Several of these cases happened in front of me.
- Two cases I personally know whose, husbands died in plane crashes. Later, a couple of great officers proposed to them, and now, they are leading happy married lives. The new fathers have adopted the first children too.
- There is a very well known, personality, in government service now, who came to Islamabad with almost no money, after her divorce. She left her parents, in Karachi, and moved to Islamabad, with nothing but her determination to make her own life. She had a two-year-old daughter and her faith in herself. Today, she has a prestigious job, and her daughter is a lawyer.
- There is another friend of mine, who had a baby and divorced her husband. Later, she married a wonderful air force officer who adopted the baby. They have a wonderful life together. The young girl dotes on her dad.
- They are fine, in this ‘society.’ (Believe, me it was a far worse society then, when these ‘examples’ took place.) You are in a far better society today.
- There was a mother of a one-year-old-son, and her husband suddenly divorced her. After a couple of years, she received a proposal from a wonderful young man. Soon they got married, and he was thrilled to have a ‘ready-made-son’ to call his own. Afterwards, they’ve had two more children of their own. They are living happily near my home.
Look at your recent past:
Just look back five or eight years ago? How was life then? Yes, things change, you change, your circumstances change. So, why are you upset at today’s situations? Who knows, all this can change too!
Why just chicken out of a situation with the worst possible ‘solution?’
Take one step at a time. Do you believe your baby would rather have anything else, rather than you? Tell me? Your baby isn’t even old enough to say anything!
This is more important if your baby has some health issues. More reason for you not to abandon your child. If you fool yourself into believing that your husband will take care of the baby. Forget it. He will just remarry, and get on with his life. He cannot take care of your baby as you can. You can go to court and get financial help from him, but don’t let your baby go, please.
Leaving your baby means:
You leave your child, then, you leave her open to situations of child abuse, kidnapping, and lack of faith. The most terrible thing is that she will never have any faith in another human being.
Once she grows up, she will know, there must be something wrong with her, that’s why even her own mother gave her up! How is this child to understand that it wasn’t anything to do with her? It was all about you?
All I want to say is this: when you are blessed with a child. It is the most beautiful blessing of all. To give away this beautiful gift is not the right thing to do.
Thats all! 🙂
Be brave and stay blessed, my lovely one. Allah will reward you in ways that only He can!
(I hope to meet you one day…. ! In a much happier state of mind and heart.)
Note: All these beautiful photographs taken online from ‘free online images’ and shutter fly with great appreciation.
My driving back ground:
Driving is a thrill for me. It makes me feel as if I’m having my ‘me time.’ I love being the boss with the steering wheel in my hands! my first car was bought (yes, a Suzuki Mehran of course) from my first savings. (What else can you expect from a teacher and writer?) My husband felt it wasn’t needed as I used to drive our car, while he drove the official car.
My experience of driving all over Pakistan, has been for over thirty five years, by now. So, I’m qualified to write this post. I’ve driven in most cities, in most conditions, (that includes with small children too,) so I’ve gone through villages, highways, busy roads, and good roads. (Also through storms and floods!)
My husband taught me how to drive the manual gear car while we were still ‘engaged’, (that is the best time to learn!) Afterwards, I’ve driven the automatic car for many years. Now, suddenly, I felt like driving the manual gear car again. So, that’s what I’ve got these days.)
My father was an excellent driver and so was my husband. Watching them, it was natural for me to love it too.
Here are my rules for driving:
I’ve wanted to be a good driver always. Getting compliments from my father and others means a lot to me. I believe, it is quite an art.
Before you start regular driving:
You see, it is important to be confident, and that can only be if you have done your ‘home work’. The ability to concentrate on the driving can only take place if one is in a good state of mind. So do be clear about the following points:
Have a driving license.
Pay the tax on time.
Have a good mechanic on call.
Learn how to change a tire.
Also learn how to check the oil, and if it needs changing.
When you like to drive, you take the responsibilities too; so be prepared to get car serviced and the oil-change done by yourself. Do write the mileage to know about the next time. Do not let them tinker with the original mileage of the car.
I’ve got the repairs done myself whenever possible. (I’ve been spoiled hollow by my garage mechanics and engineers. Daniyal owner of a garage, and an auto engineer, takes my car, does it up, and drops it home.) I’ve written about his garage here, though now he has opened another one next to it.
As far as I’m concerned a good deck is a must. I can’t move without good music!
The rules I follow while driving
- Read the ‘safar ki dua’ or prayer of travel before starting.
- Check all the mirrors, and put on the seat belts. Make sure the passengers are properly strapped also, otherwise, refuse to move. You know, their safety is your responsibility.
- Specially, keep children at the back in a seat, properly strapped. (I followed this, even when it wasn’t compulsory in Pakistan. Why not follow rules of safety? I mean it is stupid!)
- After that, put on the music.
- Singing in the car is highly encouraged. 😉
- No tension talk.
- No problem-talk either. Relax! Enjoy the drive.
- Enjoy the view. (Stop looking at the gutters and garbage, look up at the sky, trees – and traffic of course.)
- I do give way, to those who deserve it. Even to those who don’t. You may be right. – But no need to be ‘dead right!’
- Always follow all traffic and safety rules.
Use of mobile phone & google map:
- It is best to have a system in the car where the phone call can be used on the screen. Have any hands free system. However, whenever you ‘answer’ a call, do tell the person that you are driving, so you keep it short.
- However, in the case of any important phone use, do stop your car on the side, and take the call if it can’t be avoided. Otherwise DO NOT USE THE PHONE. Nothing is more important than yours and others’ lives.
- No filming or photographs while driving. I have to confess it is very tempting. (I even got a shout from my daughter Nadiya for doing so!) She was right, so I’m never doing it again. No one has the right to put other’s lives in danger, or one’s own.
- Use a mobile stand: If you want to make videos while driving or use the google map then it is best to get a ‘mobile phone stand’ attached to your car’s dashboard, so you can easily do it.
Acts of kindness while driving:
- In case of a bad traffic jam, get out and help untangle traffic jams, instead of sitting and cursing the government!
- Yes, give a lift, to people carrying heavy packages. Especially old women or men. (I often watched my father do this.) Once, I gave a lift to a man who was obviously in great trouble during a bad storm.
- Offer to give a lift to people who are obviously in need. (Yet do remember it can be a fraud too!)Listen to your gut feelings.
- I also give sadqa, to a beggar if it is genuine. Otherwise, try to keep sweets or water or something to eat instead.
- Give way to a person stuck in middle of road trying to find a way out. (- But do not stop suddenly, of course.)
- Happily offer to pick or drop friends.
In case of accident:
Many people don’t drive because they are afraid of having an accident. Well, you can be in one, even if you aren’t driving! So, what will be, will be. But, if you do have an accident, follow these rules. Then get back to driving as soon as possible. Otherwise, you will never get out of this fear of driving again. Remember, setbacks are only opportunities to learn. Nothing else. Here were go:
- Generally speaking, you won’t have a problem. Many bystanders will be eager to help. You will find people going out of their way to help you. Occasionally, you will find a nasty creep. Then be prepared to handle such guys too.
- Be cool and try to handle it yourself. Call 15 police in all situations.
- Just drive off, if it is a small brush. Standing and arguing is pointless. After all, it is only your car that is damaged. It can be done up. There are people who do this on purpose to make you stop, then try to kidnap you or steal your car. So, it is best to drive off if you can.
- If someone else is hurt, take the person to a nearby chemist shop where they usually have first aid facilities. If more serious, do take to hospital.
- When the other car is damaged: Give number of your mechanic and offer to pay for any damages to your mechanic. (I’ve done it, it works.)
- If the person is misbehaving, be quiet. Once a guy took my car keys. So I went up to his car and took his, then came back and locked myself into my car to wait for the police to come. Yes, call the police at once. (Even if it was your fault.) Tell the police if you are to blame, but don’t take any nonsense from anyone. The crowd can be helpful.
- Call your husband/brother/ or friend when situation is getting out of hand.
Car repairs and maintenance:
- In the case when my car got damaged, I had the car repaired myself. Later on in the evening, I’d confess to my husband what had happened, then explain that all the repair work is already done, or in the process. He’d raise his eyebrows, in surprise.
- A time came when my mechanic was tried out by hubby dear, and he even liked him. (I had got to know of him through my friend Naila’s driver!)
- By now, I just sit in the back seat enjoying a cup of tea and reading while the work is getting done. Of course, I dress very appropriately, and am respectful. I find them very courteous. I also make sure to sit in crowded areas, not in some room inside. The bad weather is no issue. It really doesn’t matter.
So, driving is no big deal. Just be prepared to follow all security rules, and to rough it out when needed, and enjoy the drive! 🙂
Note: I’m sharing some pictures from my recent drive to the mountains. Last sunday, I suddenly felt like going for a drive, so I picked up my friend Naila, and we went to have a cup of tea on the expressway, near Murree. It was lovely. We came back fully rejuvenated. 🙂
It is all about managing to bring beauty into your home.
We are surrounded with art and beauty in nature. Nature is an artists’ greatest inspiration. It is only natural to want to bring this beauty inside our homes as well.
I’ve shared some beautiful homes with you, and have lined up some more for you in the future . Have you noticed the beauty in the home belonging to my friend Unzila here? Also the home of my friend Munazza here. I know you must be thinking these must have cost the earth! Probably they did. Yet, I’m sure the beauty part of it, can come with far less expense too.
The motto of my College of Home Economics is Beauty is truth and truth is beauty.
It is so true. One of my favorite verses in Urdu is:
Sochiye to husn kaafir kutch nahi,
Daikhiye to daikhtay reh jayiye!
If you think about it, beauty is nothing.
When you look at it, you can’t stop looking!
We look for new forms and shapes of beauty in our lives all the time.
Anyone with aesthetics always gets more attention from others. You see the great fashion icons being followed on Instagram due to their aesthetic sense.
Take a step further; beauty can be in thoughts, living styles, poetry, prose and music. You look for it in all the creative works. Sometimes, there is beauty in renditions of music and it is about your individuality.
All this is vital in our lives. Otherwise, life wouldn’t be worth it.
All my life, we used to move house every year or so. Sometimes, when we moved into a place, we knew it was just for a few months. I’m so glad, I’d do up our one-room make-shift apartment with as much beauty as I could. I’d put up paintings, drapes, lamps and furniture to make it a charming home for my husband and children to come home to.
In the end, my husband never got to live in the home that we were building together. It feels good to know, he always lived in a home which felt like a home always. As far as I’m concerned , the house where my husband and children live is our home, (whether it is rented, joint-family or one’s own!)
I’ve known people living in homes like garages. Stark and bare. This is consciously done. It is extremely unpleasant to the eyes. Then often you see them cribbing about everything. It is up to you to make yourself happy within your given or chosen surroundings.
Let me show you how you can do it:
Cleanliness: A dirty place is dirty. It is nauseating and disgusting. So, do regular cleaning on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis.
Tidiness: you must allocate a place for everything and put everything in its place.
Choose a style that reflects your taste: Now, you can surround yourself with anything that you love. There are somethings which are a sure shot way to beauty.
My style kit:
- Pictures of family, paintings, drawings.
- Flowers, plants, pine cones, sea shells, plant roots.
- Spot lights and lamps.
- Books and magazines.
- Scented candles.
- Fairy lights.
Once you have set up your place, you need to maintain it by making a daily & weekly plan. Share your vision with your staff and family. So, you all need to be in sync. Believe me, I’ve done this all my married life.
Let me share the daily plan I’ve prepared yesterday; it is already up on our kitchen fridge for my staff. The other copy is here next to me. You see the work has to be done, whether you do it, or you delegate it.
Staff duties: daily time table:
|Time||8.00 -9.00 am||9.00 -12.00 pm||12.30 -2.00 pm||3.00-5.00 pm||5.00-7.30 pm.||7.30 – 9.00 pm.|
Clean car, Gates,
Dusting: Basement, kitchen cleaning.
|Make shopping list.
Pay bills. Cleaning/ polish.
M. bed rm
Change bed sheets
|Lunch: shopping for Rahim.
|2.00 – 3.00 Tuition class.
Rest and break.
|Tea & snack.
Check inside garden,
Put dishes back. Nothing on sink.
(My parent’s helper, whom I manage too!)
|Breakfast: of Porridge, boiled eggs, & Roll or slice.
Change & bathe sahib.
|Put off geysers.
Clean & tidy bedroom & bathroom of sahib.
Dr. rm, tv lounge. Dining rm.
|12.00 pm: Give Glass of water.
Dr. rm, tv lounge. Dining room.
Rest and break.
|Tea & snack.
Check outside garden. Remove any papers etc.
Make sure garbage bucket area is clean.
Put dishes back. Nothing on sink.
|Hasnain & Sabir duties between 9.30 – 12.00 pm.||Mon:
Khirkiyan aur sheeshay saaf karnay hein.
Baahir ki railing saaf rakhein.
Furniture ko polish karna hai.
Bistar ki chadrein badalni hein.
|Wed. Kooray ki balti saaf,
Bahir ki kursian aur maiz saaf karna hai.
|Thurs: Batiyan aur sheeshay saaf karein,
Chaadron ki almari theek karni hai.
Qaleen dhonay hein, pankhay aur nalkay saaf karnay hein.
|Sat/sun: Gariyon ki safai, undar say.
Apna karma aur kapray saaf rakhein.
Dust / clean W’s rm.
M. Bed rm.
bedroom, dr. rm, loung, kitchen,
M. Bed rm.
Dust / clean w’s rm.
M. Bed rm.
Dust / clean w’s rm.
M. Bed rm.
bedroom, dr. rm, loung, kitchen,
M. Bed rm.
Dust / clean waliya rm.
M. Bed rm.
How to follow this duty chart:
Each staff member is clear what is expected of him or her. You too can check them, by referring to the chart. (As it is a shared vision, it is easily possible). I make a drawings of the clock of that time, too if needed. I try to educate them in my spare time. Recently, I’ve kept a tutor to have one of them taught.
As you see I’ve written some stuff in Roman Urdu for them. You can write in Urdu script even, if needed. Also, go over it all with each one, to see if they’ve understood it.
What about you?
Do share your thoughts with me. I’d love to know it.
More Links to inspiring bloggers:
I’d love you to follow these inspiring bloggers (if you aren’t already doing so!)
Shahzeen link: http//www.the desiwonderwoman.com
Urdu Mom Link: http//www.urdumom.com
Diary of a PMP Mom: http//www.diaryof apmpmom.com
I know, many of you keep telling your husband how educated you are, and deserve to be given your due. Very true. Show him how educated you are, by the way you manage your home. It is wonderful to walk into a home which is well organized, beautiful and in the hands of a capable homemaker.
Stay blessed, my wonderful Readers. Remember, I am here, because of you.
Note: Special thanks to Nataliya for her amazing photography, the rest of the photographs are taken by myself.