My December 2016 & start of January 2017

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As far as I can remember, life has been fast paced, yet exciting. The end of last year and beginning of this year have been no exception.

Attended SDPI conferences December 6th to 9th, 2016:

19thsdc-2016-img_0414Starting from early December when I was invited to the annual conferences by SDPI (Sustainable Development Policy Institute.) Well, I’ve been attending these conferences since 2005 actually. What I really like about them is that many important topics are covered by authorities in the field. When you attend a conference, it certainly opens up your mind to what is going on in our region. Representatives of organizations in Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka come here to discuss problems of regional interest. When you find out the statistics of each issue the gravity becomes even more apparent. This year the topic was Envisaging the Future Together and it carried on from 6th to 9th of December. Usually, it is all very interesting.

Naturally, I love topics like art, media, business, education and scientific ventures. Most horrifying is the fact that clean drinking water is still an issue, along with education and health. Trade is another topic of my interest as I believe the comfort and economics are tied up with it. The most fascinating fact is that trade is the oldest of these concerns, and it was much better previously than it is now.  All this in spite of so many improvements in the world in the field of technology.

All the previous years’ advancements have come to almost a standstill due to terrorism and corruption. Otherwise, there was the Silk Route which was active since hundreds of years ago. Then there was the basic structure of roads which had been built like the Grand Trunk Road from Pakistan, all the way through India till Calcutta or Kolkata. So, it is nothing new that one is talking about. It is  to find out  where do we stand today, and what is being done.

This year, the presence of CPEC came out as the biggest hope for Pakistan.

The lavish lunches and tea served between sessions and the fact that at least three simultaneous sessions take place on the venue, keep you on your toes. I admire the management who does everything in a very smooth way. The most important factor is that every session begins and ends on time.

The PIF conference:

On the December 9th, I was tempted to attend another conference in Serena Hotel. It was a one day, session by PIF (Pakistan Innovation Foundation) on Creative Innovations aimed at the youth of Pakistan. The topic of envisioning Pakistan in the year 2050 was literally laughed off in a workshop. It was extremely disappointing to find such an important topic handled as a joke. The previous session too was at least an hour late. Due to which the next session was affected. The good food did not divert me from these sad facts which I noted. Outside the hall, there were different desks and stalls with presentations of different innovations by youth of Pakistan which were quite interesting. Especially, I like the stall in which one young man who offered to control the temperature in one’s home geyser through one’s smart phone. I am tempted to try it out. There were also children’s books in Urdu with guitar player busy singing the lyrics of a few books. Also, one young man offered publications. There more , I couldn’t pay enough attention to these due to shortage of time. However, I’m glad I went.

Next year, I’d love to have my book on Iqbal there. To show them that the ones who envisioned Pakistan had a very modern and progressive Pakistan in mind;  Allama Iqbal believed in a scientifically enlightened country where science, development and progress move hand in hand.

So, whenever you get an opportunity, do attend such conferences. These conferences are a good way to find out what is going on. You can avail the opportunity to meet and talk to the people at the helm of affairs.   So, it is up to you to see how much constructive stuff is actually going on.

Couldn’t help noticing that many persons were there just for the food. Some of the speakers were not very good speakers, I’m sorry to say, which didn’t help matters much. Yet, I’d say, be tolerant and patient with those who aren’t,  especially those who really do have some solid substance to offer.

Luckily, there were some who were mesmerizing speakers who knew their content well, came well prepared and delivered with panache. This is vital to catch the attention of your audience.

My father’s Illness:

I was hardly out of these conferences, when my father fell ill. It was high temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit which ended up with admitting him in hospital. What with my 82 year old mother at home and almost 90 year old father in CMH across the town, it was a lot of driving for myself. My daughters helped and pitched in. I had to remove my embargo on them driving to Rawalpindi in its horrid traffic, as now it was a matter of my own survival. Thankfully, they are competent drivers too. So, we all took turns with going to the hospital, and that person would stay till the night, as one couldn’t go back and forth with a two-hour commute time, on the roads alone.

My father’s condition was serious, as his temperatures rose to 103 in the hospital. It turned out to be UTI and needed to be controlled with intravenous injections etc. Watching all the needles being put into his frail wrist was painful to watch. A true soldier, he took it all in his stride and started getting better, in spite of what the doctors had warned me.

Paradoxically, he had been put in a room with another patient,  for the night. (They had promised me another room next day.) However, the other patient was in coma, and about twenty years junior to my father. He had been fine, one and half years ago,  when in Rawalpindi Saddar, he had parked his car and was crossing the road when he had an accident. From that time onwards, he has been in coma. It was sad to see him like that. The helpers would feed him through a tube. A male nurse would come to turn him and for physiotherapy.

It was all specially traumatic for my daughters and myself, as five years ago, we were here in this very hospital taking care of my husband who was so ill with cancer of the brain, GBM IV. My husband had been in coma for four days when He went to meet his Maker.

Now, I was here again in December,  with my father.  My daughters and I often ‘saw’ my husband as he would be wheeled out or would be walking with help in these very corridors. Somehow, we had been full of hope then.

This time, Alhamdolillah, everything was so much better, though my father is at least thirty years older. It is not the age, it’s the situation. Its life. If you have it you walk out of every situation in one piece.

My father has come home, and is improving every day, thank goodness.

Tragic death of Junaid Jamshaird:

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The tragic death of this icon-of-a-man who was a rock star in Pakistani music scene. Then,  he ‘converted’ to Islam in its most classic sense. Yet he remained the heart throb of millions.  He was certainly in the news all the time. People stopped to listen to what he said, no matter in which sense, as he was truly a man who was true to himself. He was not two faced and tried his best to be a good human being. A businessman owning the JJ popular clothes line, he was a man to contend with. His death in a plane crash was a piece of very sad news. His songs ‘Dil dil Pakistan’ broke all records in the early eighties. May his soul rest in peace, and may his family be able to bear this great loss. I specially feel for his son Taimoor who was my student in ICAS in grade seven. This is truly a tough time for the family.

So, that’s how my December went.

Mansoor Rahi’s birthday:

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January always starts with a bang for us, his art students. We are known as Generation Rahi, because we are students of our mentor Mansoor Rahi the legendary figure. He throws a huge lunch party on 1st of January which is his birthday. Turning 78 and looking amazing in his red shirt and black trouser. He had asked us all to come all dolled up for his party. To make sure we don’t turn up in our usual casuals with paint splattered all over us. As Nashesh said, “All of us were there aged sixteen to sixty.” – I mean all of us sixteen to sixteen! – yes, I’m are talking about our hearts now!

Mansoor Rahi began his speech with:

“When you are starting a painting, you plan your canvas before starting. You compose all parts of it. How you are going to manage it and what effect you want. The choice of colors and shapes and specially subject you choose. In the same way, on first of January, you plan out your year. What you are going to do, in which way.” He went on to tell us that unfortunately, most artists have been negligent about their own lifestyles and health issues. It is vital to have a disciplined life and take special care of one’s diet, and health, he informed us.

The cake was cut and then the ceremony took place which we all look forward to: the prize distribution. On his birthday, Mansoor Rahi gifts each of his students with a painting by him. Names are called out and each one is presented with a painting.

A few days before,  I asked him “Why do you do it? Why do you spoil us all by gifting us your paintings on your own birthday?”

“Who do I have besides you all?” He asked me. He had moved from Bangladesh and opted to live in Pakistan.

“Be very careful how you start your year, how you spend the first day of your year, as that is how it will be for rest of the year.”

My daily walks have begun again!

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Probably the best thing has been the fact that I’ve finally started my daily walks. Just love spending an hour outside with nature. That’s how I’ve spent my whole life and now, I’m feeling like my normal self again.

So, this was the end of 2016 and beginning of my beginning Happy New Year 2017.

Stay blessed my lovely ones!  🙂

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