Pillar to Post

 … and  kindnesses too. 

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Going to sleep has never been a problem for me. Never. Having been through many tough phases in life, yet, I have been able to sleep well through it all. I’ve inherited this quality. My parents sleep well, and so did my grandfather Gerald William Flynn Young. He’d say “it’s due to my clear conscience!” I guess, it’s the same for me too.

But, in spite of the clear conscience, I’ve been having trouble sleeping and it was due to several issues on my head. Sometimes, being a single parent and doing all the ‘man’ and ‘woman’ things in one’s life, has its downsides too. There were several things … the water, pension, income tax, tenant, book launch, buying a mare, and latest is the Nadra issue, and I was financially tight.

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The funny part was that I was feeling ‘financially tight’ in an amount, which would have felt absolutely rich just four years ago!

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So, while I was running pillar to post – that’s what you do with each problem – everyone told me to ‘stop your extra stuff’ like blogging, painting, workshops and meeting friends.

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This is where I beg to differ.

The more issues and problems you have the more you need these wonderful things  to balance out the toxic effects of your problems. That’s what it is. You need to just plan things in such a way, that you make space for wonderful things too.

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A visit to the PNCA and National Art Gallery is a source of peace and solace to me.

And…doing a painting..

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The key factor here is …  balance. You have to keep a balance between your issues and doing your own thing. If you don’t pay attention to the issues, they wont go away, nor will you feel good if you stop doing the fun things. Your problems can get too frustrating, if that is all you are thinking about. When I didnt go for my fun activities,  I became horrid company at home. My family and staff had a rough day too as I became too crabby.

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My workplace at home.

When my friend insisted my weekends are too ‘action filled’, I agreed but I love it too. That feeling of a refreshing weekend, stays through the week with you. A good weekend gives a feeling of cherry on the top. You eat through the cake (week) and pop in that cherry (weekend).

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The Short Story Workshop this weekend too , was great.

While addressing issues, what really bugs me is that wherever I go, each person at the office gives me more stuff to do, so it is literally a never ending wild goose chase.

It bugs me: why don’t they tell you everything at once?

Well, a funny thing happened when one organized organization told me they had already informed me, it was me who didn’t read all the requirements carefully. Oops! – My fault this time! I had got so used to them not telling me that I didn’t notice when they did. I’ll be careful next time. Its good to note, some organizations have got organized and are better streamlined now. We have to get updated too!  

In my other issues, Mr. Habibullah Abbasi my dealer helped me solve my tenant issue. Fairy, as usual helped me long distance with her timely pieces of advice.  Finally I had a happy ending yesterday. 🙂 What a relief.

It is the same with hospital test results. Now, you can literally check out the result online, it is the same with most hospitals and diagnostic centers. Saves you hours of trouble.

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Mum and I relaxing together with our cups of tea every morning.

Anyhow, let’s STOP all this talk about stupid problems. Just get on with life, instead.

A friend also suggested I give sadqa. ‘Having too many problems is Allah’s way of talking to you.’ Perhaps it was some big fat fault of mine which I’ve developed. Giving the sadqa gave me something wonderful to do, and giving food with one’s own hands really feels good. I know, Pakistan is the second most charitable country in the world. Everyone here gives charity. It is nothing extraordinary. Yet, it feels so good.

You know the most valuable thing in the world these days?

Kindness.

We all need kindness ourselves, and to do it to others. For instance, that water issue is still there, though it has improved a bit. The colony where I live the MPCHS has put a deep boring water pump for its dwellers, it has improved the supply.

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My plumber and his assistant trying to get the boring water to work, so far in vain.

But it is not enough for my home, so I need the boring water to supplement it. As you know, underground water level in Islamabad has  been getting lower. So, may Allah bless my neighbors Mr. Abbasi and Mr. Khoso, who keep giving water from their boring water pump. It was Mr. Khoso’s  son of about 6 years, who told his mother: ‘You know, our neighbor has no water? Can’t we give water for them?’ That’s how they began sending me water through pipes connected with each other. This is real kindness.

Then, of course, delicious food is shared among the neighbors now and then. I received tasty dishes for Muharram, and then my cook made some delicious haleem, which I shared with my friends, and many poor people living in my area. My domestic help suggested we give to the people waiting on roadside with a spade to indicate they are willing to do labor work for you. So, we went and they happily took from us. What I love is the fact that it is no ‘favor’. They know we are giving it for the sake of God, and they accept knowing it is no favor.

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As if the problems were not enough, my dog Magic was getting too hyper for me, so I decided to find a loving family for him.

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When I took Magic for a walk the other day.

A friend of mine found one for me. We said our sad farewell to him, and he happily went into the car. I felt so cruel. But it was my sanity or him. Choice was clear. Somehow, I can’t find the time to train him. (Even a trainer made no difference to his behavior.) Seeing me makes him go crazy with happiness. He jumps up and down, trying to lick me. He is huge. I have a hard time holding my ground.  Ok, so it was cruel to let him go. My daugter was so sad. It is my girl Waliya who has given him treatment when he got ill, footed the bills, stayed in clinic with him when he had an operation. Though she was fasting, she remained there at the clinic so she would be there when he became conscious again. I’d visit him and he’d turn and wag his tail. Oh my God, I’m feeling so bad. Perhaps I’ll bring him back. He has already broken all my flower pots, all my buckets, garbage cans, precious plants, my chicks or blinds, my pipes and what not. He is starting out on everything in their lawn now. I’ve seen all videos of training labs and tried almost everything. He is uncontrollable. Nothing has worked so far. Not even sending him to a loving family. As I write, I’ve asked my girl to please bring him back.

So, life I guess is all about balance. We need to balance all our challenges in life with the relaxation and fun of life. I’ve found that stopping about ten minutes earlier in whatever you do, gives you an edge over the timings. That makes space for balance.

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Lets just thank our Allah Mian for all that He blesses us with. How He brings kindness to us and through us. Stay blessed dear Reader. 🙂 I love that smile on your face too.

Note: All photographs by author.

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