Elections and Life Dichotomies .

37246852_2046666028700012_4540511821852835840_n.jpgIn this blog I quickly take you through the past weeks’ events right into the election fever. Now it is Wednesday 18th July, 2018 , late evening. As usual so much is going on, in the international world and within the country.  On top of it all that, there is one’s personal life. Many times we are happy and sad at the same time.

Yes, life’s dichotomies!

For instance, as I prayed anxiously every night for the safe rescue, of the group of thirteen who got stuck in Thailand’caves.  I forgot  the death and danger of the hundred plus people who died from freak storms nearby in Japan. This is what media does, in the Thai case, we knew more about the boys, so one felt more connected. Whereas in the Japan case, there wasn’t much information or details of the persons living there. Such tragedies are sad. One hardly was over joyed at the successful and miraculous rescue of the young Thai group, along with its coach; when one was shocked at the suicide attack which killed over one hundred in Mastoong, Baluchistan Pakistan. That was after a couple of blasts in KPK. So, this is the environment in which I am now.

In fact, we all live in it all the time.

We carry on with our lives, while being witness to so much bad news in the world.

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In my personal life, my mother fell in the washroom after her maid had helped her have her bath. It was due to sudden rise in sugar level. She was almost bedridden for two days. I had the choice to admit her in hospital or have her treated at home. The nearby new hospital offered support of services at home. So, I could have my mother treated by a visit of my favorite Medical specialist Dr. Mehmood. He has constantly been doing home visits to see my parents these last few years.  He works at several leading hospitals in Islamabad. However, his house is nearby. He offers his prayers in the mosque, and my house is between his house and the mosque. So, we decided to go for my mom’s treatment, (without the frantic ‘tests’ which I refused to take my Mom through!) so, he started the intravenous anti-biotic course, which had a powerful effect.

Within three days, my mother is back into her normal routine now. Mum and Dad’s friends Hasnats came to visit her, along with several others.

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Thank God she is fine now. You know something? Every problem has brought me to new solutions and information. This time we came across the new hospital which has opened up nearby:

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They offer free ambulance service. Also, nursing staff to visit your home to put drip etc. (Provided, you can pick and drop the nurse.)

Meanwhile, my rain water conservation project is going well. I was excited getting my car washed with it, and getting so much extra washing and cleaning done after a long time.

France won the football match, and I missed all the matches. Somehow, I was too involved in other matters as you can see.

The moment Mom got better, I was able to go for an art class after several weeks it seemed. 37340110_2046655382034410_7885521640052752384_n.jpgI realized, these classes are vital for me. They boost me up like anything.37324662_2046656028701012_7324652770085044224_n.jpg

Whatever boosts you in life, you have to make space for it. You have to make the effort to do it. Once the routine gets broken one has to make an extra effort to push oneself back into it. I know it is hard.

For those who get confused, let me tell you, I conduct art classes myself also, and I attend art classes too. So, I’m teaching art, as well as learning. So, I hold art classes in my home’s Studio, where I teach art and also do my paintings. Then, I go twice a week to work on my own art with my mentors in their studios: The Rahi Studios, where Hajra Mansoor and Mansoor Rahi have their art museum, art gallery and art classes. As you know, I have many friends there, and it is great.

Truly, I believe, that learning is an on-going process. Specially, as a teacher, it is vital for you to be a student also.  To be current, and Learning new techniques and ways to improve your knowledge is vital.  This also gives you first-hand knowledge on how it feels to be a student. Then one is gentler on one’s students. One can only be a good teacher, if you know your subject well.

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The session always rejuvenates me.

Elections 2018:

Finally, I want to share my feeling on the up-coming elections with you. As you know, elections are  on July 25th,2018, just a week from now. Before sharing my experience of last elections. First, let me say the following:

  1. You must vote. Convince and facilitate everyone around you to vote also.
  2. Please send your CNIC number to the election number 8300, and find out your location of the polling station where you will cast your vote. I’ve found out mine is across the town! Even though I had got my location changed on my CNIC card at NADRA office last year. So what? Insha Allah, I will go.
  3. If we want to see a better country, let us be better versions of ourselves! The first change always comes from within one’s self. We need to be prepared to go and stand in this hot humid weather in those lines. If we go early in the morning, it will be easier.
  4. Decide whom you vote for, very carefully, and vote with a clear conscience, knowing you have done the best you could do. Choose the better candidate very carefully.
  5. I believe, that you have no right to talk against  politics in your country, if you are not doing your own duty of casting your vote.
  6. How can you blame politicians, when you are not doing your duty as a citizen of this country?
  7. People ask, whom you are voting for. You don’t have to answer that one. Voting is a private and personal business.
  8. At least you will know your vote was used properly.
  9. At least you will be an eye witness to what is going on.

My election experience last time!

You won’t believe what happened when we went for elections last time! Waliya and I were to go to a polling station next to Safari Villas, Bahria town. That is where my parents lived then. It was in an area where we never go, which was really over populated.

Anyhow, that early morning, we had left Nadiya (my second daughter, now in Canada,) at her polling station in Islamabad, where everything was very civilized. We left her there, and went off to our location in Rawalpindi. I found the polling station in a dilapidated  looking building.

On entering the premises, and spending twenty minutes in the cue, I realized this is going to take several hours. district-peacefully-fatehabad-district-administration-panchayat-election_f30f99ee-c2ac-11e5-aa4a-49b6c7b94749

I turned and watched as the men’s rows of voters constantly kept moving, while the ladies’ ones were almost static. rawalpindi-pakistan-11th-may-2013-men-queue-to-vote-at-a-polling-station-d7nnf6 They stood patiently, chattering among themselves. Yes, most of them shared with each other that they had come for Imran Khan. Exasperated, I asked my daughter to keep my place, and I told women standing nearby that I’m going to investigate why it is taking so long.

The guard nearby said,

‘Women don’t know how to make lines, that is why it is taking so long!’

I told him,

‘It doesn’t look like it!’ He shrugged his shoulders. I asked him, ‘where is the person in charge of this station?’

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He indicated to me, waving towards the gents’ side. I walked right into the throng of men to talk to the man in charge. The rest of the men, respectfully made space for me to pass through. He told me that there is a problem due to there being just one voting box, that is why it is taking so long. The gents’ side, had more voting boxes, due to which they were getting free quickly. He said, no one among the women is ready to get the other boxes activated. I offered to help with the installation of the other voting boxes. He was happy to know that, and got me permission to get inside.

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So, I went into the ladies’ voting room. There were the row of tables, and each table had a lady sitting at her desk. It was a dim room, or appeared that way, since I had come in from the bright sunlight outside. On the corner was one booth. So, I asked how the other boxes could be placed? 547479-image-1368264751-527-640x480

A couple of ladies helped me with putting the box in place. They sent a person to get some markers, and got the place set up. Once done, we placed a large cardboard vertically, to give privacy to the voter.

Then, the voting became possible for more ladies to vote at a time. Hence the progress of lines of women voters became faster.

The lady in-charge was sitting in the corner, upset that no one was listening to her, specially the PPP representative who had barged in! She just wouldn’t budge from there. She said, ’ I have to see that everything is going properly!’It was going properly, but she wasn’t supposed to be there.

So, after all this I went back to stand in line with my daughter, who was smiling and shaking her head! The ladies around were also happy that at least now the voting would be done in less than half the time!

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I saw women coming enthusiastically, and some came holding sticks to help them walk. Others, like my friend Fakhra came in wheel chairs, her  husband Wg. Cdr. Husain, and daughter-in-law had accompanied her. I knew my friend was very ill, but she had still come to cast her vote. I saw many people  proudly wearing the PTI  colors.

The air was electric. There was great expectations and the turn-out was great;  I had seen in both Islamabad and in Rawalpindi. Yes, the result from there had been that Nawaz Sharif had won.

Last time, for the first time ever, there had been the highest ever turn-out of almost sixty percent:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pakistani_general_election,_2013

No wonder, Imran Khan was upset that elections were rigged!

Please go out there at the polling stations. Take up positions and be honest wherever you are. Be the eyes and ears for everyone else. Let us all unite to find the true spirit of democracy and correct voting this time. This democratic ‘system’ is already a very flawed one. (I’ll explain in another blog, but we have to do the best within the current system.)

Remember to be patient and tolerant. We all belong to one country. We must remind ourselves, that in some way we all are to blame for what is happening in our country. No leader can get away with so much corruption without a lot of cooperation from its’ people. So, we all have to change ourselves.

Remember that our country always comes first. We can’t expect change without changing ourselves, or without active participation in such events. Today, we sit in a free country, only because of the sacrifices of many people.  Let us do our bit. Here is our chance now to be part of the change that we want so much.

Yes, be at the steering wheel of your life!

Stay blessed. 🙂

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Special note: make videos and take photographs of any discrepancies this time.

Note: All photos by author except the election ones taken online, as no photography was allowed at the polling stations.

 

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