As you know, my trip to Seattle was recently brutally ‘cancelled’ by the mysterious loss of passport. Two months earlier, while planning the trip, one of my top priorities was to attend a screen writing course in Seattle. There was another one starting here in Islamabad too.
How I joined the course:
So, at first I wanted to attend both. (I wanted it all!) Then, I thought, ‘no, I’ll let this Islamabad one pass, and attend the Seattle one.’ At the last minute the Seattle one got cancelled, just in time for me to join the 101 Screenwriting Course in Islamabad. Phew! That was close. Already, three of my friends had enrolled due to me. So, I had friends there, I was thrilled. Doing something here in Pakistan, means, I’m in any case going to work here, so it was best (for now.)
When my passport got lost, remembering other losses, I went on to my plan ‘b’.
In today’s world we are so well-organized and streamlined, that when the unexpected happens, we feel like grieving. We get upset and ask ‘Why did it happen to me?’ (Meaning,’I’m so perfect, why?’) It’s best to respond with:
Making the decision to choose a life partner is the toughest decision of one’s life. It has to be a decision which is straight from the heart – preferably, keeping both head and heart in sync. It is even tougher if you are choosing one for your child, or helping your friend in the process.
– A perfect place to hangout for the youthful among you.
‘ Cafe Garage, is a new place in E-11, which is quite interesting. It has a garage look and is called ‘garage’ too!’ My daughter mentioned it to me, some time back. I made a note, to check it out, and forgot about it. Recently, when I visited it, I found it quite fascinating. Apparently, it had its ‘soft launch’ in February 2018. It is a different kind of place, designed for the youth and youthful in mind. I’m sure you’d love to know more about it.
Some days ago I got a text from Mahroosh, one of the partner/owners and we had a snack there. It turned out that their other partner Basil (who is an electrical engineer) is running the place. It was designed by their third partner Ebne Sajjad (Noni) who is an architect from NCA. I really loved its’ plan. So original, and it has several levels to it. The best part is that it is functionally designed, and has an open plan. So you can see the whole place from wherever you are sitting.
I’m gaining fame these days. Not because of myself, but because of my daughters. Yes, I’m the proud mother of three star daughters.
They are all grown up now. Nataliya has a photography business in Seattle, and was the first blogger in our family. She is married to a brilliant software engineer. Second one Nadiya has recently moved to Halifax. She is a blogger, career-girl-turned-homemaker. She is married to young multi-talented aero-space engineer who is into data analysis these days. Then there is my youngest daughter Waliya who is a photographer in Islamabad, she runs a successful business of her own.
Once, a beggar child came to Allama Iqbal, and his friend asked him, ‘can’t something be done about them?’ He said, ‘their lives will not change, because no one is doing anything for them.’
This is why the street children, have continued to have the same fate for centuries. No one did anything, and another hundred years have passed! Nothing has happened – just as Iqbal had predicted. Now, we don’t want another hundred years to pass without changing their fate. Today, all of us together can change the street children’s fate to this at least- just as Usman has done.
Suggestions for improving their lives:
A policy of not giving cash to beggars on streets: Now, I tell the street child that I won’t give you any cash. You have to ask your parent to put you in school, and start earning yourself. Also, to give them snacks and clean drinking water. (Carry water and snacks in the car for them.)
2. Strict policy of no more than two or three children: Aggressive advertising against having more than three children has to be done. Provision of free contraceptives and indoctrination is extremely important. They must not have more children, when they have proved they cannot look after the ones they have. School must be compulsory for all.
3. Adult education must be compulsory: Making them realize, they will have to change their fate themselves. They will have to make an effort themselves to get out of this situation.
4. Giving alternatives to get out of clutches of exploiters: Promoting more free schools for underprivileged children, factories offering very light work in return for food, clothing and education in a healthy environment for children.
5. Seal all borders for refugees: Firstly, the Government needs to close all borders, to stop allowing more refugees inside our country. In fact we have got to remove all those who are illegally living in our country. First priority is for us to take care of our own population. Our own children are on the streets, and we are giving ‘shelter’ to people who aren’t our responsibility.
Any more ideas?.
I don’t want to have to go for the tailor’s shop next time to find this scene on the floor outside…
It was heart wrenching when I saw this scene. This child was worried about his precious shoes not getting stolen, also needed a pillow.
Please make an effort to join a school for underprivileged children near your home. Help bring a smile to their lips. See their happy faces, just like we love to see the happy faces of our own children. Laugh and joke with them, put a hand of love and understanding on their heads.
Over one seventy children in CSS School are being taken care of, there are hundreds in the wonderful Pehli Kiran Schools branches, in different areas also. There are many schools sprouting out in every nook and corner of our country now. Each one of them, need our help and support.
Let us be every street child’s strength.
Stay blessed, lovely ones. I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels just to see the great work being done by this bunch of highly energetic young people, along with Usman.
There is great hope for this country. Allama Iqbal didn’t have this dream of such a country for nothing. It’s earth is definitely moist today, with the tears that come to our eyes to see the plight of these helpless children. Finally, the time has come to do something about it. Together, we can. 🙂
Let us stay blessed and bless others as well. 🙂
The other day, I saw this video of a sermon by Tariq Jamil. It has the secrets of success in both worlds. It is based on the sayings of Holy prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It gave me the answer to the secret of success of my parent’s lives. They’ve never been into religious rituals. So, I’ve always wondered what it was. Listening to this sermon by Maulana Tariq Jameel made me realize the true secret of success in their lives.
Almost every person I meet, he tells me he wants to do something special in his life. Something that will make him feel more satisfied and fulfilled. Believing in his talent, he finds its hard to pursue one’s interests due to lack of time. Often I’m asked, how I do it. There is nothing special, except having a few tricks to stay refreshed even when one is extremely tired. To find ways to do what one really likes, in spite of being busy. The trick lies in finding ways to get fresh and remove feelings of fatigue.
I mean, just look at Allama Iqbal, he had two wives, children and a full time law practice. Yet, he came out with the greatest poetry and thoughts of his times. How did he do it? By making space for it, along with providing for his family through his profession. This blog post is all about how to make space for your passion in your life.
You do it – because your happiness depends on it- that’s why!
You see, life is going to be crazy anyway. Do you think your life is less difficult for not doing all the ‘extra’ things that talented people do? Even if your life is nice, stable, routine but then there is this element of ‘missing’ excitement in it. You find yourself saying ‘I wish’ very often. So, I’d suggest you develope a life with more granting of your own ‘wishes’ (too).
One just needs to make an effort.
Plan better, and get going! Once you are on the road, you will feel better. As they say ‘himmat to karni parti hai.’ You cannot get anything without making the extra effort or cherry on the top!
So, if you are in a hurry, I will share my secrets first, and go on with my blog post for those who have more time to read.
Here are tips for all ‘normal’ activities:
Quickly go over the important responsibilities in your life, to make space for your passions in life.
Stop doing your work, ten minutes earlier. This will conserve your energy and give you more time in the end.
Try to ‘end’ your ‘work day’ by 5.00 pm every day. (if it is not completed, drop it.)
Make an effort to do something wonderful afterwards, at least once or twice a week.
Refresh your self like this:
These will help you to keep going for it!
Break: Take a ten-minute break and relax completely. (Mentally and physically.)
Prayer: Best is to do wuzzu and say prayers – nothing so refreshing. While praying ask Allah to make things easy for you. (According to the Chinese acupuncture method, you touch points during wuzzu which will relax your nerves.)
Shower: A quick hot or cold shower can do wonders. Unconsciously, you are giving a massage to your whole body like this, extremely refreshing.
Make up and change of clothes: fresh clothes and make-up do wonders to your spirits.
Perfume: you’ve heard of aroma therapy, it really works.
Meditate: do it as you drive, or while lying down, or after prayers.
Visualize a place: you can visualize being in a place that you love, (for me walking in a running stream in my bare feet is the best.) Specially visualize yourself doing what you are going to do now. Imagine how wonderful you will feel while doing it.
Drink tea, coffee or lemonade: Any one of these can get you back on the road!
Fifteen to twenty minutes: is all you need to get refreshed.
Power naps: This can be ten to twenty minutes. One hour is the best. It will make you completely rejuvenated.
On Septemeber 25th evening, I was literally on the point of collapse, by 4.45 pm. I knew I had to wrap up the endless work of the day. Then pick a friend and drive off to Rawalpindi for an event. A headache was coming on, and I could feel my neck’s left side muscles feeling strained. (Later on Ive found out it was due to high blood pressure – income tax returns does that!) So, I tried to get out of the event, (for a change.) The trip meant at least a three to four hour sojourn.
I rang up Mrs. Gen. Saeed uz Zafar, who had invited me.
‘I’m so sorry, but I’m really not feeling well.’
‘It’s fine, you can come slightly late, but it will be worth it’ she said!
So, I refreshed myself by a few of the things mentioned above, and drove off. I have a theory, ‘once you have decided, then don’t think about it.’ That’s what Iqbal says:
Naila and my drive to Rawalpindi Garrison Mess:
The moment Naila sat in the car, she said, ‘put that off! It will distract you while driving.’ I looked at my innocent DVD player in the dash board. I wanted to ask: ‘Why do you think I bought this car???’- Yes for this dashing dashboard of course! – So, I put off the screen, but kept the music going… telling her ‘I can’t drive without music.’ Which is so true.
Naila and her family have just returned from attending a wedding in UK, so it was interesting conversation. She told me she had visited Daphne du Mauriers’ Jamaica Inn location in Cornwall. She even saw the desk where she sat and wrote. It is an actual Inn, in Cornwall, UK. I’ve literally grown up reading her books. Though I’ve loved Rebecca a lot but my favorites were Jamaica Inn and Scapegoat.
This is the conversation we had as I drove on the signal-free highway. Then through the heavy traffic of Rawalpindi to Garrison Officer’s Mess. We got there, after parking the car literally in the ground near it, as the parking was full. (It used to be the cricket ground. In 1980 I saw Imran Khan fielding near the pavilion. My friend Samia Khan and I were sitting in the VIP enclosure next to it. For the first time I had seen Imran Khan from close (about thirty feet away – and yes, he did look like a Greek god, like people had said. He did beat up the Kiwis the next day with his six sixes.) No wonder all the girls were so crazy about him!
The walk to the Garrison Mess became my evening walk. The building is charming and well kept as ever. As I looked at the people playing tennis in the courts on my left, I remembered how I had played tennis here too. (The coach was very impressed by me.) He didn’t know that I’m only doing it to reduce my weight, after the birth of Nataliya. Though she was only six pounds, I had gained a lot of weight. So much so, that my father-in-law joked with me saying, ‘khoda pahar, nikla chooha!’ It is a popular proverb meaning that we had to dig up a mountain to get a mouse! Don’t worry, I did get my weight back to normal.
Event by OAKS on Claiming Spaces from the Whirlwinds:
We entered the Fine Dining hall, which is more spruced up every time I see it, and the program was on. Shama Apa came over to receive us. OAKS, Rawalpindi chapter had organized the event. They are a group of ladies who studied in Kinnaird College, Lahore. This event was based on three extraordinary women writers: Ismat Chughtai, Hijab Imtiaz Ali Taj and Quratulain Hyder.
It was a spell binding event. Touching upon the history of Muslim Women Writers of Sub-Continent of Indo-Pakistan, the speaker Salman Asif was fluent in Persian, English and Urdu. His accent and vocabulary in all languages was a treat to listen! The presentation included many writers and it opened ones’ eyes to a world which was so modern and progressive! The women were of course mostly belonging to the elite and upper class, one was a pilot too! Some were queens and princesses during the Mughal era, which included the famous Queen Mumtaz for whom the Taj Mahal was built. Among the later ones Hijab Imtiaz Ali Taj, Ismat Chughtai and the famous author of Aag ka Darya: Quratulain Haider. The time span was between the sixteenth century till the late nineties; the hour passed in minutes, as we were in a trance. I’d love to invite him over to speak to our writer’s groups in Islamabad.
It isn’t possible to write about the lecture which was so amazingly done. Nor the inspiring women writers. How well versed they were in more than one language, one of them was even a pilot! Their skills in writing were matched by the lifestyles they had which were more modern and progressive than most of us today. I was so glad I went.
It is moments like these which make life so worth it. What I loved was Shama Apas’ tradition of gifting the speaker with a baby-tree of Silver Oak tree in a flowerpot. The group of ladies meet every month or so and call themselves the Silver Oaks.
Making space for passions in my life:
In the same way, I’m so happy somehow I’ve managed to hold art classes at my Studio for select persons. Really enchanted with my student’s work.
Meanwhile, my daughter Nataliya came from Seattle. So, that was a lovely and busy spell. She also held a very engaging and well-designed workshop. We all learnt a lot from her style of work and the way she managed the workshop. Of course, Waliya and I helped her too.
Through it all, I’ve read out the Holy Quran to my mother daily. In fact that is how we start our day, along with a cup of tea.
Screen writing Course by Mian Adnan Ahmad:
These days I’m attending a Screen Writing course in The Hive. I’m just loving these. I’m so glad I went for it. By now I’m used to people asking me, ‘Why?’ and my response is: ‘why not?’
Why am I doing this course? So I can make films for the upcoming books in my pipeline. To make is easier to communicate ways to better our lives in this world. How we can be more productive and useful to each other.
When you put it into hours, days and weeks, it is very do-able.
So, why not start doing what you love to do? You are the captain of your ship. Go ahead and pamper yourself. (Remember, we do it without compromising the needs of our family members!)
We only get one life – lets have an amazing one. No regrets, Baby!
I’m so happy my daughters also manage to get their passions fitted into their lives, just like their father did. Here you see Waliya at work. Nadiya is a wonderful blogger and organizing expert too.
Note: Most photos and videos are mine, except the ones of Nataliya’s workshop which are courtesy Waliya Najib Khan. The picture of mountains and lake is by Nataliya (I think, or me!) Also, group photos of event in Rawalpindi, provided by Mrs. Saeed uz Zafar. The pictures of Daphne du Mauriur from Google search. Hope it is okay with them. i’m extremely grateful for these.
After my last blog post on this Elegant home in Islamabad, many people wanted me to do more posts like it. (Actually 87% of you!) So, here is the rest of my friend Munazza’s home. In case you missed the last post Here it is.
A beautiful home is probably everyone’s dream. We all would love a beautiful ready-made home to live in. But we also know that a lovely home like this doesn’t just happen. It is years of constant loving care that goes into it. We know, it needs constant maintenance, buying of expensive items and lots of care.
The best thing is that whenever you invest in your home, and take care of it, then you can enjoy the things for years to come. When the family is surrounded with such beauty, it is reflected in the temperament of the inmates too.
Its been great meeting my friend Munazza and her husband AVM Qasim through the years, actually about twenty four years. Many of the items you see here, have been with them for a long time. She has kept the furniture looking fresh and new. Even I have many furniture items which my parents got for me when I got married. Just re-upholstering the furniture and getting the wood polished makes a big difference.
Adding new things which will blend in with the stuff you already have makes all the difference. Everyone is welcome at her home. Whenever I go over, I find her husband’s or her own family members there. When her brother-in-law got posted to Islamabad, she asked him to stay with them. So, she is so big-hearted, that her hospitality and open-house is there for long term also. Her mother-in-law has her own room here too, and the guest room is always full. When my daughter Nadiya got married, the entire baraat – boys’ family stayed with her.
Here are the interior points that I love in her home, which you can have in yours’ too:
A home needs to be beautiful and comfortable as well. Specially, it is important for the guests to feel welcomed here.
When you have an interior with many artifacts and art works in it, then the upholstery of the furniture needs to be self-colored and plain. So that it makes a good back ground to let you look at the art works without being distracted.
Having natural plants inside the house is great also. Every room has plants outside its’ windows. So, one feels close to nature at all times.
Books and book shelves are in most rooms. Their daughter Maha loves books, and has a unique book case in her room.
There are artificial flowers too, but these are blended in so beautifully with real plants that it all looks lovely.
The carpets, furniture, books and paintings reflect harmony in choices. Blending these with the traditional styles together.
The look here is definitely grand, traditional and stylish.
The dining room is the perfect setting for the grand dinners which are given here. The delicious dishes cooked by Munazza and the line up of different cuisines is something to relish and enjoy.
It gives a happy and comfortable ambiance full of items reflecting their taste. The best part is that it is all very comfy.
It is important to be clear about the kind of style you want to have in your home, so whatever you buy fits in with the original style. In this way, the whole house has that same ambiance every where. 🙂
At least once or twice a month, I need to be very close to Nature. My daily walks, combined with these trips, keep me fresh and energetic. It is the oxygen, the breathing in of the fragrances of different plants and lovely views, that make me feel fresh and happy.