‘My baby is mine!’

 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?

That clasp is enough to hold you on …. 

 

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.)

Young mother and newborn baby in white bedroom

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. 
But…

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.  

  1. 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. 
  2.  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.
  3.   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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?’

Listen!

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.

Believe me you will never regret your decision. 

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. 

The joy of driving in Pakistan or anywhere else!


My driving back ground:

Start your drive with a well adjusted rear view mirror.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 🙂 

Creating and living with beauty in your home.

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:

  1. Cleanliness: A dirty place is dirty. It is nauseating and disgusting. So, do regular cleaning on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis.

  2. Tidiness: you must allocate a place for everything and put everything in its place.

  3. 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:

    1. Pictures of family, paintings, drawings.
    2. Flowers, plants, pine cones, sea shells, plant roots.
    3. Spot lights and lamps.
    4. Books and magazines.
    5. Music.
    6. Scented candles.
    7. 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.
Hasnain. Breakfast

Clean car, Gates,

Geysers:

(7 am)

Dusting: Basement, kitchen cleaning.

Porch area

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,

Dinner,

Clean kitchen.

Put dishes back. Nothing on sink.

Remove garbage.

Sabir:

(My parent’s helper, whom I manage too!)

Breakfast: of Porridge, boiled eggs, & Roll or slice.

Change & bathe sahib.

 

 

Put off geysers.

Make beds,

Clean & tidy bedroom & bathroom of sahib.

Dusting:

Dr. rm, tv lounge. Dining rm.

12.00 pm: Give Glass of water.

 

Dusting:

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.

Dinner,

Clean kitchen.

Put dishes back. Nothing on sink.

Remove garbage.

Hasnain & Sabir duties between 9.30 – 12.00 pm. Mon:

Khirkiyan aur sheeshay saaf karnay hein.

Baahir ki railing saaf rakhein.

 

Tues:

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.

 

Fri:

Qaleen dhonay hein, pankhay aur nalkay saaf karnay hein.

 

Sat/sun: Gariyon ki safai, undar say.

 

Apna karma aur kapray saaf rakhein.

 

 

 

Rani Mon:

GF:  cleaning.

 

Dust / clean W’s rm.

M. Bed rm.

Tues

Basement:

bedroom, dr. rm, loung, kitchen,

Outside.

Wed

GF:  cleaning.

M. Bed rm.

Dust / clean w’s rm.

M. Bed rm.

Thurs

GF:  cleaning.

Dust / clean w’s rm.

M. Bed rm.

Fri

Basement:

bedroom, dr. rm, loung, kitchen,

Outside.

Sat/Sun.

GF:  cleaning.

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

Vital point:

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.

November 2018: Happenings and Reflections.

 

Salaams to everyone! Hope you are enjoying this lovely November.  I get very reflective in November. Is it the same with you? What with the year-end nearby and the changing season,  the leaves turning to gold all makes one ponder about life!

After November 20th 2011, my life changed. It happened, when I took my husband to the hospital for a headache. Then my world started falling apart. Fast forwards this November 19th, 2018, I took my father to the same hospital in an unconscious state. I felt this was the end.  But, yesterday, I brought him back fully recovered, I’m so happy. I realized, sometimes we have apprehensions which are baseless.

In hindsight:

Seven years back today, it seemed as if there was no ‘waking up’ from this cold, dark place of earthly hell.’ Somehow, we managed to keep our faith alive, and survived  with the help of our friends and total strangers. You know, all of us need to accept offerings from helping hands. It is vital to remember  Who has sent these hands to help.

All this comes from keeping a hotline with Allah during good times. So, when things fall apart, you two really know each other! (Remember the spirituality part in this one? Yes, the weekly plan.)

Lately, I’ve been deeply pained by two things. One was the suicide of a twenty-two year old girl on  November 28th in Lahore. It is extremely painful. The second one was the burning alive of a Hindu girl by a mob in India, for attending a church. I just cannot get that vision out of my mind. What is even more painful is the mob watching while doing nothing.

Listen to the silent plea for help:

When I learnt about the girl who gave up on life in Lahore,  I wished someone had tried to reach out to her when she openly mentioned taking her life on Facebook. We all need to look up from our phones sometimes, to look into the eyes of each other. Or even when looking at the phone, to read that plea and do something about it.

I’ve read books on suicide. (I did it when a student had made an attempt. )I learnt that the person says such things casually. It is a silent plea for help. Please take such remarks seriously. Do whatever you can. I’ve specially written this blog post on suicide, and this one on depression which usually leads to it.

You have the power to save lives. Use it.

My father got admitted in hospital again:

On 19th Novemeber  Hasnain (my domestic help), urgently called me, my father was seriously  unwell. I dashed to his room to find him unconscious. Immediately, I drove my father to PAF Hospital nearby. As I was parking the car, my daughter Waliya went in with my father, to the Emergency. By the time I reached the Emergency room, my father was already in bed, connected to the devices indicating his condition. His BP was 77/40. They admitted him in ICU within a couple of hours, and after two days, he was moved to a room.

As I write, he is back home after nine days in hospital. He is mentally and physically  so much better . He was saying to me, ‘I don’t know how to thank you, I have no words….’ I smiled and thanked Him, who had given him another life, (once again.) Specially, I must say the PAF Hospital is very good. Here, you see my parents meeting when he returned. 🙂

I’m also grateful for the help of my two doctors; Dr. Mehmood, a gastroenterologist and Medical specialist at Ali Medical Clinic, and Dr. Fayaz Bangash the urologist at Quaid-e-Azam Hospital, who monitors my father’s UTI.

Shahnaz Jafar’s paintings exhibition:

 

On 17th and 18th of November, there was an exhibition of water-color paintings by Shahnaz Jafar and wood craft art works by Saleema Hasan. It was held in their family home in Islamabad’s F-6/3 area. The exhibition was exclusive, and by invitation only. The informal display of art works was attractive.

The water colors by Shahnaz, showed charming aspects of old Rawalpindi city. There are parts of the city, which are still alive with their old charm. Shahnaz has immortalized scenes of inner city. The hustle bustle, the people living there is charming. The intricate details are done with great skill.

Knowing how busy Shahnaz is in real life, the work reflects not only her skill in water colors, but the skill of time management as well. How she manages to do all this work in spite of her busy schedule shows how well she balances life and her passion for art. A skill we all need to learn. We all need to make time to do what we love within this life..

Saleema is a young girl and niece of Shahnaz who is a keen photographer and

 

her work is refreshing. The love for her country and its woodcraft is evident in her work. Really liked her innovative style.

 

The young Entrepreneur named Habib:

My meeting with Habib two years ago was interesting enough. We had met when he and his beggar friends were after me, while I was parking my car in front of D-Watson shop. I had gone to get urine bags for my dad who wasn’t well. I wanted the ones, which can get attached to the leg, plus some other medications.

As I got out of my car, I realized that I’d left my purse in the bank which I had visited earlier. I was standing talking to Hasnain, to get it from the bank. I knew I’d have to go home now to get my wallet. These boys were listening. Do you know, they actually gave me their days’ earnings! All of it. And, do you know, I actually took it too! (I’d return it later, due to the urgency, I accepted their help.)  I took Habib’s mobile number and went to the shop. I found out these weren’t available, so, I returned their money.

During this process, Habib told me he is seventeen years old, washes cars for people, and is going to get married to a girl. I told him he is too young. He said that her father has remarried and the step mother is very cruel. So, he is going to get her out of her situation.

He would call and stayed in touch; I knew when he married, and when his first child arrived. Whenever I could, I’d help him. Last week he invited me to the ‘opening of his shop’.  So, I decided to go.

His pregnant wife, and his cute child were there with him. It was a pleasure meeting them. As you can see I’m munching a ‘ras gulla’ from the box of sweets which he had got for me.  His ‘shop’ was a make shift ‘room’, in his house. He is planning to support himself and his little family through it.

Sometimes, It is good to have such reality check meetings.

Happy Blessed Friday:

We all know it was Black Friday. I think for the first time I enjoyed it. I’ve never been a person for sales or shopping. It has always intrigued me why people go crazy about it. Waliya, my daughter and I managed to squeeze in two sessions in Centaurus, the most popular Mall in Islamabad. I realized I need to shop like this:

  • Be VERY CLEAR about what I want.
  • Buy the most expensive stuff, which you normally can’t afford.
  • Time it well. Stay focused and don’t overdo it.

Screen writing group meet up:

Now, I’m getting interested in screenwriting and directing too. The other day, Faheem Azam, had a mentoring session in my home. He  is the one who wrote the first eight episodes’ scripts for Teeli . It was a very informative session and we received an offer for future mentoring by him too. He gave us a glimpse of the world of script writing, and how it works.

Stay blessed lovely and handsome ones. Life can be great, and the show must go one. 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2uomqCdOH0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Truth about Lies

The journey from lies to truth.

How do you feel when someone lies to you? How do you feel about that person? Yes, awful. You dislike that person!

Next question: how can you do your business like this? (Is it halal if your income is gained through lies?)

Why do we trust people abroad, more than Pakistanis? Why is online shopping in Pakistan today, nowhere near what it is in the rest of the world? Yes, because here people lie a lot. You cannot trust a person or nation that lies. So, lies and cheating go together, just as Truth and Trust do.

Continue reading “Truth about Lies”

My Work life balance

How I became an artist, educationist, and writer.

 

In this post I’m showing you how I did the ‘work-life balance’. My childhood was fully inclined towards art. My parents didn’t let me go to NCA for its ‘open’ environment, and my mother put me in College of Home Economics. I was the typical daughter who studied there, on the promise that I’ll go to NCA, after graduating. That didn’t materialize. I ended up with an MSc degree in Related Arts, and got married to a PAF aerospace engineer.

 

Do a job which you love:

As far as my husband was concerned, he left it to me to decide whether I wanted to work or not. So, I did a job when I was in a position to give it my best, and didn’t do it when my family commitments were more. I believe that when you do a job, and it should be what you love. Only then can your work can be good.  Also, one shouldn’t work when you are already under pressure when the children are too small, or any other reason. So, when my children became school going, I’d work only if I liked the job. Believe me, when you are going for that interview, it is not  only them sizing you up, it is you  sizing them up too! It has got to be a mutually beneficial situation, otherwise, it isn’t worth it.

Continue reading “My Work life balance”

WordPress Conferences, Birthdays and More!.

Just so grateful for these happy moments of joy.

When I’m getting involved with ‘lots to do’, I just fast-forward myself by asking, ‘How will I feel afterwards?’ If my answer  is: ‘Yes’. Then I just go ahead with it.

I know I can squeeze most of the activities; The trick lies, in delegating, and prioritizing of course. Remembering too that special occasions are for enjoyment and relaxation and not to get exhausted with. So, I’ve found that keeping things short and to the point works well.

Lots went on in the last few days:

  • My mother’s 84th birthday on November 7th, 2018.
  • Work in progress on next book: Message from the East on Friday, 9th of November.
  • Celebrating Allama Iqbal’s birthday at Shireen’s Studio, (on 10th)
  • Attending Word Camp by WordPress on 10th, also.
  • Brunch at my place on Sunday morning on 11th with a wonderful writer and relative.
  • Behbud Meena Bazaar, on Sunday, the 11th.

My mother’s 84th  birthday on November 7th.

So, I managed to take her for an outing, and we had a nice time. She loves chrysanthemums so I got her a bouquet of those along with the perfume and suits. She is such a gem. So patient and so loving always. Here are the pictures that Waliya took of us:

Progress on Iqbal’s book and the First World War:

Naila my friend and co-editor had time on Friday, so we sat in her drawing room and worked four hours straight on the book. As usual, it was awesome. There are moments during our editing when we get quite overwhelmed. We can’t help going all gaga over it. The most appropriate one I found was something I’d love to share with you. It is directly connected to the First World War, which had just ended five years before this book. The book was originally published in 1923.

The West is remembering its’ dead in the First World War. It is now exactly one hundred years since the end of the First World War.  I want to share this poem by Iqbal written almost a hundred years ago, with you. (You can feel the remnants of this horrific war in this poem.)

The Wisdom of the West

The story goes that In Iran

A worthy man, Intelligent and wise,

Died, suffering great agonies,

Departing with a heart Full of distress and smart,

He went up to God’s throne

And said:” God, I am one

Grieved at the way that I

Was made to die.

Your Angel of Death is

Supposed to be a specialist,

And yet he has no expertise,

No knowledge of the new skills that exist

In the fine art of killing.

He Kills, but does it so clumsily.

The world is going rapidly ahead.

But his growth has stopped dead.

The west develops wonderful new skills

In this as in so many other fields.

Fine are the ways it kills,

And great are its skill’s yields.

It has encompassed even thought with death.

Death is all its philosophies’ life-breath:

It is what all its sciences devise.

Its submarines are crocodiles,

With all their predatory wiles.

Its bombers rain destruction from the skies.

Its gases so obscure the sky

They blind the sun’s world-seeing eye.

Its guns deal death so fast

The Angel of Death stands aghast,

Quite out of breath In coping with this rate of death.

Dispatch this old fool to the West

To learn the art of killing fast – and best.

Iqbals’ birthday:

Allama Iqbal was born on November 9th 1877  and he died on 21st April 1938. His poetry isn’t one of those easy poems, yet his ideas are so powerful, that almost everyone gets very emotional while talking about his work. The small gathering at Shireen’s Studio on tenth evening was to remember his work, and his contributions to our lives today.

Sarmad Sarosh who is a producer at PTV World, was there with his narration of Aik Arzoo which he had already shared in our WhatsApp group in a voice recording. He is so fluent in Urdu, so on our insistence he read out another beautiful poem Tasweer-e-dard by Iqbal for us. Adnan Ahmad sang two of Iqbal’s poems, which felt really great. Col. Abrar had brought his paper on a comparison of Nietzsche with Iqbal, which he read out for us. He had written it for his presentation in Staff College, (the prestigious army institution in Quetta.)

It was a wonderful discussion that followed, and we came to the conclusion that more of such events need to take place. More people who do not understand Iqbal should attend these events, only then will they get to know what his work is all about!

I wondered how to make such events more interesting for the youth? Anyhow, I had prepared extra yummy snacks for the event. Everyone felt that I should cut the cake, I had decorated the area with balloons (which were there from Mum’s birthday. 😉 )  So, we enjoyed the haleem, pakoras, sandwiches, and cake with tea.

Col. Abrar said, ‘Today, I’m sure Allama Iqbal would be very happy to see that he is being remembered so fondly.’

WordPress Word Camp in Islamabad and Seattle:

Can you believe it? There I was, wanting to attend the conference in Seattle, and here I was attending it on the same day in Islamabad! November 10th, 2018. Not surprising, as I found out that WordPress now holds 32% of world’s web users. So, they are having such events all over the world.

The future certainly holds more expansion. The sooner you join in the better for you all.

The conference in Bahria College, Islamabad was interactive and informative. It was also informal and welcoming. Due to the event at my place, I couldn’t attend the whole of it. I found it very interesting, informative and opened my eyes to how much I can achieve through it.

As a writer, I’ve been wondering what I’m doing here. Blogging twice a week for free. Yet, writing is my passion.  That is all I’ve done for a major part of my life. Writing for leading dailies of the country has been very satisfying. WordPress has opened a whole new world for me.

Why I love WordPress:

  1. I specially love the latest corrective guidance that I get while writing a post. How I’m informed about the ‘readability’ whether it is ‘good’ or ‘ok’. I love responding to its’ corrective information. Previously, while writing for newspapers and magazines, once the article got printed, one naturally couldn’t add or subtract anything. Here you can.  I just LOVE it.
  2. Added to this, are the ads which shall hopefully be re-reimbursing my efforts.
  3. It is so much fun to be able to tell anyone anywhere in the world to look up such and such blog post of mine, for details on a particular topic. It has global presence and access.

   Frankly, my readers’ responses, comments, likes are enough reward for me. Many of my readers do nothing here, but when I meet them, they tell me how  keenly they read my blog posts. Some send me messages through my daughters living across the world. One of them even got me out of my high cholesterol count, (by sharing a tip on taking a teaspoon of isafghol with honey in a glass of water, first thing in the morning.) Others, warned me against going to places alone. Which was very right. I love it all.

The love, care and sharing of information and trust. What a beautiful smaller world we are in now, my daughter Nadiya attended their conference in Halifax in Canada, and on 11th Novemeber she also attended it in Seattle. (I’m sharing some pictures of the Seattle Conference here, taken by her and Nataliya.)

In the Islamabad conference I was shown that it is the ideal forum for introducing and sharing the products that my Studio offers. These  include the original paintings and books. In the pipeline I have many things which shall be a nice surprise for my readers and visitors to my website.

During the question answer session when I remarked that I’m attending this conference while two of my daughters are attending the one in Seattle, I received a resounding applause!

Suggestions for next WordPress Conference in Islamabad:

Next time, I definitely plan to attend the whole of the day. It is hoped that different halls would be available, and one would be able to choose which topics to attend. I am naturally more interested in the ‘content’ rather than the technical dynamics of it. Yet, my web developer and technical adviser Muhammad Asif, I’m sure would want to attend the technical side of WordPress. I had to dash back to my Studio where I was in time to receive my guests for the Iqbal Day event there.

Early next morning I was having some wonderful guests, Sabahat and her daughter Burqa for brunch. Don’t worry, my cook had already cooked delicious food for them: Haleem, carrot halwa, potatoe bhujia and keema. My domestic help and ‘savior’ Hasnain had everything in control as usual. God bless him. Haroon and Uzma were the cherry on the top when they joined in from their own ‘breakfast out’ and so our group was complete. Always love to spend my weekends with Haroon and Uzma who are now more of my closest friends. The moment I saw off Sabahat who was off to her home town near Faisalabad, Waliya and I went off to the Meena Bazaar.

Behbud Meena Bazaar:

As you might have gathered, I’m not much of a shopper. However, I went to complete my daily step count in my phone’s app. Also, to get something from Asif bhai’s Khaddiyan stall. He brings this handmade cloth with hand embroideries from his shop in Bahawalpur. The handmade sweaters were a disappointment, or perhaps the best ones had got sold. Usually, I love getting gifts from them. Overall, Behbud does everything for under-privileged women and children and that is what matters the most.

The entry fees of Rs.200 per adult was a heavy one. I wondered how much they had earned just from that. Since it was all in a good cause, so one didn’t mind.  On return, I asked my staff to go and enjoy the funfair, while I stayed home to take care of my parents. After all my staff deserves an outing too. (Yes, I’ve bought them a motorbike so they can go out to do small chores or for outings too!)

So, dears, I returned to rest in peace. No I didn’t die. Just relaxed and dozed all evening. Spent an easy evening with my parents and watched television.

So this was my weekend – absolutely awesome – how was yours? Stay blessed lovely and handsome ones!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monthly Plans inspired by Iqbal.

How to achieve our monthly goals.

Somehow, I know that you have a talent, or an objective in life. If you do, then you have to give it time and space in your life too. On an important day like Iqbal day,  I am choosing to write on the subject of Monthly Plans. It is all about achievements. We can see the achievement scale of Iqbal and many others like him. It has to do with good self management skills.  Iqbal wasn’t a struggling poet who was down in the dumps. He was a member of the elite society because he chose to manage himself and his resources properly. Isn’t that what you would like to do too?

I’ve shared my thoughts with you about Iqbal here on how I got interested in his work, and why. Then I’ve written about Allama Iqbal’s  Tulip of Sinai, a book which I have illustrated and published here.

It is a fact that he stuck to his own creative work in spite of being a well- known lawyer like Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Iqbal planned his month in such a way that he instructed his manager (munshi) to tell him when he has got enough cases to cover  his monthly expenses. After that he took no more cases, and concentrated  on his poetry. This is how he planned his month. He did it with the objective in his mind.

Why can’t we do that?

Continue reading “Monthly Plans inspired by Iqbal.”

Caring for Elderly Parents

Dealing with issues while caring for your elders.

Very few of us are blessed with the responsibility of caring for one’s parents. I cannot express the rewards and blessings that I enjoy just due to their presence in our home.

My parents have been with me for five years now. It is heartbreaking to see one’s parents getting  weaker day by day. Yet, being with them at this time in their life is the greatest feeling.   It has been a time full of ‘raunaq’ and lots of fun too. Our times have been difficult, happy, rewarding and wonderful. I’ve written in detail about almost every aspect here. Now that they are older, I felt that a brief updating is needed.

In my blog post on weekly planning  here, you will notice that it is best to plan one’s own week from physical, social/emotional, intellectual, financial and spiritual point of view. So, while caring for one’s parents too,  it should be the same .

Physical caring:

 

  • Clothing: Make sure clothing is comfortable and easy to change. Get new clothes for them, especially every season and on special occasions. (You can give away another dress with their permission which can become charity from their side.)
  • Get as much help of manpower as you can afford. Train them and motivate them well. Do, give surprise checks. Yet, keep their morale high, by appreciating their efforts. We know, it is a tough job. So, be kind to them. Yet, they must realize that they have to be efficient. Your surprise checks and vigilant care must be there also.
  • Equipment: Use the appropriate equipment available in medical shops. This  could include hospital bed,  wheelchair, walker, special chair for bathing, and the one for the WC is also good.
  • Dealing with incontinence: Remember your parents can become incontinent, (you don’t remember a time, when you used to be that as a kid, so stop turning up your nose.) If necessary,  pampers and catheters can help. Make sure rules of hygiene are followed. You can find water proof slip covers for mattresses, also  smaller water proof sheets to protect the place they sit or sleep in.
  • Family doctor: Have a good doctor on call nearby, whom you can consult on your phone also, preferably who is willing to visit your home. Otherwise, do take your parents to hospital on time. I’ve found that responding to first signs of problems is better than waiting for things to get worse, and then going in an emergency. On the other hand, after some time, you realize, you can handle at least fifty percent of the issues on your own. You learn from every hospital experience. Soon you can reduce trips to hospital.
  • Laboratory Tests: Let me tell you one secret. Every doctor is made to advise you to have so many ‘tests’ taken. (This is all cash income for the hospital – believe me, my ninety year old dad has been tested for fertility!) This is not a laughing matter, so do counter question the doctor about each and every test that he prescribes. Ask if it is invasive and what it is all about. You will find, half of them are unnecessary. I’ve realized some counter questioning can make a big difference. Of course, you cannot do this in an emergency, but you can be vigilant on normal visits.
  • Emergency services: Do proper emergency services research, to find out which hospital is best. In Islamabad, Quaid-e-Azam hospital is the best these days. Do find out what is good for which type of emergencies.  Going to the right place for the specific emergency is vital.
  • Healthy foods and their intake: As far as food is concerned, sometimes the intake is restricted due to dental problems. In that case, getting good dental work done is essential. My father got a set of teeth put in, which is the full set. Due to that he looks good and also can eat well. Now, he is having problem in swallowing. So, now we just liquidize the food, and make it into a porridge so he can have the food. Make sure their nutritional intake is good. Fruits and vegetables are a must, as is meat and milk.
  • Herbal and natural treatments: Try to use herbal and natural treatments as much as possible.
  • Safety: Have handles placed in washrooms and preferably soft flooring, to avoid slipping and falls.

Social and emotional care:

 

  • Home environment: Keep a happy environment in your home, and in their room. Try keeping their familiar things with them.  
  • Take them often for outings: Do make sure the outings are within the time slot of their waking hours, and smooth and well planned. Do not tax them too much. Never be out too long.
  • Encourage visitors: Having visitors over to meet your elders is the best thing. Specially persons they love. Such moments are cherished by all. When visitors come you need to inform them about your parent’s routine. Be vigilant about their sleeping and eating hours. Encourage guests to adhere to these hours. Otherwise, take the parents in to rest, and entertain the guests yourself.
  • Mood swings: Take the bad moods with humor and patience. It is okay. Remember, as kids we would bellow our heads off? So, it is okay if they want to do it sometimes. Even now, we all have our moments.
  • Love: Plenty of love and care is all that they need. Hug them tightly, and sing their favorite songs for them too. Otherwise, keep the I-pad handy.
  • Psychological issues: Just be happy and keep them happy eighty percent of the time. Be patient and loving. However, if you feel that your parent is being too aggressive and impatient, know that it can be a medical condition, not age related at all. Perhaps there is another issue: As Dr. Shahid once mentioned, a problem can be due to any of three  following factors:
    • Age, 
    • Illness.
    • Medication. It could be the reaction of two types of medications that you are giving, causing this side effect. Only a doctor can find out, and monitor this situation. Preferably a good psychiatrist.
  1. Intellectual care:

  • Use intellectual triggers of memory and learning to keep their minds active. Use of color and sounds also help. Put on their favorite music for them by using the Youtube, and help with finding whatever interests them. Get new gadgets like mobile phone, ipad and computer for them, help them in getting comfortable with these.
  • Reading of books and magazines is very good. If they can’t read themselves, you can read out. You can see what they like and make sure you help them attain it. I know my father loves Allama Iqbal, Ghalib and Mian Muhammad Bukhsh, so I often read their poetry out to him, and his face really brightens up. He even fills in with verses that I cannot remember. It is a wonderful experience.
  • There will be times when he or she is disoriented. Just go along.  You will notice, most of the times they are perfectly fine and fully alert.
  • When you speak to your parent, look in the eye, speak slowly and slightly loudly. Keep your expression pleasant and listen when he speaks. Be patient and repeat what you understand. (Another point suggested by Dr. Shahid. He is a consultant at IDC F-8, Islamabad.)
  1. Financial care:

  • It is essential to let them enjoy the fruits of their lifelong hard work. Their property and wealth is theirs. Help them benefit from it. They deserve to enjoy and have all the comforts of all that they own.
  • If they aren’t financially stable, then do give them all that you can.
  • Unfortunately, I’ve come across very ugly scenes where on the death of the father, the children are talking of ‘distribution’ in the lifetime of their mother. How can anyone even think of such a thing? If only one parent is left,  let him enjoy his wealth till the end of his life. You didn’t make it, it is theirs.  Your parent deserves to use his or her wealth to be financially independent .
  • Remember, when you were young, your mother could have got many jobs, but didn’t take them for your sake. Now, when she is old and feeble, you want to deprive her of her own and her husbands’ belongings in their lifetime? I’m really shocked.
  • You are young, robust and strong. You cannot even imagine the hardships your parents suffered to bring you to this strong position that you are enjoying today.
  1. Spiritual care:

  • Reading out Holy Quran to them, is a good way to start the day. Do it with meanings in the language which they understand best. Your voice will be like a tonic for them.
  • Help them in saying prayers.
  • Give sadqa and charity for organizations from their side, or get food distribution in soup kitchens etc.

Take care of your parents with love, and you shall certainly be blessed.

 

 

My Visit to Citizen Service Center.

It is a 15 Police Facilitation Center in F-6/1 , the heart of Islamabad.

It is great to see improvements in different organizations in one’s country. Islamabad has usually had an edge over the rest of the country. The latest improvement has been in the establishment of this Citizen Service Center. It was good to hear that it was Ahsan Iqbal the Interior Minister, and Sultan Azam Taimoori IG Police who initiated the establishment of this office. This center was opened in May 2018. It is the first of its kind, (I certainly hope it isn’t the last!)

The Sub-inspector Abid Mehmood was incharge there, and gave me all information needed. He was extremely cooperative. Once he learnt I was a writer and blogger, he personally gave me a round of this office and gave permission for me to take these photographs.

So, if you have any problem, you can come to inform the police here.

Facilities at the Center:

The best thing is that it has a one-window operation.

They settle almost all issues for you. If you have been to your local police ‘thana‘, and they aren’t filling in the FIR, then you can get it done here. The renewal of your driving licence too can be done here. If you are going to buy a car or vehicle, you can get it verified here, to check for any police record against that vehicle.

One very important thing that every one of us must do is, E to give CNIC card photocopies, and details about all domestic help working at their residence, here.  Even the part-time help and their work and timings need to be given here. This is a very important security thing that each of us must conscientiously do.  I suppose it also includes all the times that you fire a servant, cook or driver, so you inform them. This will make sure the person isn’t on your list anymore.

On the photograph you can find all the different problems that are solved here. As you can see it is a varied and long list.

All foreigners and Pakistanis are facilitated here.

How you can go about solving your problem:

As I said, every ‘problem’ is an ‘opportunity’ to learn.  I learnt that if you lose a passport, (or any important document like your degree or any such thing, )  you have to make an affidavit (from any nearby stamp paper office,)  they have the format requirement with them, then take it to this Citizen Service Center of Police to get an FIR and Registration of case done. Hopefully it will just take around ten minutes (depending on how much rush there is.)  It is done quickly. In my case, once the registration was done, I had to  take this paper  to the passport office. The rest will be done by the the passport office.

This service center is where you come and register any contract you make with your tenant, or notify how many domestic help personnel you are keeping. Give the details here.

Finally, you will have a proper police protection if a tenant is misbehaving or not cooperating with you.  They will support you in eviction process if needed.

Continue reading “My Visit to Citizen Service Center.”