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.”

Marriage Safety Valves

It is about making your story as ‘Happily ever after’ as possible.  

 

(Warning: This is my longest blog post –  why not grab that cup of tea or coffee you’ve been wanting to have?  It is can important topic, almost as important as life itself.  So, here goes: )

I asked my eighty-four-year-old happily married mother what she had to say about married life and she said,

‘Married life is what you make it!’

She said this, after sixty-two years of married life, and her husband is crazy about her. They cannot live without each other even for a minute. Each one looks out for the well-being of the other all the time. Of course they still have their little skirmishes and let each other have it. The fact remains, they cannot be without each other.

Isn’t that what marriage is really all about?

Once I was going through a bad patch in my married life. (My close friends were convinced it was ‘jadoo’ or ‘nazar’, as we were the envy of everyone. Our parties, home and family were looked upon as an example by all. As you can see from my husband’s round up of our home and family here. Anyhow, I didn’t believe that one. )

I went to a mentor of mine. After I told her my (sad) story, she said, ‘you know, everything that you have said, sounded like my own story!’ I was shocked. When we compared, there were a few major common factors.

‘If that is true, then how is it that you are counseling me, and I’m so upset?’

She said, ‘I turned to Allah.’

 

Continue reading “Marriage Safety Valves”

My Latest Screen Writing Course.

What I’ve learnt through it.

Now, watch how ‘fate’ plays a role in our lives;

As you know, my trip to Seattle was recently 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 that since I’m going to work here, so it was best (for now.)

Continue reading “My Latest Screen Writing Course.”

Lost Passport and Dealing with Loss

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:

‘So what?’

It is important to put things into perspective.

That done: move on to ‘plan B’.

Continue reading “Lost Passport and Dealing with Loss”

What to look for in a Life Partner.

The scary business of choosing a life partner.

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.

Continue reading “What to look for in a Life Partner.”

Café Garage – a refreshing addition.

– A perfect place to hangout for the youthful among you.

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‘ 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.

Continue reading “Café Garage – a refreshing addition.”

How I brought up my three daughters.

Today I’m sharing my parenting style with you.

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.

All three are independent, strong and confident.

Masha Allah!

Continue reading “How I brought up my three daughters.”