Social Media & My Playlist

A better entertainment alternative to television …

You need oxygen from flowers too!

There was a student named Esha in Roots School, in 2009. I came to know her  when I worked as the Regional Coordinator in the Head Office of Roots School System. She was studying in O’levels.  I found her very mature and sensible. An only child, she chose to wear a hijab. Once I asked her which television programs she watched. I  was surprised to hear that she didn’t watch MTV, as a conscious decision. When asked why, (as all others her age would love to watch it,) she replied,

‘ I don’t like anyone to impose their ideas onto mine. By watching programs which I do not agree with, I’m leaving myself open to influence.’

 I knew she would be going a long way.

She did; Next, I heard she was studying in Harvard!

So, here is a lesson that we need to learn at any age, something this young teenager had realized already.  We must be selective about the ‘entertainment’ we watch, or the social media we use.  It is vital for us to make a conscious intrusion. Otherwise strangers controlling social media are already controlling us.

They are controlling our decisions, our actions, our relationships. Everything! As we know, most of it is through advertising. In fact the advent of advertising is what has led to this lethal materialism and crime rate in every society.

First, we have to be conscious of it; be aware of its impact. Only then can we protect ourselves.  

Very few people learn to control it.

So, what is media, and social media? Basically it is interactive, and can be used constructively too. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,and many other forms of media are all part of it.

How to find ways to succeed with it.

Ask yourself:

  1. Is it a source of peace or frustration?
  2. How can I benefits from it?
  3. Are my relationships with my family suffering due to it? If so, what can I do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
  4. How can I restrict its usage? (There are apps on phones to help you restrict its use.)

Honest answers to these questions will help you.

The biggest victim is the lack of sleep faced due to no ‘closing time’ in this world of social media. 

Positive impact of social media:

Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay for a while at least. So, my theory is, ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!’

As you know, everyone finally joined Facebook, after saying all sorts of horrid things about it. Now, the kids have left it and gone to Instagram.  – Now, we have started going there too!

Anyhow, I believe in middle ground and staying in tune with technology. To do whatever it takes to have a wonderful life. To stay blessed, and help others stay blessed too. If social media can help, why not?

Personal experience of yesterday:

How I found our cat through social media.

It is through social media, that I found Muffin, our Persian cat, yesterday.  

Last night, around 9.00 pm, I realized he was lost. Immediately, I informed Waliya, my daughter. Soon, a fan of hers had shared a screen print of an announcement on an animal rescue page. She felt it might be ours.

I had been frantically searching for him on our streets surrounding our home. ( Since he is deaf, there is no point in calling him.) I fell asleep. I woke up after 12.00 am, to realize that he was found! So, literally within three hours he was found. The driver of Mrs. Haroon, wife of the dentist Haroon ur Rashid, nearby, brought him home to her. She already has four cats. She kept him, and shared his picture with her daughter. Then the daughter, put up its picture on the page of animal rescuers in Rawalpindi. A fan of my daughter, saw it there, and sent its’ screen picture  to my daughter in Karachi. Then she informed me. I then contacted the rescuer Alina Omair.  She gave me Mrs. Haroon’s
number . That’s how the very next morning, I got my cat back. God bless them!

It is through social media that I found out about CSS School, and the old people’s home in Islamabad, where I’ve been able to help along with Sana from Australia, and now Nathalene in Islamabad. So, it is an excellent tool to improve lives of those around us.

In the end, it is up to us how we choose to use the latest technology.

It is YouTube which is the current favorite. Here, one can enjoy seeing episodes of plays in a row. I love listening to music too while working. This one is my current favorite:

One of my favorite tunes while working on these blogs. 

Success stories of saving lives:

I know of a kidnapped girl who was found through social media, and recently, a person has also been convinced not to commit suicide, too.

So, it has saved lives.

 The situation of Palestine has finally come in front of the entire world, as was the case of Myanmar, Myanmar: Are crimes against humanity taking place? *Warning: Distressing images * – BBC Newsnight.

Where genocide of Muslims had crossed all limits.

 I am very hopeful, that Kashmir can finally be saved – through social media. The written word is nothing compared to the real life videos that have taken the world by storm. India can no longer obstruct and block the media, from the world.

Policemen have been caught and so have the crooks.

Yes, Social Media is powerful and can save lives.

Negative impact of Social Media:

With so much dopamine and serotonin going round due to social media, how can it cause depression?

It definitely does! This is why its use has to be consciously kept restricted and controlled, or we are bound to suffer.

Watching motivational videos:

Ever since my husband passed away, I have my breakfast alone. I am accompanied with my daily ‘to do’ list, and DW channel  on television.  That’s how I’ve spent most of six years.

Since last year,  I’ve started watching motivational videos with breakfast. So, by now, I’m going to share quite a few of my favorite videos. You just have to write the name and you’ll get there. I’m sure you know far more.

Entertainment is a serious business.

It is best to allow a time and space for it. Then get on with our lives.

My daughter Nataliya has tried having ‘no screen day’. It is a good effort in the right direction. It is the best way to detox ourselves from it. I would suggest we have ‘no-screen-hours’ in the day, which is shared by the family too. This must be consciously followed, specially at meal times and family times and specially, while entertaining guests. 

Going for walks without using the social media is important. Breathe in this fresh air, and listen to the birds instead. 

Keep these sanity points while using social media:

Just for your peace of mind:

  1. Have a Life! – Besides the one you share on media.
  2. Do not stalk people: or follow people unnecessarily.  Do not be envious of them. (Be clear that what they are sharing can also be untrue! Also, even if it is true, it is just a few minutes of their 24 hours. The rest maybe hell 😉 …. )
  3. Do not get impressed by the food: they are eating now, (they didn’t share that sookha toast with malai this morning!)
  4. Do not believe all that you see:  Yes, the filters and make-up are doing a damn good job too! (That’s why they look more beautiful.) Appreciate all the beauty your Allah has blessed you with.
  5. People say ‘cheese’ to camera even when they don’t feel like it: Remember, even when they show news bulletins of flood-hit people, they cannot help but smile at the camera. (We know they have just lost their homes…) It’s so funny.
  6. Don’t worry, they are as miserable as you, too: – So get happy for that! ( I mean, my gas bill last month had me very upset. I perked up when I found out that I wasn’t alone. Everyone had got a tough gas bill. This is why, I do like to share some real sad things and goof-ups in my life with you all, to show you I’m just another human being
  7. Restrict your time spent: You can do this by committing yourself to situations where you interact with real people. Especially your own family. Read books, and blogs which are positive and helpful. Do physical exercise, and have healthy food.(Upcoming blog post! 😉 )

Having said all that, let us get back to social media….

My favorite playlist of music and other videos:

The other day, someone asked me for my ‘playlist’. Well, here is a glimpse into my musical playlist, and some of my favorite videos:  

Classic Plays by Haseena Moeen:

  •   Shahzori,
    •  Ankahi,
    • Tanhaiyan,
    • Dhoop kinaray.

Sameena Peerzada interviews:

  • Ushna.
  • Mohsin and many others.

Self help and motivational videos:

  • Bano Qudsia
    • Ashfaque Ahmed.
    • Qasim Ali Shah: All his videos are amazing, specially the one’s on teaching, and relationships.
  • BK Shivani: Relationships 1,2,3,4,
    • Robin Sharma: Morning routine, 5 mentalities mastery, and the rest!
    • Stephen R Covey: 7 habits of Highly Effective People.
    • Opera Winfrey: 10
    • Dr. Wyne Dyer:
    • Iyanla Vanzant.

Music:

  • Mehmut Orhan: Game of Thrones, mix, Boral Kibil& Mehmut Orhan – uprising (Original Mix)
    • Mix- Boral Kibil & Mahmut Orhan, Mix – BoralKibil & Mahmut Orhan, HakanAkkus – I Can’t Be (Original Mix.) –( all oftheir work!)
    • Mehdi Hasan: Shola tha jal bujha hoon, sadaeinmujhay na do (Ahmed Faraz), koo ba koo Pail gai baat shanasai ki (PerveenShakir.)
    • Jagjit Singh – yeh tum jo itna muskura rahay ho,teray khushboo mein basay khat,  koi yehkaisay bataye ke wo tanha kiyon hai. His renderings of Mirza Ghalib’s ghazals.
    • Chitra – yeh na thi hamari qismet,
    • Geaoge Michael : Careless Whisper, Jesus to a Child,
    • Lionel Richie: Hello,
    • Berlin – Take My Breathe away theme from TopGun.
    • Toni Braxton – Unbreak my heart, 
    • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-xbEO57lHg
    • Sade – smooth operator.
    • Arabic Spanish music:

Humor: (Remember, you have to laugh at least 23 times a day.)

Love this song!

I could go on and on. I think music is a very personal thing. We have to have a good collection, and keep it nearby for solace and peace. 

 Love you for coming all the way, to this point in my blog.  
Stay blessed, my dear Reader 🙂

Watch Out Girls!

It is so important to take care of your safety at all times. In today’s world, you are moving a lot. Coming in contact with people at home and outside. You have got to keep yourself safe in this world of today. In this blog post I just want to share some points which are vital for your safety. 

My father’s warnings:

‘It is good to be brave,’ my Dad once said to me, ‘but you must know the difference between being brave and being stupid!’

So, when you take a risk.  – Make it a calculated risk.

You know what that means? – That you take every precaution to keep yourself safe at all times.

Sultan Golden broke many world records and has been a pride for the country. He was a motorbike and car jumper, which is very rare in Pakistan. 
You see Sultan Golden here, and my father is standing next to Sheikh Zaid. This was a historic event in Lahore. It was my father Brig.M. M. Sarfaraz Khan who promoted Sultan Golden. It was only after finding out about the safety precautions which Golden took while performing these very dangerous feats. 

Sultan Golden would ride his motor bike through a flaming halo, and I’ve seen him perform this jump over twenty two cars, breaking the world record at that time. He did that with a car also. It appeared reckless. But actually, it wasn’t. He took all precautions; He wore a fireproof dress as he did so. He also practiced and calculated distance. He minutely calculated equipment, and the implementation of that motorbike jump to the minutest detail.  He did the same for his car jumps also.

That is what you should do.

Know that there is no law in Pakistan today which will protect you. (A law which is only in books is useless to a girl who has been harassed or mistreated.) In fact the ‘law’ won’t even protect you afterwards. You have the case of Mukhtara Mai in front of you. 

Know that.

And understand it well.

Things appear more spooky at night. The shadows can have someone there. So, have your place well lighted. 

I’ve done plenty of daring things in my life. (Nothing compared to what Sultan Golden did.) But it was risky. Yet it was all calculated risk. I made sure there wasn’t any ‘risk’ when I took it. You can reduce the risk factors one by one, by addressing your fears, and doing something about each one of them. You have to measure it all, I had taken every necessary precaution to protect myself and my daughters.

You don’t take daring steps without preparation.

When I lived alone with my daughter in a house, which was still under construction,  there were laborers living on first floor, and I had enemies. I knew there were burglars and thieves, and murderers around too. Only a month back, there had been attempts in several nearby houses, and homes in the vicinity. Yet, I moved into my house.  Apparently, it was a foolish thing to do, but in reality I had done my homework. (In spite of the fact that I had lost my husband just three weeks earlier, and had faced the most horrific situations.)

But when I moved into my home, I was prepared.

While moving in, I took all measures for safety. At first I had a guard. Then, got a security system installed.  I had my Paprica, a black cocker spanial who was ferocious. I kept knives, golf clubs all over the house, even under sofas. Everywhere. I had a pistol too. (Yes, I know how to use firearms!)_ I took a round of the house at every odd hour. I watched every car that parked outside.  My neighbors were on alert as were the laborers in my house too.

Of course, Allah helped me. But He too only helps those who help themselves.

 You don’t become suddenly brave. It has a lifetime of being fearless, and living courageously. You need to read books and watch videos on self defense. YouTube is full of these, and so are the book shelves. 

You can take help of police. Do register  domestic staff and do the needful. You can even write down names of persons you are apprehensive about at the local police station. Things are improving in many cases also. But. Rely on yourself only. 
Read these carefully.

Safety tips for you:

  • Dress:Dress with care. Never displaying flesh, or being seductively dressed. This dress has to be combined with a ‘no-nonsense’ attitude. You’ve got to make it clear by your mannerism exactly where the other person stands. Watch your tone of voice.
  • Time: Avoid being outside in night hours, unless you have full control of everything. Once I heard a program in which the person was asked why he behaved inappropriately with girls at a night club. He said, if a girl enters a nightclub alone after 12.a.m. it is an open invitation.
  • Never be alone with a man. Move in a group, and stay that way. If you find yourself alone, make your behavior and attitude such that a person won’t think of crossing the line. Do not accept a drink or meal from someone. Specially, when it isn’t sealed. (You know, something can be put in it to make you sedated.)
  •  Do not get blackmailed by anyone for anything. No matter how much a person says, be clear, that nothing is worth putting yourself in a risky situation.
  • Listen to your gut feeling: Sometimes, apparently everything is fine. But somehow you feel uneasy. This is your gut feeling. Respect it.
  • Do not tell anyone your next step: Plan things in such away, that you know for sure what you will do in which case. Keep this to yourself. The surprise element is your greatest weapon. If you tell another person what you are going to do, he will become prepared. So, look right and run left!
  • Have your plans A, B, C and D in place:  When your plan A doesn’t work. Then your ‘plan B’ will already be in line. (Be ready with your plan C also.) Here are a few tips:
    • If you have to be in an inappropriate situation, ask a friend to call you after fifteen minutes. Tell her to come, if you don’t answer the phone. You can have a code word to say to the person to indicate whether things are okay, or not. (Have another code, to tell the person to call again in a while, too).  Pick the phone and say it.
    • Do’ live sharing’on Google map  with your  friend so you can be traced and saved in time.
    • In any case, always keep a spray in your purse, and a packet of nice red-chili powder or chat masala to throw into an assailant’s eyes.
    • If nothing else, loudly read Auzo billa he minashata nirrajeem. It can be very powerful for these devils. 
  • As a parent:
    •  Listen to your child, and read the signals: If a child comes to you telling you about inappropriate behavior of anyone. Deal with the situation so she never has to face that person again. Remember, if you  aren’t going to respond to her or his plea seriously, who will?
    • Never leave your child: Even for a few days with a relative, going for an Umra or Haj is not ‘farz‘ if you have responsibilities. Take your child with you. All these events are child friendly. Otherwise, don’t go. I cannot help feeling that the Zainab case wouldn’t have happened, if the mother hadn’t gone for Umra. For God’s sake, it isn’t a ‘farz’ if you have responsibilities. Never confuse anything or situation with your own responsibilities.
    • Remember,‘accidents can be prevented’: Learn from mistakes. Learn and use modern  gadgets and technology to be close to your child.
    • Take your child to work with you: If you have to work, choose a place where they offer a day-care within the premises. Then you can visit your child, during work hours.
    • Choose work which allows children:These days I’m reading Barefoot Executive in which the author Carrie Wilkerson shows you how to start your own business from home, so you do not have to leave your children. All my life, I did my freelance work taking my children with me for interviews and research. You see the village women and even beggar women having their children with them. It is good. There are men who keep their children with them during work. The child benefits from this environment also. 
  • Do not trust anyone: Whether you know the person since childhood or have just met the person. It is actually all the same. Believe me, I know.
  • Follow the rules of Islam: If you just follow the rules of Islam then you will be safe in 99% of cases. A person is a ‘na-mehram’and that is it. People coming to you and saying ‘I’m your brother, or uncle, or father, is all nonsense.’ Only the real relationships can be trusted, and those too within their own constraints. That’s it.
  • Suicide tendencies: Note anyone talking about killing herself, or wanting to leave this world. Take it very seriously. Recently, I heard of someone who actually saved the life of a star, who had casually mentioned such a thing. You can save lives. Do it.
  • Read between the lines: Watch what people say, and what they do. Note the difference. Watch it even more carefully. Keep your opinion to yourself.  Whatever the case, if you have to meet someone, do it in a public place.

Do read ‘Ya Hafeezo’ and give sadqa or charity, (even if it’s a small one) every time you go out of the house, or first thing in the morning. If you don’t have cash give something of yours, or share your meal. (When you go to the restaurant, always take the left overs, even if it is to give to a beggar outside.

Stay safe and stay protected, and most of all, stay blessed.

Extraordinary relationships.

Sharing some amazing stories here… 

All our relationships are in our own hands; The world can say or do what it likes, but how a person chooses to behave with ones’ relations, or one’s situation is purely one’s own choice.

Moral of the story: Your response to any situation depends not on your relationship, it depends on you.

In a nutshell – it is love. Here are some amazing stories I’d love to share with you:

  1. Treatment with non-believers: The biggest example of love is when Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would be going to pray to the mosque, and there was this non-believer, who kept the garbage of her house, in her balcony, only to throw it on his head, whenever he passed by.  She knew, his clothes had to be clean for prayers, and then he would have to go home to change also. One day, she didn’t throw any garbage on him. He became concerned. He knocked on the door, wondering if she is okay? He was told that she isn’t well. So he went in to ask about her and get medications for her. This is how you build a relationship.This is what our prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us. (I know, you are thinking, ‘only a Prophet could be like that!’)
  2. Age difference between husband and wife: Hazrat Khadija (aged forty) was a business woman, impressed by his dealings, (as he was her employee,) she sent a proposal to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) (aged 25,) and he accepted it. They had an amazing marriage. Yes, he defied the stereotype of age difference, in his marriage to her. Theirs was a monogamous relationship, which he always cherished.

All right, so you say, my examples are from a prophets life. Let me give some human ones now.

  • Bringing up one’s child in another faith: My mother was a Christian, but chose to bring me up as a Muslim. She would search for the best ‘molvi sahab’ or priest, and made sure I read the Holy Quran with meanings. I often wonder, would I have done the same in a similar situation? Yes, she has been a great mother. She said, ‘I don’t want my child to feel like a different person. Specially, as there is hardly any differences between Muslims and Christians. The Ten Commandments are the same.  
  • Caring for step-mother and step-sister: My friend Raheela – is the daughter of her father’s second wife. Her mother didn’t keep good health. At the age of six, her father passed away. Her mother, decided to leave the house, believing that her step sons, (who were nearer her own age,) would want her to leave. When she told them that she is leaving the house, they refused to let her go. So, she remained. My friends’ step brothers and sisters cared for her and her mother all her life. They educated her, and married her off, giving her her share from their father’s inheritance. When she moved to her new home, she took along her mother. Now, her husband took care of her mother till she died at the age of ninety five years.  I’m a witness to it. She hates me to call them ‘step’ as she says, ‘they have given me even more love than any real siblings could have done.’ Till today she loves and cherishes them. But I insist on calling them what they are, because they are so great. These days, my friend is heartbroken due to passing away of one brother, whom she remembers holding her hand and taking her to school when she was a kid. 
  • Love between two wives of a husband: Another friend Fatima* is daughter of her father’s second wife. Her father was a big industrialist, and when the couple realized they couldn’t have children, his first wife, chose a second wife for him. She chose her own cousin and friend, and they were married. When the second wife, (my friend’s mother,) had her first son, she gave him to the first wife. They lived in the same house, yet, it was a big thing. There were five children. The two wives were on excellent terms all their lives, because the father never differentiated between them. Each one received equal status and love and respect from him and rest of the family. So, much so, that after his death, the two wives chose to live together in the same house. Recently, the elder one has passed away. Now, the second wife has gone into depression, as she finds it hard to continue her life without the presence of her ‘saukan’ (the other wife) in her life. Yes, I’m a witness to this case.
  • Step mother, changing her step-son’s life: You must have heard of Napolean Hill. In his book, Grow Rich with Peace of Mind, he mentions how it was his step mother who gave him the confidence to be who he became. She changed his life, by giving him confidence at a young age.
  • Successful marriage between a Muslim and Christian: My father, a Muslim, married my mother a Christian at a time when there was a lot of prejudice. There was total harmony in my home. Their loving relationship has been an example for all in our family.
  • Brother taking responsibility of caring for his siblings: As a kid, I heard of the mother of six children, who committed suicide on the Qul of her husband, in Pindi Gheb. She went into a room and poured kerosene oil and put a match to it, killing herself. It is believed, the couple had been a very loving one. So, it was the loss of her husband, and knowing how people treated widows, and worry about her orphans. So she decided to bail out. The children were divided among the close relatives. (Naturally, a single family could afford to keep all six together.) Some years later, when the eldest son got a job in Pakistan Navy, in Karachi, he applied for accommodation on humanitarian grounds. He got all his siblings together in that house, including a blind sister. I heard about this in 1991, and connected the two stories.  Really wanted to do this piece for Dawn, but my husband got posted out, and we moved to Peshawar. 
  • Brother taking his siblings to Canada for a better life: I know a true story (from my own ancestors,) of a couple who lived in England long ago, then dying of Tuberculosis. Their one son had already run away from home, joined the British army, and gone to India. (He is my great grandfather Fred. ) The eldest brother, after the death of his parents, left England, took his siblings, and moved to Canada for a better life. (Now, out of the six siblings, I’ve got in contact with Dave Schirru who is great grandson of Ruth who was one of the siblings, probably in the early 1900s.) So, this brother, instead of running off to Canada alone, took his siblings along to take care of them also.  
  • Stepmother loves the previous children of her husband as her own: My friend Tehmina*,  found out that her elder three siblings were’nt from her own mother. She was in school and someone told her. She was shocked, she had no idea. Naturally, because her mother and father treated all the same way. Hats off to the mother who loved them as her own.

So, every Cinderella story isn’t true. In fact, you can make sure it isn’t true. It takes a very special person to make such decisions in life, and act that way too.

That special person can be you too. In today’s changing world, where there are so many divorces, and changing decisions, it is important to open one’s heart and home to new scenarios. Love can conquer all, if you are set on doing so.

All you need is a forgiving and loving heart.

I’m sure, you too would know many cases like these. The point is, do not be influenced by ‘log kiya kaheingay’, ( what people might say,) or the toughness of circumstances. Failure is not an option. Work things out, the way you want. Most important of all, have faith in God, Allah or whatever you call Him.

 Go on and do what you feel is the right thing, deep in your heart.

That’s all!

Stay blessed, my Reader. 

Note: All names with * are not real names, to protect identities. All photographs have been taken by author. 

Elephant in the room?

Why is nothing being done about about population planning in Pakistan? 

Everyone is ignoring the monster of over-population. Our people are producing like rabbits. So, it’s a rabbit in the garb of an elephant in the room!

Nathalene and I are seated here during a session of SDPI at Margalla hotel on 5th December,2019. 

On December 6th I was invited by Nathalene Reynolds of SDPI, to be a discussant at their panel. It was truly an honor to rub shoulders with a panel chaired by Muneeza Hashmi the daughter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Alys Faiz. She has served for many years as the head of Hum TV, Lahore. The topic was Redefining the Roles of Civil Societies in South Asia. All the speakers shed light on various interesting and alarming aspects of these organizations.

The presentations of speakers were extremely interesting and fascinating, dealing with topics like child right protection, hardships of  ‘haris’ in Sindh, and issues faced by Civil Societies in general, the world over.

As I sat listening, I realized, that the reality is that the civil societies emerge due to negligence or inability of government organizations to fulfill the urgent needs of the society. These are organizations made by the people on a no-profit basis, to fill that gap. 

Most of these societies wouldn’t be needed if the government allocated the required amount of funds for health and education in our country. Therefore, the insufficient funds for Health and Education, have resulted in most civil societies, today.

So, the need of the hour is for the government to allocate at least three times more funds for health and education, as compared to what they are allocating now.

All that effort being put for health and education by the Civil Societies, could be put in fields of even more importance.

In Pakistan, at the time of partition, Civil societies helped with resettling of refugees. When that was completed, they started helping women and children, and in health care.

Now, these societies are working to establish orphanages, clinics, hospitals, schools for underprivileged children. Happily, I found out that many organizations are working through out the country. Edhi has worked at a large scale, followed by innumerable others. The list is long. However, this list need not be doing the work of the government. Especially now, when more tax payers are there paying taxes. 

Redefining role of civil societies:

We need to redefine the role of Civil Societies by placing more emphasis on the two factors which could get us out of a lot of trouble:

  1. Family planning.
  2. Research.

Family planning:

Today, the South Asian countries have one fourth of the world’s population. We are busy weeping and wailing about this problem and that one. All of them have the same root cause: over population!

 Let the civil societies handle the monstrous issue of over population and family planning because that is what the government isn’t doing at all. This is the most urgent need of the hour. 

The need for research:

The other element is that of research. There is no authentic source of research in our country. Nothing is reliable. Without research we cannot know the gravity of any situation. Therefore, this is essential. (Here is an opportunity for a new entrepreneur.) 

One follower of mine, shared this picture of me, 
on Instagram, 

As I spoke, I looked at the elder persons in the room and asked them, ‘isn’t it true that the country did aggressive campaigning for family planning, ‘Bachay do hi achay’ (two children are good enough.) Now, the most they can say is ‘waqfa zaroori hai.’(Space between children is important.) They dare not talk about family planning. Why can’t they say that prevention is vital. I do not propagate, nor believe in abortion, only contraception and prevention.  A strict regimen for prevention of more than three pregnancies in every woman in our society is a must. This must be given primary importance.

Here is an amazing statistic that I found online regarding having three-children-families only. Notice, Pakistan’s name is no where here. Let us work towards having our name in this list, with the fastest improvement.

Our society is amazing, they don’t think of Islam while being corrupt right left and center, stealing, murders, child abuse, honor killings, usurping women’s properties, and everything else going on.  But Islam comes in while even thinking of family planning! (I wonder if it would have come into this issue, had the men had to produce those brats, feed and clothe them while being dependent on a stingy husband to deal with too!) This issue has got to be addressed, otherwise Pakistan in particular, and south Asian countries in totality will never get out the dilemma of poverty.

Epilog:

In Peshawar in 1994, I met a doctor while doing research for an article. He told me that he had just completed his degree in Preventive Medicine from England. I was intrigued about this subject. He explained it like this: 

‘Supposing a bridge is broken. Instead of repairing the bridge or building a new one, you say, ‘don’t worry, when someone falls, I’ll pick him out of the river.’ (That is what our Civil Societies are doing right now!) They are saving humanity by getting them out of the water. Then educating them, and feeding and clothing them!’

We have to think that the bridge needs to be built up. Secured. Control the number of population to the extent that is needed. Otherwise, you will constantly be needed to get people out of the river!

So what can be done?

  1. Change your mindset first. Brain storm how you can make a difference in our society. The need is to change the mindsets of people, specially educated and uneducated ones. Each one of my readers is now at a place in society where you can make a difference in one way or another. 
  2. Do campaigning for planned-parenthood at every level. All of you are in contact with people of lower socio-economic groups, influence them to not have more than two or three children.
  3. Give bonus for education of two children only. (That will send a silent message to others.)
  4. Organizations should facilitate parents with fewer children: 
    •  Give warnings to personnel having third child.
    • Facilities of health and education in factories for two children of workers.
    • Schools offering free education of two children to teachers and employees.
  5. Organizations offer good accommodation facilities to employees with two children only.
  6. One or two maternity leaves only.
  7. Health workers and contraception facilities to be offered free of cost to every home in country, whether it is in rural or urban areas.
‘Whenever I walk in a room,everyone ignores me.’

At personal level each of us must convince and facilitate staff at home and in organizations, about family planning. Be totally, unsympathetic to persons talking about having had so many children.

I know of the village of Tamman where people have few children. They are conscious of this fact, and it is done for many generations to reduce division of agricultural lands.

Stay blessed, my wonderful reader, we’ve got to stop producing like rabbits and think at a national and international level now. 🙂 

Closure


A closure helps you to move on….

‘Ever tasted a bad-tasting chalghoza (pine-nut) – or any BAD nut for that matter?’

What do you do? Keep it in your mouth to savor the flavor, or quickly spit it out?’

Spit it out!

What actually happens, is that you tend to keep it in your mouth longer. You can’t believe it isn’t that tasty nut that you were getting earlier. The previous ones were really delicious. This one isn’t.

You are wondering if I’m talking about that bad nut – or that bad thing that happened in your life.

Both!

It’s about that shocking development in life, it may be getting downsized from your job, or ending a relationship. I’m talking about the closure that is necessary to move on in life, and how to do it. It is usually, a loss of some sort.

Whatever!

Treat your wounds:

Ever been injured? You have. So you know how it is: you need to recuperate. You go into hospital, get treatment and also get a lot of attention.  So, what do you do with an emotional injury? Do the same! Take a break. You need time to recuperate from it.

So, try to treat it like a wound, and treat it.

Look,  I don’t know your problem. But I do know the process of closure to move on. This is how you do a closure:

It is a simple ‘one, two, three’ process:

1.     Face it and accept it:

 Once you have recognized it and realized it, please do not stick around there for too long! (Or you can damage yourself in the process.) Then take the steps needed to close it. Take out your personal journal and write down, all the points which have convinced you where you are. Please do not get carried away. Try to keep it crisp and short. I know it is hard. The point is to get out of it,not get more into it!

2.    Learn your lessons.

Sit down again. Write down what you are going to take away from this experience. Yes, you are going to come out brighter, shinier and wiser. Believe me, there was a reason why Allah Mian put you through this process. Say two naffals and ask God to to show you why He made you go through this experience. If you can’t understand any of it now. Still do ask Him. It will come to you in time. Write now, you just have to sanely walk away from this pain-zone. 

‘Pray that you may find out what it is that Allah is trying to explain to you through this experience.’ My friend Seema always says. Good point!

3.     Fill in the gaps in your life.

Always when suddenly, you find yourself out of a job or out of a relationship, you realize how big a chunk from your life, you were giving to it. Now, there is this huge gap in your life where that ‘chalghoza’ stood! Ummm lets call it something bigger…. What can it be? An Alien.

Of course, it was an alien, because actually, it didn’t belong in your life, and you had given it that space. So, all those times that you gave to the alien will now need to be filled up with some other wonderful activities. Make a list of all the wonderful things you will be able to do now. Starting with all the friends who were getting neglected, all the trips you had not gone to, and all the parties that you couldn’t attend earlier. Look at the bright side, now you can finish that book and watch that movie!

See?

Not so bad at all!

Remove the debris:

All those things, which remind you of –you-know-who just chuck them out. Give to a charity, or your staff. Or go and return it to the person or organization. Remember it is all now a debris of all that it was in your life. So, when a building falls, you remove the debris, to build a new house there. Simple! Right now, you are ‘removing the debris.’ Do it ASAP.

Do, not be condescending of all the good times. Don’t. Keep your perspective. Remember the good times as good times, and bad times as bad times. It was great when it was great. Now, it is bad.

So make a quick closure and get on with the rest of your life. I mean we don’t have much time to waste here in this world. Hurry up and get on with it!

Recovery process:

  1. Recognize the five stages of grief: Whenever there is a loss of any kind, one is bound to go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, blame, depression and finally acceptance.  Try to start with acceptance. (Then you can skip the rest, hopefully.) By the way, these stages aren’t always in the same order. It is different for everyone. But starting with acceptance makes you go through the rest very easily. ‘Allah ki marzi thi!’ (it was God’s wish!)
  2. Say a big ‘Alhamdolillah’ and ‘Thank God!: Count your blessings.  Just count everything you have. You can stop at five, ten or twenty. Hurry up. You have things to do…
  3.  Go out and give something to a less fortunate person: Do it with your own hands. Don’t just sign a check, or give online. Okay, do that first, then take a meal and go and give it to someone yourself. That will give you the greatest happiness. (It will give you the greatest happiness even when you are already happy!)
  4. Meeting with yourself: You are now ready to embark on your new life! Jump up and down and do some exercise, then get that journal, and plan your whole life out, (without the – you-know- who-or whatever-organization- it-was). Remember: it has now got to be a BETTER life for you! Also, pray for the well-being of the unfortunate organization or the you-know-who, too. We are being very magnanimous here now!) jokes, aside, this is important also. 
  5. Decide to do no foul mouthing: You cannot go fast out of that zone by talking against the person or management. Remember, it was never all bad. So, keep it that way. Go out into your new life, with your honor, dignity, grace, poise, peace-of-mind, happiness, all intact.

I’m dying to say something that I said when I was very small and my mum gave me a good beating.I said, ‘phoo makhi baitha!’ – apparently, someone had taught me that. So, I got another whack for that! Now we sit and laugh about it. I’m sure I didn’t find it funny then, at the age of four!

Now, I do.

So, a time will come when all this will be a thing of the past. You will be into your future.

You will look back at this time, and thank Him for His blessings. So, Stay blessed, my dear one. You are great. 🙂

Over three trimesters of life.


 Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

Ever since Prime minister Mahatir became the head of state of Malasia, I’ve been pondering. I mean, he is ninety three years old, and is elected as prime minister for four years? Till the age of ninety seven? (He was born in 1925!) 

Here is a man who has completed three trimesters of life and now starting out as a prime minister?! He is on to his 90-plus years already – along with his wife. He isn’t existing , he is living it out! 

I’m wondering if it can be like the nine lives of a cat?  With each ‘life’ a decade?

All my life I’ve been reading books and taking support and guidance on many topics including ages and stages of one’s own and children’s ages. I noticed that there is  a lot of  guidance and support in early stages and adulthood. Later on, we are left on our own.

First trimester of life – 1 to 30 years:

One to ten years:

Each and every month and year has loads of books written on every stage of these ages.

Ten to twenty years:

Lots of books and videos would be around for how to care for teenagers, and their social, emotional and physical needs.

Twenty to thirty years:

This one is considered to be the peak of life, and has a great deal about becoming an adult. There are many books on how to take care of yourself, and your body. Your social, emotional life is also dealt with, and specially finding the right life partner. All data is freely available. All fiction, movies, and videos are full of this prime time of life.  (As if no other life is really worth having, or worth documenting!)

Second Trimester of life – 30 to 60 years

Mixed ages here!

Thirty to forty years:

Most of us dread turning thirty. As if it is the end of youth or something. Once over the tip of 29 into 30 years, one realizes it isn’t bad at all. The starting years of career, ending of education and specialization in fields of interest, and the growing family are all well documented in books. You still feel great. You feel physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually fine, actually, quite on top of the world!  (I discovered I could write in my early thirties.)

Forty to fifty years:

Bilal on the right turned forty, and has worked in Microsoft. Loves music, books and inventing. 

Suddenly, with a bang you are forty!That is quite shattering, but then, you again realize it isn’t bad at all. All that ‘propaganda’ wasn’t correct. Forties can be pretty cool too. You are beginning to get a bit of a paunch, but never mind! You’ve most probably found your life partner and are well adjusted in career and children who are well settled in schools. Life is really good. You are getting to middle and senior posts in your job scene. Yes, books are getting fewer now. More books are there about illnesses and ‘how to reduce’.

Fifty to sixty years:

Every decade of life you enter with apprehensions, as it is a ‘no-mans-land’ with few well known personalities to help you through them. Thanks to internet, now we know ages of most actors and we know Ellen, Opera Winfrey, Bushra Ansari, Saba Hameed, Humayun Saeed, ShahRukh, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and many others are in this range too. Look at them, they are amazing!

Mostly, one is at the peak of one’s career at this time of life!

Third trimester of life – 60 to 90 years.

Now, its beginning to get scary, isn’t it? All those folds cannot be hidden anymore. You realize, you’ve got to move those muscles or else! Either ‘move it, or lose it!’ So, stay active and do everything that you’ve always wanted to do now. 

Sixty to seventy years:

I’ve known of Kentucky chicken guy who began his first franchise at the age of sixty two years. I’ve known of a publisher beginning her business at sixty five. Also of an artist who began painting at this age, and continued till she was over a hundred. Sixty has been the ‘retirement’ age too. You turn senior too. If it gets you to the front of the queue, then its okay! Also, it means you can be your own boss now on. 

Seventy to eighty years:

Mansoor Rahi and myself the instructor at the studio. He is a living legend in the field of art today in Pakistan. 
Hajra Mansoor and myself in her art gallery and studio. 

My mentors Hajra and Mansoor Rahi are in this age group. Both are blooming with good health. They are living legends in the art scene of Pakistan, and live in Islamabad. They are living in their own home, running their own art business, travelling abroad and within the country. They regularly hold exhibitions and hold art classes twice a week. They have a daily routine of working on their art work from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm daily. I find them going for walks, drives, traveling, and leading an active successful life. Only last week they went over a thousand kilometers by train to Karachi, for an art exhibition with their students. 

Eighty to ninety years:

My mentor Shahida Azeem, a great philanthropist lived to eighty-eight years of age, working on her organization Mashal, for the under privileged children. I’ve written about her in this blog post. She walked independently right till the end. In fact, I could hardly keep up with her activities. All the time she was organizing private or Mashal functions and inviting me over. I’d often have to excuse myself from her programs. (So, she would send me my share of food, if it was a dinner at her place.) She was just lovely. 

There are no books to help one through these years, today. You are on your own.

Ninety years onwards to hundred!

My father literally walked out of the ICU last month. 

As I write this blog post, and reach this point in my writing, I want to share these current personalities:

  • We all know of Dr. Mahatir Mohammad (ninety-three years old,) the current prime minister of Malaysia, and his ninety-one year old wife.  He recently took office, so he is looking forward to taking care of his country for four years at least.
  • Then there is this 106 year old blogger in Sweden who lives alone and takes care of herself.
  • I know a Ninety-five year old lady who lives alone in F-10 Islamabad. She invited me to tea with her literary friends. Loved it. She has a staff who takes care of her, a driver who drives here around too. She moves around with the help of her walker.
  • My own father was driving around till age eighty-seven years, here in Islamabad.  
  • Ninety-eight years old yoga instructor:

Just remember, all these are persons who did what they wanted to do. They stayed involved with activities and kept their minds (and bodies) active in constructive ventures.

Now, get ready to make your new-year resolutions, keeping all this in mind. Plan out your life like the nine lives of a cat! Lots of love and best wishes to all of you, my amazing readers. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

Car maintenance tips for girls!

Hi my delicate drivers! Most of us  want to drive a car, so let us be responsible for maintaining it too. I’m telling you, it is not that big a deal. Watch the guys … do they repair the car themselves? No, they don’t! Precisely, they get it done.

So, can you!

Here is what you do:

  1. Always go to a recommended place. Get a reference from a good friend..
  2. Be courteous, and not condescending. If you don’t know something, just ask or Google it. There are YouTube videos for every problem under the sun, (and under the bonnet too!) You can ask the person frankly. Also, write down what work he did on your car. Let each experience be a learning experience. 
  3. You can go with someone in your family first, just to get ‘acclimatized.’
  4. I’d suggest, you dress with least make up and accessories, and in grays and browns, so you just blend in with the environment at the workshop. 
  5. Try to get the work done when there is least rush at the workshop (and in your life too!) This time can be coordinated with the workshop owner or mechanic.
  6. Generally, you can get your car service, oil change, tires’ repair or change, and minor repairs done yourself. Most of this work can be done at the petrol stations.
  7. Going to the big workshops of known companies is very easy. I’ve been to Toyota Motors in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi, they are good. I’m sure it is the same for Honda, Suzuki, Audi, and others. All you do is wait in an air-conditioned room, sip a cup of coffee as you browse through that book you wanted to read.  – Don’t tell me you forgot to bring the book along? Okay, then you can read my blog posts, on your mobile phone, as you wait! 😉
  8. Smaller workshops are fine too:
    Just cut out the ‘air conditioned room’,  so be ready to rough it out. (Even in the heat of summers, and cold of winters – kutch nahi hota! Good for the skin pores.)
  9. You will find the courtesy of the workshop owners is here too. 
    • I’ve got maintenance done by a small workshop owner named Rashid who was also the picture of courtesy. He would come to the home too, to do my car repairs. Also, if I had a car breakdown, he would come over to help wherever I was. So, this was in Dhok Choudhrian, near Safari Villas, Bahria Town, in Rawalpindi.
    • The other was in F-10, a very good denting painting guy, Imran. Later, I heard he had moved to Saudi Arabia.
    • There was Muhammad an expert electrician in F-10 (he is now in Peshawar.) He would even go to my daughter’s college, get the car, then return it after repairing it.
    • Farhan, of Chaudhry UPS shop in F-10, has helped me with all my battery problems, even with UPS at home.
    • I’ve had these young men coming over to my home to repair the car even at eleven pm. Our people are amazing, may Allah bless them.  

I’m not saying, ‘don’t take help from the men in your family,’ just that when they are busy, you can do it too, and not bother them. Frankly, I’d started repairing my car, even when my husband was alive.Since he was an engineer and brilliant at this work, it really tickled him. But as he became very senior in his office, I knew he was getting too busy. I didn’t like using the official drivers to do my car either. (As a writer, I enjoyed doing anything outside the box anyways.)

Warning:

Car maintenance takes time. 

Time spent on repairs will be a lot more than you expected. Do, keep asking, but be prepared for delays. Last time I went, every half hour the guy would say, ‘half hour only!’ – It actually took several ‘half-hours!’ So, cool it! No point in being flustered. You also want the work to be well done. So, take more time than expected, with you. It also makes you realize when the men folk go to get the car done up, why they take so long! Do go in the first half of the day, for car repair work.

Daniyal Waqar’s office in his workshop. 

 You know Daniyal Waqar who is an auto engineer, he had this garage. Now, he has a new garage with his own name called DW Garage, since October 2017. 
It was a very pleasant surprise to meet an educated auto engineer, in his workshop some years ago.

I’ve seen him working there with BMWs, Audie and Mercedes too, and why not? He was the supervisor at Toyota Motors . He has studied about automobiles and has done courses from Dubai, which includes special courses on Audie cars. He is paying special emphasis to the high tech maintenance requirements of the modern cars. He regularly trains his workers about new technology and methods of car repair.

At this young age, he is a young and brilliant entrepreneur with his own business. His workshop is on the road to D-12, after E-11, Islamabad.

I’m not saying, ‘don’t take help from the men in your family,’ just that when they are busy, you can do it too, and not bother them. Frankly, I’d started repairing my car, even when my husband was alive. Since he was an engineer and brilliant at this work, it really tickled him. But as he became very senior in his office, I knew he was getting too busy. I didn’t like using the official drivers to do my car either. Simply because I don’t believe in using government equipment or personnel for one’s personal use. (As a writer, I enjoyed doing anything outside the box anyways.)

December 16th 2018

Did you think of it like this?

This date should make every Pakistani contemplate for a while. Just as we celebrate our good times; a wise nation also ponders over its failures and mishaps. A wise nation learns from its mistakes, and makes sure these are never repeated in living history again.

In today’s world it is enough to be progressive and economically strong.

Let me share with you some things that I really want to share, it was the darkest night of my life:

Flash back to December 16th 1971:

It was the darkest of dark nights, even though, the full moon shown brightly outside. I ran out of the room which was very dimly lit.

These were ‘black out’ nights.

 Appropriately so.

 While sitting inside, it had got unbearable for me to sit and watch the picture of Gen. Yahya on the black-and-white television set. He was announcing the surrender of Pakistan to Indians, in East Pakistan. Tears poured down my face as I rushed outside. I ran in to the shadow of the moonlight, next to a wall. I sat down on the ground, my legs unable to carry me anymore. I lent against the wall and cried my heart out.

From the shadow where I sat, I could see my cousins, coming out of the room calling out for me.

I didn’t answer.

Totally heartbroken, I knew my country had broken into two.  Though a school girl still, the enormity of those moments were too hard to bear.

How could I not feel it? My own father was in East Pakistan.  He was in the throes of it. My maternal grandfather was in Dhaka. The city had been under air attacks for days. My Dad’s younger brother Jafar Khan was in Jesore. My Bengali best friend Naheed Rehman was in Dhaka too.

 There was no communication with anyone.

Were they alive ?

We were living a nightmare….

It took months for my mother and myself to find out finally, that my father and uncle and my grandfather were alive. What we went through those months can only be felt by anyone who has gone through it.

I hope no one ever knows how it feels.

Alhamdolillah, my loved ones made it. But many others didn’t make it through that terrible night.

The night my country broke into two!  December 16th,  1971.

Fast forward 2014, Islamabad, Pakistan.

I’m driving home from my day at the job in Finishing School,  next to Fatima Jinnah Park, Islamabad. I put on the radio as I drive home. A man is talking about something bad that happened to some school boys … I reach home wondering what?

As I put on the television, bit by bit the terrible news keeps trickling in.

Another nightmare is unfolding.

This time:

My heart broke into two. 

Why? Because my heart is in those bodies of young children brutally killed.

Today is December  16th , 2018.

I’ve prepared a blog post to upload, but can’t.

Not today.

Not on December 16th 2018. There is too heavy a load on the hearts and bodies of every Pakistani today.

If this pain isn’t there, then it should be.

Alive nations remember their faults and follies, and learn from them. Otherwise, such things can happen again.

Alhamdolillah, my parents today are living to a ripe age, having given their best years and their loyalty to their land. 

History has a way of repeating itself.

So, what can we do?

Firstly:

Never forget the sacrifices made for us. Many families are still bearing the brunt of those sacrifices. May Allah give strength to the families of the ones affected by the APS tragedy

We can do this:

  1. Become the best version of yourself, to help our country become strong.
  2. Stop arguing and criticizing each other.  (for arguing only weakens a team,) and do our bit to build Pakistan into the strongest economy.
  3. Be the most honest and bravest form of ourselves.
  4. Use all talents and creative ideas for progress and development.
  5. Even if you live abroad, do something for your home country which no one sitting here can do.

I know, you are capable of all these things. Whether you are living abroad or in Pakistan, please do whatever you can to pay homage to the suffering that your forefathers did for this land. We owe this much, to the sufferings of the families of APS students and teachers killed during that ill-fated attack. Let us pray for their strength. Find some way to make this country a developed one. 

Today, I sit here in the winter sunshine, enjoying the fruits of sacrifices of our forefathers. Let us do our bit to leave a legacy for our coming generations too.

I was really happy to know that Alhamdolillah Pakistan is one of the happiest countries in this region,( according to a recent survey.) I’m sure we can make it one of the strongest and most progressive country in the region too.

Stay blessed! Freedom and progress are two priceless commodities. Both come with a price tag. Yes, each one of us has to work hard for it, on a daily basis 🙂

‘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. 

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”