A Dozen Ways to Reverse Mentoring

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“You actually take make-up tips from your teenager?” Asked one of my fellow travelers, we were chilling in Ayun, one starry night in Chitral, in 2004.

“Yes.” I said.

“What do they know?” I was asked.

“Well, they do know a lot – considering the fact that they use present day products, a lot better than us.”  I could see they were surprised. Of course, it is not just about make-up but in other matters too.

Later, when I was studying for my EMBA in 2006, there was a small paragraph in one of the books about ‘reverse mentoring’. “Oh, so that’s what it is called?” I thought. Being in the educational field, I’ve learnt a lot from my students. Sometimes directly, and sometimes indirectly when that innocent question in class led me to more findings!

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Mind your mind!

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I’m talking to all of us smart phone holders. Our minds have been taken over by forwards, quotes, jokes, pics, and what not. Just like our phone starts ‘crashing’ due to so much useless stuff being stuffed into it – our minds do too! Then there are Whats App groups with their barrage of forwards. I agree some are rather nice. But ninety percent are useless and pointless! Groups have been made where no one says anything, except help crash your phone with forwards.

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Combine this with our over populated country, with people barging into your space to tell you this that or the other. As some would say “dimagh ki lassi ban jati hai!” (one’s brain is turned into churned buttermilk….)

So, naturally, when you picked the phone to make a call, you end up never making it, because you got diverted.

It happens with me all the time.

So, it is vital to find ways to keep our minds in focus. Use the same phones’ ‘notes’ or ‘calendar’ to jot down all that you need to do for the day. Yes, the ‘to do’ list is more important now than ever before.

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Helping others ….. and the gender issue

While driving home in driving rain.

Just love driving in the rain…. I am going back home after teaching art to twin girls. It is so much fun. While I was busy with the painting work, this morning, my mother sent me a text that we are having my cousin and his family over for lunch. I quickly spoke to my domestic help who assured me he would be able to  manage a proper lunch within a couple of hours. As the class ended, around 12 pm,  I headed home, deciding to forgo the other chores I’d planned to do. So, I can have time with my sweet guests. By now it was raining heavily. This rain is so typical of the flash rains that Islamabad is used to.

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What do you do?

“So, what do you do?” A stranger asked me, at a charity dinner of a mesmerizing classical dance performance of Sheema Kirmani.  I sat down, at a vacant chair, next to his wife and her sister. They were visiting from UK, or was it Canada? Well, somewhere abroad.

I was distracted, looking around for the familiar face of my friend the famous cartoonist Nigar Nazar. We had planned to meet at PNCA at the National Art Gallery, in Islamabad, where the charity dinner and dance show was taking place. But we lost each other in the huge crowd. So, I tagged along with this friendly group.

“Nothing, much…” I replied.

The ensuing conversation with total strangers at the table, resulted in them finding out how much my ‘nothing’ entails…

Studying for my MBA degree in HRM (with hardly any time or money, to study), constructing my house, (with no funds), appearing at courts for the cases (I have put against my outlaws, and facing the cases, they put up against me,) the traumatic loss  of my losing my husband through cancer, living alone in a city of Pakistan with my daughter,  taking care of my elderly parents, and looking after my cocker spanial dog and Persian cat too! Oh, and the book which I got published in USA called ‘My Life, My Stories’, its based on my printed articles during last twenty years….

May I also add … making a success out of all! No, I didn’t mention any of these.

Why should I? We were enjoying each other’s company. And it was nice to talk to people living all their lives abroad.

In spite of all that I’ve suffered here, I love living in Pakistan. After all, suffering is a ‘life thing’… people suffer at different times in their lives. And so did I. Thanks to Allah, I had the right friends, mentors, people, strangers and unknown factors that helped whisk me out of most of my dangerous situations.

I often wonder, if I’d have done it all without my childhood love for adventure.

But one thing I know for sure. It was Allah, who brought so much love and support for me, so I could take it all, and ride over it. And here I am, ready to write about it….

I guess, you can say, that the bad things were there due to living in a country with such a pathetic legal system, which gives strength to the bad guys. But in this same country, due to all this, the good guys help you even more, because they know, you have no one to help you. So, they go the extra mile to help you! While being complicated, it’s very simple too. It’s because of all this evilness that the goodness comes out in people around you.

Does that make sense?