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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words, Deeds and Trees…

This blog post is almost a continuation of my last blog post Ijaz Ahmed Khan – comparing a good word with a good tree.. Thinking it would be too long for you all, I decided to break them up into two. So, here it is, I know I’m late by a few minutes, but you know how life is these days! Yes, a bit crazy. But, here I am!

Now you know why, I chose this location of B 17 for our saplings, because firstly, the saplings would be well taken care of, and specially it would be in memory of a person, whom I got too late to thank, in real life. So, please do say a prayer for Ijaz Khan, and do not ever take so long in going out of your way to thank those who went out of their way to make life easier for you!

Continue reading “Words, Deeds and Trees…”

Is My Life Meaningful?

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What is life? Is it just this noise of the daily rushing around? Completing the ‘things to do’ list? Meeting deadlines, going from one rushy hour to the next? Always, counting to see if one can make ends meet, or get that little bit of extra too? Loving food, dresses, make up, handbags, car, house and still shopping for more? Putting it all on Facebook, Instagram or Tweeting it all over the world.

Is this life?

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Or is life something more?

What gives meaning to one’s life? What makes you feel that eureka moment, when you say,

‘yes, it is all worth it!’

Continue reading “Is My Life Meaningful?”

Election Day, 2018

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My voting experience today.

Under slept, tired and highly motivated, my daughter and I drove off to Rawalpindi to vote this morning.  I knew the drive would take an hour. Weather is hot and humid these days, so we wanted to be there much earlier. But I had to bathe and change my eighty-three-year-old mother, as the helper wasn’t coming today, due to her own voting.  In fact towards the end of the bathing session half-way through the changing, I had to call Waliya, as I found standing in that humid wash room difficult; she came to complete dressing her up.

My friends had called up last night, I hadn’t been able to sleep till past three thirty last night. Now, I wondered how I’d manage standing in the humidity for the voting process!

So, naturally it was 11.00 am by the time we reached the polling station. It was the same one, where we had gone last time. Elections and Life Dichotomies . The street was dirty and narrow as ever, but the air of elections in the air was great. People were patiently walking towards it and there was peace and determination in the air. Finding the place had been difficult, (you forget a place after five years!) We checked our phones, sent sms to 8300 and confirmed that our polling station was located in Ali Trust School, in Dhok Chaudhrian, D Block; NA 59, PP 13. It was  (Near Bahria Town, Safari Villas, next to the famous ‘car chowk.’)

The army personnel were at the entrance with their rifles and guns, making us feel very secure. The staff was welcoming and very accommodating. As I went to stand at the end of the ladies line, and wished the burqa-clad young girl before me, she showed me a chit and asked,

‘do you have it?’

I was blank.

She pointed towards the entrance saying ‘you’ll have to go out again and get it.’

Oops!

So, I collected Waliya who had gone to the car to place our mobile phones there, (we had to leave these in the car as it is against the law to keep it with you.) So, we walked over to the authorized place where there was a gentleman at a desk, who would find out details through his phone about our voting number to verify the code and CNIC number. All the details of my voting number and polling station allocation were verified here and we received our chits. This was done within a few minutes. Then we hurriedly we walked back. Naturally, now our place was taken up by at least fifteen other ladies!

I waved at the young girl who had told me about the chit. She waved back. Everyone was patiently standing in the open sunlit area of the school. It was the same place as last time. Now, it was quite presentable. All spruced up. Nicely painted, with verses of Iqbal painted over the off-white walls. Suddenly, someone came to ask about our voting number, she took us way ahead, towards another room.

Wow! That felt good.

Suddenly, we were standing in the shade of the veranda. The other ladies too were asked to move forward towards another room. So, now we were closer to the ‘destination’ or vote casting room. The heat was bad, but cold water was provided nearby. I had brought my bottle of lemonade which I’d sip every little while.  We all smiled at each other, and wondered how long it would take. We watched with amusement as a woman nearby lost her temper and was angry with those around her. It turned out, she had already voted, but hated being asked to leave. She was saying, ‘I’ll leave when I choose to leave!’ At least that is what I was told was the problem!

I was reminded of something Major Zafar had mentioned to me many years ago. When, I asked him, ‘What is your advice to a person going on Haj?’ He answered, ‘Be patient, forgive everyone and remember the objective.’ I realized this is the best advice while going for voting in Pakistan also!

We kept standing there for over an hour, almost without budging. I said, ‘Hey this is again a repeat of last time!’ But the men’s lines were so long and they were standing in the sun mostly. I had seen the line going way out of the station also. The army men were seen everywhere, with their ammunition.

Peace.

So, again I went over into the men’s section to speak to the man in charge. Again, the men courteously, moved aside to make room for me. His name was Anwar, so I went up to him. He said, ‘I have already made a change by accommodating ladies so they won’t stand in the sun. I cannot do more than this.’ I requested him to find some way to make the process as quick as possible. He promised to do whatever he can. He told me that 1700 women are registered at this polling station, so it won’t take very long. I agreed.

So, I went back. That girl in the burqa was in front of me again now, she offered to let me go before her, I said, ‘nothing doing! It must be so much hotter for you, so please do go ahead. Then I heard that  a lady had been there since 8,00 am and somehow she was standing behind me, so we asked her to go before us.

So, in this way, we all accommodated others.

There were one lady whose brother had died today, and another who had lost a child. Yet, they were here to vote! We all agreed to let these ladies go first. Meanwhile, Waliya got me some cold water so I could splash it over my face and arms, so I’d cool down and not faint.

Finally, our turns came. As we were going through the process, I could see my picture was also in their list as were those of others. The women conscientiously checked the CNIC numbers and tallied them with their own data. The mark was made on thumb and the finger prints placed in relevant places. I heard Waliya offer an elderly lady her place, as I walked behind the shielded place where I could actually cast my vote.

547479-image-1368264751-527-640x480There was one white paper and one green one, to be placed in one white box and one green box. It turned out we were voting for the National and Provincial Assemblies! This is what happens when you don’t follow the local news regularly.

Anyhow, soon we were out, and driving back on the almost empty highway. Feeling really pleased that we had done our bit at least.

So, here are some points for us voters:

  1. Next time go to the Election Commission office well in time, to get my polling station’s location changed to one nearer to my home.

Firstly, I want to applaud the management for holding very peaceful elections. The staff was excellent and very supportive and helpful. The process, could be quicker perhaps?

Here are some points for the management:

  1. The desk for that ‘chit’ with details could be placed within the premises of the polling station, so we could get it as we entered the gate.
  2. Computerization of the data of the voters, instead of being manual, so the work could get done quicker. The lady had to look through the data to find one’s number.
  3. The steps need to be done quicker. It did take much more than three minutes per person in the room. It should be done within a minute or so.
  4. More comfortable environment for the voters standing outside. For instance a shade or ‘shamiyana’ could have been put up for those men or women standing outside.
  5. Some personnel kept outside to take care of the cars, if possible?

Otherwise, I’d say, a big ‘hats off’ to the management of the Election commission who definitely did a great job today.

Now, I pray that the result is taken with grace and tolerance.

 Things are definitely improving.  We are blessed to have the voting process rolling in our country.

green lake surrounded by mountain

 

 

 

 

 

Elections and Life Dichotomies .

37246852_2046666028700012_4540511821852835840_n.jpgIn this blog I quickly take you through the past weeks’ events right into the election fever. Now it is Wednesday 18th July, 2018 , late evening. As usual so much is going on, in the international world and within the country.  On top of it all that, there is one’s personal life. Many times we are happy and sad at the same time.

Yes, life’s dichotomies!

For instance, as I prayed anxiously every night for the safe rescue, of the group of thirteen who got stuck in Thailand’caves.  I forgot  the death and danger of the hundred plus people who died from freak storms nearby in Japan. This is what media does, in the Thai case, we knew more about the boys, so one felt more connected. Whereas in the Japan case, there wasn’t much information or details of the persons living there. Such tragedies are sad. One hardly was over joyed at the successful and miraculous rescue of the young Thai group, along with its coach; when one was shocked at the suicide attack which killed over one hundred in Mastoong, Baluchistan Pakistan. That was after a couple of blasts in KPK. So, this is the environment in which I am now.

In fact, we all live in it all the time.

Continue reading “Elections and Life Dichotomies .”

Great Rules to live by!

I know, because I’ve tried them out for many decades.

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As a teenager, in Lahore, the word ‘ADVENTURE’ was painted on newspapers pasted on one side wall of my bedroom. An only child, I had a childhood filled with Enid Blyton books. I was raised with plenty of routine and discipline by my parents. As a grown up, while realizing routine is essential, I wanted excitements almost on a daily basis. I got plenty of it, married to my cousin, an aero-space engineer in Pakistan Air Force. So, I’ve painted, written books, and been an educationist in schools in different cities in Pakistan. A mother of three girls, and over twenty house-moves, gave me plenty to write about while freelancing in different cities. Of course, as a family we faced our share of setbacks too. But we’ve managed to get out of them too, just like you.

What are the strategies in life that help you stay in one piece most of the time?

In spite of lots of people saying ‘honestly, it is very difficult to be honest!’ In life, that is all that really helps. At least one can try. Here is how I’ve somehow managed so far:

Continue reading “Great Rules to live by!”

Rain water control, tree plantation, elections and my life.

July 2018 thoughts…

I guess, I better accept that real life isn’t so streamlined. Half the year is over, I’m already  behind schedule on lots of things. But then, I’ve also done a lot of things which were not in the ‘schedule’ but far more important; like engagement of my youngest daughter Waliya. Giving time to my second daughter Nadiya, who was leaving the country, moving for Canada. Also, to help get gifts for poor children studying in CSS school, and specially taking care of my elderly parents. So, I guess it is okay.

In July, we need to re-align ourselves to our primary goals.

Right now, in July here are the most important issues. I know you have a busy life too. But these matters mentioned below won’t take more than two days each! So, do look it up very seriously. Please read it while thinking ‘how can I do it?’ Just as I’m thinking the same while writing it:

  1. Rain water control at domestic and community level, during monsoon.
  2. Tree plantation.
  3. Elections.
  4. My life these days.

Continue reading “Rain water control, tree plantation, elections and my life.”

Take heart, stay strong!

No matter what happens… 

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In life, you’ve got to go on, and keep yourself fit enough to get on with the rest of your life. Remember, every issue is just like tissue, you use it and then throw it in the dustbin! Get ready, look around you. Make a place for the birds in front of your window, so you can watch nature….

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Just look at this,  it got me so excited, when I heard about this 106 year old blogger. 

The DW television channel happens to be my favorite channel. It is positive and its documentaries are really good. The news is balanced. The program Euromax is so full of interesting clips of information. But the best was when I saw this piece on the 106 year old blogger. Wow! I mean how much more awesome can things get? I bet by the time we are 106, there will be other videos – or whatever style of videos there would be then –  about bloggers or authors of 120 years!

http://www.dw.com/en/106-year-old-blogger-in-sweden/av-43688348

Awesome.

Yes, life is amazing. Such programs give one hope. To be alive (being like a vegetable would be no fun) to be alive and blogging!?!! Really love the idea and concept. She lives alone in Stockholm, walks around independently, is mentally stable and has a sense of humor too. (Says, people only read my blog because of my age!)

I just loved it.

Continue reading “Take heart, stay strong!”

My Solo Trip to Nathiagali

There is something about mountains that just thrills me. I love mountains – the higher the better. It just refreshes you. This is why Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) regularly went and stayed in a cave (Ghar-e-Hira) for several days, on a regular basis. You need to distance yourself from your everyday life sometimes.

It is good to go with your dear ones, but sometimes, it is also good to go alone.

 

Why? To be able to think a thought through to the end. (He didn’t even have a smart phone!) In our cases, we could literally lose our own lives, due to all the distractions we keep having.

So, I got up and went off with my driver who was assigned to my husband back in 2004. Right at the time that i was leaving, I remembered that Hasnain, my domestic help has never been to the mountains. So, I decided to take him along; – In just a ten minute notice, he was ready!

Continue reading “My Solo Trip to Nathiagali”