Hi Everyone! Life is passing so fast, suddenly you find most of it is over. (Naturally, no one knows their expiry date – it might be round the corner.) So, we’ve got lots to do. Today on Women’s Day, (actually we know whole year is ours too, but just for the sake of talking, lets assume that today is ours) I want to include the men out there too.
Men are very close to us women; Specially, because these men cherish women in the role of mother, sister, wife, friend or colleague. Without their support we can’t go far. Rest assured, we can have more rights, only with their help. We need to convince them about certain things that have been unfair for us. Once they realize it, they will happily support us.
Together we can go far.
On Women’s Day today,
let me share this with you:
Maintain a Balance– in whatever you do. Stay in middle ground – don’t under play or over do things. (Being rather emotional, we tend to overdo things some times.)
Life is so funny: Enjoy the humor in every situation.
Don’t believe what you hear –check it out first.
Dedicate yourself to acquiring knowledge and then sharing it: Be responsible for the information you have. Constantly dedicate yourself to learning, and then to teaching all you’ve learnt.
Look out for injustice. Stand up against it. Fight for it. But realize when you have to accept defeat, (occasionally). There is still a long way to go. We only have one life. And we are human too. All in good time. Watch how Islamic law is used against women instead of in favor of women as it was intended: Keep in mind the fact that in Pakistan no other Islamic intervention is followed by all, except those laws which bifurcate women’s properties. This is followed without taking responsibility for their life-time food, clothing and shelter – for which they get the share! Specially note Nikah namah rights.
Watch your finances vigilantly: That is the key to your independence.
Watch what people do: rather than what they say – you learn more about them like this.
Do not waste time sorting out people – Allah is there to take care of that.
Keep alive hotline with God, Allah and Maker – after all, in the end we all shall be meeting Him.
Do charity work as much as possible – remember it starts with kindness, do help the men too.
Sometimes it pays to be silent: When there is a choice to speak or not to speak, try to choose not speaking some times. (You won’t regret it!)
Have faith in yourself, and Allah who made you.
We have come a long way.:)
It is only because we stuck out for each other. Let us not fight the men in our lives, without them we are nothing, just as without our support they are nothing.
It isn’t about them.
It is about us. Being together is the key.
Recently, when my father passed away, so many men and women came together to help us to stay on our feet. Their help means the world to us. We can only survive together.
As I heard Bano Qudsia say in an interview once, ‘our fight is against cruelty and injustice – not against men. Whether this is dealt out to men or women, we fight against it together.’
Sigh! I’ve begun to love my readers. Writing is a labor of love anyway, but to be writing for you, is a privilege because I know you are amazing. Let me say, that your responses have made me feel so close to you all. In the past two weeks or so, (after my father passed away) I’ve been totally overwhelmed. Your messages on Instagram and Facebook have truly helped me in coping.
Now, it has come to a point, where I’m going to be consoling you all. Everyone who came, naturally shared their own sad experiences too. I realized I’m not alone in my sorrow. Many of you have had far more heart wrenching experiences.
So, let us heal together.
I’ll start with a joke; There is this funny case, where there was one person chasing the other. When they were stopped to find out why; one said, ‘I’ve sat and listened to all his poetry. Now, when it was my turn, he is running away! So, I’m chasing him, to make him sit and listen to my poetry also!’
Got it? I’m here for you. So, let us heal together.
Luckily, we belong to a religion that doesn’t allow more than three days of grieving. (Only the wife can be in iddat for around four months. That too, she need not be too restricted.) So, all others are to get back to real life.
How to get back to normal life:
By looking round at people who have gone through more than yourself, and sharing their sorrows. Try healing together.
I’ve realized that sorrow has a tendency to make one a bit selfish as we start only thinking of our own grief, so this is why we need to give charity, to realize the pain and sorrows of others.
We need to consciously, make commitments and honor the commitments made earlier. Instead of refusing such occasions, try to attend them. Make an effort to get back to normal life as soon as possible. For instance, much earlier, I had accepted being a chief guest at the prize distribution ceremony in Sarah’s Wisdom Garden school where I’ve worked earlier. When Munazza Azhar asked me, I agreed to go. So, when the time came, I went. This was exactly a week after my father passed away. When asked again, I purposely made the effort. Once I went, it felt good to get back in touch with real life.
Similarly, I made an effort to resume my art classes which I had recently begun at my studio. I know it is hard. It will be hard anyway.
Be kind to your staff who has worked so hard. So, I gave leave to my father’s helper, so he could be with his family too. (In the earlier days, he himself didn’t take leave.)
Thanking Allah at every step is so important.
Watching finances carefully is vital. Due to departure of one family member the financial dynamics change. So, be down to earth about it. In our culture we have a tendency of over spend. We are at fault. I’ve seen very big business people being very simple at such times.
More self-talk points:
In fact, self-talk is awareness of one’s inner voice. We do it with our journals. When I became a widow, I faced appalling financial issues. I was also clear not to ask for any money. So, I had to be very careful and focused. (Perhaps one day I’ll share with you how I managed.) But this time, it is sufficient to say, always keep money aside for a ‘rainy day’. This is the rainy day. But then, do not spend all of it either. Here too, you’ve got to keep aside for another rainy day.
So, what I do is to have a ‘meeting with myself’. It sounds funny, but it is true. One has to give time to such an activity.
A time free of all distractions. To sit alone with a notepad or journal.
Decide the topics that need to be thought out. And do it.
So, you can silently communicate with yourself, taking your own name or using the third person as ‘she’ or ‘he’. I looked it up and there was interesting information on the net. I liked this one best. Specially the ‘door’ methods, where you invite the uncomfortable emotions in, and deal with them with compassion to heal yourself.
In my recent case, I had to tell myself to be grateful to have had my father in our home for last six years. To have so many happy memories with him.
In short, through self-talk you will be your own best friend.
Make a reality check. In short, accept help offered
voluntarily. Later, you can reciprocate at an appropriate time. Also, be in the
middle ground for all expenses. Be careful with valuables around the house, and
keep an open eye all round. Sometimes miscreants arrive at such times. So be vigilant.
In the beginning your relatives and friends will come at all
hours. It is fine, and you need it. Later, on as you get back to normal
routine, have a special ‘visitor’s hour’ so that you can start work too.
Usually, a time slot between 5.30 pm and 7.30 pm is a good one. Be particular
that this socializing doesn’t put a burden on the sleeping times of the young
and old in your family.
Our culture is pretty lethal. So, be very clear about not
letting such cultural traditions into your routine which have no place in one’s
religion. The fact is that there is no room for lavishing food out on ‘chaleeswan’ and ‘barsi’. Even a Qul isn’t necessary. But it is better
for the family to call everyone at the same time. So, this is fine. Usually, in
our culture we are lavishing food on those who have enough, it would be better
to feed the poor instead.
During your self-talk…
Clarify your situation to yourself. Then specify your requirements and prioritize
Be clear as to what needs to be done first, then
next and so on. So, later on you don’t regret for not doing certain things in
Do, take help from your near and dear ones. Decide
whom you will confide in.
Do make notes.
Once you have clarified your stance. You will
feel better and more able to cope with whatever situation is at hand.
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. If you are
doing ten things, there would be failure in two or more. Do not dwell on your
mistakes. Just learn from them and move on.
Take yourself on a drive, or pamper yourself.
Take along someone who gives you peace, not brings in her own potpourri of
miseries too. It is a time to say a simple ‘Alhamdolillah’ that is all.
Listen to your heart, because your gut,
your God and You live there.
your self talk, you will find ways to implement what is in your heart.
Keep up your good work:
My mentor Mahjabeen mentioned the other day, if you have
started doing something for Allah’s sake, like giving food to fishes, or birds
or animals, do continue doing it, as they will be looking out for you now. If
you have started some social work, do not let it get stopped because you got
busy, you must make a point of doing all those things, as those people too will
be waiting for you.
Once, I used to volunteer at Rahat Kada in Karachi, (a place
for the terminally ill patients.) When I went,
a lady told me, she had put on lipstick and was ready since the morning
waiting for us! She was so happy we had gone to sit and chat with her and other
Sometimes, if we cannot do anything, just to give some time
and attention can make all that difference in someone else’s life.
So, in this ‘self-talk’ we need to remind ourselves to carry
on the little things we have taken up lately. To make sure we are doing our bit
in this life given to us.
Stay blessed my dear one. I really love you, and wish all the best for you.
A better entertainment alternative to television …
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.
Is it a source of peace or frustration?
How can I benefits from it?
Are my relationships with my family suffering due to it? If so, what can I do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?
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.
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:
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:
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.
Keep these sanity points while using social media:
Just for your peace of mind:
Have a Life! – Besides the one you share on media.
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 😉 …. )
Do not get impressed by the food: they are eating now, (they didn’t share that sookha toast with malai this morning!)
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.
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.
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
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:
Sameena Peerzada interviews:
Mohsin and many others.
Self help and motivational videos:
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
Opera Winfrey: 10
Dr. Wyne Dyer:
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,
Sade – smooth operator.
Arabic Spanish music:
Humor: (Remember, you have to laugh at least 23 times a day.)
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 🙂
When we look back, it depends on our present mood, whether we remember the ‘good’ parts or the ‘bad’ ones. If I’m in a good mood, then I’ll only remember the wonderful things in my past. When I’m in a bad mood, only sad things will be remembered.
Why is it?
I think it is physics.
It is a wavelength which we ‘connect’ to. So, make sure your present feelings (and wave lengths) are good. Then whatever you recollect, will be good too.
How’s that for a theory?!
Anyhow, I feel like sharing some recent happy events, and share what we both can take away from these.
1. Aroosha’s baby’s birthday:
(Teacher and student’s takeaway.)
‘I’d love to see my student as grown ups!’ I often thought, while teaching my little students, specially these forth graders. – In fact, every grade I’ve taught was the same. Of course, I knew, it wasn’t possible. But I did tell them:
‘If you ever see me, do come and meet me.’ I would add,
‘Remember that you will be changing a lot with time, I won’t
be able to recognize you. So, you will need to tell me, and reconnect.’
Many of them have done so. They came up to me at different times in my life and I can’t tell you how happy I’ve felt seeing them, all grown up leading successful lives. Naturally, my Facebook is full of many of my old students.
I always say that ‘Teaching is the next best thing to motherhood.’
So, when Aroosha invited me on December 31st. 2018, I was able to attend the party, and it was great. I also met several other students, and her brother.
Student’s take-away :
Stay in touch with teachers.
Do involve them in your life events.
Do ask them if ever you need any mentoring later on in life.
Please do understand, if they cannot accept every invitation.
Also, understand, if a teacher attends one student’s function and cannot do so with others. It isn’t about you, it is something happening in their own lives, which they can’t share with you.
Whenever you have an old students’ gathering, do invite your teachers.
It is easy to be connected with students these days. It is a good way to see how the students are doing in life.
Assuring them, that you are there for them is vital.
While teaching, keep a time and space to reach out to your students. Be available. Money isn’t everything. These beautiful human beings are far more important.
Students need our mentoring, in their lives.We know, there are few counselors here.
Many of our students come from broken or breaking homes. Our few words of support can make a big difference.
Perhaps, you can help if a student is in depression or harboring suicidal thoughts, you can change their minds.
I’ve had students helping me later on in life too. Just as I was there for them, they have been there for me too. I had helped a student once. Later, on I had to leave due to surgery. This same student would ring me daily and keep me cheered up. Another student, Mahru sent me prayers to help me heal. Many of them sent me cards. So, it is definitely, a two-way relationship.Once, a student Roheen was in UK when my husband passed away. She asked me hows he could help me. I asked her to be in contact with my daughter there. So, now they are friends too. Recently, Gul Noor and Taha Asif reconnected with me. Oh I could go on and on….
Writer’s Bonfire Meet-up
(Writer’s perspective and being a guest.)
Imagine having a bonfire in the cold drizzle?
How could it be?
It was amazing!
The Bonfire was hosted by Mazhar Nisar, who is a PTV World newscaster, and a wonderful poet. He is a member of Arts and Literature Guild of Shabnam Riaz. As you know, we have these meet-ups and we join each other’s group events. A bonfire was much talked about, and we all were looking forward to it.
The date fell on a cold, rainy ‘dismal’ day. But thanks to everyone’s determination, especially that of Mazhar, and Shabnam, it turned out awesome!
Mazher had asked Sahil Faraz to sing some beautiful songs. There we sat and enjoyed his melodious and heart -warming songs. I specially loved his own composition. The food, the music, and finally each writers’ and poets’readings was really heart warming. Mazhar had ordered delicious barbecued food for us, and of course we ate well.
It turned out to be a real memorable evening.
Your take away:
When someone invites you, try to accept. Even if you have apprehensions of distance and weather. Just go well clad. Put on really warm clothes and keep good shoes in your car. (Trust the host to manage. Otherwise, help.)
Remember, if you don’t go, probably, others wont be going too, and it could spoil the party.
Once there, get into the mood of the event. Be sporting and help the host.
Yes, you will get plenty of memories to takeaway!
Rashid, son of Abdul Rahim’s wedding.
(Domestic help relations.)
It was Rashid’s wedding, the only son of Abdul Rahim; who has cooked in my home for last twenty years or so. He has always been there for me. He lost his wife, four years ago, a little after my husband passed away.
He is the one who said he needed no pay, when I had no money. So, naturally, I went to attend his son’s wedding, just as I’ve attended both his daughter’s weddings in good times too.
It felt wonderful to see how much Rahim has taken care of his Bhabis who lost their husbands – (his brothers). Both were there, being given prime respect and place in the event. So, goodness is in the nature of humans, being rich or poor doesn’t matter. He of course, had me sitting on the stage with the bride to have the food with her, and his daughters.
They gave me so much VIP treatment. Rashid’s boss too had helped him with this event. It was Rashid who had called me when my husband died, asking me, ‘How much money do you need?’ I said, ‘what does it matter?’ He said, ‘my boss is very rich, he will help you. Just tell me how much you need, I’ll get it for you!’
Of course, I wasn’t going to take from him, but his saying it was enough for me.
This is the kind of people they are.
Your take away:
Always keep staff who is recommended. Be straight, fair and just with them.
Be kind and supportive with your staff.
Do attend their life events. It means a lot.
Naturally, they too will attend your life events.
Understand how hard it is to manage in these times. Do as much financial support as possible. If cash isn’t possible, then give gifts. For instance, whenever they go on leave, hand them a gift to give the wife, or mother, so they don’t have to go home empty handed. (I’m sure most of us have so many things lying in our homes.)
Mansoor Rahi and Asrar Farooki gifted me paintings:
(Mentors and colleagues)
Yes! Actually. I’m so thrilled. Here I am so happy with them. Sir Mansoor Rahi gifts us with his paintings every year on his birthday on 1st January. It was the same this time too.
Later, on Asrar Farooqi who is known for his Rawalpindi cityscenes, offered to gift me a painting. It was too good an offer.
Your take away:
Stay connected with your mentors, give them their due respect and regard.
Do help your colleagues whenever possible. (Always do it for Allah’s sake.)
So, if they gift you with their blessings. Take it happily! 😉
Alhamdolillah, life can be good. So, keep thinking of these parts, while you get some nasty bits to bear in life.
Koi baat nahi, sab theek ho jata hai. Insha Allah. (Don’t worry, everything will be fine, God-willing.) If nothing else, there would be plenty of takeaways in the form of lessons to be handy for rest of one’s life! 😉
Stay blessed, my wonderful Reader. I’ve really grown to love you all. More so, for reading my blogs, even when they are soooooooo long!
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
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:
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!
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:
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!
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.
It was my birthday last year, and daddy asked me, ‘what age are you now?’ So, I didn’t say, ‘you should know!’ Instead I asked him ‘which age? My spiritual, Intellectual, emotional, physical one, or my experiences’ age?’ That gave me enough time to slip off as he was trying to figure out the complications of this question!
That’s what I mean.
We are not just our chronological age. We are so much more. It’s how we feel that really matters!
‘How do you get so much energy?’ I’m often asked. I’m nothing, I know people who are far more energetic. It is all a matter of focus, interest, and flow. It is a matter of knowing where you are going, and not letting other things/people get in one’s way.
In 1997, I had asked the same question from Dr. Farhat Hashmi. We were sitting in her office, in F-8/3. Her little son was moving around us. There was the sound of students outside, the hustle bustle of a typical Al-Huda Academy was on. I was interviewing her for my article in Dawn. I had spent a full day, at Al-Huda, with my friend Seema. I could see what a grueling time Dr. Farhat would be having managing it all. Yet, she looked serene and in control.
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?
Or is life something more?
What gives meaning to one’s life? What makes you feel that eureka moment, when you say,
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.’
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.
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.
There 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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 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.