My Latest Screen Writing Course.

What I’ve learnt through it.

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

As you know, my trip to Seattle was recently cancelled by the mysterious loss of passport. Two months earlier, while planning the trip, one of my top priorities was to attend a screen writing course in Seattle.  There was another one starting here in Islamabad too.

How I joined the course:

So, at first I wanted to attend both. (I wanted it all!) Then, I thought, ‘no, I’ll let this Islamabad one pass, and attend the Seattle one.’ At the last minute the Seattle one got cancelled, just in time for me to join the 101 Screenwriting Course in Islamabad. Phew! That was close. Already, three of my friends had enrolled due to me. So, I had friends there, I was thrilled. Doing something here in Pakistan, means that since I’m going to work here, so it was best (for now.)

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Lost Passport and Dealing with Loss

When my passport got lost, remembering other losses, I went on to my plan ‘b’.

In today’s world we are so well-organized and streamlined, that when the unexpected happens, we feel like grieving. We get upset and ask ‘Why did it happen to me?’ (Meaning,’I’m so perfect, why?’) It’s best to respond with:

‘So what?’

It is important to put things into perspective.

That done: move on to ‘plan B’.

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Café Garage – a refreshing addition.

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

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‘ Cafe Garage, is a new place in E-11,  which is quite interesting. It has a garage look and is called ‘garage’ too!’ My daughter mentioned it to me, some time back. I made a note, to check it out, and forgot about it. Recently, when I visited it, I found it quite fascinating. Apparently, it had its ‘soft launch’ in February 2018. It is a different kind of place, designed for the youth and youthful in mind.  I’m sure you’d love to know more about it.

Some days ago I got a text from Mahroosh, one of the partner/owners and we had a snack there. It turned out that their other partner Basil (who is an electrical engineer) is running the place. It was designed by their third partner Ebne Sajjad (Noni) who is an architect from NCA. I really loved its’ plan. So original, and it has several levels to it. The best part is that it is functionally designed, and has an open plan. So you can see the whole place from wherever you are sitting.

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How to Make Life Exciting.

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Almost every person I meet, he tells me he wants to do something special in his life. Something that will make him feel more satisfied and fulfilled. Believing in his talent, he finds its hard to pursue one’s interests due to lack of time. Often I’m asked, how I do it. There is nothing special, except having a few tricks to stay refreshed even when one is extremely tired. To find ways to do what one really likes, in spite of being busy. The trick lies in finding ways to get fresh and remove feelings of fatigue.

I mean, just look at Allama Iqbal, he  had two wives, children and a full time law practice. Yet, he came out with the greatest poetry and thoughts of his times. How did he do it? By making space for it, along with providing for his family through his profession. This blog post is all about how to make space for your passion in your life.

You do it – because your happiness depends on it- that’s why! 

You see, life is going to be crazy anyway. Do you think your life is less difficult for not doing all the ‘extra’ things that talented people do? Even if your life is nice, stable, routine but then there is this element of ‘missing’ excitement in it. You find yourself saying ‘I wish’ very often. So, I’d suggest you develope a life with more granting of your own ‘wishes’ (too).

One just needs to make an effort.

Plan better, and get going! Once you are on the road, you will feel better. As they say ‘himmat to karni parti hai.’ You cannot get anything without making the extra effort or cherry on the top!

So, if you are in a hurry, I will share my secrets first, and go on with my blog post for those who have more time to read.

Here are tips for all ‘normal’ activities:

Quickly go over the important responsibilities in your life, to make space for your passions in life.

  • Stop doing your work, ten minutes earlier. This will conserve your energy and give you more time in the end.
  • Try to ‘end’ your ‘work day’ by 5.00 pm every day. (if it is not completed, drop it.)
  • Make an effort to do something wonderful afterwards, at least once or twice a week.

 Refresh your self like this:

These will help you to keep going for it!

  1. Break: Take a ten-minute break and relax completely. (Mentally and physically.)
  2. Prayer: Best is to do wuzzu and say prayers – nothing so refreshing. While praying ask Allah to make things easy for you. (According to the Chinese acupuncture method, you touch points during wuzzu which will relax your nerves.)
  3. Shower: A quick hot or cold shower can do wonders. Unconsciously, you are giving a massage to your whole body like this, extremely refreshing.
  4. Make up and change of clothes: fresh clothes and make-up do wonders to your spirits.
  5. Perfume: you’ve heard of aroma therapy, it really works.
  6. Meditate: do it as you drive, or while lying down, or after prayers.
  7. Visualize a place: you can visualize being in a place that you love, (for me walking in a running stream in my bare feet is the best.) Specially visualize yourself doing what you are going to do now. Imagine how wonderful you will feel while doing it.
  8. Drink tea, coffee or lemonade: Any one of these can get you back on the road!
  9. Fifteen to twenty minutes: is all you need to get refreshed.
  10. Power naps: This can be ten to twenty minutes. One hour is the best. It will make you completely rejuvenated.

On Septemeber 25th evening, I was literally on the point of collapse, by 4.45 pm. I knew I had to wrap up the endless work of the day.  Then pick a friend and drive off to Rawalpindi for an event. A headache was coming on, and I could feel my neck’s left side muscles feeling strained. (Later on Ive found out it was due to high blood pressure – income tax returns does that!) So, I tried to get out of the event, (for a change.) The trip meant at least a three to four hour sojourn.

I rang up  Mrs. Gen. Saeed uz Zafar, who had invited me.

‘I’m so sorry, but I’m really not feeling well.’

‘It’s fine, you can come slightly late, but it will be worth it’ she said!

So, I refreshed myself by a few of the things mentioned above, and drove off. I have a theory, ‘once you have decided, then don’t think about it.’ That’s what Iqbal says:

 

 

Naila and my drive to Rawalpindi Garrison Mess: 

The moment Naila sat in the car, she said, ‘put that off! It will distract you while driving.’ I looked at my innocent DVD player in the dash board. I wanted to ask:  ‘Why do you think I bought this car???’- Yes for this dashing dashboard of course! –  So, I put off the screen, but kept the music going… telling her ‘I can’t drive without music.’ Which is so true.

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I took this pic while the lecture was on. My apologies to my friends sitting next to me! 😉

Naila and her family have just returned from attending a wedding in UK, so it was interesting conversation. She told me she had visited Daphne du Mauriers’ Jamaica Inn location in Cornwall. She even saw the desk where she sat and wrote. It is an actual Inn, in Cornwall, UK. I’ve literally grown up reading her books. Though I’ve loved Rebecca a lot but my favorites were Jamaica Inn and Scapegoat.

This is the conversation  we had as I drove on the signal-free highway. Then through the heavy traffic of Rawalpindi to Garrison Officer’s Mess. We got there, after parking the car literally in the ground near it, as the parking was full. (It used to be the cricket ground.  In 1980 I saw Imran Khan fielding near the pavilion. My friend Samia Khan and I were sitting in the VIP enclosure next to it. For the first time I had seen Imran Khan from close (about thirty feet away – and yes, he did look like a Greek god, like people had said. He did beat up the Kiwis the next day with his six sixes.) No wonder all the girls were so crazy about him!

The walk to the Garrison Mess became my evening walk. The building is charming and well kept as ever.  As I looked at the people playing tennis in the courts on my left, I remembered how  I had played tennis here too. (The coach was very impressed by me.) He didn’t know that I’m only doing it to reduce my weight, after the birth of Nataliya. Though she was only six pounds, I had gained a lot of weight. So much so, that my father-in-law joked with me saying, ‘khoda pahar, nikla chooha!’ It is a popular proverb meaning that we had to dig up a mountain to get a mouse! Don’t worry, I did get my weight back to normal.

Event by OAKS on Claiming Spaces from the Whirlwinds:

We entered the Fine Dining hall, which is more spruced up every time I see it, and the program was on.   Shama Apa came over to receive us. OAKS, Rawalpindi chapter had organized the event. They are a group of ladies who studied in Kinnaird College, Lahore. This event was based on three extraordinary women writers: Ismat Chughtai, Hijab Imtiaz Ali Taj and Quratulain Hyder.

It was a spell binding event. Touching upon the history of Muslim Women Writers of Sub-Continent of Indo-Pakistan, the speaker Salman Asif was fluent in Persian, English and Urdu. His accent and vocabulary in all languages was a treat to listen!  The presentation included many writers and it opened ones’ eyes to a world which was so modern and progressive! The women were of course mostly belonging to the elite and upper class, one was a pilot too! Some were queens and princesses during the Mughal era, which included the famous Queen Mumtaz for whom the Taj Mahal was built. Among the later ones Hijab Imtiaz Ali Taj, Ismat Chughtai and the famous author of Aag ka Darya: Quratulain Haider. The time span was between the sixteenth century till the late nineties;  the  hour passed in minutes, as we were in a trance. I’d love to invite him over to speak to our writer’s groups in Islamabad.

It isn’t possible to write about the lecture which was so amazingly done. Nor the inspiring women writers. How well versed they were in more than one language, one of them was even a pilot! Their skills in writing were matched by the lifestyles they had which were more modern and progressive than most of us today. I was so glad I went.

It is moments like these which make life so worth it. What I loved was Shama Apas’ tradition of gifting the speaker with a baby-tree of Silver Oak tree in a flowerpot. The group of ladies meet every month or so and call themselves the Silver Oaks.

Making space for passions in my life: 

In the same way, I’m so happy somehow I’ve managed to hold art classes at my Studio for select persons. Really enchanted with my student’s work.

Meanwhile, my daughter Nataliya came from Seattle. So, that was a lovely and busy spell. She also held a very engaging and well-designed workshop.  We all learnt a lot from her style of work and the way she managed the workshop. Of course, Waliya and I helped  her too.

https://www.facebook.com/shireen.gheba/videos/2168838996482714/

 

Through it all, I’ve read out the Holy Quran to my mother daily. In fact that is how we start our day, along with a cup of tea.

Screen writing Course by Mian Adnan Ahmad: 

These days I’m attending a  Screen Writing course in The Hive.  I’m just loving these. I’m so glad I went for it. By now I’m used to people asking me, ‘Why?’ and my response is: ‘why not?’

Why am I doing this course? So I can make films for the upcoming books in my pipeline. To make is easier to communicate ways to better our lives in this world. How we can be more productive and useful to each other.

When you put it into hours, days and weeks, it is very do-able.

So, why not start doing what you love to do? You are the captain of your ship. Go ahead and pamper yourself. (Remember, we do it without compromising the needs of our family members!)

We only get one life – lets have an amazing one.  No regrets, Baby!

I’m so happy my daughters also manage to get their passions fitted into their lives, just like their father did.  Here you see Waliya at work. Nadiya is a wonderful blogger and organizing expert too.

Note: Most photos and videos are mine, except the ones of Nataliya’s workshop which are courtesy Waliya Najib Khan. The picture of mountains and lake is by Nataliya (I think, or me!) Also, group photos of event in Rawalpindi, provided by Mrs. Saeed uz Zafar. The pictures of Daphne du Mauriur from Google search. Hope it is okay with them. i’m extremely grateful for these.

Staying Connected

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No matter where you choose to live, it is important to make time to be with your near and dear ones. It’s obvious why you left Pakistan (or whichever country you left) – for greener pastures abroad! Actually, you left your country for many reasons: Interfering ‘family network’, lack of punctuality, challenging job situations, flies, mosquitos, garbage heaps,  corruption, joblessness, class difference, witnessing poverty first hand, street children. Yes, I know, the list is endless.

But.

When you left, you found, that you had replaced these problems with other problems: So, instead of the class difference back home, you found a lot of racism in your adopted country. (Since when did a wheatish complexion turn ‘black’ or ‘brown’?) Receiving special treatment at airports sometimes, combined with extra questioning at immigration.  Many times you cannot ‘connect’ with the people, you feel so much loneliness. The big news is, there are crooks there too, and lots of office politics. So, you have to watch out.

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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:

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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.

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Friends are priceless!

How to have friends and keep them! 

944033_1085621968137761_8748986561140126853_n1-copyFriends!

Friends are some of the greatest treasures that we have. They play such a vital role in our lives. There are all types of friends in our lives. Some are very close, some are just acquaintances, the common factor is that you feel happy just being with them. They make a difference in the quality of our lives. They enhance and enrich us. Yes, having a true friend is priceless.

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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.

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Time Management for Creative People

 

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Promoting a creative mind and doing creative work is essential for growth and development. It is only the creative mind which can think outside the box and come out with innovative ideas. Such minds have the ability to get out of difficult life situations and problems. Their problem-solving instincts are best as they are daring enough to create solutions to problems which have never been tried out before.

What do you think was the ability of the Wright Brothers? All scientists, artists, musicians, poets have this ability. We have to help in this creative process within ourselves, and in those who are members of our family and community.

Here is a video during an exercise, where I asked them to discuss time wasters in their lives.

Being creative is the most powerful element in life. We must work hard to develop these qualities within ourselves. I’ve really wanted to conduct a workshop for all those who have creativity within themselves but do not know how to get it going.

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