Promises to myself

Do know, that I’m still fulfilling promises to myself, made several decades ago?

Actually!

This is how long it can takes, if you get too busy elsewhere, living your life.

Two promises:

1.     Help improve lives of poor people:

‘As God is my witness, I’ll make a difference in the lives of these poor people.’ I was nineteen, and witnessing the beating up of a poor man. At that time I was helpless, and unable to stop it. But inside my heart, I made this pledge. You see, it was a ‘crime’ for which the poor man was being beaten. His goat had been caught eating up a newly planted tree.

Most of the time, it is lack of knowledge, or plain ignorance, but then who is to blame for their ignorance? They are so poverty stricken they need help in every way. It is our obligation to raise them out of their ignorance, and provide skills to help them get out of their poverty.

We need to value their contributions in our lives. Especially, if they are so punctual!

Many  wealthy, educated and corrupt people get away Scot-free for such great crimes in this country. So, the justice system is also only for the weak, whether it is women, or poor people. So, I made a pledge, that day – yes, a promise to myself – to be fulfilled. Of course, I did whatever I could, whenever I could. But nothing spectacular.

Currently, the small scale of social work I’m doing is actually– fulfilling that promise to myself, made so many years ago.

2.      Bring Iqbal’s work to the youth:

This promise was made just a few years ago, when I was praying at the tomb of Allama Iqbal.  I felt so small and worthless. So, I promised myself, ‘I’ll use all my capabilities as an artist and writer, to bring Iqbal’s work into the hands of the youth.’

It is my belief that Iqbal’s poetry is great, and we are so small and unworthy. Yet, Iqbal  gives confidence to each one of us, to be the best that we can be, because we are Allah’s creations and our capabilities are awesome. How much of those capabilities are we using? So, as a teacher, writer and artist, I felt I was bound to do the best I can to bring his works into the hands of the youth of our country and the world. It is the best thing which can take us forward.

Just imagine, poetry to change lives. That powerful.

Promises:

We are very concerned with broken promises of others, what about the promises we make to ourselves? If we cannot keep our promises to ourselves, how can we expect others to keep theirs to us?

 

What about you, and your promises?

Did you make any promises to yourself? How well have you fared so far?

This is why, we should be careful with our promises, as we have to keep them.

Pari jab nazar apnay aibon par,

Nazar mein koi bura na raha.

 

(When I looked at my own faults,

Now, no one is faulty in my eyes!)

Stay blessed my dear Reader, Friday is a day to ponder.

 

Why care for the poor?

Helping the poor, is vital for our progress.

All of us are leading such ‘busy’ lives, there is no time for anyone else. – Neither do we have time for our family members, friends, or community members – what to say about helping the downtrodden!

Analogy of a ship:

Usually, a ship has three decks. The elite are kept on the highest level with all the luxuries. Then the middle deck, for the middle class. Finally – the lowest deck with the lowest ‘class’  in it.
Naturally, the ship’s lowest deck is near the bottom of the sea, if something happens, they will be the first to sink. Also, their ignorance can cause  a hole too;  The story is the same for all ‘lower socio-economic levels in all countries.

Look at how we are  ‘managing’:

The poor class of societies, earn by serving us, working in our homes and workplaces by making our lives better. They do this so well, that many of us don’t want to go abroad. (As I write, my domestic help is going out in this hot sun, to do my market chores, while I sit in this air conditioned room writing.)

Mismanagement of resources:

However, another paradox is also taking place; When we are handing over our resources in the care of the illiterate ‘helpers’, there is a great deal of wastage. We are not realizing that though we are careful with water, gas and electricity conservation, our staff are very careless. They haven’t been made to realize its implications.

We have to educate them to conserve  the world resources . This is why even the educated homes have the same issues of lack of preservation of resources, because we leave all our assets in the care of illiterate staff, and do not bother to train them.

Our gross attitude towards the lower class:

We’ve got to treat every human being with respect and regard. This is where it begins.
The concept of disregard of the poor people in our society begins from saying: ‘they are like dogs, treat them like dogs, they will respect you more!’  If you are going to talk to them, like this, how will things improve for them?
• We literally use and abuse them, in our homes, offices and factories.
• We are not caring of their human rights and make them work beyond humanitarian levels. (Believe me, this goes on in Western countries too, especially with illegal migrants! Also with other employees from underdeveloped countries, who do not know their rights or are too afraid to mention it!)
• When these poor people grow old and weak, we let them go.
• We do not train them properly, nor educate them. So when they are lacking in productivity we get harsh and disrespectful towards them.
• Yes, we help them occasionally, and then let them spend rest of their lives, being obliged to us.
• We are not careful of their times of sleep, rest or food. Nor give health benefits.
• In short we do nothing for them. Leaving them to their own meager resources.

How the underprivileged survive?

  1. No family planning: Since they they are on their own, so they manage by creating their own helpers, reproducing like rabbits:
    o In the hope that these ‘hands’ will help them as free labor in their lives.
    o Take care of them when they fall sick or when they grow old and helpless.
    o They will be sources of income, as beggars, and domestic help. Today, girls are given as domestic help to families  through agents.
    o At worst they can be sold off for adoption or even prostitution.
    o I’ve seen Sri Lankan maids in Kuwait and other Gulf countries as full time maids. Most are treated very badly, even sexually abused on regular basis. Of course, some are well-treated by good families.
    2. Health benefits:Through quacks in the field or genuine ‘hakeems’ or experts in herbal treatments which is a science of millions of years actually.
    3. Spiritual healing: by visiting shrines and going to ‘faqirs’, or bathing in streams with ‘magical’ powers, (actually having minerals from underground, as sulphur in Mango Pir, Karachi.) They find solace through these places and people. Every area has a ‘mazar’ or a ‘pir’ where they go in hoards. Yes, Pir Chinasi, Data Darbar, – the whole region is full of them. These are shrines of great saints who once lived in these regions who listened to the problems of the people. They managed to console them, and give them solace.
    Note: These people are still thirsty for that kind of love and care. Today, free food and solace is found in these shrines, hence the people go there in hoards.

    Need for solutions: 

1.  Resources in hands of illiterate and untrained staff:
o Train staff well,
o Supervise often,
o Strict rules and time tables in homes and offices.
o Surprise checks.
o Rules of rewards and punishments for adhering to them or not.
2.  Quality of work suffering due to distraction of social media at all levels:While in offices, shopping, doing personal work and holidaying, what are we doing? We are busy with our social media. Constantly. It has become an epidemic.

My message here:

The message here is to continue with charity work  intelligently. Lets do it with focused objectives.

1. Stop beggary by children:
o Give them food, (let’s take along a leftover food or snacks for them, clean drinking water too. But not give cash. Once these beggar’s guardians and parents realize it is not working, it is bound to stop.
o Instead, pay those organizations and persons who have schools for such children;
o Do volunteer work with such organizations .

2. Education and skill development:
o Individually: teaching them ourselves, or keeping a tutor at home to teach staff. Giving them on-the-job training. Run your home like an institution.
o Collectively: in your own community give monthly fees for at least one or more children.
o Invest in technical training: so they can become independent and earn.
3. Entrepreneurship courses:
Such short courses would be best for teenagers of both genders to be able to start their own small business or assist their parents. This can be done in schools as part of the curriculum.
4. Help in marrying off their children:
Marrying off children is the biggest dilemma of every person in these parts. Somehow these expenses result in debts for a lifetime. So, if one can help them in any small way we can, it is good. Especially to help single parents to marry off their daughters in a dignified way. This is how one can be of great help:
o Getting things for the bride or groom.
 Clothes (12 suits for girl or 6 suits for young man.)
 Items for house: utensils, household goods, even furniture if you have it.
 Food for the event. ( Even Rs.10,000 can make a difference.)
5. Help in construction of their house:
o Either for whole house, or pay for some materials, etc.
o The idea is to help them gain a secure roof over their heads.
6. Give them a layette for the baby: If an employee is in family way, facilitate by giving less heavy work during pregnancy, and clothes and items for new baby.
7. Pay for health problems, operations etc. I know many organization do it, but many don’t.
8. Paying for water pump installation: This could help provide water for their requirements.
9. Educate them in family planning: the facilities are there, but they aren’t effective. We have to sit and convince them
10. Paying for higher education like PEF (Professional Education Foundation): This is the best way, to give scholarships to deserving students from schools for underprivileged children. There are negligible facilities for them available right now.

  • Stay blessed! 

This Mother’s Day 2019

Hi, Everyone! Yesterday was mother’s day, and yesterday, I completed a milestone in my Instagram account – yes, the coveted 10 k followers! It happened so rapidly and suddenly. But what was more momentous was something that I shared in my stories, it was a message on mothers’ day for all mothers. Surprisingly, it had very good responses.

My message on mother’s day:

“Take care of your child yourself – do not leave this mothering to your mother, or mother-in-law and definitely not to your maid.”

This picture, taken with Nataliya was in Austria, when my husband and I traveled through Europe, seeing ten countries in twenty days, with my one year old daughter. We went by train, ferry, and buses all over the places. It was so much fun. So, I do walk my talk. my dear!

I’d like to add here…

Do not have children, if you do not have time for them. Don’t. Do not fall into that trap of people telling you to have children. As a principal and teacher, I’ve known a few mothers, who really didn’t like their kids; and constantly found them bothersome.

So, do yourself and them a favor!

Only have a child if you really want one.

 

Full time home makers:

It is not about leaving a job. I’ve seen full time home makers, who leave their children to the maids while they cook and clean and watch Indian films. They go shopping, leaving the children behind with maids.  I’ve even known some who left their small daughters with batmen to carry while they were busy.

I’m telling you mothering is no joke. So, if you are giving up a job to take care of your children, then please do take care of your children.

So, when you are home, you can’t afford much help. So you do almost all the housework yourself. This gives less time for mothering. Specially, you cook the food yourself, as my mother did. My father loved his food, and my mother made sure he got everything exactly as he wanted it.

In my husband’s case, I found out, he only wanted food within two minutes of his entering the home. He wasn’t interested in food. That was something that was hard for me to understand. He wanted it quick so he could change and go off to his squash courts or tennis courts. So, I learnt that very early in my married life. In the beginning  I cooked all the food myself – at least for first ten years or so – but then I started freelancing and working. My  mother-in-law instilled in me that you have to train your staff to take care of the kitchen too. Then I got a proper cook, whenever I could. That is how Abdul Rahim started working at my place, part time. He was the Head cook at the PAF officer’s mess. He literally moonlighted to work at my home in his spare time. He was a brilliant cook, so we had the best kind of food at our home. He became like a family member. Even then, I also cooked special dishes for my husband and children.

Whatever the case, while I swept the floors when my maid didn’t come, or did other household chores, my main focus was my children. As soon as they grew up, they had to help me take care of household chores too.

So, actually, I started teaching because of them, and because I got those teaching offers way too often! I realized, that my love for my own children took me to love my students as well. It was a job that I truly loved. I’d be working with other’s children while my children went to school. – Most of the time I’d end up in the same school!

So you are a career woman:

Then try to go for jobs where they have the day care in the premises. That is better as they have qualified people there, you can watch your children on your phone, and you can peep in and be with them in between. That is also good. Perhaps I would have gone for it, if it was there in those days. But I have my doubts also. I cannot bear anyone else touching my child with their unclean (nose-picking, and foot massaging) hands.

So, I didn’t take a job after my marriage for eight years. Even later on,  I gave up my jobs several times for the sake of my children, even teenagers.

I truly enjoyed being my with children. Believe me, after marriage with my MSc degree in Home Economics, I had job offers in college nearby. But even then, I preferred to be at home to get my bearings as a fresh homemaker.

If you already have a career and want to pursue it:

Then stop reading this blog post. Or, as I’d say, ‘take a break!’ It is too frustrating taking care of both a career and a baby. It can only succeed if one of them is not too pressurizing.

Keep things in perspective – this is your life:

Somehow, in your twenties and thirties, you seem to believe that ‘this is all there is!’ I don’t blame you – media is responsible for it. Even I felt so.  Actually, that is all nonsense! You have your whole life to do all that you want to do.

There is a time to do certain things at certain times of your life. So it is important to know, ‘what is the most important thing for me to do at this time of my life.’

Only you can answer this one.

Look at your life span:

I mean, just look at it. My father passed away at 92 years old recently, my mother is 85 years. Even now she is mothering, and giving me support and is company to me. So a mother’s job is never done. Look here at the full length of your life:

 

_____10_________20________30________40_________50________60_________70________80________90_________100 years.

This is your life expectancy,  (- or it will be, by the time you reach there!) So, the years you take care of your baby are so few, compared to the rest of your life. Can you see? I mean you take a break of about six to seven years to complete your family and then go back to your career. Take this time as a break. Just enjoy your children, and bring them up the way you want. All I’m saying is that you keep your child with you for the first four to five years.

Remember, a job is a job:

You are ready to put your child in peril for a job where you can be ‘downsized’ in a second. Where the moment you mention leaving, your replacement will be there in a minute! You are leaving the main part of your day with your child,  jeopardizing your role as a mother – a role which will be there – even after your death. All this for a role in a job which can be taken away at any time!

We both are aware of the job situation these days.

Upgrade yourself during this break:

I’ve always been member of a library when my children were small, also I’d indulge in books more than clothes. So, I’d keep myself abreast of the latest information in my field. You are so lucky, you can do it so easily now. Just use the YouTube and Google to stay well informed about your field of interest. Insha Allah when you return to your job, you will be far ahead of your friends there! (During the drudgery of work-life, you seldom get the time to upgrade yourself.)

Do, take mini-courses whenever you can along with attending workshops. You can easily do online courses too.

How to deal with your finances:

Yes, I was thinking of writing this in another blog post. – But why not here?

Okay, here are some ways:

  1. Know that your Child doesn’t need expensive things: Know that it isn’t for your child that you need to spend the money. It is just to please the ‘others’. Your child is very happy being with you. All those branded items are to impress the ‘others’.
  2. Staff: So, you do not need so much staff. You do the work better and quicker by yourself.
  3. Gifts: You can do crafts at home, like take up painting to give gifts to friends etc. (You can imagine how many paintings I did for my kids to take for their friends’ birthdays!) Even as wedding gifts.) Having more time on your hands you can make use of bargains.
  4. Clothes: You don’t need as many clothes, as most of these are for work place.
  5. Saving on Petrol: You save on commuting cost, all those daily trips to and from the office cost a lot.
  6. Grow your own vegetables: If you have green fingers, this is a good way to grow salads and vegetables in flower pots inside and outside your home.
  7. Do savings and better planning: Invariably, at a job you spend far more, for your colleagues, their birthdays, and the parties in the offices, for which you pool up. You do all that even when you don’t want to.
  8. Let your husband support you: As he was designed to do.  There is a strong belief that a man must not get too used to being supported by your income. It invariably has a negative effect on his natural psyche. So, it is good that way too.  Just avoid being too demanding, please.

Best book to help you through:

Another good way is to start your own business at home. The book Barefoot Executive by Carrie Wilkerson, tells you how. So, you can keep an eye on your children, and run your own business too. This is one of the best options. You can find her interview on YouTube here:

Many examples in our own set up:

Happily, I found several young mothers who reached out, telling me about their experiences. It is important to be proud of yourself. You are doing the greatest thing on earth. Getting paid is never an issue.

Tamania of Urdu Mom is one. Here has her YouTube Channel.  She is a great example of what I’ve done all my life. To enjoy what you are doing while being there for your children in their most vulnerable years of life. She has many different videos one of them is here also.

Going back to your career, as your children start their schooling:

This is an interesting one, as you need to find a job where the timings suit your children. Yes, that is how I got into the teaching business. See if you can find a job other than teaching which has timings to suit your children’s school timings! Well, a good one could be that you go to offices, and collect work and then work at home later on when your children are asleep. That was my freelance work with Dawn and other magazines and dailies. Then I painted, and held exhibitions when possible. That too could be done taking my children with me.

Being there for your child:

Honestly, what could be a better time than now for all that you dreamt of? You can text, have skype chats with your children, keep cameras in your home and what not. But it is dangerous to leave your child at home alone with a maid. It is not safe. Your maid is also born in these times, she knows exactly where to do her dirty work, away from the camera. So, don’t be too confident.

I’ve known of maids who wouldn’t let the child touch her toys, so she won’t have to put them back! So she would make the child sit with her and watch all those awful movies and programs on television which you wouldn’t let your child watch!

So, from that point of view a day care is better, but one in which you can step in and take a look always.

Best is a work which is welcoming to children. As an administrator I’d always encourage people to bring their children in, if needed.

I’m so happy to see at the CSS school, that the maid and chawkidar have their small children with them in school. They take care of them while they work. You see, they will work better if they are not worried about their children. You should do the same. We, as administrators in such institutions need to be more caring too.

Phew!!! What with everyone asking me how I brought up my children, so I wrote that one here. Now, they want to know more, so that is why I’ve written this one.

Let me put it in this way, keep your children with you, as much as possible.

You will be blessed my Reader, knowing you did your best. Then leave it all to Allah.

Note: Some photographs from my personal albums, and the rest taken from my Nataliya’s photography page on Facebook.

 

 

 

Living within glass walls.

It is about the glass walls that we are living in.

No, you don’t realize that you are living in it, but you are. We all are actually living within compartments made of these glass walls. Occasionally, we share the compartment with others.

Mostly, we live separately.

Actually, no one knows about it. Only you and I do.

Glass walls of prejudice, hatred, and misunderstandings. We just cannot understand anyone living in the other compartments. In some cases, we ourselves were living in some of those. But through time,  or circumstances, we shifted unknowingly. Now, it is about ‘them’ and ‘us’!  Childhood, teenage, adulthood. We kept shifting. Now, we cannot understand other children, teenagers, or adults or even anyone who is more than a few years older or younger than ourselves. In fact, many times not even those who are of our age, but just don’t think like us! Hmmmph.

The problem is we cannot understand anything about the other ones. Just don’t.

So, we look at the ones living around us in their compartments of glass;  professionals, non-professionals, city-dwellers, villagers,  third-world country people, developed world country people, ‘whites’, ‘colored’, Asians, Europeans, Far Easterns, Americans  and what not!

We all live within glass walls. Sometimes we move in between them without knowing it. Sometimes we have them between ourselves and our fellow humans.

 

It can easily be your own family members.

So, the big problem is that no matter how much we try, we cannot ‘understand’ them. Not at all. The differences have grown so much. So, in spite of watching many on a daily (and even hourly basis), we still do not understand them.

How can we understand each other?

What is it that can penetrate these steel invisible walls of glass?

Only one thing can!

That one thing is:

Love.

The same love that Iqbal and Rumi have been raving about. When you love, the walls fall down magically. Suddenly, we can feel the ‘loved one’s ‘ pain, sorrow, and difficulties.

Love does conquer all.

Those who are loved, and have love for others, they are the blessed ones. They are the ones who have no glass walls around them, because their love for others has simply penetrated through these walls. Now, they can understand all.

It isn’t logical but it is true.

With their love they feel, and can let others feel too. That love which is so powerful that it wins over all hurdles, and ‘compartments.’

Love.

Love for the creations of the Creator.

Stay blessed, my  Reader.

PS:  Hey, I love it when one of you comes over to me and talks to me, telling me she or he reads my blog posts. We really need to connect. Thank you so much Faqeha (not sure of your spellings) for reaching out the other day. Love you. Take care of yourselves, you are special and very precious.

Self-talk II

Somehow any place of worship always makes you think deeply. 

Recently, you’ve heard me talk a lot about self-talk. Previously, it was to help in healing, here. We both know, it isn’t only about healing. It is definitely much more.

Young artist  Raha with her sketch. 

Whether we think about it or not; We are definitely thinking. We know that ultimately, what we think is what we end up doing! It is going to affect how we react, to our situations and what we do with our lives.

So, isn’t it wiser to be aware of what we are thinking, to know where we are going?

A lot of our time,  we are thinking about things people say to us. In our country, everyone is telling us what we ‘should’ think. If we aren’t careful, we get bullied and pushed around. Then we end up feeling cornered. Much later, we realize, that had we thought the right thoughts at the right time; Perhaps we wouldn’t have taken certain steps which led us to so many gross problems.

Let me tell you about my friend Nazneen,  (of course this isn’t her real name!) So,when she got engaged, her fiancé suggested that they get a flat of their own. She said,

‘No, we mustn’t do it, your family will think that I’ve asked you to do this and separated you from your family, even before I’ve arrived!’ Anyhow, when she mentioned this to me, I said,

‘Let him go ahead with it, you know that it was his idea.’ But no, she felt it wouldn’t be right. She didn’t let him go ahead with it. I knew what a joint family looked like. So, she didn’t know what she was talking about. She got married, and went into joint-family. Let me tell you they were a good family – nothing wrong with them –  but the girl has to sacrifice her own life for them.

Fast forward twenty five years.

She tells  me, ‘Shireen, I wish I had listened to you then.  So this is how I spent my life:  

Apnee zindagi guzar dee,

…… kissi aur nay!

Prologue to her story: The couple did separate from rest of family, ultimately. Her fiancé had been right, she should have agreed with him. So much of their life’s sufferings could have been avoided.

So,  anyhow. Let me go on. I’ve done some research on Self-talk and this is what I’ve come up with:

Four types of thoughts:

  1. Catastrophizing:  This is the typical situation where you end up thinking of the worst thing that can happen. ‘What if I fail?’ ‘What if I face humiliation?’ ‘What if people find out?’  With such thoughts you only immobilize yourself before even beginning a project. Amplifying anxiety and depression in the process.

What to do: A good comeback is ‘so what?’ Also, know that ninety percent of things one is afraid of, don’t happen. If they do, what can you do anyway? Also, be confident,you will be able to manage things whatever happens.

  • Blaming: This is very common. Either one blames one’s self for things that were actually out of one’s control. Or, one blames others for what happened to you.  It is vital to control your thoughts, otherwise, you will hold yourself responsible for most of the problems in your life, even the ones for which you aren’t responsible. On the other hand, when you keep blaming others for what happens in your own life, then you are putting the responsibility on others too. So, you cannot do anything about it. So, then how can you make a change?

What to do: I would say, ‘just stop it!’ Blaming others means that you can’t do anything about it, nor will you. Blaming one’s self all the time, means that you are going to take responsibility for things you didn’t do either. So, just be balanced. Do what you can, and move on. Give one problem a time constraint, and then get on with your life!

  • Rehashing: This is when you keep replaying something awful that happened in the past. Everything that happens in the present somehow triggers an unpleasant memory in the past. So you’ve got to be mindful of it. This scenario is more so in cases of death in the family. You keep replaying the scene again and again. Whereas you need to replay the life of the person in your mind, and celebrate it.

What to do:    In other words, you are carrying a lot of ‘baggage’ with you. I’d say, ‘drop it, at once.’ Oooops! I better say this to myself also. A psychologist told me, that one good way to do it is to write it all down once and for all. Then tear it into pieces, and throw it into a river or sea. Other way is (what I do sometimes, if I think it would be of use to you, I publish it in my blog post!) In the case of a death, instead of talking about how the death happened, talk about the person’s life. 

  • Rehearsing: This is when you are planning something in the future, and keep thinking about it.Visualizing it again and again.

What to do:  So, till it happens, there is really no point in dwelling on it. During a painting exhibition of mine, Saeed Akhtar said to me, ‘An idea is nothing till you have executed it. So, do not talk about ideas.’ The same thing Zaheer Salam the country’s largest publications’ owner once said to me, ‘do not talk about an idea, till it is executed!’ So, I’ll just say, ‘stop it!

Other forms of self-talk:

Though the above four points might seem enough, but personally I feel that prayers have a lot to do with self-talk too. Sometimes, you talk to your God, like you talk to yourself. He is all the time a witness to that conversation going on inside, and you often talk to Him too. Since He is apparently silent, you often talk to Him directly too, and let yourself hear this conversation.

Prayers:

So, I think prayers are a beautiful form of self-talk. One can do it often. I’m sure you must have seen how He makes those things ‘happen’ and you have that eureka moment and look up, knowing who was behind it. Since He was the only One who knew about what you had wished for. Subhan Allah!

Planning:

Your step by step planning of any activity or event, or life situation is itself a methodical and logical way of dealing with issues or situations on your mind. This is very important and can be done in journals or your home management diary or personal file in your laptop – whatever you call it. This too is a type of self-talk.

Doing self-talk while looking into the far distance brings greater depth in one’s thinking process. So many things become clear, which weren’t so, earlier. 

Situations’ talk:

Just now I spoke to Hajra Mansoor. She has had an elbow fracture a while back. She was on her way home from hospital. When I heard this, I said, ‘I’ll talk later.’ She was fine, and in good mood. Ready to deal about any issue or situation at hand. I was just doing some work on her behalf. So, you see she is unperturbed, and not bothered by ‘small’ roadblocks that life puts on the way.

When Hajra Mansoor and Mansoor Rahi were to be chief guest at my book launch and painting exhibition; That day, there was a lot of disturbances on the city roads. Many roads were blocked, and some mullahs had threatened violence and what not. Neither I nor they were perturbed. We went ahead with our function. They calmly found a route to reach the AQS Gallery and came as chief guests.

This is the result of self-talk. When you say to yourself, ‘no matter what happens, I’m going to go ahead with my work.’ And you simply go ahead. You don’t mind that only half the people were able to attend the event. Fine!

Similarly, when my father passed away. I’ve made up my mind, not to grieve for too long. Instead of thinking of the death of my father, I’ve decided to think of his life! How he lived, and what I’ve learnt from it. To celebrate his living, and to give sadqa regularly. This is what I did when my husband passed away too.

Go ahead, do the effective and practical self-talk for yourself, and get yourself out of your situation.

Last important point in self-talk:

When there is a time of deep disturbance in your life, but you have decided to stay within it. Then self-talk will help you get through this also. Just make up your mind to not get damaged by it . Protect yourself from inside. Whatever someone says to you, tell yourself:

‘It is coming from them, I am not going to let it affect me. I will not react, as it is not worth the bother!’ Stay blessed and protect your self through self-talk.

Recently, there has been this killing of 49 Muslims in a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. What kind of self-talk was that killer doing? So, you can see how powerful self-talk can be. It can save you and help you save other’s lives. Paradoxically, it can kill others, and will finally get himself killed too. 

This is the power of self-talk. So, it has to be curtailed, controlled and used positively. Most illnesses are the result of stress, which can be caused through negative self-talk. 

As Wasif Ali Wasif said: ‘problems are not caused by situations, but by what you think about those situations!’ (Mushkilat halaat ki wajah say nahi, bulkeh khayalat ki wajah say hoti hein!)

Epilogue: 

Had I not done self-talk, today, I’d be in my parents’ home. Now, I’m in my own home. I refused to listen to everyone else, when my husband died. I lived in our own house, even if it meant living here alone, with my young daughter. I faced court cases, lived in a freezing home without gas. I paid every price necessary or unnecessary, finally succeeding in being where I wanted to be. I was clear about following my heart, and doing what I believed in. Self-talk my dear!

Stay blessed and protected by positive use of self-talk. 🙂 

Realization & writing journals.

‘It’s a quality of prophets to realize….’ said Dr. Muwaddat Rana, a leading Psychiatrist of Pakistan. 

Realization:

Realization is to look within ourselves, to ‘see’ our own shortcomings, and then to find ways to improve ourselves.

Simple!

Until we don’t realize where we went wrong, we can never remake ourselves, nor improve our future relationships.  You can say or do what you like, but it won’t work.

See how two Prophet’s felt it:

Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) case:

I’m sure you’ve heard of the woman who brought her child to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), saying, ‘she has too many sweets, please tell her to stop.’ He asked her to return next day. When she came, he told the child not to have sweets. Surprised, she asked ‘why he didn’t say the same yesterday?’ He said,

‘Till yesterday, I was having too many sweet eatables myself.’

How can one tell others to do something, which one doesn’t follow oneself?

This is realization.

It was Hazrat Younus, who prayed:

one of the most powerful prayers you can say. 

Realizations in relationships:

It is the most important thing in maintaining our relationship with anyone. To make sure nothing happens, and when it happens, to realize, and redeem. It is vital to restore the situation and relationship by making changes in one’s own behavior; you need to take steps to show what you are feeling. Your realization needs to be evident not only in words but by actions too.

Sometimes, a simple ‘sorry, I love you.’ Doesn’t work. More has to be done to redeem a relationship.

I know, among Christians, redemption takes on a strong connotation, but you know what I mean. I could use the word ‘restore’ also. But redemption is a little more than that. It is to make up for the wrong you did by doing that little extra bit too. That is what I feel and believe. Even Allah says if you are sorry for having done something wrong, as the person for forgiveness. (He won’t forgive till that person has forgiven either.) You can feed the poor, or fast for two months, too.

 You need to do something tangible to show you are really sorry, and to prove your realization.

Journaling or keeping a diary helps:

Journaling is an excellent tool to look at your own self and ‘see’ the connotations. It makes a difference.

Write about both happy and sad things while journaling:

I’ve kept a diary since I was thirteen years old. Believe me, it helps. So, all my life, I’ve done a lot of journaling. The only thing I now realize, I did wrong was, that I wrote ferociously when I was upset, unhappy or wronged. But hardly ever wrote, when I was ecstatic or happy. So, later on, if I read my diary, one felt as if there have been more unhappy times that happy ones    – which I know isn’t the case – so, while journaling, one’s got to keep balance.

Blaming others doesn’t help:

Blaming others and pointing out their mistakes and shortcomings, will never help you. Realize, where you went wrong. How your reactions could have made a difference. Being proactive earlier, can change consequences. I mean, next time, if you have realized,  you can preempt situations and save them before they get bad. Changing and improving your own behavior definitely will make a difference. That only comes after realization.

Otherwise,  you can go on making the same mistakes, and facing the same consequences all your life. If you don’t realize, it won’t happen.

Then you ask,

 ‘Why do such things happen to me?’

Bullet journaling;

Life is fast, time is short. You can do bullet journaling. I like it too. You can even try both – depending on your mood and time at hand – just write five points daily.  Great personalities including several US presidents, wrote a diary at night, going over the day. Seeing where they went wrong, and how they can improve matters next day.

Best thing about journaling;

Also, by writing, you can look at an issue from many angles. This is Edward De Bono’s concept of wearing the six hats. That is you look at an issue from six different points of view.

I’ve found just writing the pros and cons of something, or problem and solutions works pretty well too.

Some things, can’t be felt when someone else tells you. But you can realize it. When you look at your actions, ‘seeing’ how it happened. Then prepare a  step-by-step redemption plan.  You can say ‘I was wrong, and go up to the person say you are sorry. Not only that; Your behavior afterwards can show it, on a daily basis.

Worth the effort:

Believe me, if I find out that I’ve not spoken nicely to my cook or domestic help, I’ll go to him and ask him to forgive me for having hurt him. It isn’t easy cooking in such extreme temperatures. To come all the way, and then to get comments that hurt. So what, if there was too much salt in the food, one could have said the same thing in a nicer way too. Also, not in front of others. There are opportunities  for putting things right. So, asking for forgiveness needs to be done as quickly as possible.

Journaling is good for one’s EQ:

In today’s language you could say that a diary or journal is good for one’s EQ – your emotional quotient. There is so much talk about IQ. – When in fact one needs to have a high emotional quotient too. If you read the book Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, it stresses the importance of having an outlet for your emotions. A way to understand one’s self and to know why and how one feels the way one does.

In the book Working with Emotional Intelligence, the writer specially stresses how much people are affected by what they feel, rather than what they know. Most actions are fueled by anger, hatred, and feelings of revenge. – Whereas, it can be conquered by feelings of love and forgiveness.

The Amygdala:

Location of Amygdala. 

The amygdala in the brain is an important almond shaped part which controls our feelings. How important it is to nurture this, and how it affects our actions in our lives.  The feelings can be controlled by our own journaling and realizations.

How to do Journaling:

My diary. 
  1. Privacy: Your diary is yours. It is no fun if you can’t write what you feel, because you are afraid someone will read it. So, privacy is a matter of concern living in such an over populated country full of nosy people.  It shouldn’t be read by anyone. I can understand why one is afraid that one’s siblings will read it and then make fun of you. So, it is a mutual thing. You all respect each other’s right to privacy and guard each other’s right for it. Of course, you can use code words when you write delicate matters and no one will understand. Or you use diaries which can be locked. Yes, you can get them.  Or have a hidden file in your laptop. It is important to have your diary where you can express yourself. Mainly to write things frankly, and only then can you use it to realize where you have gone wrong in life. Then find out how to make it better. 
  2. Regularity: it doesn’t have to be a daily thing. But not an annual one either! So, usually one writes every few days.
  3. Make it a scrapbook:  If you take the trouble to put in your memorable things like pressed flowers, the ticket of a favorite show, or other personal things into it, along with photos and what not. It becomes even more interesting.
  4. Keep it easily accessible: It has to be near at hand, so you can write in it whenever you feel the need to. Best place is a lockable drawer in your bedside table. Orin your cupboard, or even in your bookshelf. Whatever, place you feel is good enough, and where it won’t be touched.
  5. You can have rituals with  special time & place: Sometimes having a scented candle burning while you write, or soft music feels great. Having a time, like first thing in the morning or last thing at night when it is your ‘me time’, then you are free to write. It can take five minutes or thirty minutes – as you like.
  6.  Agenda: Usually it is something that you can’t discuss with anyone else, you discuss with yourself here.
  7. Facing shortcomings:Do write what you want to improve about yourself and how you plan to go about it.
  8. Love yourself: As you do whatever you do, be kind to yourself, and loving too. Praise and acknowledge your journey.  

OMG you are still reading! Love you so much for reading all this way.

Stay blessed, lovely and handsome ones.  

Social Media & My Playlist

A better entertainment alternative to television …

You need oxygen from flowers too!

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

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

 I knew she would be going a long way.

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

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

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

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

Very few people learn to control it.

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

How to find ways to succeed with it.

Ask yourself:

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

Honest answers to these questions will help you.

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

Positive impact of social media:

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

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

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

Personal experience of yesterday:

How I found our cat through social media.

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of my favorite tunes while working on these blogs. 

Success stories of saving lives:

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

So, it has saved lives.

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

Where genocide of Muslims had crossed all limits.

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

Policemen have been caught and so have the crooks.

Yes, Social Media is powerful and can save lives.

Negative impact of Social Media:

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

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

Watching motivational videos:

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

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

Entertainment is a serious business.

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

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

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

Keep these sanity points while using social media:

Just for your peace of mind:

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

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

My favorite playlist of music and other videos:

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

Classic Plays by Haseena Moeen:

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

Sameena Peerzada interviews:

  • Ushna.
  • Mohsin and many others.

Self help and motivational videos:

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

Music:

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

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

Love this song!

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

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

Eid Preparations’ check list.

 

No matter how well organized you are, Eid comes as a bit of a surprise. As I write, Eid hasn’t been announced even at 11.00 pm Pakistan time, on June 14th,2018. So, obviously, Eid won’t be on fifteenth June here.

A couple of hours ago, as I was busy doing up the home for my last minute preparations for Eid. I thought why not share this experience with you? I just love doing up the home for Eid. Here is a checklist:

1. Clean house properly. I’m sure you have checked the house from inside out. Got every room properly cleaned. Specially the fans. Made the gardener prune the plants. Shifted the indoor and outdoor plants a little. Removed all burnt out leaves and got the place fully cleaned.

2. The clothes are all ready and hanging in the cupboards. You must have done them up two days ago. Yes, couldn’t get the right shoes, but there are so many in the cupboard, I’m sure at least one pair will do fine. Check out the accessories, handbag, perfumes etc.

3. Food is the main concern: So, the menu has to be good enough for snacks and a meal, if some guests decide to stay, because you can’t resist insisting! Haleem is a good one, as it goes for a snack as well as a meal. As far as proper lunch is concerned, I love Chinese food, as it is light. Hope you got it ready or can get home delivery.

Check out from the restaurant, if they do home delivery. Otherwise, a good old pizza is also good enough! Just be kind to yourself and avoid last minute cooking and being in a hot kitchen. Fresh fruits are the best, as these are healthy and wonderful. If there are lots of guests in house and more are expected, then something wholesome like biryani, karahi or haleem would be good. Please be practical. Please do not insist on people having the food if they don’t want to.

4. A touch of panache: Tea-candles, sparkly lights, and lots of plants and flowers everywhere, really make a festive look. If you don’t have enough fresh flowers, put some artificial flowers into the different arrangements. So, your one bouquet of flowers can go a long way, if you use it smartly.

5. Set your own mood first: I know you are a bit nervous, wondering if the food will be enough, if the house is looking okay or not, perhaps angry with your tailor for messing up your clothes a bit. No one will notice if you keep that blazing smile of yours full on. You were too busy with your job/activities/praying and taravia routine/ daura-e-Quran/ social work. Now, with Eid on one’s head, only one day to go you are wondering where to start. Set the mood of yourself and your home in order. It is time to relax and enjoy it all.

6. Visiting list: Do visit all those family members or friends who lost a family member during last few months. So, this is their first Eid. You can start your visiting session from their home. Also, if there is a person who is alone, because his or her children are abroad, or has some problem, you can invite the person over for lunch. In short, be kind to someone.

7. Gifts: Getting nice gifts for family members with cards is a very good gesture. No matter how much you can afford or be able to do for them, it is the thought that counts. Have nice games, and favorite dishes cooked so everyone feels loved and happy.

8. Sharing joys of Eid: I’m sure you gave new clothes to all your staff, and also to others in your community. Keep things within limits. Do not get pestered by bullying beggars and staff members. Remember, the ones who are silent, may be in greater need.

9. Be kind to your staff: If you are lucky enough to have them with you, plan in such a way, that they are not put through too much stress. Ease the systems in your home. Have self-help table arranged, so everyone just helps themselves. When you go visiting, let them have leave, so they too can go visiting. Lock up the house, put on your alarm system.

10. Texting and phoning loved ones and acquaintances: Try to call your close friends and relatives, if possible. Send a text if it is inevitable. Preparing a special text which you can share them with almost everyone is a good way to manage.

11. No phone: Please give more attention to your loved ones sitting next to you. Put that phone aside, and have eye contact while talking to your friends who have come all the way to meet you, rather than with your phone!

12. Have a blessed Eid: Do say the Eid prayers in the mosque or at home. Make it a special Eid, life is too short to be wasted, sleeping it out. Eid Mubarak!

Note: Photographs by author of house of Haroon and Uzma, and her own home.

 

Take it easy!

A lot of the toughness in my life is caused by me!

 Seriously, I am my own worst enemy. So many of the things that are driving me crazy weren’t necessary in the first place! I mean I could have achieved my goal with just half the effort!

Why did I over-do it?

Was it worth it?

I learnt this lesson once, when I was in Kuwait and cooking a new dish for a dinner. It took me two days to make all the preparations for a dish with almonds and chicken. Then there was another dish I made called Mexican Chicken – which took just ten to fifteen minutes to cook. Believe me, no one noticed my ‘special’ dish, and everyone went for my Mexican Chicken asking me how I made it, as it looked tasty amazing!

Wow. I learnt my lesson there and then. Out went that recipe from my file, and the Mexican Chicken remained and ended up in my Recipe book, later on.

I guess, it was a simple formula of Physics I had learnt about efficiency: ‘Input is equal to output’. So, if the input is too much, and output isn’t that much, then chuck out the whole project. Be mindful of this, at all times. Your efforts have to be proportional to the output.

It is the same with most things.

But you see there are many aspects to a thing. You have to see if it is worth it or not. Sometimes, some long-drawn-out things are worth it. For instance, it took over twenty years to publish my latest book,- simply because it is important. So, no regrets.

So, the lesson is:

It better be worth it, or chuck it!  

 

Last year, when I met Fairy in Lahore, she mentioned this. Her mentor told her:

‘One should remain within one’s limitations.’ (The Urdu word is a beautiful one, istata’at.) So, this goes into all facets of one’s life. For instance, when we talk of relationships; most wives are upset with husbands, ‘look at all that I’ve done for you! I did this, I did that, I even went and did so many more things that weren’t my duty, but I still did it. “You didn’t appreciate any of it!” you say, angrily. Well, (wisely,) he keeps quiet.

But he could have said, ‘Sweety, did I ask you????’

No!

No one asks us. We just go out of our way doing things for our loved ones and even the not-so-loved-ones at the workplace etc.. Then we get exhausted, lose temper, feel unappreciated and end up hating everyone.

So, I guess, the point is: do as much as is needed.

Then stop it.

That’s all.

No one asked you to do more, so don’t do it.

But

If you do, then do it for God’s sake, and don’t expect any ‘reward’ from the person. Allah says in Quran that you should never remind the person whom you have done favors for, about all that you did. Otherwise, it will all go to waste.

The more you think of it, you realize how this approach of overdoing things literally goes into EVERYTHING IN OUR LIVES.

Things, relationships, work and even fun!

So, while doing anything, keeping a sensible ‘limitation’ or ‘scope’ of the relationship/work/play at hand is essential.

 

For instance: one religious scholar said that only ‘farz’ prayers are needed. The rest we are saying on our own. With the result, other scholars have made praying so complicated that then people end up even leaving out the ‘farz’ prayers.

The price of doing all those extras is too high – this is what we have to realize – so, due to these extras the actual task gets left out.  Just look at it! Is it worth it?

The expenses  of marriages ceremonies are so much, that people keep delaying the function. Though it wouldn’t cost much, if one went for the essentials. My mentor Mahjabeen married off her son within forty days of the death of her own daughter’s death. The situation was such that the son had to go to USA for further studies, and she wanted him to get married and take his bride too with him. So, it was all done in a hurry. She held the Waleema ceremony in her home, it was lunch time. Due to shortage of space, she asked us to ‘eat and leave.’ When I took the salami to her, she asked me to hand it to the bride, without even looking at it. That was it. It was a simple function. No extras, just the essentials. In fact, she didn’t even let the girls’ side give food, she herself arranged the food. She believes the food is for the boys’ side to give to the guests, so it is a Waleema. She applies everything to herself first of all. This is why no one minded, in fact everyone admired her guts for holding a function exactly as she wanted to do, according to the beliefs she herself proclaims. She wholeheartedly invited us through word of mouth, and we happily went along. We felt happy that she had remembered us at this happy time in her life.

Awesome!

The point is: Keep the objective in mind.

(I have a feeling I’m writing this blog for myself more than for you.) Whatever I do, I get carried away. But let me tell you, it is fine to get carried away, if you are doing it as a big ‘thank You’ to the One Above for blessing us so much.

Then it is OK. But let me tell you, He too, only expects within our capabilities. Even He doesn’t demand more from us than what we are easily capable of doing.

So, why go overboard?

It will make life much more bearable all round, if you focus on the important stuff only:

  1. Do what is necessary – stick to the compulsory question first.
  2. Prioritize. That is from an importance, urgency, and value point of view. Start with the most important first, (many urgent things are not so important.)
  3. While doing each task, do the basics and go on to the next point. Instead of getting carried away with the first task and leaving out the others. Give time limitations to each task.
  4. Do keep aside those things to do, which are worth the effort. For instance, one’s writing and other such aspects of life, will stay in this world even after we are gone. So, they are worth it, and should be done as ‘sadqa-e-jariya.’ But then, keep a separate time-slot for creative work.
  5. Do anything extra for God’s sake. But remember, how much He will expect from you? Yes, only what is within your capabilities!

Stay blessed my wonderful Reader. Take it easy, and you will be blessed!

Note: All photographs provided by author. Nataliya has taken four of these photographs.

 

 

 

Last blog of 2017?

Nine days till end of this year!

Don’t you think its been an amazing year? Alhamdolillah. Here is probably my last post of this year…. though I do have my doubts!

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Centaurus the favorite Islamabad shopping Mall and Cinepax is decked in seasons’ decor these days.

Thank you so much for your response to my blogs. I’m over whelmed. Even though many of you do not comment, I know you have read these. – Whenever I meet you I find out through your comments, and there are the indicators. I hope that these have made some difference in your lives, as you have made a difference in mine.

Continue reading “Last blog of 2017?”