Beginning of a New Journey!


22nd April……It is four o’ clock in the morning! After tossing in my bed restlessly for hours, trying my best to go to sleep, I give up! Sleep is miles away from my eyes tonight.I finally get out of my bed and switch on my computer. Tomorrow is a big day for me, perhaps the beginning of a new phase of life.

I have often written in my articles, life keeps on springing surprises at me and over the years I have taught myself not to be stunned. But this is really a big one! Often when we are standing on the seashore, enjoying the beauty of the little waves coming in, there comes in a big one crashing down and we are swept a bit off our feet. I can not analyze my feelings tonight. Am I happy, excited or my ego has got a big boost? I scourge my mind and heart but find none of the above emotions. At last, I realize that finally, I am at peace with myself as well as I feel greatly honored!

When I couriered by prize winning book ‘Follow the Light’ (Published by Ferozsons),to Amtul Sajjad, regional librarian, BSS, I had not the faintest idea of what was in store for me. My basic aim was to set up stalls at the different branches of BSS, where I could put up my book for sale at discounted rates, to the school children as well hold reading sessions of some inspiring parts from it.I wanted more and more children to know about this book, read it and further spread the message I have tried my best to convey in it! But being invited as a guest speaker on the World Book and Copyright Day, is something I had not thought about in my wildest dream. Mrs. Fatima Rehman’s invitation was really a big surprise for me; because having no formal education in any form of journalism, I hardly consider myself a writer.

Being an ardent reader since my childhood, my passion for reading turned into writing as my daughter in law Saira Owais, and a friend Faizan Usmani, urged me to start writing. I was surprised, (but this time the wave was small!).  Me? I asked in astonishment! What and how can I write? I have no knowledge about writing. I told them seriously but somehow they did not give up on me, and finally they convinced me to raise my pen!

The first article I wrote was in Urdu and a daughter’s loving tribute to her father. I wrote an article about my late Daddy for our community magazine (Shamsi). And when I started to write, I got so carried away, I just couldn’t stop myself, resulting in a 2500 words article. The editor of the magazine Qaumi Gazzette said, “Cut down on the words”. I re wrote and this time ended with 2600 words! This is only an amusing start of my writing career which I would like to share with you, my little friends at BSS.

In those days, having no knowledge of Urdu composing, I hand wrote and rewrote the article many times, trying to improve it as I felt that whatever I wrote, I could not do justice to my Daddy, nor could I express my intense love for him! Some day, Insha Allah I shall compose that hand written article and share it with my little friends here!

I also want to tell you that in those days, I had a single computer at home, which I shared with my three sons, and except writing e-mails to my sisters abroad or chatting with them on Yahoo,I thought I had no other usage of a computer.

How wrong I was!

‘Confessions of a Grandmother’ was my first article published in the ‘The Review’ of Dawn magazines, which appeared in those days in a booklet form on Thursdays and was not merged in The Images on Sunday. Articles appeared from time to time as I kept on struggling as a writer, pouring my heart out on each and every word I wrote, happy when a piece was approved and disappointed when it was rejected! During bad patches, when one after the other article was turned down, I often became shaky and started to think about giving up, thinking that I was only wasting my time as well of the time of the editors of the publications they were being sent too! But somehow, the inborn fighter in me refused to give up!

How I compiled Follow the Light is also an experience worth sharing and I shall definitely do so one day in a separate (bashart e zindagi!) blog. The only thing I want to say today was that a ‘Divine Hand’ helped and guided me throughout, and my children, grandchildren and friends went all out to help me. With hardly any knowledge of how to use Microsoft Word and the way the electricity kept on playing hide and seek with me, it was an uphill task. But with the help of Allah and a deep determination, I compiled this book in nearly a fortnight. And today, I am thankful to Mrs.Fatima Rehman who has deeply honoured me by inviting me as a guest speaker to talk to the children at BSS Primary 4.

With still more than four hours to the time I have to reach the school, I feel happy and at peace with myself. My mission is to bring our young generation closer to Islam, make them understand what our great religion is really about, and I feel that it is moving in the right and satisfactory direction! And I can not thank Allah enough for this.

The Moazzin has already called for the Fajr prayers, so I must stop myself now, say my Namaaz and try to catch up on my sleep! 

Subhan Allah i Wabee Humdihee Subhan Allah i Azeem! 

11Am 23rd April. I am back from the BSS Primary4 after a delightful interaction with the sweet children and with a big, fragrant bouquet!The staff (from the Principal, the Co-ordinator, the Librarian, the teachers and even the peons) was very polite and I specially found Ms Fatima full of warmth and very co-operative! And she gave me many helpful tips as well.And,last but not the least, I can never forget the smiling faces,the eyes shining in wonder,as the children listened and their little minds tried to grasp and understand each and every word I spoke. Thanks again BSS Primary 4 for this great boost to my mission!

18 thoughts on “Beginning of a New Journey!

  1. I feel honoured Gul… all possible by Allah’s helping hand which never abandoned me… and your co-operation has also played a great role in where i stand today.. Jazakillah u khairan

  2. Eloquently put!
    It amazes me on how you put the emotions so smoothly on paper. Feeling proud to be the son of the best writer in this world!!

  3. great going…you will fully realize the impact of this first hand interaction with the school children,teachers and the staff…..your mind will work 24 hrs,while sleeping too,to do more and more for these tiny minds….

    • It is already working overtime Gul :))))))…The experience I shared in my blog today was not imaginary… last night i hardly slept for three hours…My mind is bursting with ideas, but my ageing body can not keep pace with the speed the ideas are coming…. dua karo Zindagi itni mohlat de ke apne mission ki foundations daal dun…phir jo Allah kare… Insha Allah My children will continue my mission when i am around no more!

  4. I am so happy to read ur BSS trip!:D I wished u luck in morning.. I wonder if you got that! MANY MANY CONGRATS!:D and em still waiting eagerly for my BOOK to come at my DOOR STEPS!:)

    • Wafa, My fairy with the magic wand… you have made it Possible… sab mere Rabb ki meherbaani.. wo khud hi mere raaste kholta jaata hai… ALHUMDULILLAH!..plz keep me in yr prayers.. always!

  5. Having seen you emerging as a leading English writer from Pakistan is not a matter of surprise, at least, for me, as when I first saw and talked to you I was so amazed to see the talent lurking in yourself. Words spoken or written with elegance become more powerful and convincing. And this was your nice selection of words and gentle and elegant accent that made me realise that this old lady is conferring due respect to the words and phrases, she must be a wordsmith. And at that time whatever you spoke in front of all of us had great meanings and sense. Though appeared to be a woman of few words, and I didn’t waste in a single moment in judging you as a promising writer. Even sometimes I take it like my very personal achievement that I once asked you to write regularly. And I am sure that another ‘Bapsi Sidhwa’ is emerging from our land!

    • Faizan please let me keep my feet planted firmly on the ground… and also remember that I do not want to be a second version of any famous person… I just want to be YASMIN ELAHI!!!! The name my caring father had given me with great love and pride! I hv mentioned your role in giving me a start as a writer and Insha Allah I shall never forget what you have done for me. Please read my blog Read, ponder and Spread the Message… its about the Quran… I am sure you will be interested. And If I Achieve something in life, never forget to give yourself full marks for it!!
      Love and best wishes,
      Yasmin Khala (I have upgraded my status from Auntie to Khala, I hope you wont mind)

  6. With such a lot of beautiful comments, i am hardly left with words to express what i feel reading your write-ups. All i can say at the moment is to plz keep up the good work and pray that may Allah give you a long life filled with health and contentment, Aameen.

    • Thanks Nusrat, you always give me more marks than i deserve and then I have to struggle to keep up to your words! Prayers please… you know abt my dreams and aspirations.. Bas Allah poori kar sakta hai!


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