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!