GHAZAL FROM ANKAHI BAATEIN…. (For my friends who can not read Urdu) with a crude English translation

Aankh se gir gaye unki nahin qeemat koi

Heere tou wo ansoo hain jin ko pee jaate hain hum

Saath chalne ki hai tamanna, par paaon hain zakhmi mere

Aage nikal jaati hai dunya, peeche reh jaate hain hum

Bas ye mushkil aakhri hai, aage hain aasaanyan

Har nayi mushkil pe youn apne dil ko samjhaate hain hum

Raah e ulfat ke musafir jab bhatakte hain tou unhein

Shummein ashkon ki jala kar raah dikhlaate hain hum

Ghum ko apne saamne dunya ke ruswa kyun karein?

Dil pe jo lagti hain chottein huns ke seh jaate hain hum

Dukh dye to jhelne ki taab bhee Allah ne dee

Har ghari sad shukr Maalik ka baja laate hain hum! 

Translation in English …on the request of fellow blogger Hibiscus Rosa Noor….
This is not a word to word translation… I have just tried to catch the essence of the ghazal.. a task not easy for me!

The tears which fall from my eyes are worthless, but the tears which I manage to hold back are precious like diamonds.

Although I want to move forward with the World but my feet are sore with the tiresome journey, the people move ahead and I find myself left behind!

This is the last adversity I am facing, things will become easier from hence forth, I try to console myself with these words whenever I am confronted with a new difficulty!

With my tears as fuel to lit the lamps, I try to light the path of the people who are walking through love’s lanes and have forgotten the correct direction to their destination.

I do not want to humiliate myself by showing my grieving heart to the world, so with a smiling face I take whatever pain comes my way.

Though I was destined to face a lot of pain and difficulties in life, Allah gave me the strength to face them bravely, I am thankful to my Creator every moment of my life for bestowing this strength on me!

غزل…. Ghazal from ANKAHI BAATEIN

آنکھ سے جو گر گئے ان کی نہیں قیمت کوئی
ہیرے تو وہ آنسو ہیں جن کو پی جاتے ہیں ہم


ساتھ چلنے کی ہے تمنا پر پائوں ہیں زخمی مرے
آگے نکل جاتی ہے دنیا پیچھے رہ جاتے ہیں ہم


بس یہ مشکل آخری ہے آگے ہیں آسانیاں
ہرنئی مشکل پہ یوں اپنے دل کو سمجھاتے ہیں ہم


راہِ الفت کے مسافر جب بھٹکتے ہیں تو انہیں
شمعیں اشکوں کی جلا کر راہ دکھلاتے ہیں ہم


غم کواپنے سامنے دنیا کے رسوا کیوں کریں
دل پہ جو لگتی ہیں چوٹیں ہنس کے سہہ جاتے ہیں ہم


دکھ دیے تو جھیلنے کی تاب بھی اللہ نے دی
ہر گھڑی صد شکر مالک کا بجا لاتے ہیں ہم

Heart-to-heart: AN OPEN LETTER TO MY SON (http://archives.dawn.com/archives/7013

open

My dearest son,
I am sure you will be surprised on receiving this letter from me, as we live under the same roof, talk everyday and everything that I am writing now could have been said directly to you. But my dearest, I want you to know that often we talk without being able to truly communicate! There are so many things that I would like to tell you, discuss with you, advice you on but somehow whenever I try, the words simply don`t come out as strong as my feelings. So, I thought about writing to you.

You look very depressed these days, and I can sense frustration in your behaviour. You are no more my sweet tempered boy who was always bubbling with life, but tend to be irritable and get angry at the slightest pretext. Please read this letter carefully, and that too many times, and let my advice sink in. I know that your dreams have not been realized yet, your expectations of what your life will be after you finish your education, have not been fulfilled to your satisfaction. But I want to ask you, will anger and depression help you in any way? You know very well that life has never been smooth sailing for me, but I never gave in to self pity or frustration. Instead I tried to handle my problems turn by turn and I am fairly content with the results.

The problem with your generation is that you do not have patience. You want to step on the first rung of the ladder to success and want your second step to be on the top! I say “Give life your best efforts and be content with what life gives you in return”. You may not reach your goal, but you should have the satisfaction that you tried your best. Remember that life is not a trade… a business in which success means more output than input! What appears to be a loss in a trade can prove to be a gain in life. If you keep your attitude positive, experiences will end up giving you wisdom and failures a new resolution to try again, work harder and never to give up!

As you may have heard umpteen times, an optimist sees a glass of water half full, while a pessimist calls it half empty! The amount of water is the same; it is the difference of attitude that matters. You want to give up although you have just stepped onto the road of life. I don`t want to shelter you any more; rather I would like you to experience life as it comes your way. I know that you will face both success and failures but I want each experience, good or bad, to make you stronger! So please be positive, keep on with your efforts and with the help of Allah you will be amazed by the results, for things will surely change for the better.

I want you to behave like an educated person, not merely one who has degrees and has gone through college and university, but a person who dares to dream, has the ability to think and accept the challenges of life without a blink of the eye. Though striving for a decent living is part of a healthy life, don`t make it the sole reason of your qualifications. The least we can do to justify our education is to strive to change (for the better) the things around us. Sometimes small changes are not even noticed by us; but believe me, these small changes can bring about revolutionary ones! Invisible drops of water make up clouds, but when these clouds burst into rain, every single drop counts.

I do not want you be to be a part of the crowd; people who complain, criticize and grumble at life`s problems and conveniently place the responsibility of their woes on someone else`s shoulders. I want you to be among the few who have the vision and the burning desire to change things for the better, are ready to take responsibility; people who face life`s adversities bravely, accept its challenges and work hard to reach their goals.

Success may be evading you at the moment but do not lose hope. Because without hope there is no yearning, no desire for a better tomorrow! Without hope, life comes to a standstill! So, snap out of your depression and keep on moving ahead with your head held high. And remember, I and my prayers are always here for you. Love you my son,

Forever yours,
Ammi

Comment: The pampered generation By Yasmin Elahi . .http://archives.dawn.com/archives/69149

The other day my daughter-in-law requested me to get her a packet of diapers as I was going out to the store for some medicines. The gentleman at the store was busy with other customers and as I waited, I glanced around I was surprised to see so many brands of disposable diapers lined neatly on the shelves.

 

When I asked for the required brand my daughter in law uses the shopkeeper asked in a matter of fact tone “Basic or dry?”. I had not the faintest idea!  “Beg your pardon,” I said, feeling totally confused. “Madam, I mean which diapers do you want, basic or dry?” he repeated his question.  Feeling a bit foolish I mumbled something like I would be back later and quickly left the store.

 

This is an age of baby products. From diapers to toiletries to feeding bottles to baby foods to bed accessories there is no limit to the choices one has. We seem to shower our babies with luxuries, things unthinkable about a couple of decades ago. Designer clothes, branded shoes, expensive toiletries, electronic toys and ready to serve food are becoming an obsession with most mothers.

 

I wonder if any of the young mothers have even seen the glass feeders with nipples at both ends (except perhaps in some old Hindi movie) which were used before the advent of the unbreakable feeder. It was weird how the bottle always chose to come down crashing at the oddest hour of the night. After many sleepless nights trying to console the wailing baby, glancing endlessly at the wall clock which strangely just did not seem to move, and waiting for shops to reopen did I have the sense to keep an extra bottle handy. These days every baby has at least half a dozen feeders of various shapes and sizes to choose from.

 

The cloth nappies, which had to be washed daily, have become a nuisance for the modern mothers and disposable diapers are an easy solution for them. I remember the days when the maid chose to take off and come what may the nappies had to be washed and dried. On rainy days, I checked out constantly on how many dry nappies I was left with and sometimes had to use an iron to dry them. Disposable diapers were used only when I went out and considered a luxury for the baby (or me?). I remember feeling a pang of guilt every time I threw a diaper in the dustbin as if I was throwing good money away!

 

Talking about baby food, I toiled endlessly to cook, mash and blend fruits, khichri, suji and vegetables when my children started solid food. Now store counters are overloaded with endless varieties of ready to serve baby food and juices. Restaurants, specially the franchises, serve special meals for children (at hefty rates of course), and to lure parents they offer play areas for children to keep them relaxed while eating.

 

In the (should I dare to say) good old days, the ailing child was taken to the doctor in the neighbourhood, who prescribed mixtures with pills to be powdered for easy administration, and the child was hale and hearty in a day or two. A child specialist was consulted only when the problem got out of control. Now we find paediatrics divided into many branches and different doctors for different health problems the children have. (Come to think of it, has anybody noticed how the terminology related to kids has changed? The child specialist is now a paediatrician, a cot is called a crib, a pram is now a stroller and the ayah has been renamed a nanny!)

 

Gone are the days when grandmothers saved pieces of cloth to prepare clothes for their expected grandchildren. The economical home made Jhablas and caps are considered totally old fashioned now. Mothers prefer to buy ready-to-wear children`s clothes (prices depend on whether the product is `local` or `imported`). Home made `bedding` with washable covers is a thing of the past as babies are pampered with fashionably designed sleeping bags, wrapping sheets, comforters and carry cots (rates depending on the embroidery, trimmings and accessories chosen).

 

As for colours, now it is blue for boys and pink for girls and mothers-to-be are eager to find the sex of the yet-to-be-born baby to make the right preparations. Even for school going children, in buying clothes, joggers, school bags, water bottles and other accessories the modern mother is careful about the pink and blue factor. Bedroom furniture specially designed for children with cartoon figures or shaped like huge toys is every child`s (or parent`s) delight and the colour scheme speaks for itself whether the room is for a boy or a girl!

 

Raising happy and satisfied children has always been the primary concern for parents, but somehow modern mothers have mixed up this concern with loading their children with every possible luxury. I call this generation `The pampered generation`. Much ado about the kids. As the parents are putting in so much effort (and money!) for their comfort, we can definitely hope that when they are at the helm of affairs, the little ones of today would make this world a better place to live in. Considering my age, I do not expect to be around until then, so I can only wonder and hope!

Attitudes: Insensitive sympathies…http://dawn.com/2011/12/18/attitudes-insensitive-sympathies/

Death has different ways of striking and carrying away the people we love dearly. Sometimes it comes on tip toes from behind, taking us by surprise, hitting like a tsunami, destroying our peace of mind and happiness in just a moment and leaving us agonised and dazed by the intensity of the pain it creates. And on others, we watch in despair and anguish the ebbing away of the tide of life from a cherished person, hoping against hope that some miracle would stop it from striking.

When it comes to the passing away of our loved ones, the sorrow it causes has the power to sweep off the feet (though momentarily) even those of us who are emotionally strong. Only time can heal the heartache we experience. But this is also the time when we expect and need maximum emotional support from friends and family, and more often than not they move in quickly to help us in our hour of grief. Their care and reassurance is valuable for us, as they help us overcome the initial pain and learn to live with the sense of loss.

It is strange that in spite of their sympathy and eagerness to help, well meaning friends often say or do things which instead of helping us, only hurt or irritate us, forcing us to withdraw into our cocoon of pain.

Rehana, a university student, whose father passed away recently, says, “Everyone who came for condolences thought it was his/her duty (or right) to embrace me and shed a few (even artificial) tears. Maybe they considered it an important norm of attending the funeral. What most of them did not realise is that I felt more irritated than consoled by the big hug, as I am not comfortable to physical touch. People should understand that sometimes saying a few kind words or just holding hands in silence can be more comforting than hollow words or acts”.

Nazia, who lost her husband a couple of years back shares her experience, “When the time came for my husband’s funeral casket to be lifted, I wanted to have some time alone with him, paying my last homage to a very caring husband and reliving memories of the happy times we had spent together. But sadly I was denied this by the eagerness of friends and relatives who gathered to have the last glimpse of him; a large number of people squeezed into the small room, not realising that those were very sensitive moments which I did not want to share with everyone. The grief and suffocation caused me to faint and when I came to, my husband was gone forever.”

There are times in life when pain engulfs our heart in such a way that we do not want to let it go and we feel that our grief will remain as intense throughout our lives. Any attempt to divert it only increases the pain. Asma and Zohair share the memories of the death of their first born. Zohair says, “Our son caught pneumonia when he was only three months old. We were devastated when he succumbed to its complications. Most of our relatives tried to console us by saying that eventually we will have more children and our heartache would subside. I felt angry and hurt and more miserable than consoled by these comments”. Asma asks sadly, “How could people expect us to forget our first love? After all, every child holds a special place in his parents’ heart. Years have passed and we have been blessed with two more children but the memories of our first child keep clinging to my heart and I still feel that a part of me died with him”.

Another mistake people often make is asking the bereaved not to weep. What else should be expected from someone who has lost a near and dear one? Unshed tears leave deep scars on the soul, scars which never heal; tears are nature’s way of healing pain and it is better to let them flow. Slowly they will subside because no matter how great the pain, no one can cry for ever.

Saying things like “I understand your pain”, “I have been through this”, “You will get over it with the passage of time” or “When so and so died…” only increases the heartache, because every sorrow is unique in its nature and everyone reacts differently to pain and mourning. In their hour of bereavement, people usually like to believe that for them, life will never be the same again. This is the last homage they are paying to the departed person they loved dearly. By speaking less, listening more and letting the grieved person pour his/her heart out, friends and relatives who come for condolences can make the bereaved feel that they understand and share the anguish and sense of loss.

 

Relationships: The grand relation! (http://dawn.com/2012/11/03/relationships-the-grand-relation/)

Grandparents are your unending sources of kindness, patience and comfort. Through out their lives, they give you unconditional love and above all, they are your fierce supporters. Always!

They will never find any fault with you and defend you even if (in their hearts) they know you are wrong! According to an anonymous quote, “Grandparents/grandchildren relationships are simple. Grandparents are short on criticism and long on love.”

And above all, they have all the time in the world for you, pampering you, fulfilling your whims, replying to your queries patiently until you are satisfied, answering questions which your busy parents do not have the time to reply. Another anonymous quote beautifully sums it, “A grandparent is a little bit parent, a little bit teacher and a little bit best friend.” I call this relation ‘the grand relation’!

With each changing generation, we observe many changes in the lifestyles and social values. The fast paced-life of modern times is witnessing the slow decline of the joint family system which is slowly giving in to the nuclear family. Rising inflation, high cost of housings, plus the need to lead a life free of the intrusion of the older age group, is making the joint family style of living a thing of the past.

When grandparents and grandchildren lived under the same roof, they shared a strong bond of love and care for each other.

When parents had to go out, they often left their young ones in the care of the older generation, a task which they carried out happily. Stories where told at bedtime and this was often the most enjoyable hour in both the grandparents’ and grandchildren’s day. But sadly, with the advent of the nuclear family, this grand relation seems to suffer.

Grandparents’ love still knows no bounds. But sometimes the grandchildren fail to reciprocate their love in the same manner. It is not that they do not love their grandparents but somehow, they do not show this love. The blame for this change in attitude cannot be put entirely on the younger generation. It is basically that children today are born in a time and world that is very different from that of their grandparents’, where they interact more with electronic gadgets than they do with human beings.

After youngsters have finished with the demands of their studies, they are busy with their computers, cell phones, electronic games and unending channels on the television, thus they have hardly anytime left to spend and share with their grandparents.

Small changes in your routine can sometimes bring big (and positive) changes in your lives. By taking out a few hours every week from your busy timetable, you can spend them with your grandparents and make them feel that you care for them a much as they love you! In this way you will make them happier, because although they may not show it, grandparents are usually lonely deep down inside!

With the prime years of their life gone, they mostly lead a retired life and want activities to fill up their long hours. If you are not living with them, then a call from you or a short visit can do wonders to brighten up their day. A handmade card when they are ill or a small gift (for no particular reason) can make your bond with them stronger, something you will cherish later on in life!

And dear friends, those of you who are lucky enough to live with a grandparent, you should make sure to sit with them for a few minutes each day, greet them when you come back from school or anywhere else and always wish them a goodnight before going to bed. No medicine makes you feel better when you are sick as your grandma’s presence by your side does, your head in her lap, and her pressing your feverish forehead with her soft winkled hands and silently praying. And when the fever is down and you are at peace, you know in your heart that it was her prayers and the Holy Verses she was reading softly and blowing over you that made you well again.

Although toddlers love to be cuddled, as children grow into their preteens or teen years, they sometimes find their grandparents’ big embraces and pats on the head a bit embarrassing. It is best that you think of the pleasure it gives them when they pet or hug you, which probably others don’t do because they think you have grownup, and enjoy the feeling of love and security that it conveys. And if you really can’t put up with it, try to explain in a polite manner, that you do not feel comfortable with the hugs and that the loving pats usually spoil your hairdo, something you are very particular about. If you clarify your feelings to them, they are sure to understand.

Sometimes, some of us complain that our grandparents are naïve, old-fashioned and ill-informed, but we often under estimate the old generation. Friends, we must realise that our grandparents are not only a fountain of love and care, they also possess the wisdom and insight only experiences of life can teach us! You can get loads of information from books, television and the internet, but the experiences of life your grandparents have braved and the difficulties they have faced have given them infinite perception.

They may not know much about how to use a computer or how to avail all the options of a complex cell phone, but they can share with you the insight which can only be acquired with the passage of years. By spending more time with your grandparents, you will also get access to a great fountain of wisdom and knowledge.

So friends, before their physical presence fades into fond memories, strengthen your ties with your grandparents. You will not only feel better for brightening their days, you will also be able to see life and its problems with a new and wiser perspective!

According to Bill Cosby, “What is it about grandparents that is so lovely? I’d like to say that grandparents are God’s gifts to children. And if they can but see, hear and feel what these people have to give, they can mature at a fast rate.”