Sharing my experiences of 2012 and hopes for 2013!

Aside

2012 is coming to a close! The months just seemed to fly away! Every passing years leave their marks on our lives as memories some pleasant some painful become a part of our past! Thankfully 2012 proved to be a memorable one, so many important events this year…some milestones in life! Yes, 2012 was a very important year for me.

Sunrise

The beginning of the year saw the hectic preparations of my youngest son’s marriage. On February 2nd his bride became the new and welcome member of my small family and I felt that the major responsibilities of my life were over. I pray that my children and grand children are always showered by special blessings from Allah.

Another major milestone of 2012 was the publishing of my first award winning book Follow the Light. Although it is taking time, but slowly and surely my book is getting appreciation. Based on true incidents from the history of Islam, my aim for compiling Follow the Light is to promote good values in children as well as familiarize them with the heroes of our great religion.

As I started working for the promotion of my first published book, I got a good breakthrough as one of the most reputed schools of Karachi invited me as a guest author several times to its different branches. These visits were truly delightful as I shared my writing experiences with the children. Eyes filled with wonder, sweet but a bit shy smiles and innocent questions just warmed my heart. I hope to keep up this inter action with school children in 2013 as well.

Another important happening of 2012 is the setting up of a personal website. But I can not take credit for this, as one of my readers did the whole thing for me. I call her My fairy with the Magic Wand! She has been a great help and has taught me a lot about how to improve my website. Blogging is something new for me and as I am a painfully slow writer, I can not boast of many followers and my site stats are still pathetic! But I am enjoying this new world a lot. Here, I am free to write anything I want and on any topic I care for! With no word restrictions or fear of rejection, I find my blog site a place where my imagination can fly freely! I also found a place where I can share my Urdu poetry with my readers. Sharing Ghazals and Nazms from my collection Ankahi Baaatein is giving me a great sense of satisfaction. And I am getting a fairly good response too.

A new addition to the family is another important event of 2012. On the 26th of May I was blessed with a new grandson. I love being a grandmother and my grandchildren are my constant source of sheer joy! Spending time with them is more valuable for me and I often neglect my writing as I am mostly engaged with them.

This year I have also completed the translation of Footsteps (my second award winning book). With very few articles in The Review and a bit more in the Young World (Dawn in page magazines), I feel I could have done more! But diversions like Facebook, Skype, Twitters took up a lot of my time. But as I write only for the pleasure of it, to be honest with my readers, I dont mind this slow performance. 

And now 2013 is about to start. A new year brings with it new hopes and new resolutions!

I hope to hold my newborn grandchild in my arms in the first trimester of the upcoming year, and the wait is slowly turning into deep excitement. My youngest will become a father! This is like a dream come true, because I had hardly expected to live this long!

My second book Footsteps and Roshan Raahein, the Urdu version of Follow the Light should also hit the bookstalls this year, In sha Allah (if Allah so wishes)! This is something I had never contemplated even in my wildest dreams, but a Divine Hand seems to help me and keep me going.

Another resolution for 2013 is compiling my third book, Lost Legacies. I dont know if this would materialize but I shall try my best! I also hope to pick up my writing speed as well as post more from my collection of Urdu poetry, Ankahi Baatein, on my blog site.

Every passing year has its pleasures, joys as well as pains and disappointments. But as the year draws to its end, I am content with what it doled out for me. Although I can not boast of much, but I have tried to the best of my limited abilities to achieve something and not just wasted my time in futile activities. Readers are requested to pray for me and wish me luck in the upcoming year!

Society: Free for all

It is for you, for free! You receive it all the time, unsought, and more often than not, unwelcome and irritating! Anytime and anywhere, you just have to mention a problem! Advice will pour in from all quarters.

We love to meddle in everyone’s affairs, whether asked for or not, we think it is our birthright to dole out our valuable advice, even in areas we have little knowledge ourselves. Be it major issues like an illness, problems at your workplace, parenting, selecting the perfect spouse for your children, differences with the in-laws, or minor day to day issues like where to shop for what, which colour or style you should choose for your dresses, how to cook a perfect qorma or nihari or maid problems, we have something or other under our cap which we gleefully dole out to friends, family and even distant acquaintances.

Sometimes we casually mention a problem just to feel better after a bit of unwinding, but we are taken aback by the flurry of advice we are bombarded with. Minding other people’s business is the most popular hobby of the majority of people in our part of the world. Very few wait to give advice only when it is sought. People just love to flood you with their opinion about what course of action you should take in a given situation.

Sumeira, a young home maker says, “In the early years of my marriage I had problems with my in-laws. My husband was too attached to his parents to understand my point of view. I was young and inexperienced and at times, in frustration, I discussed my woes with my friends because I just needed a sympathetic ear and someone who could sympathise with me.

But now I have learnt to keep my troubles to myself, as the unwanted counsel I got was not only impractical but even sometimes got me into trouble. Over the years I have developed strong bonds with my in-laws. I thank God that I did not pay heed to the advices of my well meaning but immature friends”.

Sheema, a young mother, says, “Experience taught me never to talk about baby problems in company. When my first child was born, I just had to mention one and I was flooded with unlimited suggestions on how to feed, burp, bathe or even dress the baby. If the child was sick, senior mothers were quick to recommend the medicines they used for similar symptoms.

Elderly women offered home-made remedies and were actually annoyed if I did not follow their valuable advice”.

Rehan says sarcastically, “I wonder why people have to meddle in the personal affairs of everyone they can reach out to. If I am sick and under the treatment of an allopath, acquaintances will tell me to go to a hakim or a homeopath! The choice of school I made for my children was always wrong for some people who were quick to suggest better options. When my daughter chose red for her wedding dress, her friends insisted that that it was outdated and white was the ‘in’ colour for the bride those days. I mentioned to my friends that I was having problems with my boss? ‘Resign immediately’ was their prompt advice! ‘After all your self esteem is more important than a job!’ If, in the heat of the moment, I had been foolish enough to follow their advice I am sure I would have found myself jobless for the next six months”.

Anisa Zia, a friend, sums up the issue in a practical manner, “Many times I have been a victim of unsolicited advice and ended up listening intently only out of respect. Actually I think the purpose in most cases is not altogether bad because the eagerness to help us resolve our problem may be the only reason why people come up with unasked for advice. But making it a ritual is what one must abstain from. I think the ability to judge whether to give in or control the urge to add our two bits comes from practicing our listening skills rather than exercising our speaking ones”.

Unwanted advice may be in good faith but before giving out our qeemti mashwara, we should understand the fact that circumstances vary from case to case and decisions have to be made according to them. Thus no hard and fast rules can be set which everyone can blindly follow! So unless someone seeks our advice, and lets us know the pros and cons and the consequences of different choices or decisions, we should not give in to the temptation of giving it away!

Determination: She dared to dream!

This is a true story of a brave woman,  a determined person who set seemingly impossible goals for herself, goals she fiercely pursued until she reached them! Although Nasima is around no more, and I have lost all contacts with her children, deep down I am sure they must be leading a happy and successful life! For the sake of privacy, all names have been changed.

 

When I was newly married she was an inevitable part of my in-laws’ home. Neither a servant, nor a family member, Nasima  held a place somewhere in between. She helped out my mother-in-law in her house work and in return got a place to rest, meals for herself and her daughter, a sewing machine to work on and last but not least, access to the television which she loved to watch.

Fresh from college and timid by nature, I was young and inexperienced at that time. Her stern looks and serious demeanour made me fear her a little, but soon this fear gave way to fondness and admiration. I admired her for her ambitious plans for her children and the way she toiled to fulfil them.

A mother of two, a boy and a girl, Nasima was married to a man much older and divorced after a few years. Although uneducated, she was a woman of great determination and would not let her situation be a setback for her children. Dedicating her life to the education and bright future of her children, she had set her goals high and pursued her dreams fiercely.

Nasima’s brother provided her food and shelter and in return she kept house for him. Her’s was a tough life! Early in the morning, she dropped her daughter to school and go back home. After cooking, cleaning and doing the other daily chores, she would rush to school, drop her daughter at our place and then proceed to deliver lunch to her brother. In the afternoon she would be busy sewing clothes and then again whisk off her daughter for her Quran lessons. Her son joined his uncle after school, helping him out with his little shop and studying in between.

Evening was the best part of her day. Come 8pm and nothing could budge Nasima away from the TV lounge. Those were the days when classics like Khuda Ki Basti, Shehzori and Kiran Kahani kept us glued to the idiot box. But for me, the most irritating part of this hour were her constant comments on the plays.

My mother-in-law would scold her, “Nasima, listen quietly to what the poor thing is saying”. She would grimace at this scolding and keep quiet for only a few moments, and then off she would go again! Perhaps this was the only recreation she had and she wanted to make the most of it! Once the play was over, she would have a quick meal and bundle off her half asleep daughter to the bus stop to go back home.

Nasima was not a person to blame her circumstances; rather she had the courage to strive to change them. Having no financial cushion to fall back on, she stitched clothes to provide for her children’s school fees, books, uniforms, etc. Herself wearing hand-me-downs, she nursed her daughter’s ego by providing her new clothes, although they were always simple and modest.

Her daughter Gurya was a loving girl. Like all young girls she was charmed by a bride in the house! She would peep shyly in my room and ask if I needed her help, but I could never avail her offer because Nasima would scoop down on her like an eagle and say firmly: “Go and study, I shall help out Bibi”. She wanted her daughter to make the best of every spare moment she had. And Gurya was a good student, who worked hard to live up to the expectations and dreams of her mother.

Years passed and after finishing school with good grades, Gurya got admission in a college near her home. And Nasima’s daily visits stopped. But she would come often to bring good news about her children. Her son got a scholarship to the leading engineering college in Karachi and after finishing his education, a good job at the Steel Mill. Gurya got a teaching job after doing her B.Ed. and was doing well. Nasima’s hard work had paid off and her dreams had come true.

The unending work took its toll on Nasima’s health, however. Her asthma grew worse and one fateful day, a tearful Gurya called to inform us that her brave mother had died the previous night after a fatal attack of the disease.

People like Nasima never really die. She lives on in my heart, and whenever I find myself in a difficult situation, with something which seems impossible, I remind myself of that courageous woman.

Undeterred by life and its adversities, she taught me that it needs passion, dedication and hard work to reach a goal. We all have dreams and wishes but only a few of us realise that only hard work and dedication can make our dreams and wishes come true. Nasima defied the notion that poverty begets poverty and a maid’s children are fit only for menial work! She proved the popular saying, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

GHAZAL FROM ANKAHI BAATEIN…. (For my friends who can not read Urdu)

Phool se khushboo juda hoti hai faqat eik baar
Ye bikharti tou phir se laut kar aati nahin

Aankh se aansoo jo tapka, kya wo daaman karta tar?
Boond se tou pyaas sehra ki kabhee jaati nahin!

Hum tou thei wo zinda-dil ghum pe kabhee rotey na thei
Ab hua hai kya ke khushyon pe hansee aati nahin

Khud hi phoolon ko masal ke hai ye maali ko gila
Mere gulshan mein na jaane kyun bahaar aati nahin!

Khwaab dekhoon tou ho shayad zeest ki kuch talkhee kum
Kya karun pur neend mujh ko raat bhar aati nahin!

Hai jo qismat mein likha wo pura tou hoga zurur
Waqt se pehle tou kisi ko maut bhe aati nahin!

غزل

پھول سے خوشبو جدا ہوتی ہے فقط ایک بار
یہ بکھرتی ہے تو پھر سے لوٹ کر آتی نہیں


آنکھ سے آنسو جو ٹپکا،کیا وہ دامن کرتا تر
بوند سے تو پیاس صحرا کی کبھی جاتی نہیں


ہم تو تھے وہ زندہ دل غم پہ کبھی روتے نہ تھے
اب ہوا ہے کیا کہ خوشیوں پہ ہنسی آتی نہیں


خود ہی پھولوں کو مسل کر ہے یہ مالی کو گلہ
میرے گلشن میں نہ جانے کیوں بہار آتی نہیں


خواب دیکھوں تو ہو شاید زیست کی کچھ تلخی کم
کیا کروں پر نیند مجھ کو رات بھر آتی نہیں


ہے جو قسمت میں لکھا وہ پورا تو ہوگاضرور
وقت سے پہلے تو کسی کو موت بھی آتی نہیں