Attitude: Roads are not dustbins By Yasmin Elahi | From InpaperMagzine | Young World (Dawn)

Roads are Not Dustbins!

GARBAGE DUMPED ON ROADSIDES!

My little son taught me a lesson which I will remember all my life. We were coming back home after some shopping and it was a hot and humid day. As we were quite exhausted, I bought chips and juices for our drive back. After sipping the juice thirstily and finishing my chips, I was about to throw away the empty packets on the road when my son’s voice startled me, “Mama, roads are not dustbins!”

Surprised I turned around to see him neatly folding his wrappers and placing them in the empty shopper. With a somewhat amused smile, I asked him, “Who told you so, son?” Without a blink of an eye he said confidently, “Our teacher told us in the class yesterday that we should not throw anything on the roads. It is the duty of every citizen to keep our city clean.”

I felt ashamed of myself! All my life I had committed this crime without even considering it unethical. Every unwanted thing during a drive which should have been saved for the dustbin, was thoughtlessly tossed out of the car’s window. And then I had the cheek to complain about the dirty conditions of our roads, curse the sweepers for not doing their job properly and blame the concerned high ups for not taking strict steps to ensure that the city was kept spotlessly clean!

Karachi is considered a city of colours, from its multi-ethnic population, the variety in the dresses of its people, the food they eat, or the highly decorated public buses they travel in, but some of the colours are added by the garbage strewn along the roads, alleys, parks and other public places. It isn’t an uncommon sight to see heaps of cloth strips outside a tailor’s shop, leftover food dumped besides roadside eateries, vendors of fruits and vegetables throwing away their rotten produce, wrappings and empty boxes outside their shops.

All of us take great pains to keep our homes clean, spending a good part of our time daily to keep them spic and span. But how many of us realise that keeping our streets, alleys and public places clean is also our responsibility? Roadsides are littered with fruit peels, empty cans of juices, pet bottles of cold drinks and mineral water, discarded packs of cigarettes, match boxes, wrappers of chips, biscuits, ice-cream, pan and sweet supari, etc.

Polythene bags blow about lazily in the breeze or worse still, get stuck in the bushes, trees and barbed wires, depicting an ugly sight. They make storm water drains choke and overflow whenever there is rain. Still we do not even have a second thought before throwing out our garbage on the roads. These ugly dumps not only emit an ugly odour, they also become a favourable breeding place for flies and mosquitoes, giving rise to many infectious diseases.

As a nation we lack civic sense. We seldom take responsibility for any collective or productive act which could provide for better living conditions. We are content to play the blame game, sit back and criticise the government for all our woes. We hold the municipal authorities solely responsible for keeping our roads and public places clean, without realising that each and everyone has to play his role.

The city government has taken many steps to beautify Karachi and the result can be seen in nearly every part of the city. But the greenery, the impressive flyovers and underpasses can only please the eye if they are litter and graffiti-free.

It is high time we understood and learnt to play a positive role in keeping our cities clean. On self-help basis, we can take the initiative by forming neighbourhood committees that see to the sanitary conditions of their locality and make sure that no one throws his garbage outside his house.

We must learn to use dustbins provided in public places for unwanted things and teach others to do so too, because clean roads make clean cities and clean cities provide citizens with a healthy and pollution free environment. Like in the developed countries, the government can declare littering a crime and carry out on-the-spot checking; fines can be imposed on those who violate the law. We can follow the example of Singapore, one of the cleanest cities in the world, where heavy fines are imposed on throwing anything on the roads.

The lessons learnt during childhood last for a long time and children are good learners and teachers too. So parents and teachers can play an important role in inculcating in them a sense of responsibility at a very early stage. Their civic sense can go a long way towards changing the attitude of society as a whole. I hope many children (like my son) will teach their careless parents (like me) a lifelong lesson. Thank you, my dear son!

 

 

Hypocrisy: The pretending game….A slightly edited version of an article published in The Review (Dawn In-Paper Magazine).

I was reading a book around mid-afternoon, a daily ritual I perform before my afternoon siesta, when my seven-year-old grandson came and announced, “Nafisa Auntie’s call for you Amma”. Oh no, I groaned inwardly! Always at draggers drawn with her daughter-in-law, my friend often calls with her (new) list of complaints. And I am forced to listen to her rants, although I am least interested, plus I do not have such a bad opinion of the poor girl! But I do not have the courage to give my views to my old friend, as I do not want to annoy her.

 

The book was getting interesting and I was in no mood to be disturbed, so I told the little one to tell Nafisa that Dadi is sleeping. “But you are not sleeping Amma!” Looking a bit confused, he reminded me innocently, “You always tell me that I should never tell a lie”. “Run away and do as you are told. I don’t need your sermon,” I scolded him. He left the room, but not before giving me a reproachful look. I returned to my book without having the slightest idea that I had given my little grandson his first lesson in hypocrisy.

 

How many of us go through similar experiences in our day-to-day life? Majority of us are hypocrites as we love to preach what we ourselves seldom practice, conveniently molding our rules and principles to suit our moods and whims (and sometimes convenience).

A hypocrite can be defined as a person who pretends to have virtues, principles or moral believes which he does not actually possess. He is also a person who feigns desirable attitude when in company, although this behaviour does not conform with his true personality. According to Bertrand Russell, “We have two kinds of morality side by side; one which we preach but do not practice and another which we practice but seldom preach.”

So, what is the real cause of hypocrisy? For me, the most important reason is the fear of disapproval of the people with whom I interact in my day-to-day life. I am scared that my true feelings may annoy or hurt them, or have a lower opinion of me than what I would like them to have! So, I take refuge under the cloak of hypocrisy. Also, as I am so obsessed with myself, I usually do not think that something is wrong if a nice person like me is doing it. At times, I lie so sincerely, I cease to perceive my deception, forgetting that I am not deceiving people but only myself. Although, according to Socrates, “The greatest way to live with honour in this world is to be what we pretend to be”.

Let me explain. I go to the wedding of an acquaintance’s daughter and after greeting and congratulating my hostess I exclaim, “Wow! Salma, you look so beautiful in this maroon dress. One would never guess you are the bride’s mother”. Salma blushes as she guides me to a seat and moves away. “What a terrible colour to wear, looks so loud for her age!” I whisper to a common friend sitting next to me. “But you were complimenting her for her dress just a moment ago.” She looks surprised. “Do you know she is the principal of my grand- daughter’s school? I can’t take the risk of annoying her,” I reply with a smug smile.

Umar Adil, a young businessman, believes, “Hypocrisy has become a second nature to most of us. In today’s world what matters to us the most is what other people think of us. Even our opinion about ourselves is based on those views. I am a real man living in a real world and trying to prove myself. Yes, naturally I am a hypocrite. What I say and preach is rarely based on what I practice and most of the time I do this to create a cool impression. The remedy to this issue is accomplishment. Once you prove yourself a successful person, you find your actions speak better than the hollow sermons you never tire of giving. I know I can get over my hypocrisy (i.e. if I want to do so), but the time is not ripe for it yet!”

Freelance writer and journalist Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam gives her views, “Hypocrisy, to me, is a form of lying. Unfortunately, we all end up indulging in it as there are contradictions in our personalities, our lifestyles and our beliefs. We often portray ourselves to be something that we are not. I think true liberation comes with being one’s true self under all circumstances. People who don’t accept us the way we are don’t deserve to be in our life.” When asked if she is a hypocrite, she replies with a smile, “This question actually teaches me to be less judgmental. Commenting on others’ actions should be avoided, as at times we may end up doing the same thing in similar circumstances”.

I know many people who can be called hypocrites, but I have never been able to muster enough courage to tell them so, as I myself am a hypocrite. There are times when I really feel ashamed of my hypocrisy and wonder what measures I can take to minimize it. Maybe this can be achieved by trying my best to always do and say what I believe to be right and not changing my values to justify my actions. On other self-righteous moments, I overcome my guilt by reminding myself that I am an honest hypocrite and unlike most people, have the courage to admit my weaknesses.

AEY NAATWAAN MERE DIL…!! (For my readers who can not read Urdu)

 

Aey natwaan mere dil

Himmat naa haarna tu

Do char aur qadam hain

Bas saamne hai manzil

Maana ke raah kathin hai

Lamba bohat safar hai

Par mushkilein ye teri

Ab khatm hain hone waali

Ye maanti hoon mein ke

Maazi tera ajab hai

Haalaat ke sitam se

Kuch dost ke karam se

Sab khwaab toote tera

Bikhra tu reza reza

Khushyon ki aarzu mein

Phirta raha tu barson

Par kuch hua na hasil

Tujh ko in kaawishon se

Manzil na paayi tu ne

Laut aaya raaston se

Halat ko teri chaha

Mein ne bohat badalna

Lekin ye kaam shayad

Tha mere bas se bahar

Par tu bara tha ziddi

Maani na haar tu ne

Dukh she ke muskurana

Har dum tha tere shewa

Bas hansna aur hansana

Har dum tha kaam tera

Phir kyun ye eik thakan see

Tujh pe hai aaj taari?

Maayusyaan ye kaisi?

Kaisi ye beqaraari?

Ye khoon jo ris raha hai

Zakhmon se aaj tere

Kar deiga yehi rangeen

Kal tere gulistan ko

Kar le yaqeen mera

Dukh ki ye inteha hai

Aur hoti hai inteha jab

Phir hoti ibtidaa hai

Bas thori aur himmat

Thora saa housla aur

Do char aur qadam hain

Bas saamne hai manzil

Aey natwaan mere dil!!

Aey naatwaan mere dil!!!

 

specially for you Hibiscus Rosa Noor, Greetings from England; and all of my readers who do not understand Urdu. as i do not write poetry in English, please do not mind my crude translation,
Regards,
Yasmin Elahi

Yasmin Elahi

Aa  gayaa hai

Khuda ki rehmat ka tohfa

Ye yaqeen dilaane ke lye

Upar eik Zaat hai

Jo ghum ki andheri raat se

Eik nayi subah tulooh kartee hai!

Aa gaya hai

Khuda ki rehmat ka tohfa

Zindigi ki andheri raahon mein

Eik chota sa dyaa

Jis ki nanhi see jout se

Jagmaga uthi hai mere dil ki dunya

Dard ke sehra mein jo hai

Thandee hawa ka jhonka

Aa gaya hai

Khuda ki rehmat ka tohfa!

Jis kea a jaane se

Aa  gayi hai mere gulshan mein bahar

Rukhsat ho gaya

Khizaan ka mausam

Jis ke aane ka tha

Mere dil ko yaqeen

Jo ke hai

Meri duaaon ka jawaab

Aa gaya hai wo

Khuda ki rehmat ka tohfa!!!
The gift of Allah’s blessing has arrived to further confirm my belief that there is a Divine Being above us
Who has the power to draw a new morning from…

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اے ناتواں مرے دل

اے ناتواں مرے دل
ہمت نہ ہارنا تو
دو چار اور قدم ہیں
بس سامنے ہے منزل
مانا کہ راہ کٹھن ہے
لمبا بہت سفر ہے
پر مشکلیں یہ تیری
اب ختم ہیں ہونے والی
یہ مانتی ہوں میں کہ
ماضی ترا عجب ہے
حالات کے ستم سے
کچھ دوست کے ستم سے
سب خواب ٹوٹے تیرے
بکھرا تو ریزہ ریزہ
حالت کو تیری چاہا
ہر دم بدلنا میں نے
لیکن یہ کام شاید
تھا میرے بس سے باہر
خوشیوں کی آرزو میں
پھرتا رہا تو برسوں
پر کچھ ہوا نہ حاصل
تجھ کو ان کاوشوں سے
منزل نہ پائی تو نے
لوٹ آیا راستوں سے
پر تو بڑا تھا ضدی
مانی نہ ہار تو نے
دکھ سہہ کے مسکرانا
ہر دم تھا تیرا شیوہ
بس ہنسنا اور ہنسانا
ہر دم تھا کام تیرا
پھر کیوں یہ اک تھکن سی
تجھ پہ ہے آج طاری؟
مایوسیاں یہ کیسی؟
کیسی یہ بیقراری؟
یہ خوں جو رس رہا ہے
زخموں سے آج تیرے
کر دیگا یہی رنگیں
کل تیرے گلستاں کو
کر لے یقین میرا
دکھ کی یہ انتہا ہے
ہوتی ہے انتہا جب
پھر ہوتی ابتدا ہے
بس تھوڑی اور ہمت
اے ناتواں مرے دل
دو چار اور قدم ہیں
بس سامنے ہے منزل

 

THE BEGINNING OF THE END?

 

I grumble, I protest, I rave, I rant and yes, I am not ashamed to admit that in weak and emotional moments I cry too! But in the depth of my heart there is a sad and sinking feeling that all this is in vain! I can not do anything to change the way things are going in my beloved Homeland. And then I realize that my pen is my only tool! At least I can give a path to my emotions, share with my readers my pain, my anger and my frustration at the non stop downslide in nearly every aspect of life in Pakistan! Being a stay at home mother and grandmother and also a senior citizen, my ageing body and mind hampers me from any active participation in the state of affairs; this is the only small contribution I can make. It may be a drop in the ocean, but deep down I firmly believe that eventually every such drop will bring about a tsunami of change!

Every new incident of terror, arson, cold blooded target killing, corruption and sheer negligence bring a flurry of troubling questions to my mind. Is this the price we and our coming generation pay for loving our country? Who are these people who have unleashed a reign of terror on the common (and patriotic) Pakistani? Why are the people who are supposed to trace them and give them exemplary punishment a total failure in their jobs (for which they are paid hefty amounts after fleecing the law abiding taxpayer)?  When will the situation change for the better and this hopeless situation end? When will our politicians end their race in corruption and greed and rise to the occasion and try to control things which are getting out of hand day by day? When will the sufferings of the man on the street abate?  How can the heartless people who are killing innocent and unarmed fellow countrymen dare to call themselves Muslims? Although I can find no answer to my questions, the intense pain, the deep anger and the sense of frustration abates a bit when I express my feelings of utter hopelessness!

I am no political analyst, nor a religious scholar, so like every common Pakistani I can only ask, nay, demand for solutions! Maybe someday, someone will come up with an answer to my queries but at the moment I, like all sensitive and patriotic Pakistanis seem to be groping in the dark! We are walking in a tunnel which seems to be endless, our souls so tired we feel like dropping down dead, but the vague hope that there is bound to be light at the end of this dark tunnel keep us dragging our bleeding feet on!

11th January..2013

I had started this blog a few days back, but the slow and lazy writer that I am, had left it unfinished. But the bomb blasts in Quetta have brought me back to my computer. Today is a black day in Pakistan’s history! And I am sad to say that we do not have days like these once in a while! The bomb blasts in Quetta which has left more than a hundred people dead and a lot more injured has opened a new set of questions in my mind. Who are these people who are targeting the Hazara Shias in Balochistan? Are we all not human beings, and then Muslims before we are Sunnis or Shias? When will the high-ups in Baluchistan wake up from their deep slumber to stop these killings? Are they a part of this conspiracy and deliberately turning a deaf ear and blind eyes to the ethnic cleansing of these innocent people? The list of questions goes on and on and I just grope in pain for answers!

13th January…2013

The relatives of the bomb blast victims have taken a seemingly strange step. As a protest for the killings of their dear ones, they have decided to hold a dharna(sit-in) at the site of the blasts, with the coffins of the deceased! They are demanding that the army take over the control of Quetta and the inefficient and corrupt government of CM Raisani sacked! The voice of their peaceful but painful protest is reaching out to every sensible and sensitive Pakistani, waves of protest are spreading country wide as sit ins are being held in many cities in all the four provinces of Pakistan!

The unburied coffins of the victims of the gruesome carnage in Quetta seem to ask more questions? What was our fault? Why are we being targeted so cruelly? Why have the security services and the government failed to give us protection?

As I try to go back to sleep after my Fajr prayers, my mind goes back to the people out there, braving the freezing temperatures and the agony and pain of sitting with their unburied dead! As I pull my blanket closer, my ageing body seems to shiver at these disturbing thoughts. I feel restless! And pushing my blanket aside, I try again to complete this blog.

 My heart goes out to you, the relatives of the innocent people killed in the Twin explosions. It must be breaking your hearts to sit out with the dead bodies of your loved ones, bravely facing the bitter cold and rain as well as the emotional trauma you are going through!

14th January ..2013

After the three days long painful sit in, a day of mourning which has brought most of the country to a standstill, the government finally has to give in! Although the prime Minister had reached Quetta earlier in the day, he did not seem to have the courage to go out to the protestors. Media coverages of him, sitting comfortably in the warmth of the heaters in the Governor House, holding talks with concerned people, while the young and old, men, women and children were shown shivering in the intense cold, only added insult to injury!

Finally late in the night, he went to offer his condolences to the bereaved, not looking very comfortable as he hummed and hawed during his speech, and had to be prompted again and again by the Information Minister Kaira. He finally announced that the demands of the protestors have been met. There would be Governor rule in Baluchistan, immediate compensation for those who have been killed (as if money could compensate for their lives) and free treatment for the injured.

And the rest is history!

Today there is only one question which keeps on tugging at my heart! Is this the beginning of the end?

I hope and pray this time the country wide protests, and the painful sacrifice of the mourners of not burying their dead unless their demands are met, do not go in vain and the moment of change we all have been waiting for has finally arrived! Maybe I will at last get an answer to the questions which make my heart bleed and keep me sleepless at nights! May be we have reached the end of the dark tunnel, even if we are on our hands and feet, but being the resilient nation we are, we are bound to bounce back!

Long live Pakistan!

 

          

TOHFA! For my readers who can not read Urdu…with a simple EnglishTranslation

Aa  gayaa hai

Khuda ki rehmat ka tohfa

Ye yaqeen dilaane ke lye

Upar eik Zaat hai

Jo ghum ki andheri raat se

Eik nayi subah tulooh kartee hai!

Aa gaya hai

Khuda ki rehmat ka tohfa

Zindigi ki andheri raahon mein

Eik chota sa dyaa

Jis ki nanhi see jout se

Jagmaga uthi hai mere dil ki dunya

Dard ke sehra mein jo hai

Thandee hawa ka jhonka

Aa gaya hai

Khuda ki rehmat ka tohfa!

Jis kea a jaane se

Aa  gayi hai mere gulshan mein bahar

Rukhsat ho gaya

Khizaan ka mausam

Jis ke aane ka tha

Mere dil ko yaqeen

Jo ke hai

Meri duaaon ka jawaab

Aa gaya hai wo

Khuda ki rehmat ka tohfa!!!
The gift of Allah’s blessing has arrived to further confirm my belief that there is a Divine Being above us
Who has the power to draw a new morning from the night of despair!
She is like a little candle in the dark paths of my life which is spreading it’s tiny light to brighten up my heart!
She is like a breath of cool air in the desert of pain I am walking in!
The gift of Divine Blessing has arrived; her arrival announces the advent of Spring and the end of
Autumn in my life
In my heart there was always a firm believe that she will come one day, as she is an answer to my prayers!
The gift of Divine Blessing has finally arrived!

Edited version of a poem I wrote years ago before the birth of my first grand daughter. But I feel it is the perfect time to post this Nazm. My eldest son and daughter in law have been blessed with a beautiful baby girl in the fifteenth year of their married life. Alhumdulillah!!

Ecstasy is too small a word to express the happiness my heart is brimming with! And I can not thank Allah enough for answering to the prayers which came from the depth of my heart!

Far back in the walk of life, when I wrote this poem, I was going through a tough phase … a personal trauma too big for words!!! Although a lot has changed and life has moved miles ahead (and surely for the better), but some emotions never change! Somehow, I am going through all those feelings again, only this poem was written when my grandaughter was still to arrive! 

All readers and friends are requested to keep my little angel in their prayers!

تحفہ

آ گیا ہے
خدا کی رحمت کا تحفہ
یہ یقین دلانے کے لئے
اوپر ایک ذات ہے
جو غم کی اندھیری رات سے
ایک نئی صبح طلوع کرتی ہے
آ گیا ہے
خدا کی رحمت کا تحفہ
زندگی کی اندھیری راہوں میں
ایک چھوٹا سا دیا
جس کی ننھی سی جوت سے
جگمگا اٹھی ہے مرے دل کی دنیا
درد کے صحرا میں جو ہے
ٹھنڈی ہوا کا جھونکا
آ گیا ہے وہ
خدا کی رحمت کا تحفہ
جس کے آ جانے سے
آگئی ہے مرے گلشن میں بہار
اور رخصت ہو گیا
خزاں کا موسم
جس کے آنے کا تھا
مرے دل کو یقین
جو کہ ہے
میری دعائوں کا جواب
آ گیا ہے وہ
خدا کی رحمت کا تحفہ

Edited version of a poem I wrote years ago before the birth of my first grand daughter. But I feel it is the perfect time to post this Nazm. My eldest son and daughter in law have been blessed with a beautiful baby girl in the fifteenth year of their married life. Alhumdulillah!!

Ecstasy is too small a word to express the happiness my heart is brimming with! And I can not thank Allah enough for answering to the prayers which came from the depth of my heart!

Far back in the walk of life, when I wrote this poem, I was going through a tough phase … a personal trauma too big for words!!! Although a lot has changed and life has moved miles ahead (and surely for the better), but some emotions never change! Somehow, I am going through all those feelings again, only this poem was written when my grandaughter was still to arrive! 

All readers and friends are requested to keep my little angel in their prayers!

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.