Environment: Say ‘No’ to polythene

A\fter having breakfast, I picked up the newspaper and settle down to my second cup of tea, a routine which I enjoy everyday. A letter to the editor about the use (or misuse) of polythene bags caught my eyes. It read: “The government has failed totally in imposing the ban on polythene bags. Although implemented strictly last year, they disappeared only for a few days from the super markets, shops, vendors and stalls. They have come creeping back, slowly and surely, and it seems their days in Pakistan are not over”.

Nodding my head at the inefficiency of our government, I exclaimed angrily, ‘How irresponsible our authorities are! They start these campaigns half-heartedly and then forget about them quickly.’ Folding the newspaper away and feeling very displeased at the inefficiency of the authorities, I started preparing for lunch.

I took out the required items from the refrigerator and proceeded to the kitchen. But a thought froze me halfway! The number of polythene bags I had taken out from the fridge made me feel guilty. Mince, chicken, tomatoes, carrots, curd, coriander and green chillies were all packed in separate polythene bags. And I would be using and discarding a lot more as the day will end. I realised the fact that it would be the same in most households.

So, friends and readers, we are simply not justified in blaming the authorities for not implementing ban on polythene bags strictly. Refusing to take responsibility, we fail to realise that we ourselves are also the culprits… and the victims, as well!
Polythene bags constitute serious environmental and health hazards. Hundreds of thousands of polythene bags are discarded daily as a waste. Apart from being unpleasant to the eyes, they fly about with the wind and get stuck to barbed wires, trees and bushes, they choke drains and sewerage systems which, as a result, encourage the spread of mosquitoes and waterborne diseases.

Also, this plastic waste when dumped in fields causes land infertility, and it has disastrous effects on aquatic life when thrown in rivers, ponds or the sea. Moreover, burning polythene bags releases toxic gases that have ill-effects on health, such as aggravating respiratory problems. Recycling them is very costly and when buried they take about a 1000 years to decompose!

By refusing to pay heed to the warnings of the usage of polythene bags by concerned environmentalists, we are playing havoc with our future. Milk, eggs, fruits, pulses rice — every conceivable eatable is sold and bought in polythene bags. The scenario is no better in shopping centres. From the big departmental stores to the vendors on the footpath, every shopkeeper is supplying his commodities in polythene. We bring back home clothes, toys, shoes, books and almost all the stuff that we buy, in polythene bags.

This cursed material of the 20th century has invaded every aspect of our lives. What did people do when the polythene bags were not around or not so common? In my childhood days, I remember that cane baskets or jute bags were used to bring back groceries. These were in a number of sizes in every household and they were used according to the quantity of the commodities required. Milk was bought in steel or aluminium containers and cotton or jute bags were used to bring in meat, fish and poultry. Women usually carried colourful reusable bags when they went out for shopping. But slowly all these environment-friendly options were discarded as we took the convenience of disposable polythene bags.

How easy it is to criticise others and we are always content to play the blame game, putting the responsibility of all community work on the shoulders of the government. We conveniently forget that all of us have to join hands to bring about a change, a change for the better only if we offer helping hands to them.

We should make efforts to create awareness among our friends and neighbours about the harmful effects of polythene bags and give them suggestions for suitable alternatives.

All of us have many pieces of cloth at home, leftovers from suits, faded bed sheets or extra pillow cases. These can be easily converted into handmade shopping bags. Jute and paper bags are also good options, depending on the nature of our shopping.

Any efforts on the governmental level will have minimal impact unless we do our part by refusing to use polythene bags. We must cooperate with the concerned authorities to save our country from an environmental disaster. It may take a little planning to completely eradicate the usage of polythene bags, but by putting life ahead of inconvenience, we can make a difference to the environment. By saying ‘No’ to polythene bags, we can help the government in eradicating this menace, for in doing so we shall be investing on a healthy environment for the future.

 
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SEEP KHAALI HUMARA MUQADDAR BANE… Ghazal in Roman Urdu


Seep khaali humara muqaddar banei
Aur moti na jaane kahan kho gaye!

Jaagti ankhon se dekhaa tha jin ko kabhee
Wo saare sapne na jaane kahan kho gaye!

Mein wo tasweer hun rang jis mein nahin
Rang dhanak ke na jaane kahan kho gaye!

Itni be-kaif thee daastaan- hayyat
Sunne waale na jaane kahan kho gaye!

Pohonch jaayeinge eik din humein zoum tha
Ruste manzil ke na jaane kahan kho gaye!

THE AMMEE IN ME!

THE AMMEE IN ME!

I started my journey as a writer at an age when usually people are at the peak of their respective careers. Although my first article was published in Dawn when I had already crossed 55, slowly and steadily I have worked hard to carve out a name for myself amongst the regular contributors to the Inpage magazines (The Review and Young World) of this reputed newspaper. With only scattered articles in a number of other newspapers and magazines, I cannot boast to be a top achiever, but as (by nature) I am not a very ambitious person, I am fairly content with what I have done.

The other day, while searching for something totally different, I accidentally stumbled on this definition on Wikipedia and it set the ball of thoughts rolling. Can I call myself a late bloomer? I wonder!

According to Wikipedia, “A late bloomer is a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. The term is used metaphorically to describe a child or adolescent who develops more slowly than others in their age group, but eventually catches up and in some cases overtakes their peers, or an adult whose talent or genius in a particular field only appears later in life than is normal – in some cases only in old age.”

People often ask me why I started writing so late in my life! With a smile I reply, “Things were destined to be this way”. The truth is that I myself have no answer to this question! Hailing from a rather conservative family and being a full time home maker and mother a major part of my life, I had never imagined even in my wildest dreams that I would write articles at any stage of my life and that my compiled books would be published by a very reputable publisher (thanks, Ferozsons!)

Yes, I was good at writing essays during my school and college life, often getting a grudging praise from our very strict English teacher at school. Sometimes I cannot help smiling when I remember how I dreaded her! Having a great proficiency on English language and excellence in Grammar, she was the best teacher one could wish to have. But her sarcastic remarks when I (or my peers) made mistakes drove me mad! But today I am thankful to her on the way she grilled in me the rules of Grammar, taught me how to expand my vocabulary and instilled in me the writing skills which I haven’t forgotten to this day (although decades have passed to that stage of my life.)

Sorry readers, I have meandered away from what I actually wanted to write today. Maybe one of the disadvantages of blogging is that you are less focused, even more so when you are maintaining a personal blog site. No editors, no words limit! You just allow your thoughts to flow as you keep on hitting your keyboard!

As I read the above mentioned definition of a late bloomer, an incident from my early childhood came to my mind. Ammi often used to relate it laughingly. I was hardly six when a visitor asked me fondly “Baby aap baree ho ke kya baneingee?” (Baby what do you want to be when you grow up?) Without looking up from the doll I was playing with, and without taking a moment to think, my instant reply was “Ammee” (a mother). I looked up in surprise when the visitor and my mother burst out in laughter. “Adults are so weird! Now what is the joke in my reply?” I am sure I must have thought to myself as I went back to my toys!  

And Ammee I became at a rather young age! As fate had planned, or may be a passing angel had said Amen to my innocent childhood goals, I was married when I was in my late teens and became a mother just after I crossed my 21st birthday! For years, my life revolved round my four kids, who are dearer to me than anything else in the world.

I tried hard to be a good mother and shape the personalities of my children to the best of my abilities. Coaxing them, urging them and at times bullying them to bring out the best in them, the Ammee in me was vigilant and active throughout the years they were growing up! At times, I longed for some respite, for a few hours which I could devote to myself, but more often than not, my kids kept me busy round the clock! Maybe the mother in me, the perfectionist who wanted to settle for nothing but the best for her children, kept me on the go throughout that hectic but enjoyable part of my life. Every milestone that my children crossed was like a personal accomplishment for me and every compliment they received brought a rush of adrelin!

Years fly and time moves at a fast pace! As life moved on, the children grew up and settled down in their lives, I found myself free with long hours to spend according to my whims and moods. But strangely, instead of a sense of relief, I was surprised to find a feeling of loneliness silently descending upon my heart. I had no idea about what to do with this extra time I once longed for!

And this is when the breakthrough came! My daughter-in-law, who is more a friend for me than a Bahu suggested, “Ammi, why don’t you start writing?” I was surprised and a bit flattered too! Writing for magazines was something I had never contemplated I could do. Although I wrote poetry on and off and maintained my memoirs in which I shared my life’s moments of joy, excitement, anguish and despair, this suggestion was something  totally new for me. A field which I had never explored or even thought I would at some stage of life!

But her suggestion excited me. Why not? I thought to myself, I have nothing to lose except the disappointment of rejection. I started sending in articles to various publications and to my delight (and surprise too), my submissions started to appear at fair intervals in the magazines of a leading daily Dawn.

Maintain a blogsite was the next step which I found more fulfilling. This is my domain, a place where I can struggle to improve, experiment, create! Just as in the by-gone years I worked hard to bring out the best in my children, I coax, prod, push and sometimes bully myself to do something positive, I write and re-write, try my best to keep on improving what I have initially written. I want to express my ideas and inspirations in the best possible manner.

Over the years I have been working as a writer, the Ammee in me is never completely satisfied or fulfilled! Creating something new gives me a strange sense of joy mixed with pangs of pain. I do not want to confuse my readers, but I think only a mother or a true writer can understand what I mean!

Just like the tough task of raising children to be good and positive adults, and the satisfaction which followed after I found myself fairly successful, writing is not something easy for me! I sometimes feel I have to pour out my heart’s blood to create something worth reading. Every new experience of writing brings a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment, but it also leaves me spent out, exhausted and a bit dazed after the endeavor.

As a mother, I remember never being satisfied with my children’s performance, always wanting and expecting them to do better. In the same manner I am never content after writing something. Always a bit shaky, I read and re read what I have written, making changes here and there to make a piece more powerful. Bekaar hi hai! (It’s worthless) I tell myself after posting a piece. But I must admit feeling a rush of Adrelin when likes and comments on my writings start coming in!

The urge to write something new, to create, to improve keeps me on the go! The strong and inborn maternal instincts in me have helped a lot as a mother and a writer too! The Ammee in me lives on! Alhumdulillah!

 

 

 

سیپ خالی ہمارا مقدر بنے

سیپ خالی ہمارا مقدر بنے
اور موتی نہ جانے کہاں کھو گئے 


جاگتی آنکھوں سے دیکھا تھا جن کو کبھی
وہ سارے سپنے نہ جانے کہاں کھو گئے 


میں وہ تصویر ہوں رنگ جس میں نہیں
رنگ دھنک کے نہ جانے کہاں کھو گئے 


اتنی بے کیف تھی داستان۔حیات
سننے والے نہ جانے کہاں کھو گئے 


پہنچ جائینگے اک دن ہمیں زعم تھا
رستے منزل کے نہ جانے کہاں کھو گئے

AN ANGEL ON EARTH (MY ARTICLE IN YOUNG WORLD)

 

Her touch soothes! Her voice consoles and her soothing murmurs drive away all fears. For her children, her loving arms are the safest place in the world! Research has proved that a child recognises the voice of his mother even before he is born. Her loving face is usually his first memory and deeply etched in his mind.  Mother day 2013 inside
She is the most selfless creatures on earth. On duty 24 hours of the day, seven days a week and round the year, and she actually enjoys her job! And for this tough job, the only pay she gets or expects is a sticky kiss from her toddler, a big hug from her school-going kid, or a grudging grunt of appreciation from her teenager! Or a rare “You look tired! I guess you need to rest,” from her husband. And strangely, most of the time she is happy and content with just this pay!
Without demanding or expecting a break, a mother cooks, cleans, looks after the requirements of the kids, often drops and picks them from school or tuitions. A caretaker, nurse and teacher, she keeps on switching roles until she feels like dropping dead at the end of the day. But the next day brings the same chores which she is ready to do again with the same amount of enthusiasm and zest. After snatching a few hours of sleep, she is ready to repeat her busy schedule.
And her life is tougher if she is a working mom. Racing against time, she has to juggle between her job, her home and her kids. And she has the additional worry and responsibility to make sure that her kids are in safe and reliable hands when she is away.
Spending time on herself is usually the last option for a mother. Whatever she wants or needs to do, her priority is always her children. She may be planning to visit a friend, go out for shopping or have an appointment with her beautician, but the minute her child comes up with his lesson diary, declaring he needs her help, or she find a child is not feeling too well, without a second thought she changes her mind. All the activities she was planning earlier suddenly become unimportant for her as she lovingly turns all her attention to the child’s requirement.
It may sound strange, but my experience has taught me that the feelings children have for their mothers change with every stage of childhood. They tend to find her absolutely adorable and fascinating when they are toddlers, nursery going kids may find her a bit strict and rebel from her rules occasionally. The pre-adolescent and teenagers are the trickiest stages of life of her kids that a mother has to tackle. Their moods swing and so do their feelings for their mum. Loving her one moment and defying her the next. Arguing on each and every possible matter, they nearly drive her out of her mind!
These youngsters may proudly introduce her to their friends, but all of a sudden she does or says something which they find embarrassing. This is the toughest phase a mother goes through as she finds herself walking on thin ice, one wrong move and her children feel annoyed or displeased with her! But as they cross the vulnerable teenage, their emotions for their mum become more stable and they overgrow the volatile behaviour which is perhaps a part of growing up.
There are issues on which mothers disagree with their children. She has her own way of protecting her kids from harm. She can be as soft as silk and as tough as steel where the welfare or safety of her children is at stake. In rebellious moments, they may call her tough, strict and not understanding their point of view. But it takes years, and sometimes decades, for them to realise that she was right! This is because the rules she wants her children to follow strictly are for their own good. Children may feel that their moms are sometimes harsh on them, but this is only to teach them lessons they will find helpful in their future lives.
There are days when the long working hours and lack of sleep get on her nerves. She may be irritable and moody. But these moments pass quickly and they are the main test of our love and respect for our mother. Instead of talking back to her or replying in a rude manner, we should try to understand her feelings and try our best to soothe her temper.
An anonymous quote so beautifully says, “At the end of the day I love my mom regardless of how much we argue, or whatever we go through, because I know she’ll always be there for me.”
It is an undeniable fact that mothers love their children more than anything in this world. We can never fathom or understand the depth or intensity of her love for us. Friends, our mother is our most valuable asset, to be cherished and loved each and every day of our lives.
Instead of waiting to show your love for her once in a year on Mother’s Day, you should realise that she deserves much more! Help her out wherever you can so that she feels relieved and can rest for a while. Give her a small gift now and then, even if it is only a bunch of flowers picked from your garden, a chocolate or a small pack of her favourite cookies.
Once in a while, surprise her by serving her breakfast on her bed, or helping her in the kitchen. If you are not allowed to use the stove, just serve her a glass of milk, cereals or fruits neatly arranged in a plate. You can also add a ‘I love you’ note on the tray. Believe me, it will make your mother’s day and give a great boost to her spirits.
As life moves on, we often move away from our mothers, but their heart is tied to ours in such a way that it doesn’t stop loving and caring for us any less. The unconditional love she showered on us when we were too weak and vulnerable to take care of our needs, demands that we try to reciprocate in the best possible manner. It is impossible to pay back a mother’s love but we can try to keep her happy and content when she grows old and needs our care just as we needed hers.
In the end I would like to add this wonderful quote from Sunita Sharma “The palm on your fevered brow, the soft kisses when you need them most, the grip that steadies you on rocky roads, the hand that feeds and nurtures you, the shadow that walks besides you unconditional and enduring, is a mother’s love !”