WHITHER, GOOD MANNERS?! MY ARTICLE IN YOUNG WORLD

Whither… Good Manners?

          (Before coming to my point today, I would like my young readers to know that I do not mean to offend or charge them. I have great faith in our young generation and consider them more enlightened and intelligent than ever before. Our children are the architects of a better tomorrow. But, just in good spirit, I would like to point out to some short comings which they and their parents are overlooking).  

We are living in an era where life is moving at a fast pace. The world has changed into a global village. Lots of things are changing around us.  Being a grandmother, I have observed five generations; two senior than me and two who came after me. I feel that a lot of our cultural and moral values are not keeping up with the fast paced life and without realizing it, we are simply leaving them behind. Norms and mannerisms, which were considered totally unacceptable a couple of decades ago, have stealthily crept into the behavior and attitude of our children.

Usually parents and other older people are quick to point accusing fingers at the children and state that this was not the way we behaved when we were young. We can not (and should not) blame children for this change. We must realize that they have been born and brought up in a world totally different from our own childhood days. Children of today are overloaded with information. They have access to the computer, the internet, e- mail, text message, I phone and the television churns out information round the clock. They have the world at their finger tips. Interaction with human beings is on the down slide as children are happier to spend time with these gadgets

          In the 1950s 0r 60s people usually lived in extended families, with three or more generations under a single roof. Children had a lot of time to interact with their grand parents and other senior family members. Like today, parents usually were pressed for time, but the grandparents played a great role in the character building of the little ones. Through stories, anecdotes and sharing the wisdom they had gained from their experiences, they instilled good values in the children. They were often the role models which the children idolized and followed with great zeal.

          A grandmother (who prefers to remain anonymous) shares her views “Back in the sixties, when I was a schoolgirl, there was a firm set of rules for children which we were taught (and expected) to follow firmly. There was long list of does and don’ts. Never talk back to your parents and elders, do not interrupt when a person older than you is speaking. During a discussion, although we were encouraged to give our views, we had always to wait for our turn to speak our mind. Not only the elderly family members, but older siblings were treated with respect and sometimes when the parents were not around, they easily slipped into the role of the caretaker and the person in charge.”

She adds, “When a Buzurg (an aged person), entered a room and there was no empty seat, we were taught to try to be the first to offer ours. We were expected to stop our chatting and laughter and change the topic to something interesting to the newcomer. Keeping our voice and tone soft, sitting in an upright position whenever our parents or elders were around, were all considered parts of good manners. But now more often than not, the children do not even notice you, they keep on doing whatever they were busy in, whether it is surfing on the internet, chatting with friends, listening to loud music, watching the TV or just lying down.”

          Where can we draw a line between appearing ‘Cool’ and being insolent? This is the question where I find our new generation a bit confused. It is good to stand out in the crowd, but the difference should be in a better performance in all fields of life, rather than being ill behaved and bad mannered.

The world has changed but the relationships remain the same. You may not live with your grand parents, but they deserve the same amount of love and respect that they did three or four decades back. At times they may sound ill informed or old fashioned, but this does not mean that you should ignore, or worse still, ridicule them. Inspite of all your knowledge, they are still wiser because of the experiences they have gained over the decades.

Parents often complain that their children feel offended when they are asked where they are going, with whom and when they will be back. The new generation find the “Ws” (who, why, when) very irritating. Shirmeen, a teenager says, “Whenever I plan to hang out with my friends, my parents act weirdly. I am bombarded with questions! Why don’t they trust me? Parents should have faith in their children.” Her mother on the contrary says, “With the insecure conditions in the city, I want to know where and with whom my daughter is going and when would she be back. I simply don’t understand why she gets mad when I ask her a couple of questions.”

Most children take the parental intervention as a big obstacle in their enjoyment, as they feel it is an invasion into their privacy. Instead of being irritated by your parents’ questions, you should realize their concern for your safety. Communication gaps always lead to misunderstandings. If you sit down with them and discuss politely why you feel annoyed by their queries, you will be able to explain your point of view, as well as understand what they want or expect from you in return.

A mother of three kids, Hina Nauman says “Manners of our children have changed drastically as we have confused “badtameezi” (misbehavior) with confidence. And parents to an extent are to be blamed for this attitude. They often ignore children’s wrong manners saying that they do not want them to lose their self-confidence. What they don’t realize is that to discipline your child doesn’t mean you are making him under confident. The standard of being cool today is to stand out in the crowd at the expense of hurting or belittling others, others could be the parents themselves, the older members of the family or friends. I often get shocked when people are actually happy when they see their kid answering back to elders, which is not confidence but plain insolence. We can wrap it the way we want to, but this is not right for the character building of children. We are looking at a confused value system all together.”

In the end I would like to quote my late mother who was a woman of great wisdom, “Your behavior, speech and body language is the mirror to your family”, she used to say, “Wherever you go and whoever you meet, people should realize that you come from a respectable background. And respectability is by no means related to wealth! The way you have been brought up, the values you learnt in your early childhood and the role models you follow, strongly affects your personality”.

So, my friends beware of all things which may appear ‘cool’ today! Tomorrow, even if you realize that they adversely affect your personality, you may be so much addicted to the bad behaviour that you may not be able to shake it off even if you want to do so! 

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DIL KI AAWAAZ( Nazm in Roman Urdu)

Dard e Dil ko mere kuch dawa chahiye
Eik nigah e karam Ae Khuda chaihye

Raat taareek hai raah dikhti nahin
Kamli Waale ke rukh ki zia chaihye

Askh ankhon se gir gir ke kehte hain ye
Bas humein Daaman e Mustufa(S.A.W) chaihye

Hai safeena mera beech toofan ghira
Ab Muhammad (S.A.W) ko deni sada chaihye

Mile shehr e Madina mein do gaz zameen
Aur hum ghum ke maaron ko kya chaihye

Zeest eik bojh hai hum se uthta nahin
Umr ho mukhtasir ye dua chaihye!

دل کی آواز

Dil ki awaz

دردِ دل کو مرے کچھ دوا چاہئے

اک نگاہِ کرم اے خدا چاہئے

رات تاریک ہے راہ دکھتی نہیں
کملی والےصل کے رخ کی ضیا چاہئے

اشک آنکھوں سے گر گر کے کہتے ہیں یہ
بس ہمیں دامنِِِ مصطفٰیصلچاہئے

ہے سفینہ مرا بیچ طوفاں گھرا
اب محمدصلکو دینی صدا چاہئے

ملے شہر ِ مدینہ میں دو گز زمیں
اور ہم غم کے ماروں کو کیا چاہئے؟

زیست اک بوجھ ہے ہم سے اٹھتا نہیں
عمر ہو مختصر یہ دعا چاہئے

 

 

RAMZAN AND PAKISTAN ( Musings of a true Pakistani!)

 

We have been blessed by the month of Ramadan again. This is the time of the year to re-learn lessons, to stop and think; and to act for a better life and a better future! As I repeatedly say, Ramadan is not about refraining to eat and drink from dawn to dusk as this only the physical requirement of this month. Neither is it only about preparing and shopping for Eid, something we all spend a major part of the month in. The message of this month goes much deeper! If we think a bit profoundly, we will find that this is a month to change ourselves for the better, to improve in all aspects of life.

We all know Pakistan was created on the 14th of August 1947, but maybe most of us do not know that this day coincided with the 27th of Ramadan 1368 Hijri. If we truly realize the real lessons of this month, and apply it to our behavior and attitude as citizens of Pakistan, we can make a drastic improvement in the future of our homeland. All of us have to play a role and change ourselves to contribute towards this goal.

Discipline, obedience, punctuality, compassion for those less blessed than us, sharing and caring and a sense of accountability are all feelings which can go a long way in improving our lives as well as the situation in Pakistan.

My readers may be too young to realize the intensity of the dire state of affairs we as a nation are stuck in, but you are enlightened enough to know that all is not well in Pakistan. The newspaper and the electronic media give us disturbing news every day. Your parents fear for your security when you go out. Illiteracy, crimes, corruption and greed are gnawing at the roots of our beloved homeland. If we as a nation resolve to apply the true spirit of Ramadan to our conduct and outlook as a nation, a positive change in the situation is bound to come.

Ramadan teaches us the lesson of obedience. We know that we have to go without food and during during a fast. But we can easily sneak a snack or a glass of water when no one is watching us. But none of us would even think of doing so because we all firmly believe that a Divine Eye is watching us! Why is it so that we take a pleasure in breaking rules and disobeying laws? Sneaking a flower or two and walking on the grass where it is clearly written “Do not walk on the grass or pluck flowers” give us a sense of adventure. Breaking traffic signals and over speeding on roads are not even considered a crime by most people. Pushing and shoving each other instead of making a queue at public places are all national habits with us. These are small crimes but this frame of mind gives rise to a disregard for law at all levels. If we learn to obey and respect the law at a young age, a far reaching change will be seen very soon.

Ramadan is the month of punctuality. We start and break fasts according to the fixed time and not according to our mood or whim. But as a nation we totally lack a sense of punctuality. Students submit their work late, government officers generally do not care if they do not reach their offices in time; we seldom follow the timings when we attend a wedding or any other invitation. And often I have found patients waiting and suffering in pain because the doctors do not turn up at the exact time they have given to their patients. Time is a commodity which we love to waste although if we study the cases of developed nations we shall find that punctuality and valuing time is one of their foremost qualities. So, this Ramadan let us resolve that we shall value our time and try to do every thing according to a set routine.

When we give out Zakaat in Ramadan, we come in contact with people less privileged than us. This creates in us a sense of compassion as well a will to share our blessings with the needy people around us. Feeling the pangs of hunger as well going thirsty makes us realize what the poor people go through the year around. If we nurture these feelings and keep them alive around the year, a large number of people from our circle will benefit. Giving away clothes, toys, books and other personal possessions which you can comfortably do without may bring joy and content to those who can not afford to buy these things. Frustrations and deprivations usually give rise to crime. The crime graph in our country can come down sharply if the affluent change their attitude of amassing wealth by using unfair means and depriving the worthy of their share, but these qualities have to be learnt from a young age.

In the end I must say that Ramadan gives us a general sense of piety, an urge to do good deeds and shun bad ones. Lying, cheating, selfishness, greed and back biting are all qualities which are causing the detoriation in the conditions our country is facing. While fasting we have a natural urge to keep away from these ills. Why not resolve firmly to make this a national habit? Even when Ramadan is over and we are not fasting truthfulness, honesty, patriotism and discipline can go a far way to guide Pakistan towards the road to development.

So, enjoy the delicacies Mummy cooks for Iftar and Sehar but do not fail to lend her a helping hand wherever you can. Shop for your Eid preparations but do not forget those who are less privileged than you. But foremost of all, this Ramadan let’s resolve to make Pakistan a better place to live in. When we all join hands and make firm resolution things will improve Insha Allah. Because as an optimistic I firmly believe that there is light at the end of the darkest tunnel! A change (for the better) in our values and preferences is the need of the hour.

LESSONS BEYOND A MONTH!

The blessed days of Ramzan are passing at a fast pace.. With more than half the month gone, and Eid shopping gaining momentum, I feel this is the perfect time children should be reminded about the true spirit of this month!

Yasmin Elahi

The most frequently asked question (which mothers eventually start to dread) these days is, “What’s for Iftaar today”? The best part of the day for children is sunset, when they break their fast and eat their favourite dishes to their heart’s fill. And they keep on asking Mummy for something new and different each day. As a reward for the day long thirst of fasting, and to beat the heat, they are offered a wide selection from juices, sherbets and shakes, as well as chilled water.

At Sehr, the time when the fast begins, mothers get up early to prepare parathas, omelettes, shami kababs and other dishes of their children’s choice, so that they have a hearty meal to keep them going through the long day ahead. Drinking milk is a must and children are threatened that they would not be allowed to fast, if they do not finish their…

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Ramazan: Care and share!

The holy month of Ramazan has arrived with its endless blessings! These are strange and blessed days as we all feel a change in ourselves, a change for the better. We find ourselves more inclined towards good deeds; more compassionate towards the people around us and witness a strange urge to share our blessings with those who do not have the privileges we enjoy (and sometimes take for granted).

 

 

Those of us who (unfortunately) are not regular in their prayers, promptly get up for ablution and proceed to pray as soon as we hear the Moazzin’s call. The sound of the Maghrib Azan is perhaps the most welcome sound of the day. After the long hours of hunger and thirst, our fast comes to an end and we enjoy the endless mouth-watering goodies mummy so lovingly prepares for us.

But even in these moments we do not forget our maid, driver, cook or the chowkidaar and make it a point to lay out plates for them with all the things on the Iftar table that we will be having!

Friends, Ramazan is a month of great rewards as Allah has promised to bestow His grace on us manifolds for all the good deeds we perform. So, when you are fasting, instead of taking it only as an abstinence from food and drink, try to ponder on the importance of fasting. The hunger and thirst we experience make us realise the hardships of the people who are not as lucky as us!

So, think about ways to help people around you. Try to reflect on the plight of children like you who have been pushed into child labour due to the poverty of their parents. Although they deserve education just as you do, they cannot go to schools because their parents cannot afford the expenses. Instead, they toil in the heat to earn the extra money their family needs to make both ends meet! You can make the days of Ramazan more valuable by sharing your blessing with these children.

Scan your wardrobe for the clothes you seldom wear but that are still in good condition. Empty your shoe rack and put back only those you really need. Sort out your toys, stationery, story books, etc, and give away what you think is more than your requirements.

These extra things you keep on collecting (but hardly use) can make Eid happier and brighter for your less privileged peers. When you go out for Eid shopping, don’t forget to remind mummy to get some new stuff for the maid and her kids too.

This year you have the extra advantage of summer vacation, so you do not have to brave the heat of the scorching sun during the fast. You can also get up later than your normal routine. This Ramazan make your time precious by sharing your free time. Help out at home to lessen the workload of your mother and maids too. 

Clearing up your rooms, making your beds, laying the table and clearing up after Sehr and Iftar, can be positive steps on your part to relieve those who keep on toiling endlessly to keep you comfortable.

Be prompt to get up at Sehr. In most homes, we see mothers running frantically from room to room, trying to pull out sleepy children from their beds and making them eat and drink enough to pass the long hours of fasting with more ease. But often in this chaos, they hardly get time to have a proper meal themselves, although to be fair to them, they are the ones who need a proper diet the most!

So instead of making Sehr an exhausting experience for mummy, get up early and help out in laying the table and carry out the eggs, milk, cereals and whatever else she is serving you for Sehr. Make sure that she finishes her glass of milk, just as she wants you to finish yours.

When Daddy comes home from his job, try to help him in relaxing after he has braved the heat of the day. A gentle massage of the neck and feet will help him to relax and beat the fatigue of the long fast. Be sure not to quarrel with siblings, make unnecessary noise or put on the TV on high volume, so that he can snatch a nap before it is time for Iftar.

Friends, caring for people around us and sharing our blessings with them should be your motto this month. Ramazan is a month of obedience, sacrifice, discipline and devotion. You feel nearer to Allah and a softening of the heart.

Compassion is the key to a positive and better life! Let’s vow to practise this positive emotion not only in this holy month but the whole year round. You will be amazed by the sense of peace of mind and tranquillity you will feel engulfing your heart!

In the end I would like to quote a famous Hadith. Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Allah says, ‘Every deed of the son of Adam is for him, except fasting; it is for me and I shall reward for it.’ Fasting is a shield. If any one of you is fasting, let him not utter obscene talk or raise his voice in anger, and if anyone insults him or wants to fight, let him say: I am fasting. By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better before Allah than the fragrance of musk. The fasting person has two moments of joy: when he breaks his fast he rejoices at breaking his fast and when he meets his Lord, the Mighty and Sublime, he will rejoice at having fasted’.”

Happy Ramazan and a happier Eid to all my friends!

 

 

LESSONS BEYOND A MONTH!

The most frequently asked question (which mothers eventually start to dread) these days is, “What’s for Iftaar today”? The best part of the day for children is sunset, when they break their fast and eat their favourite dishes to their heart’s fill. And they keep on asking Mummy for something new and different each day. As a reward for the day long thirst of fasting, and to beat the heat, they are offered a wide selection from juices, sherbets and shakes, as well as chilled water.

At Sehr, the time when the fast begins, mothers get up early to prepare parathas, omelettes, shami kababs and other dishes of their children’s choice, so that they have a hearty meal to keep them going through the long day ahead. Drinking milk is a must and children are threatened that they would not be allowed to fast, if they do not finish their mugs. And in each household sleepy kids are seen hurriedly downing their meals as the time for the Fajr Azaan approaches fast.

Another important feature of Ramzan is the Eid shopping. Children go out to shopping centres and malls with their parents. They buy new dresses, shoes, toys and other things of their choice. Girls are seen flocking jewellery and bangle shops for matching accessories. This is the time when parents are seen indulging their children and giving in to their endless demands.

But have you all ever pondered about the true meaning of this month? Is it only about hot jalebis and spicy pakoras for iftaar, omelettes and parathas for sehr and shopping for Eid? Definitely not! Ramzan has a much wider and deeper spirit. This month teaches us lessons which lead us to a better and positive way of thinking, lessons which not only improve the quality of our lives but of also the people around us.

Ramzan is the month granted to us to learn self control, sympathy, compassion and obedience. In this month we learn discipline, patience and punctuality. Just as the recruits of an army go through vigorous exercises during their training, the holy month of Ramzan is a training session for the Muslims. And this month is granted us every year so that we revise and do not forget these lessons.

On normal days we eat and drink according to our hunger and thirst. When we are fasting, why is it that although we have food and water at our hands, we remain hungry and thirsty all day long? It is only because we are aware of the requirements of a fast, that we have to begin and end our Roza at a fixed time, neither a few minutes earlier nor a few minutes late. We know that a Divine Eye is watching us, so even if we have a chance to eat and drink, when no one will come to know about it, we do not even think of doing so! Ramzan not only teaches us punctuality and self control, it also nurtures a sense of obedience in us.

          The month of Ramzan creates awareness in our minds of the hardships and sufferings of the people who are not as privileged as us. How can we feel the pangs of hunger unless and until we experience them ourselves! Abstaining from food and drink in compliance to the requirement of a fast is one thing and sleeping on an empty stomach, because one has nothing to eat, is totally another. While fasting, we have the satisfaction that we are doing this to obey Allah and know that a wholesome meal is awaiting us at the end of the day. Going hungry without knowing from where and when you will get your next square meal is a totally different feeling, a feeling which can be frightening and frustrating.

          During a fast, when we are thirsty, we can better understand the hardships of the people residing in desert and mountainous areas; people who have to walk miles to procure water to quench their thirst and for their other requirements. Usually this water is polluted causing many water borne diseases. We are lucky enough to have running water in our taps but for those people water is a precious commodity and taking a bath is a luxury as every drop is used with utmost care! We learn to count our blessings and be thankful to Allah for all the bounties He is showering upon us.

          Another lesson we learn in this month is patience and tolerance. Most of us feel irritable and short tempered during a fast, and tend to pick up a quarrel with those around us at the slightest pretext.  But when we learn about the bounties of controlling our anger and avoiding unnecessary arguments, we try our best to remain cool headed and calm. We must keep on reminding ourselves that this lesson of anger management is not just for a month but we must continue to exercise control upon our temper all the year around. In this way we will emerge from this month with a better temperament.

While fasting we have a natural urge to perform good deeds. We offer our prayers with zeal and fervor and abstain from lying, cheating or disobeying our parents. We give out alms to the needy and in this way we renew our bonds with The Almighty and also learn to share our material goods with the poor and the people who are not as lucky as us.

So children, you can have all the jalebis, pakoras and other delicacies for Iftar and omelettes and parathas for Sehr, and shop happily for Eid, but you should be aware that this is not the true spirit of Ramzan. This month of training can change our mode of behaviour for the whole year ahead. The lessons of patience, discipline, self-control, compassion and punctuality should go far beyond a month as these lessons, which make us better human beings, should be for a life time.

 

 

           

 

Bonding Times!

The cherished months have finally arrived. It’s summer holiday again! It’s time to laze around and relax from the strict regime of school life, home-work, tests and, for some friends, the additional burden of tuitions too! But it is often seen that after the initial week or two, the excitement and charm of the vacation seems to wear off and we start complaining of boredom.

What should we do? This is the question which you all start asking your mothers and it makes them want to groan out aloud as they wonder how to keep their kids busy, happy and mostly out of their way!

Some lucky ones amongst you may go out of town (or country) to spend your vacation. There are also a lot of summer camps which offer a variety of activities, but in these times of insecurity and inflation, most parents do not find them affordable or convenient.

Friends, instead of getting on our parents’ nerves, we must find such means to keep ourselves busy that are not only fulfilling but also easy on our parents’ pockets!

This summer you can find a very fulfilling activity which will not only keep you busy, it will also provide a sense of immense emotional gratification. These are the months when we have lots of free time at our hands, and we can make this time precious by using it for bonding with relatives, old friends, books, nature and the environment around us!

Bonding with relatives

Often, in the busy school months we have hardly any time for our elderly relatives. Grandparents specially look forward to vacations as they know that you can visit them more often and also spend nights with them. The luxury of Grandma’s delicious pulao, her special cookies and the traditional kheer, which no one can make as perfect as her, are for yours to enjoy.

You can also help Grandpa with his gardening, in rearranging his bookshelf, or accompany him when he goes out for his daily walk or to the mosque. You can also help your grandparents to clean up their cupboards and room, a chore they do not have the energy to do without help. Maybe you will find something interesting like old photographs, grandma’s trinkets which she doesn’t use anymore or old coins and stamps Grandpa once collected as a hobby. They may allow you to keep these with you and they may one day turn to be a sort of souvenir from them.

There are also elderly family members, like your parents’ aunts and uncles or an ageing neighbor. A visit from you or a phone call can brighten up their day as deep down old people are usually lonely! You can indulge them by playing a game of ludo or chess, or reading out to them from their favorite book. The happy look you will see on their faces would make your free time worthwhile.

Bonding with old friends

Sometimes you lose track of close friends once they move out of your neighborhood or change school. In these leisure months it would be a wonderful idea to look them up and refresh your ties with them. You can email them to find out about their whereabouts or call common friends to trace them out. Meeting old friends is often a tonic for our mood and spirits, providing us with a deep sense of pleasure.

Bonding with your books

With the hectic routine of homework and class tests, most children usually like to spend their free hours relaxing in front of the television, texting or chatting with friends and browsing on the computer. Reading good books is no more a favorite pastime for most of you. But you must realize that books are your best companions and there is no better time to cultivate good reading habits than the long afternoons of your summer vacation.

To make your time more productive, look up some good classics, and be sure that every day you spend a couple of hours in reading. In this way you will learn a lot as reading not only broadens your insight, it also provides you knowledge beyond your textbooks — the most enjoyable pastime one can have!

Ask your parents or elder siblings to help you in the choice of books. You can visit old book shops or the Sunday markets where you can get good books at affordable prices. Create a chain by exchanging books with your friends. This way you will be able to read more while you spend less. Soon you will realize that reading is the most enjoyable pastime one can have.

Bonding with nature

Bird watching, going for walks and gardening are all means to bond with nature. Place small pots of water and baajra (millet) in your garden and you will be delighted to see the sparrows specking at the food and drink!

Bread pieces leftover from the breakfast table, a spoonful or two of cooked rice can also go into these pots and don’t be alarmed if crows also come in for the treat. After all they also help to clear up the environment and we can set out a morsel of food for them too.

Gardening is also a very fulfilling activity which will bring you closer to nature. You can set out small pots in your garden or balcony and nurture and water your personal plants. The tinge of delight at seeing your plant grow will make your time rewarding as well as give you a sense of fulfilment.

Bonding with the environment

This summer vacation set a goal for yourself to make your surroundings better. You can organize a cleanliness drive with the help of your neighborhood children. Clearing up your lane and going from door to door to ask people to help you by not throwing their trash on roads will create awareness and a better civic sense. You will also immense satisfaction of seeing your surroundings cleaner and more hygienic.

The list goes on and on. These are only some suggestions for your summer holidays, but I am sure that my little friends are intelligent enough to take their initiative from these activities and plan a number of positive ones themselves! Happy vacation!

WELCOME, BLESSED MONTH OF RAMZAN

WELCOME, BLESSED MONTH!

          10th July 2013

            Its nearing the time for the Maghrib Aazaan. The blessed month of Ramzan is about to begin. I feel a sense of relief that I am still around! Although I feel a bit apprehensive as the fasts would be long and the days hot, but I believe firmly that the strength to abstain from food and drink for the long hours is granted by the Almighty Himself!

Every year I say goodbye to Ramzan with a heavy heart. Nearly 335 days before this month of infinite blessings comes again! Will I be able to make it to next Ramzan or is this the last I am witnessing of this lovable month? This question tugs at my heart as I try to busy myself for the Eid morning preparations. The happy faces of my grandchildren, who excitedly pull out their dresses from their wardrobes, lay out their shoes, socks (and matching accessories for the girls) fail to revive my spirits as I seek corners to wipe out the stray tear which keeps on blurring my view.

In the fast paced life we all live in, the months follow each other quickly and sooner than we can imagine, people start reminding each other; “Can you believe it? Only 6 months left for Ramzan! And it seems only yesterday when we were braving hunger and thirst during the long hot days.”  Hope keeps whispering silently in my heart, “Perhaps I shall be around after all!” and with the advent of Rajab I start my preparations for Eid. I have to shop for dresses for all my children and grandchildren, a ritual which I follow religiously and enjoy thoroughly! But all the shopping must be completed before Ramzan begins! This month is too valuable for me to waste my time in shopping centres and malls. The last errand to the tailor completed before the blessed days begin, I am looking forward to relaxing at home during the fasts

Not that I pray a lot (I am afraid to admit)! But for me this month means strengthening my bonds with Allah, pondering on His unending Blessings, trying my best to recite the Holy Quran as much as I can! I am lucky to have got another chance to repent for my wrong doings, to seek Allah’s forgiveness, to try to wash away my sins with my tears! I feel a strange softening of my heart, a compassion for people less blessed than me and above all I feel nearer to The Almighty.

In addition to these feelings Ramzan is also the month to enjoy the mouth watering goodies at Iftaar! I am a food lover and thoroughly relish the Cholas, Pakoras, Samosas and Fruit Chats every day at. Not to forget a tall and chilled glass of my all time favourite Rooh Afza!  Every year I and my Bahus try to keep the Iftaar simple, declaring that we shall spend more time in our prayers, duas and reciting The Holy Quran. But strangely when we lay out the Iftaar table, it seems to overflow with Allah’s bounties! For this is a month of abundance, as Allah puts Barkat in everything we make!

And before we know it the month starts drawing towards its end. As I wait for the Maghrib Azaan, I look forward towards the yearly exercise of the cleansing of the soul. The love of the World and its endless attractions pull at my heart and every year I feel I have moved away from Allah and the teachings of Islam! But thankfully, Ramzan comes back every year to revive my faith, soften my heart so that I want to repent for my wrong doings, strengthen my belief in Allah and His endless bounties.

11th July-2013

Yesterday I stopped writing this blog as a strange frustration set in. This was not what I wanted to write! There was much more to my feelings about the Blessed month. I stared at the computer screen for some time and then decided to quit! And then as if in the form of Divine Help, a text message from my best friend Nusrat came through! Just as the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle suddenly fall into their respective places, I could pin point my thoughts easily. The message read, “This is a month of soul searching, reconciliation and mending yourself. A month of returning to your core, surrendering and submitting yourself to your Creator. A month of self-recognition, supplication and salvation. May this Ramzan bring peace, happiness and change (for the better) in our lives. Ramzan Mubarak!”

The first day of Ramzan already gone and the Fast easier than my expectations, I cannot thank Allah enough for blessing me once again. Alhumdulillah!  

A very Happy and blessed Ramzan to all my readers! May we all be granted this precious month again and again in our lives Ameen!