BUNK THE JUNK!

 

BUNK THE JUNK!

          The doctor at the annual medical checkup at school was visibly displeased with Sohail. “Didn’t I tell you last time that you need to shed some weight? And here you come with three more kilos! What have you been eating all these months?” he peered over his glasses to give the obese thirteen year old a grim look. Sohail smiled nervously, “I try to be careful but somehow I can’t resist burgers, French fries, chips and carbonated drinks. I feel I have become hooked to junk food”, he admitted in a wistful tone. “If you want to maintain your health and avoid a number of ailments, you will have to bunk the junk”, the doctor replied in a firm tone. “I am giving you a list of foods which you must include in your diet and of those also which you will have to avoid. Hope to see you in a better shape next year”. He said sternly as he turned towards the next student.

          School and college going youngsters just love to eat junk food.  Turning up their noses to home cooked food which they regard old fashioned, they prefer to opt for this unhealthy trend in their diet. With fast food jaunts opening in every nook and corner of the city, junk food marketing campaigns attract the youngsters. We often note that the most commonly advertised commodities during the children’s hours on the television are for sweetened cereals, soft drinks, candy processed snacks and fast foods. Moreover, free home deliveries are adding to this fast food culture. Pizzas, burgers, rolls and carbonated drinks are just a telephone call away and the children make the most of this convenience. These are some of the reasons why they are getting addicted more and more to these unhealthy foods.

          Before using the term children should understand what really is junk food? It is a word first used in 1972 by Michael Jacobson, (director of Center for Science in the Public Interest, USA), for foods with little or no nutritional value. These foods are usually high in salt, sugar, saturated fats and loaded with empty calories. They offer little in terms of proteins, vitamins or minerals as they lack fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber. Having little or no health benefits, junk foods rob the children of the essential nutrients they need for growth and good health. Eating excessive amounts often leads to obesity and malnutrition. Common junk foods include salted snack foods (chips, crisps), candies and sweet desserts, fried fast foods and carbonated beverages. chocolates, chewing gum, most

 

 

Generally speaking, children have only a vague idea that the foods they love to eat are not very healthy and they should avoid deep fried foods, burgers, chips pizzas etc. Apart from the taste that most children love, they find them convenient and time saving too, i.e. you can eat a burger or chips when you are on the go or hanging about with friends, but not the traditional salan- roti or daal chawal, which are the base of home cooked foods. But next time when you go out with friends to grab a burger, or make a call for home- delivery of a pizza or rolls, keep these facts in mind. They will surely help you to improve your eating habits.

One teaspoon of sugar is extracted from a stalk of sugarcane one metre in length and a bottle of carbonated drink consists of ten teaspoons. A king sized Burger topped with cheese and eaten with French fries and an upsized drink provide the body with 1,800 calories! To burn these calories, you need to cycle for six hours at a speed of twenty miles per hour. Artificial ingredients contain an alarming variety of chemicals, for instance artificial strawberry flavor can contain about fifty chemicals and no strawberries at all!

To make your concept clear about the harmful effects of junk foods, some disadvantages are listed below.

Lack of energy: Junk foods do not provide us with the essential nutrients we need for growth and to carry on our day to day activities. This results in lack of energy, lethargy and general weakness and often children have to take nutrient supplements to take care of the deficiency being created in their body.

Poor concentration: After eating a junk meal rich in oil you feel drowsy and fail to concentrate on anything. Having such meals regularly makes fats accumulate in our circulatory system affecting the blood circulation. This in term results in depriving the brain of vital Oxygen and lack of nutrients and proteins can stale your grey (brain) cells temporarily.

Heart Diseases: Regular junk food intake is a major cause of heart diseases. Due to the extra intake of Fats, they are deposited in the arteries, which make the heart work harder to pump blood to the body. In the long run, the heart is fatigued by the extra work and also a deficit of Oxygen which leads to various heart diseases which are mostly not reversible.

High Cholesterol: Apart from forming plaque in arteries, which affects the blood flow, cholesterol also affects the liver where it is broken down. In the long term, junk foods diets can permanently damage the liver.

As we all crave for a change in our diet, occasional intake of junk food is permissible. Our body has enough stamina to take care of these undesirable ingredients. But be sure that you are not lured into addiction to these unhealthy foods. The meal cooked at home by Mummy is much more nutritious (and tasty as well). It is your own choice……Junk Food or Health!

 

Relationships: Mending fences

Mummy looked up from her cup of tea and cast a worried look at Umair. He was not his cheerful self for the past few days and seemed to have lost his appetite. Lost in thought, he sat at the breakfast table nibbling at his French toast.

“What’s wrong son, you look so glum and depressed. Tell me if there is anything I can do for you,” mummy asked.

Umair looked up from his plate and burst into tears, “Mummy I had a fight with my best friend and I feel that I was too harsh on him. I don’t know how and when things will again be the same between us. I feel so guilty.”

Umair went on to tell his mother how Ali had borrowed his science journal to complete the work he had missed during his absence due to fever. While returning the journal, Ali apologised to his friend that accidentally he had spilled some ink on it.

As Umair was very particular about his books, he flew into a rage and picked up a quarrel with his friend, accusing him that he must have spoiled the journal on purpose and that Ali was jealous of his good grades.

“We are not on speaking terms for a week, but I want to be friends with Ali again. I realise that I was unfair and I don’t want to lose a true pal,” confessed Umair.

None of us can claim that we have never had any differences with people who hold an important place in our lives. We have quarrels with siblings, friends and classmates; sometimes on minor issues and sometimes on major ones. But it is not possible for most of us to stay away for a long time from the people we love dearly. Even if we stop talking to them and do not communicate in any other routine manner, i.e., text messaging or interacting on social forums like Facebook, Skype, we cannot keep them out of our thoughts. And a yearning to mend the fences keeps us restless and unhappy.

Some of us maybe too stubborn, making the difference a matter of our ego and waiting for the other party to make an advance to normalise the relationship. But more often than not, most of us are too soft-hearted to prolong a fight. We know that making up quickly after a quarrel brings in peace of mind and a sense of serenity as we realise that a relationship is too strong to be adversely affected by a petty difference.

How do you mend fences with a near and dear one after you have had a bitter argument, called each other names in a fit of anger or, worst still, brought up past and long settled issues? Instead of sulking, spending restless nights and worrying your parents by refusing to eat properly, try out the positive ways to make up with your near and dear ones. Although it may take a lot of courage, the best option is to admit that you were wrong. The easiest (and for some the most difficult) way is to go ahead and say ‘I am sorry’. These are the magic words which often and easily settle petty quarrels in a moment and you retrieve your cherished relationship.

There may be some of you who find it hard to apologise but still you want to show your regrets. There are many simple and warm gestures which can help you out in this difficult situation.

Write a note

If you can not directly say that you are sorry for losing your temper and picking up a fight, just send a handwritten card. You can make a simple card yourself or buy an easily available one. You can quietly slip it into your friend’s schoolbag or place it on his desk, and in the case of a sibling, keep it silently in his/her room.

Say it with flowers

To make up with a friend after a quarrel, you do not need to send an expensive bouquet. A single flower picked from your own garden and neatly tied with a piece of ribbon or a colourful string can prove to be a gesture which will salvage your friendship.

Send a gift

A gift is a caring way to tell a person that you want to be friends again. A friend’s or sibling’s favourite chocolate or any other small gift can do wonders to melt the ice between you and your cherished one. They would understand that you feel sorry but cannot muster enough courage to say so!

A positive gesture

Sometimes a warm smile, a hand extended for a shake or a hearty hug does the trick. The person you had differences with gets the message that you want to make up for your rudeness or insensitive behaviour.

Tempers usually cool down quicker than the speed with which they flare up.

At the end of the day, you come to realise that a relationship is more important than your ego and losing a close friend on a petty issue is much worse than losing our pride!

WHO IS TO BE BLAMED?

This is an edited version of an article published in The Financial Daily

 

WHO IS TO BLAME?

 

Independence Day is approaching yet another time. Yesterday I had a sudden idea and impulsive that I am, decided to implement it at once. Throughout the year, we are busy celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Why not have an Independence day party? Happily I started to call close family members but I was a bit confused at the reaction of the young generation, who seemed to decline my invitation politely at one pretext or another.

I called Sohail, my nephew, on his cell many times and on not getting a response rang him at his office. “What’s wrong, Sohail? Why are you not attending to your cell? And no one is receiving the phone at home?” “Oh, Auntie, my cell has been snatched a third time and I simply can not afford to go on buying mobile phones for muggers.” Sohail’s tone was very cross. “Shazia has gone to her parents with the kids. We have no electricity and so no water for the last two days. How could she manage with the children with no water in this heat?”

Warily I told Sohail about the party. “Come on Auntieji, you must be joking! What is there to celebrate about anyway? Insecurity?  Power failures? Corruption? Suicide bombers blowing up innocent people whenever and wherever they want? Or the sky-rocketing cost of living which is making a respectable difficult day by day? What has Pakistan given us anyway? Please excuse me Auntie, I shall rather stay at home and catch up on my sleep”.

Sohail continued in an angry tone, “I simply see no logical reason left for celebrating the Independence Day. Though we have got a homeland but still we have no freedom. We have to free ourselves from the shackles of religious extremism, poverty, illiteracy, greed and corruption before calling ourselves a free nation and planning any celebrations. The struggle for independence is not over yet!”

 Sohail’s outburst helped me to understand why the people of his generation were not showing any interest in my party. They all belonged to a disenchanted and disappointed generation which had seen Pakistan going on the downwards slide, year by year! Although I tried my best to convince Sohail, his arguments were so strong and he seemed so agitated, I decided to talk to him later.

I was born in an age when the people who had strived, suffered and sacrificed for the sake of independence were all around, so I felt deeply disturbed at the frustration of our new generation. In those days Patriotism was the order of the day and our parents never tired of telling us true stories about the Pakistan movement. Precious lives were lost, ancestral homes and properties were left behind but no one considered this a price too heavy for Independence. I vividly remember my mother shedding tears when she talked about Mohammed Ali Jinnah or Liaqat Ali Khan! Love for Pakistan seemed to be in the blood and everyone seemed proud to call himself a Pakistani.

I can still remember how enthusiastically we celebrated 14th August at school. The principal hoisted the national flag and gave a short speech stressing on the importance of independence and love for one’s Homeland.  As we fervourly recited the National Anthem in a chorus, it was a proud moment and the fluttering green flag never ceased to bring tears to my eyes. Sweets were distributed among the children and all of us were as happy as if it was Eid.

Sohail’s questions brought a rush of guilt to my heart. What is the reason behind this change in emotions? Have we failed to transfer this love for Pakistan to our next generation? Did we take independence for granted and did not strive enough to pass on its importance to their young minds. Or is it our poor and inept education system which is to blame.

Today our young generation has but a fleeting knowledge of the hardships faced during the movement for Pakistan, something which they have learned in the dull and drab books on Pakistan Studies! These books also keep changing with the advent of every new ruler who want the syllabus to suit his whims, trying to write a new history after every few years.

Or should we blame the greedy and incapable politicians, who are too busy filling their pockets (which are already bursting at the seams), to care for the peace and prosperity of Pakistan?

Our country is rich enough in resources. But whose purpose does it serve to keep them untapped and underutilized? Job opportunities which can be created but are not, the rain water which can do wonders for our agricultural lands but instead floods and destroy standing crops, the beautiful valleys were no tourists dare to visit due to fear of the so called religious extremist, growing unemployment and a steep rise in the inflation level are only a few reasons of the causes leading to the frustration of our young generation. These and many other such thoughts kept troubling me as I lay awake in the darkness of the night.

The next morning I called Sohail again, “Whether you come or not, I am celebrating 14th August according to my plans. You asked me many questions yesterday. The only question I have to ask you is ‘What have “We” given to Pakistan’? Nobody from the Heavens will come to change our lot. It is our choice, either we sit in our drawing rooms, sipping tea and blaming each other for our failures, or firmly resolve to strive and sacrifice, step by step, for the prosperity of Pakistan”.

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!

A LIFE MORE ORGANIZED! MY ARTICLE IN YOUNG WORLD

(Although this article was written for children but sometimes adults need this lesson too. I must admit that I myself am not a very orgnized person, maybe I wrote this as a reminder for myself!) 

The van driver was blowing his horn repeatedly as Rehan frantically searched for his science journal! Only last night he had finished his assignment and kept the journal … if only he could remember where!
Giving his room one last searching look, he picked up his bag and ran to catch the school van. Disappointment was written large on his face as he stared glumly out of the window.
“Why don’t I find my things on time?” he wondered to himself. He had worked so hard on the journal, neatly drawing and labelling diagrams till late into the night. But instead of getting the praise he was expecting from his science teacher, he was reprimanded by her for not submitting his homework on time!
We often see that some of our friends always appear relaxed, are always punctual, whether it is attending an event or submitting an assignment at school. They are not jittery or nervous during examinations and seem to enjoy life better than us. This is because they are better organised than us and follow some rules which lead to a more successful and meaningful life. If we want to lead a well organised life, some habits have to be cultivated consciously.Organize inside20042013_CMY

 

Often when we are in a hurry or in a lazy mood, we keep our things in the wrong place and then waste a lot of precious time and energy searching for them. Usually it becomes a habit for which we have to pay a price.
To lead an organised life, we should make sure to keep things back in their proper place. Instead of keeping his journal in his bag after he had completed his assignment, Rehan left it on the carpet. And when he changed for the night, it got buried beneath his clothes because he did not put them in the laundry bin (which Mummy told him repeatedly to do!). Had he not been so careless, he would not have to face embarrassment at school.

 

Clearing clutter usually makes life more organised, because the fewer things we will have, the easier it would be to manage them!
Often we are reluctant to give away stuff we have a vague feeling we shall use sometimes in the future. This results in utilising more space for things (clothes, stationary, books, shoes, toiletries or any such thing of our personal use) and wasting time on managing them.
The rule of the thumb is to ask ourselves, “Will I need it this week, this month or this year?” If the answer is “No” to all the options, we should just give the thing away, especially if it is not too expensive to replace. If you have not used something in six months, you may or may not need it again, and if you have not needed something for as long as two years, you are definitely not going to needed it. So, why keep it?
Often after keeping something for years, when we try to use it, more often than not, it is outdated or no more in a working condition.
“The bottom line is, if you do not use it or need it, it’s clutter and it needs to go,” Charisse Ward

 

Often when we are trying to do more than one thing at a time, we cannot concentrate on our work properly, resulting in a downslide in our performance. A well-organised person does one task at a time according to his/her priority. We should be clear about what has to be done and what is just a pastime.
For example, while doing our homework, if we keep our cell phone within our reach and keep on replying to friends’ forwarded messages, our quality of work will suffer.

 

Planning ahead is an important trait of an organised personality. But we should be realistic in our plans. There are times when we plan to do a lot but in the end, we find a big part of what we had aimed to do undone.
Are we being over enthusiastic and planning to do more than what is possible, or we are not utilising our time properly? This is a question which only we can answer.
Practically, planning our daily, weekly and even monthly goals and trying our best to achieve them will make life more organised and tasks more manageable for us. We should make it a habit to assess ourselves regularly to find out whether we are carrying out our plans effectively.

 

Another key to lead a well-organised life is to manage your time in the most fruitful manner. To make the best use of your time, decide on what is the most important thing you need to do right away. Leaving your homework or preparation for a test unfinished, just to watch your favourite TV show or to chat with a friend, is not a sign of an organised personality.
Schedule your time each day to work on your top priorities and then stick to your plans. Often we are at a loss because we find ourselves unable to finish our day to day tasks. This is often because giving in to temptation usually results in wasted hours which we regret later on.
The famous columnist Harvey MacKay said, “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
Well-organised people are usually successful in life. Remember that the door to a successful future often opens with a combination lock. We can open it only when we use the perfect combination of planning, hard work, discipline, proper usage of time, sincerity, dedication and yes, Divine Help and a bit of good luck too!

Communication: For your own good

Children often complain about their parents asking them too many questions. And of course, most questioning words begin with W, such as where, why, what, who, which, etc., — making W the most hated English alphabet by kids and the most controversial as well!

Where are you going? When will you be back? Who is going with you? Why are you watching television at this late hour? Why didn’t you clear up the mess in your room? Whom do you keep text messaging to? Why haven’t you started to do your homework yet? When will you start preparing for your exams? These are only some of the most common questions asked by the concerned parents. And the list goes on and on!

Youngsters usually feel offended by these queries and the replies are usually like, “You do not trust me”, “I am not a child any more”, “Why can’t I have more freedom”, “You are nagging all the time” or in worse cases, “For Heaven’s sake! Leave me alone!” or worse still “It’s my life, yaar!”

As life has promoted me from a mother to a grandmother, I often reflect at this conflict between parents and children. When I decided to talk to some of them, I got a lot of responses, but the most interesting and common feature was that all of those who gave their input wanted to remain anonymous! I take it as a positive sign and as a respect for each other’s feelings. Here I would like to share a few examples of what the two parties had to say.

A teenager who is a student of O Levels in a reputed school says, “After just a few minutes of talking on my cell phone or when I exchange a few messages with my friends, my mom starts casting questioning glances at me. And then she starts her queries, ‘Who are you on the phone with?’ and after a few minutes, ‘Why are you talking with him/her for so long’. Or, ‘Why don’t your friends call on the landline’.”

She clarifies, “I use my cell more as I like to remain mobile while I am talking to a friend. Often we are discussing a project/assignment or helping each other in problems pertaining to our studies and I need to consult a book or notes while talking. Using the landline means remaining seated on the lounge chair with distractions, as my younger siblings make a lot of noise and often the television is on!”

Her mother retaliates, “I wonder why she gets so irritated when I demand to know who she is talking to on her cell! After all the landline is more economical than the cell, and I also feel more comfortable when she is within my earshot when she is talking to friends. As a mother, I feel it is my duty to keep an eye on her activities. She is so naïve; I fear that wrong friends would harm her and also adversely affect her studies.”

Another teenager shares his woes, “The minute my mom sees me in my jeans and joggers, she showers me with questions ‘Where are you going?’, ‘When will you be back?’ and ‘Who else is going with you?’. And the query I resent the most is, ‘Why don’t you respond when I call on your cell’.

“For Heaven’s sake! I am not a child any more. I want to venture out into the world with a bit of independence. She must understand that the time to cut off the apron strings has past! My friends laugh at me when she calls after every half an hour. Her never-ending questions get on my nerves!”

His mother defends herself, “I cannot understand why he gets mad when I ask him where he is going and by what time he would be back! I feel it is my right to know about his whereabouts and the company he keeps. With the uncertainty prevailing in the city, I fear for his security and get nervous when he does not respond to my calls.”

A mother of four shares her irritation, “Why do they create so much mess when they know that I cannot stand a messy room?

When I demand to know when they will clear up the clutter, they just shrug and move away, or worse still, accuse me of nagging!”

Her 12-year-old daughter says, “Mama is a cleanliness freak! How can she expect me to study with my books packed in my bag or neatly lined up on the bookshelf?”

Her younger brother says, “I need some place to play with my toys and video games and there is bound to be some amount of untidiness when I am playing.”

Another 16-year-old says, “If I ask permission from my dad to go out for lunch with friends (dinners being strictly not allowed!), or just for window shopping to a mall, he will ask every time, ‘What is the purpose of such outings? Instead of concentrating more on your studies, why do you waste so much time and money on such useless activities’.”

His father says, “I spend so much on my children’s studies. Often I and their mother cut down on our own needs in our budget which we consider less essential. We expect our kids to be more responsible and dedicated to their studies and not waste their time hanging out with friends.”

Friends, speaking back to parents and being irritated by their never ending questions may be something you may regret later on in life. Their questions are only their way of showing how much they care for you and how concerned they are for your wellbeing! If you think with a cool head, you will realise that all these Ws are for your own good and out of love and concern for your wellbeing. So, instead of feeling that their questions are an intrusion into your privacy, or just plain nagging, try to understand what they want to convey!

Next time, when you are barged with these Ws, instead of getting annoyed, sit down with them and discuss your feelings.

Communication gaps always lead to misunderstandings!

By talking with your parents about what are their expectations from you, you can also explain your side of the picture and let them know why you react negatively! Our parents are much wiser and experienced than us! Their questions are their way to guide us on what should be our priorities in life and what things we should avoid.

In the end, I would like to quote Losivale Vaafuti, “Your parents will always lecture you, hit you, ground you, make you do chores, embarrass you, etc., but just know that they will always push you harder and harder to make you do the right thing, not to make you seem that you are a disappointment to them, but to prepare you for the reality. In other words, being successful in the future!”

 

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

open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forever yours,
Ammi

The Real makers of Pakistan’s Future

    0
 

August 14, 1947, is the most important day in the history of Pakistan. In 1947, this was the day when, under the inspiring guidance of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and after a long struggle, the Muslims of India achieved a free homeland.

We celebrate this day in a befitting manner. The official festivities begin with flag raising ceremonies in Islamabad and the provincial capitals. Most schools hold special Independence Day programmes, flags are hoisted on rooftops and terraces, and children wear badges on their arms.

But sadly, over the passage of time, all this has become a sort of norm. We all do these things not from patriotism or love for Pakistan, but because everyone around us is doing the same. The fervour and love for our homeland and the fierce sense of ownership, which should be the essence of the celebrations, seems to be missing.

I was born to parents who had witnessed the Pakistan Movement. When Pakistan came into being, they, and most people of their generation, gave up their ancestral homes, properties and friends without a second thought. Their hearts filled with hope, they happily migrated towards the land of their dream.

For them Pakistan, ‘The land of the pure’, would be the country where peace, honesty, dedication, tolerance and justice would be the order of the day; where the Muslim majority would lead their lives in compliance with the teachings of Islam and also let non-Muslims freely follow their respective religious beliefs; where the three golden principles of Quaid-i-Azam, Unity, Faith and Discipline would form the base of society and where the law would rule supreme!

Tragically, after the initial few years of Pakistan’s creation, things began moving in the wrong direction. Greed, lust for power, corruption and putting personal gains over national interests started gnawing into the roots of our new found homeland. There was a total lack of will on the part of the people at the helm of national affairs to root out illiteracy and poverty from Pakistan.

And the resultant downslide in the conditions of our country has not stopped to this day!

Today, Pakistan is facing multiple troubles. Religious fanaticism, political instability, ever increasing foreign loan burden, corruption, illiteracy, inflation and an immense shortage of electricity and gas are only a few of these problems. The Pakistan that our forefathers dreamed about and the one that our great leader envisioned, is no where to be found!

Friends, our Quaid had great faith in us. On one occasion he said, “My young friends, I look forward to you as the real makers of Pakistan, do not be exploited and do not be misled. Create amongst yourselves complete unity and solidarity. Set an example of what youth can do. Your main occupation should be in fairness to yourself, to your parents, in fairness to the State, to devote your attention to your studies. If you fritter away your energies now, you will always regret.”

Talking about the importance of education our great leader stated, “Without education it is complete darkness and with education it is light. Education is a matter of life and death to our nation. No sacrifice of time or personal comfort should be regarded too great for the advancement of the cause of education.”

This year, on August 14, when we hoist the national flag on our rooftops and terraces let us resolve to work hard to raise the prestige of Pakistan in the world. When we pin Pakistani flag badges on our dress, let us pledge that we shall use these arms to root out corruption, injustice, greed and illiteracy from our homeland.

I feel that I and the people of my generation have failed miserably to put our country on the right track. By giving up the teachings of Islam and the guidelines our Quaid gave us, we have contributed towards the downfall of Pakistan.

But I am pinning my hopes on my young friends. Children are called the architects of the future of a nation. With your concentrated efforts, you can pull out Pakistan from the quagmire it is stuck in. By adopting the guiding principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline, and with dedication and hard work, you can guide Pakistan towards a bright and prosperous future.

Friends, let’s join hands and vow to strive and sacrifice with dedication and love for our country, just as our forefathers did.

In the end, I would again like to quote Mohammad Ali Jinnah, our visionary leader, “We have weathered the worst storms and the safety of the shore, though distant, is in sight. We can look to the future with robust confidence provided we do not relax and fritter away our energies in internal dissensions. There never was greater need for discipline and unity in our ranks. It is only with united effort and faith in our destiny that we shall be able to translate the Pakistan of our dreams into reality.”

Long live Pakistan!

Courtesy: Etiquette of using the cellphone! By Yasmin Elahi | From InpaperMagzine |

Faisal is having dinner with his parents and siblings. Daddy is in a jolly mood today and telling the family about his childhood pranks and how their (then) strict grandpa punished him often for his naughtiness.

The children are enjoying the anecdotes and at the same time protesting aloud to grandpa for punishing their father so. It is hard for them to believe that their indulgent grandfather was once so stern with his only son!

Faisal’s cellphone begins to beep and he pulls out his phone from his jeans’ pocket. A friend has sent a joke. Losing interest in the table talk, he starts punching the keys to answer the text message of his close friend. Daddy looks at him with a displeased look, but Faisal is so engrossed in receiving and sending messages that he is not even aware of his father’s stare!

After 10 minutes he realises that he had been listening to a very interesting account of his father’s childhood. “Daddy what happened after grandpa caught you flying a kite from the terrace?” he asked with an innocent tone.

But Daddy’s mood has changed! “Faisal you should have enough manners to know that when you are listening to someone,
especially an elder, you should not be busy texting a message! I don’t feel like repeating what I have told everyone already.

And from now on, you will not bring your cellphone to the dinner table,” he says in a firm tone as he leaves the dining room!

Like every technological invention, the cellphone has its advantages and disadvantages! Although it has broken all barriers in communication, bringing the world to our fingertips, it has also made us a bit alien to our family. Most of the times we are so engrossed in our cellphones, text messaging friends or just forwarding interesting messages, playing games on it or calling friends, checking and replying to mails if we have a Wi-Fi phone, we often forget that there are some etiquettes for its usage, which we all should follow firmly.

If you are in company and your cellphone beeps, make sure to move away from the earshot of the people you are sitting with. Often I see people of all ages talking intently or laughing aloud while talking to someone on their mobile phones when there are in others’ company. This is often irritating to the people around them and a bit disturbing too. So, if you think it is important to receive a call, do not make it a nuisance or disturbance to other people. Distance yourself from the people around you and attend to the call.

Be careful when you are in a sober situation, i.e. if you are visiting someone in the hospital, sitting with elders who are having a serious conversation or are in the mosque for prayers. The silly songs set as dial tunes are really unpardonable. In my opinion, such unethical dial tunes should be totally banned. Bizarre ringing tones, such as the cry of a baby or someone laughing uncontrollably, could be very disturbing when you are in sober company. Make it a point to be sure to switch your
cell to a silent mode if you are in such places.

Your parents and elders are more important than your friends, so when you are conversing with them, don’t attend a friend’s call or SMS by cutting short the conversation. You can drop the call or excuse yourself for a moment and just inform your friend that you will call later if it is something urgent. You can ask him/her to send you a text message which you can check after a few moments.

Set limits for yourself! Time is very valuable as you have to work hard to reach your goals and carve out a brilliant future for yourselves. Schemes floated by the cellphone providers, i.e., free SMSs (or at a very nominal rate), nightly free packages, unlimited internet usage on the cellphone, are all offers that help their sales.

We are being used as pawns in the tough competition the companies are giving to each other. Don’t be lured and refuse to be misused! How can a student who has been up nearly all night enjoying the 12 midnight to 6am free talking package, perform well when he/she comes to school the following day!

You may be surprised to know this, but it is a fact that teenagers currently make up the majority of the world’s cellphone users! In these times of insecurity, parents have no other choice but to provide their children with cellphones, sometimes even before they reach the proper age, only to remain in touch with them and know where they are. So, rise to your
parents’ expectations and prove that you are enlightened enough not to use this gadget to your
disadvantage!