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!

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 !”

Confessions of a Grandmother!

The perfect day to reblog this one… dedicated to my Grand daughter Sadia… on her Birthday

Yasmin Elahi

REFLECTIONS: Confessions Of A Grandmother

Yasmin Elahi writes on the joys of becoming a grandparent

There are some sentiments in life too great to be described in words. We search for them but find them too weak to express our feelings. Holding your first child in your arms, or for that matter just knowing that he or she is on the way, is one of those sentiments.

When my eldest daughter was born, I thought that no happiness I shall ever witness in life would be greater than this one, but oh, how wrong I was! Pure ecstasy was still in store for me and I learnt this when my first granddaughter was born.

To this day I cannot analyse my feelings when I first saw her. It was joy to the limit of agony, awe, a strange sense of nostalgia for the time which had flown away so quickly…

View original post 613 more words

Confessions of a Grandmother!

REFLECTIONS: Confessions Of A Grandmother

Yasmin Elahi writes on the joys of becoming a grandparent

There are some sentiments in life too great to be described in words. We search for them but find them too weak to express our feelings. Holding your first child in your arms, or for that matter just knowing that he or she is on the way, is one of those sentiments.

When my eldest daughter was born, I thought that no happiness I shall ever witness in life would be greater than this one, but oh, how wrong I was! Pure ecstasy was still in store for me and I learnt this when my first granddaughter was born.

To this day I cannot analyse my feelings when I first saw her. It was joy to the limit of agony, awe, a strange sense of nostalgia for the time which had flown away so quickly. All these mixed emotions gripped my heart when I set my eyes on her, all wrapped up in a big green blanket. I laughed and wept at the same time, while the little darling, my granddaughter, gazed back at me with a triumphant look in her eyes. It would not be wrong to say that she came, she saw and she conquered. From the day she was born, my granddaughter spins my heart around her little finger.

The confession that I have to make today is of the change of heart as soon as I became a grandmother. Gone were the rules and principles, which were strict and inflexible, according to which I had raised my children. I was surprised to see myself helpless, giving in to the whims of my granddaughter. With the passage of years, a silent war began between me and my daughter. She was sometimes amused and sometimes annoyed by my interferences in the upbringing of her child and reminded me time and again how strict, as a mother, I was with her.

There are times when a rush of guilt seizes me and I think that if I had the chance to live my life all over again, I would be more lenient with my children. But in my heart of heart I know very well that I would be the same firm mother that I was, with my unbending rules. But to be a grandmother is something totally different!

How can I bear to see someone scolding my darling on trivial matters? (even if the person giving this scolding is the darling’s mother!). To me she is the prettiest, the best-behaved and the most intelligent child in this whole wide world, who needs to be pampered and cuddled all the time. No! Scolding is not for my granddaughter –– she is too sensitive for them.

As the issue does not seem to settle down with time, I have decided to set up a Grandmothers Action Committee, The GMAC, to safeguard the rights of grandmothers. The rights are as follow:

1, It is the basic right of all GMs (grandmothers) to spoil their GCs (grandchildren) to their heart’s content, and parents, especially mothers should not deny them this right. Complaints that we, as GMs, have changed should not be entertained as everyone has a right to change his or her opinion at any stage in life.

2, GMs should be given the right to interfere, whenever they want, in matters relating to the discipline of their GCs, after all they are more experienced than the parents, therefore their opinion should be valued.

3, GMs should be given the above mentioned rights because they have no idea of how much time in life they have left to follow these delightful pursuits!

All GMs who agree with me are invited cordially to join my committee, but if some of you do not share my feelings, please be kind enough to keep your thoughts to yourself, or you will be guilty of accelerating the silent war going on between me and my daughter for the past many years.
Attention, all grandmothers! A meeting of the GMAC is about to be held at Hug House, Love Lane, Mohabbat Nagar… all the GMs who want to attend plz join my Committee… those who do not want to join (for fear of their daughters), can come as guests. GMs can bring along their GCs, but their daughters are strictly not allowed:)))))
N.B. The GCs will be served with ice cream, cold drinks, chocolates, chips etc. i.e. all the junk foods they love but can not eat to their heart’s fill under Mama’s strict eyes!!!