Attitude: Endear yourself!

By Yasmin Elahi
April 3rd, 2010 

All of us want to be popular among our peers, relatives, teachers and all the people around us. But often we see that some children are more popular than others. Friends and relatives are attracted to them, teachers have a soft corner for them and peers respect them (however grudgingly). 

Have you ever tried to find out what qualities endear these children to everyone? It is their good manners, their etiquette or behaviour and consideration for the feelings of others which gives them this popularity. Here are some important ways to win the hearts of friends and relatives.

Always remember to say `Please` and `Thank you`. When you are asking for something, if you say please, even if it is a small favour, it appears that you are making a request rather than a demand. In the same way, when you receive a gift, when someone gives you a compliment or even when someone steps aside to let you pass, saying thanks is an important rule of good manners. It shows that you are grateful for the gift, compliment and consideration, and you appreciate the person who has given it to you. It also shows courtesy on your behalf. 

Never forget to say `Sorry`. Although some children may find saying `sorry` quite difficult, it is a basic aspect of good manners and a quality which will quickly endear you to everyone. If you have hurt someone (physically or emotionally), forgot to fulfil a promise, or misbehaved with an elder, `sorry` is the magic word which wipes out all ill feelings. 

When you are in a public place, it may be a doctor`s waiting room, a supermarket or a restaurant, show your respect for your elders by opening doors for them and offering them your seat if there is no place for them to sit. Most of us are too busy in our lives to pay attention to old people and we seem to forget that they often feel lonely. A kind word to them, enquiring about their health (or any other problem) and even listening to them attentively would brighten up their day and will go a far way in winning their hearts.

Never let a discussion turn into a quarrel. We all have different opinions on every matter and the rule to remember is that everyone has a right to his/her own opinion. Often we see an argument turn into a heated debate. Wait for your turn when you are having a discussion and do not try to raise your voice over others to get your point through. It is healthy to argue with friends and peers but the discussion should be polite and informative. Do not forget that difference in views is sometimes due to the diversity of race, traditions or religion. Show your respect to the other one`s views even if you do not agree with him/her.

An important rule of good manners is never to interrupt someone when he/she is speaking. A patient listener is more liked than an ardent speaker. Especially when someone older than you is talking to you, listen attentively and answer politely. Be courteous to your elders and treat them with respect. Even if you are irritated, never speak rudely to anyone. Remember that a smiling face is more popular than one with a frown.

Always be ready to help. You may be better at some subjects in school, so helping out your class fellows if they are having difficulties, would make you a well liked peer. Whenever it is possible, offer a helping hand to your elders. Carrying a load for someone in a supermarket, helping an old person to cross the road, or lending a helping hand to your mother in house hold chores, are gestures which show that you care and would definitely endear you to their hearts.

Be a good sport. Some children tend to turn nasty if they lose a game. Remember that there always has to be a winner and a loser in a game. If you win, do not boast or degrade your opponent. And if you lose, do not sulk; accept your defeat graciously and congratulate your opponent open heartedly. The time you spent enjoying the game should be more important than the fact that you won or lost it. 
Good manners, consideration for the people around us and proper etiquette of behaviour indicate a good upbringing and are a mark of a respectable social background. So mind your manners and happily watch the graph of your popularity rise!

The list of do’s and dont’s is never ending, but the above mentioned are only a few tips to guide you how to endear yourself to the people around you. Good luck!




Words seem to fail me these days! I have tried to write this blog many times but after finishing and re reading, I find my vocabulary too weak and inadequate to express my sentiments. The agony, rage and a sense of helplessness and despair that I am feeling are common to the majority of the two billion Muslims around the world! Like all Muslims (and even sensible non-Muslims), I heard with indignation and disbelief that a video clip called Innocence of Muslims in which an attempt has been made to degrade our Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. has been posted on the YouTube.  So much has been written on the issue, initially I wondered whether I should write anything more or not. But my conscience keeps me restless during the days and sleepless during the nights. My share may be only a drop in the ocean, but I feel compelled to share my sentiments with my readers because whether they express it or not, I know that they all must be going through the same pain and frustration (how could any Muslim not react to such venom and insult to the person we revere and respect as the Messenger of Allah).

I would like to clarify first that by no means do I favour or defend the violence and unnecessary loss of precious lives and property, in reaction to the blasphemous video, especially here in Pakistan. We had every right to protest, but I feel ashamed and disappointed that we did not do so in a civilized and dignified manner. Precious lives were lost and property was burned and raised to the ground by unruly mobs.

The Government of Pakistan made a great blunder by calling Friday (the 21st September) Yaum e Ishq e Nabi, the day to show love for the Prophet PBUH a public holiday. Making decisions in haste and not taking into consideration the consequences it will lead to, have cost us a lot in the past. Making no proper security arrangements and ignoring the religious fanaticism with which the video has whipped frenzy into the life of an average Pakistani, Mr. Zardari our (un)popular President conveniently flew off to England on a private visit and the more (un) popular Prime Minister did not even have enough courage to venture out to the Convention Centre in Islamabad to make his speech in the announced seminar. The country was left in the hands of miscreants and mischief mongers who (in the name of love for the Prohet PBUH) took the law into their hands. The rangers were conspicuous by their absence and the police was not at all prepared for the free show of anger and violence.

But in spite of all this which I do not defend, I must lodge my protest against the so called ‘Freedom of Expression’. Every civilized society gives freedom of expression to its members and it is one of the basic rights in a democratic nation. But where do we draw a line between this freedom and pure venom, unasked (and intentional) provocation of the religious sentiments of billions of people around the world? We claim that we live in a civilized world but have we proved that we are a civilized generation? Trying to defame and insult the Prophet Muslims love and hold in high esteem, is just an act of snobbery and hatred, something which no one can get away with the so called right of Freedom of Expression! In his criminal act of releasing the video Innocence of Muslims via YouTube, Sam Bacille has thrown all norms of civility, ethics and morals to the air! 

The President of the United State of America, Mr Obama in his speech in the General assembly has tried to pacify the Muslim sentiments of indignation by declaring that USA disowns the movie and has nothing to do with it. He has urged the entire humanity to reject the disgusting video which has sparked outrage throughout the Muslim World. He is right in most of the things he said as he also criticized Muslims for causing loss to lives and property and reacting violently to the hate movie.  

 But, I disagree with you Mr Obama when you declare, (quote) “As president of our country and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so” (unquote). With due respects Mr. President, I must remind you that you may be the President of The United States of America, but please do not forget that you hold this post for only five or at the most ten years. Comparing criticism on yourself with the downright insulting and blasphemous video about the Prophet of Islam is simply outrageous! Hazrat Muhammad S.A.W. is a personality who is loved and respected by Muslims and (although grudgingly) by sensible non-Muslims as well, since the advent of Islam and will be done so till all times to come! If you are criticized, this is the price you have to pay for reaching the highest rung of the ladder of success. In no means can this justify a madman’s sickening and malicious endeavor to try to insult our Prophet PBUH.

This is not something which you can call Freedom of Speech or Expression. It is downright provocation and can be likened to pouring petrol over a flame. For years, USA has been mounting pressure on Pakistan to ‘Do More’ in the War against terrorism. We as a nation have suffered a lot because of this war. Lives (most of them innocent) have been lost, our peace of mind destroyed and our economy is on the down slide! Now this is the time for Pakistanis and all the Muslim Ummah to ask the USA and President Barack Obama to ‘DO MORE’!

According to the laws of The USA, a person can be sued for causing physical or psychological damage to some one. Don’t you feel that Bacille who made the hate movie, should be brought to court and given exemplary punishment for hurting and enflaming the emotions of more than two billion people. Muslims may be held responsible for the loss to lives and property but the root cause behind this outrage and fury should be dealt with an iron fist. Instead of declaring your inability to ban the disastrous video and attributing it to freedom of expression, you Mr. Obama should ‘Do More’ and deal with the issue more effectively by not only slamming an immediate ban on it but also amending the laws which have rendered you helpless inspite of the outcry and protests all over the world.

To all Muslims, I would like to appeal, show your love for Hazrat Muhammad Sallaho Alaihe Wasallam by trying to ponder how he would have reacted in such a situation. He preached humanity and compassion, forgave when he could avenge and always refused to be provocated in the most sensitive situations. Instead of walking in the trap deliberately set up to further derogate the Muslims we must exercise restraint and lodge our protest according to the norms of a civilized society. This is the time when we can prove to the world that barring a minority of religious extremist, Muslims are a peace loving and disciplined people. This is what ISHQ E NABI (the love of our Prophet) demands from us!



Happy Ramazan: The message of Ramazan……http://dawn.com/2012/07/21/happy-ramazan-the-message-of-ramazan/

We have been blessed with the month of Ramazan 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! Ramazan is not about refraining to eat and drink from dawn to dusk, neither is it only about preparing and shopping for Eid, something we all spend a major part of the month in doing. 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 August 14, 1947, but maybe most of us do not know that this day coincided with the 27th of Ramazan 1368 Hijri. If we truly realise the real lessons of this month, and apply it to our behaviour 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 that we experience during Ramazan and which can go a long way in improving our lives as well as the situation in Pakistan.

My dear readers, you may be too young to realise 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, crime, corruption and greed are gnawing at the roots of our beloved homeland. If we, as a nation, resolve to apply the true spirit of Ramazan to our conduct and outlook as a nation, a positive change in the situation is bound to come.

Ramazan teaches us the lesson of obedience. We know that we have to go without food and drink 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 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. 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.

Ramazan is the month of punctuality. We start and break fasts according to fixed timings 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 other
functions. And often I have found patients waiting and suffering in pain because 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 Ramazan let us resolve that we shall value time and try to do everything according to a set routine.

When we give out Zakat in Ramazan, we come in contact with people less privileged than us. This creates in us a sense of compassion as well as a will to share our blessings with the needy people around us. Feeling the pangs of hunger as well as going thirsty makes us realise what poor people go through the year around. If we nurture these feelings and keep them
alive around the year, a large number of people around us 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 cannot 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 rich change their attitude of amassing wealth by using unfair
means and depriving others of their share, but these qualities have to be learnt from a young age.

In the end, I will say that Ramazan gives us a general sense of piety, an urge to do good deeds and shun bad ones. Lying, cheating, selfishness, greed and backbiting are all qualities which are causing the deterioration 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 Ramazan is over and we are not fasting. Truthfulness, honesty, patriotism and discipline can go a long way to guide Pakistan towards the road to

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 Ramazan let’s resolve to make Pakistan a better place to live in. When we all join hands and make a firm resolution, things will improve Insha Allah. Because, as an optimist, I firmly believe that there is light even at the end of the darkest tunnel! A change (for the better) in our values and preferences is the need of the hour.


MAKE WAY, PLEASE! My old article in The Review (Dawn in page magazine)

The wailing sirens of the ambulance always render me uneasy. I glance restlessly out of the window of my car wishing that I had the Alladin’s Genie and could remove all obstacles from the ambulance’s path. “Make way please, for Heaven’s sake, make way!” an inner voice inside me cries out as I make a silent prayer, “Please God, whoever is in this ambulance, take care of him (or her) and let him reach the hospital (or home) before it is too late!

I was not so sensitive to ambulances until a few years ago. Although I felt a curiosity about the person in it and his predicament, the death of my father changed my attitude permanently. Strangely, my experience of the ambulance is not of hope but of despair, a journey not towards life but towards death!

Daddy was suffering from ulcerative colitis since the last couple of decades and finally, one day, after extensive bleeding, he was rushed to the hospital. His doctor was kind but practical, “There is nothing much that can be done any more, so it would be better if you take your father home and make him as comfortable as possible”. That was my first experience of an ambulance. Realizing the hopelessness of his situation (and to save him from undue pain), we brought back our dying Daddy home.

After coming home he slipped into a daze like condition, the tide of life ebbing away from him slowly and silently, while I and my siblings waited in anguish for the end. Then we made a great blunder! In a last ditch attempt to save Daddy’s life, we took him to another hospital, another doctor who advised a battery of tests (which we foolishly thought would help him in someway).     Daddy’s frail body just couldn’t bear this pain and on the very next day, he lay on the hospital bed, a dying man, and all of us watching him helplessly. His blood pressure and heartbeat were sinking and breathing was laborious, but his deep eyes were still full of life as he gazed accusingly at me and my brother. “Why did you do this to me? Didn’t I always tell you that I don’t want to die in a hospital?” the silent question in his eyes tormented us as we stood beside his bed ridden with guilt.

 The doctor who came in to check Daddy declared in a voice devoid of any emotions, “A few minutes, maybe an hour”.  With this heart breaking news he left the room. How could our loving Daddy (the father who had urged, coaxed and bullied us all his life to bring out the best from us) be left to die in such cold hands, the question seemed to torture each one of us as we prayed silently.

Suddenly and miraculously, Daddy’s blood pressure and heart beat started to revive and his breathing eased. My eyes met over my brother’s over the hospital bed and he nodded silently. The decision had been made! We were taking Daddy home to fulfill his wish, to let him die peacefully at home and in his bed.

I will never be able to forget the painful journey back from the hospital. We had no idea whether Daddy would make it or not but we had to try! We owed this to our father. I kept on feeling his heart beat and breathing, wincing at every bump on the road, pleading in my heart to every vehicle on the road to move aside and praying silently, “ Please Allah, spare him some more time, please don’t let him die in this ambulance”.

My brave and strong willed father successfully made the journey home and died the next day, peacefully in his bed, as he had always wished!

Sometimes we have to go through similar circumstances before we understand what other people feel. Without meaning ill, we are simply in such a hurry to reach our destination that we do not stop or make way for an ambulance to pass by speedily. Reaching a meeting on time, being punctual to the dentist and making sure our children are not late for school is definitely important but it is not important when a human life is at stake!

We should be sure to make way for an ambulance because the person within it is not going on a joy ride! He may have had a heart attack, a brain or heart stroke, or may be a victim of a major road accident causing extensive blood loss (or any other medical emergency). Each and every moment maybe precious, either pulling him towards life or pushing him towards death!

Often, we hear stories about people who died simply because they could not reach the hospital on time, or those who were just a few minutes late causing irreparable brain damage and surviving in a vegetative state. In my opinion these saved lives are worse than the lives lost!

I plead to everyone who is on the road to slow down, to make way whenever they hear the wail of the ambulance. A few moments sometimes make a world of difference for the person in it, (whether it is a journey towards life or towards death), and also for those who love him dearly! Please make sure to make way before the wail of the ambulance turns into the wails of an anguished mother, a bereaved wife or shattered children. Today the person in the ambulance may be a stranger to us but tomorrow it could be me, it could be you, or it could be someone very near and dear to our hearts!