PRIME TIME…an old article published in Young World

Aside

PRIME TIME!

         Mummy has been busy all the evening preparing a special dish for dinner. She has recently attended a friend’s party and got this recipe of a mouth-watering Italian dish from her hostess. Although she is feeling tired, she is looking forward to an excited response from her family, who she expects will praise her culinary art after enjoying the delicious dish.

          Dinner is laid out and everyone is called to the table. But what happens is disappointing for the mother who has toiled a good part of the evening preparing it! Daddy is busy on the computer and requests for his plate to be brought to him saying, “I have to reply urgently to an important e-mail and can not leave the computer. You never know when we will have a power breakdown”. The eldest son comes out of his room, and hurriedly piles the pasta and the gravy on his plate, pours the sauces and heads back to his room. Mummy protests, “Where are you going”? He replies, “Mummy I have to give a presentation in University tomorrow, and my friend has come to help me, so I will have dinner in my room”. The daughter is watching her favourite soap on the TV. “Mummy can I take my plate to the TV lounge”, she announces more than she seeks permission, and off she goes too from the dining table with her share of the meal. After the long and tiring preparation of the special dish, a frustrated Mummy is left on the table with her youngest one. She eyes him musing thoughtfully, “Maybe in a couple of years he too would find activities more interesting than the family get together at dinner”.

This is a normal scenario in nearly every household. Dinner time was once considered the most important time of the day, when the family got together each night. It was the time to rebond, relax, communicate and build a stronger and healthier relationship with each other, and the members actually looked forward to it, considering it the ‘prime time’ of the day. Jokes were cracked, memories were shared and favourite family anecdotes told and retold. Many times small problems were discussed and solved. Children learnt table manners from their elders. They also learnt to share responsibilities, as they helped out Mummy in laying the table and clearing it up. The elder ones took turns at washing or drying dishes. It was the time to care and share. But gradually all of us have become too busy in our personal activities to enjoy this family get together any more. We consider it a waste of time because we usually take a longer time at the table when we are having dinner together and we can hardly afford this extra time more than once or twice during the whole week.

The trend of running back to whatever we were doing before dinner was laid out, with our plates loaded with food, is a very unhealthy trend for family life. During the days we all have to follow our own routines. Daddy is busy with his job (or business) and the children have to attend their educational institutions, and most of them come home at different times. Mummy is busy in her daily household chores, and if she is a working mother, she has to manage her job as well. Having lunch at the same time is not possible. Every one of us takes his/her meal according to his/her own convenience.

Dinner is the time to be together, when, at the end of the day, all of us should suspend our personal activities and carve out an hour which is only meant for the family. While sharing a meal we are usually talking to each other, thus relaxing and building a better communication. The main advantage of having dinner together is that we all remain in touch, have knowledge of each other’s activities and problems, seek support and give out friendly advice to our family members. It gives us a chance to share our views on current issues and receive encouragement on our achievements. Dinner time is also the best time for making plans for up coming family events or for the weekends. It is also the time to share the events of the day, news and ideas and best of all, just to be together and enjoy each other’s company.  So, whether Mummy cooks something special for dinner, or it is just the good old Aloo Gosht for the main course, be sure to make dinner time the ‘Prime Time’ of the day.

 

 

 

 

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 دنیا میں تیرے جیسا کوئی دوسرا نہیں ہے

Aside

My darling Grandaughter has finished school today with flying colors! She has made the family proud with Straight As Ma sha Allah… the best time to re blog the poem I wrote for her when she was a child!

Time flies!Its been nearly three years since I posted this blog with my poem.  My darling has made the family proud again! Alhumdulillah for the happy moments.

دنیا میں تیرے جیسا 
کوئی دوسرا نہیں ہے
مرے دل کو ہیں لبھاتی
ہر دم تری ادائیں
 
  ہنستی ہے جب بھی تو تو
  لگتا ہے مجھ کو ایسا
  جھونکے ہوا کے جیسے 
  کلیوں کو گدگائیں
 
  رونا بھی تیرا مجھ کو
  لگتا ہے اتنا پیارا
  شبنم کے قطرے جیسے 
  پھولوں کا منھ دھلائیں
 
ہے نیند میں بھی تیری
ایسی ادا نرالی
جنت کی حوریں جیسے 
لوری تجھے سنائیں
 
آنکھوں میں تیری گڑیا
ہے ایسی اک چمک سی
سورج کی کرنیں جیسے
پانی پہ جھلملائیں
 
ہو ماں کا سایہ سر پہ
پاپا رہیں سلامت
نانی تری خدا سے
ہر دم کرے دعائیں
 
پھولوں کے پالنے میں
گزرے یوں تیرا بچپن
پریوں کی رانی آ کر
جھولا تجھے جھلائیں
 
تو خوش رہے ہمیشہ
دکھ جھیلنے کو میں ہوں
لے لوں اے سعدیہ میں
ساری تری بلائیں
 

Sharing my experiences of 2012 and hopes for 2013!

Aside

2012 is coming to a close! The months just seemed to fly away! Every passing years leave their marks on our lives as memories some pleasant some painful become a part of our past! Thankfully 2012 proved to be a memorable one, so many important events this year…some milestones in life! Yes, 2012 was a very important year for me.

Sunrise

The beginning of the year saw the hectic preparations of my youngest son’s marriage. On February 2nd his bride became the new and welcome member of my small family and I felt that the major responsibilities of my life were over. I pray that my children and grand children are always showered by special blessings from Allah.

Another major milestone of 2012 was the publishing of my first award winning book Follow the Light. Although it is taking time, but slowly and surely my book is getting appreciation. Based on true incidents from the history of Islam, my aim for compiling Follow the Light is to promote good values in children as well as familiarize them with the heroes of our great religion.

As I started working for the promotion of my first published book, I got a good breakthrough as one of the most reputed schools of Karachi invited me as a guest author several times to its different branches. These visits were truly delightful as I shared my writing experiences with the children. Eyes filled with wonder, sweet but a bit shy smiles and innocent questions just warmed my heart. I hope to keep up this inter action with school children in 2013 as well.

Another important happening of 2012 is the setting up of a personal website. But I can not take credit for this, as one of my readers did the whole thing for me. I call her My fairy with the Magic Wand! She has been a great help and has taught me a lot about how to improve my website. Blogging is something new for me and as I am a painfully slow writer, I can not boast of many followers and my site stats are still pathetic! But I am enjoying this new world a lot. Here, I am free to write anything I want and on any topic I care for! With no word restrictions or fear of rejection, I find my blog site a place where my imagination can fly freely! I also found a place where I can share my Urdu poetry with my readers. Sharing Ghazals and Nazms from my collection Ankahi Baaatein is giving me a great sense of satisfaction. And I am getting a fairly good response too.

A new addition to the family is another important event of 2012. On the 26th of May I was blessed with a new grandson. I love being a grandmother and my grandchildren are my constant source of sheer joy! Spending time with them is more valuable for me and I often neglect my writing as I am mostly engaged with them.

This year I have also completed the translation of Footsteps (my second award winning book). With very few articles in The Review and a bit more in the Young World (Dawn in page magazines), I feel I could have done more! But diversions like Facebook, Skype, Twitters took up a lot of my time. But as I write only for the pleasure of it, to be honest with my readers, I dont mind this slow performance. 

And now 2013 is about to start. A new year brings with it new hopes and new resolutions!

I hope to hold my newborn grandchild in my arms in the first trimester of the upcoming year, and the wait is slowly turning into deep excitement. My youngest will become a father! This is like a dream come true, because I had hardly expected to live this long!

My second book Footsteps and Roshan Raahein, the Urdu version of Follow the Light should also hit the bookstalls this year, In sha Allah (if Allah so wishes)! This is something I had never contemplated even in my wildest dreams, but a Divine Hand seems to help me and keep me going.

Another resolution for 2013 is compiling my third book, Lost Legacies. I dont know if this would materialize but I shall try my best! I also hope to pick up my writing speed as well as post more from my collection of Urdu poetry, Ankahi Baatein, on my blog site.

Every passing year has its pleasures, joys as well as pains and disappointments. But as the year draws to its end, I am content with what it doled out for me. Although I can not boast of much, but I have tried to the best of my limited abilities to achieve something and not just wasted my time in futile activities. Readers are requested to pray for me and wish me luck in the upcoming year!

A PROMISE IS A PROMISE! http://dawn.com/2012/10/20/personality-a-promise-is-a-promise/

Aside

Asad had been asking his friend and class fellow Naveed, to help him understand the new chapter on algebra equations.

Somehow math does not come to him easily, although he is good in literature and other subjects and is always eager to help out his classmates.

The two live at walking distance to each other and Naveed keeps on saying, “I promise you, I will come to your place tomorrow or ask you to come over and then I will explain the chapter to you.”

After wasting a week, Asad finally realises that Naveed is just stalling him by making false promises and has no intention of keeping his word, so he must seek help somewhere else.

Mummy is angry with Shirmeen because she has created a mess in her room. Throughout her exams, she kept on asking her mother not to clear up her bedroom as she had her notes and books strewn all around and did not want them to be misplaced.

“I promise you I will clear up everything myself once my exams are over,” she kept on telling her mother. But with more than a week after her papers are finally over, her room is still in the same condition. She is busy catching up on her sleep, hanging out with friends or browsing on the internet or simply doing nothing.

Whenever Mummy reminds her of her promise, Shirmeen has the same reply, “No Mummy! I am not in the mood today; I swear I will clear up everything tomorrow!”

Most of us do not realise that a promise is a word of honour, something we should consider our duty to keep once we have made it! So we should be careful before making a promise. Instead of making it a tool to put off things we do not want to do, we should only commit ourselves when we are sure we will do the task. According to an anonymous quote, “Promise only what you can deliver. Then deliver more than you have promised”.

The best way to keep a promise is not to make one in haste! So do not rush yourself into a commitment. If someone asks you for a favour, ask for some time to think it over before replying. Make sure that you want to do what you are being asked, and then be clear on what you are promising and what would be expected from you. Setting deadlines to do something often helps a lot.

The famous Swiss educationist, essayist and philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau once said, “Those that are most slow in making a promise are the most faithful in the performance of it”.

Promises are made not only with the people around us; sometimes we make commitments to ourselves too. Your doctor thinks that you are getting obese and need to shed some kilos; you pledge that you will avoid all junk foods until you reach your required weight. Your result is not up to your (or your parents) expectations. And then you make a commitment with yourself that you will not waste time on television, computer and just hanging around with friends. But, time and again, you give in to temptation and break your promise.

“Only this one time” is the frame of mind which often makes us go back on a vow we have made with ourselves. And this leads to a loss of our self-esteem and confidence. It is like sending the message to our brain that we do not value our own word. Instead of making excuses for ourselves by stating the reasons we had to go back on a pledge, we should push and motivate ourselves and work a bit harder to fulfil our word.

There may be times when we are compelled to break a promise due to unavoidable circumstances. Maybe you had committed to your mother that you would look after a younger sibling while she goes to visit her ailing parent. But you feel you will not be able to afford the time due to lots of homework or a test the next day.

Feel free to discuss your problem and apologise for not being able to keep the promise. That will make her realise your difficulty, and if you have always been true to your word, she would certainly understand and think of an alternative which would suit you.

A promise may be regarding something not very important, like calling back a friend, replying to a letter or e-mail, visiting a relative or running an errand for your mother; once you have given your word, be sure to fulfil it! It is a social responsibility as well as a part of a good and likeable personality. People around you will trust you only when you are true to your word.

Otherwise they will label you as a disorganised or an irresponsible person.

So instead of taking promises as a means to put off things you do not consider important or just do not want or simply feel lazy about, you should consider them to be sacred and make all efforts to fulfil something you have pledged to do.

 

GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE!

Aside

I have been through good times and I have been through bad times. I have seen the heights of ecstasy and I have faced deep anguish and despair. These are the two faces of life all of us experience at one stage or the other. The ratio in which we experience them may be different, but joys and sorrows, although opposite in nature, mostly walk hand in hand.

This is the bitter sweet beauty of life! We all enjoy and celebrate our moments of joy, but the quality of our lives depends entirely on how we tackle adversities. Firm faith that whatever (good or bad) happens, happens for a reason and an optimistic approach towards difficulties can help one sail through the rough seas of life.

Sehrish, a mother of three, was overwhelmed by grief after the sudden death of her husband. In the morning he dropped her off at her office, but in the evening when he didn’t come to pick her up as was his daily routine, she took a rickshaw and came home.
She was a bit surprised to see him peacefully sleeping in his bed.

She learnt that he had come home a couple of hours earlier than usual and had gone to bed as he was not feeling well. Sehrish tried to wake him up but when he simply did not respond, she called in a doctor who declared that he had died in his sleep as a result of a massive heart attack. She was devastated at the news.

As to how she overcame the trauma, she says, “The following months are still a hazy memory for me. Slipping into deep depression, I gave up my job, stopped taking care of myself and was so engulfed in self-pity that I didn’t even take proper care of my three kids, who suffered physically and emotionally, because of my negative attitude, until the day when their school teachers came for a visit.

“Trying not to sound too harsh, they complained about my kids’ untidy appearance, bad performance and sliding grades. ‘Why should your children suffer for something no one could control?’ they asked me. ‘Death has taken away their father and your depression has deprived them of their mother’s love, something they now need more to make up for their loss’. Their words brought me out of the stupor”.

Sehrish says that she vowed to pull herself back to normal life for the sake of her children. She has been fairly successful as she got herself a new job and started taking interest in her children, their studies and life in general.

People surrounded by difficulties often say that life is not a bed of roses, but being a great optimist I often ask them, “Whoever said that life is a bed of thorns?” I agree that life can be cruel, but it also is kind. So, instead of complaining about life’s adversities, about what we yearned to have but could not achieve in life, just for a change, we should stop and look around ourselves.

We will find people less blessed than us, people whose lives are much tougher than ours. For a positive approach towards life, the first step is to count our blessings and forget (or at least try to do so) our deprivations. In his famed classic, War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy beautifully writes, “Pure and complete sorrow is as impossible as pure and complete joy”.

Like most people I have also had my share of hardships. But I have my own way of coping with problems. When I can find no way out of despair, even if only for the time being, I try my best to keep myself busy during the day, not allowing myself time to be depressed. “Cool down”, I keep on reminding myself, “There has to be some way out! It may take time but the solution will come”.

The rising sun brings new hopes. I leave my bed and pull back the curtains. ‘Thank God for another day’, a voice inside me whispers. In spite of the tough times, I can still feel the coolness of the morning breeze on my face, see the butterfly fluttering on the flowers in my little garden and hear the birds happily chirping away.

I draw back the curtains further to allow the sunbeams come dancing down on my bed. ‘Good Morning Sunshine!’ I exclaim with a smile as I brace myself for a new day with a renewed hope that today things might change for the better. I love to remind myself of what American journalist and author Mignon Mc Laughlin said, “Hope is the feeling we have that the feeling we have is not permanent!”

Ammi Ki yaad mein (Urdu)

Aside

اے ماں ترا خاموش سی ہستی میرے لئے
کسی نعمت کسی دولت سے نئیں تھی کم
ترے سیے سے جو اٹھتی ممتا کی مہک
دل کے زخموں ک وہ مرحم سے نہیں تھی کم

کیا ہوا خاموش اگر تو رہتی تھی
مرے دکھوں کا تھا بوجھ ترے دل بہ
تو سمجھتی تھی مری زیست ہے کتنی مشکل
درد مرا تو سہتی تھی ابنے دل بہ

مرے ہر دکھ کو تو یوں محسوس کیاکتی تھی
دور ہو کے بھی تو دور نہیں تھی مجھ سے
بے زبانی کی زباں میری سمجھتی تھی تو یوں
جانتی تھی تو وہ جو کبھی میں نے کہا نہ تجھ سے

دوریاں تجھ اور مجھ میں بہت تھیں لیکن 
مظترب میں تھی یہاں تو تو بےچین وہاں
ٹھےس لگتی تھی ادھر ٹیس اٹھتی تھی ادھر
زخم لگتا تھا یہاں درد ہوتا تھا وہاں

میں نے سوچا تھا تو جب بھی ملئگی مجھ کو 
ہوئے جو مجھ پہ ستم یہ میں بتاونگی تجھے
ترے ممت بھرے سینے مےں چھپا کہ چہرہ
خوب رؤنگی میں اور خوب رلاؤنگی تجھے

اپنے نرم سے ہاتھوں سے تو پوچھےگی مرے اںسو
یوں بڑے پیار سے دیگی تو تسلی مجھ کو 
نہ رو بیٹی میری ابھی تو میں زندہ ہوں
اپنے ممتا بھرے اںچل میں سمو لیگی مجھ کو 

لیکن ایسا نہ ہوا تو بھی مجھے چھوڑ گئ
دھوپ عم کی ہے کڑی اور ترا سایہ بھی نہیں
ترے جانے سےزخم مرے یوں چیخ اٹھے 
ان دکھن جو کرے کم کوئ مرحم ہی نہیں

غم کی راہوں میں کو ئ اور سہارا تو نہ تھا
تجھ سے ملنے کی امید ہی کافی تھی مجھے
زیست پہلے بھی مجھ کو کوئ اسان نہ تھی
ترے جانے سے یہ مشکل اور بھی مشکل ہے مجھے

میرے اشکوں کو ہے حاجت ترے دامن کی
دل کے زخموں کو ے ممتا کے مرحم کی طلب
یوںمصیبت میں تنہا مجھے کیوں چھوڑ گئ
کچھ تو بتلا مجھے یوں موںھ پھیر کے جانے کاسبب 

درد سہہ کر مجھے ہنسنا تھاسکھایا تو نے
ہر قدم پرمیری ہممت کو بڑھایا تو نے
سر اٹھا کے مجھے جینا تھا سکھایا تو نے
بن تیرے کیسے جیوں یہ نہ بتایا تو نے