Shireen Studio’s first book is published! – Now what?

 My friend tells me, “Now the real work starts!”
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The most EXCITING thing in my life is the printing of my first publication: yes, Allama Iqbal’s Tulip of Sinai, illustrated and published by Shireen Gheba Najib.  It contains the first two poems from Iqbal’s Persian book ‘Message from the East’ (Payam-e-Mash19420503_1583480358351917_8946659070308652962_nriq).

Don’t get scared, its easy reading in English. You will find that your heart will skip a beat several times as you go through it, as mine did. There is that ‘eureka’ moment, when you say, “Hey, that’s what I feel too!”

Imagine, Iqbal published this work when he was 46 years old. The work was obviously done in the preceding years – most probably during the later thirties and early forties.

I’m so excited, because Muhammad Qasim of Printo Graphics, did a great job of it. The quality of printing is just as I wanted.

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All the time, people were telling me “you are being rooked!” I’d reply,

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Fantastic birthday ideas

My daughter Waliya and I share the same birthday. So, we have a blast together, all thanks to our family and friends.  Its always been this way, but this year’s birthday really took the cake!

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May I say I had one of the happiest birthdays of my life – that’s saying a lot – because I’ve had some fantabulous birthdays! This one was the best as it was full of surprises and gifts which showed that it had a year of planning and efforts in it. Just awesome. Suddenly, I realized that the stage of my age is not bad at all. I must have done something good in these years to have such a great birthday, but we all know, it’s the gift from God to be blessed so much.

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Nataliya and Nadiya, my daughters living out of town, one in Seattle, one in Lahore and Waliya the one living with me in Islamabad all of them had been working on it- as it was a milestone – (tombstone????) –  Nadiya herself came as part of the ‘birthday gift’ (God bless my son-in-law Haaris and his mother Rumi).

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Allama Iqbal and I

(an article of mine printed on February 7th, 1997 in The News:)

Iqbal’s poetry gives purpose to one’s life. Shireen Najib discovers self after reading the English translations of the poet of the East.

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I was never touched by Iqbal’s poetry. – Simply because I never understood it. No English medium person can. Our education system has ensured that!

selected PM 1.jpgBut what intrigued me most was …. the way Iqbal’s poetry affected my father. My otherwise martial father, a true Piffer , would be totally ignited by the poetry of Iqbal. Hearing a verse would send him into a trance. I too would try to feel the power of this poetry, and meekly ask:

“Daddy, what does Khirad mean?” He would look at me from far away. Then focus on me. And all he saw was my ignorance. This would send him into a fury.

“You do not know the meaning of khirad? What kind of Urdu do they teach you? How can you be so ignorant??!!”  In all this process of post-mortem of teaching of Urdu in English medium schools in Pakistan … Iqbal would be left far behind ….

Time passed. I was not much affected by the lack of understanding of Iqbal. I had plenty else to do. There was my art, my studies, my friends, my writing, my husband, home, and time consuming children. Where did I have the time for Iqbal?!!

In any case… my father always said “In order to understand Iqbal, you have to have complete knowledge of religion (and not only your own,) Urdu, Arabic, and some Persian, history, and geography.”

Now, tell me, where would I get the time to start learning all those other subjects before I got near Iqbal? Since it was impossible, I forgot all about it.

But there was always something missing in life.

 

I could not pin it down. I could not understand it. You could call it an in-completeness, a lack of satisfaction, a feeling of being all alone, or a feeling of deprivation. Like a ship without anchor in the storm of life. Sometimes I drifted in one direction, sometimes in another. Restless. Furious. Frustrated. I felt the fire of emotions I felt alone in my quest for understand of myself and my fellow human beings.

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Life, during Ramzan 2017

 

 

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Managed a few walks on my rooftop enjoying the views at night.

 

The last few days of Ramzan are on. It was almost like yesterday, that it began.  As usual there were great expectations, resolutions and apprehensions. “How will I fast for sixteen hours in 43 degrees centigrade? Will I lose some weight?” The few walks I had can’t possibly make up for the feasting!

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It is now 2.30 a.m. I’m rather spoilt. After a lifetime of preparing Sehris myself, I have domestic help who brings in the Sehri or breakfast. I’ve just messaged him my requirements on my mobile. ‘Fried egg, toast, tea and melons.’ (I’ve already feasted on a mango!) Here comes my daughter with her home delivery of my favorite burgers. Excuse me please. There is no question of losing weight of course.

One has to remember to take eight glasses of water within the eight hours between Iftari and Sehri. Most of  us aren’t sleeping during the night, only after Sehri  around 4.00 a.m. So, one sleeps in bits and pieces.

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Why it is best to avoid arguments.

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(The best policy in any relationship: husband and wife, friends, boss and subordinate or any other.)

 

It is a fact that arguments weaken a team. It is best to avoid it.

Come to think of it. It never takes you anywhere, except to get even further apart. I don’t know why, but that is how it goes.

People who are by habit argumentative like:

“But Why???”

“I think it should be done like this….”

“How do you know?”

And so on. Such questions are very ‘normal’ except when they are uttered just to gain time, or to waste it. When a person has no intent of doing something, he goes into argument.

If you watch any one of those popular talk shows on Pakistan’s television networks, there is nothing but argument going on. The belief is; the more arguments there are, the more the ‘rating’ grows. Hence it is egged on even more. The anchor or one of the ‘plants’ will say such a thing that the conversation gets out of proportion ending in hot arguments.

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Panic Attack!

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How to get yourself out of it.

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It comes on you from nowhere, and suddenly engulfs you with fright and terror. You become at once frozen and yet you want to run out of the enclosed environment as soon as possible. Only that person can relate to it, who has been through it. It’s a very private experience. You desperately want to drink water and you need fresh air at once.

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It can happen in a car, in a traffic jam, in a lift or in an overcrowded room. Your first instinct is to run for your life.

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I had no idea that it is something that can happen, I thought I knew everything. In fact, one feels that such ‘psychological’ things only happen to weak minded individuals. No, certainly not to someone who is so strong-minded as myself. Well, I was very wrong. The first time it happened was in 2006, that was claustrophobia. But the Panic attack  happened to me in 2008.

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Ever been sure of dying ‘right now’? That’s what a panic attack is. Suddenly you feel that there is not enough air to breath. Anyone who has been through it usually ‘knows’ it and is sympathetic. My mother hadn’t. So, she responded with “What nonsense, behave yourself!” Being in an overcrowded room or a large area with closed windows brings it on.

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Waliya’s dream trip to Hunza and Fairy Meadows.

 

In this sizzling heat, let us enjoy a trip to the mountains!

Lets go along with Waliya Najib and her friend Amal Iqbal on their trip to the mountains this April, 2017. Yes, we are in this time machine now….

  

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“I’m standing at Eagle’s Nest from where you can see most peaks  in Hunza’
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View from Baltit Fort, Hunza.

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Brig Jaffar Khan, My Debonair Uncle

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When someone near and dear to you, suddenly leaves the world, its hard to accept. We say ‘Inna lillahe wa inna ilaihe rajiun’ (to Him we belong and to Him we return). It takes time for the words to sink into ourselves and our lives. There is this complete form of inertia that you suddenly feel, when your heart isn’t into anything you do – even though you keep trying to force yourself into  a normal life.

It was the recent death of my uncle Brig. Jaffar Khan which shook us all up. As a child, I always admired my dashing and  debonair uncle who was in the army’s Guides’ Cavalry, and the President’s Body Guard during the times of President Ayub Khan. He was a sword of honor winner too. Now, leading a retired life in his farm house where their horses were in the stables and the lovely flora and fauna grew with so much pampering from the loving care given by him and his loving wife, Shahnaz Jaffar.

Brig Jaffar, thirteen years younger than my dad, has been a wonderful brother to him.

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Brig Jaffar Khan sitting with his eldest brother Sarfaraz Khan.

He has been a constant factor all my life. You know the kind of uncle whom you don’t even have to ask. He is just there for you, no matter what!

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Brig Jaffar standing between his youngest brother Dr. Riaz Khan Gheba, and Col. M. Mumtaz Khan, behind their eldest brother Sarfaraz Khan.( May, 2016.)

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Yazd: An Incredible City in The Desert

Really admire and love the work of this blogger.

TRAVELLING THE WORLD SOLO

After spending four incredible days exploring Shiraz, I became a little bit worried that my Iranian adventure had started off too wonderful, and that everything following Shiraz would be a letdown.

Luckily, my next stop was Yazd, and it would turn out to be one of my favourite places in Iran.

yazd-travel-blog-iran-solo-backpack-guide Resident kitty at the Silk Road Hotel

Yazd city is the capital of the Yazd province and it is home to close to half a million people. Located a six hour bus ride North-East of Shiraz (and quite a pleasant one if you don’t find yourself having one of those days where you are constantly desperate to pee – there is a story there – but I will spare you all of the gory details) Yazd is an incredible example of an Iranian desert city, and one that should be on the bucket lists of anyone planning a visit to…

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Ramzan 2017 is a time for introspection

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Ramzan, the month of fasting for all Muslims is arriving in the dead of summer months this time. The sixteen long hours of fasting isn’t fun – it’s a challenge. Here are a dozen ways for you to find it easier to stay focused on the main purpose of Ramzan, getting to know one’s self better. To see where we are going, and where we should be actually going. A sort of re-alignment and tuning of one’s self in every way: spiritually, physically, intellectually, socially, emotionally and financially.

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