First Week of Ramzan, 2018

It is important to begin this month right!

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So, with great hype and resolutions we started Ramzan. Weather has been amazing  in Islamabad, I’ve had days without fans even.  Yes, I know, it has touched forties in Karachi and other parts of the country. Anyhow, as usual, it is miraculously possible to keep the fast, and we actually manage pretty well.

33059432_1956783541021595_6346361393033248768_n (1)Then suddenly, you realize that you have to be careful. After the first thrill you realize it is not so easy either. Specially the sleep pattern is very disturbed.

Your charity resolutions need to be executed properly.  The most important thing is that you’ve got to start quickly with whatever you have planned. What happens is that ‘the early bird is already there!’

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Last year, around the last few days of Ramzan, I went to Noori hospital (the cancer hospital in Islamabad) to offer iftari for one day for all patients. I went to find out how many patients are there. I was sent to the Administration officer in-charge, and he told me that before Ramzan begins, usually, a particular philanthropist comes and pays for all iftaris throughout Ramzan. Can you believe it?  I realized, how much our people are doing for others, and no one knows about it.

Then some times, I’ve wanted to get gifts for children, and it was started so late in Ramzan that it fizzled out. So, this time, I’m starting early.  I’d suggest you do the same.

So, if you want to do Charity work in your community, here are some points:

  1. Decide on which organization to help. Or just start with your own staff, and those in your community.
  2. Break the project into a time-line and clarify steps to follow. So, everyone is on same page.
  3. Gather some friends along, or start on your own, and offer others. If they join, it is fine, if they can’t, it is okay. Just carry on.
  4. Work at a scale that you can easily manage. (If it is too huge, it may fizzle out.)
  5. Use all your resources, intelligently: zakat, sadqa and donations can all be used.
  6. Starting from being able to give iftari to one poor person in your community, to being able to help orphans, elderly, travelers etc. in nearby mosque or orphanage.
  7. Use social media to gather resources and for information.32893887_1956568964376386_1598838186237231104_n.jpg
  8. If you have no funds, you can go to hospitals and give time to patients who have no one visiting them. (Do not take children to hospital with you.) Do your reading of Quran, in presence of a patient. Who may find the words very soothing. Make sure to read with meanings.

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As far is Ramzan and fasting is concerned we need to keep these points in mind:

  1. Make sure to have eight glasses of water between Iftar and Seher. Yes, count it.
  2. Eat less! Control the food intake. Focus on fruit and veggies, instead of pakoras and parathas. This is not for me, I can indulge! 😉
  3. Speak less. (That’s also only for you!)
  4. Avoid all extra chores. (This is important, just remain focused on making time for things that matter.)
  5. Remain focused on spiritual growth rather than getting diverted in too much socializing (online or off-line).
  6. Try to say Taraviya prayers, (it isn’t compulsory, so keep it comfortable, ) say at least one Salat-e-Tasbeeh. Prepare for
  7. Read and try to complete the Holy Quran, and start again to read throughout the year. Concentrate on meanings and how you can apply it in your life. Find a translation that clicks with you. Read out Holy Quran to other members in your family and community who find it difficult.
  8. Give out trays of goodies to your neighbors and friends, by sharing your iftari. (Thank you Ayesha for those amazing gulabjamuns yesterday!)
  9. Give Zakat. (Pay the major amount now, but do not finish it off, do pay throughout the year also. This can be done by sponsoring a child’s education in PEF (Professional Education Foundation) or CSS school, Shawkat Khanum, Edhi or any other such charity organization.
  10. Remember to keep some funds aside for Eid. It gets rather tough during that time.
  11. Avoid having iftar parties at home. It is extremely unkind to your staff and yourself.
  12. Look after yourself and be kind to yourself too.31531508_1938139912885958_7970143254677028864_n.jpg

Stay blessed lovely and handsome readers, this surely is a month full of blessings!

Prayers and verses from Holy Quran.

Here is a sure shot way to face the trials of life successfully! At least this is how I faced them.  I’m sharing with you some of my special selections which gave me peace and courage during the worst times of my life.

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These are verses from the Quran which have touched me deeply. I keep adding to these, as I read. The words have given me strength in the most difficult circumstances.

Note: The English translations are by Muhammad Farooq-e-Azam Malik (1997)  almost entirely. Kindly, forgive me if there are any unintended mistakes here. Just let me know, I’ll correct them.

Once I have read these words, I feel ready to face my day – with my Allah’s blessings.

Continue reading “Prayers and verses from Holy Quran.”

Friends are priceless!

How to have friends and keep them! 

944033_1085621968137761_8748986561140126853_n1-copyFriends!

Friends are some of the greatest treasures that we have. They play such a vital role in our lives. There are all types of friends in our lives. Some are very close, some are just acquaintances, the common factor is that you feel happy just being with them. They make a difference in the quality of our lives. They enhance and enrich us. Yes, having a true friend is priceless.

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Take heart, stay strong!

No matter what happens… 

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In life, you’ve got to go on, and keep yourself fit enough to get on with the rest of your life. Remember, every issue is just like tissue, you use it and then throw it in the dustbin! Get ready, look around you. Make a place for the birds in front of your window, so you can watch nature….

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Just look at this,  it got me so excited, when I heard about this 106 year old blogger. 

The DW television channel happens to be my favorite channel. It is positive and its documentaries are really good. The news is balanced. The program Euromax is so full of interesting clips of information. But the best was when I saw this piece on the 106 year old blogger. Wow! I mean how much more awesome can things get? I bet by the time we are 106, there will be other videos – or whatever style of videos there would be then –  about bloggers or authors of 120 years!

http://www.dw.com/en/106-year-old-blogger-in-sweden/av-43688348

Awesome.

Yes, life is amazing. Such programs give one hope. To be alive (being like a vegetable would be no fun) to be alive and blogging!?!! Really love the idea and concept. She lives alone in Stockholm, walks around independently, is mentally stable and has a sense of humor too. (Says, people only read my blog because of my age!)

I just loved it.

Continue reading “Take heart, stay strong!”

Time Management for Creative People

 

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Promoting a creative mind and doing creative work is essential for growth and development. It is only the creative mind which can think outside the box and come out with innovative ideas. Such minds have the ability to get out of difficult life situations and problems. Their problem-solving instincts are best as they are daring enough to create solutions to problems which have never been tried out before.

What do you think was the ability of the Wright Brothers? All scientists, artists, musicians, poets have this ability. We have to help in this creative process within ourselves, and in those who are members of our family and community.

Here is a video during an exercise, where I asked them to discuss time wasters in their lives.

Being creative is the most powerful element in life. We must work hard to develop these qualities within ourselves. I’ve really wanted to conduct a workshop for all those who have creativity within themselves but do not know how to get it going.

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Second Writer’s Meet-Up at SS

It was a merging of writers’ groups in Islamabad.

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It’s been a dream of mine for ages. The dream is to hold regular writer’s and artists’ meet ups at my studio. So, finally, this year I held the first one in January, First Writer’s Meet-up at My Studio.and now was the second one last weekend on April 28th, 2018.

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You see, we writers, artists, poets are very sensitive people. On top of it, most of us are introverts. We also need our own space to create our work. In the process we get into a shell and then it’s hard to get out there and see where we stand in this world of ours. So, it is vital for us to find like-minded people with whom we can discuss our own work, see theirs, and discuss common issues.

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My Solo Trip to Nathiagali

There is something about mountains that just thrills me. I love mountains – the higher the better. It just refreshes you. This is why Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) regularly went and stayed in a cave (Ghar-e-Hira) for several days, on a regular basis. You need to distance yourself from your everyday life sometimes.

It is good to go with your dear ones, but sometimes, it is also good to go alone.

 

Why? To be able to think a thought through to the end. (He didn’t even have a smart phone!) In our cases, we could literally lose our own lives, due to all the distractions we keep having.

So, I got up and went off with my driver who was assigned to my husband back in 2004. Right at the time that i was leaving, I remembered that Hasnain, my domestic help has never been to the mountains. So, I decided to take him along; – In just a ten minute notice, he was ready!

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The time of my life

I’m so happy living in today’s world…

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Absolutely love it.  People constantly talk about how great the past was. Actually, one realises things are much better now.

As a writer, I’ve been through all the computer programs starting with WordStar. I clearly remember the time when Microsoft was a fresh new word. I thought, ‘Oh God, another word processing program to learn???’ NOOOOOoooo! I had wanted to stay with WordStar. Then I was told, ‘you’ll have to shift because everyone is on to it now!’ Yes, I had to!

30715888_1917775584922391_740927475407650816_nMy husband and I had the same desktop computer. One fine day I’d come to find it all changed. He had updated and upgraded the computer. So, then I’d have to learn new ways. I had deadlines to meet. I had to send regular articles to Dawn or Woman’s Own magazine.  It was quite horrific for me. Usually, I was teaching, busy with my three kids, and air force social life. It was quite a challenge!

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 On Iqbal’s Stray Reflections, PEF and PANA

Positive work going on in the Capital,  April 2018.

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Somehow, my weekends are so interesting. Getting invited to several events, I choose the ones which are constructive and relaxing too. Each of the events I’m sharing here, deserve separate blogs, yet I’m afraid they may get over-run by upcoming events.

So, let’s go over these briefly:

Allama Iqbal’s death anniversary on April 21st. 2018:

It was a function arranged at The Hive in Blue Area. The Hive is a place for small events.  You know I love young people, so I was happy at least they had done something on such an important day.

As I parked my car, I saw a young man hurrying towards the stairs of the building. So, I followed, and found the place, with his help.  Then, he said, ‘You have taught me in school!’ I smiled at the dashing young man. I love to see my students all grown up! So, it turned out I had taught him history in ICAS probably in grade seven or eight, for a few months in 2004. So, I asked him to sit with me in the front row.  We decided to remain connected. So,  he sent me a friend’s request on Facebook, while we waited for the program to begin,  (we saw we have 27 common friends!) Hisham Muzaffar is doing his M.Phil at PIDE (Pakistan Institute of Developmental Economics,) inDevelopmental Economics. Khurram Ilahi the speaker of the day on Iqbal, has taught Hisham in PIDE.

Continue reading ” On Iqbal’s Stray Reflections, PEF and PANA”

Getting life back to normal

After the crazy spell is over…

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Farm house of my aunt Shahnaz Jafar and my uncle Brig. Jafar Khan. .

All of us go through busy spells in our lives. Though we often talk about it, and feel tired, but in fact we wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, we are busy doing what we want to do in the given situation.

We mothers tend to get a double shift because we are getting directly involved with our children’s lives, even when they are all grown up.  When my children were small, my elder friends often said this, that it doesn’t get less busy! They were so right.

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Pakistani Orchid blooming in my home. I planted this tree six years ago. 🙂

As one’s children grow older and less dependent on you, your parents start becoming more dependent.  Now your own parents take on the role of your children and the responsibilities keep getting even more.
In my case, my mother had two falls in Feb/March. That really floored me. Now she needs more help and more often. Meanwhile my one daughter was getting engaged, and the other was leaving the country. Also both parents were facing the chest congestion that go with this season. It was a challenge all round.

Alhamdolillah. All these matters have been happily settled.

 

Continue reading “Getting life back to normal”