Let me help you choose what to read A lovely girl named Aneeza Huma wrote to my daughter Nadiya, ‘just came across your blog. I’m so inspired by your mother. God bless her. I… More
Seriously speaking, this is the most serious topic of our times in Islamabad. If we don’t take steps now, things will get very bad here. In the past we have seen entire towns and villages getting desolate due the the turning of a river. In the present times, with education and facilities, people have usually faced the problems well in time, to avoid such situations.
Islamabad was begun in 1960, so it is a very new city of our times. Saidpur village was probably the only habitation here in recent history.
Now, suddenly, with the onslaught of thousands of people coming to settle here, and the latest CPEC agreements, hundreds of thousands more are expected to come and stay in this beautiful city. Suddenly, with this news, the water got even more depressed and the level went down very rapidly.
The first thing that is analyzed before construction of a house, is the availability of underground water. The underground water level in Islamabad was easily reached by going around 140 feet deep. That is how it has been for many years.
My dream come true!
So, finally when my book launch took place I realized it happened exactly the way I wanted it. A big ‘thank You’ to my Allah Mian – who knew, and miraculously got it done.
I mean, to have a book launch is tough enough. Then a Solo Painting’s Exhibition is also difficult. Then to have both together is even tougher. No wonder, every organization I asked, would just find reasons to push me out of their domain. (They did this by asking me for a huge amount.) So naturally, I was very upset.
It was a lunch meeting with my friend Aisha, at Juicy Gossip just over a week ago, when I realized nothing was working. The phone rang: Aania asked me, ‘how are things going?’
‘I’m done with all this.’ I told her feeling extremely upset and hurt. ‘ I’ll just have a virtual book launch.’ She is member of our Generation Rahi art group and is the one who arranges our annual group painting exhibitions, and other events. She is a good friend and a great artist too. Continue reading “Book launch and Painting’s Exhibition.”
What is my strength?
Autumn leaves always remind me of change; of shedding those leaves (and parts of our lives) which are outdated.
To get ready to make space for what is to come into our lives. It is a time to ponder and realize…
Last week, I realized that it is important to define ones’ self. Asking questions like: How do I see myself? (All those ‘selfies’ only show my outer self.)
What am I inside? How do I want to be remembered? Lately, – after the passing away of my husband – I’ve realized I’ve started taking pride in my ability to face great hardships and overcame them. Its almost become my identity.
Even now, almost six years on, I’ve taken pride in being able to face any issue that I’ve had. Well, great. But, is it my identity? Am I just a ‘superwoman’? It is now a habit to be sorting and solving problems all the time.
Yesterday my daughter caught me setting a problem straight between two men. It had nothing to do with me, but there I was trying to sort it out for them. Waliya just cut me short. ‘Mum they are two men, the problem is their problem, stop going out to solve their problem. They should do it themselves. You have enough of your own!’
She was so right!
This is what happens when solving problems becomes your identity, then you start looking out for other’s problems to solve! I’ve got to tell myself to ….…. back off!
It is important to realize that problems and solving them is just a part of one’s life. It isn’t life itself nor my identity. It is definitely not what defines me.
The bigger question is: ‘Am I getting side-tracked?’ It is important to dig deep within one’s self to see where one stands. This brings us to find the point where we have to find; ‘What is my innermost strength?’
So, in short when you start defining yourself with your job, family members, friends, or spouse or loved ones – when they leave you or are getting busy elsewhere, you get shattered and break down. Hence the rise in suicide rates in Pakistan.
I’m trying to make a very important point here.
You know something? I’ve known persons from the forces, being quite shattered due to husband’s retirement. They find it so hard to get adjusted to ‘normal’ life. My friend Riffat told me, ‘my friend had a nervous breakdown when her husband retired from the army.’ Imagine. This happens when all those facilities go to your head. Then when that position is taken away, where do you stand?
I remember, when my husband went into hospital, when he was terminally ill. I had to face many problems all at once. On top of all that, a couple of months earlier, I had joined evening classes for MBA and had also started work on a book to be published in USA. So, now my life got tougher and harder. I felt as if I was up against a wall. But in hindsight, yet, it was these two things which also picked me up. I had to work it all out somehow. I was given a bit of leverage by them. Working on these commitments, made me ‘forget’ my predicament. The ability to do them gave me the strength to realize that my mind can still work! The results of my exams gave me a thrill to know that in spite of my circumstances I was somehow working it out.
Working on challenging projects, truly help one to rise and get stronger. Yes, it is a good thing to define yourself in several strong ways.
Take the example of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he was a full-fledged lawyer, however, he gave his life to something higher – the independence of Pakistan. Similarly, Allama Iqbal was a lawyer, why did he have to go into such strong type of poetry which would ultimately bring freedom to the Muslims of the Sub-continent? Yes, that was a worthy identity for him, than that of being just a lawyer. It is the same of all the great personalities of the world. They all had an identity which proved them to be ‘higher’ than ordinary individuals.
It is the belief in focusing one’s life towards the making of something beneficial to the people around you. Yes, that became their identities – not the lawyer or barrister part of their lives, but the leader of people of India. It has been the same for all leaders.
So, in our own small ways, we have to look into ourselves and realize our own identities and not to confuse these with the other parts of ourselves and our lives.
Bulle Shah put it very well…
Kee janan mein kaun?
How do I know, who I am?
Stay blessed and hope we find the right answer. 🙂
The second largest salt mine in the world.
Last Friday, I visited one of the greatest tourist attractions of this region. Somehow I hadn’t seen it, inspite of living just two hours’ drive from there. When my college friends were going there, I siezed the oppertunity of meeting them as well as seeing the unique mines.
Khewra Salt Mines:
These mines are located near Bhera which is the middle of Lahore and Islamabad Motorway. So, it is around a two-hour drive from Lahore or Islamabad. It was discovered by an interesting incident happening over a couple of thousand years ago. In 326 BC one of the horses of Alexander the Great, was seen licking the ‘stones’ here with great relish. They found out that it was a chunk of pure salt. As you may know horses like to lick salt. So, that is how the soldiers of Alexander, discovered this place in 326 BC. It was a time when he was busy winning his battle with Porus the local king.
After that, slowly and surely this place kept being revisited, till 1876 when the British freshly having ‘settled’ the locals to accept them as the ‘lords of this land’, took over the salt mines and set about doing it up. We had our lunch at this rest house which was built then. So now, after a hundred and forty-one years we all from Home Economics College decided to have lunch here on October 27th 2017. It was already 3.00. p.m. when we reached the rest house for lunch.
A charming railway station near Islamabad, that deserves a visit.
It’s a six to ten km drive from Islamabad, on a bad road. Yet, I was charmed to get there, to see the station which was built in 1860 looking in good shape. The breeze lifted the leaves of the Banyan trees lying on the ground. Winds of Time and Winds of Change were so evident here. It’s a charming place, from where the outlines of the Margalla Hills are visible.
You know, something Haaris? I wrote three blogs on you and all disappeared! That’s the computer world for you. Is it called, getting jinxed or something like that? Now, I’m feeling quite low, so this is my fourth attempt. Writing needs to be done in a fresh mode, but I’m not letting go that easily. Just as you didn’t. Just as you made your intent clear to the universe and won in the end, in the same way… in a very humble way… this blog. Yes, finally my blog on someone who deserves to be written on. Someone whom I’ve known since his mom was expecting him! Yes, Rumi and I met for the first time in a new year party in PAF Sargodha Officer’s Mess. We didn’t know how close we’d end up being… Allah has His beautiful ways.
Now, before I get all sentimental. Let me cut across over 3 decades and tell you why I want to write about you. Actually it is like an open letter to my son-in-law:
How time flies! Can you believe it, this year is almost ending. One day you feel there is the whole year, ahead of you, and suddenly, it is almost gone. I ask myself, what have I achieved so far? How are we feeling nearing the end of this year? Meanwhile Pakistan has celebrated its’ seventieth birthday. What have I done for my country?
Well, the timing worked out perfectly. I’ve managed to publish Allama Iqbal’s Tulip of Sinai, a book on which I’ve been working for over fourteen years. The project was so difficult for me, with my limited resources; Finally, I’ve published it the way I wanted – with my Allah’s blessings and editing with Naila’s help, and printing with Qasim’s. It has been nothing short of sincere hard work. So now I’m all set for the book launch on November 9th, 2017, in Islamabad. I was happy to see it had been mentioned in Dawn’s Books and Author’s section:
In a way, I was glad the project had taken so long. Getting published on Pakistan’s seventieth birthday was rather appropriate, wasn’t it?
Adnan Afaq, living in Lahore had worked it all out. He even hosted the group at his home. It was all possible due to Sobia Maqbool who was studying at Harvard. The duo had worked things out together. She was doing her Masters in Public Administration, Harvard, Kennedy School of Government (2017).
As Sobia put it:
“From a casual conversation between two friends about going on a road trip together to explore the scenic northern areas of Pakistan, Adnan Afaq, CEO of Pakistan Credit Rating Agency, and I, then student of Harvard Kennedy School, pursuing my Master’s in Public Administration, took along 30 Harvard students on a once in a lifetime journey exploring various seasons, landscapes, people and tastes of Pakistan.”
When Sobia joined Harvard in 2015 she saw that there were trips being arranged by different groups of students to most of their home countries. She was upset to realize that there had been no trips to Pakistan. She reached out to Adnan, who was equally disturbed. An avid traveler, Adnan immediately offered to help arrange a trek to Pakistan. Together, they decided to create an itinerary that would provide the trek participants a unique opportunity to be able to gaze deep into the soul of Pakistan and gain access to an insider’s look into the lives of the locals. Adnan and Sobia wanted to create a journey filled with diverse experiences for the trek participants – from the food they ate to the people they interacted with and the landscapes they breathed in. The main idea was to give them a flavor of Pakistan. (Yummm we all know what a great flavor it is, in every sense.)
… and kindnesses too.
Going to sleep has never been a problem for me. Never. Having been through many tough phases in life, yet, I have been able to sleep well through it all. I’ve inherited this quality. My parents sleep well, and so did my grandfather Gerald William Flynn Young. He’d say “it’s due to my clear conscience!” I guess, it’s the same for me too.
But, in spite of the clear conscience, I’ve been having trouble sleeping and it was due to several issues on my head. Sometimes, being a single parent and doing all the ‘man’ and ‘woman’ things in one’s life, has its downsides too. There were several things … the water, pension, income tax, tenant, book launch, buying a mare, and latest is the Nadra issue, and I was financially tight.
“Literature will make us Immortal. As long as there is one person out in the world who reads your work, that is reason enough for you to write!”
Irum Zahra, Founder and CEO, Beyond Sanity Publishing
talks to MOIWrites in this exclusive interview
1. Briefly tell us about your life and education?
My life and education truly began when I started going to ICG, F-6/2 in Islamabad. The teachers there taught me how to love books, the libraries made me read and indulge myself in stories I had never imagined existed, and my family, my sister and my mother taught me how to be strong. I come from a broken family, my mother raised me and my sister as a single parent and we learnt how to survive in this world without a brother or a father figure. I managed to complete my bachelors and masters privately because…
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