One’s book selection is personal.

Let me help you choose what to read

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You enjoy your books and share them with family too. Here is my fiction section with my favorites and my mother’s too.

 

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 know she is a good writer and I really want her to suggest some good books to me. ‘

 

 

 I’m so thrilled that I’m happily writing this blog for you Aneeza, even though I’m so committed right now.

The fact is that I’ve found it very hard to read a book suggested by someone else. But, sometimes it does work. The suggestion can be good if that person is in sync with you. Just as Rubina my friend suggested ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma. What a book! – Just loved it. So, she knew me and the book. That suggestion worked. But it is only so because my friend knew me, and what I liked to read. In your case, I don’t know what you like. Still, I’ll share some thoughts on books with you.

Continue reading “One’s book selection is personal.”

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Verna – a suspense thriller by Shoaib Mansoor

It is a brilliant effort.

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Ever since I saw this movie, a few hours ago I’ve been struck by the sheer brilliance of it. Yes, I’m bowled over. Though, I shouldn’t be  surprised. It is a Shoaib Mansoor film after all. What else did I expect?

The kind of articles I had read about this movie, made me wonder that perhaps it was below his usual standards. But when I saw it, I knew he is not only his usual but even better.

Now, after seeing the film I’m wondering how one can criticize such a work of art. The cinematography, direction, acting, sets, locations, are really good. I just wish there was A. R. Rehman’s music to it. But I suppose we can’t have it all, can we? Without A. R. Rehman,  the music was as good as it could be. Haroon Shahid the guitar-playing hero with the singing, makes his debut with Mahira Khan. That too, in a Shoaib Mansoor film. (I mean how lucky can you get? ) Of course he has done full justice to his role too, – playing the weak husband to perfection. Making that believable too, considering how spineless many men in our society can be.

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There wasn’t a single moment when I felt it was a drag or in any way farfetched. I loved the movie. The protagonist Sara played by Mahira Khan exhibited a brilliant piece of acting throughout. Agreed, it is a rather difficult and different role for her, which would have stretched anyone’s acting skills to the limits. She did a great job of it. She even did justice to something that the script demanded which was unthinkable for any human being. But the failure of the ‘system’ made her go to these lengths. That is the point which is being missed by the critics.

Having been through several traumatic experiences, during last few years, I knew first hand how you can be completely devoid of fear because  the worst has already happened. You know, you are on your own. Now, its your call, or live by the stalemate all your life.

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What people found hard was her unflinching will to avenge herself, knowing no one else would. She knew no one would or could help her. Not this spineless husband of hers, nor the more useless government officials, police, or the judicial system. Thankfully, she managed to convince her husband and sister-in-law to help in the end. Her relentless spirit and how she would fight back even when she was so badly hit every time. I particularly liked the way the character of the husband was handled. How his love overcame  his handicaps. The role of the female lawyer was executed well. This certainly was fiction. Real lawyers are not like that at all. But the character was needed to explain the legal aspects of this ‘judicial system’.

The dirty tricks played by the corrupt governor, officials and their advisers were all too familiar for me. The manner in which people want you to ‘take’ injustice was also typical. Being spineless themselves, they want you to be the same too. Yes, ‘the deepest part of hell will be reserved for the people who in times of crisis maintain their neutrality.’ – A very favorite quote of my husbands’ was seen here too.

The judge played by Shahid Mir acted well. With a personal experience of judges and courts for over four and half years, I can tell you, I wish there were actually judges like him around, who did take at least some personal interest in a case. Believe me. Even that doesn’t happen. The ones who do, get killed, as was in the case I witnessed.

The acting was deep, sensitive and had the full depth of feelings shown.

The locations in and around Islamabad;  Bahria Town and DHA were shown with great skill beautifully revealing this areas’  true beauty. The team of Shahbaz Shigri – 1st assistant director, art director Faiza Shah and editor Zohaib Mansoor, made each scene a work of art using the colors and angles of the lense in interesting ways.  The quality of equipment used  revealing the technical skills of the cinematographer. The editing was good too.

The subtle and powerful dialogues used in sorting out the mulla mentality – which is typical – was well handled. The popular attitude of always blaming the women for the man’s evil act and making her pay for something they have done, was highlighted well.

It was extremely heartening to see a writer take pains to show the pains of a woman in a country like Pakistan.  Here, even women do not sympathize with a woman put in trouble by a man for his fault! On top of it, to try to victimize the woman for his own evil acts, trying to make out that what he did was her fault! The women’s response by saying things like ‘Allah pay chor do.’ (‘Leave it to God.’) Meaning:  ‘no one is going to do anything for you.’

Why don’t they say, ‘Allah pay bharosa karo. Tum such ki taraf ho aur mein bhi tumharay saath hoon.’ (Have faith in God, you are truthful, and I am with you too.) – This you will seldom hear from them!

The girl was brave and fearless, and I can see why such people are hard to swallow by many men and women in our society. It makes them feel uncomfortable. They are only used to the easily beatable, scared, crying and whimpering female. That’s how they like her. Then they can say, ‘dekha bechari, kin logon say panga liya tha! Yeh to hona tha!’ (See? Poor thing, this was bound to happen when she took on such people.) That’s how they want to see her.

Things will change, and are changing already. There is going to be a stronger world built by braver women of Pakistan now. Men like Shoaib Mansoor and many others like him are there in this world, to stand by brave girls who stand up against cruelty and insanity of others.

But first she has to stand up against the odds, only then can she change the odds.

The dialogues written by Shoaib are appropriate and powerful. In this film he has touched upon important subjects like rape, polio drops, mulla-ism, cultural backing of women-bashing, corrupt politicians and voting power. He has held his ground due to his integrity, skill and passion for excellence.

The movie is a hit, you can say what you like, the cinema house was jam-packed. Even my daughter and I reached half-an-hour earlier, and we weren’t the only ones! This being the first time, since we mostly end up arriving late for the movies. This was one movie – we didn’t want to miss out on the beginning.

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The subject was dealt without any abusive language – as is the norm in most English and Indian movies.  The grace with which such sensitive subjects were handled deserves all the praise.

Ladies and gentlemen – whether you all join me or not, I’m  congratulating Shoaib Mansoor for having made his hat trick!

Stay blessed my dear Reader. There is great hope for our country where such a movie can finally pass through the eyes of the Government censor board, and where the viewers can say what they like but are thronging to the cinemas to watch the movie. After all, it isn’t every day we get to see such a suspense thriller.

Note: All photographs and video taken from Google search images with thanks.

Walking is the best!

 

It’s my favorite form of exercise .

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Ok, come with me for a walk today – only online. Otherwise, it is my ‘me time’. Always has been. This is my time for reflection, and the deflection of problems. Yes, I refuse to let my ‘me time’ be spoiled! This walking is the unwinding and re-energizing session of the day for me.

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23622002_1743505092349442_761273883280085437_nSo, the typical question is ‘Walks kaisi chal rahi hein?’ (How are the walks going?) It really amuses me. But its true. Walks have to be on the move in one’s life. Yet somehow, when there is a break from routine, one’s walking routine is the first to be hit. Then it becomes really difficult to re-start the routine. So, let me say, from my own experience; ‘Never leave your exercise routine – no matter what happens!’ You can try to reduce the walks’ time or even inculcate it into your tough times. But do not leave your walk or exercise routine for long. 

Continue reading “Walking is the best!”

Water issue in Islamabad

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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.

Continue reading “Water issue in Islamabad”

Book launch and Painting’s Exhibition.

My dream come true!

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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?’

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‘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.”

How do I define ‘myself’?

What is my strength?

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Autumn leaves always remind me of change; of shedding those leaves (and parts of our lives) which are outdated.

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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.)

23172554_1725541914145760_5642983185441300483_nWhat 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.

23032408_1724334200933198_635915306857173400_nEven 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!

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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?’

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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Stay blessed and hope we find the right answer.      🙂

 

 

 

Visiting Khewra Salt Mines with College Friends.

The second largest salt mine in the world.

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Khewra trip with college friend’s fun trip.

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.

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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.

Continue reading “Visiting Khewra Salt Mines with College Friends.”

A visit to Golra Sharif Railway Station

A charming railway station near Islamabad, that deserves a visit.

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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.

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Continue reading “A visit to Golra Sharif Railway Station”

Happy Birthday Haaris

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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.

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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:

Continue reading “Happy Birthday Haaris”

Mid-October 2017 in Islamabad.

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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?

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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:

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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?

Continue reading “Mid-October 2017 in Islamabad.”