Powerful weekly plan.

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The weekend is here, you have a lot on your plate, and here is another blog from me! Well, I’m going to let you into something that is part of my ‘time management’ or ‘self-management’ strategies.  I’ve met people who have been successful in their careers who regretted not giving enough time to their families. You know how much Steve Jobs regretted that. I’ve met others (mostly women,) who gave so much of their time to their families that there was no time left to pursue their own interests. Here is a way to put both together, so that you can have both! It is only possible if you can start it all within the week which is one’s most powerful unit of time.

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One day in my life

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I’d like to share something with you first: this blog post was to go before the last one! But what happened the next day I uploaded immediately.  This blog, has indications of what was to follow next . But I didn’t know it then. So, I just went and uploaded the occurrences of the day after this one, as I was too emotional. So, here is the prologue for the last blog post as this had been scheduled earlier. I suppose, this is life, we have ‘signs’ of things to come, but don’t notice them.

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As a kid, my life was regular, routine and very predictable. So, naturally I wished for a life which wasn’t. Luckily, no two days of mine are the same-  exactly how I like it. So, if I take you through a day in my life, it won’t give you any idea about how the rest of my days will go through.-  Just a glimpse. Anyhow, why should it interest you anyway?

Why not?

We all are living our own lives, and sometimes we wonder how the others are getting along with theirs?-  I’d love to know how your day goes! I’m sure its even more exciting and productive than mine. But let me give you a peep into how mine went today:

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Of car servicing, hospital, art and Monal restaurant.

Isn’t life just awesome? So many surprises round the corner. – Might as well enjoy them, even if some of them are quite horrific.

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Yesterday, I got the fright of my life. I was busy finally getting the car serviced when I got a call from our batman Sabir, “Baji, your mother’s condition doesn’t look good at all, please come.” At the petrol station, the men were just completing the servicing and the oil change had not yet taken place, I was buying chocolates for Mum, as she loves them, and her sugar had been low in the morning… I went and told the guys to please just stop wherever they are as I have to go, my mum isn’t well. They said “it will only take five more minutes, the oil really needs changing, and you may have to drive the car far…” They were right. So, I asked them to hurry. One of them drove it to the oil change spot, the work began, while the other two hurriedly dried up the car, and wrapped up everything. The bill was also taken care of. “We will pray for your mother, Baji, she will be fine, Insha Allah!” the man said to me, as I hurriedly dashed off.  I had already called Dr. Mehmood who lives nearby if he can visit my mum, but he told me he was in middle of an endoscopy. (He had asked a nurse to take my call, knowing it must be an emergency, God bless him.) He said he’ll come as soon as possible. But it can’t be now.

Continue reading “Of car servicing, hospital, art and Monal restaurant.”

Went to Rawalpindi – the twin city of Islamabad.

 Avoiding visits to Rawalpindi is my forte. Even though it is my birth place,   I think it’s the birthplace of all humanity. If you pick up a stone – a human being comes crawling out from under it – in fact you will find one sitting on top of the stone also! All of them are on the roads, and trying to cross the roads, as you drive.

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Well, then why did I go? I had to go for my dad’s medications at AFIC (Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology,) and look around for some stuff for him… since he is spending more time in bed these days. For example, a hospital bed, which can make the patient sit up and lie down easily. Also, it has safety rods on the sides, so the patient doesn’t fall off the bed.

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My December 2016 & start of January 2017

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As far as I can remember, life has been fast paced, yet exciting. The end of last year and beginning of this year have been no exception.

Attended SDPI conferences December 6th to 9th, 2016:

19thsdc-2016-img_0414Starting from early December when I was invited to the annual conferences by SDPI (Sustainable Development Policy Institute.) Well, I’ve been attending these conferences since 2005 actually. What I really like about them is that many important topics are covered by authorities in the field. When you attend a conference, it certainly opens up your mind to what is going on in our region. Representatives of organizations in Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka come here to discuss problems of regional interest. When you find out the statistics of each issue the gravity becomes even more apparent. This year the topic was Envisaging the Future Together and it carried on from 6th to 9th of December. Usually, it is all very interesting.

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Painting wisdom, friends & tenants.

“I might as well accept my life as it is, and stop calling it ‘crazy’…. I mean that is how it is, and that’s exactly how I love it.” Let me show you what I mean.

Yesterday morning…. as usual I had my breakfast in bed. Porridge, aumlet (made deliciously with chopped tomatoes and onions in it,) toast, and a cup of tea served on a bed tray by my batman. (I finally, decided to stop being prudish, and allow the gentleman into my room. So, I could have this luxury.) – of course, I drape a shawl around my shoulders…. And sit up. Usually, I’ve read my prayers, and am in process of reading my Siparah. This process of breakfast and prayers takes around an hour, then I’ve started being a bad girl and laze around, watching morning shows or my favorite DW channel. It was about the part of the brain that is developed when you navigate yourself around the town without using the GPS and how good it is for you to use your brain to orientate yourself around town yourself. It said that 85% of children’s brains are already developed for it. We grown-ups have to use this consciously as much as possible. I just loved the program. Why can’t they have such programs on other channels? Of course, Germany is Germany after all.

So, it was about 10.30 am when Sabir came along saying

“Baji, Dastagir is here, he wants to meet you.” I remembered that today is the last day of painting up of my house. It has become a ‘normal’ drill. I remembered the first time I walked into that paint shop four years ago, looking for a painter. It was a Dulux paint shop in F-10 Islamabad, and I asked them about painting up the basement, which I was planning to rent out… I had bought the paint myself and decided to get it done myself instead of asking for help from others. (ofcourse, ‘myself’ means without help of the architect.) The owner introduced me to Dastagir saying he will help me…. Now, I just give him a ring, he brings all the paints I need, and the labor and gets the work done in record time. “These men work quietly and methodically…” my Dad said.

It is true. Dastagir, knows, I’m going to  trust the men to work properly, so he sends me highly skilled and trustworthy men. This time, just two men have done the work. He also knows I’ll pay over and above what he asks me, plus I try to give them tea and food whenever possible. Laborers and poor people have a soft corner in my heart. (I know exactly how it feels to not have money…)

The other day, my tenants’ wife Kishwar was saying “My husband says, these people really rook Mrs. Najeeb and over charge her for chores they do for her.” (He is in the building business himself, he is building a plaza and other housing projects.) I felt like telling her, “I know. But they give me more in return. I pay by the project, not by the day, so my work gets done faster. I pay more, so they give me their best. I am aware of the fact that they are not insured also. I pay through my nose to the lawyers, yet, these laborers do more work for me. So, why not pay them more?”

On the dot of 10.30 am Dastagir came. I always value and respect punctuality. I felt guilty that I didn’t have the money to give him and told him, I’ll just bring it from the bank nearby. But it turned out, it was good as  he had not done the two black gates, which had not been considered in my budget earlier. But then, we agreed that it is best to get it done now. So, he went to get the paint, and asked his men to do that too. While they worked, I brought the money, did some more grocery shopping, and asked my batman to prepare lunch for the workers, as it was their last day.

I got a phone call from my cook’s daughter, that he won’t be coming as there is no transport today due to the hanging of Qadri the killer of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer in January 2010. I remembered how Waliya and I had been nearby, and witnessed that murder. It was gruesome. So, I told Rahim’s daughter that its ok. I know, he will come if possible.

So, there was that ‘nihari’ of Saturday, so we all had it one more time, and there was enough for the laborer, Dastagir and his son (whom he brought home from school.) they had lunch sitting in the porch on the garden chairs and table. I felt good that they had not only done the basement banisters, two gates but painted up the table and bench as a special gesture. (I didn’t have the heart to tell them, that the bench and chair were supposed to be unpainted! I told Waliya, “Its too late now, as they have already done it. So, I didn’t tell them…”

On way home from the bank, I had received a phone-call from a new friend of mine Humaira. She wanted to invite me for her marriage in mid-March. So, I said “I’d love to come.” My friendship with her, is another story, another time.

So, after lunch, I went in to relax and came across a long-lost friend on skype. Someone I had lost track of and given up long ago.  I had heard once “Let go of the one who leaves…. and accept the one who returns… because this is a quality of God.” One can’t help but feel there is some Higher Intervention in one’s life.

So, in the evening, what happened was that my tenants were to come for the basement (which I had been getting cleaned up for last two days.) So, as a special gesture, I got a basket of fruit ready for them and added two glasses of  strawberry smoothie made by Nadiya, and sent these down. Earlier I had rung him up, welcoming him and his wife, and expecting a happy response from him for all our efforts. He asked me to come down for a few minutes please…  I found there was a detailed sms from him: the tenant. a pilot had an incoming  stream of unhappiness. I took Nadiya my daughter along, and we went downstairs to the basement. His wife stood next to him quietly as he went round showing me what a dirty basement I’d given him. I told him, “my maid is pregnant and she cannot do more than this. If you want more cleanliness, bring your own people to do it, I’ll pay up Rs.2000/- for two day’s cleaning.” We parted happily with offers from him for getting us anything from anywhere in the world and especially from Dubai, since he is a pilot. I told him,” I have everything I need here in Pakistan. But will certainly ask if needed.” We ended our conversation on a happy note. With due apologies, the couple went off to spend the night in a hotel, as the place was too dirty! This was his first home in Pakistan after 25 years….

I remembered, all the scrubbing and cleaning my husband and I used to do when we went to any new home. It was part of the process. We both would don our dungarees and joggers and put on loud music and get going and the kids always joined in too.

Nadiya and I came upstairs to our lounge and joined my Mom who was sitting there as usual with earphones attached to her Ipad watching a drama. We looked at our two Persian cats and the dust bunnies all over our sofa set. Then Waliya joined in and we told them the response we got for all our cleaning. She said “maybe we can give them a whiff of my cat’s litter box!”

So, we all had a good laugh as Nadiya reconstructed our visit downstairs, and had everyone in stitches due to her comical narration. She acted out my response to them, and I pointed out how she told them “who gives original paintings to tenants?” Well, it all ended well, because we realize, when people come to Pakistan from abroad, everyone can’t bear the ‘dirt’ not realizing that here we have very big homes. It is easier to clean up two room apartments. Here the sizes are enormous and the cleanliness standards are rather laid back. We all reminiscence on how paranoid we all had been when we came from Kuwait and England. I remembered how finicky one is in the beginning of one’s marraige. Then nature gives you children and you have days and nights spent cleaning ‘poopies’ and ‘pippies,’ and all that vomit which also has to be contended with! Your whole perspective changes and using too many chemicals in your home is no longer a priority. Nadiya said “I was like that too, till I realized that either one can be squeaky clean or happy!”

So, that was another typical day in my life.

Alhamdolillah!

 

Thank you so much for reading all the way to here. Stay blessed!

 

 

 

Life is an adventure

In college, my room in Gulberg in my Dadi Ji’s home, had a huge painted word on one wall…. ADVENTURE. A great Enid Blyton fan, since my childhood,  the adventure series were my favorite. Living a very routine life, where order was the order of the day. I yearned for adventure and excitement as a kid. It seems I was destined to get it all. I also wanted the heaven and hell of living, I loved life that much. Did I get that too!

Starting with getting married to a man who encouraged me to go on drives, and trips alone. I became a master of driving, and exploring new places and meeting new people. Somehow, it all culminated in my becoming a writer by accident. Though actually, I was an artist. I started painting since my childhood. Loved drawing, and composing new works of art.

The other love of my life has been reading. I’ve been a member of the British Council Library, wherever I went. After my masters, I learnt to walk into other isles away from the romantic fictions. Reading books by Stephon R. Covey, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and many others was my forte. Discovering Iqbal, Ghalib and Rumi was my greatest thrill. In the US, Suze Orman became my favorite at a time when I had hardly any money. I learnt a lot from her. She is so right in so many ways. I’m a total fan of hers. You should be too.

So, my adventures, landed me in and out of big trouble. But they gave me the thrill of life, confidence in myself, and the will to stick it out. No matter what!

I guess, this word ‘adventure’ took me on, as I drove through terrible storms, crying all the way, trying to meet deadlines of one kind and another. The skills that I gained along the way, with computers, writing, typing, cars – driving, good communication skills with people of all socio-economic levels and back grounds, all stood me well. when a problem arose, I only asked myself “How can I do it best?”  As an infantry officer’s daughter, and an air force officer’s wife, I had no fear of any kind to hinder me.

Its really true, God never puts you through anything without preparing you for it, in His own unique ways.

Perhaps the love of adventure was my way! 🙂

What is yours? Just know, that wherever you stand in life today, God has equipped you well for it. Know that he never gives you things that you cannot bear.(I know, at times one wonders if that is truly so!) But be assured He has the confidence in you. You can.

Thanks for giving me your time. Stay blessed.

 

 

Paintings, Nasreen, riverside views, and a puppy named Bingo.

“Islamabad the Beautiful”
Today was rather ‘perfect’ if I may say so!
Usually, I include more than one program at a time, so that if plan A doesn’t work, plan B is all set. So, plan A of celebrations with brunch at PC Rawalpindi didn’t work, (Mum wasn’t up to it). So, on with plan B, which was there in any case. I had to get my paintings to the gallery AQS where the exhibition will be formally opened on December 3rd, 2015. Today, I had to get the paintings to the gallery. I realized, I had not printed out the captions for the backs of each painting. So, quickly made it and printed it in my Studio downstairs in the basement. Then brought all the paintings down from the walls, stuck all the labels and my visiting cards behind the eight selected paintings. – with the help of Hasnain of course! (He is my domestic help.) I was ready to leave at twelve.

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