PTV World Interview and the drive up the mountains.

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Sometimes, one should let life happen. Specially, when it is the good stuff. All the happenings mentioned in this blog were a surprise. No planning, nothing. Just a willingness to go with the flow. That’s all. Often enough, we ourselves come in between by saying I have this that or the other thing to do. So just say ‘yes’, and hope for the best!

Okay, so do you remember how by chance I made friends with a wonderful person named Amber? (I wrote how I met her in my blog on Power of the written word .)

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Amber is the one on the left, and Neeli on the right. We just clicked, and went off to the movies.

She was the one who later made it possible for me to be interviewed on PTV World.  A few days ago, I received a call from the producer Aamir Butt. Later, I spoke to the host Shabnam Riaz, and it was all settled. I went to PTV World, and met Aamir Butt, then Shabnam arrived looking stunning. I chose to not get the make-up done, because I wanted to look my own self. The producer and host both felt I’d be fine as I was, so we went ahead.

 

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So, anyhow, it was my first experience of the kind. I loved the fact that I got the complete time slot. This was ideal, as I was able to communicate my ideas without any interruptions. The interview was for my latest illustrated publication of Allama Iqbal’s Tulip of Sinai.

As my friend Naila, (and co-editor of the book) mentioned:

‘It was nice to see the interviewer being interviewed!’ Which is a fact. I’ve interviewed people for Dawn and other newspapers and mags for over two decades. So, I appreciated more how Shabnam conducted the interview. So, here is the link to the whole interview, hope you like it, and your feedback would be welcome. It is about fifty minutes, so you can see it later, or now, if you have the time:

So, this recording was on Friday. By the evening, they had sent me the promo of the program.

Next day Saturday, I suddenly decided to drive to Lahore. I was going anyway, but felt that I’d love to go by road with my daughter.  It was a novel opportunity, as we usually travel in turns, so one of us is with my parents to take care of them.   So, this was a good opportunity to go in my own car.

It was so much fun that I wrote a blog on it last week: .Why I love driving

We returned Sunday evening. On Tuesday I had already agreed to go to the TDCP resort at Khajut, with the art group. I woke up late, and scrambled off to Rahi Studios. On reaching, I found out that we weren’t going in a coach but in our own cars. So, I dashed off to get more petrol and check the air in the tires. The gang was at the gate when I got to the Rahi Studios.

27331776_1820076771358940_1722623939207928033_nWe were happy to meet each other, and Yasmine clicked this pic as I went to meet Sir Rahi and my friends. And so we left.

To go on a trip with one’s friends is the best thing. With time, we all have got such a camaraderie, that we can say what the hell we like, knowing it will be taken well. Lots of jokes, and pulling of each others’ legs. This video is of further up the mountains. As it was so cold I put my scarf under the cap and found it nice and cozy. First, we had tea and pakoras at TDCP at Khajaut.

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Hajra Apa and Sir Mansoor Rahi are so romantic and so cute.

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The group at TDCP Khajaut, near Murree.

I’ll leave the pictures and videos to do the talking now.

Changlagali, is near Nathiagali, a place located at around 9000 feet above sea level.

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Yasmin took most of the pics here. 

The snow at the end of the journey was a real surprise.

 

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Taqi bhai with Mansoor Rahi. 

Yes, it was very cold.

The lunch of Chicken karahi, vegitables, with salad and naans was delicious and yummy. It was topped with kinnus and oranges.

It was so cold….

I came back feeling so refreshed and happy. I’ve realized how important it is to just drop everything once in a while and let the wonderful surprises happen!

Stay blessed, my dear reader. How do you like the surprises in your life?

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My Year turns into 2018!

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Isn’t it wonderful to be celebrating something together? The New Year of 2018….

Lots of folks talk about how backward this country is. Yes, in many ways. But in many ways it has taken many leaps forward. I know, I’ve witnessed the process.

Lots of progress witnessed by myself:

As I look, I see…. The motorway, internet, computers, mobile phones, smart phones, many television channels, signal free highways, Metro bus systems, reversible air conditioners, Careem and Uber taxis, information access from the smart phone, blogs, e-tickets, emails, I mean I could go on and on. We have  known and lived in times without these things. Just a few years ago, we didn’t have all that we have today. Now, we use the internet to book seats in cinemas, get airline tickets, send articles to newspapers and blog, and do online banking, as well as transfer funds through the atm too. What else can you dream up? I know, I look forward to a more progressive world.

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The One Who Loved Humanity

Something happened during our pilgrimage and Umra trip.

 

 Want to sit with  me in a time machine? Do you want to go to Makkah and Madina? Join us in 1987 when my husband and I went there from Kuwait by road. Today, I’m feeling very emotional. It is birthday of Muhammad (PBUH) and I’m   remembering how much his life has affected mine. I’ve never met him, but the impact has been there. I guess that is why God decided to make him His last representative on earth.

My husband and I were on deputation to Kuwait. He was a Captain in Kuwaiti Air Force.24232463_1758508680849083_2312642239046178024_n.jpg

Adventurous as we were, we decided to go for pilgrimage on our own by road. Usually, people went with friends, for security, as it was a very long journey of thousands of kilometers. My husband and I had already been to Europe with our one-year-old daughter. So we packed our two little girls aged two years and ten-month-old Nataliya and  five-month-old Nadiya, in the car and drove off.

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Notice the elder sister’s caring presence. No wonder Nadiya doted on her.

Our trip was going well, in spite of some real adventures which are almost inevitable on road trips. I may share some with you later on, but today I’m telling you about this Umra trip, and what happened afterwards. So, we first performed our Umra in Makkah.

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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.

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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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Harvard Students Visit Pakistan

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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).

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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.)

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TDCP Hilltop Resort at Khajut, near Murree.

One of my favorite spots near Islamabad.

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I’ve been here so often that by now my girls almost hate it. Yet, they will never refuse to go, as it’s a lovely outing for someone living in Islamabad. I love the drive on the Expressway, from Islamabad to 17 km short of Murree. It takes about an hour or so.  The last steep climb up to the resort is really nice and challenging. Just be a bit careful, if there is oncoming traffic.
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I found out about this place through my art group when Mansoor Rahi and Hajra Mansoor would bring about twenty of us on a coach to this place. While the tasty chicken karahi is being prepared, he assembles us for a lecture and demonstration on art. After that we spread around this area and do our own sketches and paintings. I’ve got many pictures of those sessions. (However, I can’t find any right now – good for you – otherwise, you would have been flooded with them! )

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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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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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Shah Allah Ditta near Islamabad

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It was such a great surprise, to discover a beautiful place so near my home! Just the type of place I love – with streams, caves, rocks and mountains. It had heard about it, but I wasn’t sure of the exact location. ( I’ve lived near this place for over eleven years! ) Finding out that it took twenty minutes to get there by car, was even a greater surprise.

Two weeks ago, on a Sunday, Uzma and Daniyal agreed to show us the way, so my two daughters and I went on an impromptu visit.

The weather and drive was lovely. The road kept getting worse as the view kept getting better.

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