A Strange happening

during my walk in the park this morning… 

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What happened today was different. I’ve been going for walks to F-9 Park or Fatima Jinnah Park for many years. You can say its’ my favorite haunt. As I drove into the car park,  I had to be careful as three young boys were getting in my way. They were around fifteen years of age, carrying school bags and smoking. As one of them passed near my car, “You look like  such a wonderful young man,” I softened what I was about to say with a smile, “your young lungs must be having a tough time with this smoking!” As I parked, I went over and met the other boys too. Umar, Ali and Noman all aged 15 in class 9th.

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“Are you bunking your classes today?”

“No, we are having exams. Our paper got finished, so we so we came here.” Said, one of them.

Continue reading “A Strange happening”

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Let us get financial acumen.

Getting aware of the pitfalls that can happen, and knowing how to avoid them.

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“I’ve witnessed a lady lose nine million rupees, and nothing could be done about it!” My bank manager Umer Malik mentioned. Immediately, I decided to learn more about this. The remark made me realize how vital it is for us to learn about the pitfalls during financial deals.

While this blog post is important for everyone, but more so for my fair readers! First, most of us women, are not given any financial stability with the men in our lives holding all the strings to finances in our lives. All the legalities are written and interpreted by the male members of our society to their own advantage. Making sure women are kept in the dark and at the greatest disadvantage in almost every situation.

Added to that is the female attitude…. “Why should I bother my pretty little head with these boring facts and figures? When I have enough on my hands, having to maintain my own figure!” She goes on to say to her dearly beloved… “You are there to deal with these things. I trust you.” Then, he goes on to die on her, or change with the changing times, and whispers from his family and friends….. Suddenly, she is all alone to fend for herself in this cruel nasty world. And she has only herself to blame for trusting the men in her life. They are human. They can make mistakes, why so, at your cost?

Secondly, when a woman does have financial control over her assets, she does not know how to hold on to these, how to invest it wisely or how to make it grow, in a halaal way. So, it was painful for me to hear how this woman actually lost ninety lacs and nothing could be done to help her. (One lac is $1000, so this lady lost $90,000)

How not to get swindled? This can only happen when we (and that includes the men too) take the time and make the effort to learn all we can about handling our finances in a mature way.

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So, I asked my bank manager Umer Malik of Bank Alfalah, in E-11, Islamabad, if he could spare some time, and I could interview him.

Continue reading “Let us get financial acumen.”

Give taxes, as proud Pakistanis

It is vital for development of our country.

“I’m not signing, till you write the number  of the hundreds of  kanals of lands I am giving you all.” I said furiously, to my rivals. ”You have written about every inch and yard of my property. But kept all yours’ hidden! “

“Who will pay the taxes?” was the prompt reply.

“If a widow and orphans can agree to pay taxes, why can’t you rich grown men and a woman do it?” I was furious too.

He said, “Fine, I’m going back. No need for a peace pact!”

“Ok, then, let us go ahead.” I said meekly.

Continue reading “Give taxes, as proud Pakistanis”

Why suicide?

I’ve been there.

 

( Who hasn’t?)

We all have faced moments in life, when you feel there is nothing left to live for. Better to be dead, than to live this life day in and day out.  Finding every moment in life unbearable. – And all that sort of thing.

Suddenly, the question arose. How will I be remembered? You know the big question always asked is, ‘how did it happen?’ and then the answer ‘she took her life.’ Then the question, ‘why?’ and then it goes on, ‘she had found life unbearable’ and all that sort of thing.

I didn’t want to be remembered like that.

No. when my time comes, I want to go naturally, the way my Allah has planned it out for me. (He is good at every job He does, so I’m in good Hands.)

But the biggest question is didn’t you have faith in God?????

So what, if things are bad now.

It happens.

I know Azeema who has lived without both her hands and feet all her life. She has studied, done lovely drawings, wrote, and is on Facebook today. All done  with a beautiful smile on her lovely face. I’ve known Flt Lt. Nasrullah, a pilot who became a paraplegic (paralyzed from below the neck,  living without being able to move his arms or legs, for over twenty five years ) He lived with a smile on his face most of the time. – Always positive, always full of interesting information and quotes. He had something written on the wall of his well decorated room ‘so what?’ (- that’s where I learnt it.)

Yes, ‘so what?’

Get up! (I’m sure you can walk….) and do something thrilling, exciting and fun. Read books, read the Holy book (whichever one you believe in.)

Go, sit under a tree somewhere in the wilderness, near a stream or a lake. Or the seaside will do too. Think positive this time.

Decide.

Decide once and for all, you will not let yourself think of anything negative, no matter how bad life becomes.

Contemplate.

Write a diary. Start with your list of blessings.

Get up and cook a very nice meal, go out and give it to some poor person. Believe me, you will love doing it.

In hot summers, make a nice drink and serve it to laborers working near your home. Or anyone on the road.

Do, anything, but don’t think of giving away this beautiful life, that you ‘ve been blessed with.

Look around you, at the mother who thinks the world of you, the father, whose pride and joy you are, at your friends, (whom you are not appreciating right now.)

You cannot do it to them.  You just can’t!

You can’t give them a life time of wondering ‘where did I go wrong?’  “How could I not realize that someone was so unhappy near me?”

Have faith in God.

Honestly. When I felt in that way, I looked ahead and saw nothing to live for. (Your vision becomes quite distorted at such times.) I was also sure, that my Allah will take my life, if He thinks I’ve done my work in my life. Obviously, He had some stuff for me to do. But, at that time, I couldn’t imagine what?

He was right!

You cannot imagine the amount of ‘stuff’ I’ve done after that miserable time in my life. I have realized why He didn’t take my life when I begged Him to do so.

We all have been through those times. We just have to read Surah An-Nashra and read those words which mean, that ‘with every hardship, there is ease and comfort.” It is written twice, to make you believe it. During tough times and otherwise, I love reading the Quran’s sipara’s translations preferably on a daily basis. You invariably read instances  that you can directly relate to. For example, the hardships which the prophets went through, and the prayers that they said at those times. One of the most powerful ones is “La Illaha Illa ho, anta subhanaka, inni kunto minaz zualameen.” Oh God ,you are sublime, it is I who has been cruel to myself.” – meaning, that we face a lot due to our own mistakes and misjudgments. – To ask forgiveness, as much as possible.

It is all a matter of realization.

We are no prophets, but how can we believe, that we will face no challenges in life? The bigger challenge is to keep oneself straight through it all. To avoid choosing wrong ways to solve one’s problems,  which are legal, correct or acceptable to God.

I’ve experienced it, first hand.  With every hardship there was a lot of comfort and ease.

There was a very interesting exercise in one of the books, I read in one of my MBA books, just change the word ‘problem’ with the word ‘opportunity’ and you will realize, that with every ‘problem’ you came across an opportunity. Normally, without that problem, you would never have had that opportunity.

So, hold on to dear life.

It only comes once!

Warning note: If someone near you mentions that he or she is depressed, or thinking of ending life, or any such thing. Please take it seriously.

Do what you can, while you can.

Stay blessed my dear reader. Keep smiling even if you have no reason to smile. (It will become your reason, when you realize, you are smiling for no reason at all! )

Its an alarming situation just read this article on the current growing  situation of suicides.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/suicide-rate-on-the-rise-in-us/ar-BBs6gGt?ocid=spartandhp

PS: As I sit and write on my laptop,  looking at my room, my home, my family, my life. Alhamdolillah, I have been blessed in every way. I’ve achieved things I still don’t know how I did them. There has been a lot of adventure, suspense, travel, thrills and so much love in my life. How could I ever have believed ‘my life is not worth it?’

I’m so glad I was patient. That is what Allah loves the most. He rewards you for it. Be patient and trust Him. May Allah, God, Bhagwan be with you. If you are an atheist, still just be patient and wait to see for yourself what great things are waiting to happen in your life, don’t you want to be there to enjoy it all?

Living with terrorism.

 

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When I went to Seattle, USA the first time, several years ago, I was struck by the peace in USA. It was so beautiful. Like a dream world. How could an American feel the fears that we feel on a daily basis? It is so easy to blame a person who is in a bad situation, for what he or she is suffering. Pakistan is blamed for ‘feeding’ the terrorists. Now, Europe is finding how it feels. No one wants to threaten their peace. No one wants their country to become a war zone. It is some terrible reality that we all are having to live with. How could anyone condone the killing of innocent human beings? We are also human. We all do not want to be a part of such a horrific reality with which we are living on a daily basis. We Pakistanis have had at least three decades of it.

In 1989 when my husband was posted to Karachi, we drove there from Quetta, (in those days, Quetta was very peaceful) and we arrived full of excitement of starting a new life in Karachi. We knew the situation there was bad, but realized how bad when we saw a ‘curfew update bulletin’ after the news every night on television. It felt really weird to have a daily news bulletin about curfew timings in  different parts of the city. We lived a little outside, and we hardly knew the names of the different areas named. Ignorance is bliss. But …. We knew this is serious. I was a computer teacher in the school nearby. In the staff room I heard my colleagues mentioning different horror stories in the city from where they came.

“I look stupid standing on the road waiting for the bus at 6.30 am, when so much firing had taken place the evening before!”

“The terrorists just walked into our house, pushed us all into one room, then used our rooftop to do firing in the area. I was dying to go up and see what they were up to. My family made sure I didn’t go up to see what was going on!”

“I saw a man pick up a gun and try to shoot someone.”

“Why do you lock our house? We may not come back!” Once, my little Nadiya (aged six) remarked as we were going to Karachi’s downtown area. The girls had their instructions to stay down if there was shooting. Not to keep window down. And to rush away from the car the moment we park.

In 2006 when we went to Karachi again, I had shifted my EMBA classes to their Karachi branch. My class fellows told me how to survive in Karachi during such times, when a terrorist attack can take place anywhere, anytime and hell breaks loose. Well, “listen to the news before leaving your home.” (In those days, phones were not connected to internet.) This means keep a check on the news. Note the areas where the trouble is. Avoid that part of the city. “

When  trouble hits in front. Go into the side streets and get out from another route. But you have to have knowledge of the area. You might be walking into more trouble if you get into a ‘trouble zone’ area!

One night in 2008, my husband and I were driving back home from dropping Saadullah Bhai, in Mayamar Heights near KDA, Karachi. We agreed to go back to Malir, from the ‘shorter’ route through Gulshan-e-Iqbal which was known to be an unsafe area. But we thought we’ll take a chance. The road was empty. It was past 12.00 am.  Suddenly we saw tyres burning in the middle of the road ahead. Three men were waving  long rods in their hands. Their faces covered except for their eyes with white cloth turbans. They looked very threatening.   Our two daughters were sleeping in the back seat. My husband and I felt our hearts pounding as we had to come to a stop as there was no way of escape. As we came close, we realized, they were waving their rods, and pointing to a dirt road on the side. One man came close and told us, “There is going to be a lot of trouble here soon, go out from that way quickly!” Yes, the ‘hooligans’, were actually helping us get away! Alhamdolillah. (yes, God helps one through sources one couldn’t imagine! )

We dashed off, heaving a sigh of relief.

“Do not park your car next to an old vehicle.” My husband would warn me. He felt that if a person was going to blow a car up, they would choose one which was old and dilapidated. Ok. Also, avoid parking near garbage cans. (many times they place a bomb in one of these.)

“When you stop to park your car near a shop, do it quickly, and walk away from your car as soon as possible.” So that if someone wants to snatch your car, they do not realize the car is yours. Do, the same on return. Get in and drive off quickly.” My husband would warn me.

“Keep the car windows up at all times.” Yes, there were threats of people throwing acid on your face.

“Lock the doors the moment you get into your car, so that no one gets inside from the back.”

“Najib, I want to have dahi bhallas of Bohri bazaar.” I said to my husband,

“People are dying and you want to eat dahi bhallas!“ he was furious.

“Hey, I want to keep a pistol in the car!” I said to my husband another time, when we went to Karachi, as I was used to having a pistol in my home as a kid. “I’m against violence, why should I keep a pistol?” my husband replied. So, we kept no weapons  – even for self-defense!

One night we were out shopping in the city. – Only us girls. I mean my three daughters and myself. By the time we finished our shopping it was near midnight.The shop keeper was afraid for us, so he sent a man with us to take our shopping to  the car, which was parked across the road in the dark. On the way back, Nataliya who had just come from Seattle said, “I’m dying to have some ‘desi’ barbecued chicken with naans and seekh kebabs!” I said “why not?” so we drove off to the nearby shops where the smoke from barbecued chicken was so tantalizing. The eunuchs would come draping their doputtas (head scarves) over the front windscreens. Several of them chanting prayers for us “Baji, teri jori salamat rahay. Allah tujh ko Haj karaye!” (May God keep you and your spouse safe. May you do Haj. )The bright lipstick, the bangles and bright clothes, all showing a taste in fashion. Smiles and humor. (I admire their brave attitude towards life, in spite of the hardships they face.) We gave them some charity, as we waited for the food to come. We noticed, we were the only  ‘girls only’ car. There were many people around us, making us feel safe. No one was bothered about us. Somehow, life goes on. Eating and feasting is not to be curbed by terrorism in the city.

Letting my daughter go to school in the bus, and praying for her safety all the way there and back, has been a daily routine. Most of the time, I’ve been driving off to  pick or drop my girls.

Life goes on. It has to. One day, we will see a world free of terrorism. But till that day comes, we have to carry on our lives as normal as possible. We have to show the terrorists that they cannot crush our spirit by these tactics. If they have a problem, it has to be solved in a peaceful way.

The most important thing is: We all need to find ways to not allow innocent people to get into the hands of the terrorists, to be used for suicide bombing.  We have to take care of people around us. Especially, the underprivileged ones, so that they do not fall into the cold blooded hands of terrorists, only to be used as weapons by planners of suicide bombings around the world today.

Today, as I write. In Lahore, over 70 people have died from one 25 year old man blasting himself off in a suicide blast in Iqbal Town park. There are people owning up to doing these heinous crimes. Remember, every person who dies, is a human being who has died. He is neither Christian, Muslim or Jew.  A human life has ended. Many maimed for life. Similarly, there is no religion of a killer. He is a killer. What do you say about a killer who is killing himself too? But there is someone alive who is behind the killing of the killer and those killed. These are the people we have to get to. Similarly, there is need to stop the senseless killing by the West of innocents among the criminals in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

That’s the need of the hour.  We all have to learn from what is happening around us.

How long will this insanity continue? I live to hope for a better world.

Meanwhile.  Lets pray for the departed souls and the injured victims of terrorism. Stay safe, stay blessed, my dear reader.       😦

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flashbacks and Important details

After four years, I’m breaking my silence to share my story for these reasons:

  • For you, or your loved ones: I believe, Allah made me go through all this so that perhaps it could make a difference in someone else’s life. We all learn from others.
  • Me:  Perhaps someone can help me with the Out of Court Settlement.
  • Others: perhaps an improvement in laws takes place.

Continue reading “Flashbacks and Important details”

“Do not talk to strangers!”

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The destructive impact of media and internet on our lives and families ….

 

 

I’ve gained a lot of weight lately  – mainly due to television. Those dairy milk chocolate ads are playing havoc on my waistline. I thought I was immune to the impact of media. I’m not.

The daily dose of violence that viewers receive in the garb of ‘entertainment’, the graphic images of humans being killed actually, and in make-believe world of cinema for entertainment.  What happened to those sweet comedy shows, the Walt Disney films that we grew up on?  Something has gone very wrong in our world  of today.

During my childhood,  once you entered your home, you were safe.

It is no longer safe. No place is safe now.

I’ve personally witnessed the gory impact of internet, mobile and television in the lives of innocent persons. “DO NOT TALK TO STRANGERS” is even more important now than ever before. Gullible, bored, lonely and unhappy people (young boys, girls and lonely women) are the most likely victims of the internet stalkers and criminals. Men sitting for hours at their computers in offices, find this handy pastime to fill in the boring slots of time in their office cubicles. After all, what is there to lose? Lying and cheating cannot be caught here. Fake names, fake addresses, and fake identities are so easy here. No one gets caught. That is the biggest comfort. Words like ‘love’ and promises of everything under the sun are so easy here. Only hearts get broken, lives get shaken, families and relationships get destroyed. Children get kidnapped, and molested and killed. Girls get married to queer characters, whom their parents would never have engaged them to. Recently, I know of a girl who would sneak off from her educational institution and meet her ‘friend’. The next the parents knew , their daughter was married secretly.

The only aspect coming to the rescue is one’s own conscience and faith. That is the only barrier to all this.

So, now faith too is being used to ensnare these innocent and unhappy souls. Teenagers and young girls and boys are being regularly brought into Syria from Europe and made to join ISIS, all in the garb of ‘faith’.

 How can killing be part of faith?  – any faith for that matter!

That religion which has the example of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) victoriously walking through Makkah, forgiving all the inhabitants all their heinous crimes, for the sake of Allah, to start a fresh new life. How could that religion propagate killings of innocent humans? So, now we have seen the killings in California by a seemingly nice couple. Who actually keft their own baby? It was nothing but the internet which affected them. It was used to brainwash them into killing innocent people.

Trump has the easy solution of stopping all Muslims from coming into USA. What about the killings of innocent students in colleges and universities in the USA by white, non-Muslims for years and years? Will he stop entering of whites and non-Muslims from getting admitted to schools and colleges too?

A time was there when a father or mother could stop strangers or suspicious characters from entering their home. Now, no one can stop people from entering any room or mind among the family members in the home.  

It is truly a very dangerous time to live in.

I cannot leave you without offering solutions so here they are:

  • Families need to be closer now.
  • Make sure that good relationships are there between family members, and any sort of discrepancies are handled quickly.
  • Mothers need to be more vigilant about whom the children are communicating with. To meet friends of their children and be in touch with their parents also.
  • Couples need to give each other more time. To be there for each other when they are needed. To watch out for ‘signals’ – mostly it is change in behavior patterns.
  • Most importantly to listen to your partner and other family members. Watch out and be alert.
  • Love, faith, caring and nurturing of each other is the most important aspect.
  • Remember the victims of criminals are usually those who have lost faith, or feel unloved and uncared for. They are lonely. They feel they have nothing to lose. This feeling drives them into the ‘dangerous and ‘exciting’ world of liaisons with strangers.’
  • The word ‘secret’ is the key word. When someone says it has to be kept a secret between the two of you. Know that it will get you no-where.
  • I suggest ‘run for your life’. No, its not only your life, I suggest ‘run for your own, and other’s lives also!”

 …. DO NOT TALK TO STRANGERS!