Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Weekend Writing Warriors / 11/01/15


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly bloghop.  Each week, participants sign up HERE at wewriwa.com, then post 8 to 10 sentences of their work, published or unpublished, to go live between noon, Saturday, and 9:00 AM Sunday EST. Then we visit each other and read, comment, critique, encourage--all those things that do a solitary writer's heart good.  
I am excited to share my snippet below (a total of 10 long sentences..)

Here is an excerpt from one of the short stories I'm writing:

"Still this explanation isn't going to buy you the attention you are craving right now in bed. Show you care about me during the day...in the thousands of interactions with other people, show ONE TIME you give a damn about me... one word, one smile, one eye contact, one hug, one conversation.... ANYTHING!! God damn it!!"

She continued, "You expect met to be a porn queen in bed and you think its my duty to serve your desires but when the rays of light set in, its back to your own morose self...you self indulgent beast!!
If you can be so considerate to just about anybody including your own family whom you have substituted for me, why can't you be protective and loving towards me?? Where's my time, our secrets, our conversations, our laughs? What a waste of time..." She sighed and turned her back at him as both lay beside each-other islands apart.

The long night ended like the previous ones and a splendid new day started as usual. This was their life..."

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Weekend Writing Warriors: For October 11, 2015

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly bloghop.  Each week, participants sign up HERE at wewriwa.com, then post 8 to 10 sentences of their work, published or unpublished, to go live between noon, Saturday, and 9:00 AM Sunday EST. Then we visit each other and read, comment, critique, encourage--all those things that do a solitary writer's heart good.  

I am excited to share my snippet below (a total of 10 long sentences..)


Nirashika took her two boys while her younger sister Ayaraa took her own daughter hurriedly. 

“We’ve got the special ladder and we know where the giant hollow tree is. We have everything we need. We should leave now!!” said Ayaraa with the map tucked under her left arm.

In the dark night the scattered fires in the forest and the villages beyond gave a faint yet constant orange glow like glowing coal in a fire pit.

“The terror shall begin at first light and last all day and night, ending only with the following dawn. Those hellish creatures will spread like plague over the villages and nothing will stop them. Nothing…” Nirashika looked fearfully at her sister. “I think they will sneak in before dawn and begin the onslaught of everything; a day that will seam no less than a year…”

That's it till next week...! You are welcome to critique the snippet from whatever angle you wish. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

You want me to want things..... And you want me to be content
You want me to be happy..... And you want me to be somber
You want me to be strong..... And you want me to be humble
You want me to dream..... And you want me to stay awake
You want me to laugh freely..... And you want me to hide my laugh
You want me to question things..... And you want me not to question everything
You want me to be constantly good..... And you want me to make mistakes
You want me to live life...... And you want me to meditate all day long
You want me to be respectful..... And you want me to be defensive
You want me to eat &drink..... And you want me not to eat &drink everything.
You want me to be peaceful inside..... And you want me to be fierce
You want me to be fearless..... And you want me to fear you
You want me to walk gently..... And you want me to run
You want me to face odds..... And you want me to think it’s a test
You want me to fight battles..... And you want me to think it could be a punishment
You want me to accept things..... And you want me to challenge them
You want me to wait..... And you want me jump ahead
You want me to cry..... And you want me not to despair
You want me to make choices.....And you want me to accept my fate.

So tell me O God What shall I do? 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Be good but don't be content. The moment you become content; you freeze....You stay in a constant state because you are content.

Movement is Life. The moment you stop moving, you are dead. Remember it like a rule. Move and move ahead. On occasions if you must take a linear step to move ahead, take it; but move ahead not back.

Running waters stay fresh; flowing around small obstacles and carving its way into larger obstacles to continue streaming ahead....

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

a constant cloudy weather that brings no rain.........

I don’t know where to begin....but I’ve felt down recently, the high tides crashing into my resilient reef-like self. I feel like I’m chipping away under the pressure. No known cures or recipes of how to feel good are working religious and non-religious.  Just because things don’t go my way very often, upsets me. Wouldn’t it upset you? I’m not crazy nor am I demanding but for a change, I want things too.

Maybe I need to just let go of things; things that I can’t have...Sounds awesome...the problem is, when one bad thing occurs, it brings a deluge of memories and thoughts of all the negatives inside me and why I’m not good enough. Why is another person better than me and chosen over me? Where is God so that I can ask him and so that He can give me an answer right there and then explaining to me the equation He has for solving such complexities of life. Why am I always on the far other end, not reaching to that hand that generously gives out? Ahhh again, its me that is far away...

Am I to reach out, to search 
even when you are not beside me...
Am I to run, or walk?
Should I talk or ask or both,
Shall I stare or keep looking....
I’ve been stumbling along all my life 
feeling my way through darkness
tripping too much as I go 
being fooled by stints of light
that show me the way 
and then steal itself away
leaving me again to feel my way in darkness
stumbling along the way.

Do I fall? 
Yes I do...
Is it supposed to teach me something..?
Yes, it teaches me hurt and pain.
Do the thoughts go away?
Yes, from the front seat, they go to the hind
Are such passengers a burden?
Yes, all the time...
They have no destination and continue their ride...
There is no fare from such
I must continue to provide my energy
all the way, all the time...
Dismay adds new passengers to the overcrowded vehicle 
leaving me stumbling and walking barefoot in the darkness...
I’m promised some rest in the future
that too if I take the falls graciously...
And if I don’t, then I end up in perpetual misery
But if God is fair, then what about the falls I took already?




Friday, June 19, 2015

My Grandmother Bibi


My maternal grandmother passed away on 21st March, 2015. She was the last living grandparent I had. With her death the chapter of grandparents has come to an end for me.

She was regal, a woman with a voice and grace. As far back as my memory of her takes me, I remember how timid people were around her and how she was revered by the entire villagers. She ruled the house with fairness and did not let her disability impair her. Still young and married, while climbing a wooden ladder to fetch some flour out of the tall cupboard, she slipped and broke her right side femur bone in 3 different areas. The doctors felt helpless until my father who had just gone to the US recently, arranged for her to have a rod insertion for the femur fracture. The metal rod was flown from the US and in Peshawar she had the operation.  It wasn’t an ideal operation. She ended up with a shorter right leg due to which she had a limp for the rest of her life. This was back in the early 70s. She would custom make her shoes so that the cobbler would add an extra 2 inch to her right sole to ease the limp in her gait.

My grandmother was called Bibi by everyone. If someone would say or did something cruel or unfair, it would raise her flare to the heavens!! My grandfather was particularly fond of her as she was the eldest wife whose company he adored. My grandfather had married another much younger woman (permissible in the area) to produce more male offspring. My own grandmother had failed to provide more than one male offspring whilst in the area it was custom to have plenty of male offspring. But that didn’t diminish her worth or her rule. She was awarded the ‘rule’ of the house by default and my grandfather stayed with her, ate with her and shared the bedroom with her. He was hers completely. If it weren’t for social acceptability, he probably wouldn’t have given a damn about more male offspring and would’ve stayed married solely to her.

Bibi was a great giver. She offered material help as well as valuable insight to those that sought her advice. I remember how the ladies of the village would bring their disputes to her to solve. My fondest memory of her is when she would lay her cane by the bedside and limp all around our bed (each bed of the grand kids) tapping all over the quilt to figure out a ‘hole’ through which cold air could sneak in and make us cold. She would rearrange the quilt to  plug that cold hole and make sure none existed before going to her own bed. Then in the middle of the night, she would get up and check again. She would make sure we had good food every day. For breakfast,  if the hens hadn’t laid fresh eggs that day, she’d send people searching the entire village for fresh eggs so that we could have a good healthy start….She was so caring and so sweet. I had never experienced that kind of Love and will never be able to as she has passed away. I only have her fond memories, and I cherish every one moment I spent with her. I wish to emulate her when I grow old. I want to be a grandmother of her stature and dignity showering boundless love and grace upon my young ones….

Rest in peace dear Bibi….May you skip and hop freely in Heaven!!


P.S My obituary is months late because I have been missing her tremendously. I finally find the courage to write something…during Ramadan, the first one without her.....

Image source: abc.net.au

Thursday, April 23, 2015

To Read or to Watch?

        

I see an alarming rise in video broadcasting vs reading. News is now aired (live or taped) on the internet instead of typed so readers are not left much of a choice but to watch the news instead of reading it themselves.

When did this trend of visualizing news replace the ever appreciable written format of news? Some people want to just kick back and read the day’s headlines at their own pace instead of watching it read out by a pretty face on screen.

I remember there was a debate on whether kids should learn cursive hand writing at all as their future has no place for cursive handwriting. Kids nowadays are taught how to type as more of the homework finds its way online. Paper home-works are soon to become obsolete just like cursive handwriting. I was shocked when my kindergartner was told to take a test using the computer. I mustered courage and told the teacher that I am an old fashioned mom that limits computer-time so my little one will not have the same proficiency with the computers and the mouse compared to the other wiz-kids. She looked at me and then said not to worry as he’ll learn soon enough. And he did as all the school homework was given online.

I still try to limit my kids exposure but I wonder for how long can I succeed? I recall reading how Steve Jobs limited his children’s time with the iPad and other technology. After all, having a rich imagination is important and it should not be killed or wasted with toying around doing nothing…The whole world is changing whether we like it or not. I still want my kids to learn hand writing as I believe it’s a basic skill. I still want them to learn typing. I still want them to learn how to read instead of watch and listen to what is read to them.

In the process of creating ease and comfort, I hope the world doesn't kill itself. This all reminds me of the Disney animated movie Wall-e; how life on an outer space ship with all the comforts offered through automated systems made the people ‘morbidly obese’, unable to do the simplest of activities such as walking,  lazy, dumb and incapable of thinking on their own…. What a sad state of affairs we are all headed towards……………..

image source: trcb.com

Monday, February 2, 2015

                 

So I finally got a job and now I’m working full time. It’s a blessing to be a mother and a full time working employee. There were challenges in the sense that I had to juggle my schedule which consisted of grouping my daily chores that were otherwise spread out during the day. The change also included much participation from my partner in the household chores which he otherwise avoided or didn’t need to do since I was the one doing it.

My kids are happy since I had to bribe them with a monthly allowance deal. Actually I am also trying to teach them how to deal with money; the concept of saving for something they want, working together towards a common goal, anticipation of getting paid and spending etc. I hope this will train them to handle situations wisely in the future as well.

My last job which was seven years ago was chaotic. I had a tremendous work load and was poorly compensated. It was the main reason why I left the job and decided on raising my then newborn myself which eventually led to the unregrettable seven year job-hiatus caring for my growing family down the line. Sometimes out of the blue a reference to my past job will make me become aggravated over the fact that they had to hire three persons to handle my work load after I left!!

My present job is pleasant; nothing wild and unpredictable. I think I have also changed in a good way. Being blessed with a family brings out the best in people. My family has taught me so many things and has been so supportive. Even in the ‘I hate you and you’re the worst mom ever!’ I see accomplishment of doing the right thing for my kid.

I am at much more ease…..with myself. I am not dangling or hanging to a cliff anymore….

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Searching

I've been searching......
In the last couple of months that is what I've been doing....
'Searching'....
The hardest part of searching is, you know you are looking for something but its' never to be found.

I look for posts. Something that would keep me occupied for a while, something that can keep me entertained.
I get fed up with the lousy news which is always grim so I look up posts on Facebook. Again it is moaning, whining or self obsessed pictures and posts. I don't bother on pretending to like those anymore. I've switched off my live coverage of TV so no connection with most of the miseries depicted on TV or the nasty characters they show and try to promote to our younger generation. Too much publicity of one product over another. Fake happiness shown while promoting clothes, things of the kitchen, home, or stuff you see on vacation. Have you ever been shocked not to see the exact same picture perfect location whilst visiting some of these promised to be beautiful and breathtaking destinations? Well don't be shocked because these are the tactical ways used to lure people into the otherwise not so special location or deal...
Yeah I see the pyramids of Giza displayed beautifully everywhere. They are promising and are one of the seven wonders of the world. But do they ever show you the garbage swirling around in the close vicinity of the pyramids or the fact you can climb on them and sit on these marvelous wonders (even though signs are clearly posted that you can't)? Talk about enjoying a snack on the pyramids...!!!
See I like to watch reality shows that are showing real 'experiences' even if the show is staged. You get to watch parts of nature, customs, cultures and destinations that are not powdered in make-up. All is raw. I don't go for carnage but I am talking about real decent footage of experiences that are not graphic in the sense of being bloody... yes, the term is real experience.
When the program ends, so does the reality of showbiz. You have to do searches again..

I've been searching for jobs lately. I should do something uselful with myself, my acquired talents and education. But what is it that organizations search for?  Oh again, 'search'. So my search currently is for a job. And for information. And for something that makes me feel good while I enjoy reading, looking, eating or doing it.

The journey of 'searching' always has its ups and downs. Its a camel top journey......

Friday, March 21, 2014

THOUGHTS



Mind with pendulous thoughts
To do        or      not to do
To see      or      not to see
To take      or     not to take
To hope     or     not to hope
'To be        or     not to be'.

Thoughts like tides
climb high and fall low
splash and disappear
into drops and then drop.
Thoughts when rust
amputate Desires
To hear              to see
To act                to sleep
To remember    to enjoy
To preserve       to share
To care             to exist.

Thoughts minor or exalted
piled untidely in that store-house
The door always locked.
Let Hamlet run
But can I??
The kingdom of chaos
that I hold within,
of timelessness and emptiness.
Can I escape
a hanging, weightless, adrift creature,
An astronaut abandoned
in the Space
of thoughts, thoughts, thoughts ...........

(1999)

pic source: google images (strictlyautobiographical.com)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Obituary

With a heavy heart I announce the passing of my dear father-in-law today at 5:30 am. No words can express our sorrow, the respect and love for him and how much we will miss him in days to come. He had many perfect roles, both in his professional and private life; from being the best & sweetest father to a smart and sharp Advocate with a great sense of humor. Of the many roles, the most significant was being a humanitarian, and this richness in his compassion towards everyone made him dear to all. He always was first to amend broken ties and ask others for forgiveness... People sought his help and guidance in disputes. I can go on and on with his list of attributes never coming to an end...My kids will now remember him through the wonderful snaps and videos we took on each visit. Rest assured I will make them remember the wonderful, kind hearted and generous-spirited person that he was, the compassionate soul that he possessed and his immeasurable love for his grandkids even till his last breath. He never ceased to love his grandkids and called upon them even whilst in the hospital. I feel as if the rood has collapsed on us but may Allah bless him and award him highly and richly in Heaven for all the challenges he faced during these last few difficult days.
Those of you that called, texted, messaged and offered me and my family comfort, I thank you from the core of my heart. It's been a very difficult month but nevertheless you all helped in some way. Thank you.

May he reside in Heaven....Amen

                                          My son with his grandpa in 2012




Tuesday, January 22, 2013

"N" for Note : 'Advice To My Son-dealing with women & girls' By Omar Mahmood


Dear son,

Many of the following points apply to ALL people. But I am specifically focusing here on your interaction with women and girls. We live in a world where, unfortunately, there is a bias against females that takes the form of unequal opportunities, pay/compensation discrepancies, unfair judgments, objectification, etc that tends to benefit males… It is frequently demonstrated that although a female may be more deserving or more qualified… she may unjustly end up with less than she deserves.

Try your best to be aware of this bias. Be kind and chivalrous to women (even if chivalry seems dead in the people around you). Do not hesitate to offer help to a woman. But, if she declines your help, then respect that also and don't assume that all females are in need of rescuing. Some of the strongest, most intelligent, most inspiring people you will meet in your life will be women. Look to history for some examples of great women. Study the great women of our ummah, Fatima az Zahrah and the Mothers of the Believers (may God be pleased with them). Look around you in the present time to see and learn from great women. The first person who ever taught me the ahkam of tajweed (rules for Quranic recitation) was a learned woman. Many of your teachers and professors will be women. And of course, reflect on the rank of your own mother, and ponder why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Paradise is at her feet.

Understand that the Prophetic tradition demands love, honor, and respect for women. The Prophet (peace be upon him) valued the contribution of women to society, and he valued their presence, their opinions, and their beauty.

Keep in mind that every person has something beautiful about them. Treat everyone with respect and acknowledge their beauty. They are the children of Adam and Eve and were all ennobled by God… even if they may not know it or may have forgotten it. Because of this reality, all women are beautiful. Whether they are your classmates during your school years, or your professional colleagues later in life, you should remember that each and every female you encounter is a beautiful person.

You will start to notice, early on (even in grade school), that some girls are treated "better," some are ignored, and some are treated quite badly all based on other people's opinions of what is "pretty" or what is "ugly." Don't fall into this shallow way of thinking. Each and every girl you interact with deserves your respect and should be treated with kindness. Don't ever make fun of someone for having certain characteristics or traits. You will be faced with a lot of social pressure to conform to these judgments of people's outward characteristics. Other guys will try to convince you of this.. even some of the women will play along with these notions of defining beauty through a limited and superficial lens. You must defend anyone who is ridiculed for these reasons, and never participate in hurting someone's feelings. 

Remember that there are some people who outwardly seem "pretty" but inwardly are horrible. Likewise, there are people who maybe don't have all the stereotypical features that are deemed "beautiful" by others, but inwardly they have personalities that will cause your heart to shake in awe of the grace and beauty God can put in a human being. Most people have a mixture of attractive and unattractive qualities, inwardly and outwardly… and we are all imperfect beings with a breath of the Divine in our lives. While remembering this, it is your job to keep an open mind and heart when dealing with others.

If you can do this, you will start to see beauty where you may not have expected it. You will be amazed by the number of beautiful women and girls (and more generally, beautiful people) that God has placed on this Earth. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

"M" For Mercy


Religion 'holds' our integrity and gives us a distant 'hope' that one day we will be held accountable for our actions to ourselves and others and thus be awarded for our deeds. We stay in orbit like planets as Religion becomes our force of gravitation providing us the balance and forward motion.

I've seen people confess that they feel better and at ease when they don't bring God into their lives. I wonder when that short-term bubble will burst and their buoyant structures will go down for God gives us strength. There should be 'belief' in something in order to focus and move on. 
For a civilized society to exist, the observance of rules plays an extremely important role. The fear of punishment for ill-deeds and the thought of getting rewarded for good makes a person decide intently on (his) next move. Divine rules are necessary for the grooming of an individual.

I'm a strong proponent of God's Mercy. We humans are created intentionally imperfect by God so that we turn to Him and seek fulfillment from Him. The only perfect being is God. Once one understands this notion, life becomes tolerable with its imperfections. Hope pervades and a vision is created. God's Love and Mercy is abundant and it is greater than our mistakes. If God's Mercy was short, then all His beings would end up in Hell for the numerous misdeeds that are committed. Gandhi once said, "An eye for an eye will soon leave the whole world blind....."

Always remember "Your sin is not greater than God's Mercy." You can and should seek God's forgiveness and no doubt God in His mercy will grant it to you.


**Quote and picture by Nouman A Khan



"L" for Lust and Love

An Indian girl was gang raped on Dec 16th 2012 on a moving bus. Her male companion and the girl were then beaten with rods and thrown off the bus. The news made headlines because the Indian nation protested for several days and weeks. The girl eventually died.

One wonders, what is the difference between Men and Animals? Shouldn't Men have the ability "to control" those horny emotions? Men from the East and Middle East are brainwashed into believing that they can and should have sex whenever they desire it, that they have the born right to take a woman (any time) who was solely created for the pleasure of man.

Whether it is lust or love, men whom cannot keep it in their pants and control their strong urges are no different than animals...

Monday, December 31, 2012

"K" for Krill Oil


A couple of months ago I scavenged the internet for information regarding Krill oil. The search was prompted because of information I found regarding Fish oil pills that despite the claims of purification, fish oil still contained amounts of PCBs and Mercury.

The more I searched, the more I was convinced to switch to Krill oil. Krill is a crustacean that exists in the oceans. It is the food of whales and many other fish. So I chose my brand of Krill oil and ordered from Amazon.com. My decision in choosing the brand came solely from the reviews of other Krill oil users.

I don't know how majority of these users came up with reviews claiming 'their joint pains going away or easing' etc but I will speak for myself. I did not feel any sudden changes at all. As I reached to the last couple of pills left in the bottle (precisely about 5 left), one thing I noticed in myself was how my kidneys 'hurt' at night as if something was dragging them out of my body. My kidneys felt heavy at night despite drinking plenty of fluids. I felt uncomfortable during the day too but it wasn't something as noticeable as during the night when I'd lie down but couldn't decide which side to lie down on as both kidneys hurt.

I went back to the internet and tried to search again. No review claimed bad side effects except one that I don't know how I stumbled upon. The person claimed having stomach problems and other digestive problems after taking the pills for a month or two. The gentleman also revealed that he did blood work and found that his bad cholesterol had gone up. That information was sufficient for me. I threw away the remaining 5-6 pills and after a week started taking my fish oil again. I have no kidney pain. Even without the blood work done, I can feel the difference.....Ditch the Krill and take the fish oil!!

Image courtesy from http://images.nationalgeographic.com

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"J" is for Joke and Jackass...

Telling jokes is an art. If you have it naturally, then be happy otherwise you become a jackass, failing miserably at cracking jokes.

Like other forms of art, telling jokes also has its do's and don'ts inorder for it to be great. A good joke requires great timing, a perfect situation, sharp observation, language which also includes body language using gestures when the joke is conveyed verbally, and a good mood otherwise the joke ends up in the category of sarcasm.

In the course of a day, you may come across plenty of jokes in verbal or written form. Written jokes are easy compared to verbal as the reader does not need to see who is behind the joke and what the mood of the conveyor is. For written jokes the choice of words and the joke itself must be interesting enough to captivate the reader regardless of time and situation. On the other hand, verbal jokes are a bit harder as they require the perfect timing, situation and appropriateness along with the conveyor's style of delivery.

If one fails at conveying a good joke, he appears to be the joke himself. In other words, he becomes a jackass.....How many have you come across??

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"I" for Ignominious Acts

Nothing disgusts me more 'than to commit injustice and harm humanity' in the name of personal agendas, constituting politics and religion. Why blood is spilled for the most ridiculous, bizarre yet lame excuses is beyond my imagination. I keep reminding myself that we don't live in Heaven where life and everything around us will be perfect and harmonious; that we live on earth where cruelty daily manifests itself in our actions towards one another. But why can't sense prevail?

Despite traveling miles to acquire the best of education(s), earning various degrees, trophies, certificates; being polished and refined with the exposure to aggregate experiences, having the imagination expand horizons; yet we still lack one simple quality inside our puffed up selves: of tolerance and respect of another. So what's the use of all those degrees, certificates and all that exposure and all that experience when your mind is no bigger than an atom and cannot hold a simple message of tolerance and respect??

There may be a few good people but they are too few to count in numbers and they are quickly drifting away into the "perfect, harmonious life of Heaven"...My message to all folks that read this article is: You don't have to have the spotlight on you in order to do great things in life. A lot of good things are done when no one is watching. Begin with respecting and tolerating the person next to you even when you know he is at fault. Spread the tolerance and respect laced with love....

Peace to all....




"H" for Humanity..

"...Go over and over your beads, paint weird designs on your forehead,
wear your hair matted, long, and ostentatious,
but when deep inside you there is a loaded gun,
how can you have God?" ~Kabir


Guns and God don't coexist.....

Saturday, April 21, 2012

"G" is for Grip

It is important to have a grip over what you write. Having a grip over something means knowing what you are writing and dealing with the subject accordingly. In today's world of online activities, it has become easy to self publish, self broadcast and self promote using the web. But does everyone succeed?

Words are like arrows shot in the air that never come back. Whether on paper or verbal, words that leave your mouth, pen or fingers are recorded permanently. They have a profound effect on the reader. Therefore it is important to have a grip over your words, what you write or say. Otherwise your art is considered gibberish.

Friday, April 20, 2012

"F" is for Flattery

Of most of the human vices Flattery is the most annoying. It is a vice that holds another vice inside; lying. A sycophant is extremely selfish and will lick off your dust happily just to get what he wants from you. Such people are dangerous to be around as their interest doesn't stop at just one thing.

Bacon once said to never give a curious person what he is looking for. The same rule applies to sycophants. Also by knowing who you are and what your trusted ones say about you, you can avoid traps of flattery set up by flatterers.

"E" is for Exceptional

In our lives we face many challenges that are major or minor. Our aim is to come out or grow out of those challenges. While competition exists in everything we do today, we push ourselves to become exceptional, an ingredient that will distinguish us apart from the rest of the crowd. But is it healthy?

We read about superstars acting silly to grab headlines, singers hungry for attention to stay on the headlines, ordinary people doing strange things to create headlines and so forth.
As a teacher I never taught my students to be exceptional. I always told them its ok to be yourself. We as human beings are all exceptional; differing from each other in some minor way characteristically which gives us our uniqueness. It is therefore not a bad thing to be different than another. Learn to accept yourself the way you are and life will be much easier!!

"D" is for Decorum

I remember how in Literature class I had a tough time distinguishing Greek and Roman Literature and Art.
Both the Greeks and Romans gave us sublime literature that stay unparalleled to this day. Hence their art is Classic.

Literature is a mirror and reflects a writer's version of events in (his) world. The world is vast and every person holds a different point of view which is shared through various mediums namely painting, sculptures, poetry, prose, drama, music etc collectively known as arts.

I find beauty in both, well balanced and style conscious art as well as the spur of the moment written/composed art. Sometimes decorum kills spontaneity. There is beauty in non-conformity as it is the closest thing to Nature itself.

Now I know that the Greeks played with just their imagination and fueled ours through their wild, pure and rich arts while the Romans blessed us with decorum and style combined with great art. Both hold important reigns in the world of literature.




"C" is for Comments

I love reading comments left for me on twitter, facebook and my blog. It is what keeps me going sometimes. Comments are like those few words of encouragement that a curious child seeks from his parents.

When I leave a comment for others, I make sure it is not mere buttering but something true about that person and what he has written. Praise is necessary when you want to push someone to do something he has a natural ability, a potential to do. Fake praise is sometimes necessary to get 'that something' done like getting your kids to do something 'right' and praising them for achieving it extraordinarily. Later in life you may want to keep things real in an effort to combat ego problems of superiority complex. But during childhood be there to praise, encourage and comment.

I remember how my 2 year old was climbing and jumping from all sorts of odd places with my encouragement while other mom's held on to their kids. The fear fed the kids while my son looked for my encouragement. One mom told me she will start praising her kids for small efforts after seeing what I had been doing.

picture courtesy of themarketingmomma.com

"B" is for Believing

Everyone believes is something; it is a feeling of surety. For some people belief is innate while for others it needs to be instilled. Belief is something that gives us strength and keeps us floating above the deep blue sea. When we lose "belief" in something, someone, we lose a part of ourselves and tend to go astray.

This is why we have religion, believe in God and the Judgement Day. It is a belief that no matter what hardships we go through on earth, we will be awarded for our virtues in the form of Heaven. Atheists may chose not to believe in God or the Hereafter but they definitely believe in 'the present day'.

No matter what your beliefs are, at the end of the day if you have been humane and merciful to yourself and others around you, I think you have lived a day well!!!


Picture from http://2.bp.blogspot.com

"A" is for Anxious

I have been reading one of my friend and mentor's blog: Dreamers, Lovers and Voyagers. I noticed she has picked up the challenge of writing a post everyday starting with the first alphabet. This challenge called 'A to Z Blogging' sounded interesting. So although I am jumping in the challenge very late as most writers are on the letter Q already, nevertheless I am anxious to see where this will take me.

I have had sporadic spells of the writer-block but part of me is plain old lazy. I have great stuff in my imagination which never sees daylight because of my procrastination... I have long made peace with myself acknowledging procrastination as my character flaw. Let the anxiety begin!!!



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Price Tag Removal Dilemma

I purchased a gift for a friend but couldn't take the freaking price tag off without damaging the box!! How many times do we all face this dilemma?

Sometimes I question the ethics used by the store to secure its pricing on its products. Electronic tagging, huge ugly magnetic clips, super tough price tags glued on an obvious spot and those ugly rubber strings holding the tag and shoe together. At times when you try peeling the price tag or size sticker off the shoe's in-sole, the leather becomes damaged and peels off with the tag or a sticky residue is left marking the impression where the notorious price tag once was. But of all the tortures, I find the super-glued price tag as the most offensive, clinging on and refusing to let go of the product!!

I've used scissors, box-cutters, my own nails and knives to scratch off or deftly cut around the price tag after the initial attempt of simple peeling fails. For some products I've devised the "oil-method" for removing the tag. Products like dishes or other glass/ceramic/porcelain etc, tough price tags can be removed by immersing the product in soupy water and then rubbing a bit of oil for a cleaner removal since water doesn't take off the stickiness left behind by the label. I've even tried the oil-method for removing residual stickiness of in-soles and it has successfully removed the label's stickiness. After the oil-method is used, make sure you wipe the spot clean afterwards with water to take the oil off.

But lets be honest; there is no one solution for this menace of secure price tagging tactics used by stores. Everyone has a different way to combat the problem. For me, when oil doesn't remove something or when I can't use the oil fearing the box or product getting damaged, I simply use the trusted scissors and carve a cute price tag shape into the otherwise beautiful box and/or leave the very obvious sticky residual on the product for the recipient to remove afterwards themselves.

For some people, it is wise to just leave the price-tag attached as my father once advised. Those are people that cannot be pleased by merely receiving a present as they "price and weigh" your gift thus taking their next step equivalent to what you gave them as reciprocal is key to such relationships. In such cases it is wise just to pretend you 'forgot' to take the expensive label off so that the recipient can value your feeling behind such a pricey gift.

For every sane person here is the real dilemma:
1) To remove or not remove?
2) To carve, cut, scratch or rub off?

What do you do?


Friday, February 3, 2012

Unfinished Sorrow

The separation or death of a dear one is a wrenching pain felt deep inside the heart. It is that bite taken out of your entire existence that exposes an incomplete 'you'. The acknowledgement that this person will never be seen again gives you a big lump in the throat. A time spent happily flashes in front of your eyes and stays there despite your attempt to wander your eyes about. Memories of things that happened triggered by a familiar song or movie once enjoyed together becomes a treasured thought adorned by a tear or two.

Sorrow anchors itself inside you and pain docks on your soul. Nothing changes that. Time doesn't erase or heal sorrow, it never goes away but changes in weight. Sorrow is a brick in your pocket. Every time you put your hand in your pocket, you will find it there. You just live with this weight. You learn how to compromise with this unwanted tenant.

It is so annoying to watch people fake their grief over your dear one. Superficial sorrow exudes in their demeanor. Feigning sorrow and showing up at any funeral just to show some social presence and achieve social acceptance is extremely pathetic. What a waste of regard for the departed...  

It is hard to cope with the sorrow of separation. Every person deals with it differently. I always lessen my pain of separation by thinking how blessed my dear one must be being in the comfort and safety of God, that no worldly trouble and sorrow can touch and harm him anymore. A caged bird is beautiful and blesses us with a constant reassuring companionship. But to open the cage and let the bird fly free, and watch it flap its wings triumphantly, gives one a strange comforting feeling that now the bird is free from all pain, sorrows, and hardships that the world contains.

As I write this piece, I can't help but think of my dear uncle whom I miss tremendously. He passed away in 2006, but to me it seems as if it happened yesterday. I miss him......

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Art of Quilting

In a remote village there once lived a wise old woman. She had many hobbies but her favorite one was quilting. She was famous for her bold designs and masterly stitch. None could match her abilities which was why she stitched effortlessly the most exquisite and marvelous quilts using bold bright colors and trigonometric designs and hexagonal patterns. She wove pure magic.

One unfortunate day the old lady broke her glasses and sadly enough became disabled from her poor eye-sight due to which her project was left unfinished. She pushed aside her sewing paraphernalia and sat in her old rocking chair. Days passed without her doing her craft and she wondered how the quilt could be finished. Just then she came up with a brilliant idea and she gathered some enthusiastic youngsters who envied her art and craft. She volunteered to teach them how to stitch. So daily these youngsters came to her home for her valuable guidance and she provided them with the squatting space, sunlight, threads, needles, scissors, fabric and pattern. Whilst they stitched, the old lady served them with dry fruits. The students sometimes demanded fresh fruits saying they were tastier than the dried ones. The clever old lady would gently cajole them saying “fresh fruits were messier than dried ones….”

At times when the process of quilting slowed down or would become tedious, the wise lady would pull out a different bright colored fabric that would immediately engage the young minds once again. She would instruct on how to fancy cut the bright fabric and introduce it into the design. Soon berry red, royal blue, seaweed green, bright orange, plush magenta colors with a wide array of other colors were all used in the design of the quilt. The old lady cleverly introduced a newer pattern and cuts into the existing trigonometric design.

Eventually the quilt was completed by the youngsters. It was not only eye pleasing but astonishing for the quilt had an exquisite wealth of color, design, and neatness. It also had a great length to it which made it extremely peculiar and rare than the rest. The crafty old lady crafted an extraordinary quilt but not by herself. All she did was, give a nudge and the rest of the enchantment came from the youngsters. There was one concern in the village of what would happen after the quilt was completed. Would they start taking interest in gardening??

photo credit:http://cdnpix.com

Friday, December 23, 2011

From $600 to $60


What a journey and memorable experience!! I purchased a fancy piece of jewelry 5 years ago for $600 when it was on sale for 50 % off. I never wore the ring. After a few years, I grew tired of it and decided to sell it. This is where the journey began.

I took it to the Home Consignment Center. They offered $600 for the cocktail ring but also had a 60:40 ratio split which is a fancy way of saying I would only receive $340 out of the $600. I found similar cocktail rings with them which they sold for over $1000. So I am sure after I agreed to their deal, they would have sold my ring for over $1000. Anyways, I walked away. Next I went to a pawn shop called EZ Pawn. They checked the ring by a device that gave blue-greenish light if the stones were diamonds which it did. They offered $400. Again I walked away.

My next stop was at another pawn shop called Super Pawn Shop. They looked at it and offered $180. I felt offended and so walked away. While I cursed the Super Pawn Shop in my mind, I took the highway and exited near another strip of shops near my home. I went to a Jewelry Store and asked if they bought used jewelry. They replied in negative. Then I went to the next Jewelry Store and they politely said they only value the gold and not the diamonds. So if they wanted to buy it, the offer would be only $120. I laughed and left. I went to one last shop which was a pawn shop. Keeping my hopes high, I entered and showed them the ring. After they weighed it, flashed the fancy light on it, entered information in their computer, they came up with $60. They wanted me to sell my $600, 14k white gold, 2 carat white and black diamond cocktail ring for $60!!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cosmic Balance

There once was a girl who loved making ripples in the water. Every day she went to the beautiful pond, would throw a stone and then watch the ripples from a distance. The little girl believed if the waters were not stirred, the pond would become stagnant. Sometimes she threw a couple of stones for a much magical effect. She admired the wavelengths, the circumference and the gradual disappearance of the ripples as it travelled across the pond. All this gave much pleasure to the little girl but not to the fish in the pond. The fish enjoyed the childish antic in the beginning but then grew wary of the muddy water stirred below. The fish couldn't migrate from the pond as it was their home and they loved it; nor did the little girl stop throwing stones in the water as she loved doing it.....
How much is too much?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Media Mess

Recently I decided to stop watching and reading the news. I have come to a point in my life where I find the news interfering and distracting my otherwise peaceful day. In a world of chaos and unhappiness, whatever solace and calm I can find or create is a great gift I try to share.

The more one is detached from the media (regarding news) the more one can focus on household chores, family, relationships and one's own-self. It is the Media's aim to create a ripple and then huff and puff at it or blow it into ridiculous proportions so that it lingers in one's mind for days. I am simply fed up with it all. If you haven't tried the Media boycott with regards to news, try it and you will find yourself less dependent on anti-depressants and will enjoy a full night's sleep!!

Peace to all!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A busy month

November was a very busy month with 6 birthdays and a target to meet for writing a novel, the Nanowrimo. Nevertheless I took the challenge knowing I couldn't meet the deadline but would at least get an outline for my novel.

My novel is still a work in progress. I hope I will have it done in another month or so. But all along, I am debating the idea of e-publishing directly onto kindle or with Barnes & Noble. I am leaning more towards publishing with Amazon as they have a wider audience and a strong global presence.

I thank you all for your patience.....

Thursday, October 27, 2011

National Novel Writing Month

Thanks to Teresa Cypher for introducing the idea and website about writing a novel in one month.....an annual competition for the month of November called The NanoWriMo. This year I will be competing (God willing) not expecting a prize amongst the countless talented writers out there but to start and finish a project that I have been dreaming of doing.

I have such an intense desire to write a novel but never find the time and the will to do it. Besides there are 101 reasons to do other things when there is available time....After entertaining numerous thoughts and looking into various channels, studying the entire process to book publishing and fishing for information from published writers like Teresa, I have made up my mind to embark on this venture. With one month to write 50k words, I will at least have something drafted.

I am excited. So (please) God be with me!!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Tribute to an Icon: Steve Jobs

I can’t think of writing something about Steve Jobs that the world already doesn’t know. He was a visionary, a force to be reckoned with as he said once, "Nobody has tried to swallow us since I've been here. I think they are afraid how we would taste." (ref At the annual Apple shareholder meeting (22 April 1998).

 He was a man that believed, pursued and materialized his ideas. Each time he gave the world something unique that became a necessity in every man’s life as soon as it hit the market. He never gave what consumers wanted or demanded and never believed in Think Tanks but always made something the consumers would later get addicted to. He was a leader and his products led the world.


He always wore simple clothes, a black turtle-neck to most of his conventions but the impact was tremendous. He just didn’t wear brand names to make impressions…..He himself was an impressive figure. He was a minimalist. His home had just enough furniture for use but evident of his good taste. A friend notes how Steve loved being ‘simple’ with an unmistakable eye for aesthetics. His aim was to be simple yet pleasing to the eye but at the same time sophisticated in application; something he infused in the Apple brand all along. “We’ve gone through the operating system and looked at everything and asked how can we simplify this and make it more powerful at the same time.” – ABC News, Jobs on Mac OS X Beta

At the company, they cared not for competition or to be rich but to lead. In “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” –  The Wall Street Journal (Summer 1993).

He was a difficult boss always demanding perfection in all stages of the product from conception to completion. He made sure every employee was pushing ahead of themselves.  He admitted he was tough. “My job is not to be easy on people. My jobs is to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.” Talking to CNNMon he said, “I mean, some people say, ‘Oh, God, if [Jobs] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble.’ And, you know, I think it wouldn’t be a party, but there are really capable people at Apple. My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I try to do.”

Steve went through some tough episodes in his life. But he always referred to each episode as a dot that had a pivitol role in shaping his future. He said, “Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.
So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” (ref: 
Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address)


In 2004 he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He didn’t slow down or pause his love and dream of innovating.“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - (ref: Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address).

Many tributes have flooded the internet via blogs, twitter, facebook, via iphone, ipad etc to pay tributes to this wonderful innovator. One person wrote, “An apple falls to the ground to become a shade-giving tree…”

He will be sorely missed by the entire world. In his own words, Steve once said, “I want to put a ding in the universe.”
He just did…….
May you rest in peace Steve.




Sunday, October 2, 2011

No Title is the Title

Sometimes its hard to think straight while staring at the keyboard. There is an urge to write/type but the words seem to escape my fingertips although the idea lingers in the head. I find time to write but the words fade as if I'm standing in an arid desert with no shrubs. Ideas dance in my head all the time but when I sit to jot them, they've already danced their energy away...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Changing The URL & Name of the Blog

Dear Readers,

I have been long thinking about changing my blog's name and the URL for various reasons. I would appreciate if you can help me come up with something unique. Please post your suggestions. Thank you in advance!!

Ghost Followers, Readers and Clicks

Every blogger wants to know who read their blog. You will be surprised that you have member(s) from the website 'gothise.com' reading your blogs daily. Another site is 'risingtaste.com' and 'businessonlineinuk.com' where you get hits on your blog. But what is it that attracts their attention especially sites like risingtaste and businessonline etc where your blog has nothing to do with 'business'? There are tons of other websites that are getting into the business of 'spamming', targeting bloggers pretending to be loyal readers of their blog.

It makes you feel better that you have an audience who is interested in almost all of your posts. Have you ever wondered why there is no comment from them despite visiting your blog daily? That is because these sites belong to spammers. They are not hackers. Their intent is to have you click back to their website which earns them revenue. Read gothise.com ranking in terms of traffic and revenue. http://www.freewebsitereport.org/www.gothise.com
  • Never open accounts with shady websites that promise to expose your blog and bring traffic.
  • Avoid following back sites. There are alot of porn sites that end with ".ly" or so and they too are looking for generating traffic to their site(s).
  • Every time you check the Stats on your blog, IGNORE the ones that visit your blog everyday with no track of ever leaving a comment. They will be spammers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sometimes

O how I wish the rose smelled different sometimes....
O how I wish the sun looked different sometimes,
And did so the dew drops,
And the colors of the rainbow.

In the grip of Everything there is an untold story,
A freshness in crisp dried leaves,
and the budding leaves...
A grace hidden in the still waters,
And the flowing streams....

There are things we can change,
and some we cannot,
It's only wise to accept,
the very riddles of Life,
are mysteries within itself....
9/27/11
Photo by google

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Clash Within Ourselves

We all fight demons that are seated deep within us that drive us mad. This struggle is an on-going ordeal. The Mind is a battlefield where Reason clashes with Passion, Emotions, Truth, Falsehood, and even one's own-self.

At the end, the triumphant white flag bearer must also be you and not your demon. Everyone goes through periods wondering how to defeat their demon that constantly nibbles at them and tries to dethrone them. In the kingdom of sanity, the power lies with YOU. There are no fixed rules and methods to clash with the mighty titan but since these are your demons, only you can usurp the demonic authority not allowing to rob your happiness and peace anymore.

The world is a cruel place of business where competition, envy, inequality and injustice play out boldly. But the world is also a place of refuge for ones that choose to stand upright. Some struggles are beyond our control and despite trying a zillion different ways to combat the situation, it cannot be made correct, or better. That is when faith kicks in. One must believe that some things are beyond their control, and power. When your struggle cannot achieve the desired outcome, you should continue trying. When you reach a point when you cannot do anymore, gladly let it go for it was never meant to be the way you wanted it. Let God or whatever you believe in, take over the rest. Be content that YOU tried; and that you did your best several times.

But will the Mind let you rest? Certainly not....The Fear, the Problem will become a fresh addition to your existing army of demons. So what are the answers? Many and then probably none. Every person is different and so are their situations. What works for one person may not work for another. But you should try not to let these demons ruin your beautiful mind. Talk to trusted friends, siblings or parents or God. You will be sent help and love.

Remember, some things just cannot be changed despite trying throughout your life. Just let go, leaving it to God to handle. This message is for a friend: It's better to accept the fact that you are not appreciated, than to insist yourself to someone who never sees your worth.....

I have made peace with my demons. They may pop up occasionally but I brush them aside. I know my worth....

photo by enlightenedmarketing

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Fear and Hatred After 9/11

The psychological effects and the cost of 9/11 is huge and it still continues to grow....Here is an article that I am pasting as it aptly addresses some concerns.

By S. Amjad Hussein
"Ten years ago a bunch of terrorists flew commercial airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and triggered a process that continues to extract a heavy toll in the form of blood and treasure. On that fateful day, thousands of innocent people, including a few hundred Muslims, died. As the dust settled, American Muslims found themselves besieged, vulnerable, and unwanted in this country even though they had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or 9/11 atrocities.

As American citizens, we Muslims are increasingly subjected to unprecedented scrutiny when we travel by air, our bank accounts can be probed at will, and our conversations are recorded and our telephones are tapped for the flimsiest of reasons. A Muslim name, a foreign accent, or a native dress rings alarm bells in the minds of our fellow citizens.

A wave of Islamophobia is sweeping our country that demonizes all Muslims. We are portrayed as unpatriotic, potential terrorists, and fifth columnists.
In the past 10 years things have changed for the worst. Soon after Sept. 11, 2001, two-thirds of American people had a good impression of Islam. Over the years, however, those numbers have been eroding.
Last year, at the height of the Park51 (the proposed Islamic Cultural Center two blocks from Ground Zero) controversy, the unfavorable rating rose to 55 percent, according to a poll by the Economist magazine. Another poll, released by Time magazine in August, 2010, showed that 43 percent of Americans hold unfavorable views of Muslims and 25 percent think U.S. Muslims are not patriotic.
The inevitable question is: Why?

The reasons are many. The most important and foremost is the inflammatory and incendiary rhetoric emanating from some Protestant pulpits, political demagogues, and right-wing conservative organizations and media. They work in concert to malign and tar not only the terrorists but also everyone who is a Muslim.
Clothed in patriotic tones and armed with out-of-context passages from the Qur'an and selected history, these purveyors of hate demonize the entire edifice of religion and more than 1 billion Muslims.
Given the psychological vulnerability of most Americans in the post-9/11 world, this paranoid narrative becomes convincing. Take for example a DVD titled Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West that was widely distributed free of charge a few years ago.

Prior to the 2008 presidential elections, Clarion Fund, an obscure tax-exempt organization registered in New York, distributed the inflammatory video by mass mailing and as newspaper advertisement supplements. It takes selected clips of anti-West diatribe by some Arab speakers and scenes of violence from Arab media and intersperses them with footage from the Nazi era. The inference is clear.
And then there was the controversy about building an Islamic Cultural Center two blocks from Ground Zero.
Not many people realized that a functioning Islamic Cultural Center is on the site already. Given the sensitivity of people about Ground Zero, one could understand the opposition.
But putting up a fierce fight to stop a mosque construction in rural Tennessee?

Last year in Murfreesboro, Tenn., the local Muslim community purchased 15 acres to build an Islamic center. Local people filed a lawsuit to stop the construction. The bogey of sharia law was brought up and it was claimed that Islam is not a religion and thus does not have constitutional protection.
It was apparent that most of the people who had brought the lawsuit had no contact with local Muslims. In the sordid court spectacle, one could hear the echoes of the Jim Crow era. Eventually the court dismissed the case and allowed the construction to proceed. The victory, however, was hollow because no construction company has been willing to take on the project.

The hatred against Islam and Muslims spewed by some of the American clergy, politicians, and bloggers has had effect not only here in the United States but also beyond our borders.
The massacre of 77 people, mostly children and young adult, at the hands of a cold-blooded zealot in Norway a few months ago is one such example. According to the lengthy manifesto posted on the Internet by the alleged killer, Anders Behring Breivik, he was influenced by the incendiary anti-Muslim rhetoric emanating from Web sites such as jihadwatch.com and the political and religious right wing in this country.
American history is replete with periods when religious and ethnic minorities suffered at the hands of a self-righteous majority. In the 19th century, Protestant preachers led mobs to attack Catholics.
At one time or another, Jews, Italians, Irish, Polish, and Japanese had to endure such bigotry. Even today, Catholic bashing is rather common on the Internet.
Michele Bachmann, a contender for the Republican nomination for president in 2012, attends a church that openly says the Pope is the anti-christ.

As an aside, while more than half of U.S. population has a negative view of Muslims, individually as religious groups they have no love lost among them. According to the Time magazine poll I quoted above, 29 percent of Americans hold negative views of Mormons, 17 percent of Catholics, 13 percent of Jews, and 13 percent of Protestants.

I have no doubt sanity will prevail in the end. The latter-day Know-Nothing Nativist Party and its torch bearers, the William Boykins, Sean Hannitys, Glenn Becks, Pat Robertsons, and the like, are but a transient phenomenon, just as the firebrand preachers of yore who led mobs to attack Catholics and other minorities were. History will remember them not for spreading Christian love but for poisoning the well.
Muslims are here to stay, just as others before them. They have added something special and precious to the mosaic of this great country. To forcefully tear that piece off, as some people would like to do, does nothing but deface the entire tapestry we call America the beautiful."
Dr. S. Amjad Hussain is a retired Toledo surgeon whose column appears every other week in The Blade. Contact him at: aghaji@bex.net.

** A link to the original article:
http://www.toledoblade.com/S-Amjad-Hussain/2011/09/11/Followers-of-Islam-sujected-to-decade-of-unfair-treatment.html
photo by masjids.in

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11: A Difficult Day to Re-live

I witnessed the tragic event live from the 23rd floor of the building I worked in. It was at an angle where we clearly saw the gaping hole in the first tower; the fire, the suffocating smoke, the papers flying out, the glistening glass pieces falling and eventually people jumping out. It was brutal and I never watch tv around this time for rekindling the hurt, the sorrow and the horror I witnessed first hand. It was a day where all you heard was police sirens, sirens of Fire trucks and then complete pin-drop silence.... That's when the towers fell. People were dumbstruck, confused, dazed by what had happened. For days we were silent and just let our tears speak.....

There were familiar faces one would see everyday while going to work. Even though one would never communicate, the silent nod and smile would convey tons. But many of those familiar faces were gone after 9/11. For days and months one heard stories of search, rescue, loss, and then burial in absentia. For a year we went to funerals that were held by grieved family and friends who eventually gave up the hopes of finding their loved ones alive or in one piece after a full year, the hardest thing to do.
I used to go to ground zero and just watch the ruins, trying to make sense of why this modern day barbarism could happen. I read messages scribbled by people on the scaffold-wall at ground zero which served as a temporary memorial. I read messages of Hope and grief chalked on the ground in the nearby Union Square Park which was serving as another memorial and a place where flocks of people posted pictures of loved ones with contact numbers. The park was very crowded....I saw people frantically searching for loved ones in all the hospitals, hospices, friends' homes hoping to find their loved one injured but alive. I heard stories from people narrating their 'narrow escape' and new lease on life. I continue reading stories of sacrifices made by the firefighters, the police-men that entered the towers and never came out alive again. The sacrifices made by ordinary people on that day and beyond are boundless. It makes me love NY forever.
This hurt continues to live in us especially those that saw it and experienced it in some way. It is a day I wish never existed. It is a time I wish I could skip forward and never have to re-live the experience.
God bless the departed souls. May God give courage to all those that suffered and continue suffering.... 

Photo by frumforum

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Son's First Day of School

6th September 2011 was my son's first day of school. Officially he now has embarked on the long journey of schooling/education making it his first major milestone. While he remained enthusiastic about it, I was anxious. I couldn't sleep the night before he started and had bouts of anxiety while he lay peacefully by my side. I had flashbacks of him being born till him jumping and playing in the present day.

I started missing him weeks before he even started  and thus stopped doing my extra-curricular activities to spend more time with him. Friends queried why I wasn't on Facebook or blogging and my reply was that I needed more time with my kids.

We never knew how our own parents felt when we started school but clearly remember our own first day of school. It's only when we have our own kids that we get to experience this new conjoined feeling of fear and faith seeing them off to school. I lose my son for part of the day but I know he is learning things that are the tools of shaping his future.

I tried hard to hold back tears as the line of kids started making their way towards their classrooms. I kept watching the disappearing line when all of a sudden my son pops out his head and gets out of league just to say, "momma I love you and miss you..." and then blows a kiss.

I love him and miss him every minute but I also want him to succeed in every challenge of Life with God by his side and my love wrapped around him. Like a friend has said, "Spend more time with your kids before they vanish into adults..."


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Those Grand Monuments of Love

We hear about all types of people every day. But it all comes down to: the good and the bad. You need to come across someone 'bad' in order to see and thus appreciate the goodness of another. That is why  it is important to experience both types of people in order to have a healthier and a holistic view of Life.

Everybody seems to practise good in some way but very few good people cross the threshold of goodness and enter a whole new level... that of greatness, because of their selfless deeds. The standards are high and unattainable. These are people that look ordinary but do things that are great, holding firm against Time. When they perish physically, these acts of kindness and goodness stand out as grand monuments that they leave behind reminding us daily about them. These monuments are ethereal but they stand stronger than anything visible and tangible. They are noticed and seen by only those people who were impacted by the goodness in some way.

These great people have uneasy lives but will not make that effect yours. They stand to protect you from troops of trouble and problems. They'll take arrows for you and be pierced whilst protecting you. They'll make sure you are taken care of on a stormy and rainy day. They will have all the reasons to be unhappy themselves but will not defy God and be mean to His creatures. They will take things as they are one at a time. Their self sacrifice is immeasurable. With the rich and affluent they would be professional; with the poor and beleaguered they would have a compassionate and humane approach. They would have a voice when others choose to be quiet...These great people are very hard to find and when they are gone, their kindness and their goodness become grand monuments...reminders of their greatness and how they made your life better when theirs was not.....

May my uncle dwell in heaven....