And one night….


I feel like talking about her .. alot…and mostly when I can’t express enough through my speech, I feel like writing, because it lets me express as much as I want to, without any restrictions.
Words will not do justice to how I feel because Ami ji (my grandmother) passed away. Not because I am at the verge of utter depression and its impossible to utter any words. I am sad, needless to say, quite sad, but also comfortable at the same time. When I use the word ‘passed away’ or ‘was’ for her, it puts me in a state of disbelief, the kind I haven’t experienced before. When I was leaving home, with my suitcase and bagpack all packed up, her eyes got teary. Thats the way she has been, when someone comes in, she welcomes them to the fullest and when someone close leaves, she gets sad. I didn’t like it. I don’t like seeing her sad. And that too because of me! I tried to lighten her mood by all the different ways that I use. They work mostly ;) So I told her I’ll see her again in a few months. And reassured her how quickly a single month passes. So within no time I’ll come back hugging her like I am hugging her now, and telling her stories of all kinds from places all around the world. And I told her that she should just pray that all works out fine with me, since I am going into a world completely foreign to me, and I don’t have someone picking me up at the airport. That did the trick. That worried her. And her sadness was diverted away. But then ofcourse you can’t leave a mother worrying. So I reassured her that it will all be fine. I will make so many friends from so many places, and I am young and energetic now, I need this experience. She settled well with my speech, like a good parent; when you want them to act innocent and naive, they do. They believe all your true and untrue stories. They give you the room for your own experience. They give you respect for atleast trying to put in hardwork into making them believe something. And see today I am talking about it, as an achievement. She would always play her part in making me feel victorious. I always felt that I could convince her so well, and she always let me believe it.

So ofcourse I feel deeply grieved that I won’t be able to see her when I go back home, or hug her as I promised. We all will have a hard time adjusting to a house that does not have Ami ji. She had been more or less the focal point of our home. Thats how she is. She wouldn’t settle for anything lower than that. You know how they say, ‘like a boss’ :)
Every now and then I am finding myself smiling real hard at something that I remember of her.  Ami ji! :)
If I start writing about her, this blog will never really reach an end. There is so much my life has experienced of her.
I truly believe she brought me up. She did my physical upbringing, while my manners were given to me by my mother. I must ‘ve turned out absolutely awesome, because really I haven’t seen any better women anywhere; these two are the strongest women I ‘ve known in my life, strong in very distinctive ways though.

Ami ji has had a great ability of playing characters. She was a grandparent, but if need be, she’d play father too sometime, or mother, ofcourse.

Its a well known fact that grandparents spoil the children to a maximum, she fulfilled that duty fully too. When I was a child, I didn’t eat much, I wouldn’t go near anything healthy. So she would spend hours in the kitchen trying to make something that I would somehow get fond of eating. And since she was really good at it, every now and then I would have a favorite sweet dish, and she’d make it for me quite often, I would keep requesting for it.. and she would get gloriously happy at my request. Then when I would get sick of eating the same food over and over again, we’d try and find another favorite.

I have spent a bigger chunk of my childhood and adolescence at my grandparents’ house in Vehari, along with my siblings. I have seen her strong and healthy, I have seen her ill too. I have seen her married and I’ve seen her a widow too. I remember not thinking for her much when my Abba ji (grandfather) died. It was only after many years, when my brother’s best friend passed away, and she was trying to console him that I realized she is not just Ami ji, she was also a wife of someone. She told my brother that she was almost like a queen of an empire, and the demise of my grandfather brought her whole empire crumpling down, she no longer was a secure and independent woman, even if she wanted or tried to be. She needed our companionship now, like we needed hers earlier in our life. Its funny how life played so perfectly, it all fitted together.

There were various times from childhood to now when I stayed back home to accompany my grandmother when the others went out. After the death of Abba ji (my grandfather), it was routine that I slept in Ami ji’s room, which was across courtyard from the room where my mother and siblings were. And we were not supposed to cross the courtyard at night. So once, settled in the room, I couldn’t go back to my mother’s room in the middle of the night. Back then, sometimes I thought of it as my sacrifice, not sleeping with my siblings. But it always turned out pleasant. It was just routine back in the days. I remember watching old Pakistani movies with her on Thursday nights. There was a time we got addicted to playing Ludo and betting on it. Many a times, I won icecream from her. I still remember the sinking feeling in my heart when she used to win.

We have shared a relationship of grandmother/granddaughter, mother/daughter, friends, and I must add I have acted as her bigger sister at times too, and if someone asks I will not like to answer how :p
I remember one of those incidents when my family was going out for dinner and Ami ji didn’t have to go, so I accompanied her back home. It was better that way as ever since her open heart surgery took place, we felt she was too fragile to be left all on her own. On the contrary she very much enjoyed independence. But I must say she was always happy with my company. She felt I was designed in the fashion she liked, or may be it was because she played a significant role in my designing. So we two were at home in Lahore, and she started telling me about her life, her teen years from the pre-partition times. She told me what kind she was as a young girl. How she really liked going to school. How her marriage was arranged for her. How the first time she saw Abba ji. And when we were talking about the arrangement of her marriage, I still remember that expression on her face. I think about it often, may be on a yearly basis. I would not like to write about it, it was different from what anyone might think. It was different, or may be at that age my understanding of that expression was different. I tried to confirm but she had moved on to next part of the story. Now when I am thinking about that longing expression, I see myself in it too. All in all, it was a beautiful story that I heard that day from her. A new one. I saw so many colors on her face that I had not met with before. Anytime I forwent accompanying my family, my ‘sacrifice’ proved to be a win-win situation for me :)

She had been paralyzed for around ten years now. She had to be dependent on us, but her independent traits never left her, never!. She was great in whatever situation she was in, glorious! I think it was a habit of hers. She rose a few steps higher in love. I have seen many patients of paralysis, they all have one thing in common, depression/ crankiness. God blessed her kind soul only with love. God blessed our lives with her love, her smiles, hugs, kisses, the never-ending ones. The last decade of her life, which was so different to all the previous ones, in all ways possible, her home had permanently shifted from Vehari where she had acquaintances from a lifetime to Lahore with us, where it was just boring. She shifted from her feet to a wheelchair. But why can I not remember any frowns. She really did grow in love. And I don’t understand how she got so much of it to offer to everyone, just about everyone. May be its true, love begets love. It kept multiplying in magnitude. She showered it on us all day everyday. All day everyday! I used the word ‘comfortable’ in the beginning. I feel comforted and at peace, because I believe she really gave away all she had. She didn’t save it for later. She knew there is no later. Its only now. And luckily, it was us who were standing under that shower. Even today, I feel blessed. Deaths are never easy to deal with. The idea of never being able to see someone’s precious face for the rest of your life seems distressing. Not being able to feel the same warmth ever again sends cold shivers to your feet. The mere thought of having that vibrant life buried under dirt can leave you crying for hours…

But the fact that she kept nothing with her, she gave it all to her loved ones, leaves me satisfied.

I only feel blessed and nothing else.. I am only smiling right now, and will be smiling whenever she is mentioned. There is no pain that I see there. she didn’t feel any either, because it had to be… the droplet had to merge with the ocean it belonged to…

Dangers of Endearment!

HoldDearThere’ve been things and there’ve been traits that I’ve held really close to my heart. I’ve seen them slide away right in front of my eyes. It hurts you when you lose something that you treasure.

And I learnt from it.

What exactly? Well, initially that I should stop holding anything so dear to me.  That this world is only temporary and nothing is going to last forever, so why endear something so much when we know it won’t last. .. why cause all that hurt due to these attachments.

And then I saw myself changing as a result of this new attitude… There was a contentment with just about everything, any gain or loss… also a feeling of alienation, that consequently brought  a certain gloominess and also emptiness in the whole picture… and then ofcourse as always some events take place, leaving behind a series of lessons that particularly threw some clear light on the emptiness, and I realized I needed to revisit the lessons derived from what I deduced.

Even though things don’t last.. even though I would hold something close and it’ll go away…. I am still prepared to hold it close because I realize now the pleasure in holding something dear is unparallelled to the pain of losing it.

And though I’ll be hurt because the pleasure won’t last, but then so will the pain!

If this world is actually so transient then I won’t be hurt forever. The hurt won’t last. And I am happier with this new derivation…. I am again pleased to hold close. I am pleased to stay ignorant while I am actually a little more aware.

And I like it.

It has taken away the gloominess and the emptiness from this evanescence.

It has lit it up.

It has ornate it with the beauty of love that for how ever long its lasts, fills up the air in its aroma. And even when it leaves, leaves behind the fragrance of beautiful memories and joyful moments alive.

Thoughts for the special paper..

I brought raw wood paper from Fairy Meadows last year and wrote my own saying on it and sent it to my brother. He loved it. This time I brought Papyrus from Egypt and wrote a few thoughts on them and sent them to some of my family around the world. They really appreciated.

Now that all the dispatched pieces of paper have reached their destinations, I thought I’d share the lines I wrote to them here too:


Clean your window thoroughly, or the whole view of the world gets hazy…

and do not worry about how ever long it takes for you to clean it!

The divide!


Sometimes you see your life right before you… what you were and what you are now…and the reason for that comparison you never made before… and that certain divide, before which you are something else, which now you can’t claim to be… No matter how extricately you try to justify that marked divide, it refuses to coalesce. It stays!… and then in the end after all the tireless efforts you submit to it…you submit to the new blues of the sea… now this is you… there is no now there is no then… there is no comparison… this is you!

My EID :)

Its Eid tomorrow..everyone is busy with preparations for the celebrations. Chand raat (the night before the Eid on which the moon is sighted) is a festivity in itself. But for some reason I wasn’t excited. Anyway I went out with my sister to get gas filled in my car, in case it isn’t available tomorrow. My mother accompanied too. As opposed to routine, she didn’t carry her purse or cell phone..may be relied on us a little too much. I was in my night pjs and was least bothered about anything (my justification for not carrying any money:p) which by the way, is totally unlike me…but yes relying on my sister’s purse at any time of year is absolutely me. Nonetheless, she gave out some extra tip to the guy at the gas station, for eid. Right at our main gate, we decided to not enter home and go get bangles instead… Another deserving looking man there asked for money, and got his share. At the market, I wasn’t getting out of car, because a) I was really not bothered about anything, or may be too bothered about something, and b) was inappropriately dressed. But eventually I decided to follow tracks of my two companions, and found them buying bangles of beautiful colours. I couldn’t resist, so I bought some too, and instantaneously felt better and right in the mood…

Bangles of Eid

While we were paying, we saw a woman with fresh mehndi (henna) on her hands. My sister got really excited about that…but meanwhile we figured this was the last of money in her wallet. so, some bangles were dropped out.. and we went on our mehndi quest. Everyone was getting gorgeous designs made. My sister got it too…while I looked on…tempted but knew there’s nothing we can do..pretty much back into my not bothering about anything mood, when we had to leave. and my mother said you should get it too. Right, as if I can!.. and I am just leaving when everyone around started shouting for trying to leave without mehndi. The pathan selling clothes next to me said you have to get it, he wouldn’t let me leave, he’ll pay for me. A woman whose daughter was getting mehndi done, grabbed me and said she is paying and that I am not going without mehndi. and the guy stitching dupatta’s (scarves) actually paid the mehndi person immediately, and told me to pay him whenever I come around next time because he is always there… I wouldn’t want that, borrowing money from anyone..but I gave in eventually, because really nobody (including my mother and sister) would let me go.

Mehndi (Henna)

And suddenly people I knew and I didn’t know were so happy and smiling because I was getting mehndi on! That just made my day!.. When mehndi was being put on, my hands got sweaty, because of the sudden energetic activity around me and also because they usually are (shh.. embarrassed)… and the mehndi person told me that its a sign of wealth!…. given what just happened, we all laughed at the irony of that statement!

I am all excited about Eid now :)

Eid Mubarak!



The blind and deaf, but definitely NOT mute!

I was surprised to see the traffic in the morning…All cars stuck because nobody was willing to give anyone any space. Well, ofcourse I wasn’t really surprised, but it always gives me a heart break to see this mess, definitely haven’t gotten used to it in all these years. So I got down to express my anger my way…

Just that someone else might take up our space on the road is such a frightening thought for us…we refuse to understand it could be for our own good to give way. Then I think may be, we are a frightened nation…may be we believe somewhere in our subconscious that if someone takes our place/right, we’ll lose our right forever and never get it back…may be that’s why we scream at others..  to defend our rights?… because we are frightened?…. may be!…

I see we are ready to kill on roads, crush those who are walking or who are on bicycles..and God forbid one gives way to pedestrian or those on bicycle and slow down in the process!.. are you even partially prepared to take the wrath of those cars behind you, you got them a few seconds late, are you really ready to hear them swear, or get glared at to the soul…but thats only if you are lucky…i have seen hand gestures, and fountains of saliva pouring out of their windows…uhhh..because there is so much anger to express…in such little time… we’ve got so much to do in a day!

And then we are ready to kill in the name of blasphemy…and kill even those who do not share an opinion on the insulting stories about the Prophet. May be we are a ready-to-kill nation… why else would we be so ready to kill here?… because we love our prophet?…or because we follow him?… a little too much we follow him, don’t we? I condemn the insults and the falsehood of them, but I choose to forgive the ignorant. They didn’t know a tiny bit about my Prophet. I pray for them to come out of darkness. Of what I heard, the Prophet forgave. Of what I’ve read, the Prophet prayed in the favour of those who considered him their enemy. He believed in giving others their rights. He believed in giving, in spreading peace… I don’t see us follow him..not on roads, not in politics, not in schools, not in marriages.

Oh and about the traffic, the traffic warden finally came to help the congestion into some direction…and ofcourse heard the ranting from the overly energized poor sufferers in the traffic…not to forget with the hand gestures…   That Dog!!!!! who had to lead the flock in a direction…because we are too blind and deaf and paralyzed in heads to move in any order.. my poor suffering nation.. and we wait for a better leader to put us in a direction. Do you really think a certain khan will turn us humans suddenly.. Because if anything, we’ve had a leader for quite a put us in a direction…who we are keen and ready to kill for…whose name we are trying to guard and keep in high esteem… if only we realized, he is not dependent on us to keep him safe… we, on the contrary, can depend on him… to open our eyes…to rid us of our blindness…to see light before we are dirt.. We are given a chance to be more than just a herd of sheep in the wild!

Purity of a child!

A child is so pure by nature…he is not touched by any societal traits and conditions yet… he is more of pure than human…

and then we start teaching him, little by little.. about whats appropriate and whats inappropriate, about what is right and whats wrong, and about what is to be said and how, and what not and how not!

Who decides what is appropriate anyway?..or whats right. In case of that child, our threshold for honesty decides things for him…we may be strong proponents of wanting to hear nothing but the truth…but the truth is that there is only a degree of honesty that we can swallow and digest…and that is when we start categorizing things as appropriate and inappropriate for ourselves and our kids ..and  we manage to narrow down their potential horizon to our own level..

we teach them morals, ethics, politics…we try to teach them to be perfect…they spend their lives in that same complex trying to learn to be perfect..only to find out in the end that they are nothing close to perfect…they are only who they are…and then this other search starts!

Its impressive to see kids talk about things out of nowhere…that reflects the person in them… I said impressive because we, being non-kids, are incapable of doing that…so much in the fear of truth  and the rest in the fear of society.

On another slightly different note, I totally understand how parents have to start telling their kids how to behave in certain kind of setting…but to be honest somehow it doesn’t come across as the most wonderful idea to me, on the contrary,  when we tell them to not say something, and when a kid has to think twice about what he has to say or should he say this because he has had a conversation about whats appropriate and whats not… i think that it has a bearing on their confidence and their questioning abilities…where your questioning abilities really are half your knowledge and intelligence….and your confidence reflects in your beliefs and in the translation of the knowledge you gain… and I think when we tell kids about appropriateness, they start to move along conformity…they tend to understand a situation more than question it.
I am not a parent so I cant understand parents’ position, or suggest anything from an expert point of view, but I have been a kid of the kind who has been conscious of appropriateness… I always felt myself questioning myself only, and thinking a few times before saying something, while the world had moved on to the next subject already….I am in my mid twenties now…and it has taken a lot of effort to try and lower down the voice of appropriateness in my head… although I understand the importance of it, given we are a part of this society and we must know the ethics of being in one… but IF we are so ethical, morally correct and on a good behavior with others generally, then our children will automatically learn to be that way…then why worry!

So let your kids speak their heart out; their heads shouldn’t have moral police sirens ringing in them all the time, drowning down their real inner voice…always stuck between the rights and wrongs of it…I don’t want that they realize after time has passed that they should’ve taken some action instead of sitting there thinking if this is right or wrong …

If anything, lets try measuring the degree of honesty we can take…If anything, lets do some ‘work out’ to redefine our threshold level.

Karma? or is it just how friendship is?

A really good friend had been going through some problem for a while… couldn’t work up the courage to tell to some very important people… It’s something she couldn’t keep avoiding for life too, because some action had to be taken, and she had to initiate the process all by herself, hoping things may take a turn in her favor automatically,knowing they won’t. I know how hard it has been for her, taking it all alone..without any support by her side to confront all those who matter. On and off, she’d be sharing with me, and keep getting advice from me…but a few days earlier I refused to give in to her fears anymore, so I pushed her into it, outlining the whole plan, she agreed because she knew deep (and shallow) inside that this is the right thing…. right time, there never was!… So I kept texting over the weekend to keep her in the now-or-never ( and ‘never’ being not even an option) frame of mind that its time! and to give her all the support in my capacity… Turned out, she spoke up, and some heard, if not all, but she did initiate a process that could change things for her, she took life in her hands, and I am proud of her…

I received a thank you text today for the twentieth time since then..enough already woman, with my hero self smiling all the way…but this time she also said that this step meant more than just saying something, it meant courage which she thinks is beginning to develop now. Excited I  told her to just thank God, she needed help, HE sent it…where I am just glad I was a part of this process, He chose me to be of use, and that too to someone like her….  and why did I say someone like her? I thought about it immediately…and here s my little story.

I had always been into singing, alot of people around me would tell me I sang really good, out of whom, ofcourse family is to be ignored they exaggerate, friends, split into two categories: one, those who appreciated and said I sang great were always ignored because they…what?..  exaggerate…  good!… two, those who would make fun of my singing, for either my choice of songs, or the ability…they were the real friends, because they said what others couldn’t, they made me feel not-so-good-enough for a change, and without noticing got hold of my weak point,  to break free of what I needed courage…. some three years passed and I met a person who I could have those fun light positive chats with, and who one’d like to meet more often…so this new friend being a recognized musician at college, randomly not just encouraged me but pushed for the auditions of some classical singing event taking place…and I agreed because deep (and shallow) inside me I knew this is what I wanted, it was already senior year, I knew it was now or never (and ‘never’ not being an option ), I went for it…and I still remember the night of the event, the audience cheering and giving a round of applause for…me…my singing…WOW… you know whats WOW-er, the audience included all the people who once would make fun of my singing :)… that right there gave me a moment of realization: that I have to perform my bit in this world, that others are just an audience, ready to condemn at some point, ready to appreciate at another, but I have to do my bit, there is no running away.  And an even bigger realization that God  sends help through some people, who push you across your boundary of fear, and on the other side of that boundary courage is waiting to meet you.

Once, I was on this side of that boundary, and my friend pushed me…and now she was on this side…and I am so lucky that I lead someone like her on to that other side.

Would you call it karma? …. may be its just friendship!…What do you think?

Do it anyway: Reminder

I absolutely loved a quote from Mother Teresa, so I posted it on my blog immediately last night… I read it and felt as if she said it for me; and said it for me to be read on this particular day.. It happens with me quite a lot actually..I get the answers to those questions that, though are unasked even in my head, but they are creating certain nuisances within me. So reading it worked as a reminder; one that is to solidify my raw and fluid thought which was refusing to take any particular shape.

We do good sometimes, good for others, aware of the fact that they don’t know and they may never find out, yet we do it. Sometimes it hurts not receiving any acknowledgement from the other end, yet we continue; sometimes the credit reaches someone else, and we are standing in a corner hoping the recipient would clarify and put us forward, but ofcourse that does not happen, and we still continue after all.. why?… even though our outer, oh so strong self may not recognize, but I think we have a subconscious that is not in any oblivion to the perpetual presence of a Being.

We do good, we expect good in return…and then we are hurt and disappointed I ‘ve been telling myself over and over lately that expect good in return, but only from God…He will not wrong anyone…He is the only One who can redeem…our reward is with our God.

So, we need to absorb this fact first that people are not going to acknowledge…they may sometime coincidentally… do good to these people for your God.

But then I feel there is slight bitterness attached to this lesson…and thats where capacities come into play…the lesson above that I tried to absorb has to go in conjunction with another realization. That people are not mean by nature..thats not why they do not acknowledge… I don’t want to expend all my energies trying to misjudge their intentions, because its true they are not evil…we just have to satisfy ourselves on that one… that we are inherently incapable of coming up to people’s expectations..No matter what we do, we always fall short, because of our limited capacity, not because we intended not to.

The two feelings need to go hand in hand..we won’t be disappointed, we’ll know our rewards sits with God.. so, we’ll keep doing good, without expecting any favors or acknowledgements from men…but remember, not because they are mean, but because we, including very much myself, are incapable of giving any reward, despite the determination that we keep.

We are born, and we die; just like that we expect from others and just like that we do not always come up to people’s expectations… thats just our story… I am going to keep that in mind.. for my own peace … and to remember that if one does not acknowledge, s/he is not bad, they just fall short, because thats how we are..

So this generalized trait of us, is not anymore going to keep me from doing any good that I somehow want to do… I’ll do it anyway :)