Friday, October 15, 2010
The other day while taking a break from our monotonous work Maha suddenly handed me some pieces of writing. Astonished as I always am, I started reading the first piece that was in my hand. As I read the first line, it made my heart stop for a moment, and I became speechless as I read from piece to piece. Those small pieces of writing were written by Eighth graders who Maha taught at her previous job. While she was getting amused by their writing style, something inside of me just stopped. The poem was about a blind boy narrating his experience as someone who cannot differentiate between days and nights. For him, all times of the day are almost the same. I had not read the poem myself, but the way those children had written its explanation made me speechless and tears filled up my eyes.
A particular line really stopped my heartbeat for a moment. It went something like this, ‘The boy says, I can’t make out day or night. For me it’s a day when I’m playing and it’s night when I’m asleep.’ How simple is that? We the blessed are often complaining about the hot days and humid nights. The pollution that our faces take in everyday. The eye-soars that we see on the roads. But how conveniently we fail to acknowledge ……. we can actually SEE? The early morning blue sky, the freshly watered grass, the dew on the leaves, the huge trees that cover us by their shade, the blooming flowers that smile at us when we pass by them, the night show that the moon and stars put up for us almost every night. All the other beautiful things in life and of course, the faces of our loved ones. Realizing this fact, I suddenly began appreciating my sense of sight. I cannot imagine living a life of blindness.
Tempted to read the entire poem, I asked Maha if she remembers the title or the poet’s name. And there, she Googled it for me. I read the poem as slowly as I could. Trying to visualize how it'd be for someone who has never seen the beauty that surrounds us. I recalled one of our old neighbors who were blessed with two daughters and both of them were blind. I can never forget their smiles, their positive attitude, their faith in God and the courteous manner in which they spoke. They were in some way an inspiration for me. They were high achievers, and my family always gave examples of them. The girls were highly skilled from academics to domestic activities, they were good at almost everything. They spoke politely and always had something good to talk about. Though I was quite young then, I remember my elder cousins being friends with them. Whenever one of us grumbled about life's challenges and trials, we were reminded of them. That would instantly bring a silence on our lips.
A few weeks ago, I was discussing Philosophy and Religion with someone knowledgeable and wise. He asked me, "Do you thank Allah for His blessings?" Ah! The good child that I have always been, I said, "Yes, of course! I thank Allah for giving me a nice family which raised me so well. I thank Him for providing me good education and a well-paying job. I couldn't have achieved any of this on my own." Satisfied that I have provided the answered that he wanted to hear, I was startled by his reply. "What you have mentioned are secondary things. But do you thank Him for your eyes, hands, ears, feet?" I went silent......"Err.......yes, I am thankful for my senses and body parts too without which I wouldn't have been much functional." I was again corrected that this was not what he meant to say. His question this time was, "Do you actually thank Him every morning or at night before going to bed that you can see, you can hear, you can walk, you can work with your hands?" And I went quiet. Though I silently acknowledge their presence I have never actually expressed my gratitude.
And this poem just came as a reminder. As much as we abuse our eyes by crying, glaring at someone we hate, expressing our anger we fail to recognize what a great blessing they are. Here's the poem that really touched my heart.
The Blind Boy
O SAY what is that thing call'd Light,
Which I must ne'er enjoy;
What are the blessings of the sight,
O tell your poor blind boy!
You talk of wondrous things you see;
You say the sun shines bright:
I feel him warm, but how can he
Or make it day or night?
My day or night myself I make
Whene'er I sleep or play;
And could I ever keep awake
With me 'twere always day.
With heavy sighs I often hear
You mourn my hapless woe;
But sure with patience I can bear
A loss I ne'er can know.
Then let not what I cannot have
My cheer of mind destroy;
Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
Although a poor blind boy.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
At times I feel like picking up my camera and escaping into the forest. Clicking some random shots here and there. Indeed that will be my way of appreciating beauty around me. Sitting beneath an oak tree among its strong roots. Inhaling the Sun and fragrance of the soil. Hearing birds chirping nearby, all kinds of birds. Jumping at each sight of a squirrel. Perhaps a trickling waterfall behind me. Taking in the calmness that surrounds. Getting away from the noises of a hustling bustling city. The chaos and the panic that has engulfed our lives.
This is the world, I want to live in! Being closest to nature, sets me free. It's a strange feeling, I find myself completely at peace. I dream of not just a day trip in the forest, but disconnecting from the cosmopolitan for a month at least and savoring each moment that I spend in the woods. Setting up campfire, sitting among near ones, laughter, shared experiences, cooking our own food, cold weather and hot cup of flavored tea. Nothing like it!!! Yes, of course with near ones I can't imagine spending even a night alone in the woods :D
Sunday, September 19, 2010
With floods, plane crashes, bomb blasts affecting so many lives, it is time to ponder on our attitudes. Most of the people who died in these events were the sole bread earners of their families. While more than half the population is forced to live a meager living there are many who go on arranging lavish banquets on weddings. After all, it is a rat-race that they have to win. They must hold their heads high. They cannot invite a small group of people comprising of their loved and dear ones. The whole community has been looking forward to their wedding. How can they not be generous and have an extravagant wedding? Abundance of food signifies prosperity and wealth. The city’s high and mighty have been invited to the occasion. Serving a simple meal can bring them disgrace. The best caterers in the city are appointed. A comprehensive menu list is prepared, taking into account everyone’s choices. Countless dishes are cooked. There can’t be just one dessert, there are people who don’t eat ice creams and there are those who dislike fruit trifle. One has to consider everyone’s wishes. But hey! What about the poor people who are begging for a single morsel of food? Children who die because there isn’t food available to eat? Haven’t you come across the news that dead animal meat is being sold?
No, now don’t say that it is the government’s responsibility. It is not theirs, but everyone’s job to take care of those who are unable to fend for themselves. The food prices are already soaring making it insurmountable for the poor to feed their families properly. The recent floods have been devastating. Crops worth millions of rupees have been completely destroyed. A severe shortage is anticipated. We all know that if our government manages to import the staple food, the price will be too high. The rich and the resourceful will easily get their bags without standing in lines or paying heavy amount. It is the poor who suffer and continue to live in pain. Look around yourself at weddings. Have you noticed how much of the untouched food goes to waste? People pile up their plates as if they are eating the last meal of their lifetime. This food is later thrown in the trash. The next day tiny garbage collectors are found searching for food in the litter. Unsurprisingly, the animals too eat from the same junk. So is that it? Does being poor mean you can’t even have fresh and healthy meal? Think about it! If we all make a promise with ourselves that instead of inviting all the business tycoons and other well-known personalities to our weddings we can spend the same money on helping someone.
Pakistan is facing the worst times. We don’t want others to call us a failed nation. We must stand up and take action. We can only do something positive when we become conscious of our own attitudes. Let’s make a commitment to ourselves that instead of arranging lavish dinners we will give the same amount to those who have been displaced or lost their homes and whatever little wealth they possessed due to recent floods. It is not Allah’s wrath alone. We have forgotten our own duties and the teachings of the Prophet PBUH. As intelligent and mindful people, we must all review our actions and alter our courses accordingly. We don’t need foreign aid. We just need to modify our own perspectives and preferences. While there have been a lot of generous people who have donated ample amount of food, clothing, medicinal supplies, etc. we all know that it is not enough. It is a continuous process, and it should not only be done when hit by a calamity. In all our actions and doings, we should remember the ones who are less privileged. Stop living a random life, be someone who has a conscience that is still alive!
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Here I come again! With no sheer determination or passion for writing, I am being made to write. Wondering what I’m doing here then? Hmm....Good question, I have been trying to figure out the same. My friends must be blamed, because they think I can. In fact, now I think everyone can write. You just need to give it a try and there the journey begins. It doesn’t really take too long until it becomes a part of your daily activity. Shopping, eating, procrastinating; no matter what you’re doing there is always something popping in your mind that you wish to write on. Ideas are bullets! No, that’s not my line. This is what a friend says and I have stolen it from him.
I never really thought that I'll become a writer one day, but my ex-employer was somehow impressed by my communication skills. Hence, transferred the entire load of correspondence including his text messaging to me. Yeah, that's right text messaging too. As a reaction to this new job assignment I used to take out my anger on my supervisor. Do I see a raised eyebrow there? Hold on! Hold on! I am not someone who is showing tantrums every now and then it was just that I didn't feel it as part of my career. I could not comprehend why I must manage the correspondence of the entire......... (let's leave that blank, who knows one day my former employer might come and review this ;) ) Okay, now that I have grumbled about how my boss made me handle the writing job of each employee I guess I can proceed. The additional assignment brought me recognition. My colleagues used to value my writing skills and were always encouraging me to take it as a hobby. They thought I could become a remarkable writer. Well, that's too much of a compliment, but I thought I should give it a try and this is exactly what I'm doing here. Giving it a try!
My current day job is about content writing. From 9a.m. till 5p.m. I am sitting in front of the computer and writing about subjects I have no clue about. Are you about to ask me how did I write when I didn't know what to write? The Internet my friends! The Internet is a heaven for anyone who wants to learn something. After being employed at this new job for two months I have written content on numerous topics. Science, Computers, Finance, Business Studies, Health and Wellness, Home-based Business, Online Money Making. You name it and I must have written something on it! A typical day at work is filled with mixed emotions which are actually quite amusing. After settling down at my desk, I mark my attendance and click on the 'task sheet' to check my projects for the day. The excitement is quite thrilling. A more apt to put it will be, I just can't wait to view what surprise I am about to experience. Dreadfully clicking on my name tab, I check out the assignments. I almost jump on my seat when there is a topic to write on that matches my interest. Before, you conclude I am an ambitious person .....wait......please read further. The smile disappears (no it doesn't turn into a frown). I am expressionless as soon as I notice the topic is something I know least about or have no interest in. For example, computers!!! Had I been at such good terms with computer I wouldn't have been running to my brother each time that it crashed on me. After losing all hopes of having a pleasant day at work, I quietly stare at the screen for several minutes. This continues until the time I get some motivation to write. With a weak heart and disappointed face I begin to write. I read the details, search the Internet and dig out information. The more I get to learn about the topic, the writing adopts a flow. My brain cells relax and I get on with the project.
The confidence keeps building with each word of encouragement that I receive. I'm just exploring how this roller coaster ride of writing is going to be. However. the best part about writing is that in order to write you must read. Reading builds up the database up there in your head. You become addicted to reading and feel so well-informed. Now as the journey to take this skill more seriously begins I wish good luck to myself and the readers who are going to read my stuff ;) !