The Journey

Life is no bed of roses

Many challenges it poses

It is journey each one makes, arduous and long,

At the summit, begins the race when bangs the gong

Along his chosen path one begins to stride

With nothing but courage for the ride

Many cross his path, he befriends a few

Each gifts him with an understanding, all new

His road may be the route taken by many

Or perhaps a path never chosen by only the uncanny

He is none else’s shadow,

Unlike he finds in the meadow

He is blessed as are they

But never in the same way

It is nature’s law

None is without a flaw

None is without a quality

That’s nature’s generosity

His life is, this, his own

A unique flower of an ordinary seed sown

Through the woods, across the vale

Following the light, with the gale

He walks his chosen path, his destiny

Falls the water in magical symphony

Blossoms the morning glory

Whistles on the bank, the ivory

Tweets the humming bird, the melody,

Tells the world how he moves slow and steady

Hops by the little bunny

Tells all time is money

The cliff knows the tale of his tribulations,

It has seen the rainbow of his jubilations

Miles from the summit comes the traveler,

Wiser and stronger, now a battler

At the edge of the cliff, the vale looks greener

Above his head, the sky looks brighter

Wind fondles with his hair now so white

A feeble smile blooms, eyes so bright

His wrinkles testify his endeavours

Hair that speak of the trials

For his wins, he now smiles

Acceptance sparkles in his eyes

All regrets, it certainly defies

Writes the book, the last leaf

Acceptance heals all the grief

For the forgone, a reward is must

Because only the Almighty is Just!

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Better Than The Best

Much is queer about the human nature. What is very interesting, ironic and queer is that no human is perfect, perfection is only the Almighty’s trait, yet a human always seeks better than he already has, better than the best. Be it his material needs or spiritual pursuits, all a man wants is what is better than what is in his possession already. That is no disorder if one tries to state of it as one, it is nothing odd either. It is universal to every being called human and for this very reason, satisfaction is elusive to him! Acceptance is not everyone’s attitude, it is an essence of nature that not many have. Humans never look down and take satisfaction and be grateful for being blessed more than the underprivileged, a man always looks up envious of those blessed more than him…. The faint distinction between wants and greed is thus delusional. It is but human nature to seek more, want better….A said the poet,

Hai justujoo keh khoob sey hai khoob-tar kahaan

Ab theherti hai dekhiye ja kar nazar kahaan

  • Maulana Altaf Hussein Hali

To seek the better than the best is the quest

Have to see now where the sight will rest

  • Translated by Zahra

 

Better Than The Best

Three Word Story: Wall

Good day, everyone around the world. Hope you are having a good week. Ask me, can’t wait for Saturday – that’s weekend for me! Don’t have many plans for that but a weekend is a weekend no matter what! Don’t you agree? I bet you do!

Here I am typing again. I found a picture again and so here is a three word story on “Wall!” Walls brings much to one’s mind, many kinds of thoughts and perceptions. What do you perceive when you think about Wall? Apart from the blue tinted walls of your bedroom, those are mine, and the Wall Street Journal of course! Wall can be a hindrance or a protection. We can break all walls if we wish and we can make one strong wall if we want. With Unity, yes we can! United we stand, divided we fall. Without unity all our assaults are weak and all our defences are frail.

Here’s the picture:

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And the Three Word Story is: Together We Can!

W Words

What comes to your mind when you read the letter “W” of the English alphabetical set? Honestly, “What” itself is what comes to my mind when I read the letter W. If you ask me what came to my mind on seeing the particular picture shared below, it brought back the memory of Lofty. Lofty was a crane in the toon series that I watched in my childhood with utmost interest. It is quite amusing that Bob The Builders is not one of the things we leave behind as we leave our childhood during the flight called life. I continue to muse with the trademark slogan I sang so cheerfully when I was a child. “Can we fix it? Yes we can!” It’s the magic spell I cast when completing a task seems very arduous rather impossible.

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Meet Lofty! Oh, Scoop and Dizzy are there too!Smiles!

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Harking back to the question posed at the beginning, if I think of “What” reading the letter “W” then the economist inside me ponders on the three fundamental questions of economics – What? How? For Whom? These three questions determine resource allocation in any economy. The means to our unlimited ends are quite limited and so we must prioritize our ends in the face of our scarce resources. Building upon these questions the economists tend to propose economic system to maximize public welfare. Economics revolves around these three fundamental question in whichever dimension you hypothesize a problem and that is why this aspiring economist ponders on these three questions when the letter “W” is seen anywhere.

Bid adios to the economist inside me, I think of willpower, wonder, wisdom and welfare… and writing… when I read the letter W. What are your instinctive W words?

The Cash Counter

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Take a wild guess, what do you think it is? Pardon me for the weird angle and not a complete, clear shot for there were a lot of people… typical of traditional Lahori markets. This is lower wall of  a cash counter at a traditional Lahori shop. I wish I could make a more elaborate shot not just the details. However, isn’t it enough to leave anyone awestruck? This is a cloth, hand-crafted with beads, dabka and tilla, pinned to the wooden wall of the cash counter with utmost mastery and made me click one hast shot walking past it.

Our Social Diversity

I have always been fascinated by my kind, the humankind. How paradoxical are our realities? We are different, all of us, yet we are alike, all of us. You don’t have my face, my skin tone, my voice, my mind, my habits, my attitude, my perceptions, my values, my dreams, my ambitions, my soul… yet you and I are alike, we are both humans! We are not different in many respects, we both have a brain to think and a heart to feel, we both have our needs and we both have our means and ends, we both have our dreams and we both have our struggles! Each one of us, the humans, around the globe is no different from other humans but we still are different.

What’s almost miraculous is that our differences are categorized as well. With time we have had our own classifications developed on various grounds. We have socio-cultural, economic and geographic systems and groups. We are divided in nations, ethnicities, linguistic communities, cultures, economic elites and layman and more. As of today we reside in a global village where open economies and increased diplomatic harmonies have prevailed leading to border crossings. We have come together again, mixing up yet keeping our origins and identities in place. And then within our nations and geographical territories we are a unified diversity.

I found this photograph and it kept me pondering for quite some time. Have a look:

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These a pencil colours. They all alike for they are all pencils, the same race. However, each of these is different from the others in its community for each of them is a different colour. Even if there are two yellows, they differ perhaps by an amount of tint that is negligible for you. I captioned this picture as, “Our Social Diversity!” I found it apt because this painted an image of our society before me.

I live in a very diverse society where various cultures, religions, languages and traditions mingle. Lahore is a home to 10 Million people. Citizens hail from not only this city itself but from various regions of the country and from foreign lands too. You would find native Lahoris, Punjabi speaking, Saraiks, Sindhis, Balochis, Pashtuns, Kashmiris, Potoharis, Gilgitis, Urdu speaking families from around Pakistan; African and Central Asian origin students and Chinese engineers and workers too, people from the States and Europe who came to Pakistan working with the UN or other welfare missions and have been living here for a few many years now. We aren’t New York or London for certain but Lahore is no less in its cultural diversity, for that matter we have our own social diversity. The communal diversification began with the influx of people from all over the United India, the North and the Bengal and other regions, when the British colonized the sub-continent conquering the last seat of the Ranjit Singh’s empire, the capital of which was the most significant cultural hub and religious centre since centuries – Lahore. Lahore was secondary in political influence to the court of Delhi and next to Amritsar as a centre for trade and commerce but it was that one fortress without penetrating which none in history could colonise or conquer the mighty Indian Sub-continent. Lahore was made into British headquarters to govern North West of the British Imperial Colony of India. Lahoris weren’t very much the class to be of aid to the British so they began transferring officials and workers. That is when Lahore began to diversify in its society. Traders who made their way from the North West towards Amritsar and other commercial hubs of United India added much to Lahore as well.  After the independence in 1947, Hindu majority migrated across the border to India and millions reached the Walton Camps to the new state of Pakistan and then, we had more diversification. My forefathers, Punjabis, also migrated to Lahore. This city’s diversity in society and culture has only grown since then. The provincial capital, known well as the Heart of the Land, is a Mini Pakistan itself. The country’s rich socio-cultural diversity is the colour of Lahori heritage.

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Food Street Lahore

Lahore has its own colours, very alike yet very different. We come from different backgrounds, from different origins, speak the lingua franca in our own accents, represent different cultures, have different opinions, different perspectives, different values…. Yet we are one in the society, together we make Lahore. We may go to the mosque, the church, the temple or the gurdwara, we may wear different types of dresses, we may like different spices in our food, and we may have different words for expressing but come together to paint the canvas of Lahori culture. How paradoxical but how beautiful? This blend of races, religions, ethnicities, cultures, origins, backgrounds, academic and economic statuses, opinions, ideas, values, philosophies emerged out of need and then acceptance is much worthy of our cherished heritage and a seed that bears the fruit of development and civilization. Together we make the most synchronised symphony and compose the most melodious tunes. How miraculous is it, our social diversity!

 

 

Pakistan’s Father Teresa

A hero lives in legends and myths and a messiah lives in hearts of those he touches the lives of! We have lost our messiah today, the hero of the masses whose last words were nothing more than, “Take care of the poor of my Pakistan…”

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You have left the nation orphaned and humanity mourning, Abdul Sattar Edhi. You had no formal education, you never went to school but you were a scholar of humanitarian values yourself. “I do not have any formal education. What use is education when we do not become human beings? My school is the welfare of humanity?”

Abdul Sattar Edhi was Pakistan’s Father Teresa and humanity’s servant, a saint. He was the founder of the Edhi Trust, the largest welfare organization in the country which he started from scratch. Edhi did not require a hotline to be called on, he was but Angel of Mercy. Edhi Trust runs the largest ambulance service on this planet of humans with a round the clock facilitation. This trust has trained approximately forty thousand nurses over last six decades. It provides shelters and rehab centres for the old, the widowed, the orphaned, the mentally disabled and the drug addicts. Abdul Sattar Edhi was a father to fifty thousand orphans of our land. He was a brotherly shoulder to thousands of widowed women of this country. He knew no religion, no cast, and no creed, no rank… no bounds. He served the people of his soil more than any government ever could, he ruled the hearts of millions who have lived in his time. He was ours without even knowing us, having met us… even once.  Pakistan is Edhi’s philanthropy, humanity is Edhi’s compassion. He was the richest poor nation’s Richest Poor Man. He was humanity’s Nobel Prize. He was his name’s truest essence, Abdul Sattar – The Servant of the Veiler.

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Abdul Sattar Edhi, you were a candle that flickered to give hope to those trampled by trials in life, an umbrella to those without a shelter over their heads and a lifeline of this drowning nation. Pakistan was, is and shall always be indebted to you as your five ambulances served at the Walton Camp in 1947 and multiplied in number to serve millions through decades… Your philanthropy is humanity’s treasure! Now that you have left us, you the hero of mine and millions of humans, we pray for you to be blessed with the highest rank in the Jannah. Ameen! Your eyes, per your word, have been donated and shall give vision to two disabled persons. Your philanthropy shall live on.

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Draped in the national flag at your state funeral, you have left us with a heavy burden, our hero! There will never be another Abdul Sattar Edhi but we will make an effort to further your endeavours! The legacy shall not die.

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I have no words, I have nothing which could serve as a befitting tribute to you, Edhi Sahib, but I pray for the Edhi dynasty to live long… the empire where none shall sleep starving in the open…

Thank you, my hero!

One Yellow Crane

Smiles to everyone, here’s wishing everyone a very pleasant Sunday all the way from Lahore. I have been away from a few days now, strange schedules. Eid is around the corner and Ramazan is about to end, festivity is growing every hour here in our city. It is that beautiful time of the year which is much awaited and cherished by all. We hope and pray that everything goes well and the whole nation celebrates in joy and peace. Faith in humanity is revived when you see “the wall of kindness” being put up for the needy. Everyone puts something there, clothes or shoes, non-perishable eatables and more. Those who need them come by and take what they need.

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Wall of Kindness in Lahore

Everyone does more charity in Ramazan than they do otherwise. It is blissful and satisfying to volunteer for a charitable organization. I has been a decade since my first endeavour for Shuakat Khunum Memorial Cancer Hospital and it has been a fulfilling journey, I have learned a lot and taken a lot from this. This year’s Ramazan campaign was no exception. We hope that together we can save one life if not more. Life is beautiful. Everyone who reads me, I want to request you to look around you and create happiness for yourselves and others… for me too… together we can have a more peaceful, more liveable world. We can save many from giving up. Smile at a sad face, you might be the only one smiling at him.

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Imran Khan, Founder of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, with Huzaifa, a cancer patient, at the first fund-raiser iftar Dinner in Lahore

Hopefully people will be kind to each other after Ramazan too, including myself.

It’s the last Sunday before Eid so I don’t expect it be a very quiet one. For now I am doing nothing though and it’s quiet, only my keyboard’s clicking as I talk to you over my gadget. While I was roaming around the house I got myself a yellow paper, lying idle. He was alone in the shelf, the books were still sleeping I believe. I folded that paper into a crane. I learned this a long while ago, the Japanese origami crane. I can’t fold one thou fold a paper correctly. You need a square paper for origami art though. The paper I found was a regular A4 rectangular shaped one so I cut it square myself, not exactly the six inches square shaped origami paper but it served well.

Taken with Lumia Selfie
Yellow Crane

According to the Japanese legend, if you fold a thousand of these cranes your one wish will come true. I folded myself one yellow crane today, a Japanese kid would definitely do better than I did though – scratches her head with a confessional smile.

I have folded one, not a thousand cranes, but I wish for a brighter tomorrow for all.