Friday, January 28, 2011

Career, marriage, children: can women have it all?

Aoa




A rather nice talk show, in which the question that is asked is: Can women really have it all? The pertinent questions in this talk are:
--> What is the definition of ''have it all'' ? Whose "have it all'' do we really aim for?
--> Is it true that all women will find fulfillment in a high-profile career and a good salary?
--> Is there something mistaken in the concept of ''women liberation'' and ''women rights'' ?
--> Has ''gender equality'' actually liberated a woman or pressured her more?

and more.. !

My take on the issue is this: Women should carefully assess their circumstances, and then make decisions. Making sweeping plans about either hi-fi careers, or anything else really ... makes no sense. One doesn't know what's coming the next day. So its best to be prepared for everything...

Like, the best bet would be to concentrate on a nice education - so much so, that you can easily work if its necessary. If its not necessary (financially), and you don't feel like working, Islam has put no obligation on you to work.

But if you feel like working, and have a family, then obviously, family comes first and the work comes second... It makes no sense to have babies, only to put them hurriedly away in day care centers, (or day care centers of corporations), to be looked after by ''nannies'' - and work full day and come home hassled and worn out, facing even more worries about the home and of course, kids!!

I know this lady, who I rather admired, for her ambition. She was heck ambitious, and was teaching and all. Then she got married and had a kid. The kid totally changed her outlook... She left work, looked after the lil cutie, and then er, dunno what happened to her thinking.. somehow, she went all ambitious again!

So now the situation with her is, that the kids (there are two of them now, and the youngest doesn't go to school yet) are looked after by the loving dadi, and the mum goes for work, and THEN goes for MPhil classes.. :S. Comes back at 10 or so...and when the kids run to her and all, she becomes impatient and obviously the kids then run away!!

:S:S ... I am sooo sad at this scenario. Considering they're a pretty well to do family (agar majboori hoti, to I would have understood, her leaving the kids). It's surprising really, what ''intellect'' does to you sometimes.

And I really believe its our totally mirrored-upon-secular-ideology societies ... hell bent on imitating the West, which has pressured some (not all) women to work, when its really not needed, and esp. when they have small kids. Only! ONLY to escape the comments by people (and society in general) such as ,

"Oh you stay at home??"
"Oh, you do nothing!!??"
"Oh lucky you! You dont do anything. You just stay at home!"
"Oh you don't have to do anything, MA you're just at home"
"Oh you're faarigh these days naa, you're at home!"


Sometimes. I think I'd like to see such people (who comment this way) sit at home, and realize how ''faarigh'' they get.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Beyond Horrifying !!

Oh my God.. this is sooo horrifying. Is this what technology has done to us? And is this what real 'friendship' is? It's a point to ponder how much time we spend on social networking websites, thinking about popularity and reveling in the fact that we have above 500 friends.

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Facebook 'friends' did not act on suicide note

Mother of Simone Back, who died after posting that she had taken pills, asks why no one called for help in time
The mother of a woman who told 1,048 Facebook friends that she had taken a fatal overdose has questioned why none of them sought help until it was too late.
Simone Back, 42, posted a message on the social networking site after 10pm on Christmas Day saying: "Took all my pills, be dead soon, bye bye everyone."
Instead of trying to save her or get help, some of her online contacts left messages taunting her and arguing among themselves. One called her a liar, another said she "does it all the time, takes all her pills", while another said it was "her choice".
Her mother, Jennifer Langridge, 60, who called police after receiving a text message about her daughter's online note, said: "Nobody told me anything about it until the following day when I was sent a text saying 'get help'."
The alarm was then raised with police, who rushed to Back's flat. They took her to the Royal Sussex county hospital, but she died at 5.05pm on Boxing Day.
Langridge, who also lives in Brighton, said: "I am disabled so can't get up the stairs to Simone's flat. I called the police straight away. It is upsetting to think nobody did anything for my daughter."
She posted a note on her daughter's page, saying: "My daughter Simone passed away today so please leave her alone now."
It is not yet known whether Back saw any of the 150 online responses. Some Facebook contacts begged for her address and phone number, but it appears no one who lived nearby contacted police or sought her out in time to save her.
Back's friend Samantha Pia Owen said: "Everyone just carried on arguing with each other on Facebook … Some of those people lived within walking distance of Simone. If one person just left their computer and went to her house, her life could have been saved. These so-called friends are a waste of air. If someone has got problems you don't go around adding to them, you don't start attacking people who are already vulnerable … Facebook should put up a flag or button so that a post can be flagged up as a suicide threat, and Facebook should be able to contact the police."
Graham Bell, from the Brighton and Hove Depression Alliance, said: "This is a very sad reflection on our community. People need to be friends in the real world as well as in the online world."
A spokeswoman from the charity Mind said: "Loved ones can find it very difficult to know how to support someone who is experiencing mental distress, whether this is being communicated face to face or online. It is a myth that people who talk about suicide don't go through with it."
Back, a charity shop worker who described herself as seeking friendship, had previously spoken to online friends about her thoughts of killing herself. But some of the messages on her site show she was not taken seriously and her cries for help were mocked:
Sussex police are not treating her death as suspicious. An inquest has been opened and adjourned.
A Facebook spokesman said users' safety was of "paramount importance". It added in a statement: "We have a close working relationship with the Samaritans and have a process in place whereby friends and family who are concerned about someone can report it to us through the help centre." "A team of trained professionals are then able to review the case and the Samaritans will make contact with the person at risk. The safety of people who use Facebook is of paramount importance to us and this system is just one of a number of tools we have in place to help them stay safe."
Source: The Guardian

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why (oh why!) don't I live in Texas??? *wails*



*dead* of envy... Gone! I cannot express how BADLY I WANT to get into this program... But I don't live in Texas *waaaaaillllll*

All the Texans out there (er, Muslims of course)... you don't know how lucky you are! There (and I can safely tell you this) is NO program like this here. And I am very sure, the people who graduate from this intensive program will not be forgetting what they have learnt in a hurry. Cuz the program is not like the rote-based programs we have here...(usually).

Oh maannn :'( :'( :'(
*really sniffles*

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Earthquake and the 'Bhoot'

Assalamualaikum

The previous night was dedicated to the earthquake. I am humbled by the fact, that despite the Richter scale showing a 7.4 (at epicentre, in Balochistan/Iran border), and a 6.3 in Karachi (not 3.6 which I quoted earlier), and the depth of this earthquake being 10km (!!), I am still sitting here, in one piece, typing away a blog post.

I should say a thousand thanks to Allah SWT for saving us, and the earthquake not haveing caused destruction (which it could have easily caused). Alhamdulillah.

So what happened at my phuppi's apartment was that she was asleep at the time of the earthquake and got to know this story when she woke up in the morning. LOL. Anyway, from the past few days, in the apartment next to hers, there was a tale of a 'ghost' circulating the whole building. It (the ghost) was supposed to be causing weird things. Khair, at 1.23 am last night, the apartment people felt the bed shaking, and things rumbling - and they were finally convinced that what they had been suspecting WAS true, and there was a ghost in the house. BHOOOOOOOOOOOOOT. They screamed... shook each other awake.... and within seconds the whole family was outside, yelling their heads of...

"BhoooOOOOot.... Bhhhooootttt Bacchhhaaaaaooooo!!" (Ghosstt! Ghoosst!! Hellpp!!!)

*helpless with laughter*

:D:D. My phuppa narrated the incident next morning to phuppi... and she narrated it to us. Needless to say, we shouted with laughter. Shukar the apartment people learned that there is no such thing as ghosts :D:D... and we before laughing, should have remembered our own faces last night :D... I mean, I had just jumped three feet in air, and ran to parents, yelling.

Khair, lesson: There are no such things as ghosts. :D... Think before you laugh :D...lol. And well, *looks around at bhanju wanting to jump on my lap and bang on the keyboard*... another lesson is that er, babies consume your whole life. You can't do a single (your own) thing with a kid. And that is the major reason why this career (mommy-hood) is the hardest, most demanding career in the whole wide world... :S. And hence, no mother should feel like she's doing ''nothing'' if she is just managing her child, and bringing him/her up in the world -



Lol. Can't Bhanju follow the example of this kid above ? *wistfully*
Waisay. Just to record another milestone... I was lying with a blanket over my face (not sleeping) and bhanju came up, tapped me on the face - and said, ''Utho!'' *sis the priss was soo nehaaal* MA

eh eh eh eh eh

Worst Nightmare!

I JUST FELT THE EARTH MOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This is for real. My absolutely worst beyond worst nightmare. I'm terrified of the solid earth moving. And I felt it!!!

I was sitting here, contemplating on writing a very sad post, when I felt my table shaking.. *hands shaking while she types this*... I looked around, thinking I have finally overdone it - the studies, the thesis, the research and the gre word list has finally gotten to my head and its finally spinning.... - but it wasn't. Before my very eyes, the empty water bottle shook, the telephone shook, the cup shook and I could feel pulsing movements beneath my turned-to-stone feet. This went on for about 30 seconds - and then my wail echoed through the house...'''MUMMMMmmmmmmmm Earrtthhhquakkkeeeeeee''

:'(

My dad, who was resting his arm against the window, felt it move and thought the cat has come in.

Oh God.

Listen everybody out there. If I've ever done anyting (miniscule, or not) please accept my heartiest apologies.

I'm staying awake the entire night. I've got to see if there are any aftershocks, and run outside the house.


News has come in that we felt the tremor of 3.6 - and this was felt throughout Pakistan. Oh meray Allah....

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ben Ali: Friendless, Homeless and Humiliated -Dictators Take Note

By Yvonne Ridley

January 16, 2010 "Information Clearing House" -- He might still be living in the lap of luxury, but make no mistake Tunisia's former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his family are prisoners.

Like birds in a guilded cage, they are languishing in a palace in one of the most exclusive districts of Jeddah but the truth is Ben Ali and his equally odious and corrupt family have nowhere else to hide.

It should signal a warning to all the other despots and dictators in the region – Egypt in particular – that no matter how close you think you are to the West, in times of trouble they will drop you faster than a burning coal.

As one of the cruelest oppressors on the planet scrambled to board a plane to escape what some may consider a well deserved lynching, the truth is he had no idea where he was going.

So fast was his demise.

We were told he was heading for Malta, then France and Dubai and half a dozen other countries but the truth is no one wanted the 74-year-old.

A desperate man, he finally found a bolthole in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah on Friday, arriving around midnight after close ally President Nicholas Sarkozy rejected a request for his plane to land on french soil.

Meanwhile frantic calls to the White House hotline and to Obama rang unanswered.

Once again America has proved itself to be a fickle friend just as the late Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi discovered when he went in to exile after his repressive regime in Iran was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The former Shah spent his exile in Egypt, totally isolated and shunned by the very same leaders in the West who had once supported him.

The Saudi government refuses to say how long he will be their guest but I like to think the many soldiers posted outside the palace's half dozen or so gates are not there for his protection but there to ensure he remains within the high sided walls.

Quite how this secular leader will settle in the land of the Two Holy Mosques is beyond me. Ben Ali despised Islam to such an extent he made sure his brutal enforcers abused and punished those God-fearing Tunisians who wore hijabs and grew beards.

For instance, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Interior and the Secretary-General of Tunisia's ruling political party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally, stated several years ago that they were so concerned about rise in the use of the hijab by women and girls and beards and the qamis (knee-level shirts) by men, that they called for a strict implementation of decree 108 of 1985 of the Ministry of Education banning the hijab at educational institutions and when working in government.

Police ordered women to remove their head scarfs before entering schools, universities or work places and others were made to remove them in the street. Amnesty International reported at the time that some women were being arrested and taken to police stations where they were forced to sign written commitment to stop wearing the hijab.

Perhaps someone should remind the Saudis about that and have him charged under Shari'a law just for starters.

Ben Ali's hatred and fear of Islam can also be witnessed in Egypt where Hosni Mubarak rules with an iron fist. The prisons and dungeons of Egypt are jammed full of members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other dissenting voices and political opponents who are rounded up everytime an election is in the offing.

Mubarak's betrayal of the Palestinian people and his irrational fear of Hamas speaks volumes also about his secular outlook and lifestyle which is at odds with Islam.

I was asked to leave Cairo in December 2009 by his Foreign Ministry after writing an article in which I said Mubarak had turned Egypt into America's rent boy in the Middle East because of the huge sums of money he willingly took from the US in return for oppressing the people of Gaza and supporting Israel.

But now he must be wondering if bending over a barrel for Uncle Sam is really a price worth paying.

After all, no one grovelled more to America than Ben Ali. In 2005 he was even ordered to extend the hand of friendship to the Zionist State, a country which had bombed his own when Yasser Arafat's PLO was headquartered in Tunis in 1986.

Did he object? No, in fact Ben Ali went one step further and invited the war criminal Ariel Sharon to visit Tunisia. Well, where has all that craven behaviour got him?

Just like the previous Tunisian tyrant, he happily kissed the rump of Zionists while belly-dancing in front of Western leaders who claimed to be among his closest allies.

Well, just where are his friends now?

He's friendless, homeless and humiliated.

British journalist Yvonne Ridley is the European President of the International Muslim Womens Union. She travelled extensively through Tunisia in February 2009 with the Viva Palestina convoy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

What Women and Men (!!) Want!

What Women want ......

... A Plain looking husband

  
... A Normal simple ring



... A small wedding party



... A honeymoon at a quiet place



 ... A small house for the kids to run around



... A couple of lovely children


... With a husband who is a family man



... but one who works hard ... and earns well



... A small car for shopping



...  And a bigger one for the family and kids



... A few personal collections



... and a few shoes for each occasion



... Some decent outfits



... Some basic cosmetics



... A makeup kit or two 



... Just one overseas trip every year



... Or three or four domestic holidays



... Occasional presents



...And finally, some solid securities for the future


That's all  ...   WOMEN ARE NOT DEMANDING AT ALL !!
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This made me laugh out loud.. :D. A forward email of course.

Women can't be this idiotic... to want this much. Same goes with men and their expectations out of life, and specifically concerning their spouses. One disturbing find which I read on this blog gives a precise explanation of his dream wedding event - yes, written by a man. Read on!

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For my wedding (whenever that happens) i have specific ideas which i wish to implement. i would also like my partner to have an insight and have a joint take on things rather than it be a dictatorship. Throughout the whole wedding i would want a VERY LIMITED number of children as they mess up the whole event. crying, breaking things, casusing havoc and its just something that i would not want. imagine me and my bride walking together in the hall and 3 or 4 kids running past us or making faces when stood behind us. totally uncool. I would want me and my wife to be colour coordinated and would want our colours to be exclusive. for example, if me and my mrs are wearing white and yellow on the mehndo, wouldnt want anyone else to be wearing the same colour clothes. sorry to be selfish but its our day, you can wear the same colour clothes another day. I would want my family to be visible throughout the whole wedding event and not run around so will be hiring a wedding planner who will oversee all that. that way everything runs smoothly and people like my mum, dad, aunties, brothers, sisters are with me where it matters. I will have the best hire cars to make the baraat stand out. in pakistan there are a shortage of prestige cars but will get them from somehwere to have that x facor. I would like the mehdni done at home (joint mehndi for the bride and the groom) and have my side and her side do orchestrated dances. Wedding day will be at a hall or a restaurant with food served by waiters. i have seen countless asian wedding in pakistan where its a bufffet system and people eat like donkeys. Have professional photographers who only take pictures of immediate family and key moments to make the wedding album extrra special. Walima would be me and the wife driving to the hall in a convertable with me driving and her by my side. Would do all the rasms such as Maanya, Karoli, Chatti, Ghaana etc to make it a fun filled event. I would have all my friends fly out and not have nayone miss my event. Go on a honeymoon to dubai and spend our first night after being married in a hotel room and not have a the typical tacky fake flowers out around the bed.


....thats my preferance. dont ask for much do i? lol
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I actually gaped at this above. The forward email was obviously a joke.  But this is real ! ! !

Man!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Out of Place :$

Assalamualaikum

There are times when one feels helplessly out of place, and totally powerless to do anything about it. One of those times was the wedding today - of my first cousin's first cousin :). MA. It was a nice experience. Only if I didn't have to cringe later at some of the things that happened in the wedding today.

One incident I'll relate.

So what happened was that this cousin of mine (the bride) was in my school - so other friends were also there. Alif Bay Pay was also there (bffffff can't stop the fs). And this pal of mine, along with another friend's mum went up to the stage to ''meet the bride'' -

Now, whenever I actually land up on the stage, I'm like... shuffling my feet about, totally at a loss as to what should I SAY, (except Salam). I mean, a ''how are you'' sounds so totally foolish. How would a dulhan be!! She can't answer anything except ''Fine, thank you'' !! She's not going to say ''Oh, I have a backache from this heavy jewelery'' :P

Sigh. So me the blundering clumsy soul went up ahead of others and said salaam, I got the answer - then the friend's mum sat down beside the bride, trying to make small talk (apparently, she had expected me - the total fool - to also sit down on the stage besides the bride). But hello! The seat she had taken was besides the bride - and ~!! the groom was sitting down on the other side of the bride. So where was I or the friend (and chotpo too!) behind me supposed to sit. Besides the groom? No possible way in the whole wide world!!

After a few totally awkward stumbling minutes, when nobody could think of anything to say, my friend's mum got up hurriedly, we all did an about turn - and went back down .... me telling myself --


I dunno why I just didn't sit down besides the groom and started an animated chat with the general environment. I mean, people would have eventually joined in :D. 

Khair. The minute we came down, they all rounded at me.
Chotpo: Uni. Why did we go up at all?
Alif: You idiot. That's how you meet a bride? Why didn't you shake hands even!?
Me: Listen, if the bride stretches out HER hand, then Im going to shake it... Im not spoiling anybody's jewelery/makeup.

Needless to say, it was one clumsy moment of the day. 
----------------------
Some moments are there when you wish sorely you hadn't forgotten the camera back home. Two other classmates of mine were there too, and we never knew. Later on, when we had had dinner, Alif spotted them both. We got up to meet them. They were both moving towards the stage. I reached them first, and tapped them both on the back - they spun around, astonished. Stared open-mouthed. Understanding and recognition dawned on both of them simultaneously. And then they both simultaneously yelled , ''UUUNNIII'' - - eh eh eh eh. Priceless, I tell you!
----------------------
We all traipsed towards the stage again, Alif telling them all how moronic I had been, and how we should meet properly etc etc .... Lol. I shrugged and now followed them. We all went up again. Same hi-hellos again. Uff. Finally, at another awkward moment, when nobody could think of anything to say, I came up with the brilliant, ''Aray posture to seedha karlo !!" to the bride!! *groan*


Suave. Simply genius. 
*sigh*

I don't think I've ever met a more socially awkward idiot in my life. There has got to be a cure to it. I'll try searching online. 

So long!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cute Nasheed And Khalahood Episodes!



Assalamualaikum
The time with Bhanju has been very productive in terms of revisiting all the cartoon characters we left behind when we grew up. I mean, this new toy of his, which pops up a Sesame Street character which starts saying some dialog of Sesame Street really got me back to my 5-year-old-self days :).

Actually the dialogs said by the characters in this toy are pretty funny, Ernie pops up in a bathtub with bubbles all around and warbles 'Rubber Ducky, you're the oneeeee, you make bath time sooo muchh funnnnn' :D:D:D:D eh eh eh eh.

Anyway, this nasheed abvoe is one of the collection of nasheeds Sis the Priss has chosen for her son. It's just adorable, this lil boy (Rashid Bhika, who has grown up now :))..singing for his mother.

[Makes me a tad ashamed, for I am not the perfect daughter I should be. But I keep trying :$. ]

Bhanju is finally asleep. Sigghh. I so wish I didn't have the workload I have (I dont wish this v.seriously though :P). Because I cannot afford even a day off. Conscious day off I mean. I get enough day offs when weekend arrives, and with it the extra load of housework/guests etc. So even if I wanted to, I couldn't take the Thur/Fri days off for my work. Which I sorely wish I could, when Bhanju runs up to me, holds out his arms and says in that VOICE of his..'Hattaaa' - and its no use pronouncing Uniii Khalaa to him. Im thinking of giving up.

It's been months.

One of his latest tricks. I was horsing around with him in Chotpo's room. He kept hiding behind this curtain, and I kept finding him (after acting out searching for him for ages :D). And then after a while, I blocked the way to the curtain. He tried to go from the left, I jumped to the left, my arms wide (in a blocking action). He tried to go from the right, I jumped to the right and held my arms open. He tried these ways, and then... :D


Simply saw the space between my feet, and crawled through!!!

Smarty-diapers :D

We took him to the supermarket today. He charmed the salad - wala so much and kept calling out to him ''Taaaaa'' - that the man smiled, and handed him a bean! He (bhanju is a bad eater!) chomped on it contentedly, and then gave his 6-toothed smile to the salad man. Heheh. The man was even more charmed, and handed him another bean :)

It wasn't this charming when I was at the meat wala and Bhanju, in his best ''YO-man'' voice, yelled at him, ''Oooooyyyyyyy!!!" (you know, like we say oi kia kar rahay ho!)... :$:$ How utterly embarrassing. Kids surely make people more impervious to hoity toity social norms and even normal norms. Suddenly, it becomes easy to baby-talk in the superstore aisles. Ehh :$. 

So long folks!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Sounds of Silence (and the Trumpet)

When the ringing gets loud
And your ears start to hurt
Each clang sounds out so loud
That they just might burst

Everything is so still
That it has a life of its own
Every creak, every stir
The sounds penetrate your bones

Each whir, and click
Of the cogs of your brain
Each thought rumbling by
No, you can't catch that 'train'

During the cold, dark nights
As the fog spreads - and the rain
Covers the clarity of thoughts
Wraps them in its icy mane

You strain your ears to shut them out
Doubts - roaring in their violence
You sit back, with a sigh
And listen to the sounds of silence

Copyright Uni Chup-oony 2010

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Had a wonderful ending to the day. The Trumpet: Schottkey is coming to Pakistan! (my bfffffffffffffffff - can't stop the fs) :D. MA. She actually is more than 8000 miles away from Karachi! And that distance feels like err..light years basically.

So I had a great chat with her... (went on Google Talk at last)..and man, do I feel better or what! Alhamdulillah. Can't wait to see her doll of a kid MA !!!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Spooked!

Assalamualaikum

This is the stupidest time to be writing a post. :$. But since I felt kinda er, *looks around furtively*... not very brave, at this moment, the idea of broadcasting an idiotic post kinda appealed to me.

So why not very brave?
Nobody's awake !!

Usually, my mum and I (nocturnal beings of the house) are awake together. So at this time (when Im using the PC), I can hear re-runs of the Kashif Abbasi show, or some other talk show from the TV in the background. But since Mum didn't feel at all well (*worried*), she went to bed early.  I never realized that those sounds - when not present - are going to be missed this much.

How do people work in utter total point-blank silence...???
*huge sigh*
-----------------
So why the stupidest time to be writing a post?

Lol. I have 4 articles to write. Yes. FOUR.
Now! Not in four days or something. I have to write em now. How on earth is that going to happen, no idea. Not in this silence !! :$

------------------
The day was a total whirlwind. I tried to do so much today - and very little was achieved. There were times when er, anger took over my good spirits (good mainly due to Bhanju and his amazingly loving voice saying ''Hattttaaaaaaa'') - :D...

Anger was mostly due to the amount of housework associated with Sundays - and yeah, whenever I glanced at the sink tonight :@. FULL of dirty dishes. Man!! *sigh*. I so wish I could be imbibed with a natural love for householdy work. Like, it would overcome all dreary feelings regarding cooking, and cleaning and yeah, washing dishes.

*shrug*... somebody's gotta do the work around here. Lucky, that's me.

So long folks.
I think something just creaked around here... *petrified*



Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sensible Sayings

"When we tolerate what we know to be wrong--when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy, or too frightened--when we fail to speak up and speak out--we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice".  - Robert Francis Kennedy


We're usually too busy to look the the events unfolding around us, a hurried comment (or blog post :(..) or two, and that's it. There is no long term action from anybody for any cause. Except, maybe Edhi.
How many of us have stayed quiet when some raucous crowd has belittled somebody, poked fun at somebody, laughed at anything religious, glorified secularism... how many of us are the only ones to speak out against such acts?

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"Let them call me a rebel and I welcome it; I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery of demons should I make a whore of my soul".  - Thomas Paine


Make a whore of my soul? That's something that made me think. How many of us denounce prostitution? And then, do the exact same thing with the soul - sell it easily, sell the imaan easily for puny gains, acceptance among peers.. etc.
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"By far the most dangerous foe we have to fight is apathy - indifference from whatever cause, not from a lack of knowledge, but from carelessness, from absorption in other pursuits, from a contempt bred of self satisfaction."  - William Osler

So true :(. What are we so busy in, anyway? Video games and other nonsense of the kind? What's that gaining us anyway? Nothing!! Nothing but a name in a list of people (high scores) - which makes us so proud. [*glances at her Harry Potter book lying not far away* ... reading fiction, is also included!]
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It is easy enough to tell the poor to accept their poverty as God's will when you yourself have warm clothes and plenty of food and medical care and a roof over your head and no worry about the rent. But if you want them to believe you - try to share some of their poverty and see if you can accept it as God's will yourself!  Thomas Merton


The acceptance of Go'd's Will is extremely easy when the going gets easy! It's heck hard when the going gets tough. Because then, you don't have the comfort of knowing you haven't lost anything. May Allah SWT Enable us to become people who know what the poor feel like, by giving out stuff to them - even when we don't have much. Even when we sincerely are in need of stuff, and are looking for help ourselves.

Ameen. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Excellent Read

A very insightful forward mail I received - JazakAllah N Baji for this :). And it made me really think about life, and the amount of complains we associate with it. Hope this comes as a useful read to you all.
------------------------------------
You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales.

This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren.
In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:

People ask me, What is the purpose of life?
And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity..

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain. But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence.

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we never changed our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to  assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that my work had paid me in the 24 years since I started work, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes ?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a  list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do!

That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
------------------------------------
Interesting personality :)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Salman Taseer's Death and the Blasphemy Law

Assalamualaikum

So much has happened in the past few days (politically speaking, of course) that its hard to keep track of things now. It started with the murder of Governor (Punjab) Salman Taseer of course. What a huge shock it was - I still (although coming to accept it now) can't believe that the vibrant, totally active chalta phirta aadmi was gunned down when he was probably expecting it least, and from whom he would probably be expecting least. Although I'm not sure he had time to find out who shot him ...

*shudder*. What a horrible absolutely terrible way to die.

The gunman said that he did it because of Salman Taseer's stance on the blashphemy law. How in the world do we believe :

1. He (the gunman) is telling the absolute truth?
2. He (the gunman) was alone in this - didn't have any backing behind him
3. That this was no deep-rooted conspiracy to de-stablize the political structure of the province ??

Suppose we do believe that gunman. Even then, there are some glaring omissions in the whole story. Some people say that Mr. Taseer was not against the law, he was only against its misuse. Check this out:

Lemme quote a little: It's taken from Newsline:

Q: Do you advocate repeal of those provisions in the Pakistan Penal Code better known as the Blasphemy Law?

A: If you want my personal opinion, I don’t like this law at all. I understand we are working in a coalition government and that being the case what we can do is to amend the law in such a way that the maker of a false accusation is tried under the same law.

Q: What kind of perverse pleasure is there in oppressing the weak and vulnerable?
A: Unfortunately and sadly there are people who feel bigger when they pick on someone who cannot fight back. It’s called bullying. I went to Sheikhupura jail to stand up against a bully and it has encouraged others to do so as well. That’s what taking a moral stance is. I am honestly happy to say that I am heartened by the huge response from ordinary folk. Even people who are deeply religious have spoken out against this black law. Ghamdi, for example, has stated clearly that this has nothing to do with Islam – Islam calls on us to protect minorities, the weak and the vulnerable.
 
Check the italicized bit again. Whatever I have read online and listened to news anchors/interviewers (and interviewees) say on TV, they have made out as if he wasn't against the blasphemy law at all - only against its misuse. If that is true, why is his above comment making the conclusion that he is only agreeing to amend the law, because they're working in a coalition government, and if he ever had his way, he would do away with the law.

So what is the blasphemy law anyway. Deciding to bypass interpretations of the law, I read the law in Pakistan's Penal Code - under section on Religious Offences - and I am pasting the relevant Article here:

295-C.Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet:
Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.


As soon as I read this law, being a Muslim, what should immediately spring to my mind? Indeed, what would automatically spring to any Muslim's brain after reading this?

That I don't LIKE this law??????????????????

Or, that it adequately covers any scenario in which Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) can be abused by anybody, Muslim or non Muslim... Here, it never specifies that the perpetrator has to belong to a particular religion. It only specifies the act itself. And if the law is misused... (er, they say its misused but I have yet to se any grotesque sentencing being carried out against anybody who is alleged to blaspheme in this country).....then the law itself is not to be blamed, only the implementors. Despite the strict tareen law, the alleged perpetrators are never given capital punishment - and they say the law is being misused and targetting minorities?

I will never say that the case of Aasia bibi and others in her position, should be concluded by doing away with them all - no way. I'd rather want to see the trials being carried out publically, witnesses brought in, and then the decisions given as to whether these people really deserve punishment or have been detained on minor charges.

Check out these Articles:
295-A.Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting Its religion or religious beliefs:
Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the 'religious feelings of any class of the citizens of Pakistan, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations insults the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both.


298.Uttering words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings:
Whoever, with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person, utters any word or makes any sound in the hearing of that person or makes any gesture in the sight of that person or places any object in the sight of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.


Weird no? I don't see arrests taking place on this one. I mean, this is the most effective means of appearing cool in the 'intellectual masses' of this country now. Not to mention, the fastest way to get popular in the elite... and a totally workable way to get your articles published in places like the Express Tribune, and Guardian (or even Dawn Blog). 


So rounding up this post, I'd definitely want more investigation to take place where that gunman of Dawat-e-Islami is concerned. We don't know who instigated him, who motivated him and who got him in for guard duty anyway.

It would also be cool if we refrain from making sweeping statements regarding Salman Taseer's entry into heaven or hell too.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And Results Are Finally In...

Assalamualaikum

If I glance back at the horrible December days, when I missed Nat's Valima ceremony (Nat's a really cool friend of mine), and just read my eyes out, stuff that I should have read (at least once) before in my life - the terrible stupid Days That Went By - the Temptations that overcame me... the things I did to avoid them (yet they still overtook me) - in the form of Malory Towers...the poem I wrote just the night before exams...the back to back papers which wasn't a big deal waisay, had I just been diligent and studied on time...

Btw, I haven't even picked up Malory Towers since then !

So...

The results finally came today....

What was I expecting..? I mean, the work I had done - what ELSE would I expect...

*tries to heave a huge sigh*... So many hopes, dreams, what not. My whole entire cumulative GPA was dependent on this semester (really tough subjects)... and I did my best to bungle it up... what a complete moronic harkat that was. People were warning me, and the warnings came late - 5 days... what was I expecting...

*tried her best to sniffle dolefully*...

Okay okay I can't sniffle dolefully any longer !!!

Enough pretending!!!!!

Life ain't that bad after all ..... *breaks out into a HUGE grin*


Did you notice how beautiful the night sky is ? :D


And how the sun's rays really were welcome today! And the cold, that seeps through your pores, makes you kinda wanna sing?/?
And the silly thoughts you were harboring... suddenly disappear !!!


And suddenly everything seems twice as hilarious !??! Yeah, even the picture below (ew?)


And the thoughts of writing a crap SOP suddenly doesn't seem so upsetting any longer :D:D ?


Lol. I think I should cut down on the drama... ! It's not that big a deal. Err.. No I take that back. It is a HUGE HUUGEEE deal. I mean, considering my stupid last minute panicky preparation and all.... Oh man, I don't believe the result..

I simply can't believe that in this semester.... I got a ....


Offfff.......

.... point.....



*grinning from ear to ear*.. Sorry for such a dramatic entry. I just wanted a record to remember this day, as I had been really sad this same time last night. And my day hadn't gone at all well. Even today morning wasn't that great. And I had resolutely thought that I'm not even giving one second more's thought to the SOP problem, and will just concentrate on my non-existent thesis solutions... and Masha Allah... here I am, not many hours later, completely blissfully, utterly elated, at the thought that Allah SWT was Kind and Merciful Enough, to Accept the last minute khwari I put in, and somehow, Granted me a result, that would not at all be harmful for my future plans Insha Allah. (Like, I had really really thought this semester.. Ive blown it...). But Alhamdulillah!! Everything (academic at least for this semester), fell nicely into place :D

Monday, January 3, 2011

Life is not fair :)

Great 4 minute video. JazakAllah to the kind soul who shared it!

And I realize... (quite visually)

There have been many times when I have thought to myself ''Life is sooo unfair'' - and I never realized how stupid I was being. My life, as a whole, has been tremendous Alhamdulillah. If I objectively search the database of my past, no record of any trial (huge) can I find... even if I use the best search algo. I'd find nothing. Because I've had none.


My life's been one sheltered piece of cocoon! I have hardly peeked out from underneath it. My only forays have been into the online world, wandering here and there, and generally doing nothing useful in society. I often wonder - what in the world would I do, were I faced with actual challenge. Actual trial. Actual tribulation. Actual worry. Actual disaster. Actual pain....


Thinking back, I can definitely learn a few lessons. 
1. I have never faced actual trials - yes, even not yesterday when I ate that gajar ka halwa, and felt sick to my stomach for the whole day.


2. Things are always easier than they seem - yes, even when you're stuck at a coding problem and can't seem to figure the heck out................ ahem. 

3. In life, one should compare oneself with others to be grateful - yes, even when you may turn green with jealousy and lament your own shortcomings. 

4. It isn't great to be hurt at small things - life is huger than that! - yes, even when some Auntie says to you ''Ohh what in the world will you do in with your life, Uni'' *scowl - quickly turns into a forced smile*

5. Aims and ambitions should be greater than ''what everybody else is doing'' - yes, even when you're reduced to a sulking mass of protoplasm when the next friend tells you about a promotion!


6. It's not a good idea to read other's personal statements when writing your own! It throws your SOP into a glittering mass of .... nothingness - yes, even when you're curious about others' lives, and your curiosity gets the better of you!

PS: Today was a sad day. I emailed and emailed.. (in desperate need for some help) people to help me out in this research business. Sucks big time when you're stuck at something and going nowhere!



Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year: What's Gone, and What's On!

Assalamualaikum

The year has literally flown by. I am amazed at this speed with which time flies by, and we're left wondering where the months went. I mean, a year is a pretty long time! I still remember as if it were yesterday..


It was a totally unexpected decision of mine to go and attend a 3-month Quran course at Mom's suggestion. It was beyond amazing. Not only did I learn a lot, I also gained some valuable friends (likeminded friends, hence even more valuable) :). Jan marked the results of the previous semester and I got a great GPA :D. I dunno about this Jan though *anxiously*. My second semester at university had begun and I really liked AI! Had decided that I wanted to further specialize in something related to AI, then. Then came...


With its sadness regarding Dr. Aafia being found 'guilty' of all seven charges that were made against her. She was given the right to appeal, and the sentencing was to occur later. Sighhh. Feb also brought my first ice-skating experience. No, we don't get snow :P.. I just tried it out at Arena. Fell down a lot! And couldn't let go of the railings. Skidding through the month, only too quickly...came...


March came with my first experience of talking to A Level kids in a school, advising them about their career decisions, especially if the careers revolve around engineering. It was a low-key talk, but I was extremely nervous, and then extremely happy at the end of the day! Since, I am following my blog archives.. :D.. lemme remind you, that in March I became aware of the astonishing fact that Ada Lovelace is a woman!! (We did Ada programming language in our advanced OS course.. ! And Ada is the most ... BADA language I have every come across !!). So a woman being behind this language, seemed... er, weird!. The spring month over, it was only too soon when .....


arrived.. ! April saw my semester getting tougher, with midterm and what not, and the extremely annoying media frenzy of the Sania & Shoaib tying the knot deal. Taubah! April also marked the end of a wonderful Quran course, which taught me quite a lot about Arabic grammar, got me through the word to word translation of Surah Al-Baqarah, and also motivated me so much that by the end of April, I started learning Surah Baqarah. Er, I still haven't completed it though :S...Next month came upon us too quickly..



May was a month of intense frustration. My Quran course had finished, so I was feeling quite out of sorts, and useless. Since I had no offline job (throughout this year actually), people's comments just ruined my mood nearly all the time. Even though there were happy moments (like when I stood first in the Quran course exams), and lol, that hilarious math song I found online... life was pretty much miserable. Only the Khala-hood joys kept me going I think :). Bhanja was turning naughtier by the day! May was also the month I left Facebook. Huge decision that was - since this (for sure) meant further alienation from my friends.Had my 2nd semester exams. Went okay :D


June brought with it a lot. My S Mamu had to undergo surgery of this lump they had found in the brain - stage 4 :( Cancer. In June, we were still hoping for the best... his mum and dad had gone from Karachi, to the UK to stay with him. Sigh. June also brought about my internship. Something Mum was obviously not happy about :D.. but it turned out to be all right. Only in terms of the fast speed internet connection though... not the actual amount we actually learned.. :P. June also marked the death of Chotey Nana - a very dear family friend, and my best friend's Dad in Law. May Allah Rest his soul in peace, Ameen. My third semester began at the end of June. Cool subjects, and the high of previous cool GPA.. was enough to make me motivated for this semester! And then stormed in...


July came and with it a lot of unexpected things. I learned quite a lot about the changes that happen in people - over the years...(looking back at my blog archives), July 6th was one of the strangest days ever! Not only did I enjoy a particularly complex class, I even wrote a poem on it :D... lol.  In July only, I got to attend one of the best course of my postgrad studies.. :D Advanced Computer Architecture. It was boring for everybody else. It was extremely cool for me! Especially the teacher! July also marked my birthday :D...and some really really nice gifts! My swimming was on! And it was a generally upper month, compared to May of course! It didn't end on a nice note.. :(.. yeah, the Air Blue crash happened on the 28th. Beyond horrible.


August started with the shooting of the MQM MPA Raza Hyder, and the resulting around 100 deaths in Karachi. It was bloody and cruel. My evening classes were a source of a lot of fear for our family, because that time of the night - nobody knew what could happen next. August also saw me begin work for the thesis, which would be in the last semester of my postgrad. But had to start early, so started in this month. Emailed loads of people, and many of them helped, Alhamdulillah :). August saw the flood relief efforts in all of Pakistan, and we did our little bit, by going to Imperial Lawns and working with the ''Help in a Box'' initiative. Ramadan came, and was really nice as usual. Taraweeh attending was amazing, and carrying a pocket Quran was a source of learning, khushu/khuzu and a bit of comments and arguments as usual :D. Bhanju started walking :D MA. Only too soon, came...


It was a really sad month. My S Mamu was flown in from UK. He wasn't conscious. It was a time when we were visiting their place, trying to offer some hope, and trying not to cry at the state he was in. On September 17, he passed away. May Allah Grant him an amazing place in Jannah, Ameen. Eid ul Fitr 2010, was very very sad. September marked Dr Aafia's sentencing of 86 years in jail. Not even in jain, in this mental facility in Carswell. :(... More like, CarsHELL. Along drifted...


Bhanju turned 1 :) Masha Allah :D ... What a year!. So October, had my midterms. Bad times. Oh yeah.. Tony Blair's sis in law, converted to Islam :):). Alhamdulillah!


This month was riddled with exam tension, thesis work and GRE worries. Two back to back exams were looming ahead, and we had lots to do. Term paper was another big headache.. :) Although, an enjoyable headache that was. The month wasn't without its usual dose of death and destruction - Karachites experienced the horror of a blast which was heart throughout the city..! Yes, the CID blasts that happened in this month, leaving the building razed to the ground, and people running helter skelter for help in the chaos! :(
Eid ul Adha came up, with the usual rush for sacrificial animals and the meat distributions. Exams were coming nearer now. Panic was setting in. In zoomed...


With those bad exams... :S...and the associated tension. The great thing is that they were over soon :)...and I had a very nice week of complete relaxation! Listened to a lot of nice lectures (btw, I highly recommend Shaikh Imran Hosein's lectures... all of them. Do listen to them whenever you have some time). But this time was shortlived.. :(
  • Had to start thesis work again - now am superbly stuck at some points, and don't know how to get out of them
  • Have to submit the research proposal by end of this month (Jan!)
  • GRE looms closer (Feb!), and I've just done 230 words !! 
  • Found out that the scholarship I am planning to apply for, has a HUGE application form, with lots of essays etc. So got to start that immediately!
  • Since I got so conscious of my dwindling bank account, I decided to apply for jobs on Elance (where I work as a writer), and ahem... somehow, I got it! [As they say, be careful of what you wish for].
  • Predictably, mum and sis are very reproachful of ''doing something extra, when you know you have to work so hard for the next few months!'' 
  • Dad's happy :D
  • Me's in a panic :P. This job ain't easy, requires time...and energy!
  • How in the world am I going to balance all THIS on the one plate that I have ... that is ...

When I think about all this, my brain starts to hurt, and the only thing I can think of doing is er, praying for some miracle to let everything (cooking, house chores, khala duties, job stuff, essay writing, Quran presentation making, thesis work and problem solving) fall into place..
:$. Wishful thinking I know.

Have been typing for more than an hour and a half now. Uff! Should wind up now. Sorry folks :$

So with loads of duas for you all, and er, remember me in prayers too, here's to a hopeful, happier, and somehow miraculous...