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Short Story: Shadow

Written by Tayyaba Aziz & Saqib Hussain   After 30 minutes of struggling to focus on work, Moosa finally gave up. He stumbled in hi...

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Story: Hero and the Fiery Dragon

One day I excitedly told my university friends that this girl is my best friend since primary School. ‘This Girl’ gave me the unforgettable disgusted ‘I-don’t-know-her’ look and walked away.
She used to be in the team I was the leader of. The team which recorded all the geography project measurements standing next to a huge plant in the ground when instructed to stand in open ground. I still wonder why they all blindly followed such a dumb leader. Well if you know how to lead they will follow no matter how absurd, pointless messed up your ideas maybe. Thumbs Up to that!

Whoever tells the story always gets to be the hero in it, or you can just be yourself. After pondering hard for a few days I finally found my heroic story. Sadly lies is for people with good memories. Not for people like me who are interrupted in the middle of a funny story with, “You already told me that”. Then a very long and disturbing awkward silence falls for I'd be so caught up in the story. With that zigzag subject change, I become unsure about everything and blackout.

So it starts like this, me and my two younger cousins were latecomers at school. Unexpectedly our school decided to set punishment for late arrivals. As usual we pass through the gate, threw our bags under the tree and ran to join the assembly when someone called us from behind. We turned and froze. My cousins looked at me with worry in their eyes.
Our Principal eyed us and said in the most annoying voice ever, “Where do you come from? LAHORE?” (stressing on Lahore). Watch on the urge to address her as fiery dragon even if it helps to picture better, for we are grownups.  I stepped forward. The valid excuse I could think of was flat tire. There was a small pause but then she let us go. Phew that was close I thought.

Back at school we took rules very seriously for we knew there neither was any compromise from the teachers nor any guard from our parents.  The next day we were LATE again cause the car tire actually flattened. This is where we started to believe lies always invite bad luck. It kept us from the regular excuses like death of some family member out of the fear it might come as a curse. Choice between the Curse and the fiery dragon was easy.
Today we already stopped by the tree near the school gate to hear, “Where do you come from? LAHORE?”
This time I started with a sad story that was so long that by the end we thought what in the world are we doing here. I remember exactly what she said with a broad smile before she let us go, “You are a good story teller”.

No matter how many achievements or jack of all traits you are. We always will be a loser to someone. Problem is we worry about being a loser to one and forget being a Hero to so many others.
I always thought I’d grow up to be smart like Blossom from the PowerPuff Girls, but ended up becoming that extremely annoying NARRATOR from the ‘Sheep in the Big City’. Oh well I’ll take that if you let me know, the ‘Chemical X’ used to create these PowerPuff Writings, is not wasted. 

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Spirituality: Does it set you FREE?

Have you ever felt as worthless as the dirt from the sides of the road? Like the weightless dust that blindly follows anyone and everyone with great fondness. Rushing to grab that one thing you have always dreamed of. Then wiped off of their windscreens where you thought you had become a part of it. Thrown right back where you started from: the road. Or that water which transforms into whatever it merges in. You can be all of it and any of it. Who cares who you are; just be a part of it, do what all do. Other times sticking to their shoes, accompanying them everywhere they go. Happy that they take you places and finally it means something. Then you are left on the doormat, as they would never let you in. Such is our relationships with people we are crazy for.

A human can never return the love a human is capable of giving. You find answers the day you give up trying and chasing them. The one you waste it all for won’t care as long as you care. You are part of the system and you can reverse it by walking away. Now some would use it as a trick to get the attention and end up suffering more. It’s not a game. People know when exactly you act like you don’t care and when you actually don’t care. They would start treating you exactly like before once they are sure you are back in the mess they enjoy.

However when you want to break free from this awful system there has to be something powerful on the other end. Now I won’t say health, wealth, baking, workout, work, passion, obsession, can set you free, NO IT CAN’T. How about we keep it real? It all starts and ends on one word: ALLAH. Search for Him get to know Him and see for yourself. See how it all is so different from what the society taught us. He is more beautiful than you know. 
ALLAH is the only one who can actually return that immense love you have the tendency to give. Far beyond the little love of the man: who was created weak and forgetful. We humans are ungrateful, forgetful and upon that we want someone to be there for us, understand us, protect us, and always forgive us. Perfection can never be described in the words of an imperfect being, but can only be felt. Your parents taught you what Islam, Salat and Supplication is but can they explain that experience?

Ever seen people who can be better than angels one day but worse than devil on the next? Yet crying on the day they are worse for they know where they stand. Who is better between (A) a wretched sinner who is guilty, conscious of ALLAH, and repents (B) an innocent who only worships his work, job and career?

Maybe someday it helps you figure if it’s worth the price you pay. So how many disappointments will it take you to realize you achieve nothing by chasing materials or human? If it breaks in then why not search, communicate and submit to the ONE who created you?

People of Sabr

Not just the weather but much has changed since the last blog-post. It’s hard to put it into words of condolence, the page with the heading 16th Dec 2014 stays blank. Before you proceed you should know, it is acknowledged that one can never do justice to it. It’s extremely hard to advice positivity when we can never imagine the suffering. No wise words of a common man can bring peace to a heart.  However this tormenting unforgettable tragedy couldn’t be skipped. For you can either be with the oppressor or the oppressed, there is nothing in between.  

After failing so many times best was to take help from the authentic, valid and reliable sources:

Surat al Baqarah 2:153
“O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.”

Narrated by Ibn `Abbas (RA):
The Prophet () sent Mu`adh (RA) to Yemen and said, "Be afraid, from the curse of the oppressed as there is no screen between his invocation and Allah."

When the whole nation was drenched in terror, agony and deep depression a survivor was asked to give a few comments. In the midst of all the chaos this little boy displayed so much sabr and outstanding courage. A primary school boy expressing such amazing positive view and upon that he kept repeating “IN SHA ALLAH” and mentioning the name of ALLAH. It is overwhelming to see such strong Imaan and complete submission to the decree of ALLAH. We should say ‘Ameen’ to all his supplications. We are proud of all of our brave and courageous people of Sabr.

Remember we have something that surely guarantees peace: KalaamULLAH. It is such a relief to think whoever submitted to ALLAH would never fail. They have already won it all no matter what outcome maybe. ALHAMDULILLAH

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

It’s not winter yet… Achoo!

In the city where winter sale arrives a few weeks earlier than winter season, comes a mediocre weather. I like to call it the confusion period where blanket means too hot and No blanket means too cold. Scorching Sun with cold winds would always invite some unpleasant friends.  Common cold, viral fever, sinus allergies or whatever type, gets a vast majority sick.

“Seasonal allergies” is overused term, so I came up with “Wintcreeps”. Eww? At least creative and less eww than my first too geeky thought: SPYWARE?

According to my experience there are a few mistakes we repeatedly make and let these bad guys win. Follow these simple rules and you will make it safe to the winters:

Rule 1: Cold Water

This one is the major cause at large and there is a reason for it to be. Scorching heat in the day time makes you crave ice-cold water. And in the following cold night, an unpleasant surprise awaits you. Switch to room temperature water, this little sacrifice can save your whole family much trouble.

Rule 2: Dress Right

Even if it’s disguised and confused, start to believe winter is already here. If it can give you a cold then start to work against it. This would be too much to ask from guys. My brother goes out at night in the exact John Cena like get-up all through December. And we know he would consider outfit changes only when he gets a cold, the second time. It is NOT COOL!

Rule 3: Eat Right

This is the point where only one ice-cream scoop and you would have a sore throat the next day. So please STOP! How about peanuts, boiled eggs, hot tea, or maybe coffee, don’t these already sound a lot better substitutes? Not just better, they also sound soothing.

Rule 4: Make Changes

Be more serious when you are preparing for sneaky spy winter before the actual winter. For it is much worse. Keep doors shut and fans switched off especially in the night time. Fetch and provide blankets to each and every member of the family, even if they make fun of you. And yes they will.

Rule 5: Spread the Word!

Since these WINTCREEPS are highly contagious thus only protecting yourself is not enough. Start to make the changes around the house. Make your family aware and adapt to these changes as soon as possible. There is nothing to lose here, flu and headaches are already too irritating to even think of.

I know it’s hard. Today I asked my Dad to wear a beanie and sweater when he was going out for Fajar salat. I insisted for 5 whole minutes until he started to laugh. Oh well I’ll unleash my marketing persuasion expertise next time.  So what are your shields against WINT... Achoo....! WINTCREEPS? 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Youth: Are you Muslim and Pakistani at the same time?

Latest cool cultures for Wannabes: Constantly Joke about how miserable your country is, curse it and blame it on others, criticize everyone for your failures in life and hit repeat the next day. This virus doesn't stop to an individual or social Media. Unfortunately this culture goes around many other trusted sources. Let’s remind our friends they are Pakistanis too, not the prince of Liechtenstein!

Fear of rejection: I overheard a business student complain regarding the biased approach to recruitment prevailing in our country. And according to his perception only 5% are actual deserving candidates to get the job. So why can’t he be among those 5%? Yep you solved the puzzle.
Crime popularity holds our focus on negativity. Fear is increased so much that it scares away talent. Throw your TV out of the window, it has no good news. Fear is a harmful waste product and should be treated like that. Factories don’t process on waste products they get rid of it in a positive way. You need your mind to work more on finding ways to accomplish your goals.

Weird Attitudes: I am an average Muslim still I hate when we Pakistanis make fun of characters and judge our Muslim brothers and sisters for their outlook.
People trying to Practice Islam to their potentials, already have harder trails than an average Muslim. They have bigger Heart disease called “Arrogance” to fight with everyday. We start to expect all the religion from anyone who starts to dress like a Muslim.
“Well he has a beard, he should AT-LEAST act like an angel!” They are still human, struggling with their own selves. And upon that we make it so hard for them. Have we never been to a crazy place called empathy?

You cannot say anything good about your homeland, your people, yourself and your future than please don’t bother saying anything at all. What example are we setting? This country started from scratch and in much worse conditions than today. However those Pakistanis were positive, religious, loyal and grateful people. We lost that unconditional love for Islam and Pakistan in the dust of continuous negative attacks.

Why can’t we be practicing Muslims and Pakistanis at the same time? Ouch! That hurt. Let’s face it we constantly play zigzag tug-of-war in between awkward cultures and Islam.  Road to success is not zigzag. You either follow Islam or you don’t. Hmm, aren't we doing it all wrong? 

Monday, 1 December 2014

Solutions: Forgetful? You won't FORGET this!

Once our professor joked about how his date of birth is a national holiday and hard to forget. If it’s that easy I thought I’d remember it. Two weeks later I was stunned to hear his birthday was last week. I told him I thought he said 32nd March! I know it sounds like an awful lies but trust me forgetfulness is one tricky twisted thing. I did remember the numbers, only flipped them, which might be some other wicked game of the mind. And what do you call forgetting calendars don’t have date 32nd?

Recently I read an article on zoning out. It explained how psychologists have found zoning out is simply our mind’s time management. Hence whenever we involve in routine tasks our mind unconsciously diverts its attention to crucial problems we are facing. Wow! And it makes sense as we know mind itself deletes unnecessary excessive memory without our awareness. Maybe the reason we forget names of some people or who they are unconsciously, is not so unconscious. This thought expressed in detail can get me in so much trouble, so yeah moving on.

Let’s jump to the solutions before I suddenly start to share blueberry cheese cake recipes. Here are some solutions which probably all forgetful people have already tried and still forget everything.

TricksNumbers have genders and relationships; it helped me learn Mathematical Tables. Now I want you to forget what you just read. Delete, delete, Delete! The point is tricks are tailor made for you; they break down the whole puzzle into small pieces only you have access to. Plus it’s fun or probably downright retarded. Still helps.

WriteIt is straightforward and we all were taught this at school. Unfortunately its benefit limits to places where you have access to writing devices. However we get outstanding ideas in the most awkward places if you know what I mean.

External helpThis is to ask your friends and family to remind you. It never worked for me; anyone I ask always forgets to remind me. And then they would blame it on you.

RemindersThis one is a waste of time for we all know you will forget to set a reminder. A forgetful person most likely needs a reminder to remind them to set a reminder.  So let’s just skip it.

Conversion: This is a bit hard but surely work wonders if you do it right. Connect it to past unforgettable experiences of your long term memory. I do it to remember difficult concepts.

Now the best one that really works is: you tell yourself ‘it is important’! Yeah it’s that simple. Don’t sweat it’s a part of being human that’s all. Did you know the Arabic word INSAAN means ‘TO FORGET’? Be thankful it’s not memory loss problem or you’d still be reading the first paragraph for the third time. 
Since you always forget to comment below so how about a snapshot? Say Cheese!