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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...

Monday, 23 March 2015

Youth: Reached your Full Potential?

“My worst fear is, never being able to reach my full potential.” 
I remember his exact words. It’s quite impressive as long as the meaning to potential is not narrow or cheap. I couldn't resist but ask to clear the vague picture, as goals have to be specific. 
“Like raise my living standards…”
This answer was so depressing that all of it came crashing down. Didn't expect for someone that insightful and talented to be so limited. Crazy how we keep insulting ourselves by comparisons and competitions with the so-called "Higher Standards".

Truth is you will keep losing the game that was meant to be lost. However you’d find what you’re looking for the day you get tired of fooling around and go back home. Home where you belong, where there is no wasteful crazy race, or unquenchable thirst for more. Where there are no haters and oppressors. The place you unconsciously desire and work for everyday, but in all the wrong directions.

When would you see everything around us constantly feed wrong perceptions to our subconscious? Anything that increases your burden of guilt doesn't come under the heading of fun. It’s called sin. Remember everything we are exposed to, gets absorbed in our personality whether we like it or not. Most of the time we don’t see the monster we created until it’s too late. Worse is when it comes out in the form of dependents who admire you. Why do they expose youth to crime shows of envy, lust, arrogance, greed and people getting away with it?

Also wrong meanings to what you want and what makes you happy. The results would be quite depressing if all your life’s efforts where solely for the BLING BLING. Spoiler alert you have an EXPIRY DATE! There is a highest earning stage of a man’s entire life in the LIFE CYCLE. At this age we start to make enough money, we reach higher standards of everything. Expertise wisdom you name it, and then we perish.

No one follows the smart advises you throw at them on daily basis. Actually it frustrates them. The only way we can touch lives of people is when you show them how it’s done. The influences are generated by demonstration. Also they subconsciously or consciously remember how you dealt with similar situations.
And you can turn negativity around by exposure to the stories of people of compassion and humanity. Increase your exposure to the BOOK that liberates you from fears, distress, indifference and ignorance. It’s truly the only shield for your subconscious, dependents and dreams.
Now it's your turn to answer, what does full potential mean to you...?

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Secret Ingredient was NOT Love...

After so many years of experiments and explosions in the kitchen I thought of creating a cooking page. That’s downright hilarious; I’m way too lazy to run a single one. This far I've learned ways to remember difficult measurements in cooking. Truly it’s only about ratios. Forget grams and all that, just remember the right proportion and Voila! This brings in perfection, on the contrary still have to run after my brother to at least try the desserts made. “I MADE THIS FOR YOU!!!”
I was so restless the day I bought good quality dark chocolates. Couldn't wait to magically turn the goodness into chocolate fondant, or fudge or chocolate fondue. Then again too lazy for the hard work hence truffles was the finalized dessert. It had to be super easy and low in calorie. It would also block lame excuses of friends and family trying to escape it… MUHAHAHA!

Anyway this recipe was easy, process 1 cup of Nuts, Raisins and Dates in a food processor. Roll them into truffles and the actual recipe ends here. I customized it by coating these diet truffles with melted dark chocolate. It looked amazing, the glaze and the smell, YUM. The only problem was, it's 75% cocoa with Cocoa nibs and my forever zoned-out brain forgot to add sugar. Absolutely no added sugar made this delicious looking dessert taste something like bitter-(a bit sweet)-BITTER again! Today I realize what the phrase ‘All is well that ends well’ actually mean.
Maybe in some other part of the world someone might like it but my extremely Desi friends and family didn't.  We have a sweet tooth and the height of it is, the first dark chocolate I bought was thrown in the trashcan! No kidding. Well I didn't know cooking back then. Ah how ironic!

Tailor-made recipes for ungrateful loved ones are not easy. Harder is to hear their honest remarks for your hard work. It kind of reminds me of how ungrateful spoiled brats we used to be. And how our mother would cook tailor-made dishes for everyone. Sometimes she would cook extra treats just 'cause we didn't like some vegetables. 
I used to be brutally honest Cook heart-breaker but not anymore. When it’s good, appreciate. If it’s really bad, don’t say anything. For bad cooking requires the same amount of effort or more. Be thankful if someone cooks for you, and be patient if you cook for them.

Monday, 16 March 2015

A chance to make it RIGHT!

Listen to motivational songs, get excited and fired up to change the world. Thirty minutes later this hero goes to bed dead tired. I'm definitely doing it wrong. Finally I decided to share some of the brutal lessons learned after the mess was made. Some everyday mistakes we need to fix to live happier. If you are guilty like me, consider it a chance to ponder or to make it right.
1.     Never deceive the person who stands up for you. They are rare than diamonds, value them. Or else carry the burden of regret added in the misfortune you welcomed.
2.    When they give up on you leave them behind. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. Just keep doing your THING for yourself. When the sun rises all can see the light.
3.    There’s nothing worse than a liar. Be a fool to believe they would change for you. If they don’t, the blindfold of expectation should not cease your head. The only good change would be, you walking away.  Be that good change.
4.    Never depend on people. Do it yourself even if you were raised like a princess. If it’s your job and affect only you then take control. The hardest staff to manage is your own self.
5.    Never let anyone ruin your relationship with your heart. Heart is more sensitive than we know. Once crushed it might stop talking to you forever. Makes one worse than the DEAD!
Never do what you don’t feel like doing. Trust your instincts even if it costs you to get off the road in the middle of nowhere. When you don’t want to go, don’t go!
7.    Make decisions with utter confidence even if you are crazy indecisive. Once implemented, trust your decisions. You are the only person needed to stand by it, in order to bear results. 
8.    Let it go when you are ready. Stay here in solitude to moan a little longer if you like.  Roam around the lifeless room as long as you want. Paint black and white abstracts on every wall till there is no space, colors or memory left. When you are done, walk out of this place to never return. 

When you let go of what you don’t want, you will get what you always wanted. We’d start to live with no regrets the day we stop holding back so much. No matter how crazy it is if you want to do it, today is your chance. Stop missing out on all the smiles, opportunities and happiness knocking at your door.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Today's Weather: NOT SO GOOD!

Karachi has never been this cold, it’s the mid of March and yet no sign of summer. The cold winds decide to stay a little longer leaving everyone confused or sick. Along with the winds a massive wave of sore throats, flu and fever hits every house in town. It’s like weather playing fool of everyone who jumped on cold water and ice creams too soon. As usual my older brother includes in them.

Miss summer bad, and all the benefit it comes with. Workout gets easier, no unbearable cramps, or muscles pulled. Plus you can eat desserts without the fear of instantaneous muffin toppings.  Winters make your ridiculously resistant to daily activities let alone exercise.  My friends were so looking forward to some push from the weather. Fired up to hit gym, get in the best shape for a wedding.  And they all gave up last week when the stubborn winter refused to leave.

Important message to all the Ex-Macho people now in sickness, this time period is worse than winters. Keep away from cold drinks just a few more days. When already fallen in the pit an animal would too look for a cure. Humans have been given the intellect to understand, predict, and prevent harm. It’s sad to see how adults don’t understand their body reactions to food intake. Sometimes we know it’s bad but still are guilty of the same unhealthy patterns. Remember you need to stay healthy to protect the loved ones who depend on you. 
I may sound like a 60 year old party spoiler right now but I learned it the hard way. Day One: ice cream. Day Two: ice cream. Day Three: I’m on cloud nine thinking ‘MUAHAHAHA! Me ssho Sshtrong!’
Day Four: On bed rest for WEEKS with the worse fever EVER! (Er… Not to mention the burden of regret)
Moral folks, when the winds are rough, take good care of yourself…

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Whatever Happened to 'Live Your Dream'?

After being ridiculously judgmental and nosy what does this nation do best? We love to talk about our ambition in life. And continue sharing THE DREAM for years later. Till every stranger at the bus-stop finish your sentence word-perfect. Soon this desire becomes a boomerang. That returns to hit us right in the face.
It keeps knocking you down, Life ain't fair huh?

There are three types of dreamers that you’d meet:
  1. Mr. Cinderella
  2. Mr. Last resort
  3. Mr. Forgotten 
Mr. Cinderella _ “I will be...” This is the person who has areas of improvements and much to learn. Also they have the ability and capacity to reach there. They are appreciated for their talents. And everyone around them sees a star in them. However this person is passive. Why? They are waiting on their fairy godmother!

Mr. Last resort _ “Someday when I have enough time…” I don’t think so, when life is smooth and paychecks come easy it becomes harder to sacrifice. The enough time that you might get, will be spent on more quick cash. Not greedy for any sane mind would do so, the difference is dreamers don’t have a sane mind. They know passion and dreams don’t pay you instantly. It takes great deal of you to return grander rewards.

Mr. Forgotten _ “I used to be…” I have met a lost poet, a squash player, a writer, an artist, a musician who used to be in a band, and many other dreamers that I can’t recall. All gave up for seemingly legit reasons. No criticism there except for one thing. I've only seen them happy when they’d talk of what they used to be.

Life without desires is only a collar on your neck with the leash in the hands of people you love. Living without a reason and vision is worse than the life of a rock. Isn't 2015 enough to make you see years pass by like seconds? Get a grip before life slips right through! Living your dream is not a 9 to 5 pace, it’s a 24/7 of what you love and enjoy…

Friday, 6 March 2015

Frankly, Just Say NO!

((Brrring Brrring)) Phone Rings
[After a long tiresome debate to justify watching cricket is not a waste of time.]
Friend: Skype?
Me: No, I've work to do.
Friend: What work?
Me: (Me taking way too long to come up with an excuse, as usual)
 Friend: I’m all alone, I can’t count on anyone.
Me: Count on ALLAH alone, don’t depend on people for happiness.
Friend: I don’t, but even Adam A.S was sent HAWA R.A when he was alone.
Me: Yes… just like you have a HUSBAND!
Friend: Well he leaves for office! And I’m alone again!
Me: [Facepalm]
Friend: So are you coming?
Me: Fine! Only 15 minutes. 

She dragged me into it again today. Frustrating when you've never been a people pleaser and are extremely honest. However it’s hard to block too many emotional bullets on daily basis. Still we all play courage the cowardly dog once in a while: ‘Things I do for love.’

Lesson learned is to never get caught in a debate. It’s certainly a DEAD END! Should have just said, ‘No I can’t, over and out’. Any other way leads to a gazillion expectations.
We should realize an act of kindness is never initiated by fear or guilt. Stop being guilty you don’t owe anyone anything in order to be kind to them. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone either. Sometimes it’s our relaxation time in the entire day but the manipulator does NOT care. Remember if you don’t treat yourself right, no one will. When you don’t want it, simply walk away without guilt.

You can never reach your potential if you keep letting everyone control you. We cannot please everyone nor were we created to do so. When a friend wants your time (or money) but you can’t afford it, be honest, fearless, guiltless and straightforward. And if as a result this friend abandons you, consider it a favor you did yourself. Friendship ends the day it starts to appear as an infinite bank loan.

There’s a fine line between kindness and enslavement. This is something we all get blind to. People pleasers lose the entire game. Our religion doesn't teach us to be dumb and blind but to be WISE and insightful. Break this exhausting cycle and set yourself free from any enslavement of the ungrateful creation. 
Me: NO! (Hang up...)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Is your Confidence Level: HIGH!!!?

In an encounter with two college dropouts I found the main thing they lacked was self-confidence. They were brightest intellects who had stopped believing. Let’s retrieve our lost faith by understanding the cause and effect.

Past failures of life can make the present task appear daunting. Haven’t we seen many geniuses giving up their entire life’s work after failing just once? They keep lying there in dirt on every fall, and then complain for being treated like dirt. You wouldn’t want that, right? So here’s the deal, Extract the lesson from past failures and the delete the torment.

Keep away from over confidence. It happens when you set your expectations way above your potential. It’s good to be optimistic but your goal should always be realistic and achievable. Once you get to the next level then set higher goals. Baby steps ensure to get you there faster than a blind long jump.

Critics, the worse ones are always your own family. Even if you become a specialist your family will always see you as an amateur. You don’t need anyone’s approval or appreciation. Stand by your side when everyone else walks away. 

Fears will always be there, pay less attention to them. Concentrate on the things that reduce your fears of failing. Also change the direction of fears to help you achieve goals. Instead of fearing to let everyone down, try to fear the consequences of losing faith in you.

Doubts are your internal critics. These are definitely most difficult type of critics to avoid. Remedy is a constant reminder of the moments in life you achieved your desires. Display all the awards, titles or certificates in a place where you can see them on daily bases. This serves as a high impact slap on the face of the little voice in you.

Negativity that drains you (or would try to) is called haters. These are the people who hate everyone who set an example of endless possibilities.  They are daredevil who would go far off limits to destroy you in any way they can. You don’t need to worry for the ONE who created you gave you a remedy for it. I.e. ignore them and ask your Maker for protection.

Failure may seem a result of the external uncontrollable factors but it start from the inside. The inside critic you could have controlled. On every failure don’t we feel there was more than enough chance for our success? It’s simple; people who succeeded in this world were only the people who defeated their own demons. Simple conclusion calls for a simple question: Do you really struggle to beat the worst critic inside you? 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Stay Happy: To Survive a Rough Day!

A beautiful day in Karachi with warm sunshine and endless cool winds since past three days. Words of wisdom for people with sinus allergies: A handkerchief. On the contrary if someone had a bad day at work, home, or just by soulful discussion resentment over CWC 2015 with friends. Here are certain ways to survive a rough day.

When you know the problem but you can’t fix it. Try to accept things as they are and move on. First important step is to avoid the pity party or self pity. They both serve as rubbing salt in the wounds. Just walk away while they talk to you, or literally run if you have to. It will be worth it.  

Secondly find comfort in your own company. The most important thing you need in times like these is to make peace with oneself. You should always be the first person to forgive yourself. Never look for flaws in yourself or others under any circumstances. Weaknesses can be improved but imperfection makes you stand out and shine.

Watch on the desperate need to let it all out. Don’t go out telling it to everyone you meet. For drama is the least thing you are looking for today. You never know what kind of day the other person had. Hold it in a little longer you’d find a better exist for this frustration.

Avoid sitting idle in the place where it all started. As it might encourage irrational decisions and spread negative energy. Leave that place as fast as you can. Change the entire scene around you. Go to your favorite peaceful spot. Here is where you’d convert this negative energy to create a positive thing that benefits everyone.

An act of kindness can not only make your day, it can positivity change your life forever. Bad day is the best day to be generous and give out charity. Even if charity is a tiny good deed you can afford to do. A little effort to: feed birds, a Salam to stranger or just a smile to a fellow. Enjoy the day to realize Sami Yusuf is right: Your healing starts the moment you start to heal others.