Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back Then...

By: Rabia Tirmizey

Do any of you remember the candy floss man passing on the street outside your house and filling you with excitement? Were you one of those who would wait anxiously for those five minutes of your favorite Cartoons on PTV just before going to school and once more in the evening?  Do you remember fighting endlessly with siblings for your turn on the sole set of “game and watch” (the only handheld gaming device available then), a packet of Slims and a Frost juice pack making your day, or itching to finish homework and sneaking out to play on the street with neighborhood friends? Were you one of those who would know all tracks of the latest Vital Signs and Junoon albums (on both Side A and Side B) by heart? Were games like Hide and Seek, Kings and Dark Room the primary non-sport games you loved playing with cousins and friends? Did you wait for months for a dinner treat at a fast food restaurant, or a picnic at the Hawks bay?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Remembering the Birth of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah

By: Shazia Yousuf

On the birth day of the greatest leader of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, let us recall his message to us as a nation:

The creation of Pakistan has placed tremendous responsibility on the citizens of pakistan... 
It gives them opportunity to demonstrate to the world how a nation with containing many elements can live in peace and amity and work for the betterment of all its citizens irrespective of cast or creed...

Our objective should be peace within and peace without...
Let us impress the minorities by our words, deeds and thoughts, that as long as they fulfill their duties and obligations as loyal citizens of pakistan, they have nothing to fear...
We have no ambition beyond the desire to live honourably and let others live honourably..."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Igniting the Love for Urdu Language

By: Shazia Yousuf


“Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow.”Oliver Wendell Holmes
Language is not just a method of communication; it is a means of bonding which brings one closer to the culture to which that language belongs.



Monday, December 5, 2011

Youm-e-Ashura

By: Shazia Yousuf



Youm-e-Ashura marks a great calamity when the grandson of Prophet Muhammad and his family faced a tragic end. The loss was irreversible, the sequence of events extremely painful. The sad part was the fact that the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (s.m) met with such a painful fate! You need not be a Shia or a sunni to observe the youm-e-ashura or grieve over this tragedy.
Each year, at this time, we are reminded of the conspiracies and the plots that humans are capable of knitting for power, personal gains and out of jealousies. The tragedy of Karbala, was the greatest tragedy for the Muslims, but this tragedy keeps repeating in different forms till the present time.
Youm-e-Ashura repeats every now and then, when the only earning member of a family dies in a blast, or young sons of a family eat stray bullets in their chest to meet untimely death, or when women of a family are brutally massacred over petty family disputes.
It is time for us to sit and ponder whether to take this as a long weekend and enjoy, or mourn over the loss of our beloved Prophet’s grandson, or to remind ourselves of the tragedies this world keeps seeing.
The question is, will such tragedies ever come to an end?
 What comes to my mind at this moment is the following part of an ayat from the Holy Quran:  

Khalaq al insaan a fi kabad
[Man has been created in a state of distress]

Friday, December 2, 2011

Only When A Soul Departs

By: Shazia Yousuf


Day begins, day ends. Time is running fast; so much to do but such little time. There’s hardly time for anything. We are all the time busy in a race against time. It seems as if life would come to a halt if we stop doing all those things that we are busy with. Without even stopping for a while to realize what we are doing, we go on with that daily rut.

There are so many people around us, who we take for granted. We think we’ll talk to them tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. We plan to visit them, but something or the other which is more urgent comes up. We do think about them, but blame the busy schedule for not being able to give them our precious time. Some of our dear ones, we don’t even find time to think about. Let’s face it, we do this.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Eradicate Hunger

By: Shazia Yousuf

Hunger – How many of us actually know what it means? I am sure none. Even when we fast, we are sure that at dusk, there will be good food, enough to feed us and eradicate this temporary starvation. But can you imagine for a while, that you are fasting but you are not sure when you will get to break this fast? This is the case with millions of people out there. Some are dying and some being killed by their loved ones out of hunger, poverty and hopelessness.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Philosophies Never Die

By: Sadaf Chaudhry

George Santayana defines philosophy in its true essence:
"Any clever man may sometimes see the truth in flashes; any scientific man may put some aspect of the truth into technical words; yet all this hardly deserves the name of philosophy so long as the heart remains unabashed, and we continue to live like animals lost in the stream of our impressions, not only in the public routine and necessary cares of life, but even in our silent thoughts and affections."


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Conquering Your Fear

By: Rabia Tirmizey

If I was to list down the number of ‘my firsts’ I have thought a lot about, my first ever article would probably top that list. The reason why I kept on procrastinating seeing my name first time in print was because I wanted to see it with the most perfect article. The big question was what to write about. The first thing that came to my mind was to write about something that I am good at or have closely been working on. This was followed by the million dollar question that what is my area of expertise. By virtue of having worked in the financial industry for the last four years (probably the years that one would have been better off staying away from this industry!) I thought for a while that maybe this should be my first piece of writing. I grew excited and started penning down my take on the current economic situation, what the last few years have been like and what can be expected in the future.  Having written down a few lines, I realized that almost everyone already knows about the ongoing recessionary environment and writing about it would mean reminding them about it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

We Never Have Enough

By: Shazia Yousuf
Whatever we do, however much we earn, we never have enough. Life is a tough struggle these days. Inflation has hit us all badly. “Mehngai” (inflation) is the talk of the day. Vegetables – expensive, meat and poultry – unaffordable, bread and eggs – the prices keep increasing and the list goes on. Fuel, education expenses, electricity, gas and telephone bills are but pulse raisers! Only we know how we manage our monthly expenses! But come to think of it; though with difficulty, we do manage. Some of us might have stopped eating out at (now) expensive restaurants, but we have not given up. Some of us may have given up on wearing brands, but we still manage to buy new clothes every now and then, and especially at occasions. We may be struggling, but we are surviving!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sometimes When It Rains



By: Sadaf Chaudhry


When I think of rain I smile to myself and start thinking of times when being a child I used to enjoy it to its fullest extent, extracting all its pleasures. For me rain is always like a magical misty impression that brings the scent of wonderment and renewal.

It’s deliverance of eternal life by nourishing the earth and quenching the thirst fascinates me a lot. For me, rain is indeed a friend with many attributes that gives inspiration to poets, imagination to artist, scintillating face to earth, quenches the thirst of deserts, revitalizes our souls and makes us to forget our worries. But along with its mercy, it can also take vengefully. All its blessings are elbowed out when it rains for days without break and causes disaster in the form of floods.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pursuit of Happiness

By: Shazia Yousuf

Happiness – a feeling, an emotion, which can be seen on a mother’s face when she hugs her new born baby, heard in a child’s laughter when his father playfully punches or tickles him, visible in the beaming smile of a winning athlete standing up on the winner’s pedestal, in the contentment that is visible on the face of a previously hungry man, in the seemingly endless chirping of the early morning birds, in the rhythm of the pattering of rain drops, in the rainbow formed by the first streak of sunlight after rain, in the Divine presence that can be felt in the smell of the fresh vegetation. There are many shades of happiness that can be seen, heard and felt all around us.
Every individual is in the pursuit of happiness. Whether at work, or at home, or just anywhere, every action seeks happiness in return in a very subtle way. We may be unaware of this, but it adds meaning to every effort.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

6th September - Defence Day of Pakistan

By: Shazia Yousuf

6th September 1965, a memorable day, when Pakistan’s armed forces defended Pakistan from the Indian attack and safeguarded the borders sacrificing their lives with courage and zeal. This day is not remembered just because the borders were defended and a war won; it is remembered because on that day, the Pakistani Nation stood united like a metal wall against the enemy attack and proved to be a source of courage and zeal for the armed forces!
On this day, we must observe the anniversary of the Defence Day with same fervor, and revive those spirits that are fading away. This call is not just for the armed forces, but for the Nation, especially the youth to come forward, bring about a positive change within our beloved Motherland.
Let’s be the defenders of our Homeland, let’s unite for a cause.
Let’s defend our country from the negative forces attacking it from outside and within!
Let’s save Pakistan…
This song is dedicated to the Pakistani Nation…


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let’s celebrate Eid

By: Shazia Yousuf

Eid” - a synonym for colour, festivities, celebration, family reunions and happiness, a time when near and dear ones get together to share their joys. Women, young girls all decked up with new shimmering gota clothes, bangles, mehndi and Cinderella sandals make this day extremely colorful. Men and young boys in their traditional kurtas are no way behind in the Eid fashion parade.
Lunches, dinners and open houses, where guests keep coming in all add up to the beauty of this day. Not only relatives and friends, but families of drivers, maids, post man, the dhol wala who was apparently heard only during the last few days of the sehri are a prominent part of the guest list of every house hold. Eidi is a major attraction for all.
Traditional gourmet comprising sewaiyan, sheer khurma, mithais, cakes and lots of other delicious eatables decorate the dining tables and trolleys and everyone keeps munching on these goodies the whole day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Faith of a Five Year Old

By: Sumaira Hasan


I have a daughter who has recently turned 5. Lately I have been observing her faith and the level of belief she has in her God - and it never fails to amaze me!!! To be so young, but to have such a firm belief!!! It's really the simplest of things - things that you and I would never even dream of bothering our God with - but with unwavering faith she turns to Him and asks whatever her heart desires, and believe it or not, He listens and fulfills her slightest whims. 


For example, one day she found it too hot - and having been told that we have no control over the weather, and only God does - she just turned up towards the sky and said "Allah mian, I don't like it when the sun is out and it's too hot. Please don't make it so hot."


Monday, August 22, 2011

Justice and Spirituality of Hazrat Ali




Ali bin Abi Talib, son in law and cousin of the Prophet, first Shia Imam and the fourth caliph of the Islamic community. He was described by the Prophet as the ‘gate’ to the 'city of knowledge'.
I am the city of knowledge and Ali is the gate; so whoever desires knowledge, let him enter the gate.
Imam Ali lived physically in the shadow of the Prophet and absorbed spiritually all that radiated from him. The intimacy of the relationship between the Prophet and Hazrat Ali is summed up in one of the sermons of the Imam:
When I was but a child he took me under his wing…I would follow him [Prophet] as a baby camel follows the footsteps of its mother. Every day he would raise up for me a sign of his noble character, commanding me to follow it. He would go each year into seclusion at [the mountain of] Hira. I saw him and nobody else saw him…I saw the light of revelation and the message, and I smelt the fragrance of prophecy…
Here are some of the words of wisdom, spirituality and justice, that Imam Ali left for us to remember and to practice.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Starting Fresh

By: Shazia Yousuf

Mother Nature teaches so much about relationships, life, and its realities.
I had been a staunch believer of saving a plant and making every effort for it to bloom again; I had never believed in disposing off and starting fresh.
But I realized there are times when efforts don’t pay off and you cannot save a plant however much you try! The plant may live, but with decaying and infected leaves, this could even harm the other plants around. A rotting, withered plant gives a sad aura to the entire garden and may have a damaging effect overall.
All you are left with is to dispose off and start fresh – a bitter reality, but this is life!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pakistan - A Land With Great Potential





By: Shazia Yousuf

A land with great hidden potential, God has been extremely kind and generous.  A land so variegated and diverse, it has been bestowed with the Divine riches; its people, especially the youth being the greatest strength. The unity displayed during cricket matches or during natural calamities are examples of our strength!




The future of Pakistan is in the hands of the youth. What they sow is what the future shall reap. It is up to us to mould our future with education and enlightenment, to see a Pakistan, the way we wish to see.
Nothing that has been inflicted upon humanity, by humanity, is impossible for humanity to reverse. I encourage all of us to remember this always, and to carry this as a banner of a compassionate and caring people.
We have to fight against the elements that are making the roots weak. Face the realities with strength, know our weaknesses, and work on eradicating them with hard work, dedication, honesty and compassion.  
Meray des mein hein imkaan bohot, aas umeed arman bohot…"
[there are a lot of opportunities in my home land, a lot of hope and burning desires to do great things]
All we need is sincerity of thought and dedication in work. Let’s stand united and work towards a better Pakistan.
Pakistan Paindabad!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Let’s Indulge In The Ramadan Deal



By: Shazia Yousuf


With the arrival of the holy month of Ramadan, we see the storming of billboards all over the city with mouth watering Iftari deals. “Mc Donald’s Fast and Feast”, “(W)holy Chicken (at Nando’s)”, “All you can eat deals” and tons of other “Buy one get one free” meal offers swarm the billboards all across. With the advent of Ramadan, the entire country seems to be invaded by these inviting meal deals that tempt you to go out and spend money as if there will be no more food offers after Ramadan, or people would stop eating once the month of Ramadan is over.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Umeed (Hope) - امید


 



An urdu poem in urdu script followed by roman english


امید
فصیح خیری
*
دنیا میں اکثر لوگ ایسے ملے، جن کو اپنا اچھا - اچھا نہ لگا
ان کو سمجھایا تو ان کو میں سچا نہ لگا
زندگی کی دھوپ چھاؤں میں، رات دن کے گھٹتے بڑھتے، جانتے نہ جانتے۔۔۔
۔۔۔ سچ کو سچ نہ کہنے کی عادت سی ہو گئی ہے

لوگ پوچھتے ہیں۔۔۔ اس کا فائدہ؟
جواب دیتا ہوں۔۔۔ اپنی نظروں میں نہ صحیح، دنیا کی نظروں میں میں تو سچا ہو گیا
ہوں۔۔۔۔
کہیں سنا تھا۔۔ یا پھر پڑھا تھا۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ انتظار کا ٹہرنا ضروری ہو نہ ہو، انتظار
کرتے رہنا بہت ضروری ہے
امید چاہے کتنی ہئ نہ ممکنہ ہو، امید لگائے رکھنا۔۔۔۔ بہت ضروری ہے
سو انتظار کرتا ہوں، امید رکھتا ہوں۔۔۔ ایک ایسے وقت کا
جب میرا سچ، اور دنیا کا سچ۔۔۔۔ ایک ہو جائے
*---فصیح خیری--- *

Monday, August 1, 2011

The True Essence of Fasting

By: Shazia Yousuf

The true believer resembles a lute whose voice will not improve, unless its belly is empty.” [A Hadith attributed to Phophet Muhammad s.w].
For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is the month of obligatory fasting, during which one is required to abstain between dawn and sunset from eating and drinking.
The abstinence could go beyond the obligatory requirements to include anything that might stimulate the outer senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. This would mean anything such as violent images, strident sounds, gossip or slander, obnoxious or sweet smells, and so on.
It could even be extended to include the inner faculties, such as thought, memory, emotions and imagination, and all the attractions of the phenomenal world.
 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Eat Healthy This Holy Month (Ramadan Special)

By: Saima Ausaf
Ramadan is much more than just not eating and drinking. It is the time of purifying our soul, mind and body from impurities and to focus on the worship of our Lord.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan can be good for your health if it is done correctly. As the Ramadan fast lasts from dawn till dusk, the body's energy can be replaced in the pre-dawn and dusk meals. Treating the non-fasting hours of the day as the time to meet your body’s nutritional needs will help the fasting hours go more smoothly. ‘Overeating’ and having ‘feasts’ lead to decreased energy levels throughout the day. A little understanding and planning of what the body requires in terms of nutrition will help us carrying out our fasts in a better way. Here are some health tips, which if followed might help you boost your energy levels over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life's Puzzle

By: Zahoor Ul Islam
Yesterday while coming back home it was late, so we decided to pick the food on the way. We also didn’t want to get out of the car so we opted for the drive thru KFC and ordered the meal. Hasan enjoys kid’s meal. The meal is more fun as it comes with a toy and the meal box has puzzles on the outer side.
We reached home and finished our dinner. Hasan started playing with the toy and the puzzle on the box. The puzzle is usually about finding the right path to reach the desired end. There are four options at start and only one leads to the desired location.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bees - Ambassadors of Coexistence and Cooperation

By: Shazia Yousuf
As a child, I was extremely afraid of bees. When outside, in the garden, if I spotted even a single bee, I would rush back inside and not think of going out till I was sure it was gone. My father would casually laugh at this, and he would tell me that I was being silly, and that a small bee would not do anything to me. He would suggest holding my breath when a bee came near me and it would not sting. But I was a hundred percent sure this wasn’t true! I would ask him to spray insecticide on them so that I may play outside in peace. But he would keep himself busy with his work, casually ignoring my demand.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Atonement With The Absolute

By: Shazia Yousuf


Every object that we see around us is revealing. It tells us its character, nature and the entire secret that it beholds. Every presence explains to us all that it contains. There is music in every object and in every being, everything speaks the language of rhythm and tone.

A friendly person shows harmony in his voice, his words, his movements, his manner and his thought. An unfriendly person shows disharmany in all his movements, his glance and expression, in his walk, in everything. Every action may show harmony or disharmony – if only one can see it.
You can see from the attitude of a person whether he’ll be your friend or will end up being your enemy. You need not wait till the end; you may see this at the first glance. But you have to have an eye for it and you have to have atonement with God – The Absolute being.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Fascinating Route To Spiritual Salvation - Say No To Revenge

By: Sadaf Chaudhary

Spiritual salvation comes beyond the intellect when the self ends. One needs spiritual enlightenment to get salvation which is a state of being saved from sin and disasters. Undoubtedly, spiritual salvation is God gifted but it can be earned too. You can track yourself on a fascinating route which I think leads you to spiritual salvation. So for that we need to release and discharge our souls from the vicious feelings of revenge.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers' Day To All The Dads

By: Shazia Yousuf
A son’s source of inspiration, a daughter’s pride; the relationship of a father with his children is one of its kind. He is a friend in some cases, or at times a figure of deep respect; he is the royalty, the King of the house.
Though a king, he is the one who has to get up early in the morning without fail, leave the house for the entire day to earn and feed the household. No doubt a lot of fathers are supported by mothers too in earning a living, but in most cases, the father is the main source of income. He is the one who bears with the stress at work and humiliation too at times in order to be able to provide a comfortable home environment for the entire family. Fathers have no choice but to be the local branch of the money tree.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sunglasses

By: Zahoor Ul Islam
It has been quite hot today in Dubai; mercury has risen to 48 Celsius.  Being a desert by birth, Dubai’s summers are always like this; hot and humid.
My friends and I were going for a quick lunch to a fast food restaurant which is hardly 200 meters away from our office. Walking to a restaurant under the scorching sun at mid afternoon was quite an unwelcoming appetizer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Unseen Job Market

By: Muhammad Haris


Unsolved problems are called great unseen job market.
There are always many such vacancies available for those who are men of tremendous initiatives and are enormously proactive carrying their own weather in a go getter way.
Such men have learned to create values for themselves and are able to convince that they essentially represent solutions to those unsolved problems.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Traveler

By: Shazia Yousuf
I had been quite busy for the past few days, getting a couple of things done before I travelled out of town. Being away from home for a month requires a number of things to be taken care of. I had a list of tasks and would put a tick mark against each item as it was completed. Some of these tasks were job related, some included social responsibilities that I had got myself involved in, while others were just pastime activities that require regular attention. There were some very significant things to be taken care of before I left. I could also not leave any of those responsibilities undone, as it would disturb the lives of those who depended on them.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sometimes, We Just Need To Let Things Be


By: Sumaira Hasan

Lately, I feel as if my life has been like a whirlwind. Blowing this way and that, but not actually "doing" anything worthwhile or achieving something. It really gets to me at times and I sit and wonder "What am I doing?” I am constantly trying to do this, or do that, but really none of those things are of major importance, and it won’t matter if they don't get done (at least once in a while).

For example, today I came home and saw the light blinking on my phone, signaling that there was a message on the answering machine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Heaven or Hell?

By: Shazia Yousuf

"You, and you alone, get to determine whether you are going to react positively about something or negatively about something - or, interestingly, have no reaction at all. Your emotions are entirely under your control. Your feelings are what you want them to be." (Neale Donald Walsch)

Creating heaven for yourself or creating hell, is totally in your hands. In a tough situation, it is up to you to decide whether you wish to fret about it, or you would stay calm and handle things patiently. Have you ever noticed, when you are angry, or sad or feeling low about something, it is you who is suffering the most! No one around you can feel what is inside you, even if you let the storm inside to seep through you. How you respond to a situation is how the situation will appear to you.

I have often taught my ten year old daughter, to not react when someone teases her in school. Her reaction to their act is what would add to their fun, and not reacting would actually be a total spoiler for them!

During power outages, when we would fret and grumble, my father would tell us to imagine that we were on a snow covered mountain, and would make us to try to feel the cold. It was fun and a good past time!

Even God tells us to “…exhort one another to truth, and exhort one another to endurance.” Now the choice is in our hands.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Who Will Heal These Shattered Spirits?

By: Sadaf Chaudhry


No doubt 8th of March is dedicated to women around the world. On that day world wide the efforts of women are acknowledged by the rigid societies prevailing in the world. They also have a theme each year. Have you all had a look at the theme they designed this year? The theme this year is, "Equal access to education, training, science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women". Is it possible to bring this into life? These things seem out of this world to accomplish.



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Muslima Syndrome


This was a note that I found in my father’s diary, addressed to his children in specific, and to everyone else in general. It was a tribute to our mother’s gentle, loving, forgiving, God fearing, kind and generous nature. He wrote this after she passed away.
Reproducing this note here; in fond memory of our mother on her death anniversary.

- Shazia










Muslima Syndrome (By: Muhammad Haris)
My wife, my children’s mother, Muslima, kept on teaching me and my children by setting a living example all her life and even during her last days, that which she knew already without studying very deep into The Book.
Follow them in letter and in spirit if you love her O’! Children, and others – act like this:
 It was by the Mercy of Allah, that you (Muhammad) dealt with them gently and leniently. Had you been harsh and fierce-hearted, they would have surely broken away from you. So pardon them and implore Allah to forgive them, and seek their counsel in all affairs. And once you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah, for Allah likes those who trust in Him in whatever they do.” (Al Quran 3:159)

You Will Always Be Remembered

By: Shazia Yousuf

A perfect daughter, a supportive wife, a proud mother of seven (she always counted her niece brought up in her house as her real daughter), an encouraging sister, a loving mother in law, a very helpful neighbor, the greatest chef,  the most wonderful grand mother ever; all in all a great example of a person with perfect relationships! Loved and remembered by all with words of praise. Muslima – my belated mother.

A symbol of sacrifice since her childhood but never for once complained. She was the source of strength when others felt weak. She always stood up for others when they needed her. Weak at heart, she wept a lot, be it a moment of happiness or sorrow. Yet a symbol of strength when in time of need, she would stand up when others would fall.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rise And Shine To Enjoy The Breakfast Time!

By: Saima Ausaf

Breakfast literally means, “Breaking the fast” from the last meal consumed the day before. This could be 8-10 hours in general depending on the time the dinner was eaten the previous evening. Nutritionists agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and skipping breakfast is one of the biggest nutritional mistakes that people do quite often.

While you are asleep your body goes on repairing, building and renewing the cells. By the time you wake up, your glucose level is low and your body is drained of its fuel sources. Breakfast gives your body the kick start it needs to function successfully all day long. Glucose is the main energy source for the body and it is required to energize the muscles to cope up with the physical activities required throughout the day.
 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Every Bad Experience Is Actually a Learning Experience



By: Zahoor-ul-Islam
I had lower back pain for the past two weeks. The doctor suggested an MR. After a fairly long wait, I finally got the insurance approval for the MRI, and so I finally went to get it done at the appointment time.
I went to the MRI information desk. I was informed just a little while before my appointment time that I needed to bring some document from the insurance department for the paperwork. I had to rush to the insurance department at the eleventh hour!