Blog


Loved in jubilation: hated in frustration!

Yes, I love you! I have always loved you.

You swept me off my feet in my early youth. So handsome! Did not know the meaning of ambition and passion, but on reflection those were the traits most impressive.

You made me feel liberated, around you the world was under my feet. I had the world conquered.

Those lush green fields, those bright long summer days at time marred with slightly irritating, at time much welcomed rain of Leeds, Manchester and London. You made my heart beat with anxiety for your ambition at times and at times made it filled with infinite joy. No one could have a beloved as dearest as you.

And then there was India. Do not recall the month or the date, all I recall is the euphoric feeling. Had thought that was the climax of our romance but I was wrong. We continued to add new dimensions to our romance in Middle East and Caribbean.

The climax however was Australia – in the disappeared sunlight, my knight in shinning armour engulfed my world with pleasures unparalleled.

The memory lingers; reflections force smiles inhibiting sealing the separation.

Why what we love foremost is not permanent? Why does a dear beloved have to betray? Was my love not pure or unconditional to retain your loyalty forever?

Your flirtations were ignored, your loss of ambition at times rationalised but what you did in London can neither be forgotten nor forgiven. I have become the taunt of the world. My life a haunting humiliation. The head in the air is now grounded.

I had lost my will to live post London but then in your usual unpredictable way you bounced back infrequently giving me some moments to smile and splash joy.

Moments are few and far between but my life is so entrenched in dismay and depression that I cling to the occasional opportunities of overwhelming delight. I definitely hate you intensely at times but hardly have anyone other than you to love.

You have lost your magic, you are unpredictable, passion may be there focus is not. Joy and sorrows are part of relationship. Am willing to stand by you in laughter and tears but unanswered questions about your honesty and integrity torment me but you are not alone.

I AM PAKISTAN!

My loved ones give me abundance of desperate tears. In love patience is an essential virtue. Maybe my patience has to be tested again and again. One day I will be rewarded. Eventually I will be a land of honestly honourable people.

Till then my beloved cricket team, you too are loved in jubilation and hated in frustration!




Ramadan Remembrance

So it is Ramadan – used to be Ramzan when I was a child! Do not know how it became Ramadan?  
Ramzan or Ramadan – the memories are many.

Do you remember your first roza? I do not. I remember the first roza of my sister though. My Grandmother made her Gulab Jamans and Jalabis which she did not do for me.

My childhood memories of Ramadan go back to me begging and urging Mom to let me fast for all my cousins and friends were doing so. My Mom stance was why fast if you are not required to do but for me fasting was a competition too which I was failing. What I never thought even for a second, in my continuous state of rage, that relapses of typhoid have left me frail. Fasting could have be lethal.

Mom would not have made me feel physically disadvantaged but was prepared to be the target of my fury and frustration. So typical of Moms!

As a teenager, fasting became an enjoyable habit. The family getting together at Sheri at the odd normally unthinkable hour. The occasional cliff-hanger Sheri where everyone’s alarm did not go off till someone got up at the last minute. The full house last Roza Sheri at my grandparents house…to think of this is the first Ramadan without anyone of them. They had a way of accommodating the likes of everyone at the dining table.
How time flies away. Many among us now fast in lands far away. Join us through skype at Sheri though to tell us tales of their diverse fasting hours and Sheri menu. Some fast on pasta, some on coke, some on self made quorma and parathas.  All carve for home cooked food and Moms!

As they narrate their Sheri stories, memories of my fasting for six years in Ireland come flashing. Those iftars with much missed friends at the mosque. How eating together from a tray was perfect etiquettes!  Those chaotic Sheris where not everyone was in a good mood and not everyone wanted to have the same thing. Those lonely Sheris too where there was much to contemplate over prayers and in terms of food, for cooking at normal hours is barely enjoyed, at those hours Coffee, Pastry and Pizza sufficed.

Hallmark of my fasting has been accelerating greed with Iftar time approaching. With siblings around, the greed would take shape of emotional blackmailing Mom to have a ten course Iftar after which the thought of food would be shunned till the next Iftar when the agony of yesterday was absolutely forgotten.

With wisdom inflicted by greying hair, has come restraint. Enhanced consideration for the thousands of people unable to have water and bread for Iftar makes the thought of ten course Iftar repulsive. Wasting food when many do not have even anything to fast on is a disliked idea.

Was in my childhood poverty not as rampant or awareness not as widespread or ignorance of childhood so intense that the thought of thousands without food in Ramzan never passed my mind?

I do remember Mom giving sugar, squash, dates etc. to people but those people did not look under nourished. They needed food and drinks but could have had something at home… or maybe not!

Maybe childhood induces fantasies and greying hair compels realism!

It is realism that is compelling sharing the joys of Iftar and Sheri by showing moderation in personal consumption and excessiveness in facilitating others nutrition.

May Allah help us in sharing blessings with others during Ramadan and forever!




SKMTH: Awaiting Answers!

  • July 8, 2013
  • Blogs

I need your help in answering a few questions that always creep in my mind whenever I visit Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital in Lahore:

1) Why do we not insist on parking the car in front of the hospital?
2) Why do we not argue when told that limited number of attendants are allowed along with a patient and food is not allowed?
3) Why do we not jump the queues?
4) Why do we not search for referrals to beat the appointments registers?
5) Why is the hospital including the toilets so spotlessly clean?
6) Why are the security guards not shouting to ensure they are being listened to?
7) Why do the nurses have a smile?
8) Why do the doctors explain and then perform procedures?
9) Why despite the overarching blanket of death; an ambience of positivity triumphs?
10) Why a large number of the patients are Pathans?
11) Why visiting Shaukat Khanum even under the most adverse circumstances leave you with an overwhelming feeling of national pride and achievement?
12) How are patients irrespective of their financial or social status treated equally?
13) How is merit maintained in processing of financial aid applications?
14) If merit and inclusion are practised effectively by Shaukat Khanum, then why not by other hospitals?
15) For Imran Khan the hospital was a dream, what inspired and has continued to inspire millions over decades to confer their confidence and cash on the hospital?
16) Why even when fingers have been raised, the confidence in integrity of the hospital financial management has remained generally untainted?
17) What will be Shaukat Khanum Hospital Peshawar contribution to improving social and economic landscape of KPK?
18) Do we not owe it to the catastrophes stuck KPK to rise above political differences by coming together for timely construction of Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital in Peshawar?
19) Is Shaukat Khanum Imran Khan’s most credible, most magnanimous gift to Pakistan? If so why- because it allows us to show discipline at times or because it gives an opportunity to be generous or because as a nation we need a beacon of hope that we can fondly boast about.

Await your answers!