Wajeeha: the little Qinqi girl

I read your story in the newspaper today. I did not know whether to cry with shame or to beam with pride. What forced a nine year old to drive a Qinqi rickshaw in Charsadda district– death threatening poverty or the overvaulting self-pride to save your family from begging and charity? Words fail me in praising your current determination but worries seize me in predicting your future happiness.

Sadly you belong to a society that would generally support a girl as long as she is dependent on the society. The moment however a girl, especially of the section of the society, to which you belong decides to become independent and hunt for employment opportunities beyond teaching, nursing and beautifying. She becomes the object of society’s contempt and disrespect. Her desire for a decent respectable independent life becomes an unforgivable crime.

A 9 year old girl struggle for survival has to be scorned upon. You are apparently being made a laughing stock. This must be hurtful. My heart bleeds for you. Hundreds of dangers you face. I wish I can protect you from this society.  You are too young to be on the road. You are too young to be working for sustaining yourself and your family. You should be playing with dolls and dreaming of their weddings.

I can only pray that Allah guards you and gives you a bright future– I wish I could do something for you but other than wishing I cannot help you. I belong to the middle class that is too busy in sustaining itself.

You go to school. This is heartening. You dream of being a teacher one day. Wajeeha, my wish for you is that among the many glorious achievements of your life; you do become a world class teacher. Do teach your students to respect those whom life has given only two options – to be receivers of whimsical charity or to be creators of a resourceful life and they dare to choose the latter option!

Source: In the driving seat-


Boys at Mall Road

I had reached a conclusion some time back that our youth in general are aimless, without direction and bored. Thus recently at the Mall Road Murree as I saw boys indulging in shameful activities, I disdained them.  Embarrassed I looked away towards my family -uncles, aunts, cousins, their spouses, nieces, nephews and my parents and then the penny dropped!

Here I stood surrounded by a highly educated family where there were always people to tell me tales of their journeys, of inspiring experiences at work and universities, of personalities who have invented enterprises and empires, of books that nurtured dreams, of movies that generated aspirations. There was always a shoulder to cry on and a pat on the back urging to go on and hunt for more dreams. Flexible but essential discipline, the sense of right and wrong, human respect-I learnt observing my elders. There were never any barriers only values.

My family is my greatest asset. For the boys on Mall Road were their families an asset or a liability? Did they appreciate their values or abhorred them? Could they relate to their families conversations, expectations and matters? Were they at Mall Road because they were running away from their families and aiming for a complete disconnect with them? Probably yes.

The challenges of coming from a family where education is an exception not a norm must be onerous. Managing the complexes, conflicts and self limiting beliefs must be overwhelming. Frustrations may come out in shameful acts like the ones on display at Mall Road.

But who is to be blamed for their shameful acts, for gifted youth going waste – ME or the boys? Blessed with all the capabilities to positively change the lives of these boys but selfishly only changing my life, I needed to be blamed and disdained for not only my inaction but for being judgmental.

In the moment of self discovery I looked around myself- how can I positively excite the boys, utilize their energies? Murree desperately needed a clean-up, should I motivate them to do that? In eagerness I took a step but a dinner, family video and family talk awaited me – some other day someone else better than me will certainly do it!


Dreams: unlimited


Shahid Khan Afridi -in bidding a conditional farewell to you, I am tempted to draw parallels with a man you idealised – the legendary captain and player Imran Khan.

You are the embodiment of today’s Pakistan – self destructive, self contradictory,  crying conspiracy, yet immensely talented, gifted and emotionally energetic. The potential to achieve wonders is tragically inhibited by myopic vision and self limiting beliefs. You could have been Pakistan’s second World Cup winning skipper had you dared to dream beyond the semi-final.

Wish you had turned to history – how your super hero Imran Khan had inspired the down to dumps team to an impossible stunning World Cup victory. Between despair and celebration the decisive factor was one man’s obsessive ambition of  relieving the sufferings of thousands of cancer victims of his country.

Afridi – you would argue you were not driven by any such obsession but if you had the vision, focus, discipline, rational patriotism of Imran Khan you would have realised at stake was not the World Cup but the future of Pakistan.

Had you lifted the World Cup in India, not only would have millions of tragedy struck people danced and laughed endlessly, inspired by the reality of an ordinary Pakistani from a mediocre background lifting the World Cup, they would have positively changed Pakistan. They would have at last believed that if we rise above the challenges, politics and so-called conspiracies we can make Pakistan the country we would be proud of.

You blew it all – but you do have a chance of redemption. You owe it to the common Pakistani to come back overpowering all the obstacles and then win each and every game and score a century in each and every game. The next World Cup has to be lifted by Shahid Khan Afridi.

Impossible – but then everything you have done in retrospect has been impossible   – so like a true hero dream on unlimited and do the impossible for the sake of the country that loves you blindly and give them dreams unlimited!

To blog or not to blog!

As people around me became bloggers, I did not feel left out. I very much appreciated that despite their extremely hectic schedules they had the commitment and energy to express opinions on matters they felt passionate about. I was content with commenting on their blogs and inviting them to events about which they could blog. My friends are business thinkers. They want Pakistan to have business culture and governance that attracts investment and growth.

This is exactly what I wish but if I was to blog I knew it would be for reasons something beyond better businesses. It would be for telling stories of hundreds of Pakistanis who may never make it to top 100 most powerful Pakistanis lists but would one day be influential in making Pakistan a country that we would be proud of. Through their selfless relentless efforts at education for all, justice for all, better environment, leveraging information technology for social and economic development, mentoring –eventually they would make Pakistan a country which would be a celebration of equality, justice, fair play, diversity of opinion and beliefs and peaceful co-existence. Their smallness of means would pale in comparison to the greatness of their sincere ambitions.

I knew if I was to blog it would be to share these stories of triumph of hope over adversity, of action over talk – stories, nationalities, characters that have left a lasting impression on my life – have helped me remain positive and hopeful of an enlightened future.

My blogs would inspire dreams – something I reckon in the clutter of distractions, destructions and delusions we have forgotten – nothing is more destructive than bored purposeless youth.  To blog I thus had to convince myself that the blogs would inspire dreams, nurture ideas, incite discussions, disagreement, ideas exchange hopefully leading to positive actions. They would have to be entertaining, making people smile, think out of box and positively reflect.

If I blog… would I be able to achieve all that I wish my blogs to achieve? Are my objectives unrealistic? Maybe yes maybe not. In this predicament having spent many months I have decided to give blogs a try. I may fail but that is the impossible least. I may succeed and that is a maximum must. I may never inspire anyone but I visualize I may. One has to dream, take a risk to achieve something.

So I blog …… infrequent they would be but reflection they would definitely compel.
Talk to you soon!