Author Archives: Shaista

The Tao of Forty

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On April 22 this year, I turn forty – a milestone I have been looking forward to since last year! I always thought of forty as just a number, well a far off number when you are just in your twenties. As you come face-to-face with the famous Forty, turns out, it is pretty much a school of thought and a state of being!

Being forty is so liberating. Forty is solemn about the days ahead, yet grateful for all life has thrown their way – lessons, challenges and success all inclusive!

Forty has answered many questions for me and as my favorite saying goes, it has given me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

However as I once read somewhere, being forty is also like being a Panini sandwich– you may be the juiciest, richest part but you are still stuck between generations! Your children are growing up fast (Mommy of a 15 and a 9 year old thank you very much) and you see your parents aging too. You are definitely in the thick of all of life’s happenings not to mention your career too. Best of luck is all I can say! You will be needing it, rest assured.

A Forty’s playlist may range from Air Supply and swings onto Ed Sheeran. Forty will rock a Sufi qawwali any day. Forty will never understand how in the world Chance the rapper earned the Grammy for his songs, but will be sporty enough to bear the songs for the sake of their teenagers. Patience is a virtue you finally rock at forty.

Forty is about cherishing friendships, and cutting out the riff-raff from one’s life. Forty says things in your face, and has no qualms in accepting the truth! Forty will remember fond details with perfect accuracy from childhood, but will struggle locating their cell phone which they actually put in their handbag two minutes ago.

Forty knows that as they tab browse their way through this ever-fast paced life – they must remember to juggle their balls and that it is okay to drop a few of them. As long as they keep juggling the glass balls, never mind a few rubber balls they miss.

The more I think about the Tao of Forty, the more I begin to love it. I am ready to embrace my Forties and already look forward to what is next. Forty is cool. Be like Forty!

Finding that ‘Extra’ in the Ordinary

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I often think about why is it that the beginning of the year is always much more pleasant and relaxing than the rest of the year.  Most of us start the new year with a lot of work, planning the year ahead requires creativity and dedication. But why is it that the beginning is always far better, people you meet are happier; some even have that extra skip in their walk.  Come November, it is such a ‘Thursday’ of the year, with all of us barely surviving and looking forward to the year’s end already.

A well-rested mind my friends is what makes us happy.  A happy heart is what makes us be ambitious about how we will work throughout the rest of the year.  Rest is not just in terms of returning from a long home leave.  Rest is being at peace with one’s own self.

This year, whatever is left of it anyways – can we all try and not greet each other with ‘So how are you – busy?’ I often find this statement very amusing – the person asking the question always assumes that on your behalf already, with the risk that if you dare say you are not busy actually, might be held against you.  So let’s try this again today, ‘How are you?’ *insert pause* let’s allow the other person to come up with their own update.  Great social experiment I tell you, and no, you are not allowed to answer with ‘busy’.  Let’s dig out other nice adjectives!

As part of the ADB cohort taking this Breakthrough leadership course this year, if there is one take away for me it is this: Find that ‘Extra’ in the Ordinary around us.  As we push the mundane life of going about our business – let us all stay positive.  Let us be a kind mentor to those working in our teams, and a supportive aide to those leading us. It is not always possible to find one’s ideal and interests in our work or personal life but let us all try and make the best of what we are given.   Instead of complaining about the bureaucracy within the institution, or the complexities of managing relationships – let’s reflect on how we can be a better version of our own selves.  Let us all be more people-oriented, be courteous at the minimum to each other, and if we can manage to keep a smile on our face despite the workload, then to me, we stand as a winner in this year’s run!

Words that I write … 

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Just read these beautiful lines from W.B. Yeats, January 1892.
WHERE MY BOOKS GO.

All the words that I gather,

And all the words that I write,

Must spread out their wings untiring,

And never rest in their flight,

Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,

And sing to you in the night,

Beyond where the waters are moving,

Storm darkened or starry bright.
 

Love is keeping a promise anyways

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Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said.
“Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

The Price of Love

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Grief really is the price we pay for Love! Whether it is a loved one passing away, or a loved one far away!

I was remembering one of the most beautiful poems of E.E. Cummings, and I share it here with my readers:

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

– E.E. Cummings

 

 

Celebration of Life

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I attended this beautiful Celebration of Life event, for a colleague’s husband, who had passed away.  What was beautiful about this event was that she requested all religions to say a word of prayer for her dearly departed.  I was honored to be asked to represent Islam.

I was very touched by all the efforts to bring all the religions under the same roof. As she chuckled and said to me, “Somebody’s bound to get it right, and we hope that we have ’em all covered!”

What was really beautiful was the way all prayers repeated peace and love for the departed soul.  This is what makes us all human, converging in the silent memory of God.  The loved ones gathering in memory of the departed is a touchy reminder of living our life fully, not getting caught up in the entangled web of life to forget those who matter most to us.

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