Category Archives: Of relationships and other demons…

A Case of Exploding Love!

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I have always believed that birthdays are a special occasion.  We all grew up enjoying and feasting on our special days.  Some birthdays are even more special, because your loved ones surround you with their love, time and attention.  Today has been what I have been calling a Case of Exploding Love!  I am so full of warmth of those greetings that I am ready to embrace turning 38 this year! God is kind, and He sends His love to us through His special little angels that we see in the form of our family and friends.  My sister, little ms. Jaffri outdoes herself every year! I have been telling everyone that we all need a bit of Ms. Jaffri in our lives.  She makes you feel special – as if the whole world is revolving around you!

And that is the thing about love.  When we love unconditionally, its not about the time we dont have, or our schedules that are conflicting – when we love ’em, we show ’em, and we show up!

Thank you God for little blessings, and especially for loving little sisters.

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A note to myself, to cover all aspects of life: work, relationships, life in general:

Grass is not greener on the other side.  It is greener where you water it!

 

#NeverForget 

And think not you can direct the course of love….

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Today as I came back home to an 11-year old, who also returned from last day of the grade – I was met with a long face and distraught emotions scattered all across his face.  Okay I have been strictly advised not to disclose the ID in my blog so let’s just call him Mr. Sad for this piece!

I asked little Mr. Sad what is bothering him, and he mentioned how some good friends were leaving the grade and will not return in the next school year.  Given the seriousness of the situation, I figured it was not exactly the right time to check on the gender of the special friends – just focus on the subject at hand.  I sat down with Mr. Sad and explained how distance should never matter among good friends.  How one can always stay in touch in this amazing world abuzz with all sorts of communication tools! How if you are really close, you can always remain the best of friends and whenever you meet again you start from that point onwards.

What I did not want to tell little Mr. Sad was that actually sometimes out of sight is out of mind indeed! Like a good mother on duty, I did ask him if he said goodbye properly and exchanged contact details with the friend so that they may stay in touch.  What I did not want to tell him was that sometimes when we tell people how much we care for them, it is human nature to then start taking us for granted.

And then it occurred to me that I should let him explore the entagled web of life on his own. I sincerely hope that he is lucky enough to find friends who care for him, and stand by him always.

And that, when he does indeed take the plunge to share how he feels towards a special someone, he is lucky enough to be reciprocated a thousand times more and not be slapped with numbness in return!

Here’s to a life full of dreams come true and lasting friendships! For my 11-year old who does not wish his ID to be disclosed!  😉

Khalil Gibran

Of Valentines, Mermen and Flying Horses!

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Come February the 14th and all the media – social and electronic – starts a buzz with the nauseating hearts and declaration of love. A lot of Rumi quotations fly in the air, flower prices go sky rocketry and Facebook status updates become amusing!

Some critics post anti V-day passages upon passages (which still means they spend energy and time thinking about the day!) while some husband / wife/ fiancés / lovers / ex-lovers race on who has the better poem/quote to capture the day or who can instagram an ‘awwww’ out of the very critic!

I have certainly metamorphosed into a non-believer in the very fluff celebrated as the red- heart-shaped character that drives the world insane! Or maybe because at 35 you have learnt that aur bhi dukh hein zamanay mein Mohabbat Kay siwa!

My two year old niece, who is my heart and soul, has reminded me yet again about the Law of Confessions (I just made it up). Every time I would call aloud  ‘Z I love you!’ she would reply back with a mischievous twinkle in her eye ”I no love you!’. She goes around declaring her love to everybody in the room and when I would call her to me she giggles and says ‘I no love Taita’ .  When you love them and declare your love to them – they drive you crazy, because they know they can!!

In a world of instant access but distant relations, information over dose and lack of attention as we tab browse our way through life – February 14 too will pass as just another day!

But….

I would still like to believe that one doesn’t need a dedicated day to tell the other person how you really feel about them! My Law of Confession notwithstanding, if you are lucky to have found The One, remember that they are all like quicksilver in the hand –  you keep your fingers open and they stay, you clutch and they dart away!

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This picture was taken at a lake side, on a quiet evening. 17 January 2013.

Book Review – The Sands of Time (A Novella by Mr. Faisal Kapadia)

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I never really liked love stories. I always thought they were so distanced from life itself. Recently, though I had the chance to read a short story, the dedication for which warmed up the heart of this non-believer: – “…the strength of true love is in its endurance, not in its fiery fickleness”. The Sands of Time, written by Mr. Faisal Kapadia, a writer, blogger, and now an author of the captioned novella, from Karachi, Pakistan.

The book starts with an impressive preface by the author, whose patriotism glimmers through his words. Pakistan, in the current times is marred with blood and chaos – each day bringing one bad news to another. And yet, the author reminds us of the great potential of this land, which ‘speaks out’ to him, and this he says, is one of the stories from the land.

This tale starts near what seems to be the centerpiece of the whole story, the sea where one finds the main character, Saleh, in his adolescence. It is the story of this young crab seller that the writer weaves into the rich landscape that life is in and around the city of Karachi. The rise of this boy through his years marked by circumstance love and evil around him runs in parallel to the story of a girl called Laila belonging to part of the city’s posh class who grows up & finds the man of her dreams but along the way has just two encounters with Saleh which change her life forever.

The fact that the writer has the gift of transporting the reader into situations he narrates so well with his words is only elevated by his grasp of the local lingo and mannerisms which are part and parcel of this book rather than looking like forcefully inserted references which some use to make their books sound more rooted to the ground. This book lives and breathes the unending energy and darkness that can be found in Karachi and the people which go through its fast paced life before disappearing into it to emerge the next morning ready to run again with the waves that lap its shores.

You would find yourself chuckling in delight at Saleh’s clever humour and at times gaping in horror with a swift change and the shuffling of words which the author does so aptly. Every page is vibrant with action, and each character has a distinct personality and aura that speaks for itself. The story is sprinkled with all the right ingredients of a life of an ambitious man, the darkness glinting and interspersed well with the Saleh whose heart beholds the love of his childhood’s dream, – a love that withstood all the tests of time. The story is titled the Sands of Time because true love, is after all, eternal in its core.  Like the two connected vertical glass bulbs of an hour glass, the Sands of Time runs the story of Saleh and Laila in parallel and yet their story is deeply connected. It is with deliberate intention that I shall refrain from describing the plot of the story further. How else will you go online and buy it?

What also swelled my heart with pride was the recognition that a Pakistani writer was able to sell his book on the largest US online retailer ‘Amazon’ – http://www.amazon.com a ‘market place’ that offers many products including books in hard cover and the recent ‘Kindle Edition’ ebooks. Mr. Kapadia’s novella is available in the books section, you can search by author name, book title or simply click here. With the social media savy new face of Pakistan’s emerging readership, it should not take more than five minutes to download the ‘kindle version’ of this ebook in your desktop or your laptop – straight from the website.

The author writes in end to the preface, ‘…sometimes it is not the destination but what one witnesses along the way that matters…” an apt way to describe the brilliant, quick and profound journey this piece of writing takes you on, let us hope there are many more such stories to come from the writers quill in the near future.

When family chains are broken, they bring us even closer….

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28th November started as just another Eid day, with the usual getting together at my cousin’s place where we all meet for lunch (while some look after the sacrifice). Sometime after noon, my father received a phone call and then somehow everything became vague, and pointless…a young cousin had passed away and all I could see was his mother’s face, a beautiful smiling face from what I always recall.

Life is strange and brings with it even stranger experiences – you are busy catching up with life, complaining there is so much to do in such little time, sharing and laughing together with your loved ones, and then you hear about death in a near quarter and life comes to a sudden halt. Something pinches you and reminds you that to God we all must return… but it is often the ‘untimely’ or young deaths that shake you to the core. You are just so not ready for them. And that reminds you that no matter how old a person is, when it is someone from the family, you just cannot bear to let them go. While young deaths are sad enough as they are, it is often the grieving family and especially the parents for whom your heart melts. How do you tell a mother you are sorry for her loss? Nobody in the world can ever sum up even an ounce of pain that she goes through as a part of her is taken away. How do you tell a sibling that you are sorry to hear the bad news? Nobody can ever match the years of being brought up together and nobody can ever feel the sense of loneliness siblings perhaps go through as a childhood partner is taken away – forever.

When family chains are broken, they also bring the family together. When I saw my parents and my father’s sisters cancel all the planned events and rush to Khanewal to be with their cousins, it got me thinking what a blessing it is to have a family who loves you and supports you, and will stand by you in all times. They probably will not make it to the funeral as the drive from Islamabad to Khanewal is about 9 hours, but that’s not the point. They wanted to be with their cousin and that’s whats important. It’s the love you inculcate in your children in the wonder years of bringing them up, the sense of ownership of being part of a larger family that holds them together as they grow up and scatter out in the world. They may not meet each other often, but their hearts remain connected. And that’s when we all realise the strength and magic of a bond called family. And that’s what makes you stronger, even in the worst of your times.

A very dear cousin put up this poem on her page today, and I wanted to share it with you all, with a request to please say a word of prayer for Minhal Hassan Jaffri.

“When Family Chains Are Broken”

It’s never quite the same

But God takes us one by one

And links the chains again

A tender moment that brings a tear

A silent wish that you were here

Without a goodbye you went to sleep

But precious memories are ours to keep

A loving smile, a heart of gold

No finer person this world could hold

No words we write could ever say

How much you’re missed everyday

If tears could build a stairway

And memories could build a lane

We would go right up to heaven

And bring you home again.

Decaffeinated Ramazan!

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There are three kinds of people in this world: 

 First category comprises of one cup of coffee/tea a day persons, who enjoy their morning or evening tea/coffee, in the true spirit of a Lipton/Nescafe advertisement.

 Second category are the energizer bunnies who survive on tea and coffee (black please) to get through the day.  They also happen to be sad and forlorn de-energized bunnies during the holy month of Ramazan!

 Third category are the ones who I believe have achieved Nirvana in life since they rely on the sheer zest for life to get them going! Obviously they are only a handful, or so I would like to believe.

 Every Ramazan, when I face the dreaded decaffeinated situation, it makes me wonder how did we reach this stage of relying so heavily on tea/coffee that gets us through a hard day at work. For those of us who are so hooked onto the caffeinated drinks only know the crazy sense of zombie-ism during the first couple of Rozas (fasting), our system demanding the daily doses and in the tradition of maintaining our patience, we try and fight the yawns, but one thing is for sure: no work gets done on the first roza!!

 In the loving memory of my cuppa coffee and in my dreaded decaffeinated condition, I searched for some fast facts on the origin of coffee itself, ah The Blessed Bean indeed, and found some interesting observations:

 The word “coffee” entered English in 1598 via Italian caffè. This word was created via Turkish kahve, which in turn came into being via Arabic qahwa, a truncation of qahhwat al-bun or wine of the bean. One possible origin of the name is the Kingdom of Kaffa in Ethiopia, where the coffee plant originated (its name there is bunn or bunna).

There are several legendary accounts of the origin of the drink itself. One account involves the Yemenite Sufi mystic Shaikh ash-Shadhili. When traveling in Ethiopia, the legend goes, he observed goats of unusual vitality, and, upon trying the berries that the goats had been eating, experienced the same vitality. A similar myth attributes the discovery of coffee to an Ethiopian goat  herder named Kaldi and the Legend of Dancing Goats.

Did you know that the consumption of coffee itself was quite a controversial subject back in the days?  In 1511, it was forbidden for its stimulating effect by conservative, orthodox imams at a theological court in Mecca. However, the popularity of the drink led these bans to be overturned in 1524 by an order of the Ottoman Turkish Sultan Selim I, with Grand Mufti Mehmet Ebussuud el-İmadi issuing a celebrated fatwa allowing the consumption of coffee.1 In Cairo, Egypt, a similar ban was instituted in 1532, and the coffeehouses and warehouses containing coffee beans were sacked.2

 Anyways, the blessed bean has made its way in the hearts and souls of many in this part of Asia. While coffee has not exactly replaced the traditional cup of ‘chai’ (tea) in a typical Pakistani household, we do have our very own ‘phitti howee coffee’ (handmade cappuccino for the lack of a better translation) with lots of sugar and milk and cream.  Ashraf chacha in my office makes the most amazing phitti howee coffee we all love!!! Coffee is fast making its way through the corporate world not forgetting the starbucks-GloriaJeans-struck younger generation. Who knows, one day I shall open up my own starbucks franchise with a Barnes & Nobel outlet…wonders never cease to happen…(and that would be the day when horses would start flying and mermaids would appear on the Karachi beach…reality check: franchise cost…eeeks)

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This post is in the loving memory of my cup of Black Coffee that I miss dearly at work during Ramazan! Evidently, I subscribe to the second category. I would be happy if you leave a remark sharing which category you subscribe to, would be interesting to have our own ‘mini poll’.