Of people


The man was constantly on phone, rambling about his millions. From his talk, one could sense he must be a pretty busy guy running a pretty important business. I was not eavesdropping out of curiosity, nor must be anybody else sitting in the lobby outside a private business enterprise. We were a bunch of tormented visitors waiting in the lobby for our turns to see the person in charge. Each one of us was patiently putting up with his non sense in our own ways. I was trying to focus on the magazine I had picked up as recourse to avoid the bizarre situation and was increasing curbing the impulse to ask the person to shut up. Literally SHUT UP! On a number of occasions I have encountered this menace of public talk in high pitch, in hospitals, restaurants, schools, even in libraries.

Leave alone the etiquettes; we have the nerve to publicly discuss about private matters such as our financial issues, domestic scuffles and major & minor affairs of life. We seem hell bent to roll our sorry state of lives down the throats of others. But why leave etiquettes? What happened to this increasingly dwindling, and almost non-existent today, set of good old values? What happened to the motto of Live & Let Live? The space we need to breathe has been made to shrink to the point of suffocation. The respect for one’s privacy is ridiculed and denied repeatedly.

We are a bunch of rogues on roads, liars & thugs in private & public enterprises and criminals in hospitals; last but not the least, highly incompetent & mediocre professionals; and oh not to mention, shamelessly cruel while dealing with animals.

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A while ago I had argued about some people being less fortunate than others. I had insisted that the poorest of the poor and destitute are the most unfortunate of all. This is the stratum of the civil society which stands at the greatest disadvantage and lay exposed to the most misfortunes of life on daily basis, by the hour, by the minute. However today, I retract my words. I resent my myopic vision.

The poorest of the poor is not someone without money; he is the one who is devoid of love & compassion and the one who has lost his love forever and the one who has a life spent in an incurable disease. Today I met a mother who had lost her only child. All her wealth & wherewithal notwithstanding, she seemed worse off than my penniless maid with a polio-stricken & bed ridden child. I resent to have restricted my perception of misfortune to the lack of money. Money, the magical five lettered word, the only powerful catalyst (according to many of us) to achieve a comfortable life and to make dreams come true. I was so wrong!

God has his own incomprehensible & mysterious ways to fend for his people. He has his own cosmic designs for each one of us and no human strategy works in the face of the Divine Design.

That I was born a Muslim was a Divine Design; that I don’t have any chronic disease is a Divine Design; that I am going to live life to the fullest or otherwise is a Divine Design and that I would die on the day I am destined to is a Divine Design. There is nothing much left in my life if I take out all the aforementioned occurrences. My whole life has been predestined for me by the supreme entity. I may set out to put my whole wherewithal at work in the pursuit of a dream, however if the fulfillment of my dream is not chalked out in my fate, all my wherewithal & paraphernalia notwithstanding, it will not come true! Such is the persistent of the Divine Will! We humans are so helpless it makes me wonder where the human endeavor fits in, among such powerful forces as fate & Divine Design.

Only recently I heard this adage from a friend

“Socho mat janay do” which, interestingly, can be interpreted in two quite opposite ways.

“Socho! Mat janay do” and “Socho Mat! Janay do”.The adage serves to make a point against negativity and pessimism. The placement of exclamation mark plays a world of difference in the meaning of the phrase. It practically transforms the negative into positive or positive into negative, depending on the mindset of the interpreter (Think! Don’t let go) or (Don’t think! Let go) Whoever coined this phrase wanted to show the duplicity of words and pose a challenge to cognitive instincts of humans and their ability to interpret words. Sometimes actions can be as deceiving as words; more so in recent times.

So the question is how to read between the lines; how to see the glass as half full instead of half empty and last but not the least how to counter the negativity & pessimism and replace all this insanity with optimism.

Quite recently, if a friend would renege on her promise or a colleague would be found trying to stab me in the back, my first reaction would have been one of shock and disbelief. I would cringe with disgust and try not to have to do much with such a crafty person and even if I had to, I would be at guard but experience have proved this strategy a failure.

First of all recognizing that someone is trying to play the word game or acting nice is important. Becoming cynical is not what I am suggesting; however watch out for people whose vested interests might overlap with yours. Watch out for those on whom you are unduly dependant on. Avoid the fragility of circumstances and situations as much as you can, however I believe most of the times its just fate that brings you in the middle of something unpleasant. Sometimes all the planning and caution proves in vain.

After overcoming your subsequent reaction of shock and disbelief, patience is the virtue you would need in abundance in handling the malice. Smile a Bring-It-On smile and focus on the damage done. “Socho mat! Janay do (Don’t waste yourself writhing in rage over the perpetrator, focus on the damage done and think of ways to repair)

So the wrong-doer should be left alone to continue the persecution and work on his malicious agenda?

No if he doesn’t stop at this and if he can pose further threat to you.

And yes if the circumference of his malicious actions and words doesn’t converge on the boundaries encompassing your being.

Faith is another virtue you should call forth. I believe whoever does harm comes to harm sooner or later. There is a divine entity at work who is the best arbiter. Don’t dwell on negativity! Run away from it as fast as you can.

Feel gratitude for what you have and aspire not for what you don’t. Nature makes it own course for you. Persist on what you believe in with faith and positive mindset. And most importantly, nourish and uphold the nobility of thoughts, words and deeds. Odds are you’ll be an odd one out. That notwithstanding, more power to nobility!

The other day i had to fill out a form at a government office. Under the occupation field, the only applicable option in my case was “Housewife” or as i call it sarcastically “The wife of the house” I think its time we should ponder over changing this term and opting for something more sensible and logical.

It accentuates House more than the Man she is married to. I know House and Husband go hand in hand in most cases and the woman can not let any of the two stay ignored, specially in a conventionally Pakistani and asian set up. For example all the men want their houses to be clean and well managed when they come back from work. And if i may divert from the subject for a while, also if the woman finds it hard to do everything alone, it is the duty of the man to get helper for her, if he can afford. Some women get so obsessed with the houses (Cleaning, maintaining & beautifying) that their husbands and kids start suffering. Likewise some men turn the lives of their wives into livinghell because they want certain things to be done in certain ways in the house. Coming to the point,  the house is still very much in focus off course and an essential part of a matrimonial life that can not be ignored at any time but it is not the structure of bricks and sand that the woman marries. She marries a man made of flesh and blood and ideally the one possessing a caring heart and a kind and just conscience.

Both husband and wife make a House together with mutual respect and understanding. It is their relationship nurtured with respect, understanding of eachother and love that builds the house. Although most of the managing responsibilities of the house lie on the woman that sometime wrongly make us associate the woman to the house more than the man, and also because the earning responsiblities primarily lie on the man that require him to spend considerable time outside the house, however “Housewife” is a pretty lame term. Under this context the status of the man should be “Workhusband”

If we take the role of the man and the woman in a marriage into account then none of them can be given more priority than the other. Although women are not rewarded in monetory terms for working around the house and raising their kids and in the absence of a price tag on their services, their hardwork in hardly acknowleged. But this does not mean they work any lesser than men; or their services less valuable than men.

I propose the term “Housemakers” for women staying home.

What seems like rational and logical to one person might seem like illogical and idiotic to the other. Naturally all humans are distinctive, with their own different backgrounds, their distinctive upbringing, their own personalities and beliefs. Better way then is to reason it out, if possible, with each other. So that each one of you vents out and makes himself/herself  heard if not understood. Evaluate the issue with ratinality, calmness and open minds, without violating each other’s integrity. If the one agrees to reason at all that is. Holding yourself for a long time might be harmful for relations. So say it out most of the times!! When one is more likely to impose one’s own logic and beliefs on the other whether the other agrees or disagrees, problems not only remain unsolved but only aggravate.

 Irrational thoughts occasionally occur in the minds of all people. Intelligence does not make someone immune to irrational thought. These thoughts typically clutter our minds with feelings of resentment and distaste. Sometimes they are based on internal defense mechanisms we develop to mitigate personal anger in an attempt to avoid facing the truth about ourselves or our immediate circumstances. If someone imposes stringent expectations related to a stressful issue on themselves or their close companions, irrational thought is likely to set in, and all parties involved will probably experience needless emotional grief.

Passionate perceptions of an event made by someone in distress can seem crazy from a third party perspective. This craziness is simply the sum of stress and irrational thought. These thoughts allow the distressed party to remain the victim while avoiding all situational responsibility. One must learn to break this momentary negative thought process in order to achieve continuous stability in their life and in their relationships.

Here are 10 irrational thoughts that rational people often fall victim to at one point or another:

  1. Mistakes are never acceptable. If I make one, it means that I am incompetent.
  2. When somebody disagrees with me, it is a personal attack against me.
  3. To be content in life, I must be liked by all people.
  4. My true value as an individual depends on what others people think of me.
  5. If I am not involved in an intimate relationship, I am completely alone.
  6. There is no grey area. Success is black and failure is white.
  7. Nothing ever turns out the way you want it to.
  8. If the outcome was not perfect, it was a complete failure.
  9. I am in absolute control of my life. If something bad happens, it is my fault.
  10. The past always repeats itself. If it was true then, it must be true now.

Your life will be more productive if you learn to avoid this type of negative thinking.

Courtesy: http://www.marcandangel.com/

Today while talking to a recent friend rather an acquaintance, we stumbled upon money talk. I wonder why my almost every discussion with a male converges on money. Do men generally think themselves as money pundits or is it i who is eager to find out more and more about their mysterious”hard earned”commodity. Whatever the reason may be, I liked the discussion that followed.

He was of the view that women should not hold on to their careers once they are married. This responsibility should primarily rest on men’ shoulders. However impoverished the living standard may be, the women should keep themselves to the houses. He further went on to explain how Pakistani parents used their daughters’ higher education as a mean to marry them off in decent & well to do families. Further usage of their degrees should be a matter between their spouses and in laws. He also expressed how he feared to marry a girl who might put up a fight for her career. Then my husband happended to chip in the discussion and with a look of disgust he said “Duniya may asay asay mard hain kay toba toba. In auroton ko achay mardon kee qadar karni chahiyay paisay ke nahin” Later on both of them declared that “Aj kal ke larkiyan” do not put up with the ups and downs in mens’ financial conditions. “Buray waqt ke sathi nahi hain ajkal ke larkiyan” i heard them say.

I heard this discourse with calm. I knew my chances of convincing them, over this ever “smouldering” issue in mens’ minds, were dismal.

I had to defend my fraternity however fatigued and perplexed i felt after listening to a conversation reeking of prejudice.

I told them that the times were changing. Those parents who, in the yore, allowed their daughters to study so as to, at the most, read and write, were nowadays sending them abroad for higher studies. “Those girls are still getting married in decent families” i told them. As a matter of fact, in some cases the higher education has worked in the girl’s advantage in terms of better Rishtas. Once the marriage takes place, it should be a mutual decision between the spouses to decide about the girl’s career. And i told them that according to my information, men are being more considerate than ever about their wives careers. Its no more a flat “NO” In fact i am pleasantly surprised that conservative communities such as Multan, which is my husband’s native town, have taken a turn over this issue. Not only my mother in law, who is a housewife, vociferously wants me to work but also an uncle from there, who i met some days ago, expressed how earnestly he wanted to take his daughter to USA for her medical degree.

As for “Buray waqt ka sathi” issue, the marriage rate in Pakistan and India is still among the highest in the world.

However, as if to vindicate what i had thought before i had put up the defence, the guys remained unconvinced!!!