Thursday, October 27, 2011

They Once Had It All

Living near a kachi abaadi (slums) these days makes me wonder at times. What are we? We have everything at one moment and we can be left with nothing at all the very next moment. I see the old, the young, the kids and the infants around in filthy clothes eating and drinking things which we can’t even look at. The quality of water we use in our washrooms or the type of diet we feed our pets with sure is better than the one they eat and drink. But the question is: do they have an option? They of course have none.
The people living in this kachi abaadi near our university have migrated from Afghanistan for the reasons we all know. They had to leave everything they had there and come here to save their lives. They might have dreamt of a better future before they left their country. But, unfortunately, the worst awaited them in Pakistan.
The most disturbing fact about these immigrants is our attitude towards them. The disgusted look we give them, the way we hold our breaths when we cross that area and the way we push their kids away when they accidently bump into us. We never thought about working for their rehabilitation. We never thought about educating their kids, never fed them proper food, never even thought about providing them even a portion of what we have. If we don’t do anything for them; we have no right to treat them the way we do.
The good thing I see in that area is the satisfaction. I smell some strange sort of cheerfulness in that area. They have no electricity, their kids either sleep hungry or beg for food and eat, they wear the filthiest of clothes, they live in those mud/tent houses or even worse in the worst of weather conditions, they don’t even have a hope for the better future; but I still see the contentment on their faces. They never are depressed like us. We have all but we are all depressed and they have almost nothing and they seem happy.
We (including me) not only need to help them monetarily and morally but also have to learn some great lessons from them. First thing, nothing to be proud of what we have; what we have today can be turned into dust in no time. Second, try being happy and content in what we have; that content feeling has more power than any material thing in this world. Just give it a try, I am sure, it will bring in a positive change in our lives.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Pakistan Beyond Politics

So, news of the day is MQM enters Punjab. Majority of the people in Punjab despise the party and according to the social media; it was not welcomed in the province. Got to see many virtual fights, today, between the party supporters and the non-supporters which ended up in racist comments, abusing, swearing and what not.

MQM, no doubt, is the largest party with the heaviest mandate in Sindh but the fact is, apparently no matter what they do it will be hard for Punjabis to support them. Altaf Hussain and his policies are clearly not liked by the people in Punjab and it will be hard for him to get a decent place in the region. One thing that needs to be appreciated by the party is that they were allowed, by the government of Punjab, to stand in the province and gather these many people peacefully. When the fact is no other leader is allowed to go to the areas ruled by the MQM if they do not allow them. Like we saw what happened on 12th may some years back. Same is the case with Imran Khan; not allowed to go to Sindh. MQM supports democracy but government of Punjab demonstrated the real democracy, today.

And now, keeping all the politics aside, what we all saw was the ultimate disunity among the people of the country. Other party supporters bashing MQM supporters like anything and vice versa. Why do we forget that country is beyond politics? People went from abusing to swearing at each other just to protect their political views. Have we forgotten what happened in 1971? Do we really need separate countries just because we speak different languages or live in different regions of the country?

Country is facing many problems. Apparently no other industry other than the telecom industry is flourishing in Pakistan. It’s time that we all forget the political differences all over and get one. This is the time that we burn all the political party flags and be one. If we want to get rid of these political goons; we need to stop going for the better in the lot. We all know all politicians are corrupt and Pakistan can only become a better country if we will be united and will only work for the betterment of the country.

Unity is what we need at the moment. If we have unity, we can achieve all. Forget who is Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pathan; just work for the country. We can do it. We did it some days back when Pakistan was playing the cricket worldcup. When the people got out of their houses, it was under one green flag. If we can do it for sports; why not for other issues.

P.S. The political facts stated above are my personal observations (mostly from social media) and are NOT based on real statistics.

You can view the similar post on Students of Pakistan

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Our Attitude Towards Our 'Helpers'

Servants, nannies, cooks, gardeners, gate keepers etc., how do we treat them all? Do we really think they are humans and should be given an equal place like any other living person? A very common scene when we go out to eat in any restaurant is that a family sitting on a table enjoying their food,and somebody sitting alone on another table either having food or just babysitting the mischievous kids. Don’t you ever think how do they feel sitting on the next table feeding your kids? How would you feel if you are made to do this? Not at all good, I am sure.

Many people give an excuse that people like ‘these’ deserve it. God made them like this or it’s their own fault that they are illiterate. There sure is a percentage of people who don’t study themselves but then there are many who cannot afford the expenses of getting educated. The thing is God did give them what He wanted but then ordered US, the privileged ones, to take care of them. God asked us to give them a fair share of our income and that’s not just like that; it’s in return of the services they provide.

What is our general attitude towards the people who work for us? I have never heard a living person praising his/her servant. What we always hear or say is what he does NOT do. Never heard anybody saying my servant is really good, helps me a lot, comes on time etc. Worse than that is, whenever you find anything missing at your place; you always blame it on them. Why do we always think that the poor will always steal and do bad things? Why don’t we take them as normal human beings? Many of them are much more honest than their masters who sit in the comfort of their offices and bribe or do other things like that to earn more money.

Let us think for a second, what if all these people stop working for us. Will a
man who ridicules his servant be able to ‘make’ his wife do all the daily chores what his servant used to do for him? Or will a woman will want to stay home, give a pause to her kitty parties and do all the stuff? If you think of all the possible things you will HAVE to do once all these domestic servants give up on you, you sure will be thankful to them. Accept the fact that they are more like helpers to us all.

There sure is an international labour's day but did we ever realise who enjoys that international holiday? Its US, we are the ones who sit home on that day. We are the labour to somebody too, I agree, but then they are too. Shouldn't they be given a day off too? Most of us make them do more work than any other day because that's when you are home and can make them do it, yourself. They work harder than most of us. They deserve it more.

It’s not just that the servants are verbally humiliated; many domestic servants are, physically and sexually, abused too. It just does not happen in Asia, but everywhere. It is a very common practice in the Middle East that the servants are ‘imported’ from their countries and then kept in the countries forcefully. They are not allowed to go back unless their masters allow them. They are not only beaten up by the adults but by the little kids too. Some of the stories of the worst torturing come out but many go unnoticed.

There are many things we can do for them. First and the foremost is, STOP thinking they are any less than you. They are equally human as you are, or maybe more. After that, you can help them now and again financially. We all know what we pay them as their monthly salary does nothing much for them. We can get them new dresses on special occasions or just give them extra money so that they don’t feel less privileged. We can get their children married. We all say they are illiterate, but then who is to be blamed for that? We have money, we can get our children educated from any institute we want but they can’t. Most of us can finance their children’s education quite easily, but we don’t. Did you ever think why? Maybe because we think that the ‘servant’s kid’ will grow up one day to compete ‘our kid’? Why don’t we make our kids competent enough instead of snubbing others' children?

Do you think that the things or money you have today will remain with you forever? Is there any surety that it will? I don’t think there is any. The bread winner of the family who you are so proud of today can, God forbid, die or get paralyzed. Or if not that, floods, earthquakes or any other natural calamity can wash away all of it for you. You never know where that can take you. If we look around, we get to see many who, had everything yesterday, are forced to beg and steal today. Be careful when you degrade others, you can’t ever say when it can get it to you. There is no guarantee to anything. If you have everything today, you never know you end up with nothing at all tomorrow. Walk in their shoes a few miles to know how worst it hurts.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Enhance Creativity in Kids

The era we are living in is the era of competition. We all are striving hard to win, win some race that even we can’t figure out. If we think of it things always were like this. Humans are always after one another. We don’t really know why we want to win from our colleague, neighbor or a close relative; but we want to. We want to move ahead, reach to that level where nobody ever did. Children these days are under more pressure when compared to the people before. What parents couldn't achieve, they want their kids to accomplish. In this race for the fittest we never want our kids to waste their time to explore themselves.

Be it painting, drawing, sketching, composing beautiful musical notes, writing a soul touching poem or a prose; there is no living person who doesn't have the sense to create. It’s just that some talents need to be groomed and discovered and some ooze out of you automatically. Every baby is born with a talent. As he grows up, we try harder to crush that talent and force him to be what we want him to be. To be very honest, none of us wants our kids to excel in any field related to art. We always want them to grow up to be a doctor or an engineer or an accountant.

Art is a definite form of expression. Anger, happiness, excitement, disappointment, rejection and what not; they all can be expressed by any form of art. Children face all these at some time or the other when they are introduced to the real world. They get a better way to let out these negative and positive emotions once they know how to do it the creative way. Creativity always helps to keep the mental and at times physical health at a balance. It is medically proved that the kids who are appreciated to create things, no matter how ridiculous, grow up to be more intelligent. Their vision gets broader. They see and achieve what others can’t. They grow up to own a more balanced personality.

Every kid is born with a different temperament. Some kids are hyper active others cool and calm, there are many who are aggressive, some like expressing their feelings other like keeping all it to themselves. We need to figure out how we can make use of their positive and negative energies. Most of them can be helped out through art. Discover what your kid is good at. Encourage him to do what he likes doing. If he wants to take it to the professional level, let him. Getting into the fields like these is tougher when compared to gaining a degree in medicine or accounts, we understand, but not impossible. Don’t be afraid that your kid will lose. Give him all the confidence. If a kid has a passion to do it, he will strive hard to achieve it.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Child Sexual Abuse

Every other day we get to hear a news something like a kid hardly of age 4 or 5 got raped. What we do is watch/hear the news, condemn the incident, abuse the monster, say a few words for the victim (who hardly survives) and move on. Kids at that age are too young to understand what actually is happening/happened with them nor are they strong enough to defend themselves. The only thing parents can do is protect them from anybody and everybody.

The question is what is sexual abuse? When an adult or an older adolescent uses a child in any way for sexual stimulation it comes in sexual abuse. This can happen in many ways. When an adult touches any of kid’s body parts it comes in sexual abuse. Indecent exposure of the genitals to the kid is a form of sexual abuse too. If an older person makes the kid watch any sort of pornography, that also comes in sexual abuse. Actual sexual contact against a child, physical contact with the child's genitals (except in certain non-sexual contexts such as a medical exam), viewing of the child's genitalia without physical contact (except in nonsexual contexts such as a medical exams), or using a child to produce child pornography, it all comes in sexual abuse.

Do not be shy when educating your kid. Sit with him. Tell him what is sexual abuse. Give him all the confidence. Don’t always teach him how to be well mannered around his elders. Educate him how to move away from a person who doesn't make him comfortable. A kid always gets to know when he is touched in a bad way but he wont necessarily talk about it. If he comes to you and tells you anybody does it, don’t just accuse him of making up stories. don’t ever say to a kid ’that’ particular person cant ever do it. This will make your child more confused. Listen to him and take him into confidence. If you stop him from telling it to you once, he will never come back to tell you again. If a child does that, the abuser will get worst and you never know what can the result be.

There are many misconceptions about sexual harassment. We think only girls are the victims of sexual harassment. It happens many times that little boys are the ones abused. Don’t just protect your girls, protect the boys too. Its not just that men are the abusers, women do it too. Never think that there is a particular person who cant ever do it, anybody and everybody can be a child molester. If you think any of your close family relative or old family domestic servant cant do it, you are badly mistaken. Never trust anybody when it comes to your own children.

Many parents these days just provide modern facilities to their kids. A mobile or unlimited internet can also result in sexual harassment. It happens that the kids are sexually abused virtually too. If you are too ‘cool’ and too desperate to give all these things to your child before time, educate him first. A very nice article by Rabab Khan about educating kids based on a very casual incident happened a few days is here. Read it yourself and make your kids read it too.

When a child is sexually molested, don’t just think he will get over it with time. Forgetting incidents like these is more than impossible. It leaves a lifetime mark on a child’s personality. It happens many times that a childhood sex abuse victim becomes a future abuser. No matter how close the abuser is to you, never justify him. Always explain it to the kid what happened to him was wrong, the child never deserved it. The insecurity that takes birth in the child after the incident never dies. If you yourself cant do it, get some professional help to bring back the child to normalcy. Time does not heal every wound, some need serious attention too.

You can not protect your child all the time. As he grows up he has to go to school, has to go out to play with kids, or at times has to go to the market etc. Children who are old enough to understand things should be made aware. If parents can discuss family politics and can make them a part of it, they should be comfortable enough to talk to their kids about how they can become a victim so easily. He should know what he can possibly face once he gets out of the house. Don’t just protect your kids physically, mentally and morally; educate them too.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What do we prepare ourselves for: Marriage or a Wedding??

Pretty dresses, mehandi, jewelry, invitation cards, houses lit in and out and decorated with different kinds of flowers. Yes! You guessed it right. The wedding season is on. We see many people getting happily married around us these days. The above mentioned things and more are apparently the most important components of a wedding.
It all starts with the selection of the perfect spouse. The society we live in, it’s mostly that the parents select the ‘better half’ for their kids. Even if a girl or a boy chooses himself/herself the perfect spouse, they still mostly have to go for their parents’ consent. The selection process is totally different for both genders. While selecting the perfect partner, parents and the kids themselves generally do not look at the personality or the character, but go for the evident material things.
Media or the occasional real life stories have made both the genders so bitter against each other and the in laws that they can hardly expect any good from each other. Guys always think, before or after the marriage that his in laws are against his family and him. He always has it in his mind that the bride and her family are conspiring against him in some way or the other. Most of the guys think women marry for money and will remain married till the guy has it. But the fact is most of the women in our society marry men with nothing, help them gain something and remain with them till they have everything.
It’s not just the guys that have this misconception about the girls or their families; it’s the girls too. The daily soaps are very much penetrating in our daily lives and are poisoning them in many ways. The girls before marriage at times have this in mind built in that her in laws are or will be against her. They don’t like her and will make every effort to separate her from her husband. If we think of it logically, why will they when they themselves selected her (in most cases) and made her their daughter in law? It’s quite understandable that it’s tougher for a girl to adjust in when compared to the guy, but thinking like that makes it tougher for her. If she takes her mother/father in law as her mother/father and sisters/ brothers in law as her own siblings, it’s her who will be the most comfortable in the situation. Helping in daily chores or doing all of it themselves is not that difficult. We see it many times that the girls do a lot more in their own houses but complain about doing it when living with their in-laws.
We all mostly expect it from the girl that she should be the one compromising in all situations. If she has to take her in laws as her own family, she should be given the love and respect she deserves living in her own family. It is rationally impossible for anybody to accept strangers like that without them being kind to her. The guy’s family should accept the girl as their own family member. We mostly see a war like situation between the wife and the mother of men. I again call it a star plus effect. The mother should realize that she brought her son somebody who left everything for him should be given proper space. Same has to be understood by the girl, mother is the one who brought the guy up and they both can’t be should not be split apart. Many times its men to be blamed for it. They are the ones who lose the balance which causes a conflict.
The girl does not have to go and tell everything to her family. She should own the family she gets married in to. Their disrespect should be a disgrace for her too. It happens that the girls take every matter to her parents; unnecessary interference of the girls’ family in the issues causes many problems. Woman should be able to handle little issues themselves without asking their mothers for a suitable situation. But of course, if it really is unbearable for the girl to stay there, if she is treated badly or abused etc., she should never stay quiet about it.
Marriage is the most significant institution in a person’s life. It’s on the marriage’s base that the new relationships are built. Respect for everybody involved is the key point to its success. Accept everybody whole heartedly. Look beyond material things. Don’t just prepare yourself for the wedding, do it for the marriage. Wedding lasts for a day or two, marriage goes on for forever (in most cases). Why not make it a happy and content one?


Monday, January 3, 2011

Chocolate Mousse


Milk: 1 liter

Corn flour: 3-4 tbsp.

Milk powder: 10-12 tbsp.

Coco powder: 2-2 ½ tbsp.

Sugar: according to taste

Rainbow milk (evaporated milk used in tea): 1 small tin

Swiss cake roll (preferably chocolate): 2 large packs

Flake chocolate: 3-4

Chocolate syrup: depends on how much you like

Cream: 1 tin/pack

How to make it:

Heat milk in a pan and add sugar in it.

Mix coco powder and corn flour in water (make a thick paste)

Mix milk powder in rainbow milk. Put some water if it remains thick. (Make a thick paste)

Put the 1st mixture in milk and keep stirring while pouring in the mixture.

Put the 2nd mixture in milk and keep stirring so that it doesn’t settle down in the pan.

Keep the heat low and keep stirring gently so that the mixture gets thick.

Stop stirring when the mixture gets thick.

Allow it to cool down for 10-15 minutes.

Cut the Swiss roll in small slices.

Spread the layer of Swiss roll in a bowl.

Put chocolate syrup on the layer.

Pour the mixture in the bowl.

Put it in the freezer to settle down for 10-15 minutes.

Spread a layer of cream and chocolate syrup, mix both of them.

Crush flakes chocolate and spread it on top.