Hajj ~ A Discovery (part 2)

Assalam Alaikum dear brothers and sisters,

This post is in continuation of my previous post Hajj – A Discovery (part 1).

Like I mentioned in my previous post, we were blessed to be able to have had performed Al Hajj this year.

It was an enlightening experience, to say the least. In reality, it was a road to self-discovery as much as understanding where I could, possibly stand in this huge universe, in terms of my love for my Allah swt.

Living in Dubai comes with its own set of ‘tiny’ drawbacks. We tend to become rather self-centered or self-absorbed, as you would, in any fast-paced and diverse metropolitan city.  Time is a commodity and we are almost always, utilizing to its best.  Grabbing fragmented moments of joy, as you attempt, in futile, to race against the merciless movement of the clock hands. Sometimes, you need to gain momentum in life. You need to stand still and figure out your place, in your own life and that of those close to you. You need to figure out, just how deep is your relationship with the Creator.  Where are you heading ? And regardless of how high you fly, you will still need to get a grip with reality, for your final abode is deep within the breasts of mother earth.

The days spent in Al Hajj, particularly in Muna (Mina) were an eye-opener. It unveiled  me to an unchartered territory of my own behavior and tolerance.

I resided in Muna (The tent city) with 11 other women under a single concrete tent~ surrounded by hundreds more tents.  It took me a few hours to come out of the shock of being one of the 12 to sleep in a makeshift dormitory !! (Did I mention I had braced myself for a similar situation, if not worse ??)  🙂

Most, if not all, were Urdu speaking from Uttar Pradesh( a northern state of India) or Delhi. Mainly three age groups  60+, 40+ and 30+

Allah swt has blessed the Muslim Ummah with two strong traits namely Sabr (Patience) and Shukr (gratefulness) ~ The Hajj is an excellent time for both of these attributes to be tested !

You are in Ahraam, in that situation, as a guest of Allah swt. What an amazing honor !! And what is it that we do when we visit someone special ? We maintain our dignity and put our best foot forward in every possible way.

Years before, we learnt that every action has an equal reaction. You get hurt and you hurt back. But in Hajj, (as it should be in our routine life too), one must maintain his/her dignity and tolerance. One of the most crucial lessons, I learnt is to restrain myself.  It is not easy becoz you have just left the protection of your shell, you are out exposed and you want nothing more than to please Allah swt.

patience in hajj

There will always be people ready to push you in a crowd ~ question remains ~ will you push back ?

  • you are sleeping on an uncomfortable bed,
  • the people around you may not smell the best,
  • they speak loudly to eachother,
  • they may eat snacks (which they bought with them from their home country) which gives out an unusual smell and worse, loud crunchy noises,
  • the introductions seem to take forever, with each one, wanting to discuss, their pregnancy deliveries, their family structure, their photographs, their daily schedule, the stories of their departures from their home country, right up to their experience so far.
  • you realize, people are far more focused towards the meal times than the salaah times.
  • and then their almost NEVER content with the amazing food to be had, in the middle of the desert !!!
  • lack of comfortable and continuous sleep can make you a switched-on walking-talking time bomb !! and yet you keep reminding yourself, the REAL purpose of being here.
  • you realize 5 out of 12 ladies, snore and you have no escape from that relentless drumming of octaves 😦
  • you realize, there is always one person, who selfishly wishes the lights to remain switched on, so she may read her dua books ~ late into the night !!
  • and some may also be inconsiderate enough to sit right over your head, and read tahajjud salaat in loud-enough voice !!
  • you realize your personal belongings are gradually becoming a thing, for all to “lend” !!
  • and then there are those clashes in debate sessions about the benefits of a joint family, or that children should be educated in convents, or even the recipe discussions !!!
  • endless amount of door knocks, from the spouces for the ladies in the tent !  All this ~ when one can easily relay the message on the mobile phone.
  • for the ladies in perpetual hijab, it is a quiet a trial. Especially when some ignorant spouces tend to drop their necks in, like ostriches trying to communicate with their obliviously relaxing wives.  Ofcourse, they were better than some of those, who assumed that we were their appointed pigeons, to relay messages when their wives awoke !!!

Women !!!! Shaitaan really has it easy !!! Women make his job pretty convenient.  He just has to play the fiddle around a tune of  ideas of greed, lust, temptation, anger, selfishness and confusion on women and the lives of all the men, next door is played havoc with in just a matter of minutes.

Luckily for me, Allah swt found an exceptional way of keeping me protected from gheebat and unnecessary loose talks.

  • My throat was choked with phlegm and as such, my voice was a mere exhausted coarse whisper. Luckily I had passed the stage of frequent coughs and moved into the sorry stage of  carrying a small plastic bag, and a couple of toilet rolls, for the constant flow of mucus.  Initially, I was embarrassed with my medical condition, not a pleasant sight to see someone spiting into some tissue or blowing one’s nose into a tissue so frequently
  • In addition, inspite of the several over 60 year-olds in the group, I was the only one carrying my loyal folding chair with me !! Naturally it got lent pretty often too 😦

All through it, I had to constantly remind myself, to continue making dhikr.  Its difficult to focus on your salaat and your tasbeeh, when so many distractions  surround you. The longer and harder, you focus on your dhikr, the more the reward ~ naturally. But its not as simple as that.

patience in hajj2

Gradually, I began to realize, coming from my own tiny world, what a large world existed ~ with people of such varied tastes, needs and aspirations, that Allah swt had to deal with.

I realized from some of the stories, how fortunate we had it in life.

I realized I was grateful for a little over a million (if not easily more) blessings that Allah swt had showered me with.

I also realized that most Indian/Pak muslims are rather fickle minded.

  • They come up with a ridiculous theory about not eating certain foods coz it may cause a cold !!! Eg, Tomato ketchup, yoghurt etc !!! Yes, I am referring to some rather seemingly ‘educated’ people !!
  • When dealing with a medical ailment, we tend to ‘assume’ “kissi ne kuch karwa diya” as in, ‘some one has cast a spell’, sorcery, witchcraft etc, rather than believing that it was genuinely a case of appendicitis !!!!!
  • We have a tendency to turn to all sorts of QUACKS for so-called ‘treatments’ ~ rather than the conventional route of medical doctors inorder to treat our ailments.

I had already mentioned in my previous post about the hygiene habits or rather, the lack of them 🙂

Consoling myself, that it was for a mere couple of days and that, it was a test of the sorts from the Almighty himself, was helping. But I pondered over this thought for sometime, was the Almighty actually trying to bring this change in me, to be more tolerant and aware of other people’s habits, nature and characteristics ! Was I being prepared for something higher and deeper ? Was I gaining any momentum in my quest for pleasing Allah ?

While I befriended each one of the ladies and bid farewell, after reaching Medina. It occurred to me, that Allah swt enfolds a lesson in each of our tasks.

Some of us, tend to commit to these tasks without so much as batting an eyelid, while some of us learn the lesson “WE WANT TO LEARN” while there are still some, who might truly decipher the code as he meant for us to.

patience in Hajj3

  1. In any case, I feel, I now find myself more tolerant and aware and slightly more forgiving than I was.
  2. I realized that I was the impatient one ~ they were just driven by their own conveniences
  3. I realized that I was self-centered ~ happy to be couped up in a corner with another English speaking broad minded family. It was my initial comfort zone.
  4. I realized that we tend to place people into virtual pockets and judge them on those basis.
  • The filthy rich women with no class, lapping up all the gold jewelry just to gain some recognition
  • The cultured advocates wife, who kept a firm thumb inspite of a sophisticated language
  • The tag-alongs who were so limp, they really had no decisive opinion of their own
  • The tabligi-jamaat ladies who spoke fluently in English, much to the amazement of the others.
  • And then there was me, imploring Allah swt to bless me with guidance and tolerance to bear them all !

Gradually I realized that each one of them, was fighting their own battle silently. Many silent prayers were being made ~ many silent tears were being shed and many quiet hopes were raised. For that moment in time, we all were in it together ~ each with his own individual issue, his own complex, insecurity, ordeal, trial, suffering. We were all there together, looking after eachother’s needs, our belongings, our luggage, our food and our chappals (slippers )too !!

That feeling of being together, inspite of not having ANYTHING in common except your belief in Allah swt and being at a certain place, performing specific rituals, and making small and big sacrifices just to please the Almighty, is a very unusual but special feeling.  We met as strangers and parted as sisters.

If that’s not self-discovery ~ what else can be !!

May we all discover ‘THAT”  amongst the 1 billion muslims in the world today, that one feeling of “brotherhood/sisterhood” is enough to bind us all together, inshallah. Ameen.

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday Treat bags and A special boy.

May 11 1999 My oldest son, Bilal was born, May 10 2002, exactly 3 years later, my youngest and third son, Eman was born. Now for those of you with kids placed so closely in birth dates, I dont exactly know how you go around making them feel special !  Well, in a way, I’m saved from all those complications coz we dont celebrate birthdays, well atleast not in the traditional way carried out, all over the world ~ Cake, song, birthday bumbs and whats worse is this new ‘thing” about smashing chunks of cake over the birthday persons face, clothes etc, which is not only disgusting but also being ungrateful to the food and the many bounties of the Almighty  (cake in this case).

When the kids were smaller, I would send some goody bags with them to school for their classmates and take them out for a “MOVIE” which we generally watch only on special occasions or visit their favorite activity parks like kidzania, lou lou al dagongs, magic planet etc. Now that Bilal is just entering his teens, its really difficult coz Eman being 9 still wants to do the same things while Bilal would prefer paint ball park or the bowling alley ! Now thats really a row between the two birthday boys.

Truth be told, its a celebration for me. I turned mom for the first time. All those beautiful and traumatic memories of their pregnancy and delivery come, flooding back on these days.  Its really all too special for me coz these guys are exceptionally understanding, well behaved and just a whole bunch of fun to be around with. Ofcourse, there is that one guy who feels totally out of place coz his birthday falls in July ~ he is not made to feel special by his friends becoz schools out for summer holidays. And you see “FRIENDS” is what its all about !!!

Well, for Eman, these are the goody bags I made for his school.

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For a couple of years, after Eman was born, when they didnt understand the concept of birthdays and such,  I used to take the guys to meet this particularly special little chap who has been in Dubai Hospital from alittle after he was born and probably will stay there for the rest of his life.  His name was Aboudi.

I was having a very complicated pregnancy with Eman. I was in my 6th month when they admitted me much against my wishes,  for severe bleeding. Sawaab was just 9 months old while Bilal was around 3 years. Even now as I pass Dubai Hospital, I watch the 5th floor visitors lounge window and remember how helpless, I used to feel, knowing that both my babies were miles apart in the day and were having such a disturbed time in the evening. Those were such desperate times. Sam would struggle to keep some order in our lives between visiting me in the hospital and managing the babies. And then just as things could’nt have gone worse, Sawaab’s bronchitis devoloped into pneumonia. I remember being on the 5th floor pre-delivery ward while my baby was admitted on the second floor. What a rucous I created when I found out that evening !!! Inspite of my state, nothing in the world could hold me back from being with him. I suppose you call that a “maternal thing” but at that point, I just knew I wanted him just as much as he wanted me. What a huge fight I had with my consulting gyne to release me and release I did get !!!!!!

 It was at that time, when I shifted on the 2nd floor to look after Sawaab that I saw little Aboudi. At that time, he must ave been around 3 years. Cerebral palsy. He was tied with bandages to the cot lest he harm himself. A fair child, drooling away with eyes that I felt were imploring. The nurses communicated with him and somehow he did make some movements to respond. A large part of the day we was sitting by the corner of his cot, watching and sometimes even made to sit of the stroller.  He was a futile cause … he was another one of those, children of a lesser God. My heart ached when I saw him for the first time, I remember, hugging him and later crying away when I saw my own child. No one ever gave away any of this background until one day, one of Aboudi’s favorite attendents, who had become very attached to me told me that he was dropped off at the hospital emergency department by a driver late in the night.  What a heartless mother or did I speak too soon ? No . . . .  She was a heartless woman. To dump a 10 day old baby just becoz he was probably never going to be like all the other kids !!!!!  Nobody claimed him. He was a waif. It breaks my heart to think, that no one in this whole world loves  that little tiny boy with such a huge disease. No one even knew of his existence.  No mother to comfort him, no one to hug him, embrace him with kisses upon kisses, no one to wipe his tears and fears. How cruel. 

Aboudi made me realize that I had no pain at all.  Aboudi gave me that first time feeling of what it feels like, to be in this world ALL ALONE with a huge handicap. The sisters in the ward treated him with affection and dignity and I am so grateful that they did not do it as a part of their job but for humanity.

For the next 3 years, I kept visiting Aboudi with my boys and some toys in hand. Until we moved to the Ranches and life took on a different pace all together. Often I have seen in documentaries and movies about orphans, abused children or such and my heart goes out to each one of them but Aboudi was the child who actually made me come face to face with that situation and I realized I was really no match for his spirit and resilience. I believe he has suffered tremendously but as if it is some solace,  in the hereafter, he will be one of Allah swts blessed ones. Inshallah.

Amongst the many many things that Aboudi made me realize long back was also that birthdays, anniversaries are not for spending lavishly on parties but on fullfilling small and big dreams with those who matter the most to us. Spending in the way of the less fortunate, a hospital visit, a trip to the home of seniors and yes, also creating special memories with near and dear ones. Bilal has has only three friends through out the year and he wishes for them to somehow be a part of “his” day while Eman has an entire school which has been his “BEST” friend. Now isnt “that” a task !!

If you are interested in knowing about Aboudi’s present state, please do comment and I shall reply.

Safa Park.

Last Wednesday was Manu’s annual sports day at Safa Park. He was so insistent that I attend, which I managed to easily skip for Bilal and sawaab. But not Manu. He insisted.

It was a very “happy” morning, with clouds looming and the rain had poured earlier that morning, so it smelled and looked so lush and green.

 So anyways while I was finding parking, as usual late, I realized how rarely we, as a family visit parks. Maybe its coz we have a large and beautiful park right infront of our house or maybe, living in a “DESERT” region, we are now more acclamatised to the MALL culture. Which ever, I loved the experience. Met with some other fantastic moms and completly enjoyed the morning.

It also took me to some 19 years back, when i had first arrived in Dubai and my brothers family wanted to take me out to Safa Park being the ” IN THING” those days. I remember, how my sister in law had gone on, about how far it was from town. Ironically I now reside 3 times further and Safa Park almost seems right in city now 🙂

How a city has grown !  One thing peculier I noticed was the park has all of the trees, grown in this region. oh and what I meant by that was that, generally a park would have alot of palm trees but here they had all the different types of arabian trees.

I promised my self to bring everyone in the family for a proper traditional picnic to safa park one of these days, inshallah.

Enjoy the pics.

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Goody Bags for school.

This is one of the larger efforts that I put in every year around this time.  Gift packs for teachers and students in my boys’ classes.

So a large part of last week was spent making dozens of tags and wrapping the gifts. What was really special this year round,  was that I let the boys help me out with it and you know, as “ms perfecty” as I am, I really enjoyed letting them have fun in the process !  My boys chiped in happily and had a blast while at it   It was purely a team effort. 

This year we made alittle over 70 bags for students and 30 chocolate bars for teachers. .  I think the pictures explain everything

The gift tags are digi stamps except for just one of them which is handstamped. The small bags, I got in one of my trips to Malaysia. They are so cute. Wish I had got scores more ~ They are so handy.

Well from what I hear, there was a riot in their class, with kids actually wanting to trade in stuff,  to get their hands on those goody bags !!  Wow ~ The boys are so excieted and having a blast. Makes all that effort worth it all.

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Child Marriage !!

 

Observe the expression on the girl's face sitting on the right ! Priceless :)

A six-year-old boy told his father he wanted to marry the little girl across the street.  

The father, being modern and well-schooled in  handling children, hid his smile behind his hand.    
   ‘That’s a serious step,’ he said.      

‘Have you thought it out completely?’  

‘Yes,’ his young son answered.  

‘We can spend one week in my room and the next in hers.  It’s right across the street, so I can run home if I get scared of the dark.’                

‘How about transportation?’ the father asked.
 ‘I have my wagon, and we both have our tricycles,’   the little boy answered.

                
The boy had an answer to every question the father raised.                

       Finally, in exasperation, his dad asked, ‘What about babies?  When you’re married,  you’re liable to have babies, you know.’

‘We’ve thought about that, too,’  
the little boy replied.  
             
         ‘We’re not going to have babies.                
Every time she lays an egg,

I’m going to step on it!
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxo
 
        NOW THAT’S BIRTH CONTROL-!        

Playing Santa in January.

Today was Samie’s last vacation day and lo ! feeling so sad that he wont be enjoying the relaxation with us from tomorrow. This vacation although was the first where we were in Dubai but it was so much fun and calming. There were no obligations, no stress, no forced shopping, and definetly no early mornings !! It was truck loads of fun.

Sam arrived rather late after picking up Eman from school and before I knew it, there were heaps of presents he bought for all of us. Okay so let me start with me, he got me this marinade tray with board, a full set of knife set AND, AND AND ………. He also bought this really handy tool box. You see sam generally offers his salat in my studio and wonders how I manage to create anything in the middle of all the  clutter and chaos in my studio. This nice man wanted to make it easy and get my space alittle organized so voila, what a lovely and thought ful gift.

Oh yeah, and the kids got something too, they love washing Sam and my car, but by the end of it, there are gallons upon gallons spend on the shower so he got them the pressure kit for washing the cars to make the chore fun and more economical for us.

Oh and how could he forget “the other” kids. Pepper has claimed the new catnip and cat scratch tray as his own. He has strongly placed it as not limit zone for poor Keiki. 

There isnt a day that passes by when I dont thank my Allah for blessing me with the most compassionate and thoughtful man. I wanted to share the pictures with you’ll.

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On the other hand, have you wondered why husbands come up with the most practical and productive gifts for their wives and where does all the romance disappear with chocolates and flowers ???

If I were one of em thankless women, I would be thinking there are vibes I am getting from these gifts like

” Lady. We need to eat more bbq meals ! 

” Get your chaos Organized. Woman !!

” Wash the car more often boys” !!

Last but the most important : Get those paws  outta my couch and into your own turf !!

 USE that scratching pad !!!!! 

But thats just the humor in me .. have to have the last laugh now 🙂

New Year’s Eve at The World’s Tallest Tower.

A Very blessed year to all of you reading this post ! 2010 came with a mixed bag of fortunate and very unfortunate events like salt and pepper but finally we can put all that behind us and move forward.

To all those of you, feeling low right now, please remember, it could be worse. Please try to see where you are fortunate in so many other ways and dont despair your situation. There is so much more we should be thankful about. Good health would have to be right there on top of that list ! Loneliness is a dread but atleast being alive and in good health is better than being with selfish and calculating companions. Please friends, Keep the faith.

Well for me the last couple of weeks were total relaxation.

A couple a good news : 

  • I won the basic grey blog candy. Which was a first for me ! If you havent won anything yet or if you have won too, you know exactly how excieting it is winning something. Especially something you really like. It may be sometime before which I receive my prize though.
  • I am cleared of my tumor which I was on treatment for over the last 6 months for. That is really “GREAT” news and a relief !!!

For the last decade we have spend every New Year eve in our home country but really felt so alienated and dependant on others becoz we really were there in our own country only as ‘visitors’ !  And finally this winter we are here and we spend the new years eve watching the fireworks at the super phenomenal Burj Khalifa ! It was just great ! Dubai was chilled cold last night. And just having the freedom to travel anywhere at any hour here, is so so great. We really are fortunate to be living in such a country without fear of carrying our national documents, or fear of being stolen, fear of not carrying enough eatables coz nearly all the petrol pumps have a fantastic grocer which is 24 hours.  Counting small pleasures. 

Here are just a couple of pictures of the celebration last night :

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Dubai Tube family has a picnic.

We’re having a 4 day long long loooooooooong weekend and We have been completely enjoying it. Its really very rare to get so many holidays one after the other. First Eid holidays and now the UAE National day weekend have really been stress relievers.

I dont think we are a very traditional or rather conventional family. I realized this truly when on Friday, I suggested that since the weather is so super fantastic, why dont we go to the beach and thats when It popped to me, that we havent had a beach visit or a park visit in like ……… forever. Maybe once when the boys were 4 or 5 ! Thats nearly 5 years back ! Why have we become such a tube family. Mom ~ tube, dad~ tube and kids~tube oriented.

Suddenly there was an urge .. a need to break the spell. Although We were getting a bit late, I decided that we just had to enjoy the cool waters. Some of these pictures speak volumes of the fun that we had this friday. It was such a bliss. Scores and scores of families were there. Some in the water, some playing with the kids, some without families,  were just roaming around aimlessly.  Probably remembering their families and hoping they were here to share the moment with them.

One thing I never understand about some particular arab states of the middle east is their need to always carry the foldable chairs and plonk themselves and their shishas to enjoy any scene. But the good thing about the locals and the GCC folks is that they would carry their beautiful carpets with them and gladly spread it over the sand and enjoy their macrona meals over it. Different people different likes.

When we were a young Indian family living the dream in Kuwait back in the 70s. We carried everything from tea flasks, to soap with us in our tiny japanese cars. I suppose thats where I get it from. I too have my Yukon  stacked up with spare blankets, sheets, pillows, jackets, water and what have you ~ at any given time.   So much has changed, we have achieved so much in terms of progress but quite a bit is lost too. Amongst one of those things is that we have lost interdependence. We are more nuclear now, we prefer to move around as a single family as opposed to how we “needed” to move around as a group of families, dining together as “middle class restaurants” ~ far far from the reach of today’s fast food restaurants,  we found joy in sharing the hot homemade tea’s in thermos’s rather than hoping over to any one of the Eppco/Enoc fuel stations to grab a costa with some fuel ! All cars ran religiously behind one another and if one had a pit stop for the kids to answer the call of nature., everyone would wait coz there were no mobiles to communicate, remember !  And there were no bathrooms either 🙂

 For the older folks, it must be quite a change and they must never end with lines like,” back in our days . . . . . .  .”

 I am fine with whatever, I dont miss much, I am happy as long as “WE” are happy and having fun. To be very honest, I think life is so much more convenient now compared to then when mom used to spend half the night preparing for the picnic and a large part of the early morning packing everything.  It must’ave been so stressful but the women folk would do it ~ they’d do it for the family. If anyone has seen the movie “NAMESAKE” He understands what I mean and if you have not seen this movie, then grab a copy of the dvd at the earliest.

I broke the spell and absolutely enjoyed running, collecting shells, making a complete utter mess in the mud fight, making sand angels and just generally swimming around freely in the beautiful beach. 

By the time, the boys were ready to leave, it was nearly dusk and what a spectacular view we got, on one end, stood the gorgeous Burj Al Arab, and behind us was the magnificient Burj Khalifa. The shots, I got, are nothing short of amazing.

Back to school comes with a package …

Back to school has become a trendsetter. It actually means, get ready armed with new, stationery, books, uniforms, shoes, school bag, pencil case, lunch bag/carrier and probably a couple of other things which I hav’nt been indulging in.   Probably more than my boys, I enjoy the whole thing about “Back to school”. Although it reminds me of how it used to be when we were kids and appreciated the new school bag which would actually live for that entire 10 months period or the shoes that we would so carefully polish for the first month or so.  But even without the memories, I completly enjoy the process of filling up the kids bags with goodies (as I call them) 

And now that school has commenced in full swing, one of the jobs that keeps me busy for a good couple of hours in the night is and which incidently also reminds me of how my dad used to sit over the short weekend we had, ” back in those days” : covering/laminating books !

Strange how you can love playing with paper, scissor and glue and yet when you have to cover books which by the way is a very lame way to do books, can be so exhausting and back breaking. I know scores of parents all over the globe are involved in doing so but I wonder what they must feel, when I, atleast enjoy part of the process, being into alter art and all that.

Here’s a pic of some of the heaps of books being and having to be covered. Sitting on Eman’s desk in the study room.

A Mess on Eman's desk

    In fact, I think this just gave me an idea, I think I should actually make a tutorial of how to cover books for all those first time moms and dads !!

Back to school in Dubai 2010

One never knows what to expect but if we place our trust in the Almighty, then you know that you are in safe hands. 6 month back. we were totally uncertain of where we stood; no clue as to what was in store even remotely and yet, our belief and faith paid off. The kids started school this monday. It was a day of apprehension and anxiety.

Buddy and sawaabi were going to use the bus the first time in 8years. I was a bunch of nerves constantly reminding myself that they would be ok ! Its strange how I generally underestimate my boys ! Well, my main concern is how sawaabi loves to go back and forth even before he climbs onto the bus. He is one restless soul !

The morning started around 5:30 and atmosphere in the house was like that it had been hit by a hurricane …. We were rushing the kids thru the morning routine of brush, bath, dress, breakfast, shoes and bags. Although it seems simple but ask any parent and you know exactly what goes into that morning rush hour. So anyways, now we have Buddy and sawaab leaving at 6:30 followed by Eman leaving at 7:00 with Abba. And then, I have the entire 4 hours to hybernate !

Heres just a couple of pics of the morning :

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Lessons from 2010 ~ part 2.

Just a day before we had sam admitted for the operation. Twas Bilal's birthday.11 May 2010

Two days after Sam’s surgery, he was still in the ICU. I needed to stay close to him so I slept for a couple of hours in the common ladies waiting room in the night and kept waiting for the visiting hours the rest of the time. I had not visited the kids the first 5 days. There was a large, safe and clean cafeteria which was 24 hours so really almost all my immediate needs were taken care of.  Needlessto say, I hardly slept. I would be seen prowling constantly infront of the ICU, waiting for visiting hours to begin.

Most of the security guards and cleaners and nurses had come to know me very well by now. And one thing I was asked several times, is how I managed to keep so composed ! I remember, a distant friend of mine called once and tried to console me briefly; becoz she did not know all the details, she almost made me feel, “like its not the end of the world”.

It took a whole lot of patience and maturance to not snap back at her. Perhaps my state of mind and patience was already stretched beyond its capacity and here, I had someone telling me, that it could’nt be all the bad !! I must have been alittle sharp in my tone, although I said nothing offensive. This friend came all the way from Dubai to check up on Sam in the evening while I was in the cafeteria. By the time I returned, She had already seen  Sam.  She came over to me and just broke down in tears.   Human emotions are fragile. I learnt just how very fragile.  I found myself consoling her that evening !!

During those first 2 weeks, my telephone was flooded with calls. Calls from abroad, local calls, dozens of sms’s. At some stage, I almost felt like a telephone operator and at some other times, like telephone voice message. I nearly detested it having to answer the calls and repeat the same updates over and over !  Most of the calls that came from Sam’s friends had a similar feel to it.

It went something like this :

“How did this happen ?

” “Why did’nt he tell us ?”

 “I found out thru so and so ”

“How did you’ll diagnose it ?”

“Why dont you get it done in India?”

“Let me know if you need anything ”

Duh !!! As if !!!!!!! I realized that we should be careful in what we say to a person when he going thru an ordeal especially one which involves health. He sits there feeling “how would you know, you dont have this problem” while we ask all the silly questions and even offer our unwanted advice !!

Nobody really knows whats going thru the mind of a person sinking in his boat except he himself !! so why pretend to have answers. But I suppose its a polite etiquette or ritual to do so !!!

Trying so hard to ease his pain... young sawaab

In all of Sam’s friends, there was only one guy whom he has disclosed his condition to, and also explained in detail about the operation.  Instead of making the effort of being around with us, he calls two days later wanting to know how things were !!! His wife had the audacity to state that 8 months back, when she was in India where her mother was sick, We didnt call on her in India, we just visited her hubby here !!! Thats friendship for you.

I learnt that encouragement, support and compassion does not necessarily come from those whom we know for sure will show it. Many a times, there can be a big disappointment. And many a times, it can come from a totally unexpected corner !! Therefore, its best to pin hopes only from Allah swt. He is the creator, he will create a way. . .

The lesser your expectation, the better chance you’ve got a solid relationship !! In all honesty, I dont believe in what I just said.     How can one not have expectations from someone you speak to virtually everyday ??? Someone whom you share your domestic secrets and office hassels ???

I realized now, that someone going thru trauma, doesnt need our silly superficial talks, he just needs genuine concern and someone who can listen and perhaps understand. Not judge. Never Judge !

I’ve learnt that Health, Wealth and children are a man’s biggest assets and they are also his biggest weakness too. He is most vulnerable when there is a deficiency in either his health or his wealth and if his children are away or hurt.

On the left is samie's surgeon, Dr Ziani and on the right is Dr ousama at Sheikh Khailifa Medical city.

I also learnt that what ever our sickness is, the two extreme way approach is not really the best.

Either we focus on the sickness so much that all our positive energy is drained and we’re completly touchy and depressed all the time.

On the other hand, completly living in denial and trying to carry on with life as though nothing has happened is not going to take us anywhere too.

When a disease strikes, it is a way of the body responding and telling us that something wrong is happening. why ignore and live in denial that alls well. We have to make positive changes to cure our problem.

Earlier I never stopped sam from the quantity he ate, or the amount of his salt intake, or from munching those                in-between snacks or hogging on all those nihari’s and ghee smothered parathas !! How much could our body take ?? Naturally we made changes. How could we not ??

I’ve also learnt that staying in a hospital, no matter how plush and sophisticated it is, can be quiet a sad and lonely experience. There’s a reason why Muslims have a sunnah, which is to visit the sick and that too it states, how and for how long should the visit last and what should be spoken off when visiting.

While we were transfered to the private room from the ICU, a bunch of volunteers had organized an hour program for the long staying patients of the hospital. They got out their guitars and sang lovely songs, some played board games and some card games. It was so refreshing to see the smiles on the elderly patients, who had, by now, gotten so used to staying over long periods of isolation ! 

A visit to the hospital can really make a great difference in the life of the patient and it makes us realize how fortunate we are for being blessed with good health too. we may feel, what good would a single short visit from us do for a patient, what we probably dont realize is how he/she may not have had seen family, friends or relatives for so long and a short talk with them may make them feel “wanted” or “not forgotten”  Try it, you’ll know what I mean.

This post was not supposed to get long, but perhaps I “Have” learnt quite a bit. I really hope, what I have learnt from my experience helps you to make even one single change in your life.

Come back to read the 3rd Part of “lessons from 2010”

Diamonds, Pearls and a woman’s body.

Diamonds And Pearls

The following incident took place when Muhammed Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that are not modest. Here is the story as told in detail by one of his daughters:

When we finally arrived, the chauffer escorted my youngest sister, Laila, and me to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day. My father took a good look at us. Then he sent me down in his lap and said something I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said,

 “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down and in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get them.” He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.”

Inspirational Moms and Dads ~ carrots, eggs or coffee ?

Last night, I was surfing for some information on a certain something, one thing lead to another and somehow I reached a blog which really touched me.

 God gives us that which he knows we can handle .. .. but reading these stories left me speechless.  Often I have heard, that a marriage can barely make it out intact after death or trauma of a child and yet I am so glad and astonished at how these parents have stood their ground together thru such a tragedy. Remarkable and amazing ! Indeed their faith has kept them together.

I will leave the links in the end for all of you’ll, meanwhile here is a small yet very inspiring story :

An Analogy – A carrot, an egg and a cup of coffee…

You may never look at a cup of coffee the same way again……..A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as though just as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to a boil.

In the first, she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did, and noted that they were soft.

The mother then asked the daughter to take the egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.

The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

Which are you?” she asked her daughter.

“When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, … but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity?

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

You might want to send this message to those people who mean something to you;  to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down; to those whose friendship you appreciate; to those who are so meaningful in your life.

It’s easier to build a child than to repair an adult…When Allah swt wishes to test his children’s faith, He usually tests them with Children or wealth. Some how in most  cases, money follows child issues.  Imagine a couple who has two disabled children, or a couple who knows one of his child has already been living on grace period out of very chronic severe disease, the pain anguish and helplessness, is something, I cannot even fathom, let aside feel. Here are the two stories I had mentioned in the begining. Please pray for the children as much for the parents. They need all the prayers.

  http://allaccesspasstojack.blogspot.com/2009/11/god-is-good-even-when-breathing-is.html

http://becca-boo-baby-boo.blogspot.com/

http://busiestmommyinamerica.blogspot.com/

These are no doubt special moms and dads and what makes them special is that inspite of being just like you and me, flesh bones and emotions, they had the choice of accepting defeat in adversity and giving up, yet they kept fighting .. taking each day at a time. Remarkable stories of real life heros ~ moms and dads, just like you and me.