The Lost Scream

From the depths of the mind
From the hollows of the heart
Like a call from the Wild
In the canyon of words
An echo of a phrase rebounds
A thought trapped in the clouds
Meandering through the vales
In a world without fences
Where the shriek of a reader
Can be heard miles away
But no one can hear a writer scream.

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Aaj Ka Din

Aaj ka din hum naiN buss aik baar daikha hai
Aaj kay din unhaiN dil mein utartay daikha hai

Tumhain fakhar hai bagh-e-firdous kay deedar par
Hum naIN tu un koh muskaratay huay daikha hai

Abb bhalay bajae koee manzar-e-jehan ka dhandora 
Hum naiN tu kainaat ko inn aankhoN mein daikha hai

KahaiN unn say kaisay keh kabhi na parha na suna 
Saaz, ghazal, mehek ka chehra hota hai, aaj daikha hai 

Aaj ka din hum naiN buss aik baar daikha hai
Aaj kay din unhaiN dil mein utartay daikha hai

Woh kiya jaanaiN unkay shikaar pay kya guzarti hai
Hum naiN tu kamaan say teer ko aatay daikha hai

Tum faqeer kay aansoo ko maantay ho hud-e-faryaad
Hum nain tu apnay dil ko girgirahtay huay daikha hai

Kon firoN kehta hai keh mein nahi tu kuch bhi nahi
Hum nain apnay wojood ko khamakhan ka daikha hai

Aaj ka din hum naiN buss aik baar daikha hai
Aaj kay din unhaiN dil mein utartay daikha hai

Qalb kay aik pas-o-pash pay sarkash paraishaan hota hai
Hum naIn tu kaee lamhay apni nafs ko thairhay daikha hai

Suna tha khoobsoorti kay daam seerat mein lagtay haiN
Hum naiN tu unmein inko aik hee mein bunaa daikha hai

Kia karaiN, Kisssay kahain maikada bhi hum par hansta hay
Hum naiN tu din daharhay kehkashaaN ko daikha hai

Aaj ka din hum naiN buss aik baar daikha hai
Aaj kay din unhaiN dil mein utartay daikha hai

Raat bhar jotushi parhta hai sitaroN kay fail-o-amal
Hum nain tu suraj ki kirnon mein chaand  dekha hai

KhwaboN kay saraab mein tu khalqe khuda ghoomti hai
Hum nain tu aaj khwab kee tabeer-e-amal ko daikha hai

Baipanah duagoh hooroN kay talabgar rehtay haiN Sehbi
Hum naiN tu aaj un kee malka ko yaheen pai daikha hai

Aaj ka din hum naiN buss aik baar daikha hai
Aaj kay din unhaiN dil mein utartay daikha hai

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Mairee Maan kay Mujh say Aakhri Alfaaz

Dear Friends….This is the Urdu language version of My Mother’s Last Words To Me originally posted here. On request of those who don’t enjoy English I have written it in ‘Roman Urdu’ (I will be updating shortly in Urdu script also). This is also for the benefit of  those in other parts of the world who understand the language phonetically but cant read the Urdu alphabet. May you be forever blessed with prayers of your mother. 

Mairee Maan kay Mujh say Aakhri Alfaaz

Mainay yeh apni waldaah kay guzarnay keh kuch din baad likha thaa, du aktoober unnees so unnaasee mein.

Jub say mein iss ko apnay paas lay kar phir raha hooN, yeh soch keh kay kia jo mainay likha hai woh sirf mairay apnay liyay tu nahee tha.

Ab jub uss raat kee yaad aik bhaar phir aik sailaab kee tarah mairay undar aarahee hai, mujhay lagta hai keh itnay barus kaa yeh bojh mujhay kamzor kar chukka hai.

Mujhay nahi pataa mein kub un say jaa milooN ga aur yeh sachi kahanee mairay saath mitti mai mil jaye gi.

Mumkin hai aap sub kay saath yeh share kar kay mein yeh bataa sakooN keh who kia khoob aurat theen. Aur yeh kay unkay dil aur zehan mein siwaye doosray shakhs kay koi nahi thaa.

Shaid mein yeh iss liye share karna chahtaa hooN….keh unkay akhri alfaaz saari dunya kay kanoN kay haqdaar haiN.

Khaas taur par baitoN kay liyay; kiyonkay hamaiN koi andazaah nahi hai keh aik maa kai dil mein kya ho raha hota hai, chahay hum bayttay jitna bhi yeh sumjhaiN kay hum apnay liyay apni maa kay jazbaat samjah saktay haiN. Jabkay hum nay inko samajhnay kee kohshish hee nahee kee hay.

Mein, Sohaib Alvi, aik baita jis nay bohat dair kar dee, aaj aapko kuch batana chahta hooN…

Mairee Maa kee mujh say aakhri baat

Aakhir kya kaha tha ammi naiN?

Suraj doob raha thaa jub mein uss ICU kay kamray mein pohncha jahaan Ammi bistar pay laitee mairay barhay bhai aur barhi behan ko daikh rahee theen.

Kuch din pehlay say Ammi kee awaaz na honay kay barabar thee. Woh koshish karteeN, laiken saans kee kamee unkay kahay ko wapiss neechay khaich laitee.

Woh har 3-4 secondoh kay baad, saanse kay liyay haamptee theen; aur hum say baat karna chahtee theen. Un ka mooN khulta aur madham see awaaz nikaltee; kafi dafa woh bhi nahee.

Mairay andar aatay hee unnhoon nai gurdan ghuma kay mujhay daikha aur jaisay hee mein jhukka unko gaal pay pyaar karnay kay liyay unnhoon nay mairee aankhoN mein daikh kar kuch bolna chaha.

MainaiN forun unko khamosh karanay kee kohshish kee thee, taakay unko bolnay kay liyay zor na lagaana parhay. Aisaa hota hai jub aap bohat jaldee mein hoN kissi koh khamosh karanay kay liyay; khaas taur par jub woh takleef mein ho.

Laiken mujhay ahsaas hua keh unkay alfaaz kanoN mein utar gaye haiN buss theek say baitthay nahi haiN kai forun samjah aa sakaiN; jaisay mairay zehen mein jaa kar kisi konaiN mein kharhay hoN.

Jaisay kisee gehri soch main mubtilaa kaheen say guzartay huay aap ko kaheen say aati kissi dhun ka ahsaas hua ho; jo uss waqt aaapnay ghor say na sunee ho. Magaar aap ko pata hai kay aap uss ko gungana saktay haiN uss lamhay mein wapis jaa kay iss say pehlay keh who hamiasha kay liyay fanah ho jaey.

Samajhiyay itna saa lamha jis mein aap ko ahsaas hota hai kay goli lagee tu hai magar abhi dard shru nahi hua.

Mujhay pata thaa keh ab woh jaarahi haiN aur bohat kum waqt mein woh hamaiN chorh jaiN gee. Magar yeh pata nahi thaa keh unn kee awaaz abb mujhey kabhi sunaee nahi dainay walee hai, jo chund din unkay rah gayae thay hamaray paas.

Peptic ulcer aur kaee aur paichaidgyoN say larhai larhtay huay, nauN saal kee aik lambi aur kathan aazmaish kay baad ammi baihad kamzori ho gaeen theen. Aur aisaa lagta thaa keh mazeed woh apni larhaee nahee larh sakaiN gee.

Iss kay bawojood unkee muskurahat unkay chaihray par rahtee thee. Aur jiss himmat say unhooN nay hum ko pala posaa thaa itnay masail kay hotay hauay, abhi bhi woh himmat kabhi kabhi nazar aati thee.

Magar mein daikh saktaa thaa keh woh sehmee huee haiN. Woh marrnaa nahee chahtee theen. Aur sirf iss liyay naheeN kay woh hum sub ko baipanah chahti theeN.

Woh unn logon mein say theeN jo chotee see baat par bhi khush hotay haiN aur logoN say baat cheet karna aur milna julna chahtay haiN.

UnhooN  naiN  iss  beemari  ko  itna khainch liya tha keh woh hum sub ka ghar busta daikh sakaiN.

Apni shadeed baimaree kai dauraan bhee woh apnay potay aur navasioN kay pass bhaitee rahteeN aur unkay saath khailtee rahteeN, siwayay mairay baqee do baitoN kay jo unn kay jaanay kay baad iss dunya mein aye; aur un say kabhi galay nahi lug sakay.

Aakhir unhooN naiN kaha kya ha? Kya woh chah rahee theen kay unki takleef kum ho?

 

Sub say chotay honay kay bais mainein unn kay saath sub say kum waqt guzaraa thaa; aur mairay bhai aur behan bohat khushqismat thay keh woh uss waqt barhay huay jub woh nizbatan ziadah mazboot-e-dil aur saihatmund theeN.

Woh Aazaadi-e-Pakistan kay baad aanay walay saaloN kee museebatoN aur marholoN ko jhailtay huay Saddar mein Preddy Street kee aik teen manzilla imarat kay ooparee hissay mein bhai aur apa ko liyay aa basee theen.

Yahan inn du kamroN kay flat mein jahan aik chotaa sehan bhi thaa, mairee dadi, mairay chachaa, chachi aur mairay kazunz saath rahtay thay.

Iss kay alawah Hindustan say kaee rishtaydaar iss sheher aur iss flat ko apnay aglay safar ka aarzee maqaam banatay huay yahan aa thairhtay thay. Sub Ammi ko dost, musheer aur moallim maantay thay auyr unkay aakhri waqt tuk maantay rahay.

Ammi Burtanveeh Raj kay aik senior bureaucrat kee baitee theen; aur chay saal kee theeN jub mairee naneeN ka intiqal ho gaya.

Ammi nay apni parhaee Lucknow, Dilli aur Simla mein kee (jo angraizee hukoomat ka summer capital tha aur jehaan mairay Nana government kay saath move hotay thay).

UnhaiN bachpan say hee funoon-e-latifa ka bohat shauq thaa. Dramay aur debates meiN hissa laiteeN theeN, sitar bhee bajati theen aur classical dance ko samajhtee theen.

Magar jaisay jaisay mairay walid Pakistan meiN aisaa kaam dhoondnay mein nakaam huay jehan unko sahafat aur sachaee kay saath samjhota naa karna parhay

—woh partition kay pehlay say hee sahafi thay, taleem yaafta aur intihai usoolpasand—

Waisay waisay mairee waldah nay apnay du banchoN kee achhee parwarish mein koi kasar nahi chorhi.

Unko uss waqt kay behtreen missionary schools mein parhaya; aur halankay unhooN naiN kabhi koi naukree nahi kee thee, khud teacher kee job kar kay mairay walid ka haath battaya.

Mein unki zindagee mein bohat dair say aaya, aur kabhi unko koi shikwa yah arzoo kartay nahi sunaa; bawojood iskay keh unka bachpun aur jawanee baihad aaraamdeh guzra tha.

Mairee waldah apnay college kay dinoN meiN angraizoN say azaadi kee movement kai doraan Muslim larkyoN kee tulbah-e-tehreek kee Secretary General theen. Aur Begum Sahista Ikranmullah kee baihad chaeetee.

Dawn akhbaar naiN sun 1943 mein chapnay waalee aik khabar mein unka zikar iss tarah kiya hai keh woj julsoN mein  Musalmaan waldainoN say iltija kartee theeN apni taqreeroN mein, keh apni baityoN ko azaadi kee tehreek mein bahar aanay kee ijazat daiN taakay Muslim girl students  bhi aik qoowat lagaiN.

Woh mairay walid say jo unkay rishtaydaar bhi thay aur khaandanoN ka milna julna bhi tha, bayhad mohabbat karti theeN.

Mairay walid aik shaandaar shakhsiyat kay maalik thay aur mairee waldah unkay sahafat kay jazbay say bohat mutassir theen, haalaan keh unkay pass na status, na daulat, na zaati jaidaad thee.

Phir bhi woh aur mairay walid apna saraa hissa apnay behan bhaiyoN kay hawalay chorh aye thay.

Aur halaaN kay yahaan Ammi ko paisoN kee hamaisha tangee rahi magar kabhi unhooN nay palat kay hissa nahi maanga na apnay dost ya rishtidaroN say kabhi kuch chaaha.

Saadgi say rahiN, jo mairay walid nai dya ussi say ghar chalaya jub tak kay mairay bhai aur behan parh likh kar naukri pay nahi lag gaye.

Mairay walid apni girti hui saihat ki wajah say kaam na jari rakh sakay thay…jubkai mairay bhai behan uss waqt parhaee kay akhri saal mein thay.

Woh aakhri waqt tuk mairay walid say pyaar karti theen jubkay mairay walid kee dunya unkay gird zeera zeera ho chukee thee.

Mairay liyay unkee sub say pehli yaadain aik hamaisha muskaranay waleeN aur itminan shudah khatoon kee raheeN jin ko har cheese aur har insaan mein kuch achaa hee nazar aata tha.

Mein abhi kuch haftoN ka hee thaa keh mairay walid naiN aik chota sa flat lay kiraye par lay liya thaa jo Tariq Road aur Cheel wali Kothi (yanaiN aaj kee Khalid bin Waleed Road) kay bilkul beach mein thaa.

Jub tuk unhooN naiN Morning News akhbaar aur Radio Pakistan mein kaam shru kar diya thaa laiken jo unko pata thaa woh uss waqt kay taaqatwar log sunna nahi chahtay thay.

Woh baar baar kohshish kartay thay shakhsiyaat aur tareekh ka sahee roop likhnay kay liyay. Magar unkay likhay huay ko daraaz mein daal diya jaata tha. Inn rawaeyoN say unko baihad sadmaa pohncha thaa.

Iss saaray waqt mein mairee waldah unkay zakham kay saath pattee bun kar rahti raheeN.

Woh saari yadain mairay saamnay say guzreeN jub mein unko bistar pay laittay apni aakhri saansaiN laitay huay daikh raha thaa, jo ziadahtar kuch rukao aur kuch kohshish kay saath woh khainch paatee theeN.

Jitna woh hotoN say kehna chahtee theen utna hee woh apni aankhon say kahti theeN. Unhoon naiN unn aakhri dinoN mein thorha saa moonh khula hee rakhaa kay aik second kee mohlat milay tu hum say kuch bol sakaiN.

Mairay kumray mein aatay hee unki aankhaiN uth jaagee theeN, jaisay aur baichaiN ho gaee hoN mujh say kuch kahnay kay liyay.

Kya kuch maanga thaa unhoon naiN? Pani chahiyay thaa? Ya aik aur dard ko dabaa dainaiN wala injection?

 

Mujhay tu yaad hee nahi keh unhooN nay mujh say kabhi kuch maanga ho, siwaey iskay keh neechay bazaar say kuch layao.

Woh saari khareedaari khud karti theen takay unkay bachay subh aur dupahair mein parh sakaiN.

Itwaar ki subh aik shoar ho raha hota thaa jub mairee aankh (aksar dair say) khulti thee.

Woh pooray khaandaan mein itni hardil aziz theeN keh sub unkay saath huns baithnay kay liyay, aur chai aur dilchusp baataiN karnay kay liyay, oopar aa jaatay thay; jub haftay bhar kee kaharidaari karnay uss taraf aatay.

Woh mairay hur cousin kee madad karti theeN; chahay unko samjhaana ho ya unn ki koi khwaish barhoN ko batana ho ya unko parhanaa ho.

Mairay aik barhay cousin haiN jo aaj tak kehtay haiN keh, ‘Humaira khalaa ki wajah say mein matric mein pass hua.’

Woh uss chotee see building kee beewioN kee hamaraaz theeN; jo unhay Humaira baji kehtay theeN.

Woh unkee dil kee batain sunti theeN aur sub khoob mazay lay kar unko apnay ghar kay yah apnay khud kay qissay bhee sunaatay theeN.

Mein bohat chota thaa laiken mujhay aisaa lagtaa tha keh jaisay sub unkay saath baith kar hee apni khushee paatay thay ya dil halka kartay thay.

Shaid iss liyay keh woh kabhi unki zaati zindagi par nukta cheeneeN nahi karti theeN; na kisi kee baat aagay kisi say kehtee theeN.

Jo bhee baat thee sub un par bharosa kartay thay; unhooN naiN kabhi kisi ka raaz na bola.

Kia kaha thaa unhoon Nain?? Kya kissi ko jaa kar koi zaroori baat batana thee? Kya woh mujh say koi apna aakhri kaam karwana chah rahi theen??

 

Mairay unkay paas akailay reh jaanaiN tuk andhaira ho chuka tha.

Meinain khirhki say aati hui narm chandnee ko unkee bund palkon par khamoshi say baitthtay daikha.

Mairay liyay unka har tarha ka pyaar mujhay yaad aanaiN laga.

Mairay saath school say waapis chal kay aana jub mein bohat chotta thaa; Kabhi apnay bachpan ki shaitanee kee aur kabhi koi kitaab say mujhay kahaniaN sunanaaN.

Apnee neend torh kar mujhay khaana daina agar mein khail kay dopahair ko dair say aooN. Ya raat ko dair tuk jaagna jub mujhay taiz bukhaar ho aur jub tuk mein so na jaooN.

MainaiN kursi pay sar rakha aur socha keh maynaiN tu unko kuch bhi waapis nahi dia. Buss kabhi-kabaar pass baithay koi baat kee, ya saath TV dekha, ya unko kahin laygaya; ya kabhi unkay saath baith kar kuch kha liya, jub parhai nahi kar raha hooN ya dostoN kay saath bahir na nikla hooN.

Mein unka takyay pay rakha sir daikhta raha. Unkee paishaanee par thorhee see bhi jumbish yeh ishara tha keh unkay undar koi baichaneeN hai.

Phir mainaiN aik lamha guzaraa jo mairay saath zindagi bhar rahai gaa.

Uss raat kee khamoshi mein ammi kay woh aakhri alfaaz aik dum say saamnay aagaye, jaisay keh raat ka andhaira achanak roshan dopahair mein badal gaya ho.

Mein baitha unka chehra hee daikhta reh gaya.

Maira seena bhar aaya aur phir num ho gaya. Mein saktay mein reh gaya thaa, aik aanso bhi nahi nikal saka.

Aaj tuk mein unn ko woh alfaaz bolnay kay liyay apna pura dum lagatay huay daikh sakhtaa hooN.

Aaj tuk woh alfaaz jo woh kehna chahhtee theeN magar puri tarah say keh na sakeeN, mairay undar bustay haiN.

Aaj tuk mein unkay hont aur aankhain parh sakta hooN; aaj tuk mein unki fikar daikh sakhta hooN unki doobti hui aankhon mein.

Mein samajh gaya keh bara ghantay daftar mein kaam karnay kay baad, aur pichlay chund dinoN mein neend na puri honay kai bias, mein paraishaan haal aur chaihray say thaka hua lug raha hooN gaaN.

Woh mujh say kuch nahi maang rahi theeN. Jo unhooN naiN poocha thaa woh apnee aulaad kay liyay hamaisha aik maa kee mohabbat ka dil gurda raha hay or rahay ga, chahay aulaad jitni bhi barhee ho jaye.

Issi liyay Allah taala naiN iss dunya mein Maa ko aik khaas maqaam diya hai.

Issi liyay Uss naiN Maa kay paon kay neechay jannat rakhi hai.

Issi liyay humari pehli ghiza maan ka doodh hota hai.

Jo unhooN nay uss shaam mujh say poocha thaa woh soch kar buss mein andar say hee rota rehta hooN.

Aaankhain num tu hoti hain, kuch aansoo bhi tapaktay haiN phir rukh jaatay haiN, jaisay baraf thorhi dair bahar nikalo tu sataa geeli honaiN lagtee hai purr forun nahi pigaltee.

Shaid behtar hee hai keh kuch ahsaas, kuch dard, kuch tasavur guzray waqt mein hee jamay rehjaeN, taakay tahayat unka saancha mehfooz rahay.

Mairay saath bhi kuch aisa hee hua hai.

Asal mein…..aik azeehatbaksh takleef mein honay kay bawojood, apnee aakhri saans aur himmat ko khainchtay huay, unhooN naiN mujhay kamray mein aatay daikha thaa.

Aur jo fikar unko hamaisha aati thee jub woh mujhay thaka hua ghar mein aata daikhtee theeN, aur jo woh mujh say poochtee theeN, unhooN naiN aik baar phir mujh say wahee poocha thaa:

“Baita, tum naiN kuch khaya bhi hai?”

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Why A Girl Made By The Help Of Angels Was Born

Many years ago, God was sitting with His angels and was deep in thought. The angels could not dare to ask what God had on His mind, as He hadn’t been this thoughtful since a long, long time. And they knew He didn’t want to be disturbed.

A few days passed and the angels saw that God remained pensive throughout that time. Eventually, the angels prevailed over one from among them to go and ask what the matter is and if they can help.

The chosen angel walked tentatively towards God and asked: “O’ Lord, what is it that troubles you so much?”

The Lord looked ahead and said nothing. So the angel asked: “Is there anything we can do to help?” knowing full well that God required no one’s help.

“Tell me my angel,” asked God, “what is that I have created that, every time you see it, you say to yourself: ‘I am at peace’?”

The angel thought for a moment but couldn’t decide, for God had created so many things that would give one peace of mind. So she went back and talked to the other angels who were equally indecisive.

“Well, there is the full moon that rises into the dark sky of the antipodes,” said one. They decided that that indeed was the most calming thing to the eye, especially because it was a symbol of light in total darkness and represented hope.

So the angel went back to God and told Him what they all thought to be the most alluring to the eye.

God smiled and said: “Indeed, that is it. Well done.”

A month later the angels, surprised that God was still pondering something, sent another angel to ask Him again.

“Lord, what else is on your mind now ?” she asked.

“Tell me my angel,” asked God, “what is that I have created which when you hear it, you say to yourself: ‘That’s the most soothing sound I have ever heard’?”

So the angel made her way back to the other angels and they went over everything that God had created that was delightful to listen to. After a long time they agreed that the sound of the stream running over pebbles was the most soothing thing to hear, for not only was it calming but that, day or night, the sound never stopped for those looking for comfort.

God smiled when the angel told Him what they had decided on and said: “Yes, that is a good answer.” 

A month passed and one day the angels saw God staring into nothingness again.

“Lord, what is it that still troubles you?” asked another angel who stepped up this time.

“Tell me my angel,” asked God, “what is that I have created which, when you feel it, you say to yourself: ‘That’s the softest thing I have ever felt’?”

The angels sat together and went through all that was soft in the world below. They finally decided that nothing could be softer than a mother’s lap.

God smiled when the angel told him that and said: “You please me with your answer.”

With four months gone and seeing that God was still in the same mood, another angel went up and asked: “Lord, what still occupies your thoughts?”

“Tell me my angel,” asked God, “what is that I have created which, when you taste it you say: ‘That’s the most delicious thing I have ever tasted’? “

After debating on so many millions of things God had created that tasted like nothing better, they all agreed that nothing tasted as good as a meal prepared with love.

God smiled again when he heard the answer and said: “You all make me proud. Yes, indeed; nothing tastes better.”

After the passage of another month, the angels were curious when they saw God preoccupied again:

“Lord, are you still thinking over a question?” asked an angel.

“Tell me my angel,” asked God, “what is that I have created which, when you smell it you say: ‘That’s the most enchanting aroma I have ever smelt’?”

So the angels got together and went through a lengthy list of things that carried the most enchanting scent. They thought eventually there can be nothing more sweet-smelling than a garden dipped in dew at first light.

God was pleased and said: “Yes, these creations of mine smell best when they come together.”

Another four weeks passed and the quietness stayed around God.

“Lord, what else troubles you?” probed the angel again.

“Tell me my angel,” asked God, “what is it that I have created that, when you see it bracing alone against the strongest of winds you say: ‘That’s the gentlest but toughest thing I have ever seen’?”

Again the angels burrowed deep into all that was near invincible and were of the opinion that it can only be the weed, which has a tensile strength greater than man-made steel; it will bend in the wind but never break.

God was content with that answer and said:“Yes, what indeed can be softer yet tougher than that.”

There seemed a visible calm in God now.

Seven months had now passed and angels had never seen God so pensive:

“Lord, is there anything else perturbing you?” an angel this time asked with more confidence.

“Tell me my angel,” asked God, “what is that I have created that is the softest of all but when you see anyone weighing it down, you say: ‘That’s something that will still never lose its original form’?”

The angels put all their thoughts together and decided that the only thing that can be that sustainable was selfless devotion.

“Yes,” God said. “That can very well be it.”

God looked relaxed but four weeks later the angels could sense there was something still unfinished in God’s mind.

“Lord, what concerns you now?” an angel went up and asked half surprised, half inquisitive.

“Tell me my angel,” asked God, “what is it that I have created that when you sense it you say: ‘I cannot see it, hear it, touch it, taste it or feel it, but I know it’s always there’?”

The angels sat together, hopefully for the last time on this, and quickly concluded that if there is anything that is the answer to that, it is blind faith in God Himself.

“Yes of course, that is indeed correct,” God agreed.

“Finally, tell me my angel,” asked God, “what is it that I have created which, when you experience it you say to yourself: ‘There can be nothing as pure as that’?’”

God told them to think long and hard as this was most important to him, and to come back after a month and tell Him their answer.

The angels, eager to please God and to bring Him out of His anxiousness, consulted with each other for the longest they had ever taken over the last eight months.

The day came and one of the angels went forward: “Lord, we have all come to the conclusion that there can be nothing purer than a soul that you first put into a human body, and which has the power to cleanse itself more and more for every day it stays inside your greatest creation itself.”

“That is an excellent answer,” God said. “I’m proud of you my angels. You have helped greatly and now must assist me in putting together all of what you have identified into this little baby girl that I want to give as a gift.”

The angels finally knew what this was all about and were overjoyed. “Lord, how blessed that girl must be and how blessed are the parents who will receive this gift from You,” one of the angels said excitedly.

At this God turned and said to the angels: “Oh no, the girl already had my blessings from the moment I thought of her. And her parents will only keep her for a certain time whereas a gift is forever.”

Seeing the angels’ puzzled faces, God asked them to be seated in front of Him and began to explain: “Yes, I have been very pensive from the time you first approached me, but it wasn’t because of the girl. I know she can take care of herself, that she will be happiest all through her life and will be loved by all she meets.” He said.

“You see,” continued God, “there is this boy I’ve put together for a purpose. I’ve decided to give him to two wonderful creations of mine. They will imbue him with the power of love, care, high values and integrity. But through trials and tribulations that I will throw at him to make him better prepared for his purpose in the world, there will come a time when he will gradually begin to tire. He will get confused and depressed and wonder whether all the talent I have put inside him is something that he believes he can never really accomplish to the extent that he should.

“That will one day make him very angry and troubled and broken. He will not be as strong as he thinks he is, but will feel weaker than he actually is. He will think and run faster than people can catch up and emotionally will carry a load more than he can bear. He will want the world to understand him without him trying to understand the world. He will be hard on himself and those close to him as he selfishly pursues his love of writing and creativity, and subsequently wander around and stay lost.

“It is when he begins to wobble from the weight he has picked up that this girl will support him, and for that I have spent all my time to make sure that she has everything that he will need from her.

“He will love and cherish her, give her a comfortable home and try his hardest to fulfill her every desire, but he will need her more than she needs him.”  

God then took out the stony slate he had been making notes on for nine months and showed it to the angels. They read with awe the nine points it contained, one for every month that God had spent making this girl.

On it was written:

When he becomes angry at everyone including her, his angst will be calmed down by her soothing voice that I will make from the sound of a stream running over pebbles.

When he comes home stressed from work, he will feel tranquility when he sees the peacefulness on her face, which I will make from a moment taken of a full moon in the antipodes.

When he returns home extremely tired and fatigued from the hardness of travel, he will feel relaxed when she strokes his hair with her hands and fingers, which I will make as soft as a mother’s lap.

When he comes home after eating and drinking all sorts of snacks during the day, he will take delight in eating whatever she has made, because of the love I will place in her food for him.

When he comes home after being around smoke and dust, he will take pleasure from the perfume of her body, which I will make from a garden dipped in dew at first light.

When he has lost his confidence from the ways of the world, she will give him the comfort of a pillow and be a pillar of strength for him, both of which I will make at once from the softness and tenacity of a weed.

When he will be ill or worried or feeling alone, he will gain relief from her warm and pleasant companionship that I will embed with selfless devotion.

When he will fail her and his family, she will prevail and make life better for him and their children and be confident that things will get better because of the blind faith in Me that I will place in her.

When he will do wrong to her and want to repent, she will cleanse him by holding her head against her bosom, because I will fill her body with a soul that is forgiving, pure and pious.

The angels read this and understood why God had been pensive and inquiring all these nine months. They felt happy that they had played their role in making this little girl. They felt her to be one of their own.

They then asked when God would send her into the world, and guide her parents to prepare her for the day she will grow up and meet and take care of this boy, who will have grown up too with his fears and ambitions.

“Well, now that we have everything I always wanted to put in this little girl, why not just present her to her parents tonight, the 14th of October?” exclaimed God to His angels.

So she was delivered on this night, not knowing that the sole purpose of her being was to one day love and take care of this boy she wouldn’t know she was destined to meet.

As God marveled at the sight of her in her mother’s arms, one angel rushed up to God and said: “But we forgot to give her a name.”

God smiled and said: “Well she was made from your hearts and minds, so I’ll just think of her as one of my angels. But you know what, because I’m not sure of what this fellow will do and make of himself, and whether I will be able to admit him to heaven at all on the Day of Judgment, I put a thought into her parents minds to name her ‘Iffat’, which means ‘the breeze of paradise’. This way every time he calls her name, he will at least feel the breeze of paradise brushing against him, even if he doesn’t make it to heaven. Can’t do any more for him now, can I?”

And so the 14th of October is a special day for the angels, for they helped create one from amongst their own thoughts and feelings. There is therefore joy and celebration in the clouds today since her first birthday, just as there is one going on today.

And on every year this day, God takes a little time out, looks proudly at His creation who has lived up to each of His hopes, and says: “I Bless You, my Iffat.”

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My Mother’s last words to me

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via My Mother’s last words to me.

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My Mother’s last words to me

I wrote this a few days after my mother passed away today on October 2, 1989. I have carried it with me since not knowing if what I wrote was meant only for me.

As the memories of that night flood me again, I feel that the heaviness of carrying it for so long has made me weak. I also don’t know when I might join her (and my dad), and this true story will go down with me. I suppose by sharing this with you I can tell you what a fine woman she was, and how all she had in her heart and on her mind, was the other person.

Perhaps my mom’s last words deserve a wider audience…especially of sons for we have no idea what goes on in a mother’s heart, even when we think we understand her feelings for us; actually we can never.

–Sohaib Alvi, a son too late would like to tell you something.

My Mother’s last words to me

What was it she had said?

The sun was setting as I entered the ICU cabin where she lay on her back looking at my elder sister and brother, who had been with her for the afternoon. She had turned her head immediately as I entered and as I bent down to kiss her she had looked into my eyes and said something. It was one of those moments where you have caught the words but you can’t unscramble them immediately. Like that nanosecond when the bullet has hit you but the pain has not yet begun.

She couldn’t speak audibly anymore for the last few days and only make an effort, with shortness of breath pulling down her words. She would gulp for air every few seconds and yet would want to speak to us. Her mouth would open and half a whisper would come out or none at all. I would never hear her voice again for the few days left for her with us.

I had hushed her down to save her the effort to speak. It happens when you are in too much of a hurry to quieten someone in pain. But I knew the words had parked themselves in my mind subliminally. Like the music you heard in passing without noticing it and yet you know you could hum it if you kept delving into the moment before it would perish forever.

I knew she was dying and very close to leaving us. After a long hard struggle over nine years with cancerous peptic ulcer and a range of other complications, my mother had become too fragile to continue her fight. Frail and weak, she nevertheless kept her smile, and her tenacity with which she had brought us up against so many odds showed still.

But I could tell she was scared; she didn’t want to die and not only because she loved us all so much. She was someone who enjoyed life and talking with people. She had battled cancerous tumor enough to see all of us married, and held and hugged all her grandchildren during her illness, except my next two sons who would be born later.

What was it she had said? Did she want the pain to stop?

Being the youngest I had spent least time with her, and my brother and sister were fortunate to have grown up with her when she was stronger. She had battled the post independence blues of settling down in a small two room flat plus courtyard in Sadder in the morphing city of Karachi, along with my uncle and his family and the young relatives in transit, finding their feet before moving on into the world.

Daughter of a senior bureaucrat in the British Raj, she had been schooled in Lucknow, Delhi and Simla (the summer capital where her father would move with the government). She was fond of the arts from childhood, loved classical dance and played the sitar.

But as my father struggled to find work without compromising his integrity for he had been a pre partition journalist, well educated and strong on values, my mother ensured she was there in every way for her two children, teaching and schooling them in the best missionary schools.

I arrived in her world late and never once did I hear her complain despite a near princely upbringing. She had fallen in love with my father who had a dashing personality and loved him till her end, standing by him all through even as his world crumbled around him.

My earliest memory of her was the ever smiling and cheerful woman who found something good in everything and everyone. By then my father had ensured a separate flat for us halfway between Tariq Road and the famous Cheel Wali Kothi. He had started work in Morning News and Radio Pakistan but what he knew was not what the people in power and media then wanted to hear. In an effort to bring forward the truth much of his work would be shelved, and my mother would live through his hurt.

The memories flashed by me as I watched her trying to catch her breath, which would come often with a pause and pulled up with effort. She spoke as much with her eyes as her lips, but gasping for breath, her mouth was seldom closed for the whisper. At that moment her eyes had become alive, and all but came out to ask me what she wanted.

What was it she had said? Glass of water? Another pain killing injection?

I can’t remember her asking anything from me ever except to fetch something from the market downstairs. She would do all her shopping herself, leaving her children to pursue their education in the mornings and afternoons. On Sunday mornings there would be a chorus in the house as I woke up late. She was so popular among the family that there would always be someone who would come up to laugh with her and have tea as they would come that side to do their shopping.

She would help my cousins whichever way she could, especially teaching, and one of them always said he owed his passing of high school to her. She was the confidant of all wives in the small building, called Baji by all. She would listen to their intimate fears and sorrows and laughingly tell her of everything funny that would happen in their household and personal lives. It seemed they drew their happiness from just her company alone, for she never once commented on their personal lives or passed it on. Perhaps that is why they trusted her so much.  She would never speak anyone’s secret.

What was it she had said? Did she want to tell me something that had to be done for her?

It had grown dark by the time I was alone with her. I watched the soft moonlight filter through the darkish glassed window and rest quietly on her closed eyelids. I remembered her love for me in every way. Walking me back from school as a toddler, reading stories with me, breaking her nap to cook a warm meal for me at odd hours in the afternoon and when I had fever to stay up most of the night.

I leaned back on the chair and thought how little I had repaid her, other than to be with her physically to drive her somewhere, or eat a meal with her when I was not studying or roaming with friends. I watched her face resting uneasily on the pillow, the slightest of twitch in her brows to indicate she wasn’t comfortable inside.

Then I lived a moment that would stay with me till eternity. In that stillness of the night her words had come out clearly all of a sudden, as if the darkest hour of the night had transformed itself into the midday sun in a flash. I just sat there and watched her face. My chest filled up and then went numb. I was too stunned to shed a tear, let alone cry.

To this day I see her making that effort to say what she did. To this day the words she wished to say but wouldn’t come out properly, live with me eternally. To this day I can read her mouth and eyes. To this day I see the worry in her drained eyes.

I see now that after a long days work with little sleep over the past few days, I must have looked disheveled, tired, and fatigued. She had not wanted anything from me.

What she had asked was, is and will remain at the heart of every mother’s love for her child, no matter how grown up we are. This is why Allah has given her a special place in this world, why He has placed heaven under her feet, and why we feed first from her bosom when we are born.

I cry inside for what she asked that evening. Tears will never come out for they are too stunned. Perhaps some feelings are best left frozen in time for them to retain their shape till eternity.

You see, in all her excruciating pain, down to her very last few breaths and strength, she had seen me walking in and with all the concern she had shown every time I had entered the house looking tired, had asked again:

“Son, have you had anything to eat?”

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Yes You(th) Can

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by Sohaib Alvi

You begin to be aware of the world three months before you are born. You can feel pain. It is the first moment of your independent life. By the age of 6 months you can recognise faces, by the 18th month the areas of the brain that control emotions are connecting and by the age of 6 years your brain is 95% of its adult size and is more interconnected than all the stars and planets in the galaxies.

So how much have you used it since you were six years old? More important, how much are you using it now, whatever your age?

Think young people. Think.

Whatever you have I would like you to think more. Knowledge is of 2 kinds. Either you know the subject or you know where you can find information on it.

You therefore have the capacity in your brain to think and analyse anything and everything; if you make the effort.

You are 70% of us, around 20% of whom can vote for what is good for your future children. That’s 37,400,000 of you who have the power to change by casting their vote on the future system of the country. Not a bad number to have on your side; close to 38 million young Pakistanis between the age of 18 and 30 years. All of whom I call youth irrespective of the operational definition of the word.

And you can count on all the 56,100,000 of us above 30 (including the only 3.5 % of Pakistanis over 65 years) who can guide you on what they have realized too late.

You may be frustrated and feel you don’t owe it to us or even to yourselves; and leave the country. But I would like you to think that you owe it to the 77,400,000 Pakistanis below the age of 15 who are looking up to you to lead them. More than 77 million; that’s a lot of people depending on you.

Why am I saying all this? Our generation has failed. We failed you and our predecessors of 2-3 generations back who united and created Pakistan.

You can literally, and I say this truthfully, change this country and pull up the nation with your power of thought. And find the Pakistan that we have lost.

These are not just words to stir you up. It is the truth and I want you all to grasp it as quickly as you can. You owe it to your future children the debt we didn’t pay when we brought you into this world and watched you grow. Individually, many stood up for you or tried to; but we didn’t stand up collectively and that was our undoing. You now have the opportunity to undo what we have done wrong.

We need you because of the ’Y’ in youth. Because you have the opportunity to open the right doors and close the wrong ones. Because when you look around and see all that is wrong in us as a nation you should ask yourself the first important question: “Why”. Only then will you be able to draw upon your powers to make the change possible, because of the ‘O’ in youth; and ask yourself the second most important question: “Why not”.

I have said we need you because you young and optimistic not just in body and face but also in spirit and adventure; because you are the ‘U’ in Youth. And remember courage doesn’t mean that you are not afraid; it just means that nobody should be able to sense that you are.

You have to surpass not just new challenges but clear the old minefield; the lack of governance, the corruption, the masters’ mindset, suppression of ideas, and most importantly the disinformation of our nation’s past and current and the fears of tomorrow.

You will do this because of the “T” in youth. Because you have the fire in your belly that only your achievements can quieten and simultaneously spark several others out of the euphoria of success.

You will therefore go forth and cause the turbulence that shakes up the dormant and the sleepy; to take the steering wheel and ride the storms; because you have the will to go to new frontiers and will not let any hurricanes or imagined dragons keep you from finding your fleece.

You will do this because you epitomize the ‘H’ in youth. All success is 99% percent perspiration and 1% inspiration. Work hard to gain knowledge and master your subjects and professions, work hard to get results and work hard to improve upon them.

Listen to the voice of the old man urging you to help him by buying a plastic toy; look into the eyes of the little girl asking for a little food while you eat; touch the hand of the old woman begging for some loose change; smell the sweat of the little boy trying to clean your car’s windshield in blazing heat; taste the food that the poorest eat once a day to survive.

Then use your sixth sense and know what you can do. You will know what to do if you listen to yourself and not to the survivors of the last two generations who talk of no hope for this nation because it didn’t do what we said they should do.

You must realize what we did not. We didn’t talk to each other about solutions; we only talked of problems. We looked to the privately run government to solve our problems when we knew they were robbers at worst and incompetent at best and not accountable with their life or money.

You will find the way; you just have to disengage from the hopelessness we have brought into you and around you. Just do it with the brain and heart and not the fist, unless and until you need it. And if at all you have to on occasions, then hit hard but with aim.

Let nothing stop you from saving this nation, especially our generation. You are in the overwhelming majority now. Don’t let us spoil a perfect country and a splendid nation for you and your future children. It’s now all about You(th).

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YOUTH:  Young __Optimistic __Unafraid __Tempestuous __Hardworking

I have always defined my youth as above. Therefore my words here will be for you based on my experiences, learning, actions and results and what I have personally seen or heard that concern YOU(TH). If you have any question about anything that you are not sure about that, if its cleared up, will help Pakistan, post it in comments and I’ll write on it in future.

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