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 an don 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.

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 stroies 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, 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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Why Youth Is Misguided In Reality Today

 

by Sohaib Alvi

Party people. They’re so predictable. When you know their intentions, you know what’s coming next and then after that. Its like living with quarrelsome neighbors. You know what they’re planning even when they sit together and laugh. And when they’re throwing mud at each other, you know they’ll be sitting down together for dinner next week.

Now we can either laugh about it by cracking jokes at the partying crowd or we can think what its doing to us and this generation. It’s needless to worry about the next generation. Because if this doesn’t understand you won’t be there to make the next one see sense.

Now we have to accept the fact that a mixture of thugs, emotional blackmailers and religious hypocrites have take over as spokespeople for 180 million people through various party formats. It’s as if whoever disagrees with them or questions them is supposed to be a unread, stupid traitor. Its what the Nazis did or George Bush’s ‘with us or against us’ mantra which these very people condemned.

And look where it led Germany in 1945 and where US stands now.

With 70% of our population below 30, they were born in or after 1981 By the time the first born among them were 7 years the propaganda from each party was in full flow. They became witness to inter-party killings by the age of 12 and therefore their only memories are that of one sided violence. Only those who have ventured out of their communities to live realize the Pakistanis in other parts of country are not what they are made to be. Almost all of them are equally suffering from their own.

Because they are looked down upon by their supervisors if they question motives of their leaders, they just get embedded with what their leaders want them to believe. If you don’t get out of your house to vote, you’re a marked man/family. And we all know how polling booths are supervised; weaker candidates’ agent bullied and, if they aren’t, voters know that other candidate, no matter how deserving he is of their vote, doesn’t have the street power. And if the favoured candidates loses he will not allow any good to be done in someone else’s name for very long.

We have been blessed with hunger for knowledge but this generation has been brought up around entertainment. Even if some look around, they have no neutral literature to study the beginnings of every party and how it skewed to serve leaders and their foreign masters interest.

Whether it is Larkana or Karachi or Peshawar or Quetta or Gujrat or Lahore, it’s the same tragedy.

So I don’t blame these young loyalists who (a) don’t know the backgrounds of these people, (b) have been exposed to no counter literature and if they are, it is condemned as anti party elements and not to be read, (c) live in fear of questioning and if they do want to find, there no one they can ask, (d) have no other choice because any decent guy who stands for elections will be either brow beaten or threatened to withdraw, (f) are told that if their party loses, thousands of them will go to jail or be kidnapped by the other govt. in power and (e) have all been blessed with favours, small and big such as jobs, houses, contracts, small businesses, shops which they are told they will lose if the other candidate wins and brings in his own people. Even the workers will be out of job because no money can be siphoned off to pay for their homes or lifestyle..

I’m sure it’s the same in all developing/underdeveloped countries and I know people like me have no reach for this message to get across. So I just say it here in the hope that even if one young person understands, what I risk saying will be worth it. Islam was not spread by keeping quiet against the wrong. If today we are blessed to be born Muslim and have Quran and Sunnah for salvation, what face will I show Allah if I don’t take courage from it and speak of what I know is either true or want young minds to think about it. And maybe find some way to free themselves from the hostages they have become.

I am not against any party or leader. That is futile considering the ears they have. My only objective is to take my cue from Hazrat Mohammad (SAW) who left a message for all of us. And that was to make people question their original beliefs by putting facts or curiosity of thought in front of them, as given in Quran. Rest is upto their own initiative and Allah to guide them to sense and sensibility. If they read the Quran in their language the reality will automatically dawn on them. Such is the beauty of Allah’s book.

I know these are the thoughts of thousands of knowledgeable Pakistanis. All I have done is put it down here for posterity. May Allah support us likeminded in our endeavor to make our misguided youth understand the larger game they are pawns of. And to be able to rid of it with their own hands. Ameen.

How many of our youths and family can relate to this tragic end for the common man or party loyalist? Then look at the decades old lifestyle of their leaders and their children and THINK young people. THINK.
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The Inside Story of How Sherry Rehman Became Ambassador to United States

by Sohaib Alvi

November 23, Nomansland: Ace political analyst Sohaib Alvi has obtained exclusive inside knowledge of how Sherry Rehman suddenly appeared out of nowhere to become ambassador for US. The story goes like this:

Mr. PM had been sent to the the one that mattered to seek approval of the names. So Mr. PM and Mr.Ambassador were sitting together on 23rd morning trying to figure out who to appoint among SB, JK, AG and ML. After both fell silent in their thoughts and PM began to doze off from the exertion, Mr. Ambassador said: “Enough. I cant think without a drink.”

So he shouted to Rehman Baba, the butler: “Get me Sherry, Rehman.”

The PM woke up by the shout and only heard the second sentence. He got up and said “Good choice Boss” and left leaving Mr. Ambassador bewildered and wondering where he was going.

The rest, as they say, is history :)

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MY LAST QUESTION TO MY FATHER

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By Sohaib Alvi

It was around this time of day 20 years ago that my father took his last breath. I’d stayed overnight and before leaving did something just before leaving his side that I sometimes feel was the last act of kindness I ever did.

His lungs had given way and he was on oxygen, and I could see all night that even in the condition of semi consciousness, he had struggled to breath with the two small tubes injecting the oxygen through his nose.

Round about 9am, as my elder brother was to arrive to take over from me for the day…I asked the nurse if she could bring the oxygen mask; when I put that on his mouth and nose instead of the narrow tubes, he immediately seemed to settle down; I sensed a quiet sigh; his eyes remained closed but it was as if I had just given someone, who had just crossed a desert, a sip of water.

He breathed better after that; his body seemed to relax and he slipped into sleep. After a while the nurse and doctor left her side and told me his vital signs were better. Perhaps a more composite supply of oxygen had given him some relief.

My elder brother arrived to take over from me, some 14 years older and who had brought me up as a father would, and supported our family as my father could not after his retirement, and I left for work.

It was around this time as you read, as I was discussing some task with two of my colleagues, that I got a call from my sister in law, also a doctor and like my brother, an officer in the Pakistan Navy.

She asked me to reach the hospital, and perhaps sensing from my silence preempted my question and added “And Sehbi…he’s not there anymore.”

Actually I wasn’t going to ask any question for the same reason I put the phone down and without saying a word got up and left the room.  I was choking inside and my self control was hanging by a single syllable not uttered. I was not that brave enough to allow my  inner strength to be questioned.

I have asked myself thousands of questions since that time. And many of them relate to the past with my father. Dad, did I not see your frustration as you saw the lies said around you about our country’s creation? Did I not feel the pain that you carried when no one wanted to drink from your reservoir of knowledge, for fear of being infected with the disease of facing truth eternally? Did I not hear your words that you would say to yourself about what really happened back then, that no one wanted you to tell in those days?

Did I not smell the perfume of love that you carried for me especially, in a bottle long since closed to the outside world and perhaps even to me? Did I not touch you where you most wanted me to, inside the palm of your hand? or around your frail shoulder?

I will never know, but do you feel all these five senses of mine reaching out to you today, Dad? if you do, then forgive me for all the times I never used one or more of them when you most needed them, from me. And may Allah bless me with the power and resilience to carry forth till my last breath your one message to me especially, that I have decoded from your life: “Son, stand for the truth, for its only truth that will stand by your side eternally.”

Last question Dad. After doing nothing for you all my life, did I give you some comfort that morning, my last act for you? I hope I did. It’s all I remember ever doing for you that seemed to give you peace.

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