Pakistan: not just bombs!

I come from Pakistan. I was born there, lived there for almost two decades and love it beyond measure. I moved here with family for school and still feel connected to my roots. The love and comfort I have found in the U.S.A. is indeed worth all the praise and recognition. I have truly found my second home here. CCBC has opened many doors for my success and provided me so much confidence. I am amazed by the extent of multicultural involvement there is in all three campuses. I find so many students from different ethnic backgrounds which make the whole environment rich in ideas, intellectual thoughts, noteworthy debates and most importantly, the prosperous love contained in the hearts of all colors and languages!!   

   When I tell people I am from Pakistan, I don’t always get a very positive response. People are mostly curious to know how our lifestyle is there with bombs dropping on us almost every second day. So I felt the urge to share the beauty that is wrapped in so much misconceptions and dirt that the reality is never appreciated. I think many are deprived of witnessing the gorgeous sights and smells that I have witnessed in person. Media might have done a fair amount of injustice in showing the “one-sided-story” but then I don’t blame it for not being able to see the beauty amidst the chaos and disruption created by some. I don’t think I will deny the unruly image of Pakistan that is portrayed through the frame of propaganda and the fight for power, but I will do everything to show what Pakistan really is. 

Here is the description of Pakistan through the eye of some photographers.

 

 

A couple of fun facts you should know about Pakistanis! ( from my perspective … Some of them are dipped in exaggeration, but with fair amount ; )

We beleive in “your business is my business” policy and feel the need to poke our nose into everyone’s matters! good or bad, we live with it. Making sure we all walk together.

Our food will literally burn our tongue, so much so that after a while we can’t even tell if we are eating hot food! Our spices are especially imported to make sure our food is never left bland! Sometimes I feel it is an insult to the cook if we don’t have tears in our eyes or a runny nose from the spices that burn. We compete with each other to make the food HOT!

Our clothes mean a world to us.. when I say world, I mean a WORLD! colors, designs, textures.. you name it, we have it. In order to show off our entire wardrobe, we fit pretty much all colors in one dress (not always;) haha

We don’t have the concept of leaving the nest… we make another one on the same. Meaning, only the girls move out, that too when they get married and guys live with their parents and eventually support them till as long as either one dies.

 We fight over who pays the dinner bill! Literally! We will not let any other person pay for the food. It is an insult to us when we are fed by others and makes us happy when we feed others. We feel burdened with favors.

Our house smells like fried onions.. Always!

Our Parents think 98% on a test is short on 2% and that it wasn’t good enough! They tell us to work harder next time. Our parents compete with other parents over 0.5% score and complain or boast about us in front of our friend’s parent!

If you just ate before visiting a Pakistani, you should know that you will be fed again, no matter how much you insist your are not hungry. If you are visiting at lunch time, it is not possible that you leave before you are fed with a good dinner… and then not to forget late night tea!  

Every other older person is uncle or auntie!

There was this on a friend’s Facebook profile: “I am not just bombs, poverty and corruption. I am Edhi’s philanthropy, Arfa Karim’s brilliance and Pervez Masih’s sacrifice. I am Afridi’s exuberance and Miandad’s six. I am the fastest growing of IT industries, an ever-expanding middle class. I have fought dictatorships. I am 40,000 deaths for global peace. I am hospitality. I am the epitome of resilience and one of the bravest nations of the world. I am Pakistan!”

 

The Power Within

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” Goethe 

Found this on my friends page. Loved it! Felt the need to share it. Its as simple as it is.

The power contained within our existence is immeasurable. We can be the personification of optimism if we choose to be. Our attitude will determine how we surpass the elements that make or break us. My perspective… my view… my vision will decide my triumph and others safety and well-being.

In order to appreciate our existence as powerful beings, we ought to make decisions that satisfy our hearts. When we truly feel content after acomplishing something, we have actually recognized our true purpose and the jewel within ourselves. I have always wondered how people felt when they intentionally made decisions that caused a broken heart or an insult to others intelligence. I have learnt from my father, it is in the joy we spread that we find ours.

My favorite part is  ”…I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal…”

Choose wisely!

Finals!

I can almost feel the sun on my face, the smell of the beach so fresh. The joyous screams and laughter from the folks on the roller coaster and the long walks in the park with Sophia running around… huh! almost there right?

It is the end of the semester, mid-Exam week and of course the beginning of the SUMMER VACATION!! All of this creates such a confused feeling towards this moment. Joy, excitement, stress, work-load, sleeplessness and most importantly our sense of achievement. No matter how you did the whole semester, you should know you struggled! Remember my first blog, being jugglers by profession. Guess what!!? You made it! to the end. No matter how many times you fell, it is how many times you got up that matters.

On the side note, for those who think they did not do as great, here is my advice to you. When I am not feeling so great, and complain about how much I have to struggle I always tell myself to look at those who are below me. Meaning, those who are in far more tougher situation than myself. Just today I saw two people carry so many shopping bags in their hands. It seemed as if they had just done grocery and were walking towards their home. I had tears in my eyes when I looked at the car I drive and wondered to myself how ungrateful I am when I complain that I don’t have time for grocery. If you didn’t ace your exams, give yourself another chance!

CCBC has so much to help you go through the exam week. Take advantage of it! My professor helped me two hours before my class started every week and helped me understand what I couldn’t understand in the class. Student Success Center! Advisors! SI leaders (Supplemental Instruction leaders)! Library! Honors Lounge! SSC Online Tutoring! … and the list goes on. Work hard-ER!! it will pay off!

Cheer up!

For this blog, I wanted to find a way to cheer up my fellow students who are struggling to get through to the end of the semester. I know how it feels to be (from my first post) juggling school, work and social life at the same time.

Sometimes when we are having a bad day, something not so fair or right causes us to get upset or slow down, we feel shattered. Therefore, I thought of sharing some of these inspirational quotes that I came across so that you know how valuable you and your emotions are!!

 

Know that you are as beautiful as you want to be. Your perspective will determine your value! Like i mentioned in my previous blog, your flaws or weaknesses are only a way to help you find the best in you.

When one door closes for you, look for another. Find ways to be successful… just like flowing water, it cuts through the the hardest of rocks to make its way. If you want it.. and you think you need it… trust me you’ll get it.

Good luck!

 

Cracked Pots!

There was once a water bearer in India who used to carry water from the well to his masters house. He hung two pots on the sides of a pole which he carried on his neck. One of the pots had a crack on a side while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

Two years went by and every day the bearer was delivering only one and a half pots full of water. The perfect pot took his accomplishment with great pride, while the cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection and was miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”

 ”Why?” asked the bearer. ”What are you ashamed of?”

 ”I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”

Guess what!? We are all cracked pots. Each one of us is gifted with some unique flaws. The things that matters most is how we use them and when do we recognize them? Sometimes our weaknesses become a hindrance in our way to something we want to achieve. Know that it is either a way to make us struggle more and become stronger, or a means to tell us there is something better out there and we need to open our eyes to find it.

Don’t be afraid of your flaws!! Use them to plant flowers in your life. Make a difference! Enjoy the beauty in the things that you have rather than making your life miserable for the things that you don’t have.

Bravo!

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend the fifth annual gala held by CCBC at Martin West. If it wasn’t for the Ambassador program, I doubt I would have had witnessed such a glorious night. Being a student at CCBC for so long, I know many are not aware what gala is about and how it affects us. Besides the fun and lots of socializing, the gala is intended to raise money for student scholarships. Students like us who struggle day and night to juggle our school life and finances. 
 
 
CCBC 2012
5th Annual Gala
 
BRAVO
Curtain Call for Scholarships and the Performing Arts!
 
Cocktails * Dinner * Dancing * Cabaret
 
April 14, 2012
 
7:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Martin’s West – Woodlawn, Maryland
 
Proceeds benefit CCBC programs and students.
 
 
I had to be there early so that I could get acquainted with the program and know my way around since I was one of the escorts that night. The theme was Cocktail dressy and it was named “Bravo!” for the 40 years of performing arts. I had the opportunity to escort some wonderful people who work diligently for the betterment of our school. Later the food was served. My sister and I had to request for special food due to religious dietary restrictions and to our surprise we were served with great food and utmost respect. Their was silent auction going on the other end and some performances  in another hall. 
 
 
 
Later in the evening, pretty much everyone was on the dance floor and I also noticed Dr. Sandra Kurtinitis dancing. We were lucky enough to take some hilarious shots with her in a photo booth. 
 
I had to leave at 11 but I found out from another friend that the fun went on till 12 am. It truly was a wonderful experience for me to attend such a great event, especially because it was an eye opener that so much is going on for the well being of the students. 
 
I checked the CCBC website to see how successful have we been with the Gala and to my surprise we have come a long way!! 

My Other World

Being an artist is tough. Its as if you are living in two worlds at the same time. This world and the world that you create out of this world. In George Santayana’s words, an artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world. It is funny how sometimes as an artist you are so lost that you don’t realise which is which, what is real and what is your creation. Look at Van Gogh (who happens to be my favorite artist). I don’t want to get in the details of how he created his artwork, but his paintings are indeed master pieces of creativity. Colors, tones, textures, abstracts everything that contributes to the palette of imagination. He wore the shades of yellows and blues to pour his vision onto his canvas.

I happen to be an artist too. Be it a beginner or someone who aspires to be one. Everything that surrounds me speaks to me in color, perspective, shapes, mood, rhythm, lines, value and of course shades. I love to enjoy looking at objects in respect to how they complement the surrounding. For an artist, art is an ultimate escape. Khalil Gibran finds Art as a step from what is obvious and well-known toward what is arcane and concealed.

If I had to choose between the two worlds, I would definitely stick to this world since the other is the creation of this world and it would be nothing without it. This world gives life to my creation. It would be great to hear from you how you see the world. Be it an Engineer, Doctor, Mathmatician, dancer, Teacher or any other choice of field.

 

Jugglers by Profession

I am sure many of us are nearing the mid terms and nothing is more stressful than the thought of taking the exam. It wasn’t until recently that I realised many of us are “jugglers by profession”. Lets face it, all of us are. Can you relate to the image below?

Or maybe this illustration can help.

Does it make any sense? It is funny how we have become jugglers as if our lives depended on it. As a matter of fact, it does. Take your own example. You are a student, employee, friend, sister/brother or any other relationship, you are bound to maintain a balance so that nothing falls apart.

The key to success at “juggling your life” is simple. Ask a professional juggler and he will tell you this. Know your strength and ability and only take what you can balance. Even the juggler will limit the number of balls in his juggling act just to save the whole act from falling apart. Don’t have too much in your plate. In more simple words, do what you can do and leave aside what you think is beyond your strength. Easy said then done, yeah? Ask for help! go to people who know your situation and will help you figure out ways balance things.

As a student at CCBC I feel Advising center is the best place for that. Rather, I call them professional jugglers. I have been fortunate to come across some of the most amazing advisors who assisted me with balancing not only my school life but also my social life.

All things aside, the most important key to successful juggling is finding humor in all aspects of your life. Like the juggler who is working hard to maintain balance, he wears the smile that makes the whole act so much fun.

Now that exams are here, focus mainly on exams and avoid too much social interactions. Wasting your precious time will only lead to failure. If you lag behind during the interval of one ball being passed from one hand to the other,the whole act will fall apart.

Lastly, please enjoy juggling. Your life will become so much easier if you were positive and optimistic. Have FUN!!