I Am Thankful

What is it that makes us thankful ?

My dad always says that its that time when someone whacks you in the kneecaps with a hammer, and you are forced to fall down on your knees, that is when you see your feet in shoes. And you see the pavement underneath it. You don’t think about the workers who put that pavement together in scorching heat with bruised hands.

Living in Jeddah, we all had our own rooms which we decorated according to our taste which meant having bicycles in the bedroom.

I never realised the luxury of it till we moved to Qatar and I had to share a room with brothers. Those were the times when I wanted to study, they wanted to sleep. I wanted to talk on the phone, they wanted to watch a movie.

Its the sound of that Aayyat, in your head that gives you goosebumps, while you shiver with the thought of all the blessings that are laid upon our feet.

And which of your Lord’s bounties will you deny ? Surah Rahman (55, 13)

It gets me every time. Not just once or twice, but every time I hear it. And you start looking at the little things in life. Like the fact that you can buy a phone without giving it a second thought. Instead of choosing between paying the house rent or getting food in tiny hungry bellies, we get to choose between rows upon rows of shoes.

So I thought that I need to reflect on how the year has gone by and make a list of things that I am not only grateful for but also thankful.

1. I am thankful to be a Muslim and to be born in a Muslim family.
2. I am thankful for good health, good families and good food. More importantly the food.
3. I am thankful to have an incredible guy in my life whose contentment makes me envy him.
4. I am thankful for the chance to be my own person and to do what I want.
5. I am thankful that I got to travel a lot this year.
6. I am thankful for wearing Black on my wedding day and doing everything the way I wanted.
7. I am thankful for amazing friends in my life who I can never replace.
8. I am thankful to be the only girl in the family.
9. I am thankful to have, not just one but two bedrooms.
10. I am thankful for a wardrobe full of clothes, shoes, bags and rubbish I don’t really need.
11. I am thankful for the increase in my pocket money. I mean, who does not ?

In short, I am grateful that I have had the life I did. Not many people are that fortunate.

And I am thankful for that.

…SAP…

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Its Just A Matter Of When

When we moved to Qatar, the first house that we stayed in was given to us by the company by dad worked for.

It did not have a single bulb or tube light in it.

It was the same case with the second and the third house. When asked for a house loan, we were given a bogus company policy excuse.

We bought every single energy saver in the house.

So when we finally moved houses a fourth time, after finding a house on our own terms, my mom wanted to payback the company for their generosity.

Moving day arrived, all of our packed and unpacked things go in the trucks, vans and cars hired by friends and family friends. Things got broken but most of them were shifted.

Last moment in the house, we are going through it to see if anything is left, when all of a sudden my mother looks up and sees the energy savers.

She gets hold of the ladder, climbs it up and takes it down. Than she goes around the house taking them all down one by one, liking ripping off band aid.

I stood there, telling her not to such an idiotic thing but her answer was the same, “I am not leaving without these.”

So we went to the new house, a bag cradled in my lap with 8 energy savers and me praying that they don’t break.

While setting up the new house, my mother noticed that a few bulbs were missing in the chandeliers in some of the rooms. Out comes the energy savers bag with a lecture on her being right and a mom smirk.

Fast forward ten minutes later, when I am standing on the ladder telling her that the ones we need are the twisting ones and the ones she took off of the old house were screw in ones.

Sometimes you have to let go.

Be it grudges or old buddies.

Its a Honey Bee that will sting you.

Its just a matter of when.

…SAP…

Value Your Independence

When I was younger, I saw my mom being the man of the house. My dad was working out of country and so she was the one paying all the bills, fees, getting grocery, putting dinner on the table and making sure that her kids grow up as humans. She was living in a joint family system, managing a house and raising three kids.

And even when we were coming to KSA, she was the one doing the embassy rounds, making sure we had everything we needed from School Certificates to new bed sheets.

On top of it all, my father would challenge us siblings to see who would go furthest in the sea. When he taught me how to ride a bike, he would not rush to pick up the fallen bicycle, I had to do it. And I learnt riding a bike in two nights.

Along the ride, I was also taught the same thing. I was taught to do things. deal with situations and find solutions on my own. From wearing socks to getting in a fight at school, I was doing it myself. I used to tell them the daily happenings. They would listen and laugh at it, but never tell me what to or not to do.

That was always my call. Sometimes I made a good one. Sometimes a bad one.

And that has molded me into the person I am today.

Yes, I had to tell them when I was going out or if I was staying after school. Yes, they said no to a lot of things.

I really appreciate that. Because over the years, there have been times when I had no idea what to do but I did it anyway. Because I was taught that. And I ended up learning a lot from it.

Independence is one of the best things life has to offer. You do not need someone else to back you up if you believe in your own words. You cannot always wait for someone to fill out your Visa application forms. Or bake the cookies that you need to take to a party.

At the end of the day, no one else is going to come and clean the mess of your life.

You have to get up and go do it. Otherwise, you end up being the worst version of yourself.

Do not become Scarlette O’Hara. Become Jane Eyre or Elizabeth Bennet.

…SAP…

30 Day Challenge: Day 2

Day 2 Tell about a character who lost something important to him/her.

My name is Omar Ahmad. I was born in Gulshan Iqbal, Karachi on a night where lightning and a dark storm had engulfed the whole city. Being the only kid gave me everything I wanted. I had a never ending pocket money, bicycle, a laptop, Play Station and its various games, Limited Edition Nikes and the latest phone in my hand.

I finished Elementary school. And went on to the prestigious Agha Khan Secondary School because it was my fathers dream. I barely got in by a minute percentage difference.

Besides I had nothing to worry about as long as my fees was being paid and I had money in my pockets. During my school years, I wanted a bike. So my father went ahead and bought me one.

Than I wanted to go on a trip around Pakistan, with my friends. I knew that a my father’s sister was getting married and money was a little tight. But I asked for a couple grand and he handed me the money without a question or a crease in his forehead.

Than came university. My father’s only life mission was to make me an engineer. Because he could never become one. So he lavished his hard work on me to make me succeed and see his dreams being fulfilled.

Only I did not want to do anything. Period.

I wanted to enjoy life. I wanted to sleep till 3 in the afternoon, roam around with my friends and spend money like the millionaire I never was.

I made him promise me to buy a car if I got in, in a university.

I got admission in the most pathetic university of the city. But I got what I wanted. A brand new car, to show off to my friends and smoke in.

In the middle of my university years, a friend of mine went to the states. I saw his pictures and heard his bragging about American girls and making money the easy way. I decided to go as well.

I asked him for money. I told him what I wanted it for. And I was so blind, I did not even see the tears brimming in his eyes, his callous hands and white hair telling a story of hardships and sacrifices.

I got the visa. I booked the ticket. And I came here. I left him. I left the thing that should have been most precious to me. But I was so selfish to ever see that.

I lost the most important thing in my life on purpose.

…SAP…

30 Day Writing Challenge, Day 1

The other day I was telling my friend, how my writing has become more of a reality show script than what I wanted. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and try out one of the writing challenges. Because I want to write fiction. I saw a couple of challenges and this 30 Day Writing Challenge stood out the most.

So that is what I will be doing for this month.

Day 1 —Select a book at random in the room.  Find a novel or short story, copy down the last sentence and use this line as the first line of your new story.

The book I chose was The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larsson, mainly because it was on my side table. 

She was going to need it, or she would die.

He thought about all the things that had gone wrong in his calm and serene life.

Three days ago, he was sitting in Germany, Skyping with his kids back home and telling them that he had gotten the i-pod and the American Girl doll, that they wanted. He had asked about her, but she was busy making dinner. So obviously, he did not persist and talked to the rest of his family and than went to sleep.

And now here he was, sitting on the cold hospital bench, hands clenching his throbbing forehead, being told that it was over. Unless some miracle happened.

She was going to need everyone’s prayers.

Their story was very simple. They had met through family friends and had instantly liked each other. He had introduced her to his parents, thinking that they would reject her but they had liked her more than him. After that it was a matter of months.

They had gotten engaged among family and friends, all the time being told how lucky they were to marry the one they loved.

After an year came Mehndi, Baraat and the reception. Again they were looked upon as a very fortunate couple.

And now, ten years later, they had two beautiful kids, a well decorated house and an incredible partner.

They had everything.

Until that damned driver, who had shattered their perfect mirror of a life in 5 minutes and a single turn.

Now she lay in that spotless white bed, hooked up to a million machines, tubes going in and out of her, after giving up on him and their life together.

He sat there, cold and helpless, waiting for his worst fears to be confirmed and the tears to flow, wondering how his luck had changed in ten years.

…SAP…