Al Hamdulillah

All Hamdulillah.

Thank you Allah for all the blessings you have thrust upon me in the last week but have been too busy and ungrateful to notice.

Thank you for 8 new projects for my writing team in one week that have seemed completely insurmountable but now have almost completed thanks to my champion team and a whole lot of angst on my part. Thanks particularly to the many writers who submitted their work late and taught me to keep a bit of perspective on the writing gig – indeed it is not going to save the world, a country or even a person. It is just a job!

Thanks for my fantastic kids who are my best friends and never fail to put me back in my place as an inadequate human being that cant think of anything to give them for lunch, forgets to make them brush their teeth and cant be bothered to push them any harder to study for their exams, despite them still not knowing how tall Nanga Parbat is.

Thanks for the incredibly confronting lessons in mortality these last couple of weeks with more people dying around me than have died in my whole previous 40 years. The learning has been enormous and although I continue to grieve for all of them, the sweet preciousness of life that I still have is more keenly felt than ever before. The inspiration of the strong people around me serves more and more as a reminder of how to live with faith and without fear.

Thanks for all those I love and who are my friends despite my uncountable failings. InshAllah by the time my own end comes, I will have done something that has made Allah happy with me.




Every breath you take…

“Every drop of sweat

And every breath we take in life,

if not taken for the sake of Allah,

will lead to regret and sorrow on the Day of Judgement”

– Ibn-e-Qayyim

A friend of mine posted this on facebook today and it is so penetratingly apt. I am going through an altered reality few days where it feels pretty much like I am in one of those snow globe thingys being shaken up by Allah the One.

It started with “Inception” – which I started watching on Sunday night. Thanks to the pathetic speed of our home internet, even when I load a movie for hours it still has to buffer regularly, so when I am watching a movie I am also Facebooking, reading the news etc. So while watching Inception I came across a terrible story of a street car race in Bahria Town (just near us) where a car lost control and flipped over onto the crowd, killing at least 5 people. It was terrible and I was deeply moved by it. The obligatory You Tube video was eerie but i just couldnt bring myself to watch the accompanying video of the bodies. Here people seem to love blood and gore, but it feels like the height of disrespect to be seeing dead people like that. I turned off Facebook and persisted with the movie for a while. I think i am the only person left who has not seen it, so you will know that it is all about the altered perception of reality and what is REAL.

For those with spiritual leanings, you will know that the whole spiritual truth is that this life is not real – we have simplified the magnificent complexity of Allah’s creation of man into a living breathing ego that WANTS everything and veils us from the TRUTH. I am blessed to have a husband who reminds me of that in every day, and although I am a grand failure when it comes to living a spiritual life, I can see what he is talking about very clearly.

So Inception was gripping from that perspective, however at about 11pm I gave up on the buffering and left the movie until the morning. I slept with the haunting thought of those dead people squashed by that car, and their new realities. I thought of the mothers who had lost their children and loved ones and the new reality that they also had to face without the people they love.

Morning came and I got the kids off to school. I was still haunted by the car crash and looked up as much information as i could – which was not much except that there was a little girl in hospital and two fathers and sons killed. Watched a bit more of Inception and blew my mind a bit more, then headed off to school to pick up the kids. My 11 year old daughter came to the gate with a tear stained face etched in shock. “Did you hear?” she asked, and I learned with horror that two of those killed were our friends – Safi’s class fellow and cousin of her best friend, and his father. Their sister was in hospital in a serious condition and their mother, a friend of mine, was left with her life so smashed up it was hard to imagine how she could get through.

The snow globe of my reality shook so hard that I could barely stand and could barely breathe. NO. NO. NO. This was not even my family, but the shock was unbearable. Yet people die tragically every day dont they? Lives are shaken like this every day, yet we go on. There is a scene in Inception when the van is falling off the bridge and in their dreams they are without gravity. This is our lives really isnt it? Worlds within worlds, floating through what we call life. The jerks we receive in the form of life-changing moments are miniscule in perspective. The only thing that matters is to hold onto Allah. This family just built a new house, the wife was doing her PhD, they had a million plans. And now they are gone. Everything they thought would happen will now never happen. It was nothing but illusion in the first place.

So Ibn-e-Qayyim is so right that it is as unbearable as the tragedy unfolding here. There is NOTHING to live for except Allah the One. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.


Anybody have an electric heater?

OK so it is REALLY cold here now. And in usual Pakistani style, there is no gas. Yeah, I know just earlier in the week I was blogging about the virtues of living in Pakistan – but I am not feeling so positive about Pakistan today.┬áNOW I JUST WANT A HEATER THAT WORKS.

For those who dont know, I live in a house with 15 other people… a large assortment of parents in law, brothers and sisters in law and tonnes of kids. We have ONE gas connection for the whole house and that connection has to service the 4-burner stove (that runs for most of the day), 6 gas heaters (one for each bedroom), and three hot water heaters. Right now the gas supply in our one pipe is only just enough to boil water in about 15 minutes. That is because in this country, there is a shortage of EVERYTHING (most urgently a shortage of FORESIGHT in our cherished leaders). In summer there is not enough electricity to meet the country’s needs so we suffer from long long hours of load shedding. In winter there is not enough gas so we end up with gas shortages – even the gas service stations are closed for a couple of days a week (and ALL our cars run on gas).

So here I sit, with my hands INSIDE the heater, with enough heat to warm one finger at a time (which actually just seems to make me feel colder), and wish for the luxury of gas.

But hang on a minute! The solution to this is surely to get smarter and think outside the whingeing mentality. What we need is electric heaters in the winter and gas airconditioners in the summer! Well I am not sure if there is such thing as a gas AC, but there sure are electric heaters.

So who cares if our electricity rate is the highest in the world… I’m going heater SHOPPING!

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