Pakistan’s Father Teresa

Google honors Abdul Sattar Edhi‘s birthday on their homepage. He would have been 89. When I saw it, I felt very sad and nostalgic for the man we have lost.

Often dubbed as “Angel of Mercy” and also known as “Pakistan’s Father Teresa,” Edhi Sahab (Mr. Edhi) lived a modest and monkish life since his early youth. He founded the world’s largest volunteer ambulance network in Pakistan, the Edhi Foundation. And his death last year on July 8, 2016 deeply saddened me. Although my family and I donate to his foundation a lot, I feel sad that I never even bothered to meet him. However, I can honestly say that he is my biggest inspiration and I aspire to be more like him.

I am really glad Google is commemorating him today and showcasing his philanthropic work for the whole world to see. I know that Edhi Sahab (Mr. Edhi) very much disliked being in the spotlight, but I believe he deserves recognition and praise for being the humanest human in a world struck by hate and cruelty.

Truly, this world is in dire need of kindness, selflessness and humanity. It needs more people like Edhi Sahab, because our world is stricken by war, religion, color and hate. Especially now, with the news of the travel bans and talks of building walls to divide us all.

Here are 7 things you didn’t know about Abdul Sattar Edhi:

  1. He created his exceptional foundation out of nothing when he was only 19 years old and penniless. (Slogan: Live and help live)
  2. He lived a modest and humble life from his childhood till his death. (He worked for free, didn’t take a salary, and only owned two suits of clothes)
  3. His humanitarian work didn’t just limit to Pakistan. In 2005, he raised $100,000 for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. (He was always actively involved in International affairs)
  4. He was offered treatment abroad, but he insisted on being treated in a government hospital at home.
  5. He left behind 20,004 children. (He only has 4 biological offspring, but he adopted 20,000)
  6. His parting words were: “Take care of the poor people of my country.”
  7. Many have debated time and again that he has been overlooked for the Nobel Peace Prize and he should have been awarded in his lifetime, but Mr. Edhi never showed any interest in it.

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Two Roads Diverged In a Wood, And I

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Hello, world.

I am in Savannah, Georgia. Starting my postgrad- Masters in Writing at SCAD (short for Savannah College of Art & Design).

I feel like I’m on a really fast roller coaster (even though I terribly fear them), and things seem to be flying like a rocket for me ever since I left Pakistan.

I honestly have no words, because this is a big change in my life. When most girls my age are forced to marry and start a family, I have been given the choice of living abroad, in the good old US of A, and take my future in my hands.

I had given up, truly. When I got the acceptance at SCAD and expressed my excitement to go there, my parents and family did not agree. In their eyes, I was 26 and unmarried, getting old and nearing my expiration date. However, one day in November, my parents just came up to me and told me that they will support my decision to go to SCAD despite what everyone says or thinks.

And so, I applied for and got my student visa, and here I am. I’ll march my band out.
I will beat my drum,
And if I’m fanned out,
Your turn at bat, sir,

I can sing this whole damn song, and I have realized that I am a theater nerd as well.

To new beginnings!

xoxo

Names that I have adored

When I was younger, I was really in love with two names for boys: Mustafa and Hamza.

When my younger twin brothers were born, I begged mom to name them that. When she didn’t, I made a vow at 13, that I would either marry a guy with that name, or give my future sons that name.

It’s something that has stayed with me as a constant throughout these years.

One day. Idk. But one day.

Picture credit: Lume & Penna 

September 9

My eldest uncle, dad’s oldest brother, lost his battle to cancer on this day around 26 years ago. 

Each year, as September 9 rolls by, it is a dark and gloomy day for us. Even though I was only 1 when my uncle  died, and I don’t remember anything about him- only stories, I am just as much affected by his death.

All of my family gathers at my grandparents on this day. Aunts, uncles, cousins. Dad and his siblings don’t go to work today. We have lunch and dinner with my grandparents. Dad visits my uncle’s grave with all the men. They feed the poor in my uncle’s name. We desperately try to lift my grandparents sad moods. It’s a ritual that is happening ever since I can remember. 

Of course, losing a child is hard. And it is the worst thing ever. Especially, if it’s your first born, too. My uncle died at 35, leaving behind two children. Babies, really. 2 and 4 years old. My grandmother raised them. His daughter is like my sister and we have grown up together. And maybe that’s why her pain is my pain and why this day is painful for me, too. 

I have never seen my grandmother break down before. She has always stayed strong, composed. She is the kind of woman who takes on a challenge and climbs the highest mountain without a sweat. She is never weak to the world. Sure, she has been emotional at times, but barely. Until today. 

It’s a worst kind of feeling, when you hear your grandmother sob like a child does. It wrecks you, it shatters you… It cuts like a hundred knives. And I can’t get the sound out of my head… 

I started crying, too. Everyone did.

Today was a very gloomy day, indeed. 

It’s been 26 years, but some wounds never heal… I have so much love and respect for all the parents who continue to have courage after losing their children…. You are brave and surely, your patience and courage will be rewarded. Amen. 

No matter how old or young, children should bury their parents. Not the other way around.  

Rantings

I’ve been standing at a crossroad in this phase of my life for a very long time now. And I guess, I’ve procrastinated a little (okay, a lot). And it hasn’t helped. Neither has family for that matter.

When should parents back off from trying to control their child’s life? I feel as if I am still their puppet. I try to break free but they won’t keep their hands off of me, and I just trip over and fall each time I make a run for it.

Asian parents are more controlling than the average parent, and I guess one can’t really get them off their backs so easily. Especially Brown parents. Also, especially in a stupid society like Pakistan’s.

But when is enough enough? When do we finally say no? When do we take back our own lives? I want to be the grownup they’ve raised me to be. But HOW do I get this past the thick skulls of theirs? My parents are full of contradictions. On one hand, I am old enough to have 3 kids by now, a house and a husband of my own. But, yet, I am too naive to make my own decisions and too young to take control of my life.

When will parents let their kids finally grow up?