Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

Archive for March 4, 2012


Published in TheNewsBlog >>

It was destined that I had to watch it. Yes nothing but destiny could do that, knowing how averse to dramas I am. Overwhelmed with the real life political and social dramas that go around us, fiction has never touched my heart.

However, the imaginative FAREWELL TO HUMSAFAR potluck party called by a group of friends, with an invitation page on Facebook, was too attractive to refuse. I made it clear that I do not watch, knowing very well how much of emotional investment there is in the serial by all and sundry. The reply I got was: “No problems, it will be fun, but no asking questions during the episode.”

My daughter, a Humsafar fan herself, had warned me enough times.“Don’t you pass any derogatory comments on the drama.” On the way she briefed me with the story, so that I did not make a fool of myself, which she probably thought that I already was.

Two hours after the episode had been relayed in Pakistan, we were sitting facing the idiot box, with all techie girls busy streaming the HD episode on you tube.

As it began, almost at the spur of the moment I blurted: “Is this Asher?”

And all, almost a dozen and half heads turned with shock towards me. I knew I had announced my idiocy.

He was the only character I actually knew. How and why, is pretty interesting.

A few weeks ago I saw a status of my daughter on Facebook:

“Asher ♥.”
There were 64 ‘likes’ on it.

My heart almost missed a beat, wondering if this isn’t any cricketer, or any friend of hers I know, who is he? And then, 64 of her friends already know about him. How could she keep her friendly Mom so oblivious to this Asher in her life? It was then that I learnt about Humsafar, with a sigh of relief.

In barely less than ten minutes of watching, I could guess what the story was, minus the unnecessary details. It was a typical Mills & Boons in Urdu. My guess was later confirmed by the fact that the novel was first published in Khawateen Digest in several parts.

It even had the Starplus touch in its dialogues especially when Asher tell his mother, “So how do I know if I am also my father’s son?” in reply to his mother’s remarks “How can you say that is your child? How do we know where all had she been?”

It was a love story with all the essential desi elements- marriage by parental pressure, wicked mother in law’s conspiracy against daughter in law, an all loving, all sacrificing wife and finally a happy ending. And not to miss the other women in the extended family and another cousin, in love with the boy, all hell bent to make the marriage fail. As the end approached, all the puzzles fell in the right place, with the child finally proving to be the reuniting factor. So very filmi !

Half way through what really intrigued me : ‘Was it this boy, Asher, so manipulable, ( first by his emotional father into a marriage to a cousin, and then by a possessive mother who managed to kick his wife out of his life), is to whom my daughter and 64 other friends giving their hearts out to?
Thank my stars, this wasn’t a real Asher!

Luckily, my second silly question was interrupted by some head in the dark room, with, “You’re just allowed to take breaths, no talking please.”

There is no denial that the serial swept Pakistani women with age, class, and even location on the globe NO BAR.

Perhaps every woman saw a part of herself in Khirad- a woman who despite being strong, intelligent and with self respect bows down to other’s dictations in the major decision of her life, and then invests all her heart, mind and soul into that marriage. And once a mother, she resets her priorities.

I particularly liked how she did not beg proving her innocence and chose not to explain how ‘cleanly’ she spent the 4 years away from her husband, despite being blatantly questioned of her character by the ‘social worker’ mother in law. Indeed, to be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.

I recollected having once overheard my daughter joking to her brother “No matter how much Ammi is a woman’s rights advocate, she is going to be a harsh mother in law.” Now I knew who she had in her mind, when she said this.

Having said all that, it was a pleasure to know that amidst all the real life tragic dramas of Maya Khans or Waheeda Shahs, the 52% of Pakistan had some respite and diversion with a love story that had a happy ending.

May Asher, Khirad live happily ever after…


Gimme all your worries

Published in TheNews Blog :

“What if my boss doesn’t like my work?”

What if I get cancer?

What if I don’t pass the exam?

What if my friends don’t like my dress?

What if Mommy doesn’t come back from work?

Worries! Age, gender and ethnicity, is no bar. From babies to youth to middle aged to the elderly, we all have our share of them – a few valid, some too trivial to warrant a worry but we still do – but loads and loads of them are simply imaginary ones that never become real.

Some of us must have read the famous self help book by Dale Carnegie How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

Some technologically savvy might have googled ‘How to deal with anxieties’ and got the tips:

  • Prepare for the worst, hope for the best
  • Practice relaxation
  • List your blessing
  • Distract yourself, keep busy
  • Get support

Quite a few of us Moms and Dads must have dealt with worrying kids and must have used our own tools either as healing words, “I understand your concern, but be strong “, or simply giving a tight reassuring hug without saying “I’m beside you.”

Perhaps many of us may even have trivialised “That’s nothing to worry about?” without realising that it adds to their worries rather than help them.

A few days ago while visiting a museum for the Mayan Civilization Exhibition in Toronto; I came across a very simple yet unique and fascinating way of dealing with worries. My attention was drawn to the tiny, barely 2.5- 3cm long set of six miniature dolls placed with a name: “Guatemalan worry dolls”.

On a closer look, they were tiny dolls made out of wrapping cloth or wool over tiny wires shaped as dolls and each one had faces with eyes and a smile drawn on them.

Later as I dug into the details, I learnt that they are an ancient Mayan tradition which is still being practiced by the surviving descendants of the ancient Mayans which live in Central America, specifically in Guatemala.

The dolls usually come in a pack of six handmade dolls and a tiny bag to carry them.

It is said that if the children who worry are told to share their worry with the ‘worry doll’ and place it under the pillow imagining that the doll will take care of that worry. Each doll is told one worry at a time. Many a times parents take away the doll from below the pillow, so that when the kids wake up in the morning thinking that with the doll, the worry too has disappeared. However, sometimes if the worries are recurrent, not removing the doll implies that the doll is working on the ‘worry’ to disappear.

The tradition has been claimed to be scientifically sound and helps kids learn to ‘speak out’ their worries instead of internalising them into long lasting fears. It also gives a subtle message that ‘someone’ cares. It is also know to work as a good tool to inculcate a habit of sound sleep. However, this may work only in those with mild or moderate worries, but not so much in situations of extreme anxiety.

It is claimed that ‘worry dolls’ have also been used in the hospitals, for young and old, to allay anxiety in patients while they undergo surgeries or cancer treatments. Some claim to have used them in class rooms in schools and meeting rooms in offices to cope with stress, and to boost creativity. They are even used for emotional healing in incurable illnesses, dealing with deaths or even heart breaks. I think with the potential they have, there is no dearth of situations where ‘worry dolls’ can be used. Imagination is the limit to utilize them as calming companions.

Though not mentioned in the information on dolls, their ‘tiny’ size taking up seemingly ‘big’ worries must be playing its part in the process of relaxation too.

Apart from the therapeutic value, what fascinated me was the art of making these miniature dolls by wrapping up wool or cloth on wire and giving them a resemblance to someone who ‘cares’.

So aptly was it mentioned in the literature: “Make your own worry dolls at home, just give them a dress, two pairs of limbs and a smiley face? And see them in action. You needn’t be a Picasso or a Freud.”

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