Ramazan: a Month of Blessings or Ratings

Ramazan is a ratings gold mine for channels as fewer people venture out after a long day of fasting, yet the quality of broadcasting seems to be a race to the bottom. It is a huge missed opportunity, one which could so easily be used to educate, inform as well as entertain audiences.

Ramazan – which was once known as the month of restraint, tolerance, patience and charity – has now become a season for the profit seeking television enterprises to sell religion in the name of Ramazan to get high ratings and make good money.

The problem with television broadcasting in Pakistan is that everything is plentiful, be it news channels, Ramazan transmissions or game shows on them. In this proliferation of such transmissions, the least attention is given to the script that can actually make a difference. Here the hosts of the shows are only required to have enough charisma and be enough impudent to look good on the screen. It doesn’t matter if they know something about the subject or not.

This problem is also solved as recently, The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on May 9th, 2018 declared that not actors, cricketers or models but PhD scholars should talk about religion on TV channels.

What do all these programs say about our values, our attitudes? Inciting religious violence, the complete lack of tolerance, the display of arrogance, hypocrisy and materialism; is that the spirit of this sacred month?

Lost in all this cheap sensationalism is the essence of this month of self-discipline and self-denial.So who is to blame? Who rewards these people despite their inappropriate behaviour?

The sad truth is, it’s the audience. It’s easy enough to turn the tide against such behaviour, instead of laughing at their lack of manners and railing against these crude displays why not use the power of the remote?

In a month geared towards maximizing worship, how about opening up discussions on tolerance and learning how to deal with religious issues without extreme or violent responses?

There are plenty of well educated, charismatic and well-spoken religious scholars both in Pakistan and in the Pakistani diaspora throughout the world who could lend this season’s programming some much needed depth and gravity but are being ignored in favour of celebrities.

How wonderful it would be if these TV shows could highlight and reward the youth and leaders engaged in projects that lift up society and raise awareness about issues like domestic violence and mental health.

While there is nothing wrong with giving away grand prizes and having fun, the focus on winning at any cost seems to be pushing important issues and the less fortunate amongst us, already marginalized by society, even further back in to the shadows.

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What is special to me.


Being the reason for that big smile on your loved ones face is special to me.
Gazing at the sparkling stars while reminiscing all those happy moments is special to me.
Those rare moments of being able to read alone while grazing those crisp pages, sniffing that oh so wonderful fragrance of them
While, trying to decipher the hidden mysteries inside and, losing myself in the depths of it. Immersing yourself in that entirely different world is special me.

Few things special to me.

What is special to you?

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Catalyst

As the sunlight enters my room through the window, I hide my face with the pillow and start groaning by thinking about the same boring routine ahead. I finally wake up after much protest and perform the same ritual of showering, brushing teeth, getting ready having breakfast and heading to school. I cringe by even thinking about what is awaiting me at school like always. The same insults, curses, beatings by others because I am fat and I deserve this treatment I guess cuz I really am ugly. I can see myself in the side mirror of a car. A girl with the rough curly brown hair, wearing an oversized shirt to hide all those scars and beatings along with all that fat. All in all, an unattractive hideous girl of 17 is staring back at me.

I sometimes wonder what’s the purpose of my existence? why am I even living? Do I even deserve this treatment? All those curses and looks? why? Even my family is ashamed of me. So why am I even breathing? Because the only thing a person wants is, to be loved! That’s all. To be loved, by everyone or anyone. Just this want, to be loved, makes us want to live, to breath, to smile and most of all, this allows us to love ourselves and others.

This, being loved is the catalyst that breaths life into our souls or slowly and gradually takes it away from our souls. So, it makes it or breaks it.

Little by little, this catalyst surely is taking life away from me, day by day it’s waining, I can feel it. How I no longer feel the need to laugh, smile, talk and most of all it’s at the end. You know it’s the end, when you no longer want to love anyone and it surely is at last stage, when you stop loving yourself!

The moment this catalyst takes all the energy away from your soul, you no longer want to breath or even live. You’re just merely existing with outer layer breathing but totally dead from inside, just like me. And there comes a time when you want to end this also. End all of this. So that people around you will no longer feel ashamed, atleast you’ll be doing a favour to them by not existing.

But then, one morning this incident happened and it changed it all.Changed my entire life, for good.

One day as I was walking home from school.I saw a feet away on the road side, two childrens one boy and girl of 10 and 6 respectively. Their appearance unkempt with dirty clothes on and begging from strangers for money. As they saw an ice-cream stand a little far from them they ran at it. As they both stared at the icecream like it’s the only secret to their happiness. The boy started counting the few coins he had and bought one icecream since he didn’t have money to buy two and gave it to the little girl. After watching the whole scene, I went to them and bought one icecream and gave it to the boy and after that what happened, it changed my life. The boy and girl hugged me and said thankyou with this big goofy smiles and their faces gleaming with happines. I felt at that moment, the feeling of being loved by someone even for a moment. I was the reason for adding fuel to someones catalyst. They felt, they were being loved by someone, they felt hopeful just by this small gesture of mine.

After that I knew I was always looking at it the wrong way all along. I knew my catalyst was taking my life away and now I know how to bring it all back. Why not add the fuel to my catalyst by loving others? Why not give it to those who really need it, want it, whose catalysts are also taking their lives little by little. So why not add a fuel to their catalyst? You just have to look around, truly look around to find all those people. Believe me, there are many we just have to look. And you never know, by doing that your fuel might start increasing day by day and you’ll start loving yourself, and everyone will surely start loving you. Well , they always have, you were just looking it the wrong way.

So, let’s add fuel to everyone’s catalysts! Love others, you’ll automatically start loving yourself!! Life is beautiful, it’s just how you look at it!!

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Beauty of Black

As I gaze up at the beautiful picturesque of stars glowing in the dark sky and wonder how can stagnation be so beautiful. Those dead bright stars in the sky are more alive than I’ll ever be. The stars eyes fixated at the pure souls, souls who are watching them and wondering how can something dead be so gorgeously amazing, speaking the unspoken truth of the unseen.

I can see, it’s the pitch black surrounding them that makes them glitter. The darker it is, the brighter it let those stars sparkle like a diamond.

The black is sacrificing the beauty of itself letting others shine, oh how more perfect can you be?

As I look around at the pure white glistening souls. The black scars on it are more prominent to the others, as they’re glancing at it and grimacing at it’s ugliness. But those black scars are the sole reason of enhancing the beauty of that soul. Those scars are the reason everyone can see the pure parts of the soul and making it glisten more, showing how perfect it is.

Those scars are revealing the untold stories of all the hardships and sacrifices it went through and still stood it’s ground hence exhibiting the bravery of the soul. Scars are the actual reason making it more human as perfect humans are filled with scars of battles they went through.

You are still sacrificing your beauty to make others beautiful, oh how more perfect can you be?

As the whole world is filled with indefinite colors making it a marvelous place to live in. Every single color is full of liveliness and happiness to the people gazing at it, making them joyful and alive except black. Black is the colour of death, fear, infinity, loneliness, abandonment, scars, gloominess, hollowness. This is how everyone looks at you.But I can see the real you.

How every colour is beautiful from outside just like us humans, as we tend to show our qualities and good sides and hiding our dark true faces outside.

We humans are just like these colors of infinite ranges.

I can see the real you, black. How you are filled inside with infinite bright colours of every range making you awestruck-ingly gorgeous beyond imagination. But you still hide it inside you just showing the darkness on outside. You are opposite to us human.We try to hide our dark secret inside us but you show it upfront and conceal your beauteousness inside.

Just to make others sparkle you sacrifice yourself, oh how more perfect can you be?

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Fight your battles yourself

Before you judge my life, my past or my character… Walk in my shoes, walk the path I have traveled, live my sorrow, my doubts, my fear, my pain and my laughter.. Remember, everyone has a story. When you’ve lived my life then you can judge me…!!! And this is what being empathetic means.

I still remeber how we all used to make a gang and rule all over school and always had each others back. How others would look at us through jeaolusy that we always were together and no one would dare separate us.

From those foolish card games to playing teacher teacher and buying the chalk and duster through our weeks pocket money. How we used to fake play, of traveling to different countries and bringing along gifts for eveyone in return. I still remeber those days when no one could weaken our bond because we all were together beacuse had a special bond. To the people we were just cousins, but to each other we all were more than that.

Now as I am looking at those days, I am trying to find where was the loop hole when we lost each other?, how did the bond weaken? But I couldn’t find the answers.Is it bacause we all are mature now and those were just childish promises? and we are now past those pahses, or is it because our prorities are different now and we aren’t satisfied with what we have and we want more, or else the real reason is that the bond was never there it was all fake just to past that phase faking all those plays, happiness and joys we all shared together it was all fake.

Now not only have I lost all of you even the one who I thought would always understand me, doesn’t. Sister, I thought our bond was the strongest among every other bond. We didn’t have to speak and just through a look we would understand each other. What happened to us? They say eyes are the gate to the persons soul so can’t you see the pain, suffering I’m going through everyday? Can’t you see just by looking at me what I’m going through?. I guess I was wrong all along. No one understands you on your toughest times. You just have yourself and no one else. So, in the end we all have to fight our batlles alone no one would come to rescue us. Fight your own battles yourself and show them what you’ve got. You don’t need anyone else. You’re okay on your own.

Fight your battles yourself.

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One act of kindness can change lives

I can see the golden rays of sun playing hide and seek with clouds and painting a beautiful picture in the sky as I stare at my reflection in the nearby side mirror of a car, a young boy of 13 years is staring back at me wearing dirty and torn clothes, I sigh at my appearance and move forward to perform my daily task and start sorting out wrappers and dry papers from the pile of garbage on the side road. I try to find useful things which can land me more money and put them in my plastic bag hanging on my back as I move on. I can hear the laughter of two friends from afar as they are making their way to school wearing backpacks and uniform as I stare longingly at the book in one’s hand. The thing which has a totally different world inside, through which I can travel through space, time and there is no limit. I can imagine whatever I can, but how? How can I do that? When I don’t know how to read? I am only one step away from becoming the wise person but how can I? Who will come forward to help me do that? No one! No one has so far, so why will they in the future? I wish I could read all those books I found while picking garbage and had to hide it in the secret place so my father couldn’t find it and sell it just because we’ll get more money and can buy a day’s meals from it. But how can I? Because they are the world to me, a hope for me to the better future even though they are torn from inside just like me. I wish someone would come to me and teach me. How grateful I’ll be to that person, he can never imagine. He’ll be the reason for my better future and I’ll be the reason for someone else’s. But, l can only wish. I wish I could read I wish.

Then, one day as I was continuing my same routine of picking garbage, a young man around 25 years came to me and started asking my name but I was too afraid to answer so I didn’t reply him at first then after he asked that one question and I didn’t realize the answer would change my entire life. He asked if I was interested in studying and I don’t know what came upon me I straight away said yes! And after that he asked me if I was interested in studying and I straight away nodded my head with tears streaming down my face and after that day we would meet at the same place for two hours and he taught me each and everything. He was,
The one who taught me how to see,

not only what’s in front but the other side of the picture to be able to see the depth of everything. One, only a lucky few can see.
The one who taught me how to think. Not only what seems to be the truth but what’s the truth behind the lie. One, only a lucky few can do.
The one who taught me how to find my own soul which was lost playing hide and seek with me, only a lucky few can find.
I am lucky because I met an angel who has shown me the secret door to find my own self in this world of lost souls.
But, from the start I asked this question to myself, why? Why he was doing this? Why? Then I asked him one day and he answered with a smile on his face, “I was waiting when you would ask me and I’m glad you did. I am not the one who is doing this alone l, we have group of 30 friends who started this to. We were fed of blaming the system for all our problems and ti give opportunity to every children, citizen to study and have a meaningful life but then we realized one day the problem wasn’t in the state the problem was in ourselves, so we started to talk about this issue of our own self to start this practice mass agitation against our silence by taking things in our own hands and try to take part in a minuscule change if we can. So we started this initially by 5 people, of changing a single life by teaching them not only academics but basically how to be a better human and then it expanded and more people joined us now we are 30 people and thus will increase further as the one who we are teaching will also change someone else’s life.”
I was so touched by the concept that I promised myself I would also join this practice and how he saved my life and made me better.I would also try to help others around me and hopefully this positive, nonviolent practice of agitation will help change entire lives.

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An Orphan

His hands are trembling as he is holding the baby of 5 days with difficulty but making sure not to drop the baby as he moves forward dragging his feet against the rough surface on the sidewalk making sure to hide the baby inside the cloth draped on him so no one could see what he is holding on his hands on 3 am at night. He could hear the sound of dogs barking far away and shadows of junkies as he tries to pass by them quietly and head towards his destination.

The tears are streaming down his face as he’s trying to control the sob that’s trying to break through his body but couldn’t stop himself as he sobs trying to muffle the sounds so the few shadows lurking in the dark at the corner of street couldn’t hear or detect him.He finally reaches there and could see the wooden cot beside the closed door of the orphanage.

He can still remember that day just 5 days ago now it’s like it’s been years since then, the day where his beautiful wife died giving birth to her daughter, she died because of him she was too weak at that time and because he couldn’t provide her proper meals a day just because he was unable to take care of her. It’s his fault that her wife died and after that left this beautiful angel all to himself to take care of. It was difficult to come out of that grief but he has come to his senses to take care of the only thing left behind of her wife, his daughter. As days passed he still couldn’t make money out of the multiple jobs he does from polishing shoes of others to lifting heavy carts he still couldn’t make much to buy those costly powder milk for her daughter and as he has to go for job he has to take her with him because it was too risky to leave her behind but the baby couldn’t stop crying because the only meal she got was cereal and water lots of water to drink but what she wanted was her mother so she couldn’t stop crying since days. He knew he can’t take care of her like this, he has to let her go she deserves much better life than this, a better future,a mother. He didn’t want to do this but he knows he has to for her, for her wife, he can’t lose her like he lost his wife.He weeps and sobs loudly because he’ll always be a monster to her daughter which he never wanted her to remember him like that.

Present.

His hands tremble while doing this horrendous thing to his own daughter but he knows he has to do this it’s the only choice he has.He knows it’s time to say goodbye as tears are streaming down his face as he showers her 5 days old daughter with kisses and holds her for dear life and remember or even engrave his mind from this feeling of holding his angel for one last time as he has to let go her now for forever, for her, for her future as she deserves better, better than she has now and puts her gently into the and cot and drapes a blanket on her with one last kiss on her forehead and walks away not looking behind as he knows he won’t be able to stop himself from breaking down. He walks away forgetting that the innocent baby needs nothing in this world more than her father’s love that that’s the only thing she’ll need to survive more than anything, nothing less nothing more and now this innocent life will live her life never knowing the real story of herself of her loving father and mother and will always live hating both of them because it’s them who made her an Orphan.

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