The Glory and Joy of Ramadan…

The glory and joy of finding oneself once again, in the blessed month of Ramadan starts well before the actual month…the anticipation and preparation of an internal and personal journey is a step by step trek, and then before you know it Ramadan has flown by and we are in the last ten days of this month…within which falls Laylut-ul-Qadr…The Night of Power/The Night of Destiny …the night when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad…a time of harnessing great blessings! We approach these last ten nights with an heightened awareness of the gates of the grace and mercy of Allah being flung wide open for those found on this path…a culmination of the vigils of worship…

Ramadan comes with a host of glories…above all, that of a personal search, and…relating the fasting, the abstinence of the outer and feeding the inner…to an ultimate form of worship and connection between the self and Allah, with the sole purpose of attaining His pleasure and grace!  Ramadan starts out in an anticipatory mode…filled with a hunger to find new meanings for the self and personal growth through a form of pruning the extra leaves of your life…almost, as someone said, a ‘personal  body and soul detox’…pushing the envelope of the inner self in this deeply spiritual time of year…with a sense of joy to recharge the battery of your spirit and soul! More specifically, this time of year has a direct co-relationship with the space you occupy at the present point of time in your own life and through it, to come to a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the Divine…a journey of better understanding and experiencing the purpose of the connection of submission to Divine Will…

On another level it is also finding new meanings in the fellowship of the family…community and society at large…finding harmony in the bigger picture…consciously increasing justice, charity and compassion in the spheres of daily routine…a continuing search for equity…fairness…empathy…patience…brotherhood…mindfulness…and personal excellence! Definitive in this process is internalizing to understand and carrying this personal and spiritual discipline beyond this blessed month…to raise personal awareness and consciousness of the Divine to an heightened sense of being…

His mercy and generosity spills over in a celebratory culmination of this month of devotional abstinence, search and worship…to the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr…a three day celebration of kith…kin…joy…sharing…color…food…love…laughter…manna for the heart and soul…the Good Lord be praised…

Today we also celebrate 65 years of my home counry…Pakistan! It was the month of Ramadan when we celebrated the establishing of this new homeland and identity all those years ago…the need of the hour is a collective will and consciousness to renew those vows of sincerity…honesty…determination and hard work and re-establish ourselves as stakeholders in this wonderful land of ours…

I have been away from the blogosphere and missing it…am now looking forward to reconnecting with my blogging family…stay blessed!

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The Roller Coaster of Life…

The last week has been a roller coaster ride of life…with the dips overtaking the highs…but so is life…and it is often at times like these that we seriously take time out to think of all the taken-for-granted blessings of life! My father, a fount of wisdom, was wont to remind us gently that we were all standing in line en route to our Common Destination, with none of us aware of the order of this queue ! This last week threw a few curved balls in the realization of the order of who were in this line, en route to meet our Maker! As always at such occasions, we are a little shaken at the renewed awareness of our mortality, at the finality of death…with this great and undisputed truth and reality almost always catching us on the back foot, so to speak…in spite of ourselves and faith…

The realization of the comfort zone of our traditions is most reassuring…  enveloping us in the warmth and tender care of words…love…numbers…strength and support and carries us through the initial pain, easing the grief and giving consolation, strength and hope…definitive emotions to carry us through…the process of renewal of faith is further strengthened in Celebrating Memories and so the Good Lord’s grace begins to help us back…allowing our memories to color our being with a sense of comfort and inner peace…

It is His grace and generosity that even times like these are interspersed with the highs of life! A gathering of family…peace and thankfulness at seeing the new generation converge and take responsibility in times of need whilst embracing connective tissues…the joy and elation at having two of my children back home for a bit…one of them thankfully well on the road to recovery after an unfortunate injury…the weather change bringing much needed relief…a family holiday in the pipeline…happy reminders of the incredible color palette of life…humbling reminders of universal truths…

Simply put…

Sometimes…nay…quite often my children say something so thought provoking, in such a simple manner that it takes my breath away…in the first instance at the renewed realization that they are by the Good Lord’s grace all grown up, astute, intelligent, wise in ways mothers are often surprised at, above all, most thankfully humane, with the added quality at their being able to put things in perspective so simply! This surprise is often followed by great joy and pride…so thank you all for having done that many a time even though I may not have told you…I have benefitted from it in so many ways unbeknown to all of you…God bless you…

The last such bit of a ‘simply put’ thought was concerning this blog…it has been of help almost in an unexpected way!  Often we lose track of our own narrative by giving in to the perceived and expected one! We are responsible for all the energy that we create for ourselves and hence we are also responsible for all the energy we bring into our space…for which we need to, not only take ownership but we also need to take pride in the space itself, without giving into the maintenance of a fantasy which we are subjected to on a regular basis. The maintenance of fantasy is fanned quite blatantly and insidiously through the media, advertising, peer pressure…and the holies of all holy…what will people say!

We indulge in this in the face of an unending and relentless barrage directed towards maintaining the fantasy…forgetting that the inherent dichotomy of fantasy is the maintaining of the unrealistic…it exists because the desire must be perpetually out of reach…desire supports fantastic fantasies! Getting caught up in this leads us away from the real purpose of life…which is the achieving of God’s Grace above all…we are exactly where we are meant to be…the manifestations of God are all around us…there are no coincidences…only and always…just the Grace of God…

Ramadan…

This last month seems to have have flown by and I realize that I have not written at all! The reason for this disappearance from the blogosphere is due in the most part to the fact that it has been the blessed month of Ramadan! Ramadan is celebrated across the world by 1.5 billion muslims…it is now universally acknowledged…accepted and respected as a month that is held in great awe, reverence and deference across the Muslim world…for many of us, it is a month of going underground as it were, in the search and effort for more understanding in our own personal and ongoing spiritual journeys!

This month is observed, celebrated and followed with due deference and reference to Quranic teachings…colored by cultural and social norms and practices depending on your geographical position. The outer form of this month is a universal one…the abstinence! The inner one with an emphasis on ‘more’ in terms of prayer…behavior…seeking guidance…mercy…charity, both of deed and kind…has it’s own individual need, hunger and pace! The prayer here is that the significance and blessings of this blessed and glorious month will help color our lives in a more definitive…compassionate…ethical…moral…virtuous…just and fair manner…above all, that this will be in a positive and progressive curve after experiencing each passing month of Ramadan in our lives!

The end of this holy month is celebrated with great gusto and festivities across the Muslim world…this sense of celebration comes from a feeling of praise and glory of the Good Lord and His blessings upon us…which are manifested in love and brotherhood of family and friends celebrated over three days…a time of much celebratory joy, happiness, gluttony and thanks!

It is also my lovely daughter’s birthday today…and so this comes with additional thanks and gratitude to the Lord for this special blessing as part of His countless and unending gifts of grace and generosity! With the prayer that her beautiful smile will continue to bring love and sunshine to all who love and surround her…and help radiate her life always with it’s unaffected goodness and love…amen!

Dallas…

Being lovingly and comfortably ensconced in the warmth and love of a dear daughter’s home…seeing her so lovely in her radiance of beauty, love, strength and independence is truly…a blessing par excellence…to then be surrounded by the love…joy…laughter and rambunctious abandon of a home filled with three young grandchildren and the gentle and caring attention of a son-in-law…is even more so…

Since I travel so much, home, is often in many places and continents…but what defines it more than anything else, is knowing that ‘home’ is where you all realize what truly matters…where we love is home…where we cherish our human connections is home….where family is not an important thing, it is everything, is home…being bound by common threads of history…experiences…memories…even prejudices, is home! Motherhood seems to carry a part of ‘home’ with it as it were…haunting moments of motherhood is hearing your own words come out of your daughter’s mouth…echoes of my Mother’s voice and deeds reflected in this third and even fourth generation of women…this is movingly and comfortingly familiar…the circle of life complete…

In lands, ours by adoption…rather than by birth…the family of friends is a power to be reckoned with and is most comforting and reassuring. Being surrounded by such graciousness and affection is heartwarming and makes the physical distances we live with so much easier to accept! To be at home wherever I find myself…in a safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned…with respect for our connective tissues…treasuring the love and joys we receive…these are truly the power and manifestations of God’s grace…and I can say once again, with much thankfulness…truly, my cup runneth over…

Living the Fairy Tale…

A Royal Wedding…a truly global and memorable day…an event of this sort and magnitude has once again shown all the cynics out there, that, admit it or not, this sort of pure, unadulterated…joyful and joyous…interest…attraction…connection with the pomp and pageantry that is Monarchy…the Royal rich and famous…and more than that, the hope and dreams it represents and inspires, is as relevant today… as ever…maybe more so today because of the need to find simple and clear beauty…joy…love, in this world we are slowly trying to dehumanize of such maudlin stuff!

Wedding vows…a daily ceremony and occurrence of fairly monumental daily numbers across the Globe…takes on this obsessive voyeuristic aspect because it touches a chord deep down…of wanting to believe…and has drawn an incredible international audience…across borders and divides…taking on the hearts of young and old…royal and commoners! You really have to be cynic of huge proportions not to have been taken in by the atmosphere of happiness…good cheer…positive emanations and exhilarations of global prayers for the young couple…

Does this mean that in this increasingly painful and strife torn world of ours… with all the emphasis on state of the art breaking edge technology…consuming consumerism…dog eat dog race to the next big degree…number…vehicle…abode…holiday…handbag…what really brings us out in unimaginable droves, is to see two young people in love, pledge to each other the oldest of troths…with millions of hopes and prayers for the success of their union…and seal it with a kiss…or two…

There is no denying the British are past masters at this sort of thing…and presented the entire proceedings to the world with the preciseness of clockwork proportions…I believe the only thing that was off in this incredible operation was a forty second time lag when the bride set off for Westminster Abbey. Combine this with ancient traditional pageantry and the modern touches brought about by the modern young couple themselves…apparent feelings of love and bonhomie…with a crescendo moment of a worldwide gasp of wonder and joy at glimpsing the wedding dress…a perfect breath-taker of timeless grace and beauty…we witnessed a real life Fairy Tale! 

What comes to the fore here is the realization that basic human feelings of well wishes…prayers…hopes…dreams…aspirations for the happiness of another being is at our core…however well we try to disguise it…and sometimes, a fairy tale wedding is what is needed to take over our hearts…and for fleeting moment in time, help renew our faith in Camelot and the Good Lord’s grace…

Bidding Farewell to a dear Aunt…

Life is more accurately measured by the lives you touch rather than the things you acquire…we give significance to our lives by valuing the lives of others…kindness in giving creates love…the love we give away is the only love we keep…all these encapsulate my Aunt, however, one is still left feeling as if, it has not really all been said…she and another of her siblings, a dear late Uncle, were the family’s sweethearts…the ones that just always brought a smile to your lips when talked about…a gentle and rare breed…

Aunts are a double blessing…they love like mothers and act like friends…I feel specially blessed to have been touched by this double dose of blessings, her beautiful spirit and the positive meaning she gave to goodness…things often just felt nicer when shared with her…love is a gift whose worth cannot be measured except by the heart and she had her own very special and unique way of making you feel extra special…our large family, often spanning four generations at a time, all have their own precious memories of her…some so uniquely hers, that we all chuckle whenever one of us brings them up, because we can all so relate to them on our own personal wavelengths…

To lovingly reminiscence about her kindness…humaneness…naïveté…her artless comments…her ingenuous wonder…her definitive quality of giving love has been easy and comforting…sharing an onslaught of remembrances has been heartwarming whilst Celebrating Memories and lives no longer with us…it is said that every exit has an entry somewhere…the prayer is for the Good Lord to be her help and guide in this last journey, as in her life…

Celebrating Memories…

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