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Because kindness is our only sword to save humanity, here are 13 tiny tales on random acts of kindness…

1. “One evening I was home and was going through my contacts. I saw the name of a woman who used to come at our place for help I just asked myself “You can help this woman by sending a small amount maybe she needs it now.” I did send her some money and I called her to say hi and tell her that I sent something for her. Imagine I couldn’t believe that amount could mean so much to her. She told me her baby was sick and they had nothing to eat at home. That night I cried so much coz of happiness.And I was crying that day coz i got the chance to make someone happy😥😥😥😥😥😥❤ it means the world to see someone happy and crying because of you…”

2. “This one day it was ramadhan… 3 kids came asking for food but there wasn’t anything…so mama wanted to give them food but only a small amount had remained and wouldn’t be enough for all three. Plus he had kept the food aside for my young nephew. My nephew was there so he told mum “I’ll eat with them but right now I am not even hungry. When they come again just give them the food I will fast.”

3. “Back in my madrasa days, there was this ustadh of ours who used to walk from likoni to kibokoni to teach us. He wasn’t well off compared to other teachers but he was the most sweet and helpful of them all. He used to care for us, motivate us,teach us about good morals. So I used to put my break time money in his pocket without him knowing.I did it for weeks I guess unfortunately he caught me one day and asked me, “why you doing this?” I just said “you need it more than I do ustadh.” He just told me you don’t have to do that. You need to eat so that you can grow. He is one of my heroes…

4. “When I was young I had a homeless kid as my best friend. I used to share food with him, play with him, i used to take him home and shower. We didn’t have much back then but I used to share my plate with him. Whenever I go to school I used to take anjera to him under the masjid stairs where he used to live. I used to cry every evening when my mum calls me back home because I loved him and I felt helpless at that time. He was my friend and I couldn’t do anything for him. One day he just got lost.It broke my heart.I mean I don’t know where he went. He wasn’t there under the masjid stairs… We used to dream together. When I came from Madrasa he used to wait for me downstairs then we’d go to the beach just to swim and chill and talk. He wanted to be a pilot and i wanted to own the plane.”

5. “There is that time a classmate was stressing over school fees. He missed out on bursary that term and if he didn’t come up with 10k he couldn’t do the exams. I had 1k in my pocket. You know what I did? That evening when everyone was going home I stood in front them at the gate and pleaded for their help. I was so nervous but everyone was helpful. We managed to come up with 10k. It was amazing.”

6. “I had a close friend; a bit younger than me, but I liked her and considered her like my baby sister… we’d talk quite often. Then came a time we just drifted apart and I couldn’t get to her. She had changed her number I guess. So many moths later, I came to understand of the reason why she’d cut me off (which was actually something beyond both of us). I really cried that day because it was not worth it. I was hurt but then I decided I won’t let my ego take charge. I was going to do something for her which in turn would give me peace in both my heart and soul. I tracked down her new number and sent her an anonymous gift via another friend and we made sure it could never link back to me. Alongside the gift, I wrote a few tiny notes, just motivational ones on life and all for her. Another friend of mine told me of how she had met her on that same day she received the gift and how much she had really cried and said, “she needed to hear those words”. A few days after I sent the gift, she contacted me. I was worried she had found out that I was the one who had sent the gift but that was not the case. She said she had dreamt of me and that I’ve been in her mind lately. So we talked a bit. She contacted me a few days later and we had a longer conversation. She wanted us to be friends like before…and that’s when I mentioned that the gift was from me…I swear her reaction was priceless” (Below is the second party’s version)

7. “It is normal to feel down, lost, unwanted and rejected…well that’s what I was feeling for couple of days until this day when I got a call from some place that I had a parcel.I couldn’t make it that moment so it was a later thing .I went to pick it up.It was a gift from someone I didn’t know who that time, a pair of shoes and pieces of notes that meant world to me. I couldn’t help it, curiosity was at maximum, I read the notes and opened the gift inside the matatu. I cried all the way, I was touched.I was so much thankful, in one way or the other I didn’t expect it from the actual sender,because of some broken issues but there, Alhamdulilah I was really consoled.”

8. “So I was going to Eastleigh with some friends of mine. When we got into the mat, we noticed, every time young school children would come into the mat, they would walk straight to a post to stand and hold on tight. And we started asking each other why they were just standing around the matatu..so I called one of them over and asked why he was standing, and he said he has no fare. And I was shocked. The Eastleigh conductors let kids get on the matatus to get home free of charge, provided they stand though. Although this was nice of them, they didn’t really sit well considering how rough these “manyangas” get driven. Standing in one as an adult is a struggle in itself. So I told all the kids to sit and I would pay for them.When they were getting off, one of them said thank you to me and I honestly felt so nice…”

9. “So two years ago, I lost my scholarship. You can imagine, it was a stressful and depressing moment of my life. It was not just about losing my scholarship but also failing in my studies. It brought a lot of doubts in my head. I could not tell people at home and I seriously had no idea what to do. During those trying moments, four of the many friends I have were really there for me. They put up with my awful moods, my attitude… they encouraged me and help stand up again. I was financially disable and because I did not had the courage to tell people at home what was happening, they took it upon themselves to make sure I have my basic needs, got pocket money and I was having fun. At the same time, one of them held a harambee for my fees for that semester, $750 anonymously. And when I last got the courage to talk to my family about it, they were there and made sure I was okay. If it were not for them, I would have killed myself or worse, stop pursuing my dreams. But they believed in me, and found ways to make me believe in me. I can’t repay them for that and what they continue to do for me to date; but Allah is the Just…am sure He will pay them Justly, thus I pray for that.”

10. “My mother has always been my biggest inspiration to kindness (and maybe this is why parents should really take note on what their children pick from them)…She has done a lot (may Allah reward her with jannah) but one story still touches my heart deeply. A long time ago, we had a male house help. My mother helped him revert to Islam and taught him about Islam. So after some years working with us, his sister dies, leaving two orphans; young boys. So everyday, the house help would come home with them because they didn’t have someone to take care of them except their old grandma. My mum enrolled them into madrasa and after classes he would sit and teach them or let them play around. A time came, the house help left without notice or goodbye. Maybe for greener pastures. But so, the two boys were used to coming home so they’d still come. My mum never told them not to come again since their uncle had done a mistake. She went on to teach them and taking them to madrasa and in the evening they’d go to their grandma. Years later, the house help came back and apologized. He said, “Everywhere I go, I realize there is no human like you. I kept talking about how good you are to all my bosses until they wanted to know who you are. I can never forget how you took care of my nephews despite me leaving without any communication. And if there is any person I can predict paradise for them then it’s you…” To date, the house help still comes back home. He goes to work in other places but he always found his way back home. Oh yeah, and he still has the mashaf (qur’an) mum gave him when he first converted. And he repeats this too many times, “Mum, I can never forget your kindness…”

11. “One day, just after sunset, a boy went out to buy some groceries for his mum. That day’s order though could only be found at the grocery stores near the boarding stage, a fairly distant place. It was on a weekend so most of the grocery shops were closed and the ones that weren’t, we’re out of stock.
“Great. Just great” he thought to himself

After a fruitless search, he was left with a final try that he’d give up after. It was a sizable grocer that stood on the edge of the road a few minutes in from the stage. It was next to a charcoal supply shop characterized by the mixture of finely and pebble sized charcoal spread over that whole section of the road. The grocery’s light illuminated it’s front side just enough to see the set of rigid bricks meant to be the stairs.

As he got closer to the shop, he saw a white figure amidst the sea of ground charcoal. It was curled up into a small shape. People were barely missing their footing on it. A Boda Boda then rode passed it almost running it over. It was a kitten. He walked for the shop and threw his eyes at it once more. It was scared, eyes wide open with fear, frozen, as he watched it exist motionless among the numerous feet and exclamations of passersby and the horns of speedy motorbikes
He walked to the shop. A relief for they had the last batch of his order. He bought in smiles. He also bought a batch of Omena. He took his change and walked back to the kitten. He opened a bag and poured almost all of it just at the edge of the road, called the kitten in that common tongue noise and watched as the life flow back into it, as the fear in its eyes being replaced with wonder, slowly it moved towards the pile of raw fish and pounced at it with gratifying hunger.
He smiled thinking what the kitten must have been thinking at that moment. He fed every cat he saw on his way back that night and left just enough of the batch for those cats that always find their way to their compound. They ate gracefully as well..”

12. “There was this one time I was going to Nairobi just for a day to get some of my things at a friend’s house. But it turned out that he was in Mombasa so I couldn’t stay at his place (he was living at his aunt’s in Nairobi). So he told his other friend (who is also my friend) to receive me. So he calls me and says he’d be my host. I arrive in Nairobi at some minutes past 5 in the morning. It’s cold. And he comes with a taxi. We greet each other and ask how we’ve been (it was a while since I last saw him). Anyway, he’s like “you know, I won’t take you to my room. Let’s go to a hotel.” I was like “okay!😄” and the taxi drops us off at Eastleigh where we start walking around looking for a hotel. It was still dark and we are alone so I was slightly apprehensive.

All of the hotels were fully booked, I was kinda bummed out coz I was becoming tired and dragging that luggage was becoming a pain. But we finally found a room, it was just from being checked out and we had to wait for 20 minutes for it to be cleaned out for us. But it was kinda expensive (for a student). My friend had to pay 5k for one night. So I was kinda worried and said “dude are you sure? If it’s gonna inconvenience you it’s okay we can just stay at your messy room” And he said, “I’m doing this for the sake of Allah. I believe that if I spend it on others in a good way, He’ll give me more in return” Naturally I was touched by this, so I agreed and made a silent prayer for him that he succeeds in this life and the next. We spent the day roaming around town while he treated me to lunch. It was a really good day, and I promised myself that I would never forget his kindness and that I would repay him somehow in the future. The hotel is called regent hotel or something. It was really really nice. The room had dstv and all that. Plus it was big; Double bed room. Weh I felt like a prince. I keep remembering him. Still haven’t come round to making it up to him. But I pray for him well.”

13. “There was a time at my workplace, an old man came by to have his phone checked for repair. So I usually work upstairs and it was only by chance I came down and saw him standing; confused. He was really old, frail and weak. So I asked him what he needed and he said he wanted his phone repaired soonest, that he needed it immediately if possible because he was sick and some relatives kept sending him some money to help him around. I took the phone and handed it to the one in charge, who agreed to check it out immediately. After the phone was repaired, I took it to the old man who was really relieved. I then gave him 1k and told him, “I hope this helps you…” The man was really really grateful. He said lots of prayers for me then left and I thought that was the end of the story.

The next day, he came to the office again, but since I was upstairs and didn’t know my name, he couldn’t find me. He tried asking about me but my workmates didn’t understand whom he was talking about. The following day he came once again and my workmate decided to ask me if I knew the old man. Going downstairs, it was him. He said he came to thank me once again. That from the money I gave him he got to book a ticket to Kisumu, back to his family. He asked for my number and promised to send me omena and unga from there. He then said, “Because of what you’ve done i’ll become a Muslim.”I just thought it was a by the way but when he got there he did call me to say he arrived safely. After a few days he called again just to greet me. Then on another day, his son was the one who called to say that his father was in hospital and had requested to talk to me. We talked and his voice seemed so frail and weak.

A few days later, fajr time I received a call from his son; the old man had passed away. But he had left a message for me. That he wants to be buried in a plain white cloth without the coffin (sanda). I asked his son, “Had he converted to Islam?” He said, “There was a time he requested that we bring a sheikh to him, so there is that probability.” I decided to ask the son to go to the nearest mosque and let me talk to the imam, of which I did and we had arrangements that he is buried in Islam. Even after his death, his family members called, thanked me and still wanted to send me the omena and unga as promised by the old man but I didn’t see the need so I rejected politely. Nonetheless, I really hope that the man did indeed die a Muslim…”

Dear You…If you can’t find any good in this world, then be the one to do it. It doesn’t have to be ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ or ‘Maria Theresa’ big, it just has to be sincere. Do good to people. Try everyday. Make it a habit. A routine. Be kind. Be kind again and again. Making a difference in just one life is invaluable so never underestimate the effect of your actions and words.

Great appreciation to those who sent in their tales. God bless you…

You are welcome to comment any other stories of kindness below here 😉

Photo Courtesy: http://cdn.tinybuddha.com

You are the biggest project of your life, the most important project of your life and you, YOU are the best person to tackle this project. Wear that neat suit, put on your shades, clear the dust on your shoes, have your sketch plan ready. Spread it on your desk, have a cup of delicious coffee beside you and start working on it. Don’t turn around, don’t hesitate, don’t doubt; start and the rest will flow. Work on your goals, go for your dreams, explore your inner self and make this project the best project in your life. Because you; there is never going to be another amazing human YOU anywhere in the world.

Be the mechanic of your life. Tighten the bolts in your brain. Wipe away the grease in your heart. Mend what needs to be mended and add the spare parts that are needed.

Slice out the unnecessary traits in you like the way the best chef would slice out his meat. Decorate yourself with humility, with kindness, with patience like the way Master chef would decorate his plate, then add salt pinches of compassion to that like saltbae does.

Invest in yourself. My dear, invest in yourself because no one will ever invest in you like you would do to yourself. Invest in your time, in money, in love; especially love. Invest it all on yourself like you are the princess that was born today. Treat yourself, do what makes you happy and let that smile never disappear from your face.

Fix your body. Fix your health. Fix your lifestyle. Go for a walk or a run. Go to the gym. Go to the beach and let the breeze hit your face. Eat healthy. Workout. Do yoga. Find peace. Discover yourself. Find God.

Paint yourself like you are the best artwork that ever existed. Paint it like you are flawless. Let the brush strike swiftly, with so much love and passion for yourself. Let it standout in a room of art, in an exhibition; be the best piece of art ever.

You are the best project remember? If cake is what you understand the most, then mix those recipes of ambition, of faith, of hope, of dedication, of change…let then become the best mixture of you. Let you become the best cake ever. Add glitter to it. Glitter of prayer, of love, of realness.

Take a deep breath. Take a deep breath again. Feel the air get to your lungs. Feel yourself. Then let it go. Let it all go. The worry, the past, the negative thoughts, the sadness, the anger, the frustration, the helplessness. Yes it is not easy. Yes it will need consistency. Everything needs consistency. So start it now. Start by forgiving yourself for the past, for your helplessness, for your imperfections. Now start working on yourself. Scrutinize your actions, your thoughts, your words… Talk to God. Talk to God again and again and again. Never get tired. Dedicate yourself to yourself. Make YOU be the best YOU that could ever exist. And when you start, never stop. Never ever stop working on yourself!!


P.S here’s a new project for us all. I’m trying to collect short stories of kindness and/or of humanity. Tell me your story. Tell me how you once did something that made someone so happy and in turn made you happy. Tell me about the small thing you did, the help, the hand you gave, the difference you made however small it may have felt. Tell me of kind messages that restores someone’s hope or a surprise gift that made someone jump in joy. It’s the small actions of kindness I am looking for. On the other hand, you may have been on the receiving hand. The one who was helped when in dire need, the one who was granted a smile by a stranger, the one whose day got better after a small action of kindness. That story too; I need it. The aim of this project is to inspire people on small acts of kindness, the importance of it in our lives and how it impacts the people. So don’t hesitate to send me a piece. Plus, I will keep all stories as anonymous. Just short paragraphs 1 -3 at most, nothing too long. Just drop it at my inbox (My FB page: https://www.facebook.com/Strokes-of-my-pen-409229692610588/) anytime. In shaa Allah by next week if i’d have received enough i’ll post here in my blog.Let’s make a difference. Let’s be the difference

 

…And how my 1 year in madrasa changed my perspective of things

Just a few weeks after my graduation, I decided 2016 would be my year; the year to discover myself, to challenge my abilities, the year to heal and let go, the year to get to my higher self so I decided to join madrasa again. It had been more than 5 years since I was in a madrasa class but I decided this would be my new year resolution. I quickly registered for the diploma in Islamic studies and went ahead to get my goal done.

It was quite strange for people at first. Those criticisms started coming.
“First class honors? Aren’t you supposed to be at KTN anchoring and killing people with that smile?”
“What about your masters? Don’t you want to do your masters?”
Then came the concern.
“But why are you doing this anyway? Be a teacher?”…I am doing this for myself and that is enough reason.
“Isn’t it too far for you?”
Then came the pettiness.
“Aren’t you the girl who spends all her time on the internet?” (Apparently this makes me a haramee so going for deen studies quite conflicts my journalistic career lol)
But the pettiness has always been there.
“Ustadha mzima wavaa hizi vitu?” (Hizi vitu: the luminous bracelets)
“If you; a Muslim union official wears a cap, what do you expect from us?” (This was during a sports events; all women, the cap on my hijab but still, it makes me a haramee somehow :D)
“You are too obsessed with sneakers” ( *rolls eyes* This somehow makes me like a gangster and gangsters barely get to jannah you know 😀 )

Then, my friend, don’t you dare make mistake, or say a wrong word, or the wrong joke. Have I insisted enough? No wait. DO NOT DARE MAKE A MISTAKE because both the haramees and halalees are going to judge you. Because once you do, the haramees will call you a silent killer, a pretentious little devil. The halalees will quote from the qur’an and hadith. They will quote fatawas of Bin Baaz and talk about Sheikh Annawawy. You, my friend, you are NOT allowed to make a mistake. They will send you pdfs and long emails on how wrong you are. They will condemn people like you; people who talk about faith and truths people didn’t even want to hear, then make a mistake. Buddy, you are NOT allowed to be human.

A moment of silence people. A moment of silence to all the petty people 😀 😀 😀

But then I was forced to accept that as a writer and a journalist, you are putting a part of yourself to the world out there. Not everyone will like you or what you say and write. You will get positive remarks but also lots of negative ones and you just had to accept both and learn how to be yourself.

So for the longest time in my life, I was the girl who was too haramee (the ones breaking the rules of religion) for the halalees (the ones who are very pious; jannah material straight away 😀 ) and too halalee for the haramees. So I was right at the middle. I had friends on both sides. Some haramees would sometimes be the go-getters, the ambitious souls who just won’t allow life to bring them down. They became my source of inspiration. And halalees, people who would always bring you closer to Allah. But then I didn’t just belong anywhere. You sit with the haramees and they talk of how judgmental the halalees are. How they pretend to be so perfect and straight. Then they’ll refer to them as, “Those friends of yours nkt…they are so judgmental” and I would be quick to jump in and say, “That is just inferiority complex” because as much as some are judgmental, sometimes, the halalees haven’t even told them anything. It’s just their guilty conscious making them feel attacked even before they are.
Then when i’d sit with the halalees, they’d start talking of how someone did something wrong or messed up and i’d jump in, “You guys don’t give people the benefit of doubt or just try and understand how our backgrounds and lives are so different…sometimes people are just so neglected they get lost.” As such, I barely had any long-term friendships with people. They expected me to fit in; I just simply didn’t and it bothers them when you are different. I believed and still believe in seeing the good in each and every single person so I interacted according to what each human being had to offer and filter out the rest. So when 2016 began, I was ready to explore my higher self and this, changed my perspective of things in a great way.

Upon joining the college, I realized again, that it would be hard to fit in. Being in an environment with people who are very-well covered from head to toe, ladies who don’t even go out without a mahram, they rarely even have phones. So here I was again, the haramee; the social media noise maker, the too English, the too opinionated & educated, the non-niqabi, the girl who is always typing (Too much dunya you know 😀 ). But they were beautiful souls; the kind to inspire you be a better person and change your ways. Sometimes they just look at you or comment on something you have done and you feel attacked, so here I was, thinking like a haramee. They are judging me. But then it is just the battle between the soul and the brain. How to accept opinions and change. And yes, sometimes they’ll judge you because they are humans too; making mistakes.

And you are in a class environment with very educated lecturers who tell you of how they were in their jahilliyya periods; how they also did mistakes before finding their way. Teachers who keep reminding you that even as a deen seeker, you are never to be rough to those who may be lost. In an environment where young men debate about important issues and you just realize, yes, there are some good men out there who are only after their akhera.

Slowly, I came to see them making mistakes and you get to notice the human part of them. You see them complain and sad sometimes. You see them planning their halaal outings and having fun their own way. My perspective started to change and I realized something interesting about us human beings.

That we are all desperate human beings trying to be right in this messed up life. We all seek what our heart desires but at the end of the day there is no us or them. There is just WE; all of us having that little devil inside of us. Sometimes it gets the better of us and conquers our souls and we do wrong things, and sometimes our imaan is high and alive and we conquer our ego. There is no haramee or halalee per se because there are some haramees who are actually doing so much good to other people despite their rebelliousness to deen. And there are halalees who are so attached to the deen yet have no character to deal with people. We are all kinda messed up so we create squads and think we are the better humans just so we can satisfy our egos. We are all a combination of haramee and halalee at the same time. We just choose which one to make it visible as our image. It’s all about everyone’s personal journey to their higher self; some are still at the first step, some at the fifth, some have reached the peak while some haven’t started yet. Maybe this is why we should be kind and more empathetic to people; let us try see the good in them despite how annoying and evil they may seem. Forgive people and judge them not. Let God be the judge, but still, pray for yourself and for others. Pray for guidance and understanding. Pray for a beautiful end that would lead to all of us be in jannah together.

Yes, I am a halamee.
I am the haramee who is on the path to being a halalee.
I am still on my journey to getting to my higher self 🙂

P.S Munawwarah college has now started a bachelors of arts in Islamic studies after partnering with International University of Africa. They also offer diploma in teaching Arabic and Islamic studies, diploma in arabic language, certificate in Arabic, certificate in Islamic studies and by the way, ICDL (International Computer Driving License) course too.

You need to find yourself? Find Allah first.

You can contact the college at: 0735 559 095 or check their website at: info@almunawwarah.ac.ke

CHAPTER THREE

Photo Courtesy: http://www.terapeak.com/

Continuation from chapter two: http://lubnah.me.ke/spreading-the-wings-chapter-2/

 

“Being born in an Asian society with disability has a stigma of its own and discrimination. This was the situation before Dear Diary was born.

After having struggled to live up to everyone’s expectations, having adjusted to all kinds of situations environmentally and also the attitude of people taking me for granted, always keeping the disabled on the side, not including them in the community in any kind of decision making, is what gave birth to Dear Diary.

Down the line after 10 years I am glad that the way people look at me now is different from 10 years ago. Now I am considered part of the society. It wasn’t easy to build a name to keep up to, the pace to keep a smile and keep going, but I have proved my stand. Today I am respected. People want to be associated with me. People want to support me in all that I do purely for humanity and this is a great achievement.

However there is still discrimination where marriage is concerned. People especially in the Asian society have a mindset that a person with disability should not fall in love or have a partner whereas the same disabled person can be part of everything else in the society.

So it makes me wonder why a man or a woman with disability in the Asian society or culture is considered to be not in need of love or to be loved by that special someone…” Nafisa Khanbhai


We have probably seen so many disabled people in our lives; on the streets, in our work places, in our homes and in our communities. As much as they could be outstanding, hardworking, beautiful, strong…there would always be a ‘but’ in the middle of the sentence.

“She is capable and talented to do the job, but she doesn’t have legs…”

“He has outstanding qualifications, but he is deaf…”

“She is beautiful, she would have made a wonderful wife and mother, but…”

The ‘buts’ could go on and on forever and this is because we no longer look at them as normal human beings as what we are. But this is the funny part of life right? Someone ‘normal’ could be so depressed, with so much on their plate, their hearts could be tearing apart, they can barely focus and think straight, yet we still give them the chance to work, to get married, to have a family and a social life, because ‘everyone deserves a chance to prove what they are really capable of.’ Then why can’t we offer the same opportunities to those who are disabled yet still can do what any other normal person can do?

I can’t totally deny that there are some disabled people who can’t do some things because it is simply beyond their power, beyond their abilities and capabilities but there are those who have stood out from the crowd. They are always there but they end up seating on the pavements of the road, begging. Sometimes it is because this is the easiest way out of their troubles but sometimes, they really have no other way except this. And this is because you have stigmatized them; we have.

Have you ever seen the fuss we make when someone gets married or marries a blind girl, or an albino, or a man with no legs, or a lady who is both deaf and dumb? We make it seem like they are aliens, they belong to a world that is close to ours but not exactly the same as ours. Why then don’t we exaggerate the same way when someone marries a totally distorted soul? A soul that is crying out for help? Is it because they are beautiful on the outside or that they are good at covering their pain with a lovely smile?

I am not saying that people with depression issues don’t deserve to be married or be employed or be happy in their lives because anyway, we are all victims of the pain in our hearts. We just endure it differently. But my point is, if we can accept ourselves with all our unseen imperfections and flaws, why then not accept those whose flaws are visible and can be seen?

Mrs Fatema narrates of how once a visitor came home and found Nafisa in a bad state and she quickly told her that maybe someone did some witchcraft or something of the sort to Nafisa. But Nafisa’s mother is a believer that God tests anyone in any way, and this was their test.

The stigma is there everywhere. People believing that disabled people are cursed or victims of witchcraft or a punishment from God etcetera etcetera so however much they may be friends with them or colleagues, there is still some tension in the air, a gap that is always there to differentiate them; ‘the normal people’ to him/her, ‘the disabled’. There is that fine unseen, yet felt line between these two kinds of people and perhaps this line will exist forever.

Go to supermarkets, Government buildings, malls, Company offices, hospitals, schools, how many actually have ‘disabled-friendly’ environments? Are there any wheelchairs, ramps, sign language translators, brail documents? Ask any disabled person how many times they had to cancel their plans because they can’t climb the stairs? Or that there is no one to communicate to with sign language? How many times have you seen a disabled person board a matatu? Have you seen how hectic it is for them? Are the conductors and drivers patient enough to let them board the vehicle and sit comfortably before rushing off? How many schools are there for the disabled? What is the condition of these schools? Most of the times, they are pathetic and sometimes teachers are the same ones who take advantage of the students’ conditions.

Why do we wait until we have become victims ourselves, or until we fall in love with one of them, or when one of our close friends or family members becomes a disabled, is when we decide to think rationally and humanly about them? These people are most often than not, around us or near us all the time. We just don’t see them or even look at them. We don’t try putting ourselves in their shoes. We never think of how that could be you or me someday. We forget that God has never stopped creating us and that we too could become handicapped at any moment in our lives. And I mean, ANY MOMENT. It could even be right now as you read this…

I am not trying to curse you or anyone else. I am trying to remind you that God can twist your story whenever He wills. You just have to be humble to those less advantaged than you. Try helping out whenever you can to those disabled, even if it is just by granting them your true friendship, loyalty and companionship.

I am just trying to tell you that the next time you see a disabled person, treat them like how you would want someone else to treat you if you were wearing the same shoes…


To be continued…stay tuned 🙂

Continuation from ‘Unbroken Wings- chapter 1’: http://lubnah.me.ke/unbroken-wings/

Photo Courtesy: https://angypaints.files.wordpress.com

“My parents have given me tremendous support. They never stopped me at any juncture to pursue whatever I wanted to do. After class eight, I couldn’t go on with secondary education due to my condition but I joined Burhaniya finishing college instead. I did a two years home science course there where I perfected my art of embroidery, crotchet, fabric/glass painting amongst other skills that I learnt,” she says as she looks at her art pieces, longingly, that are still hanged on her bedroom walls, “Unfortunately I stopped doing art when I started venturing into other things in life, but I still love art like I always have.”

Nafisa didn’t stop spreading her wings by learning art; she went on to seeking a job where she first worked at a Celebral Palsy centre situated in Tudor in 1994. She however had to quit because the pay couldn’t fit her needs and also it being a tough job handling the challenged children. She thereafter studied several packages at Aries Data Systems, she got a job at Compucon Ventures Ltd and worked there for two years before the company closed. Not giving up, she went on to work at Tyre and Tread ventures, worked there for a while before moving on to Marajani Communications where the working hours and days were challenging and thus couldn’t stay there any longer too. Her last job was with her father at Hatimi Joinery works Ltd.

Besides all that, she was also a member of the Rotary Club of Mombasa since 1998. The club brings people together for beneficial activities, fellowship and to help the needs of others. Nafisa became part of the Rotaract wing which is the youth wing of Rotary club i.e. below 30 fellows. She was given the responsibility of Director of community service three months after becoming a member, later she became its president in 2000 and 2001. Again in 2009, she joined ‘Inner Wheel club of Mombasa’ which is a group of the wives and female relatives of Rotarians. In this group she served as a president for two years.

“Nafisa used to do wonders at the Rotaract youth wing. She used to come up with great ideas, organize everything, work tirelessly and make things happen. They used to call me her transport manager for I would always be the one to pick her up for meetings and all events. I tell you, Nafisa is the strongest woman I have ever met. She never made me feel her disability or even allow me to pity her at any moment,” Manoj, her long-time friend says.

“My sister has always been doing things that not even us; the normal and healthy beings are doing. While she was still at Rotaract, she once came up with this idea of feeding handicapped children during Christmas. She arranged everything and made packages for the children by the help of other Rotractors. During that Christmas, we fed 1200 children. It was a huge success. It was because of her great ambition and passion that she was sponsored by Rotary International for a tour to Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe,” Hussein, Nafisa’s elder brother narrates.

“What Nafisa has done is prove to me and everyone else that disability is not inability. She physically participates in all events. You know we have so many people who have roads named after them, hospitals, schools yet all they did is give out  large cheques while someone like Nafisa always goes out of her way to do the charity projects. She is resourceful, determined, kind and caring; always has great ideas and makes sure she is present to supervise all her projects. Nafisa works even when it is harmful for her body. She is indeed one of the unsung heroes,” an ex-rotarian says.

In 2006, Nafisa went on to do something that was going to change her life forever. She organized a stage drama by the name ‘Dear Diary’ which was highlighting the challenges of the disabled. The play revolved around Hanifa, who has lived with a physical disability all her life. She is forced out of school at an early age due to her failing health, shattering her dreams of becoming a lawyer. She then meets Zaheer and falls in love with him. But Zaheer did that one devastating thing; he dumps Hanifa for a ‘perfectly created’ lady. The play was sponsored by Nakumatt holdings, directed by Namanje and Godiah, stage managed by Muscat Sayye and produced by Nafisa herself. It was first acted at Little Theatre Club and the play brought a new untouched topic to people’s minds; the hidden feelings of the disabled.

The play won the hearts of many and the start was magical. The play opened with the main character, Nafisa, being wheeled onto the podium to receive an award. But she pauses at the base of the staircase and rejects her guide’s offer to lift her onto the stage. She then read what she calls a speech from her diary:

“I am standing before this staircase of confusion with a task of transforming my thoughts, to a destiny and the access to this wonderful destiny lies on the ability of this wheelchair. I have struggled all my life to make it to the peak, and I am standing at the foot of my dream to receive a star of honour for serving diligently towards a humanity cause. They are giving medals to humanity-generals up there (points to the podium), but the same problem I have fought all my life (pointing at the stairs) is barring me from receiving my priceless trophy.”

The play was staged again thrice at Little theatre club again, then done again twice in 2008 at the same venue while the last two shows were staged in 2009, in Kenya National theatre in Nairobi.

“My aim for Dear Diary is to change the perception of the society of people with disability. And another thing that inspired me to put up my life on stage is that every time I visit the United Kingdom, I get a completely different experience as there are facilities for the physically disabled. I feel that if a quarter of the facilities there were put in place in our country, our life would be better for us.”

In 2011, she formed an initiative with the same name as her play, ‘Dear Diary Initiative”. It is a non-profitable community initiative to advocate for the welfare and rights of the disabled. With that, Nafisa allowed herself to transform from being a sensitive girl with unachieved dreams to a strong, passionate lady making changes.

“Nafisa dedicated her life to Dear Diary. She still does. And without bias I would say, Dear Diary is Nafisa more than it is a group. She is the face of the initiative and she has worked without paying herself any penny from what they are offered. See Dear Diary depends entirely on sponsors and well wishers. Nafisa is not working anywhere else to earn herself any extra penny. Yet still, she would never accept any money for herself from Dear Diary Money. Even the religion allows us that for the collector of charity gets a portion, but Nafisa would never allow that. She does this entirely as charity. She is strong willed and a go-getter,” Mustan, Nafisa’s other brother says.

Without knowing it, Nafisa was inspiring many other disabled people AND normal people. To date DDI projects have been so many and her principle was that, disabled people do not need us to give them food and money and our sympathy. But they need us to help them in ways that can make them stand up for themselves. Be strong enough to venture into the world. Hence, Nafisa’s strategies in DDI was not only providing food but more important things like albino caps, educational text books in brail, reflective jackets, wheelchairs, mosquito nets among many other things. This is precisely what made Nafisa outstanding. She knew exactly what her fellows needed. She is empathetic and looks beyond the corners of the box. She wanted to make a difference and she did. She still does.

“I have known Nafisa since childhood and I was there too when her story was first staged. I was the one who was playing the background music of the play. I have been with her through many phases of her life and have always considered her my sister. From her childhood where she used to like scrabble and keram and hide and seek, to the days we used to meet at her grandparents’ farm in Mariakani during holidays, to the times she would feel low due to loneliness…I can tell you that she is very aggressive, hardworking, with a vision. She never asks for favours from anyone not unless it is entirely above her powers. Otherwise, she is very strong and independent…and this is how she has been able to make DDI something amazing,” Aziz, her other childhood friend says.

On September 2015, Nafisa and her Dear Diary team organized a charity fashion show to raise funds for physically challenged people at Fort Jesus in Mombasa. All the participants were people living with a disability. The event was attended by hundreds of people, including Mombasa County gender and sports executive Mohammad Abbas and director of gender and youth department Esther Ingolo.

“When she first told me about the fashion show I have to admit I wasn’t really sure how it would turn out but it was a great success! I wasn’t surprised though, this is Nafisa. She has always been strong and firm and she never gives up. She is truly a source of inspiration,” Juzer, one of Nafisa’s relatives and close friend says.

“Just at the last moment, some of her colleagues at Dear Diary dropped out of the project. It became a panic moment because it was unexpected. My other brother called me that Nafisa needed us, so we rushed in to help. But as always Nafisa was positive and ensured that the fashion show worked out amazingly as planned,” Hussein recalls.

“The use of the word Outstanding would be undermining Nafisa. She is more than that.  Why? Usually when a person is challenged, they usually are either trying to help themselves or are looking at others to help them but Nafisa is out to help others.  I believe she would have done more of charity work if not impended by her challenges but again I don’t think an abled person would be doing so much she is doing right now. But then again you would only feel the pinch if you wear the shoes.

I also remember when we were in our early adulthood; she joined Leo Club where I was the chairman and would be game for any activity or picnics we would plan. Never once did we have to make any special arrangements for her. Whilst as usual a distance came in-between us till the time she joined the Leo Club. Again I moved to Nairobi and only got back when I joined DDI. For the past 3 years we are in touch almost on weekly basis with the common factor being the charity work.” –Muslim

As such, Nafisa was increasingly creating hope in many other people’s lives. She was restoring faith in humanity in many souls…

TO BE CONTINUED…

CHAPTER ONE

Photo Courtesy: https://img0.etsystatic.com\

 

PROLOGUE

I have met several disabled people in my life; people with a physical flaw, with a scar, with something on them that they are forever going to see when they look at the mirror. When our hearts are crumbling into pieces and our insides are no longer a beautiful sight, we still can wear a huge smile and stand in front of the mirror, turn left and right, admire ourselves and totally ignore our hearts that are screaming, ‘HELP!’ This is quite different for someone with a disability. They see what they lack, EVERYDAY. It is not as simple as having bushy eyebrows or cellulite or panda eyes. It is not something you can simply use concealers on or make-up to cover it up. It is something permanent. Something they have to accept and live with. They sometimes dread looking at the mirror or even looking at people, because it just reminds them what they are missing or how life would be different if they had normal hands, or eye-sight, or legs, or normal skin etc. But from the physically disabled that I have met, there are those that have picked themselves up, those who have an aura of confidence, they send off very strong vibes of self-esteem and pride, they shake hands with a firm grip and whenever you are about to pity them, they remind you of how whole they are despite what you see. Nafisa is one of them.

UNBROKEN WINGS

A January baby is usually a gift for the New Year. It’s a symbol of hope; the undying hope for an ageing couple. And when the baby is a girl, the only girl in a family of three children, it’s a special gift. The over-joyed couple named her Nafisa, a Muslim name which means Precious. Delicate. Gem. She is indeed Nafisa; she is the girl who was born with spina bifida. The baby that struggled to survive, and when you are born with spina bifida, you just have two choices. You either become a victim of your own pity as you wither away or you fight through all the odds to bloom. Nafisa chose the latter.


In the heart-warming city of Mombasa-Kenya, on the 22nd of January 1976, at 5 a.m. at Aga Khan Hospital, a tiny baby girl came into this world. Mrs. Fatema held her baby; Nafisa lovingly as the nurses helped her clean up. But they kept pacing in and out of the room restlessly and worry immediately started sinking in Mrs. Fatema’s head, ‘what is wrong?’

Right then, Dr. Varma came into the delivery room with a rather enigmatic face.

“You wanted a baby girl right? God gave you one,” he said as his lips remained tightly sealed.

“Sorry,” he continued as he held Nafisa to check her. Mrs. Fatema looked at him with puzzlement as the fear in her grew. Before she could ask anything, Dr. Varma interrupted her thoughts, “When is your husband coming?”

“Any time from now. Once he is informed that I have delivered then he will come immediately.”

Dr. Varma nodded before leaving the room, leaving Mrs. Fatema drowning in her thoughts.

Just when Nafisa’s father, Mr. Kutubudin, arrived in the hospital he was summoned in the doctor’s office and was informed that Nafisa’s spine was cracked above her hip area and the nose of her spine was outside. Her condition is called spina bifida. She needed a surgery immediately. The consequence of the operation was that either her lower or upper parts of the body would end up numb; with no feels or movement. But to survive, it was crucial that she undergoes the knife. However, there was one other problem; the doctors were unavailable. There had been a railway accident and the critical situation of the patients required the doctors there. This left them with only one other option; that they out-source a surgeon to operate on Nafisa. Out of desperation, Nafisa’s father agreed and signed the required papers.

Nafisa was operated on successfully leaving the lower part of her body affected. She was alive, that was what mattered most to her parents and for the years to come, they ensured that Nafisa wouldn’t be any less than a normal child. For the first six months of my life, the doctors tried to support my spine with a cast. Her mother was not allowed to breastfeed her until she was six months old. Other people were hardly allowed to touch her because of her delicate condition.

 In Kilifi area near the large and famous Coast General hospital, Nafisa Kutubudin Khanbhai was brought up. Her parents worried what school to take their gem to. Special schools were not any special anyway and in the early 80’s there were not many choices in terms of schools with special needs. They wanted her to lead a normal life like any normal child. Coming to their rescue, Mrs Rosy Ganiwalla who was a teacher then was able to enroll Nafisa into Alibhai Panju School. This was when her journey started; not just as a child or as a student but also as a survivor. Life was not going to be any easy for her in normal school. There was stigma. There was speculation. There were a lot of rumours. None of the other children would easily understand why until the age of 9, Nafisa was still wearing nappies. They couldn’t fathom why such ‘a big girl’ would still get dirty by passing out stool or why she always had to carry an extra pair of clothes everywhere she went to. Slowly, other children stayed away and for those who understood her condition, pitied her, something she didn’t really like.

But how many people actually understand what spina bifida is all about? It was either just the doctors or its victims and at most, the people who had relatives or friends affected with it who knew what it were about. Her hip had a crack and thus had to be operated on. This is what had caused all the health complications in Nafisa. She could not walk unless with her crutches. She could not control the urine and stool unless with medication. She became a victim of strange stares, whispers around her and eventually, stigma.

Something else unexpected happened, Nafisa became a woman at the age of 6. “My white uniform turned red while at school. I thought I had hurt myself. My mother was called in and took me home. I stayed out of school for three days. Later my parents were told that although I would menstruate regularly, there were low chances of ever being able to conceive.”

Adolescence at such an age can be very alarming. Still in diapers, Nafisa was already experiencing the monthly periods. She was already exposed to the world of cramps, breast pain, pills and darkness with barely any light at the end of the tunnel.

“My school deskmate used to make fun of me; talk about how I smelt of urine and waste and how disgusting it was. She wasn’t the only one though but I don’t blame them. We were just kids; barely understanding what is really happening to me. It used to make me sad but I never used to cry about it. This is because I happened to have amazing friends too; friends who supported me since. I had my neighbour Fatema; we used to go to school together and spend time together after classes too. She was the same girl who used to buy me snacks during break period,” Nafisa narrates.

As expected, Nafisa never had much interaction with her class mates. Not everyone was ready to look beyond her disability and her helplessness but still, not everyone totally ignored her. Some few friends really tried to cope up with her situation and helped her whenever she could. During the prayer time, the students would all go to the mosque to pray and getting stares from everyone as she removed her shoes was not a surprise. Yet she learnt to ignore all that and be the strong girl she is. As they say, ‘when they stare, make it worth their while.’

Mrs Fatema would go to her school every day during break time to change Nafisa’s nappy, something even the house girls used to refuse to help with. And whilst her friends played around merrily, she could not take part in any out-door activities.

“Since Nafisa’s birth, my life changed forever. I dropped everything and I had no interest whatsoever in the life out there. My life now revolved around Nafisa. I was always thinking, thinking and thinking. What will I do? What should I do for her? It has always been about her. I wanted her to have a comfortable life. We both wanted that; her father and I.”

Locked away from the normal life her peers enjoyed, Nafisa would soon find herself falling in love with books and movies. Nancy Drew books were her favourite. She would imagine herself lost in a different world, tailing Nancy as they uncovered piece by piece of new clues and evidence for a new mind-blowing case and draw in sharp breath as they discovered, together, something unexpected or find themselves in trouble. She would borrow the books from her friends but those she brought herself, she treasured even more.

So it passed that her free time was spent lost in the imaginary worlds offered by the crisp pages of her books or glued to the screen of their TV watching Tom’s and Jerry’s shenanigans play out. These were her happier moments, she recalls. A bubble all for herself. A tiny one but enough for herself.

Nafisa’s impairment meant that she had to frequently visit her physiotherapist doctor Kishore Adatiya who dedicated her efforts to seeing Nafisa overcome her paralysis and walk on her own. But grit and effort alone wouldn’t be enough. Every six months she had to travel to Nairobi to make her calipers (devices that enable people with motor disabilities to walk and thereby remain mobile) which were being made in Kabete hospital.

At the age of 9, Nafisa started getting persistent stomach aches. The younger of her two brothers took her to hospital where she was told that both her kidneys were infected. She was operated on by a visiting doctor from India. At that time, she was the first and youngest child to undergo that procedure which left her wearing a urine bag (in medical terms known as Urostomy i.e. when a bladder is bypassed or removed, an opening in the belly (abdominal wall) is made during surgery to redirect the urine. The patient is thus unable to control urine coming out so a pouch, which is the urine bag, is needed to collect the urine as it comes out).

“It costs me 7 pounds and 50 cents for every urine bag for Nafisa and the bags were being manufactured in Denmark. The financial costing was becoming heavy on me and her father, and that is when my sister Tara, who lives in the United Kingdom, stepped in to support us in buying the bags. She also raised Nafisa until the age of 6. I didn’t get much support from family but I can’t totally disregard the little much they offered,” Nafisa’s mother says.

Despite all odds stacked against her, she persisted in her pursuit of education. She wasn’t exactly the genius of her class but neither did she settle on being the tail. For her, everything was a struggle but she kept up with the top students as much as she could and never strayed from the top twenty. Her teachers, who mistook her struggles for apathy, complained when she lagged behind in her studies. It was the price she had to pay for wanting to be treated normally, like the rest of her classmates, for trying to prove that her physical handicap bore no effect whatsoever on her ability to learn and think like anybody else. One sentiment she does share was her dislike for maths. “Maths was my childhood enemy, maybe my foe for lifetime.” She would tell you if you prompt her. She would always skip maths classes to the extent that her maths exercise books were literally empty. Her class one teacher was another particularly negative highlight from her early school life. She was too harsh, too rigid; the type to give their seven year old students nightmares. It was from this point, perhaps, that she first learned to hate.

After school every day Nafisa used to go for tuition where she made another friend Naheed. “I remember how we would always carry Jujube (commonly known as ‘kunazi’) to the teacher’s home where she conducted the tuitions. When she got distracted with a phone call or when she disappeared in her kitchen, we would quickly throw the Jujubes into our mouths and act innocent when she is back. Despite everything, I did enjoy my childhood,” She laughs lightly.

It was these kinds of moments that gave her the strength to go on with school life but that was only until class eight when she dropped out. Her medical condition was too heavy on her shoulders and decided to call it quits for school life. Yet still no one could ever forget that she had once won the most disciplined girl award or that she had done her very best to not let her disability or stigma fail her entirely. Of course it did mean she had to give up her dream of being a lawyer but she never gave up hope in life. She decided to accept this situation fast and not dwell on the things that couldn’t be changed. She therefore soldiered on…

———————————————————————————————————————

“Since her childhood, Nafisa, never accepted to be left out in anything just because of her condition. She would always help me out in the kitchen, peeling the potatoes and cutting the tomatoes. She was still that strong girl seating on a table to make her bed, arranging clothes in all the house ward robes and dusting the place. She enjoyed setting up cutlery for events; deciding what plates to be used when the visitors arrived and what cups would best fit. She would anxiously and skillfully choose the appropriate dress for the event with matching jewelries. And whenever there was henna at home, she would always tattoo herself with it. Despite everything, Nafisa loved and lived. She just never allowed her disability become an inability,” Mrs. Fatema, Nafisa’s mother says.

They say, ‘beautiful souls have it the roughest’ and indeed Nafisa had her fair share of ‘rough’. Getting friends was difficult but getting real ones was even more difficult. Her social life was greatly made up of people using her for their own gains, misusing her kindness and forgetting her when she needed them the most. “But I have had life-time friends too. Mariya FidaHussein, Tasneem (my kitty group friend) and Hasanain have been more than just friends, but sisters from another mother. There was Aziz Mustanir too, a brother who came later into my life. These are the people who have been there for me for the longest time; even before I grew into the firm and strong lady I am today,” Nafisa says.

However much darkness overflowed in her life Nafisa still found reason to find happiness and joy in the blessings in her life. She created her best childhood moments from the trips she went with her family and their family friends to Tsavo, Amboseli Park and several other beautiful places that exposed her to that light at the end of the tunnel. Adnaan Bhaiji was the son of Talib Baiji; Nafisa’s father’s best friend. “Adnaan was so charming and naughty and he always knew how to make me happy. He always came along to the trips in the wild. And when we settled in our hotel rooms, he would come to me and excitedly tie his dirty socks or any clothe around my eyes before disappearing for her to find him. He would hide in unexpected places like on a wall and still expect me to find him. He would untie my neat braids and mess with my hair and there were those endless surprise birthday parties that we would do for each other…We shared such a special sibling bond that would live on for a long time afterwards,” Nafisa narrates nostalgically.

Her other childhood friend, Anar Gulam, made it a trend to visit Nafisa every weekend or on some weekends Nafisa would return the favour, and sometimes, she too joined them during their trips to Tsavo or Amboseli or wherever their next vacation adventure took them.

Life was not all that bad after all. Her parents raised her with a very positive attitude, with tremendous support and showered her with love such that she would never feel alone in her journey. Yet there were a lot of surprises yet to come…


Today we celebrate world spina bifida and hydhydrocephalus day. We celebrate the patients and warriors battling with the two. You are indeed an inspiration to many of us! TO BE CONTINUED. PLEASE STAY TUNED…

Photo Credit: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

There are many people in this world who are successful, who have been successful, who know the taste of success yet just a few know the taste of progress, consistency and prosperity. You have become the doctor the always wanted to become now what next? You have always wanted to own your own business, now you do. Yes you have succeeded. But after that is there any progress? Is your dream bringing in goodies like you expected? You have passed university level with flying colours…but where is the job? It is therefore one thing to succeed and quite another to be blessed in what you do.

There is the famous saying that goes like, ‘it is the little things that matter.’ Yes, even in success, it is the little, small, tiny gestures of humanity, love and humility that keeps pushing us the ladder. Let me mention to you a few things that isn’t taught to us yet it should.

1.Your parents; they are your secret weapon, secret key to success of all kinds. Whether it is to pass your exams, get a job, get a promotion, get a good spouse, have a beautiful life here and the hereafter too…all lies in how you treat and deal with your parents. It may be something you don’t see directly; they are not the ones to literally grant you the promotion or miraculously make your exam results turn out great but it is all a matter of how pleased and happy they are with you. Yes, I mean it. Be a good child. Remember your parents all the time. Make them happy, not by showering them with money, but by giving them your quality time, by helping them, by loving them, by showing them that you care for them more than your phone or your corny girlfriend/boyfriend.

Have you ever seen an educated person with a good job yet is still miserable? Have you seen an intelligent, brilliant student yet they still struggle to pass? Well they could be having other troubles but trust me, when your parents are pleased with you, you will see how things will work out easily. You will see how God will shower you with blessings from all corners and you wonder how. Ever seen two siblings, one who has succeeded in their education and maybe is wealthy too yet the drop-out reaches a higher level of success and attainment of happiness? It doesn’t matter what your religion is, as a matter of fact, all faiths have always insisted about parents and how we should always be kind to them. So this is it. You want to succeed in this life and the next? Please your parents. Never underestimate their prayers for you or the smile that you put on their face. And by the way, the more difficult your parents are to please, the more blessed you become. Do it tirelessly. Help them sincerely with a lot of love. And when you do this, always put the intention that you want God to bless your life for your actions towards your parents. Try this out. I promise by God’s will, you will see a change in your life!

2.Your teachers, your lecturers, your tutors…you name it; they also play a big role to ensure your progress but only if you prove to them that you are worth it. Most of us when we get to high school level and university, we tend to believe that our teachers are useless. We mock them, give them ugly nicknames, judge them by how  they dress etc etc. It is usually all part of the ‘school fun’ as some would name it. But besides that all, your teacher deserves respect from you however mean, ugly, dirty, foolish, awkward they are. They deserve your respect for their title, ‘teacher’. You may not really get this but intelligence is not the secret to success trust me. Teachers are very observant and keen on every students’ behaviour. They appreciate hardworking students, humble and those who appreciate them too. Sometimes you may wonder why a teacher is close to a weak student in performance yet it is because this particular student is treating the teacher with respect and  appreciation. And this particular weak student is the same one you will meet years later driving a Mercedes and you remain mouth agape asking how!

Let me tell you how. The teacher saw the student’s potential plus the great respect, he ended up giving this student all the words of wisdom, the secret formulas, the way out of difficult situations, the empowerment he needed. And even years after this weak student has graduated, every single opportunity this teacher comes across, whom do you think will he contact? The arrogant intelligent student or the weak humble and hardworking student? I am not telling you to love them, talk to them 24/7, bring them gifts or visit them every weekend. I am saying, treat them well however stupid, mean, ugly they look. keep their contacts safely. Ask for their advise whenever you need it. Ask for help whenever you are stranded. Ask for their ideas, opinions and criticisms even after you are done with that level of education. Teachers appreciate being acknowledged by their students and I promise they will do the same for you. You will be the first person they call whenever a good opportunity arises. And this is one of the things I’ve never regretted. I have the phone numbers of different teachers from primary level to university. It has done nothing to me but good. You should try it!

3.Stop being narcissistic and believing that no one can do it better than you, that you are always right and that you   are your own mentor. Find inspiration from out there. There is always ALWAYS someone better than you in what you do or look or even think. So cut this drama of, ‘I am thee best.’ Sweetheart, thee best is definitely not you or anyone else. There is always going to be someone one step or ten steps ahead of you. Learn to be humble. Accept positive criticisms. Ask for help when stranded. Listen to other people’s opinions and thoughts. Learn from others. Accept your mistakes. Accept when someone else is right and not you. Seek and reach out to all kind of people. That is what makes the successful one become MORE progressive.

4.NEVER underestimate the dunderhead, the slow learner, the thick headed, the uneducated, the less educated than you are, the poor, the man seated on the street…just never underestimate anyone. We believe that education is not only the one that we learn and study in class, but there is the greater knowledge of life that none can comprehend better than these people who’ve known failure, hunger and struggle. The cobbler on the pavement of the street could give you a great idea about your business, your house help could have experience in something that you don’t, your child or younger ones could have brilliant thoughts that could help you. So always look out and listen keenly to anyone who has an idea, a thought, a suggestion, an opinion or criticisms. Never choose whom to listen to. Open up to everyone who can bring positive changes to your life. You don’t have to follow what everyone says but what do you lose if you listen to them all? All you have to do is listen then filter the important information and the unimportant, the great ideas from the lousy ones. There…did you lose anything? NO. So??

My friend, being successful is difficult, hard, a tough journey but being consistent and progressive is even tougher and it is by such small things in life that create the whole difference. So don’t just aim at being successful. Aim at being continuously successful; more success by the day.

Photo Courtesy: stuffpoint.com

Can you hear that?

Is that your ridiculously slow heartbeat? Beating like it is being forced to do so. Like a lazy kid being pushed to wake up?

Can you feel that?

Your head thumping even while you are not sick. Your body aches yet you are as fit as never before. Listen keenly. Feel. Observe. It is your heart. It is tired. It is fatigued. It is in excruciating pain. It is hurting…and so is the whole of you.

But don’t we all get tired sometimes? Physically, yes but it doesn’t always start there right?

It starts with how stressed, sad, depressed you are. It is how tired you are of life. How you want to go somewhere very far and live alone. How you just want to disappear. How you wish to shut out everyone and anyone. How food is no longer attractive, not even your favourite Cheese cake. How time seems to be taking a casual walk like a tortoise. How everything seems to be dragging. So everything around you drags too, including your heart and your body.

You just want to get away because no one seems to understand you. Your hormones are reacting worse than those of a pregnant woman. You have excessive feels again and again. Sleep seems to be out of your dictionary at the moment, and when you finally get into that wonderland, you can’t help but sleep for 16 or 20 hours. If possible, you would have slept for the whole week or three consecutive months or for eternity?

Yes, you are that tired and you don’t know how to get out of your misery. You don’t even know if you really want to get out of it. You just yearn for the quite impossible things at the moment. Like sleeping for 25/7 or staying away from job the whole year or going for a holiday twice a year, every six months. You are exhausted…

But sit up a moment. Think about it. How long are you going to let yourself drown in this? Remember, however long you stay sinking in your own storm, you are still the only one capable of pulling yourself out.

One thing that drug addicts refuse to admit is that however much of ‘relaxation’ or ‘highness’ they enjoy from drugs, one thing is never going to change; your misery will still stay put where it has always been. The problems will still be there even if you decide to be on drugs the whole week or month. Because once the soberness starts striking in your head, you wouldn’t have made the situation any better. Instead, you got yourself one more problem of hangovers and addiction.

It is the same thing with you, even when you don’t use drugs. You let yourself get lost in your frenzy world, over-eating or starving yourself, not sleeping or spending your entire time in sleep, worrying, worrying and always worrying. Thinking, thinking and more thinking. But you gotta wake up right? Soberness will creep in like a ghost, reminding you of all the piles and loads of undone work. You gotta shake that misery off. You gotta face your troubles. You gotta do what you have to.

Remember that not always will you have someone to rub off your tears while you cry an ocean or shove you under the cold shower when you can’t even talk or hug you when having a panic attack. Sometimes you are all you got; Yourself.

So wake up now. Someone needs you. You need YOU. Sit up and think straight. Think of how to face your problems with bravery, patience and perseverance. Fix what you can fix and leave the rest to God. Just don’t let yourself sink again. Don’t let yourself be the definition of tired. You are capable of standing up and being what you always have been; strong.

Keep having faith. Better things coming in shaa Allah 😊

 

 

Photo Courtesy: www.pinterest.com

You know if I told you right now I have realized that the world is square, you would tell me I am crazy. If I added that the square world is not meant for all human beings, that people should be living in mars where we all weigh much less, you would say I am totally nuts AND weird. But what if, just what if, a square world seems like a box to me; my own world and all I have to do is keep thinking outside it? Think beyond my own life? That maybe Mars is what I consider everyone’s world? And that is where I should keep focusing on?

All this doesn’t make sense right? This sounds worse than Greek. This just made you seem like a dyslexic person and you did not get anything.  Or maybe, it makes a little bit of sense. Or a lot more. Or it totally makes sense. It always depend on who is reading this. Well, this post is dedicated to all those who could find meaning in my first paragraph. The message itself is pointless in this context but all this is about the ability in finding meaning. It is meant for everyone who could read between those lines. It is meant for every writer, every poet, every deep person, every humanitarian, every artist who sees the world with a third eye. This might as well be read by everyone. But this is specifically for you. For a special person like you.

One of the most scary things about writing, about being a poet or simply having the ability to connect with people; you become vulnerable to all kinds of judgments. You remain misunderstood for a whole lifetime. Your words are twisted. Your personality is scrutinized with a microscope. Your intentions are full of myths and misconceptions. You become more than just a name. More than just what you do or what you write about. You are no longer so and so the writer or the poet. You become so and so the complainer, the drama queen, the sadness addict, the black swan, the ranting squirrel, the word-attacker, disturbia, the over-reacting brat, you become the darkness itself. You become all people’s judgments together. You become just what they decide to think of you. And sometimes or most of the times, you can’t correct their disillusioned vision or their twisted thoughts of you. You can’t start justifying yourself to everyone. You can’t start telling them who you really are. Because if they really opened your heart for them to see what is inside you, they wouldn’t do any better than judge you for all that is within you. And funny thing is, when you post something on your personal account, they judge you and mock you for all the deepness yet if those same words are seen on a different page or even your site they will praise your master pieces. They will just take it like any other art work. But due to their shallow thinking and double standards, they mock you when it appears under your name because they somehow know you. Haha and trust me, these are the same people who would be praising and sharing Yasmin Mogahed’s deepest posts, R.H.Sin, Drake, Her blank canvas or her silent perception. Oh well but because this is YOU and they think they know you, they make you seem like a dry flower in a desert that’s desperately seeking attention like it’s water. Lol they would even be reading this and their twisted minds make them think that I am filing a complaint here too 😂 So yes, it is pointless after all.

Many a times I wished that I could do something else other than write. I wished that perhaps I could just be that crazy kind of a person who can literally ignore all that happens with them or in their lives. I’ve wished I could do anything else to survive other than write. You know like how sometimes you write something and someone quickly comments how weak you are or how you post something deep and they think you are always letting the world know what you are going through. Or how you speak out your mind and they mock you for it. I for one have struggled to keep writing because I just wanted to avoid judgments and speculation on what is going on in my life. But you all know the truth don’t you? You know why we write, You know why we have all those deep posts on our timelines, you know why we express ourselves and be brutally and vulnerably honest. You know it is because we see the world so differently, you connect with people too deeply, you empathize with people, because you have come face to face with darkness, because you know what it means to be broken and whole at the same time. So what if you post what you do? Does it actually define any of our lives? Not really. Does it make you any less human from the rest? Of course not. Does it make you any special? Yes and a big yes, because from what you write and say and sing and do, you are connecting to so many other people. You are the voice of the voiceless. You are someone else’s shadow and light. You are expressing what they would never have the guts to do themselves. So what if you are so different? You forget that you are beautifully different.

Whenever you feel you can’t write something deep and real and honest, remember that someone out there is actually counting on your words to feel better, to feel valued, to feel loved, to stand back up after the terrible fall. Remember all those ‘thank you, this is exactly what I needed to hear right now’, all those phone calls thanking you for making them smile. Remember all those comments and many more comments of people talking of their own experiences and how they relate to your words. Remember that you are someone special in someone’s life. That someone finds light again through you and because you pointed to them the light at the end of the tunnel. You are loved. And I for one, love you for the sake of all the broken people who need you. I love you for being there, even if not exactly physically, for those who are down and sinking.

Please keep writing. Keep doing what you have to. Don’t hesitate to speak out your mind. The world desperately needs more of you 😊

Photo Courtesy: www.etsy.com

Each one of us comes from a different background, from a different environment and from a different upbringing. Some grew up being showered with love and passion while some have always been on the ‘black list’ and the bad side of their parents. You may not always agree with your parents but one thing is never going to change; they brought you into this world. They are your parents. You are never going to have another biological mother or father. You are here because of them.

It’s terrible when parents don’t understand you, when they have too high expectations, when they set too many limitations, when they don’t let you follow your dreams, when they want you to be like them, when they favour your siblings more than you, when they are always complaining to people about you, when they discredit you publicly, when they always seem disappointed with everything that you do, when you are just not good enough, when they don’t give you the freedom you yearn for, when you are the least favourite child, when they are being hateful, when they rarely or never show you some compassion…yes, it’s terrible. It’s heart-breaking. It’s disappointing. It’s unfair. It’s painful. It’s definitely not what you deserve…

But one other fact is; they are your parents and however much they may be unfair to you, they have sacrificed a little or a lot more for your sake.

Most of our parents grew up in the era where compassion never even existed in their dictionary. They barely even got parental love. They never knew how kissing a parent felt like. It was that era that a father was supposed to be the head of the family, the master, the one to only give orders. It was that era where a mother never contributed in making family decisions, where a family was based on hierachy and no one was ever to take up another person’s role. The elder brother was as fierce as what he was supposed to be. And the father? He was twice that. There was no much bonding. There was no family time to discuss issues and everyone gives their opinion. Only orders are given…and when they are, you have no right to defer.

Times have really changed now. People have changed. Our era is the one where love, passion and compassion is encouraged. There is an emotional revolution and human beings are taught how to be humane. Well, perhaps the internet world has indeed done some good to us. We have been enlightened on the emotional needs that each one of us seeks. We have been taught how to be the best kind of people, parents and even human beings.

I know how depressing it is to be in this disturbing teenage-adulthood age where everything seems to be going wrong and maybe your parents are not making it any easier for you. We all go through this phase where we totally believe we are being oppressed. Like literally. You let that sink in your head so much that you too sink along. If you are in this phase, please remember this;

This is but a phase. Your parents love you even when they never show it. Wait…I know you are already about to interrupt me with ‘they don’t love me!’  But before you do, please rewind back to all the things your parents have done to you. Even if they gave you money rather than love…it may be the wrong way of showing compassion but that is their way to show you they love you. So yes, bottom line is that they do! They have sacrificed a lot for you. Please be patient. I know sometimes it is too much that you think it is better if you left home or if you were never born…but despite this bitter phase, I promise you that you are going to get your relief soon. Keep being patient.

Being rebellious will never make things any better. It wont make them change at this stage. They are way too old to change their flaws now. Act maturely by getting a grip of yourself during these bad times. Don’t act irrationally just so you can hurt them or annoy them. Again…be patient. This is your life test and they are your paradise. Never underestimate your reward of being patient with them despite their difficult habits.

When your parents go wrong, remember that their parents were twice as difficult.

That they hard a rougher time than you are.

That it is never easy for them to be the best parents when they’ve never known how best parents should act.

As much as they never knew what love is from their parents, they have tried to be better than their own. Please appreciate their trials.

Even if you don’t believe it, they wish well for you. Their ‘well’ beliefs may be different from yours due to the era gap but they insist, because to them, that is what is best for you. If you want to do it your way you can as well do it but in a good way without waging a war.

That they are also human beings. They also have flaws. They also need someone to accept them as they are…and who is a better person than their own child?

That someday you will also be a parent. Perhaps a much much better parent than your own. Perhaps you will right their wrongs and be real heros to your children. But remember that you too will have flaws, that your children will also dislike a few things about you. That they will be rebellious about some of your decisions…and at that time, you will really appreciate when your children try to understand you. You will really be humbled when they still love you irregardless of how ugly your behaviour gets. When you think of that, try coping up with your parents too.

 

Dear…when your parents do wrong, remember that it is your duty to be a good child. And what better lesson can you actually give your parents than proving them wrong? By showing them with your good actions how they should be treating you instead? And better still, grow up into a better parent than what they have been to you. Accept your mistakes when you have to and forgive them when they blame you over things you never did. As they say ‘mama ni mama ingawa rukwama’ (A mother is still a mother even when she is a cart) and maybe we can say, ‘baba ni baba ingawa tuktuk 😂 ( A father is still a father even when he is a tuktuk) Lol. Which simply means that despite our parents’ bad habits and difficult behaviours, they are still OUR parents. Let’s love and respect them for what they are. For the title they hold.

As for you who was blessed with understanding, loving and compassionate parents, appreciate them. Love them back fiercely…because many, MANY wish they could have amazing parents as your own.

Let’s all pray for our parents; that God guides them, that He gives us patience towards them, that He makes us better parents, that He forgives ours…and grant them paradise. Ameen!