You Deserve To Be Happy…

 

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Photo by the writer

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel you are no good? Has anyone made you feel worthless? Have you ever thought why you always feel bad about yourself? Are you doing right? Is all what is happening is your fault? Are you as bad as a person? Is something wrong with you?

These thoughts have all been with me for the past five to six years. Every day when you are told that you are a selfish person and you only think about yourself; gradually you begin to think that you are nothing but a useless person with no heart.

I had been there in that situation where I was constantly assuring and reassuring myself that it’s just normal to feel this way but fighting each day with these thoughts really consumed my energy.

Recently, Oxford Dictionaries has chosen toxic as its word of 2018. Toxic means poison and living in a toxic relation or environment suck the joy and happiness from within you and replace with anger and sadness. And who knows this better than me.

Let me tell you honestly, coming out of it was not an easy feat. It took me a while (read many years) to realise that I am not wrong but I am actually stuck in a wrong situation. The only thing which pulls me out of this mess was me! Yes, nobody can help you until you help yourself and that what I did. And the strength I receive, to do this, was one and only my Almighty Allah.

The best solution to come out of this poison is to surround yourself with your loved ones and say goodbye to those who add nothing but negative energy into your life.

  • Be with positive people, work and relation.
  • Explore the inner side of you which you have lost down the line.
  • Do not be scared to be on your own.
  • Learn to forgive yourself and the one who has inculcated toxicity in your life for your sanity (but don’t forget what that relation did to you).
  • Focus on the goodness in your life.
  • Keep in mind that you are not a bad person to leave this relation or environment, you have only done this for your mental and emotional stability.

And lastly, do remember, YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY!

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Mental Health: Dealing With Depression

 

mental health 1On November 26, 2018, I read about the suicide news of Rushaan Farrukh. It’s disheartening to know that a young girl, who was studying visual arts at BNU in Lahore, took away her life. Her last Instagram posts proved that she was suffering from depression.

I wonder what might be going through Rushaan’s mind when she was standing on the building’s roof. Giving up your life is not an easy decision rather it takes guts and a lot of negativities for Rushaan to jump off from that roof.

These days, youngsters and children are suffering from depression and the reasons are heartbreaks, failure at studies and bullying.

Depression is not a fluff; it’s real and valid issue. I do know what it’s like to be in this state because I had also gone through this phase. A couple of years ago, I had zero motivation for life and I totally gave up. It’s not because of bullying but yes I was heartbroken and this affected my studies. Despite being an A-Grade student I failed miserably at my fifth semester. And on top of that, my mother started looking for my rishtas because I turned 21, luckily I faced rejections many times (pun intended). Consequently, I felt bad and all of this just broke my spirit and I fell into depression.

At that time, I don’t know how and what happened but I only remembered that my parents, sister and most importantly my connection to Almighty Allah restored my strength.

Mental health is a big predicament and it should not be taken lightly. There are several mental health problems a person faces which include anxiety, insomnia and depression. Unfortunately, people suffering from these mental problems are mocked and derided by their surroundings and society.

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Feeling anxious or low is normal but if this persists for longer period of time, then this is alarming. Depression is chronic, it can kill people. Depressed people tend to let their lives slide away from their hands. They feel safe in their own cocoon and don’t want to come out. Usually we think that people who are unsuccessful are depressed which is wrong. Several successful celebrities have also been reported to be in severe depression. Hollywood bigwigs such as Robin Williams and Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) took away their lives. In Bollywood, Deepika Padukone was the first female protagonist who came forward and acknowledged that she is suffering from high functioning depression. Now, Padukone helps create countrywide awareness about mental health.

So the question arises how to deal people with clinical depression? As society, it’s important to show concern and listen to the people who are depressed. Don’t shut them up by saying that you should be thankful for your life. The person is in pain and only he/she wants you to listen and not to be judgmental.

As parents, it’s important to build a relation with their children. During Zara Hat Kay Show, one of the psychologists, Aniqa, suggests to parents that they should teach gratitude and patience to the youngsters. These two traits are lacking in today’s generation and they want immediate results and if any mishap happens which is against their plan, they become impatient.

As far as my viewpoint is concerned, I don’t want to say anything to society because it won’t make much of a difference. I will directly say to the person, who is going through depression, try to revive your connection with your Creator. As Muslims, we believe that Allah calls you five times a day. The call to prayer is a reminder that the Creator is there for you. HE won’t abandon you in your misery. Talk to Allah because HE will listen to you. Pray to Allah because HE is the one who can boost your inner strength. Try to create a strong bond with Allah, who never judge you by your physical appearance and do not see your status; instead your Creator only sees your beautiful heart. Seek help from your Creator.

Remember you are above all these materialistic objects and do not let anyone belittle you because no matter how much we talk about humanity, or showing concern to people, nothing will change. There will be people who will demean you, who will say rubbish about you so DO NOT LET ANYONE COME IN YOUR WAY.

Nobody is perfect in this world, not me, you or not even your bully. This time will pass. And you just need to stay firm. And keep moving, you will eventually find a far better place.

Movie Review: Badhaai Ho Beats Thugs of Hindostan at the Box Office

 

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Recently, Badhaai Ho has crossed 200 crore club and despite a month of its release, the movie is still giving a tough competition to the new big budgeted – and big starrer – movies such as Thugs of Hindostan.

A middle-class family, the intimacy between age-old couple culminating into pregnancy, saas-bahu family drama, an uninvited chota mehman, and breaking stereotype against societal norms; this is the premise of Amit Ravindernath Sharma’s most awaited Bollywood flick Badhaai Ho.

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In September, when the trailer of the movie was launched, everybody was smitten by the novel idea presented by Sharma in a tongue-and-cheek humour. The expectations shot up sky-high when the old, married couple were shown breaking the news of their pregnancy to their two grownup sons. I became interested in knowing how the movie would go beyond the awkwardness fun part. There was a fear that the movie would turn into a typical Bollywood masala with no soul. And to my surprise, the movie delivers beyond its potential with power packed performances and crackling dialogues that split the audience with laughter.

Set against the backdrop of Delhi’s Lodhi colony, the story revolves around railway ticket collector in his early 50s, Jeetender Kaushik (Gajraj Rao) who lives with his wife Priyamvada Kaushik (Neena Gupta), his mother Surekha Sikri, two grown-up children, Gullar (Shardul Rana) who is in his teenage years prepping for boards and Nakul (Ayushmann Khurrana) who is in his mid-twenties and works at a multinational organisation. The movie gets you engrossed in minutes as the Kaushik family discover that Priyamvada is 17 weeks pregnant.

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The fun part in the movie is when couple has to share the ‘good news’ with their family. The scenes where Jeetender tries to awkwardly talk to his young sons and to his mother will crack you up. Nakul and Gullar, on other hand, cannot come to terms with the fact that their parents are going to have a third child at this age. Sikri is appalled when she hears the news and thrown the usual mother-in-law jabs at Priyamvada.

In another track, Nakul has a relationship with Renee (Sanya Malhotra) who belongs to an elite family in Delhi. She lives with her mother (Sheeba Chadha) in an upscale locale. The mother is fond of Nakul, but concerned about his family. She describes it as a circus she doesn’t want to buy tickets to. Although Sheeba appears in the film only for a few scenes, she leaves an indelible mark.

badhaai ho 6The strength of the film lies in the script (written by Shantanu Srivastava, Akshat Ghidal and Jyoti Kapoor) that explores an uncomfortable subject delicately. The screenplay, written by Akshat Ghildial, is amazingly brilliant. For instance Jeetender woos his wife with poetry and mangoes, the couple steal glances at a wedding, the family visits a local doctor at a small dispensary – all of which add to an amazing narrative.

The film has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, especially in the first half thanks to Nakul’s grandmother, whose response to learning about the pregnancy is pure gold. Veteran actress Sikri steals the show with her comic jibes.

Moreover, the story has many scenes which are exceptional like Nakul going to Gullar’s school to teach a bully, the heart-touching relationship between brothers, and mother-in-law praising daughter-in-law Priyamvada when criticised for pregnancy will definitely make you smile as well as form a lump in your throat. Also, the scene when Nakul invites Renee’s mother for his mother’s baby shower display sheer honesty and emotional sentiment which leaves everyone teary-eyed.

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As far as characters are concerned, I will say that the loose ends left in the script have been covered by stellar acting of the protagonists. Ayushmann Khurrana has delivered yet another brilliant performance, after winning accolades for his work in Andhadhun. Khurrana has of late come as a mature actor with the selection of experimental scripts that gives him margin to explore his acting potential. In this film, he showcases the various emotions of anger, shame, repentance, sorrow and love with great precision.

Sanya Malhotra has limited screen time but gets into the skin of the character and comes up with a superb performance. Neena Gupta does a convincing and adorable job as a mother. Gajraj Rao is just too wonderful and I just loved his Mr Bean like expressions. Shardul Rana has also done a decent job.

badhaai ho 5The music is fair, but there are no standout tracks in the film. The absence of chartbusting music is sorely felt. Abhishek Arora’s background score is remarkable and adds to the impact of the drama.

Although the movie keeps you hook to the seat in the first half with its super fun and hilarious dialogues, the second half witness the dip in the energy. However, the climax is beautiful and extremely fulfilling. Overall, the movie is enjoyable and sends across a strong message which is heartening.

I rate this movie 3/5.

Book Review: My Feudal Lord

Living in Pakistan one is well aware about feudal system. It is deeply rooted in our society feudal-lord-1which has eaten up the lives of the ordinary masses. Feudalism has brought ruins to the nation and ongoing cycle of the rich becoming richer while poor pushes down to the pits, needs to end.

Tehmina’s autobiography ‘My Feudal Lord’ depicts an invaluable insight of women caught up in the complex web of feudal system. While reading this novel, what intrigues me is the struggle she had to face which is rare for a Pakistani woman this educated and elite, especially one whose life was fairly public, to be abused to this degree.

Tehmina Durrani was brought up in a privilege milieu of Lahore society. She was the daughter of former Governor State Bank of Pakistan and former Chairman of Pakistan International Airline S.U. Durrani.

Durrani’s first husband Anees came off as a polar opposite to her lover and second husband Ghulam Mustafa Khar. Unlike Khar, Anees was gentle, honourable, and treats women with respect. When Durrani asked for a divorce, though much pained, Anees granted one without much of a fuss. From first marriage she had one daughter only.

After divorce, Durrani married to former Chief Minister and governor of Punjab, Ghulam Mustafa Khar. She was in love with him and marrying him was like a dream come true

Her first encounter with Khar’s assault left her shocked. She was violently attacked by her husband every other day. He had a charming personality which is why people adored him, oblivious to the fact that this person behaved like an animal within his four-walled house.

Tehmina endured the physical pain which Khar gave her but her world was shattered when she got to know that Khar was in clandestine relationship with some girl. She was flabbergasted to know that it was none other than her own younger sister Adila who physically seduced Khar and put her older sister’s marriage at stake.   Tehmina and Khar had four children.

Constantly lying and being physically involved with Adila, Tehmina was gradually losing her sanity and could not endure his brutality. She ended her marriage of 13 years in divorce.

Her parents ostracized her for a quite long time. They weren’t happy of her decision because they believe in the notion, once the girl is married; she should come back in a coffin to her parents’ house.

Following her divorce, Tehmina wrote autobiography on her post-marriage life with the feudal. Originally published in 1991, the book was co-authored by William and Marilyn Hoffer.

In Pakistani society, where the Muslim patriarchs dominate, the entity of women is that of inferior beings, both intellectually and socially. Her main purpose seems to be an instrument for the satisfaction of the man’s sexual desires and perpetuation of the species.

Feudal system is uprooted in Pakistan. I wish women of Pakistan would stop bearing the torture after marriage and actually start living. I wish women would stop breaking the tradition of silence.

As in the words of an author in a novel: “Silence condones injustice, breeds subservience and fosters a malignant hypocrisy. Mustafa Khar and other feudal lords thrive and multiply on silence. Muslim women must learn to raise their voice against injustice.”

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In between reading

When her novel came out, it instigated uproar within the country because it was one of the  first times that a woman from the elitist of the elite revealed the deep dark secrets of the feudal society and politicians. Initially the book was derided but then with the passage of time, receiving an international acclaim, the book became an instant hit amongst the readers particularly women.

Agreed that Durrani’s novel reflected the lives of feudal system in the country, and it has ruined the foundation of our country. But I do have some issues while reading this novel. Why? Simple, Durrani bashed feudal culture and then again she married to a feudal lord, the present Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif.

I am glad that there are women like her who do not give in to the bigotry rather she fights back and challenges injustices of the patriarchal society. However, her third marriage to the feudal lord questions her narrative of whether what she said was true or it was an exaggeration.

Time to Speak Out and Break the Taboo

 

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Need of the Time

Menstruation, also known as Periods is a regular natural cycle that occurs in the female reproductive system but girls particularly in Pakistan dread getting their periods. Unfortunately in Pakistan, menstruation is a hushed matter due to cultural constraints. Therefore, many girls face a lot of obstacles when it comes to sanitation.

According to UNICEF report, only 20 percent of girls have access to sanitary napkins in school whereas most of the girls reported that they can’t go to schools if they can’t find pads to wear or a toilet in which to change them in the school premises.  Girls also reported a lack of adequate facilities in school bathrooms while some schools don’t have running water so that girls can keep their hands and bodies clean while menstruating. There is a dire need to break the silence on this topic, so that millions of young girls every year don’t see their period as a disability, but a natural, normal part of their lives.

In a bid to break the stereotype associated with menstruation, the Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) campaign was launched by the MHM working group to increase awareness about sanitation and menstruation hygiene environment.

The day is observed on May 28 every year across the world aims at creating awareness to break taboos and myths around menstruation and to encourage women to overcome their hesitation about menses.

Every year, the theme is different and this year, the global theme of the day is “Menstruation Matters for Everyone, Everywhere.”

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Time to Speak Out

In Pakistan, a panel discussion was held which focused on how the health, education, and sanitation of adolescent girls are impacted by lack of proper MHM was organized. Panelists included government representatives from across the country that explored the much-needed solutions to tackle the taboo and associated problems that females’ especially young adolescent girls face.  The event was organized by the MHM Working Group, a coalition of humanitarian organizations working to champion menstrual hygiene rights in Pakistan.

Menstrual Hygiene Management remains a taboo in Pakistan which affects a woman’s self-esteem, health and education.

Young girls in Pakistan bare most of this brunt as they lack the knowledge and services to manage menstruation which in turn affects their learning experiences. Research reveals that marginalized girls can miss up to two to four consecutive days of schools every four weeks due to their periods. This of course has serious implications on their learning.

Women are the bringer of new life into the world, and periods are a part of that process. This is an attitude that we need to bring back into our conversations, but also our attitudes, towards all matters related to sexual and reproductive health. It is time that all sectors come together to break the silence around MHM by supporting strong policy implementation across all state levels.

 

 

#UnfairandLovely: Breaking Dark Colour Stereotype!

Beauty lies in the eyes of beholder not in the skin tone.

Dark skin is not a taboo and we need to break this stereotype

Click the link below to read my write up on the recent campaign #unfairandlovely..
http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/33624/unfairandlovely-being-attractive-should-not-be-synonymous-with-being-fair-skinned/