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Showing posts with label Voice Of My Heart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Voice Of My Heart. Show all posts

Friday, February 9, 2018

اگر میں تم سے پہلے مر گئ تو


"اگر میں تم سے پہلے مر گئ تو؟"
"تو کچھ بھی نہیں!" اس نے کندھے اچکاتے ہوئے کہا۔ 
اْسکی اس قدر لاپرواہی پر منیزے تپ گئ۔ اِسے تو کوئی فرق ہی نہیں پڑ رہا۔ اور ایک میں ہوں جو مری جا رہی ہوتی ہوں۔ مہک ٹھیک ہی کہتی ہے کہ میں paranoid ہو گئ ہوں۔ ابھی اسکا سر پھاڑتی ہوں میں۔ 
"ویسے تمہاری اس بےحیائی پہ مجھے ذرا بھی تعجب نہیں ہوا احمر۔ مگر انسان تھوڑی سی ہی تمیز کر لیتا ہے۔" 
"یہ کون کہہ رہا ہے؟ ذرا دیکھو تو!" وہ اسکی طرف اشارہ کرتے ہوئے ہنس پڑا۔ 
منیزے نے گود میں پڑا ہوا بیگ احمر کے سر میں دے مارا۔ 
"بہت برے ہو تم! بہہہہت زیادہ! جا رہی ہوں میں۔ مرو تم یہاں۔" 
وہ اٹھ ہی رہی تھی کہ احمر نے اسکا بازو نیچے کو کھینچا۔ اور منیزے اسکی گود میں گرتے گرتے رہ گئ۔ 
"اب کیا مسئلہ ہو رہا ہے؟" غصّے میں اسکے چہرے کا نقشہ بگڑنے کی بجائے مزید سنور جاتا تھا۔ 
"تم جو میرے سامنے مرنے مرانے کی باتیں لے کر بیٹھی ہوئیں تھی وہ کونسی با تمیز اور مہذب گفتگو تھی؟ اب اگر تم نے ایسی کوئی بات کی نہ تو گلہ گھونٹ دوں گا تمہارا۔ پھر شوق سے مرنا تم ۔۔۔۔۔۔ منیزے کی بچی۔" احمر نے اسکے بال کھینچے۔ 
"ہونہہ! اتنا تو نہیں ہوا کہ کہہ دوں۔۔۔۔منیزے میری جان۔۔۔۔۔میں"
"منیزے میری جان۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔کھانا چھوڑ دو!" فزکس ڈیپاڑٹمنٹ کی خاموش فزا احمر کے جاندار قہقہہ سے گونج اٹھی۔ چند لمحوں بعد اس میں منیزے کی ہنسی بھی شامل ہو گئ۔ 

تمہیں یاد ہے


تمہیں یاد ہے جب بنچ پہ بیٹھے ہوئے ہم "تکلیف اور درد کی شدت" پہ تبادلہ خیال کر رہے تھے اور تم یہ ماننے کو ہرگز تیار نہیں تھے کہ غصّہ انسان کی عقل کو کھانے کیساتھ ساتھ اسکے دل کو بھی کھا جاتا ہے اور اِسکے نتیجہ میں غصّہ ٹھنڈا ہونے کے بعد جو تکلیف دل سے اٹھتی ہے وہ لاعلاج ہوتی ہے۔ 
لیکن آج جب تم چیخ چیخ کر کہہ رہے ہو کہ تم تکلیف میں ہو تو میں تمہیں اس تکلیف سے رہائی نہیں دلا سکتی۔ کہ میری ذات تمہیں معاف تو کر سکتی ہے مگر۔۔۔۔۔۔۔پہلی سی محبت میرے اختیار میں نہیں۔ تم لاکھ مجھے منا لو، قسمیں کھاوُ یا خود کو دفنا دو۔ مگر میں تمہیں وہ پہلی سی محبت نہیں دے سکتی احمر! تمہارے غصّے نے اسے کھا لیا ہے۔ 

یہ جو لوگ ہیں نہ،


یہ جو لوگ ہیں نہ، یہ جو کندھے پہ ہاتھ رکھ کر کہتے ہیں، سب ٹھیک ہو جائے گا ، یہ جانتے ہی نہیں ہم محبت کرنے والوں کو، کچھ ٹھیک نہیں چاہئے ہوتا..!
ہمیں صرف وہی خراب شخص، وہی دل دکھانے والا شخص، وہی تکلیف پہنچانے والا شخص، وہی بات بات پہ لڑنے والا شخص، وہی محبت، جى وہی محبت کرنے والا شخص چاہئے ہوتا ہے.. کیونکہ وہ ایک شخص نہیں، پوری دنیا پوری زندگی ہوتا ہماری اور اگر وہ نہ ملے ناں، تو ہمیں کسی چیز کی آرزو نہیں رہتی ، دراصل وہ لاحاصل شخص ہی، ہماری ساری آرزو ہوتا..!

Monday, December 18, 2017

WHITHER, GOOD MANNERS?!


  







(Before coming to my point today, I would like my young readers to know that I do not mean to offend or charge them. I have great faith in our young generation and consider them more enlightened and intelligent than ever before. Our children are the architects of a better tomorrow. But, just in good spirit, I would like to point out to some short comings which they and their parents are overlooking).  



We are living in an era where life is moving at a fast pace. The world has changed into a global village. Lots of things are changing around us.  Being a grandmother, I have observed five generations; two senior than me and two who came after me. I feel that a lot of our cultural and moral values are not keeping up with the fast paced life and without realizing it, we are simply leaving them behind. Norms and mannerisms, which were considered totally unacceptable a couple of decades ago, have stealthily crept into the behavior and attitude of our children.



Usually parents and other older people are quick to point accusing fingers at the children and state that this was not the way we behaved when we were young. We can not (and should not) blame children for this change. We must realize that they have been born and brought up in a world totally different from our own childhood days. Children of today are overloaded with information. They have access to the computer, the internet, e- mail, text message, I phone and the television churns out information round the clock. They have the world at their finger tips. Interaction with human beings is on the down slide as children are happier to spend time with these gadgets



          In the 1950s 0r 60s people usually lived in extended families, with three or more generations under a single roof. Children had a lot of time to interact with their grand parents and other senior family members. Like today, parents usually were pressed for time, but the grandparents played a great role in the character building of the little ones. Through stories, anecdotes and sharing the wisdom they had gained from their experiences, they instilled good values in the children. They were often the role models which the children idolized and followed with great zeal.



          A grandmother (who prefers to remain anonymous) shares her views “Back in the sixties, when I was a schoolgirl, there was a firm set of rules for children which we were taught (and expected) to follow firmly. There was long list of does and don’ts. Never talk back to your parents and elders, do not interrupt when a person older than you is speaking. During a discussion, although we were encouraged to give our views, we had always to wait for our turn to speak our mind. Not only the elderly family members, but older siblings were treated with respect and sometimes when the parents were not around, they easily slipped into the role of the caretaker and the person in charge.”



She adds, “When a Buzurg (an aged person), entered a room and there was no empty seat, we were taught to try to be the first to offer ours. We were expected to stop our chatting and laughter and change the topic to something interesting to the newcomer. Keeping our voice and tone soft, sitting in an upright position whenever our parents or elders were around, were all considered parts of good manners. But now more often than not, the children do not even notice you, they keep on doing whatever they were busy in, whether it is surfing on the internet, chatting with friends, listening to loud music, watching the TV or just lying down.”



          Where can we draw a line between appearing ‘Cool’ and being insolent? This is the question where I find our new generation a bit confused. It is good to stand out in the crowd, but the difference should be in a better performance in all fields of life, rather than being ill behaved and bad mannered.



The world has changed but the relationships remain the same. You may not live with your grand parents, but they deserve the same amount of love and respect that they did three or four decades back. At times they may sound ill informed or old fashioned, but this does not mean that you should ignore, or worse still, ridicule them. Inspite of all your knowledge, they are still wiser because of the experiences they have gained over the decades.



Parents often complain that their children feel offended when they are asked where they are going, with whom and when they will be back. The new generation find the “Ws” (who, why, when) very irritating. Shirmeen, a teenager says, “Whenever I plan to hang out with my friends, my parents act weirdly. I am bombarded with questions! Why don’t they trust me? Parents should have faith in their children.” Her mother on the contrary says, “With the insecure conditions in the city, I want to know where and with whom my daughter is going and when would she be back. I simply don’t understand why she gets mad when I ask her a couple of questions.”



Most children take the parental intervention as a big obstacle in their enjoyment, as they feel it is an invasion into their privacy. Instead of being irritated by your parents’ questions, you should realize their concern for your safety. Communication gaps always lead to misunderstandings. If you sit down with them and discuss politely why you feel annoyed by their queries, you will be able to explain your point of view, as well as understand what they want or expect from you in return.



A mother of three kids, Hina Nauman says “Manners of our children have changed drastically as we have confused “badtameezi” (misbehavior) with confidence. And parents to an extent are to be blamed for this attitude. They often ignore children’s wrong manners saying that they do not want them to lose their self-confidence. What they don’t realize is that to discipline your child doesn’t mean you are making him under confident. The standard of being cool today is to stand out in the crowd at the expense of hurting or belittling others, others could be the parents themselves, the older members of the family or friends. I often get shocked when people are actually happy when they see their kid answering back to elders, which is not confidence but plain insolence. We can wrap it the way we want to, but this is not right for the character building of children. We are looking at a confused value system all together.”



In the end I would like to quote my late mother who was a woman of great wisdom, “Your behavior, speech and body language is the mirror to your family”, she used to say, “Wherever you go and whoever you meet, people should realize that you come from a respectable background. And respectability is by no means related to wealth! The way you have been brought up, the values you learnt in your early childhood and the role models you follow, strongly affects your personality”.







So, my friends beware of all things which may appear ‘cool’ today! Tomorrow, even if you realize that they adversely affect your personality, you may be so much addicted to the bad behaviour that you may not be able to shake it off even if you want to do so! 

Relationships: Mending fences



Mummy looked up from her cup of tea and cast a worried look at Umair. He was not his cheerful self for the past few days and seemed to have lost his appetite. Lost in thought, he sat at the breakfast table nibbling at his French toast.

“What’s wrong son, you look so glum and depressed. Tell me if there is anything I can do for you,” mummy asked.

Umair looked up from his plate and burst into tears, “Mummy I had a fight with my best friend and I feel that I was too harsh on him. I don’t know how and when things will again be the same between us. I feel so guilty.”

Umair went on to tell his mother how Ali had borrowed his science journal to complete the work he had missed during his absence due to fever. While returning the journal, Ali apologised to his friend that accidentally he had spilled some ink on it.

As Umair was very particular about his books, he flew into a rage and picked up a quarrel with his friend, accusing him that he must have spoiled the journal on purpose and that Ali was jealous of his good grades.

“We are not on speaking terms for a week, but I want to be friends with Ali again. I realise that I was unfair and I don’t want to lose a true pal,” confessed Umair.

None of us can claim that we have never had any differences with people who hold an important place in our lives. We have quarrels with siblings, friends and classmates; sometimes on minor issues and sometimes on major ones. But it is not possible for most of us to stay away for a long time from the people we love dearly. Even if we stop talking to them and do not communicate in any other routine manner, i.e., text messaging or interacting on social forums like Facebook, Skype, we cannot keep them out of our thoughts. And a yearning to mend the fences keeps us restless and unhappy.

Some of us maybe too stubborn, making the difference a matter of our ego and waiting for the other party to make an advance to normalise the relationship. But more often than not, most of us are too soft-hearted to prolong a fight. We know that making up quickly after a quarrel brings in peace of mind and a sense of serenity as we realise that a relationship is too strong to be adversely affected by a petty difference.

How do you mend fences with a near and dear one after you have had a bitter argument, called each other names in a fit of anger or, worst still, brought up past and long settled issues? Instead of sulking, spending restless nights and worrying your parents by refusing to eat properly, try out the positive ways to make up with your near and dear ones. Although it may take a lot of courage, the best option is to admit that you were wrong. The easiest (and for some the most difficult) way is to go ahead and say ‘I am sorry’. These are the magic words which often and easily settle petty quarrels in a moment and you retrieve your cherished relationship.

There may be some of you who find it hard to apologise but still you want to show your regrets. There are many simple and warm gestures which can help you out in this difficult situation.

Write a note

If you can not directly say that you are sorry for losing your temper and picking up a fight, just send a handwritten card. You can make a simple card yourself or buy an easily available one. You can quietly slip it into your friend’s schoolbag or place it on his desk, and in the case of a sibling, keep it silently in his/her room.

Say it with flowers

To make up with a friend after a quarrel, you do not need to send an expensive bouquet. A single flower picked from your own garden and neatly tied with a piece of ribbon or a colourful string can prove to be a gesture which will salvage your friendship.

Send a gift

A gift is a caring way to tell a person that you want to be friends again. A friend’s or sibling’s favourite chocolate or any other small gift can do wonders to melt the ice between you and your cherished one. They would understand that you feel sorry but cannot muster enough courage to say so!

A positive gesture

Sometimes a warm smile, a hand extended for a shake or a hearty hug does the trick. The person you had differences with gets the message that you want to make up for your rudeness or insensitive behaviour.

Tempers usually cool down quicker than the speed with which they flare up.

At the end of the day, you come to realise that a relationship is more important than your ego and losing a close friend on a petty issue is much worse than losing our pride!

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY!



RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY!

          Rain has always held a special place in my life! It mesmerizes me, enchants and takes me way back down the memory lane. It reminds me of the happy and carefree childhood I spent in my parental home with my siblings.

         

 As it rained more than half of the year in East Pakistan (now Bangla Desh), rain was a part and parcel of our lives. The staircase to the upper floor of our cosy little house overlooked a long alley. After lunch, I and my siblings would sit one child on one stair and watch with delight as rain came lashing down on the pedestrians. Some had umbrellas, other used large sheets of polythene to protect themselves and a few were seen running for shelter if they possessed none of these.

                    After nights when the thunder kept rolling, the clouds clapping ominously and rain pouring down as if it would never come again, I remember calling school expectantly. “Is the school off today?” And the predictable answer came “Why do you think the school would be off today” I would be counter questioned. The voice sounded irritated as if tired of answering the same question repeatedly. “It has been raining so hard all night” I would try to argue although I myself could feel my voice grow weaker. “Do think rain makes any difference to life in this part of the world?” and the phone was banged angrily.

          Rain made literally no difference to normal activities as schools, offices and markets opened as usual and everyone seemed to be carrying on his/her work as usual. Heavy downpours recorded in inches, were a part and parcel of life and there were no traffic jams, electric failures, overflowing storm drains or stagnant water on the roads. All that could be seen were small puddles in which children loved to splash around, but with a well maintained drainage system, these too disappeared in no time.

          Apart from natural calamities like floods or cyclones which were a normal feature in that region, little or no news of suffering of the low income class was witnessed after the routine heavy rains.

          Rain meant enjoyment to me and my siblings. If the rainy day was a holiday, picnic baskets would be packed immediately and we would set out for an outing to any of the green spots in Dhaka. Otherwise, Beisan or Potato Parathas would be cooked, to be enjoyed with Ammi’s unmatchable sweet mango chutney and ripe mangoes in plastic buckets were set out in the open courtyard to be cooled by the falling rain.

          I distinctly remember the long drives with friends after a rainy day, dashing to the famous Ramna Park of Dhaka for Chatpatti (Chat) and Puchka (Pani Puri) and the treat finished off with a Meetha Paan at the renowned pan shop outside the Dhaka Stadium. Traffic moved a bit slow but there was no disruption to its flow!

          After I migrated to Karachi, I used to miss the rains as these were limited to a couple of months only. As clouds came in, I would look expectantly towards the sky and pray for them to burst into a downpour. Until I witnessed the other side of the coin, i.e how rains could play havoc with the lives of people! To my dismay, unlike my birth city Dhaka, rain always brought misery to the lives of the residents of Karachi, especially those who reside in low lying or slum areas. Every year after the monsoon rains hits, life seems to be paralyzed as the roads are turned into rivulets in no time.


          Although in the four decades plus that I have been living in Karachi, I have seen that rains always disrupt and paralyze life in the city, I feel that things are getting worse with each passing year.

          This year, the 3rd of August began as a usual day, but before nightfall tragic news from all parts of the city came pouring in, as fast as the torrential rains we witnessed during the day. In all the years I have been living in Karachi, this was perhaps the worst rainy day I had witnessed.

          Loss of 16 precious lives was reported and all the major roads were flooded heavily. Most of the city was plunged into darkness as power went off as soon as the rain started lashing the city. Some areas, (like mine) had to go without power for nearly 24 hours or more! Emergency was declared in the city and army had to be called in to drain the stagnant water. As usual, action was taken too late as the CM dismissed the Karachi Administrator, as well as the Director Municipal Services from their respective posts. But could these belated steps bring back the precious lives or heavy loss to property? the question hangs heavily in the air.





  But the depressing part of all the sufferings is that we Karachiites could have been spared this gloom. Although there was a forecast of a monsoon more severe than is usual to Karachi, the City Government had simply taken no steps to prevent the dwellers of the mega city from the misery it had to face.  Storm water drains (which are getting narrower each year due to encroachments) were not cleared up in time, and as these are usually clogged with the garbage slum dwellers throw in them, they overflew in no time, spreading stinking water on major roads and alleys.


          The poor dwellers of the areas lining the storm water drains were the worst affected as their homes were totally inundated! After the heavy downpour, although I was dreading the bad news, I had no idea it would be worse than my imagination. The domestic helper who has been cleaning my house for years, came frantically banging the door as the bell was not ringing. Her eyes burning with tears she was trying hard to control, she said in a voice lined with despair. “Ammi kuch nahin bacha, sirf badan pe ye kapre hain!” (Ammi, nothing is left except the clothes that I am wearing). She had lost the entire ration she had got from different affluent people (remember it was Ramzan), as well as her meager belongings. “Shukar hai, Bachon ki jaan bach gayi”! (Thank God, the lives of my children were saved). She said in a resigned tone. Such depressing stories came pouring in from other quarters as night fell.

 There was a forecast of more rain for the next two or three days but it seems nature was also moved by the misery the heavy downpour had caused! Although the weather remained cloudy for the next few days, fortunately we only witnessed drizzling after every few hours!


          There was a time when I looked up at the clouds expectantly, praying for the rains to come. But after decades of living in Karachi, I mutter a prayer when I see the ominous clouds coming in. Rain, Rain, Go Away! We are not prepared yet to enjoy you! The burst of clouds which meant enjoyment and relaxation in my childhood days causes pain, anxiety, sorrow and darkness in this city of lights!

WALK LIGHT!


  In the walk of life, often there are times when we are disappointed and perturbed because people do not act (or re-act) the way we had expected or wanted them to do! These situations always create negative feelings for those who have hurt or frustrated us. These people may be the relations we hold very dear to our hearts, may be our parents, siblings, spouses, children or close friends. Often in these painful moments, we are so overtaken by our emotions that we forget that we cannot make a person think the way we do, or make him see things from our perspective! And in our agitation we allow the deepest of relations to turn sour! We are so disturbed that we forget that nurturing and harboring depressing and negative emotions are more harmful for our own self than they are for the person we have adverse feelings for!

          We may be angry and aggravated because of the attitude of people who mean the world to us, but if we take a positive stance and think coolly stepping into their shoes, we may be able to see things from their point of view. To strengthen bonds with the ones we love, we must learn not to be quick in complaining. To sustain and deepen a relationship, angers have to be controlled and compromises have to be made! It may not be intentional, but sometimes in a very close bond, mountains are made out of molehills. By blowing a petty grudge out of proportion, we hurt ourselves as well as our loved ones unnecessarily!

          To improve the quality of our life (and also of those around us), it is often better to forgive and forget than to avenge and remember! When we forgive someone for the wrong he/she has done to us, a wound starts to heal and when we (try to) forget, the scar also goes away with the passage of time. Because in the long run, nurturing a grudge harms us deeply as it sucks away the happiness from our lives!

          Often the miseries we are complaining about are self inflicted. By keeping our expectations high or unreasonable, failing to create a balance between what we give out and what we want in return and refusing to let go of a misunderstanding or a trivial quarrel, we make our lives unhappy and also of those whom we claim to love dearly! So, instead of stifling our dear ones with our over-demanding love, we must learn to give them space. We must understand that we cannot force anyone to live up to our expectations and in the same way we shouldn’t allow them to make our lives miserable by enforcing their expectations on us! Live and let live is a motto which is a key to a content life.

          We must remember that life is not like a tailor-made dress which fits a person to perfection. We all love roses, but we can enjoy their beauty and fragrance only when we learn to endure the thorns which come with them. 





There is always a dark night before every bright morning! Only a positive approach can keep us happy, as life always comes with stark contrasts. Happiness and grief, smiles and tears, success and failures, fulfillments and frustrations all go hand in hand! We have to learn to take these opposites with a positive attitude.


          Envy, grudges, resentments, hatred and anger are all emotions which clutter our souls and deeply and adversely affect the quality of our lives. In the difficult times we are living in, life is full of tensions. But we can do away with some of these tensions if we shift our attitudes towards positivity. Why not get rid of all unnecessary baggage which makes travelling in the path of life more tedious? Let’s decide to shed the extra burden and walk light! Only then can we tread the walk of life with comfort and content, even if we are not blissfully happy!

BORN TO SUCCEED


 All of us want to do something extraordinary in life. We wish to achieve something amazing and want our efforts to be acclaimed by the world. We work hard and put in all our abilities, both physical and mental; to attain the goals we have set for ourselves in life; to prove our mettle to the world. But there are people not as lucky as us! They also have their dreams, goals and aspirations, but severe physical or mental handicaps make the task of pursuing this task more daunting.

Friends, I would like to share with you details about some gifted people, disabled but never dispirited! These are people who won world-wide acclaim in spite of being severely handicapped. With the help of their sheer determination, indomitable spirit and hard work, they have risen to world-wide fame. By refusing to surrender to their limitations, these people contributed positively to the world, making it a better place to live in and proving that they were born to succeed!

Thomas Edison (1847-1931)

Few of us know that the famous inventor Thomas Edison had a learning disability in his early life and was not able to read till he was twelve! Due to a bout of scarlet fever and recurring ear infections, he developed hearing problems at a young age. This problem further aggravated with time, leaving him nearly deaf. But his disability did not stop Edison from hard work and his iron will earned him world wide acclaim.

Edison has more than 1,000 patents to his credit. When we talk about the electric bulb, his name comes to our mind instantly. The telegraph system and the phonograph are two of his famous inventions which changed the world of communication. He also made significant contribution in improving the X-Ray technology, storage batteries and motion pictures. Girls will be interested to learn that he invented the world’s first talking doll.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Renowned Mathematician/Physicist, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, had a learning disability and did not speak until age 3. He had a very difficult time doing Maths in school and had a weak memory. It was also very hard for him to express himself through writing. It is said that he did most of his experiment in his head, instead of a proper laboratory.

Einstein made many contributions to the field of theoretical physics and completely changed the way we understand the behavior of things as basic as light, gravity, and time.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)

FDR, as he is fondly called by the Americans, is one of the most inspiring famous people of the world who had a major physical disability.  Roosevelt was the president of USA who helped and guided the nation successfully during the World War II. Unfortunately, earlier in his political career, he contracted polio after drinking contaminated water at a campground. He was paralyzed from the waist downwards, but for several years, his illness was kept secret from the nation.  During his entire tenure, he used a wheel chair and worked only from his office. But his disability did not affect his services to the USA, which he served in a memorable way!

Helen Keller (1880-1968)

Helen Keller, an American author, political activist and lecturer is a household name worldwide. Losing her abilities to speak, see and hear after an illness when she was only 18months old, she overcame the adversities of her life to become one of the 20th century’s leading humanitarians. Due credit must be given to her teacher Annie Sullivan, whose untiring efforts groomed her abilities to communicate in the sign language.

The first deaf/ blind/ mute person to get a Bachelors degree in Arts, Keller is famous for her campaigns for workers’ rights, for women’s right to vote in elections and many other progressive causes. She was outspoken in her views against wars. With Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller travelled to more than 39 countries and was especially popular among the Japanese

Keller’s disability in no way affected her social interactions. She met every US president from Grover Cleveland to Lyndon. B. Johnson and was friends to famous personalities like Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain. She received many awards during her lifetime to acknowledge her great accomplishments.

Two famous Helen Keller quotes are,

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”

2… “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched; they must be felt with the heart.”

Christopher Reeve (1952-2004)

The man who is better known by children as the ‘Superman’, Christopher Reeve attained fame due to his acting achievements. He was an American actor, film director, author and activist. In 1995, he was thrown off his horse while participating in a horse riding competition and was severely disabled. He needed a wheel chair and was on a portable ventilator to breathe for the rest of his life.

His disability made him a great lobbyist for people with spinal cord injuries and the stem cell research.



Ralph Brown (1940-2013)

Ralph Braun was diagnosed with Muscular Atrophy when he was only 7 years old, and in the next few years lost his ability to walk. Doctors were dubious about his spending an independent life, but he and his parents were determined to prove them wrong. From engineering the first battery powered scooter, he went on to design and manufacture wheelchair accessible vehicles. His efforts have changed the lives of disabled people worldwide.

In his autobiography “Rise Above”, Braun describes the challenges he faced as a young and disabled man and the poor regard society generally has for such people. He throws light on how his physical handicap strengthened his determination to be independent; to prove to the world that disabled people can also lead an active and productive life! He created the Braun Corporation which is the leading manufacturer of wheel chairs and accessible vehicles.

For his untiring efforts to make the lives of physically handicapped people better, Braun was named “Champion of Change” by President Barrack Obama.i

Stephen Hawking (born 1942)

A British physicist with a world renowned career spanning over 40 years, Stephen Hawking is regarded one of the greatest scientist of the 20th century second only to Einstein.  He was diagnosed with a rare motor neuron disease (ALS), when he was only 21 and a student at the Cambridge University. Over the decades, this slow wasting disease gradually left him paralyzed as he lost control over his arms, legs and voice. Undaunted by his disability, he kept on his research work.  He is still teaching with the help of a computer which is supported by a word compiling machine. He communicates using a single cheek muscle which is attached to the device.

Hawkins is the author of “A short History of the Universe” and “A brief History of Time.” His Big Bang and Black Hole theories have drawn the attention of the world. He is an academic celebrity and among many others is the recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the USA. His famous words worth quoting are, “However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at.”

SAIMA SALEEM

 Saima Saleem, the first blind diplomat of Pakistan is often called the Hellen Keller of our country. Due to a genetic disease she lost her eyesight when she was in her teens. But undaunted by this major disability, she struggled to overcome all odds in her path. A gold medalist of the Kinnaird College University for women, she fought for her rights to appear for all her exams in Braille, as she refused to trust a writer’s ability. Saima’s indomitable will and determination enabled her to join Foreign Service, previously out of bounds for the blind. Never looking back, she struggled and succeeded in having a computer based exam in which she stood 6th among all the participants and first among the women.

Topping all training and exams, she went on to getting another gold medal from the Foreign Service Academy and a scholarship to a prestigious School of Foreign Service in USA. After joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saima has been working passionately to improve human rights in Pakistan. She is currently serving as Pakistan’s Permenant Mission to UNO in Geneva and is working on human rights’ issues in which she is considered an expert.

Friends these are facts about only a few disabled people who rose to famous due to their firm resolve and determination to not allow their handicap to interfere with leading a successful life.  The list of such people is quite long. But there are millions of other ones who are not famous, but are still heroes. Heroes, because they live with, fight and overcome their disabilities every single day of their lives.

I HAVE BEEN THROUGH THIS!




A close friend’s mother, who was bedridden for the last two or three years due to a stroke, (and was suffering from multiple health problems) was rushed to the hospital after she had a silent heart attack. When I and a mutual friend went to the hospital to enquire about her welfare, a peep into the ICU was suggestive enough for her fate. Tubes seemed to protrude from different parts of Auntie’s frail body and an oxygen mask nearly covered her pale face. A very active woman in her prime years, she was a fighter by nature, but it was too clear that she was losing her battle for life. To my surprise, I found my friend confident and calm, “Ammi’s doctor says that she will be shifted to a private room in a day or two and go home once she starts taking and retaining oral meals”. Either she didn’t want to share her fears with us or was in a state of denial as the writing was clearly on the wall!

          When I called a couple of days later, for the first time I sensed a note of panic in my friend’s voice, “I am feeling scared!” she said in a worried tone. “The doctor just says let’s wait and see in answer to my queries. Ammi has not been shifted from the ICU yet and seems to be slipping into a coma”. As she kept on sharing her fears and concern for her mother with me, unconsciously my mind slipped into the past and I remembered with pain similar times when the tide of my father’s life was ebbing! I was nearly tempted to say, “I know what you must be feeling! I have been through this situation”, but somehow I bit my tongue before the words slipped out and instead tried my best to console my friend.

          After hanging up I sat in deep thought trying to admonish myself, “This is the moment my friend needs me to share her concern and fears with, and not mine to go back down memories’ lane and tell her about my painful experience. Her grief is the present, what I have experienced is the past. Such remarks had pained and irritated me in my moments of grief and I shouldn’t make this blunder today when a dear friend is going through a similar situation”.

          Auntie passed away peacefully the next day and when my friend’s son called to inform, though I felt sad for her, a sense of relief also engulfed my heart. Thanks goodness that I had held back my words just in time. By lending a sympathetic ear, I had done the best a friend can do in a hopeless situation!

          Often when someone close to us wants to share his woes with us, expecting sympathy or a word of advice, we make the blunder of cutting him short and declaring, “I can understand what you are going through because I have been through this!” or worse still “Someone I know or a friend knows has had a similar experience”. We forget that the person in distress is in dire need of a listening ear, and badly wants to pour out his problems with someone he thinks will be helpful and kind. Or better still, in a totally no-win situation, offer a shoulder to cry on. Hardly can we imagine the feelings of the distressed person, who is cut short with a confident, “I know what you must be feeling. I have been through this!”

More than a decade has passed but the painful memories of the last days of my father’s life is still fresh in my mind. A patient of acute Ulcerative Colitis, he was not keeping good health for the past many years. And finally, he was rushed to the hospital after extensive rectal bleeding. Although Daddy’s doctor tried blood transfusions and the required medications, nothing seemed to work for him and within a week, he slipped into a near comatose state. The doctor was sympathetic but practical, “Take your father home and make him as comfortable as possible, because medically nothing more can be done for him.”

 I can never forget the sense of deep agony and total helplessness of those days. With hearts heavy as lead, I and my siblings watched the tide of life ebbing from our father, day by day, hour by hour!

Relatives, friends and acquaintances came pouring in to enquire about Daddy’s welfare. But it became very frustrating and annoying because most of them had a story to tell. “So and so had similar symptoms in his/her last days!” “I can feel your pain as I have experienced this traumatic situation. My father/mother/spouse/ child/friend died in such and such manner.”

With a heart nearly bursting with pain, I often felt like blurting out rudely, “No! You can NOT understand what I am going through! This dying man is my beloved Daddy, the iron-man of my life who loved me dearly but ruled over me like a tyrant, who made endless efforts, either by bullying or coaxing, to bring out the best in me. How can you understand my agony? This grief is mine and totally different from what you (or someone you know) have experienced in the past! And at the moment, my pain is too deep for me to care about how so and so died! ”

But every time I felt like saying something as blunt, an inner voice told me to keep quiet. These are all well-wishers, only their mode of sympathy may not suit my state of mind! I tried to convince myself again and again.

The pains of those insensitive remarks linger to the day. The painful experience of Daddy’s last days has taught me an important lesson. There is a time to listen and a time to speak. Only by lending a compassionate ear and a shoulder to cry on, we can help a dear one to cope with his pain. I cannot and do not undermine the importance of kind and consoling words, but only when they are uttered at the correct moment! Often while sharing their woes, our friends just need a hand to hold, a sympathetic ear to listen and a caring heart to understand.

BECAUSE I SAID SO!



Like every other mother I simply loved the hold I had on my son’s life, the absolute veto power with which I ruled over his little world. In doing so I felt like a queen, but ALAS! Eventually the day came when my throne was toppled and the one to do so was no one else than my son himself! Wait! You shall better understand my predicament when I share with you the events which led to this collapse of my rule.

Twelve years back…My six year old is sitting at the breakfast table fidgeting with his cereal and fruit. “Come on Son, hurry up! You are getting late for school”, I call out in an impatient voice as I run around the house trying to manage my morning chores. “Mama, I do not want to eat this cereal, I hate it. Why can’t I have ice cream for breakfast”, he asks in his tiny voice. I feel irritated because this is a dialogue we have everyday, “You know very well that you can not have ice cream in the morning, come on finish up the cereal and your banana as well”. “But why should I when I don’t like it”? He tries to argue. How to convince a six year old about the importance of a healthy breakfast? I have neither the time nor the patience to do this, so I simply say, “Because I said so”. My son looks at me with tearful eyes and spoons his cereal half heartedly.

Four years later….. I am clearing up after lunch looking forward to my much deserved afternoon nap when I see my ten year old coming out stealthily from his room. He is trying to hide his ball and bat behind his thin framework!

“Where do you think you are going at this hour of the day?” I ask him in an annoyed tone. “Mama, all the boys are playing cricket in the lane, I am going out to play”, he says in a cautious tone trying to look confident. “No, you are not!” I snap back, “This is the time for your nap! You are not attentive in the evening while doing your home-work if you do not sleep in the afternoon”, I say in a firm tone. “But Mama, all the boys play everyday, why can’t I? Feeling too tired to prolong the argument, I simply say firmly, “Because I said so”. My son looks at me with reproachful eyes but I return his gaze steadily, his eyes falter and he turns back slowly to his room dragging his bat behind him.

Four years later…. We have to go for a dinner party and are getting late. I call out to my fourteen year old who is lazily flipping channels on the television, “Son, Please hurry up! Your clothes are pressed and I am going to change, we have to set out in exactly ten minutes”, I say as I turn towards my room. He gets up from the couch and on seeing his shirt and trousers call out from behind “Oh no, Mama! Again these formal clothes! You know very well how I dislike them. I want to wear jeans and my black t-shirt, they look so cool”. “For Heaven’s sake! You know very well that you can not wear jeans to a dinner party, so many people I know are invited there and you have to dress properly”, I feel exasperated because this a routine clash between me and him. But the argument is not over yet. He says, “Mama, I don’t understand why you are so particular about my clothes, all the boys of my age dress according to their mood! Why do I have wear these clothes when I don’t like them?” As I know it would be hard to convince him, I say in a final tone “Because I said so”. My son stares at me with rebellious eyes but this time it is me who has to look away. He picks up his clothes and as I turn to my room, I hear him slam his bedroom door behind him. “Head strong he is getting, isn’t he? I will have to talk to him” I think to myself as I hurry to my room.

Four years later….I am in the kitchen giving the final touches to the dinner. My eighteen year old enters and calls out “Mama, I am going out with friends”. “But dinner is ready” I protest without turning my back. “One of the boys is giving us a birthday treat so I will have dinner outside” he replies in a careless tone. Before I reply he says, “And please do not call after every half an hour”. I turn sharply towards him and ask, “Why do you think I should not call you when you are away?” This time my son answers in a firm voice “Because I said so !”. I nearly drop the lid of the pan in surprise and am about to give an angry retort when I notice the mischievous twinkle in his eyes and the naughty look on his face.

My little one (no more!) comes awkwardly towards me and putting his arms around me says, “Mama, I love you so, but why don’t you understand that I am no longer a child, my friends laugh at me when you call so many times, I promise you I won’t be late”. He kisses my forehead and walks out of the kitchen. My absolute rule over my son’s life is over! It’s the end of an era. I realize with nostalgia as I watch his turned back but strangely, instead of feeling resentment at being dethroned,I feel a mist in my eyes as a strange sense of pride rushes to my heart.

ENDEAR YOURSELVES

All of us want to be popular among our peers, relatives, teachers and all the people around us. But often we see that some children are more popular than others. Friends and relatives are attracted to them, teachers have a soft corner for them and peers respect them (however grudgingly). 
Have you ever tried to find out what qualities endear these children to everyone? It is their good manners, their etiquette or behaviour and consideration for the feelings of others which gives them this popularity. Here are some important ways to win the hearts of friends and relatives.
Always remember to say `Please` and `Thank you`. When you are asking for something, if you say please, even if it is a small favour, it appears that you are making a request rather than a demand. In the same way, when you receive a gift, when someone gives you a compliment or even when someone steps aside to let you pass, saying thanks is an important rule of good manners. It shows that you are grateful for the gift, compliment and consideration, and you appreciate the person who has given it to you. It also shows courtesy on your behalf. 
Never forget to say `Sorry`. Although some children may find saying `sorry` quite difficult, it is a basic aspect of good manners and a quality which will quickly endear you to everyone. If you have hurt someone (physically or emotionally), forgot to fulfil a promise, or misbehaved with an elder, `sorry` is the magic word which wipes out all ill feelings. 
When you are in a public place, it may be a doctor`s waiting room, a supermarket or a restaurant, show your respect for your elders by opening doors for them and offering them your seat if there is no place for them to sit. Most of us are too busy in our lives to pay attention to old people and we seem to forget that they often feel lonely. A kind word to them, enquiring about their health (or any other problem) and even listening to them attentively would brighten up their day and will go a far way in winning their hearts.
Never let a discussion turn into a quarrel. We all have different opinions on every matter and the rule to remember is that everyone has a right to his/her own opinion. Often we see an argument turn into a heated debate. Wait for your turn when you are having a discussion and do not try to raise your voice over others to get your point through. It is healthy to argue with friends and peers but the discussion should be polite and informative. Do not forget that difference in views is sometimes due to the diversity of race, traditions or religion. Show your respect to the other one`s views even if you do not agree with him/her.
An important rule of good manners is never to interrupt someone when he/she is speaking. A patient listener is more liked than an ardent speaker. Especially when someone older than you is talking to you, listen attentively and answer politely. Be courteous to your elders and treat them with respect. Even if you are irritated, never speak rudely to anyone. Remember that a smiling face is more popular than one with a frown.
Always be ready to help. You may be better at some subjects in school, so helping out your class fellows if they are having difficulties, would make you a well liked peer. Whenever it is possible, offer a helping hand to your elders. Carrying a load for someone in a supermarket, helping an old person to cross the road, or lending a helping hand to your mother in house hold chores, are gestures which show that you care and would definitely endear you to their hearts.
Be a good sport. Some children tend to turn nasty if they lose a game. Remember that there always has to be a winner and a loser in a game. If you win, do not boast or degrade your opponent. And if you lose, do not sulk; accept your defeat graciously and congratulate your opponent open heartedly. The time you spent enjoying the game should be more important than the fact that you won or lost it.
Good manners, consideration for the people around us and proper etiquette of behaviour indicate a good upbringing and are a mark of a respectable social background. So mind your manners and happily watch the graph of your popularity rise!
The list of do’s and dont’s is never ending, but the above mentioned are only a few tips to guide you how to endear yourself to the people around you. Good luck!


THE MAGIC WORDS!


The Magic Words!

       You come rushing into the kitchen where Mummy is busy preparing dinner and announce, “I am feeling hungry and want something to eat!” Mummy gives you a tired look but still she quickly fixes a sandwich for you and serves it to you with a glass of milk. You devour your snack in front of the television and declaring “I am going to do my home-work”, head to your room, leaving behind your empty plate and glass on the lounge table.

          Now look at the same situation with a better approach. You walk into the kitchen and quietly watch Mummy as she seems busy. Then you say politely, “I am sorry to disturb you Mummy, but I am feeling hungry. Please can I have a snack?” After finishing what your mother has served you, you take your plate to the kitchen sink (or better still, wash it), walk up to your mother and with a hug say, “Thank you Mummy, the sandwich was delicious”.

          Which of the above two scenarios would make your mother feel more appreciated and happy? Children we know that it is the duty of our parents to fulfill our needs, may they be small or big. Our parents are always out there to cater to our requirements. They strive hard keep us happy, comfortable and content but they also expect a polite and grateful attitude from us in return. At times, however unintentionally, we fail to acknowledge their efforts. Our attitude when we want something can either make them happy or frustrate them! We must understand that there is a very thin line between a demand and a request, but often we fail to feel the difference.

          A father of three says, “I do not like being taken for granted by my children, although I know very well that of all people in the world, they will turn to me for their requirements. Instead of starting a sentence with ‘I want’, I feel much better if they say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ after I have catered to their need”.

          

When we say please, it shows respect and consideration for our parents’ thoughts and feelings. When we say thank you, it shows appreciation, respect, and love. It shows them that we really do care about the way they toil to help us. This rule also to applies to the other relations we are in, for example our siblings, teachers, peers and relatives.

          Often in school, we need help from a friend or class fellow. We may need to borrow a book which we forgot to keep in our bag, or require something as trivial as a pencil, eraser or a sharpener which we have misplaced. Sometimes a friend is better on a subject in which we are lagging behind and we want him to explain it to us in a free period.

          These favours may seem small to us if we comfortably take them for granted and do not consider it important to say please before asking for something and thank you after our need is met. But friends if this attitude persists, hard feelings set in, because it is a part of human nature that we want to be appreciated for any kind or helpful act we perform.

          Another magic word which most of us find hard to say is “Sorry”. Suppose somebody pushes you as you are descending the stairs after school is over. In trying to balance yourself, you bump into a friend just ahead of you and he falls. You may either mumble something like “It was not my fault” and move on, or you may stop and say “I am so sorry, but someone pushed me and I lost my balance”. You pull your friend back to his feet and help him gather his bag, water bottle and lunch box. Which approach do you think is correct and will make your friend feel better?

          Saying sorry for something we have done wrong, whether intentionally or unintentionally, may be a bit hard on our ego as admitting a mistake is often difficult. But once we realize how important it is to apologize in a required situation and how far it goes in strengthening a relationship, it will be effortless to swallow our pride and the word will come easily to us.

          Friends we must understand that all relations are based on give and take! Children are usually on the receiving end, but by showing their gratitude when their requirements are met, asking for something in a polite manner and apologizing when they have done something wrong or have hurt someone, is their way of paying back the efforts of their elders.

       Sorry, please and thank you are often called words that work like magic! They make a person feel important, pacify tempers, strengthen bonds and at times mend strained relationships. Only a thoughtful, polite and grateful person uses them often. As human beings, we all want to feel appreciated, loved and respected. By treating the people around us in a proper manner, we show them the courtesy and respect they expect from us. In addition to this, these magic words also make us feel better about ourselves. It may be during inter-acting with our parents, siblings, teachers or our peers, but it is a part of good manners to say please, thank you and sorry when required.

SWEET SIXTY!


It was my 60th birthday. The day went by as usual but in the evening as I stepped out of my room I was surprised to see my children and grand children excitedly gathering in the living room. They showered me with gifts, cards and flowers as I sat a bit dazed. Sixty years! That’s quite a long time to be around. When I retired to my room at night a sense of nostalgia seemed to seize my heart.

Although moved by the loving gesture of my family, I felt strangely sad for all the years that had flown by and the time that would never come back; for the loving faces that were once an integral part of my life but had long since left for their heavenly abode; for the opportunities in life which either did not come my way or were missed. So much water had passed under the bridge. Sad I definitely felt but thankfully there was no remorse, no wish to go back and do things all over again. I was content with my life and satisfied with whatever it had dished out to me.

As a child I would look up in awe at my 30 plus mother and wonder how old she must be feeling. At that time, 30 years seemed a far way off. But when I reached that age, I laughed at myself as I remembered my feelings for my mother because at 30 I felt young, strong and full of life. I realised that in her 30s, my Mom must have felt the same. Abhee tou mein jawan hoon… I would often hum to myself, but I strongly doubted whether I would manage to live to 60. Thirty more years felt too far away.

Years fly and life moves on! Here I am at 60 plus, in fairly good health except for normal age related problems like arthritis and insomnia. Living in an extended family with my married sons, I categorically refuse to take the golden hand shake, trying to remain as active as possible. Although each passing year does take its toll, I consider each day I can carry out my daily chores a blessing, each additional year a bonus. As Maurice Chevalier says, “A comfortable old age is the reward of a well-spent youth. Instead of its bringing sad and melancholy prospects of decay, it would give us hopes of eternal youth in a better world.”

What do women usually feel when they reach this landmark in life? Rehana sounded sad, “I spent the prime of my life working endless hours, giving tuitions to supplement my husband’s income, because we wanted to give quality education to our two sons. I looked forward to the time when my sons would get good jobs and I would sit back and relax. But all my dreams remained unfulfilled. My sons migrated abroad in search of greener pastures. Now that we are old, I and my husband feel lonely and let down. The sons come every two or three years with their families and send lots of money but can this make up for their absence in our day to day life?”

Shireen has other complaints, “After retirement, I really miss the busy days when there was so much to do. Trying to create a perfect balance between my job, children, household chores and personal life, I often thought 24 hours were not enough for a day. Now I sometimes don’t know how to spend my time. Praying, reading and gardening are some of the activities that keep me busy — things I had always wanted to do but never had enough time for. Maybe this is one of the advantages of being old.”

Reema sounded very practical. “At this age there is so much to look back on, but not much to look forward to. With advancing years, I expect a far less active life, failing health and the inevitable end. But I have a rich past and feel that I have led a full life; so when the end comes I shall be content to slip away peacefully. I do not regret my life and believe that it is a privilege to have lived all these years.”

When asked, a relatively young friend said with a naughty smile, “I have yet to reach 60 to understand what you are feeling but it reminds me of my father who lived to be 80 plus. Whenever anyone asked his age he would always say, ‘I am 50/ 60/ 70 years young’. He never used the word ‘old’ for himself and he died young at heart.”

I totally agree with this frame of mind. With so much more to do, so many stones unturned and goals yet to achieve, I have no time to feel old, sick or at the end of life at 60. According to Sophia Lauren, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love.

When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.” The number of years I have lived do not matter. I shall only grow old when I desert my ideals!

Attitudes: Insensitive sympathies…





Death has different ways of striking and carrying away the people we love dearly. Sometimes it comes on tip toes from behind, taking us by surprise, hitting like a tsunami, destroying our peace of mind and happiness in just a moment and leaving us agonised and dazed by the intensity of the pain it creates. And on others, we watch in despair and anguish the ebbing away of the tide of life from a cherished person, hoping against hope that some miracle would stop it from striking.

When it comes to the passing away of our loved ones, the sorrow it causes has the power to sweep off the feet (though momentarily) even those of us who are emotionally strong. Only time can heal the heartache we experience. But this is also the time when we expect and need maximum emotional support from friends and family, and more often than not they move in quickly to help us in our hour of grief. Their care and reassurance is valuable for us, as they help us overcome the initial pain and learn to live with the sense of loss.

It is strange that in spite of their sympathy and eagerness to help, well meaning friends often say or do things which instead of helping us, only hurt or irritate us, forcing us to withdraw into our cocoon of pain.

Rehana, a university student, whose father passed away recently, says, “Everyone who came for condolences thought it was his/her duty (or right) to embrace me and shed a few (even artificial) tears. Maybe they considered it an important norm of attending the funeral. What most of them did not realise is that I felt more irritated than consoled by the big hug, as I am not comfortable to physical touch. People should understand that sometimes saying a few kind words or just holding hands in silence can be more comforting than hollow words or acts”.

Nazia, who lost her husband a couple of years back shares her experience, “When the time came for my husband’s funeral casket to be lifted, I wanted to have some time alone with him, paying my last homage to a very caring husband and reliving memories of the happy times we had spent together. But sadly I was denied this by the eagerness of friends and relatives who gathered to have the last glimpse of him; a large number of people squeezed into the small room, not realising that those were very sensitive moments which I did not want to share with everyone. The grief and suffocation caused me to faint and when I came to, my husband was gone forever.”

There are times in life when pain engulfs our heart in such a way that we do not want to let it go and we feel that our grief will remain as intense throughout our lives. Any attempt to divert it only increases the pain. Asma and Zohair share the memories of the death of their first born. Zohair says, “Our son caught pneumonia when he was only three months old. We were devastated when he succumbed to its complications. Most of our relatives tried to console us by saying that eventually we will have more children and our heartache would subside. I felt angry and hurt and more miserable than consoled by these comments”. Asma asks sadly, “How could people expect us to forget our first love? After all, every child holds a special place in his parents’ heart. Years have passed and we have been blessed with two more children but the memories of our first child keep clinging to my heart and I still feel that a part of me died with him”.

Another mistake people often make is asking the bereaved not to weep. What else should be expected from someone who has lost a near and dear one? Unshed tears leave deep scars on the soul, scars which never heal; tears are nature’s way of healing pain and it is better to let them flow. Slowly they will subside because no matter how great the pain, no one can cry for ever.

Saying things like “I understand your pain”, “I have been through this”, “You will get over it with the passage of time” or “When so and so died…” only increases the heartache, because every sorrow is unique in its nature and everyone reacts differently to pain and mourning. In their hour of bereavement, people usually like to believe that for them, life will never be the same again. This is the last homage they are paying to the departed person they loved dearly. By speaking less, listening more and letting the grieved person pour his/her heart out, friends and relatives who come for condolences can make the bereaved feel that they understand and share the anguish and sense of loss.