The TCF Rahbar Program


Dear Awesome Readers of this Blog,

 

Can you spare just three (3) hours on a Saturday to become a friend and mentor under-privileged boys and girls in Pakistan?

In the time it takes to play a cricket match, watch a movie or attend a lunch/dinner, you can do something amazingly  meaningful.

 

If you can spare this time, then I invite you to volunteer for the October session of the TCF Rahbar Program, where you will mentor secondary school students about life, studies, goals, planning, careers etc.

 

This is a seven (7) week volunteer program conducted by The Citizens Foundation – TCF ( Face book Page here ). 

You don’t have to commit yourself for every day of these weeks, but turn up at an allocated Secondary School every Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm. So basically, you commit only 7 Saturdays.

 

Students of the these schools are just as beautiful and intelligent as your own kids, brothers, sisters and little cousins. All they need is some guidance and motivation.

 

I promise you the greatest volunteer experience of your life if you do decide to make a difference in the life of a precious child.

 

To participate, all you have to do is to fill this Form or simply drop an email to rahbar@tcf.org.pk

 

The Program takes place in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Qasba, Gujrat, and Khushab & Quetta in Pakistan. So if you know of friends, family or acquaintances in these areas, please let them know of this Program as well.

 

Pakistan is facing an education emergency and it is time to take things in our own hands.

 

 

Best, 

S.

ps. i leave you with some pictures taken by me during my own volunteering experiences in different TCF Schools. And, no, i am not in any of these pictures. ;)

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Genen and Gaben


Genen and Gaben were species of the Dimwit clan who had known each other forever. Species of the Dimwit clan had three bunny ears, two at each side and one at the back. They liked to adorn the ear at the back with flowers. Their hair, which was wiry, grew in patches. They had the widest eyes with even bigger eyelashes, a small rounded pink nose and thick lips that always appeared to be smiling.

They were small creatures, not reaching above a human’s toe and were shy folks at best.

Most people had never seen them. It is as if they never existed. They resided inside hollow tree barks and behaved a lot like humans even though they did not look like them.

 

But, I was telling you about Genen and Gaben.

Well, their friendship had survived the test of times. Highs and lows. They had fought over petty things and at one point practically sent friendship to hell and back. But as good friends do, they always found a way to re-bond and be friends again.

However, lately Gaben had assumed a superior role. Whenever, things did not go Gaben’s way, Gaben was ready to huff and puff and walk off. Suddenly friendship had conditions.

Genen was confused. By now Genen had a fair idea of their friendship and knew that going to hell to come back again was not worth it, so Genen, secretly amused, let things pass and took such tantrums in good spirit.

 

One sunny day when the clouds were floating by in the most poufy and beautiful forms and they were walking along, gazing at the magestic Mount Ablacamba in the back ground, Genen asked, Gaben: “Genen, why did you become my friend?”

 

“ Because you have always been my friend.”, Gaben replied.

 

“ But why?” insisted Genen.

 

“Because there was no one else but you”, said Gaben with a wide smile and walked ahead.

Gaben was happy at the thought that the answer was just right and it made perfect sense.

Genen, however was another story. You see , contrary to popular belief that Genen was a strong individual who seldom shed tears, Genen was infact a very sensitive dimwit.

Genen did not like the answer at all. Genen wanted to be told that Genen was kind, sensitive and any other adjective that made Gaben befriend Genen.

 

Genen was disappointed but gulped it down. Forward, Genen ran with it’s little toes , until it caught up with Gaben. Giving Gaben a good natured nudge, Genen then started walking at Gaben’s pace.

 

 **

This is a fictional piece of work.

© All rights reserved by the owner of the blog: www.sapphirical.wordpress.com

Why are we here?


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“We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house.

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According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate. Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: By creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, ‘There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,’ is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves. “

: Annie Dillard ( Pulitzer prize winner).

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 Disclaimer: I do not own or claim to own any rights to these pictures. These pictures were taken from a random image search online.

Insecurity at the workplace


An observation after 5 years of work in different companies and hearing colleagues cribbing in various departments having varying roles:

 

If a boss “accepts” the “track/redline” changes a subordinate made in a document before sending it out across, he/she is insecure and probably not very confident of his/her skills. Point is – it leads to de-motivation and angst in the subordinate.

 

Strangely, male bosses do the above considerably less than women.

 

Wonder why is that?

http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?q=insecure+boss&num=10&hl=en&biw=1024&bih=631&tbm=isch&tbnid=hU8Dp_Wo14SlxM:&imgrefurl=http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-leadership/your-mean-boss-could-be-insecure/2012/07/12/gJQAiIZufW_story.html&docid=X0Z2YO8CqN5v-M&imgurl=http://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_404h/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2012/07/12/National-Enterprise/Images/angryboss.jpg&w=595&h=404&ei=ta9SUJbfCsnKtAaFi4D4BA&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=495&sig=109976768083626151688&page=1&tbnh=135&tbnw=173&start=0&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:0,i:108&tx=95&ty=95

Inferno


Tragedy in Pakistan: Twin Factory Infernos in Lahore and Karachi

Despite my rising in-sensitiveness to everything under the sun after hearing one horrible news item after the other, I am deeply saddened by the death of more than three hundred labourers and factory workers in the two factory infernos in Lahore and Karachi. Let us please take a moment to pray for their families and the maghfirat of these men and women. Ameen.

This is not the first time; factories in Pakistan have been reduced to dust. A recent timeline published in Dawn here clearly shows that in the past five years, many factories have burnt down and their labourers and workers burnt to death.

With such recurring patterns, why is it that the employers of these laborers and owners of factories are not giving importance to Health, Safety and Environment Standards and following bylaws that protect their employees and their investment?

 

Factories in Pakistan need to be operated in compliance with the Factories Act 1934. Chapter 3 of the Factories Act 1934 has detailed provisions relating to cleanliness of the factory, methods to dispose waste and effluent from the family, artificial humidification, dust and fumes, over crowding, lighting, drinking water etc.

In fact Section 25 of the Factories Act 1934 clearly states the “Precautions” which every factory has to take against a possible fire. Section 33 of the Factories Act 1934 similarly deals with explosives or inflammable dust and gases in factories. After going through these Sections, these are the questions which immediately come to mind:

Q- Were these factories equipped with adequate “means of escape” in case of a fire and were this fire exit marked distinctly?

Q- Were the provincial inspectors carrying our routine and regular inspections of these factories, in which case, why did it never appear to any Inspector that these two factories did not have adequate fire-escapes, fire extinguishers or no history of fire drills? If this indeed was the case, then did the Inspector ever serve on the manager of the factory, “an order in writing” specifying the measures which should be adopted before a specified date?

Q- Were the exits from any room in the factory locked, fastened or obstructed so that they could not be immediately opened from inside?

Q- Did the factory have in place an effective and clearly “audible means of giving warning in case of fire to every person employed therein”?

Q- Was any dust, gas, fume or vapour which is likely to explode on ignition is being used in the factory; and if so were all “practicable measures” taken to prevent such explosion?

Q- If any plant, tank or vessel contained explosives or inflammable substances, and then was such plant, tank or vessel exposed to any welding, brazing, soldering or cutting operation especially that involving the application of heat or drilling likely to create heat or sparks?

And these are just basic questions. I am sure that once the matter is thoroughly investigated, we will see further glaring loopholes, instances of gross negligence and plain reckless behavior.

We need answers. Karachi and Lahore are mourning an unthinkable tragedy. So many homes have been left disturbed. So many families have suddenly lost their loved ones and in some cases the sole bread earner of the family?

It is not just the employers of the two factories in Lahore and Karachi who are responsible for this tragedy and need to be brought to task,  but the regulatory agencies and inspectors as well need to be made accountable for failing to carry out their jobs honestly and effectively.

Firemen trying to put out the fire in the factory in Karachi.
photocredit: Not mine but a random online newspaper whose name i can’t trace.

 

Wife and Password


One of my colleagues or rather all of my immediate colleagues sometimes require help when it comes to the internet. Today there was a ‘ Can’t remember my password’ day. So well, I guided my colleague to the “Can’t access account” link, from where we moved onto “resetting the password” and sending the link to re-setting the password to another e-mail address. Now, once upon a time, the colleague decided to punch in his wife’s email address as an alternate email address, which meant that the link to re-set his mail account’s password would go into his wife’s email account.

“Umm… I think I’ll wait a week. My wife is out of town. I think I’ll reset it when she comes back.”
” Can you undo everything?”

Me, amused answer back: “That’s ok! I did not send the request, so there is nothing to be un-done here.”

“Oh good”, the colleague answers with visible relief on his face.

I could not resist and said: “Never make the mistake of sharing your password with your wife?”

The answer: “oh yes!”.

Need I say more?

Hmmm…..

I’m still here. :)


It’s been so long since I have blogged. It’s pure procrastination. But today is a new day.

 

First things first, I am not feeling my best. I thought that my sinus woes were over. But this crazy humidity has seen its return with vengeance. I can’t sleep properly as it’s so difficult to breathe and as a result I am just sleepy and worn out the next day. I have also for the first time developed this crazy eye infection. They are itchy and red and watery and sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night my eye lashes are stuck together (seriously) and I have to gently pry them apart. I have tried three different eye drops by now. I will visit the doctor again tonight. InshaAllah. :(

 

For the sinus, it’s back to drinking a spoonful of honey in a pint of warm water with a half a lemon squeezed into it for good measure- first thing in the morning i.e.

 

There is something else on my mind as well. My wedding (rukhsati) is a few months away and I have done NOTHING. There is just soo much to do. First things first, the venue and the caterer and then gosh! THE DRESS! I just am not bride material you know. I have never actually dreamed or visualized my wedding. Sitting in front of all these people is uh.. daunting. And then married life. I am just freaked out knowing that even my rotis (chapattis) are far from perfect. *eek*

 

But the thought of spending my life with hubby soothes my worries. AlHamdulilAllah. <3

 

Poor hubby was under the weather last night too. He came over for a bit to avoid the predictable traffic jam in Karachi after rain. And he got me garam garam gulab jamuns which we had over cardamom and cinnamon tea. He knew i was craving to have them in this lovely weather.

I wonder if he knows that sometimes when I look at him, I say so many silent prayers for his long life, his health, his strong heart, his happiness, his success and his smile. Ameen. Ameen. Ameen.

 

Yes, it is true. Nikah enjoins two souls in the most beautiful and unique of ways. He makes my heart grow bigger. MashaAllah.

 

Please keep us in your duas. <3

 

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُمْ مِنْ أَنْفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُمْ مَوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ نَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ

 

Surah 30. Ar-Rum, Ayah 21 of the Holy Quran

“And among His Signs is this that He created for you mates from among yourselves that ye may dwell in tranquillity with them and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts); verily in that are Signs for those who reflect.”

 

Translation by Yusuf Ali.

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