Secrets To Happiness

Standards of happiness vary among people, groups and society. The upper (rich) class has its own definition of happiness, the medium and lower classes have their own take. And today, everyone is striving harder to acquire it. Everybody is running this marathon because the bars have been elevated to the extent that true happiness has become rare and lost its charm. It is now directly proportional to luxury. Greater the expense to meet your comforts, higher the happiness levels.

Who to blame for this inflation of happiness? It is solely us. Me and you. We have set prices and standards for the attainment of a genuine human emotion. The society we live in has pushed us all into a deep well of comparisons and complexes. Once falling prey to it, you are unable to enjoy the natural occurrences of things, events and emotions.

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Specially after embracing parenthood, our sole duty as parents becomes to provide the best of everything for our children. The best of shoes, clothes, food, toys, bags. We plan to enroll them in the best of schools, colleges and universities. This ‘best’ guarantees our happiness. We are the ones instilling in their innocent minds that happiness too comes with a price tag. That it lies in the best of material possessions. We teach them to overlook free sources of contentment and satisfaction and rather lookout for the branded and overpriced ones. It is us, as a society who has monetized the sources of happiness and we are now inculcating the same in the next generation’s minds.

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In the complex, exorbitant world of today where everything comes with a price for us, even the simplest and genuine of human emotions, there are people who live by the moment and make it perfect and a happy one. They are the ones who just search for the things within their reach and try to utilize it in the best possible way claiming a lot of happy moments in return.

One such incident left me baffled and amazed. It left me surprised as an individual and a mother. It taught me a great deal of things.
Little Happy Incident:
There’s a park in my neighborhood where I go for a walk every morning after dropping off my kid to school. It’s more of a park built exclusively for walking and not to hurt the fragile hearts of kids accompanying their parents or grand parents for walk it also has a very less number of things to keep them busy. With a rustic see-saw, two old yet freshly colored maze slides and a muddy playground, it houses all other properties essential for walking from lush green grounds to a proper paved walking track with large trees and green plants hovering all around. I daily see a group of retired men walking, exercising and then engaging in talks on current affairs, two to three couples, a group of three middle aged women and a few men exclusively burning their calories.

While walking around one day, a Rickshaw caught my attention that stopped in the parking area. From inside I saw the driver of the rickshaw who further accompanied two children aged 1-5 years and a woman carrying a 6-8 months old baby. The kids enthusiastically ran towards the see-saw as soon as they entered the park, took a few turns and then sat on the slides chattering and exclaiming full of excitement. The father helped the youngest one to sit helping him slide down. I searched to see if their mother was capturing all these pure happy moments of her children playing carelessly and laughing lively as if there will be no tomorrow. But she had none. Rather she just stood there backing them up clapping her hands and saying,

“Shabash beta. Aur khel lo. Kal nahi aenge.”

“Welldone kids. Play as much as you can. We won’t come here tomorrow.”

It partially broke my heart yet filled it with mere realization. It taught me a number of things.

Lessons I learned:
Learn to live the moment by capturing it through your naked eyes storing them for eternity in your heart.
Happiness is scattered around free of cost. Just learn the art of grabbing it.
Be thankful for whatever you have today for you don’t know what tomorrow holds.
Precious things don’t always guarantee happiness.
Lower your standards and raise your happiness levels.

• Don’t overlook the little things in life as they cause the biggest happiness.

Concluding this with a quote of Dalai Lama,
By bringing about a change in our outlook towards things and events, all phenomena can become sources of happiness.

Let’s Protect Our Boys Too

Since this is an awareness post and I want to stick to reality of the struggles raising a boy, so let’s keep it all natural and stop ourselves from doing “Haws and hayyes” instead\n of spreading awareness among our kids.

Watching this week’s episodes of drama serial ‘Haiwan‘ airing on ARY Digital starring Faisal Qureshi, Savera Nadeem, Sanam Chaudhry and others has left me totally startled, paralysing my brain as a mother!

Where are we heading to? Our children are being deprived of their security and safety rights. The society we live in has shaped into an undomesticated ferocious beast with enormous claws ready to gulp down the most vulnerable, innocent beings.

The only way to fight this beast is to grill our children’s brains with awareness. No matter how small they are. Once they start their school, they are now the smarty pants, picking and grasping things with the speed of light.

To all the mothers of boys, don’t think they aren’t prone to any kind of abuse specially a sexual one. Because there is a visible increase in cases like those which are still unable to gather some media lights and continue to go unreported. And since the masculine sex is claimed to be powerful, their problems are often ignored and overlooked without much of a support from the ill-equipped legal system.

If girls are the delicate flowers of our society then boys too are our sunshine. We cannot and should not overlook their security aspects by merely saying “Larka hai!

Larka hai apna acha bura janta hai!

Larka hai sab kuch kar sakta hai!

Larka hai apne aap ko bacha sakta hai!

Larka hai, Maghrib pe bahar nikal sakta hai!

Larka hai, raat ko chat (roof) pe ja sakta hai!

Larka hai barish mein bahar khel sakta hai!

These notions need to be revised now. Because “wo tou larka hai lekin zamana ab kharab hai

Lately, my boy has been fascinated by small things around him including his body parts. Small toy cars, cute little books, tiny crayons, mini legos, little babies and even the tiniest nail of his pinky finger to be precise and of course his boyhood thing that amazed him being discovered during the struggling potty training session.

He always exclaims seeing anything smaller in size by joining his thumb and index finger, closing his fist, shutting his eyes saying “chota munna, isko pappi karte hain.” (little baby, let’s kiss it)

This may sound cute but the first time he said “isko pappi karte hain”, I got alarmed right then.

Because not everything needs a pappi from you!

The next day he got back from school and while mentioning the names of his newly made friends, he takes the name of a girl class fellow saying “Sara is so cute. She is my friend. Usko pappi karte hain?”

Not kidding, I was on the verge of a heart attack when a sudden realization shook me all over. And that was, he wasn’t telling me about kissing the girl. He was rather asking and confirming if he should pappify her?

Clearing the sweat from my forehead, I sat pulling my son into my arms, made him sit on my lap, raised my index finger, spoke in a final word tone and said,

Friends ko pappi nahi karte hain!”

The very next second he asked, “Handshake?”

I replied “Only with boys! You should not shake hand with any girl.

He again asked “and with miss Amber?

To which I again had to say “only boys!

Though teachers no doubt are your soul parents but again, they aren’t your real parent. Because the terms “maa jesi, baap jesa” have lost their essence and trust in the current socioeconomic situation.

Anyways, I kept on repeating this time and again and now whenever anyone asks him about the names of his friends he goes like:

Akbar is my friend. Usko handshake karte hain”

“Sara is my friend. Usko pappi ni karte, handshake bhi ni karte

People used to laugh it off at first saying: “abhi se admi bana dia hai bache ko

But I stayed determined. Because there is nothing like “abhi se” when bringing up a kid. It needs to be started from the initial years so that they can stick to it in their teens and afterwards. Whatever they learn from childhood is what they ace at after growing up. Their thinking, concepts, approach, emotions, habits have their roots spreading and gaining strength right after being able to utter their first word.

The next task was something that whenever I thought to give it a try, I found myself drenched in sweats of shyness and worries of explaining it to him because I am a mother to a boy! It was an awareness about his private areas. But I had to stand up, brace myself and take the lead preparing myself to answer all the ifs and buts.

And this one is the most crucial part of upbringing when raising your kids. Please, I repeat please sit down and think, devise your formulas and ways to make your child aware about it. This shouldn’t be ignored. Neither it is a topic to be Haww-ed! It’s merely the need of this hour. And only a mother can do this in the most polite and detailed way leaving no room for further interrogations and quenching her child’s inquisitive thirst if she is willing!

Anyhow, while the on going potty training sessions he discovered it and was startled to see the wonders it was able to perform by summoning to nature’s call. It left me thinking deeply how to satisfy his inquisitions in a polite yet contented manner so that he has nothing left to keep wondering about.

I started inculcating in his mind that you should not allow anyone to touch you. While washing him up and bathing him, I accidentally came in contact with it and said:

I am so sorry. Mamma shouldn’t touch it.

Since kids these days require an answer to every thing you forbid them to do, not only an answer but a rational one, He asked “why?”

I said “because we shouldn’t touch anyone here”.

He asked “Is it dirty?

I said “yes it is. That’s why you wash it every time in washroom.

The next time while playing, his father patted him right on the bums and my son came running to me saying: “Mammaa, baba touched me!

I said go and say “you shouldn’t touch me here.

And he obeyed.

The bad part about it is we don’t enjoy the full freedom to hug and kiss him now because he has become conscious!

But, this was the whole crux behind my all efforts.

The good part?

He has started taking confidence in sharing whatever he finds wrong. He has started establishing his trust in me. He has realized that he can come to me for whatever problem he jumps in deliberately or unintentionally.

And the best part?

He has learnt to raise his voice instead of finding it shameful to speak up for himself from a tender age of 2.8 years only!

Also read :Breaking the stereotype

Have you indulged this concept of self awareness and safeguard already in your child?

What has been your take on this? Do let me know via comments!

The Baba Fever

Yes you read that right!

Out of the many other ongoing fevers among kids including the “baby shark doo doo doo” being my favorite too, the baba fever (or whatever the child calls his/her father) has always sustained its place in most of the houses and many children fall prey to this bemusing virus leaving their mothers puzzled and unable to take hold of the situation at times. You must be thinking what’s this new thing about. So let me give a few explanations to further clear the presumptions you are already making towards it.

The first time you get to know you are expecting a baby, your heart swells with joy and happiness. You try to ace the 9 months duration enduring all the hardships and other difficulties that come along as a combined pregnancy package just for the sake of this new comer that’s growing inside and is the closest to its mother than anyone else. There is a strange communication of the unspoken words and feelings going on between you two. And as the due date approaches, you get excitedly eager to see the face of this amazing little soul you have been nourishing inside for a long time and connecting with for the entire period. Finally one day the curtains are lifted and boooom! He turns out to be resembling to not you but somehow to his father! Anyhow, our mind completely overrules this sarcasm of fate because after all it’s the little one’s father you fell in love with first!

The second bombshell falls on you when the baby enters the age where he starts babbling and guess what the first properly formed completely audible word that comes out of his mouth is? It is “Baba”!!!

*empathetic tap on shoulder*

At this very moment you do feel a little blue with a pang of realization that all those endless days and nights of you staying awake feeding, burping, changing diapers and clothes and sheets while dozing off and aching to get a little rest finally payed off with an Oh so dear “Baba” and not “Mamma” for the start.
But we mothers falsely try to overlook this reality too completely being lost in the euphoria of celebrating the fact that our baby finally started speaking. People in the surroundings inquisitively ask if the baby speaks a word or two yet and we proudly declare “Yes! He says Baba”

Ironic isn’t it

*(Now this one is for the mothers who have borne some extraordinary clingy children towards their father)*

Moving on further, the baby that is now a toddler has fully developed his sense of importance pertaining to both his parents who sees his mother as the epitome of love and care and his father as an ultimate source of fulfilling all his materialistic demands along with ‘car mein bahar le k jana’!
The worst case scenario then happens when Baba goes out of town for a few days for work matters. That’s when a few mothers like me realize how badly we are failing to tackle the situation despite trying our level best because of the immense tantrums our toddler is throwing all day and night due to these few days of detachment with baba. All day long you are tormented having to hear your toddler crying his lungs out and saying “Baba chaiyen”, Baba pass jana hai“, “Baba kab aenge?” You get tired of answering the same thing again and again but they never get exhausted repeating the same question“When will Baba come?”. And even worst is when your phone lights up ringing with your better half’s name and you are unable to speak because another severe round of crying has just started in front of you and you only get to answer back and say “baad mein baat karti hu”.

This is when helplessness strikes you so hard and rather than being jealous and having no time for letting your heart out which is equally necessary to keep your sanity intact, you decide to summon all your strengths and try your best to shower all the fatherly love but at the end of the day you are a mother! A compassionate mother personifying unconditional love whose job is to brush her unshed tears aside, tenderly open arms to receive her crying baby, squeeze him into a Mama Bear Hug, nestle him warmly in your lap and say “Soon Inshallah”!

Ever happened to go through this? Let me know how you survived via comment or email. 🙂

Breaking the stereotype

We desi people living in the 21st century when get to know about someone expecting a child, the first thing we observe as our duty is to pass our greetings by saying:

Ye beta beti kuch ni hota, aaj kal dono barabar hain. Bus aulad naik aur sehatmand ho.

This particular thought of ours is absolutely positive and the need of this hour except for some typical aunties of the uninviting mindset beta burhapey ka sahara“, “beta baap ka baazuand some vain stuff like that. Speaking of myself, we are 3 sisters only but lets leave its pros and cons for some other time.

Anyways, soon after the baby is born, this notion diminishes somewhere when we start associating the term “boyish” with babyboys and “girlishwith babygirls. May it be about colors, toys, activities and xyz other things except clothes. There is no rule of thumb like this but just in our minds as I too am very much peculiar about the color blue for my son. But I guess it is absolutely okay for him to wear some unisex shades of pinks as well. So, I hope my point now justifies.

Now, let me share a small incident about gender inequality with you all that forced me to highlight this topic.

My son being a youtube geek, apart from watching the famous Baby shark doo doo doo”, loves to watch cute baby videos of them playing, singing or engaging in other activities. One day I peeped into what he was watching because there’s something known as parental control.

What caught my attention was a little girl cutting some sort of detachable wooden veges and Arsal was so keenly watching her do that. The sound those veges made being slaughtered (as forcefully she was cutting them) was so real that I couldn’t help myself thinking about the mechanism they followed.

The other day while window shopping in Miniso (luckyone mall), I saw a box of those same cute little veges. With my mind already made up for buying it if not for Arsal then for myself because dil tou bacha hai jeee, I still found the courtesy in asking him if he wants it.

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With just a brief “yes” he excitedly grabbed it from the shelf and ran off to show it to his baba. We bought it and got home. When I told a few people about these interesting little pieces, I got to hear things like,

Isse boys thori khelte hain

And

Ye tou girls ki cheezain hain

These were said by the same people who brag about their open mindedness by saying the very same thing “ye beta beti kuch ni hota……”. If such was the case, there wouldn’t have been a single male chef in the entire world or a ladies tailor who is a male either.

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Instead of nourishing such thoughts, please stand against them. Encourage your sons if they show interest in various kitchen tasks because the word “kitchen” is linked to the female gender since forever which is absolutely mistaken. And secondly because there is no harm in learning a bit more than just chae banana and anda ubaalna.

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After all, a good son today will be a better husband tomorrow. And I will be more than happy and proud to embrace this reality because it is a mother who shapes good husbands for future.

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Pride in one’s mother tongue

Today, when I see my kid burbling some of the famous urdu poems like “Aalu Miyan” and “Hathi mera sathi”, I have a feeling of pride and joy because having studied outside Pakistan myself and specially going to a pre-school where the only medium of study was English and no other language not even Arabic, I was unaware of such cute poems that bring you real close to your mother tongue.

Back in those days there was no vast reach of internet either. So, when we used to travel to Pakistan for vacations and I used to see my cousins singing these poems, it looked so awkward to me and I used to think “poems in urdu for real??”

But now when I see my kid humming these famous poems among many others, I do feel proud because I didn’t get to learn these in the first place. And the first time he came to me and said “Mamma, Aalu miyan”, I literally opened youtube and learnt it myself so that Arsal may realize it’s fun to learn things in Urdu as well and that his mamma knows them too.

There is absolutely no shame if a Pakistani child is grasping Urdu a little ahead of English because at the end of the day, Twinkle twinkle little star, Johny Johny and Baa baa black sheep tou har bachey ko he ajati hai! These 3 poems are like the first day lessons when he/she is born!!

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P.s Not the first Jummah in school but Arsal’s first Jummah wearing Kurta Shalwar to school Mashallah. ❤