Monday, 16 September 2013


ALL THE WAY TO USA <3



 

‘And here I am, standing at the airport, few hours left to ride on the plane which will lead to my destiny, my dream land.’ August 26th ’2013.

Have you ever experienced that one feel you have when there are only few hours left in chasing something that you have been dreaming about, for so long? If not, let me tell you how it feels. You feel like a creature having your head up, looking at the destination point. The feel of pain because of the whole bunch of goodbyes you said. The whole bunch of excitement, enthusiasm, curiosity and no patience. You dream yourself few hours ahead, making up your mind, thinking how you are going to feel while you get there and achieve one of your goals of life.

I arrived in USA on August 27th’ 2013. Our first destination was Washington DC, the country’s capital. As we reached the airport, there was bunch of immigration process until we finally got our luggage and as we came out of the arrival gate, we were surrounded by The YES alumni cheering out loud, boosting our hopes up and trust me, all the jet-legged feel ran away. We met students from Yemen, Mali and few more countries, over there. It was amazing. Coming to America, you are not going to make friends living in America but you get to meet people belonging to different parts of the world.

 

On our way to the Building that we were supposed to stay, I got to see the beauty that DC had. All the big trees, huge buildings and people belonging to different races. Indeed, America is one of the most diversified lands.

 

As soon as we reached there, the only frustrating part was to take care of our luggage. Trust me, packing was not that much tough as much carrying the luggage was.

Every room had almost four students. Two of my roommates were Bosnians (Ilma and Adna) and one was from Pakistan (Kisa). It was so fun, being in the room, sharing our experiences, acting as if we know each other for so long and above all having the best time together. I still remember how tough it was to say goodbye to each other. I hope to see them soon.

 
We had different teams based on different colors. I was in the blue team. Every team had almost students from all the different countries present in DC at that time for the orientation. It was the best way to learn about different cultures, know different ideas and above all have the craziest time with everyone.




Well, Three days stay in the beautiful city, we all were really enthusiastic and were looking forward for all the upcoming sessions and outings. The very first day we got an opportunity to visit a museum and also go to Martin Luther’s memorial on the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s, I HAVE A DREAM speech. We visited THE WHITE HOUSE too, when the president was inside the residence. The best part of visiting THE WHITE HOUSE was holding up the flag of Pakistan high. It was a moment to connect the east and the west, which is one of the reason why we are here                                                    

 
I still remember how talking in our native language used to confuse each other and at that point English was a tool to get connected. We still taught URDU to bunch of YES students belonging to different countries. It was so amazing. I learned Macedonian and Arabic too. It was more like an exchange between us. We all were completely different and new to each other, but the bonding of being a HUMAN brought up somewhat similarities between us. We were beyond race, color, and creed and accepted each others as a part of one big family.


I visited two museums in Washington DC and trust me, Americans know how to preserve their valuable things and how to present it well, this is what I perceived so far. It was amazing as I actually felt like I am there at that time, living those little tiny moments, all because of every single details.


Cultural night was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had. For once I was between performances of particular cultures. Hooting a loud, joining my voice in theirs, I had the time of my life. I dressed up as a Punjabi girl with heavy jewels, to show them the colors our culture has by my dress. The whole world was in one room, showing the love, the bonding, ignoring the differences and connecting the globe together. I still remember those smiles and the respect everyone gave to each other’s culture. It gives us a message of brotherhood and staying connected.






























The American council’s workers and all the YES alumni made these three days THE BEST for us. We felt so honored to be with them and happy to be a part of the YES family. They helped us getting through all the queries and gave us an amazing platform to be friends with different students belonging to different parts. I still feel honored to meet Cindy, as she is one of those who helped me keeping my hopes high and look forward to all the tough moments with a big smile. Our blue team leaders and every other leader, I guess their hard work made everyone’s three days stay in Washington DC, the best.


We shared gifts with each other and one of our mates also applied henna on other countries' students hand. I was honored to received cultural gifts from my friends belonging to Mali and Yemen. It is very valuable to me, as it strengthen the bond of my culture with theirs.

It was sad, shattering and out of my mind to believe that we are actually going to get separate, this is not a round-trip-fun-thing, it’s a real one year life, miles away from my house and we will have new people around. Nothing but NEW. Not better but DIFFERENT.


On Friday, my tears couldn't get a hold. Hugging each other, giving good luck wishes, it was time to hold on to the amazing memories until we meet again.


I had connecting flights. From DC to Chicago and then to my final destination. My new house, my new land and my new life.

 

People say 'you don't live a year but you actually LIVE in that year.'

Keeping aside the emotions, I came out of the plane with Nabeel (another Exchange student going to my city) excited, confused, in hope to meet my family soon.

My excitement didn't fail, except it was worth it. I remember how seeing their faces made me happy, a relief in my heart that I am between my people, a smile on my face that everything is going to get beautiful now, I am going to live my life in this one year and that made me run, hug my host mom tight.



The exciting one year has begun. I have achieved my dream but it has brought in many other goals. It is going to be a fun, challenging and A YEAR TO BE MADE, not break.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

GOODBYES.


The word which was mostly rare, or I could say, ‘mostly meaningless’ for me. More like a one day mark to my friends; promising to meet up again tomorrow- is it the same now? Indeed questionable. I have spent fifteen beautiful years with my loved ones. Living with them and adding up new members in my life. Subtracting someone was equals to NIL.  This year, 2013 is different, very different. I keep on weeping, writing this down. First said goodbye to my school, to my mates with whom 10years just passed away, without knowing the pain and the fact that, life is impossible without them. Goodbye to the wonderful PDO and to the nationwide friends it gave to me. A very lot goodbye coming up soon, leaving me speechless and ‘down’. One said ‘A lot of goodbyes bring forward a lot of hellos’. A lot of promises to keep in touch; this gives meaning to this word. It now stand the first in my mind’s dictionary, it does.



Thursday, 1 August 2013

Owning It All.








I own myself, my thoughts, and my words. We all do? I doubt. I am the one who realized it already, most of us don’t ‘think about it’. We all have paradigms, our obsession, and our centers- around which we revolve. Cases are many, realization is less. I got to know about my center while reading ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teenagers- Sean Covey’- Perspective centered, I was. What will others thing about me? How ugly would I look wearing this? And stuff. Think about your obsession? Rather be your boyfriend, parents or whosoever. Think how much obsession you have for something/somebody, helps you in your real life. To be honest, it breaks you into pieces. Go for a one minute silence and think who does own your life?  If you are not the driver then remember being a conductor only has no value. If you are God centered, remember he is the one who instruct you how to drive. Blaming him for all your foolish acts; don’t play with your sentiments please.

Be what you are, think what you can become?
Be the driver of hard work on the road of your success
BE THOUGHTS CENTERED
OWN YOURSELF COMPLETELY, BECAUSE
YOU CAN DO IT

‘BE ASHAMED- So not a volunteer’



Community service has always been an integral part of my living. I get this internal happiness, *indescribable* thing after performing it. For me, money can’t replace the happiness achieved from one’s prayers- Enough said.

I have been to different NGOs, organizations and have always achieved the sensation of love, service, affection and care. I doubt the fact of achieving it after going to DARUL SUKOON, a.k.a  DATEUL SUKOON-  the name itself drops down the level of respect and dignity *shame*

This blog is dedicated to all those who have been to darul sukoon or are going there without any meaningful reason, except for proving themselves as burgers/mailas/famous/cheap. These reasons don’t even worth a damn. Apologies to the ones who actually go there for helping those differently able people out - I respect you guys. This might get highly sarcastic or even deserve a weird confession, but who cares. All I want is a good, new, respectful beginning and a sense of realization.
(NOTE: DUS is short form for DARUL SUKOON)

It all begins like this, my very first experience at DUS. Ignoring all the unbearable comments about Darul, I still believed that I could actually have fun over there, helping those kids out. I actually promised my friends, this one thing and with this, I went there. (committing the biggest mistake- I confess) 

It was 9:00am, the exact time for volunteers to come. One of my friends hurriedly said: ‘Go, grab a chair or we won’t have anything to sit at then’. I was shocked. Ignoring her comment, I just looked at my surrounding, all those faces of differently able people- I felt blessed. I went to few of them, had a great chat. Everything was amazing and I said to my friends, ‘are you guys crazy? This is AMAZING. What is so bad about DUS after all?’ All they could manage to say was ‘wait and watch.’- Weird people.

I saw a disabled girl, nearly about my age and she kept on singing this one song ‘ oh laal patein wale tera naam tou bata’. Yes, we had this red colour string supporting our ID CARDS. Anyways, this was cute. I decided to go to her for a little chat but I was late. I went to another girl sitting on the bench and waved ‘HIIII’, to my surprise the voice echoed. Oh no, it wasn’t an echo but the voice of two cheap boys who I believe, decided to ‘PULL MY LEG’. Poor fellows, they didn’t know my ‘I DON’T CARE’ attitude.

This is it, the beginning of awkwardness everywhere. People with DSLR, disco type dresses, love buds, burgers, mailas, munnis, shelaas EVERYWHEREEE! I mean it. The amount of volunteers was much more than the amount of disabled people. I can bet one thing, you will find one couple on every other room of DUS. It’s not like the management don’t care about it or something, they are caring and providing an opportunity to you- to serve. Sadly, our citizens don’t know how to make a good use of it. When you go there, no wonder you are proud to see so many teenagers coming up to SERVE, but after knowing their real reasons, hand palm is what you want to dedicate. 

One hour left in twelve, I didn’t know how to spend this one hour effectively. I asked my friend to join me in playing games with the differently able kids, and this is how she responded, ‘Are you insane? I don’t want my name to be up for confessions’. BINGO, this is how I got to know about this DISRESPECTFUL PAGE. ‘Confession pages are church and the page owner is the father’- completely agreed. After confession pages of all the schools, and hangout places, I was amazed to know about DARUL SUKOON’s TIPS AND CONFESSIONS. Nothing can be more shameful than this. An honorable place serving differently able people, who deserve our care, respect and time- this is not how you FULFILL this commitment. No way.

I remember a group of boys, chasing a disabled boy and asking him to go to people and say nasty stuff, I mean seriously. At few points, I feel ashamed to call them normal/blessed/not disabled/HUMAN. Their inhumanity proves their over KEWLNESS and family belonging. If this is what you all call FUN, or go to DUS for, I am sorry. Your meaningless certificate will allow you to ace this world but after life you will be sorry and ashamed of your deeds- silent message.

I saw many, who confessed that we are here for the ‘CERTIFICATE’, because for them, that is the only thing that matters. Let me tell you one thing, most of the highly reputed school don’t even prefer DUS certificate anymore. If you think it’s easy enough to fool them with a certificate, you are wrong. I was the one who made one of my friend’s certificates. I wonder if that’s how you describe ‘I used my summers effectively’ thing.

I will get killed for generalizing everything but to be very honest, people when you get an idea to serve, it’s worth your time and deed. Use it goodly. Don’t spoil the name of an organization who works for the betterment of Disabled-differently able people. Take a minute break and think. Try to realize the importance of that place and our impact on children over there. Try to realize that the time you spent over there, was that even worth? Was your mission of HELPING THEM OUT or BEING A GOOD TEENAGER or FEELING FOR THE NEEDY, successful? When you will share your ‘being burger at DUS stories to people, they will hate you. FOR SURE. If you are going there for an hour or even less than that, give your full input in it. What goes around comes around. Let’s wake our inner self up, let’s work to get that internal peace and happiness.

‘I WASTED MY THREE HOURS OVER THERE’, I can say this without any shame, because lying to myself, for something that I didn’t do-this is a SHAME. Think about it, share this to your friends, and wake your sense of realization up. A certificate is of no worth until you worked hard to achieve it. That’s all I have to say.

TIME TO THINK, WHAT YOU DID AND WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW!


YOUTH AMBASSADOR- SAY YES to YES



After a prolonged journey of dreams and hard work, just to achieve that one thing, I know that my steps towards success are real, awaiting and yet to come. We all have some dreams, termed as goals- our one main focus and then when we achieve it, our happiness is beyond rivers, seas, oceans, bursting out from a volcano and reaching up the top most layers. 

It was grade six, when I first got to know about this program- THE YES SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM. I was going through our school’s chronicle and there I found a letter, written by Hira Pirani, one of the YES and AKSIAN alumni. That one letter inspired me, as I was completely fond by the Disney channel at that time. America became my dream land. As I grew up, my goal was the same but the reasons started to multiply. I wanted to earn something on my own- to make my family and nation proud. I always remember, teachers asking the same question over and over again, ‘What do you want to do for your country?’ and then we, the students used to reply, ‘I will become the president, when I grow up’ or ‘I will become a doctor and help the poor people, when I grow up’ or ‘I will be a social worker and help the needy, when I grow up’. The one thing we find common over here is WHEN I GROW UP, something vague, and something, that we have no assurance of. I wanted to start doing things for my nation from this point only and this program seemed like the best opportunity I could avail. There were multiples of other reasons too, which includes: being a part of cultural diversity, building bridges between east and west, comparing a life in two very different parts of the world and much more.

I still remember, going through the same letter over and over again, communicating with various YES alumni, practicing English tests and praying to God for this one achievement. YES for the YES, which I achieved. Being a part of an amazing opportunity and a beautiful YES family. Thank you Allah is all that I could say.

You know what is the best part of achieving something?  It doesn’t restrict you to one thing; it opens up to a range of new opportunities. Being an ambassador is surely not one of the easiest jobs, but to be really honest it’s a very big RESPONSIBILITY. The moment I am going to enter USA, I will start depicting my country, my society, my culture and my living

Here is the moment, when I welcome all the challenges with optimism and confidence. 

When I welcome all the new people with a great smile and lots of love.

When I welcome an exciting new year to be MADE not BREAK.

Few days to go and we are going to be there. Let’s have a sigh of relief and a great believe that we are going to DO IT. We are going to MAKE IT and we are going to LOVE IT. A lot of love and good luck to my fellows. Let’s take Allah's name and welcome an exciting year. Cheers.