Tag Archives: youth

Horror, Horror! Who is the cruelest person in the world?

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

Children paying homage to the young martyrs

Children paying homage to the young martyrs

I cannot describe the gut-wrenching massacre at the Army Public School, Peshawar nor can I make a politically or historically correct analysis about the losses suffered by Pakistan in the war against terror. I can only express my feelings as a common Pakistani citizen. In the past few days, I have gone from shock to horror to grief and then again to shock (as more pictures of the gruesome inhumane act were released on the electronic media).

Peace is the ONLY way forward

Peace is the ONLY way forward

All around me, I see people losing composure. Whether it is news reporters covering the ghastly incident or anchors on Television programs; little school going children or their parents, everyone is in tears! Ever since 2001, there have been above 14000 terrorist attacks in Pakistan in which almost 50,000 innocent people lost their lives but why has this reaction not come earlier? Why did we not shed tears on the merciless killings of Hazara Shias or those of Ahmadis or Christians? Or even of mosque-going Muslims? Or of Pakistani army and military forces? Why did we not realize at that point that we were dealing with monsters and not humans? I know why. Because we are a nation whose conscious is fast asleep and we need loud drum beating to wake up. Simple alarm bells are not enough for us. When the first terrorist attack was justified on the basis of sectarianism or superior knowledge of ‘Islam,’ that is when alarm bells should have gone off in our minds that something is not right. That is when we should have tried to put a stop to this senseless mindset. But we didn’t. We kept on waiting because the ‘terror’ had not yet reached our doorstep. We waited and that is why we have been brought to this black day of 16th December 2014.

When even schools are not safe

When even schools are not safe

That day teenage school going students lost their carefree attitude forever. Their school became a shooting spot where they were the hunted ones. However that is not why all of us are in mourning. No, we are too selfish for that. The reason our parents cry is because they feel that it could have been their ‘own’ kids. The reason why you and I cry is because we feel that it could easily have been ‘us’ instead of ‘them’. It could have been my friends whose dead bodies piled up on me would act as a shield for me. It could have been my favorite teacher who was burnt alive in front of me. It could have been your principal who preferred to die rather than save her own self. It could have been you hid under a bench and fearing the approaching black boots. Yes that is why we all bemoan. Because now we feel the ‘terror’ has truly reached our threshold.

We are terrified and we feel helpless. There is nothing we can do, our politicians are too corrupt and self-centered, we lament. Our borders are too porous to contain the foreign terrorists, we grumble. This is not our war, it has been enforced on us, we protest. We lament and grumble and protest. We point the accusatory finger at others. But did we realize that the remaining four fingers were pointing at our own selves? Oh, this is sure to raise a few eyebrows. How are we to blame, you ask.

We are to blame because we have failed to identify our enemy and even if identified, have taken too soft a stance on him. ‘He’ is the cruelest person in the world. He can finish nations like a rot eats wood. And if we fail to stop him now, then indeed he will finish us too. Every last one of us! Well, I know that Pakistan was created on 27th Ramazan and that it is only the second state after Madina that was acquired in the name of Islam. But even this ‘holy’ background will not save us. Because remember that

Khuda nay aaj tak us qoum ki haalat nahin badli jo qoum khud apni haalat na badlay

(God has never changed the fortunes of a nation that failed to turn the tide itself.)

This is one fact that we need to accept with all our hearts and minds. We will definitely and surely perish if we don’t stop this deadly enemy! So WAKE UP Pakistanis! This is the time for immediate action. We don’t have ‘7 days’ for an action plan.

No more Intolerance

No more Intolerance

   Our enemy is within us. He is the ‘mindset’ who believes that only he is practicing the right brand of Islam and the remaining people are infidels. He doesn’t stop here. He justifies killing people because they were not following his version of ‘Shariah.’ However we need to realize that this mindset did not occur over night. It evolved slowly. It started from the time when we became intolerant of people who were different from us whether in political or religious views. I see it every day when youngsters like me indulge in meaningless arguments on social media viciously attacking the opponents. I see it when every minor, harmless act is brutally subjected to scrutiny and questioned whether it’s Islamic or not. People ask what use is burning candles or keeping vigils when hundreds have died. Oh please, stop being so narrow minded! If you express your feelings about a tragedy by keeping a Facebook status or by turning your profile picture black, then so be it. If I express myself through a blog then why can’t I? If someone else tries to remember the innocent martyrs by lighting candles then what’s wrong with it? Islam is a religion for all times and all regions of the world. Do not limit it with your boxed thinking. And the best way to serve Islam is to learn about it so that you don’t besmirch it with your ignorance. So if you really want to do something to end terrorism in Pakistan then start by increasing knowledge about Islam. Read Quran and Hadith. Learn about the life events of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions. Only then would you realize the true values of our religion.

Another dimension of our defective thinking which has made us an intolerant nation is being judgmental about others. We are constantly judging people around us and passing our ‘expert’ opinion about whether they’d end up in paradise or hellfire. Please change this attitude now before it brings more destruction for us. Only Allah knows our ultimate resting place. There have been many incidences mentioned in Ahadith where extremely pious men were sent to hellfire because of some bad habit or other. Or apparently devious people were sent to paradise due to some hidden good attribute. Know this that we are not ‘all-knowing.’ We don’t know the intentions and all the life circumstances of ANY person (even if it’s someone very close to us). So if we don’t know this then we can’t pass the right judgment about anyone. Besides, it would be so much better to spend this energy and time trying to make ourselves better humans. Trust me; there is so much that needs to be done in this aspect that we would not have any time left for scrutinizing others’ actions!

Say no to hate speech

Say no to hate speech

While we change our mindset, we also need to be mindful of suspicious activities taking place around us. This was explained quite eloquently by the Interior Minister today. Finally our government has acknowledged that we are in a state of war. And no war can be won without the support of its citizens. If we become the eyes and ears of our law enforcement forces then no terrorist stands a chance against us. We should discourage and report hate speech wherever it’s being preached. We should monitor our neighborhoods and most importantly we should ask our leaders to openly condemn the enemy. There is no space left for soft mouthing. All terrorists need to be dealt with force. Enough is enough! Accountability is the best way to ensure justice in a society. Every individual must be held accountable for his deeds especially these monsters who claim to be righteous!

enough

However, even if the overall situation of the country appears dismal and hopeless, don’t lose hope. We have the best example from the young victims of the Peshawar attack. One such young boy with bullet wounds on his face said,

“Is umar me goli kha li hai. Ab kabhi goli se nahin darun ga.”

(I have been shot with bullets at this age. Now I will never be afraid of bullets!)

Other boys showed the determination to join Pakistan army and rid their country of all terrorists. If these traumatized adolescents have not lost hope then we have no excuse to be hopeless. Hard times befall all nations but only strong nations rise out of the ashes. Are we a strong nation?

 The author is a medical student.

 

 

 

 

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My take on Elections 2013 (Part 2)

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By Farkhanda Qaiser

Before the results of elections started pouring out, many people were anticipating large scale change in the national political scenario. I believe, changes did appear but not as expected.

Congratulations on Voting!

Congratulations on Voting!

Change # 1: In Punjab and KPK:

PTI was foreseen to sweep the province of Punjab and replace PML N to a large extent. This may have been due to unexpectedly large turnouts at PTI rallies in the last few months. However as the election results proved, the ground realities were diametrically opposite. PTI failed to impress a large portion of the Punjabi electorate and PML N was able to maintain its stronghold in many of its constituencies. Good governance by the previous Punjab Government; well thought-out distribution of tickets among electoral candidates by PML N and beraadri setup in rural areas were some of the causes for the success of Sharif Brothers in the largest province of the country.

However PTI did manage to turn the tables in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa. ANP – which formed the preceding government in KPK – was almost if not completely wiped out from the political set up.  I think, gross blunders by ANP in the last few years took precedence over the revolutionary charm of PTI.

pak pie chart

Change # 2: In Sindh and Balochistan:

Even though PPP cried itself hoarse (via media campaigns) maligning its rival party i.e. PML N, it was unable to make its mark in the General Elections 2013. Whereas it had secured 50 seats from Punjab in National Assembly in 2008, it could only cling onto 1 seat this time around. This is the biggest revenge democracy could take! And every one of us, who voted in these elections, should pat themselves on the back for this huge reprisal of the ex-ruling party which was unable to deliver good governance and was rampantly corrupt. This is what happens to bad governments! Democracy rocks!

Nevertheless PPP was able to maintain its dominance in Sindh despite its dismal performance in power. This could be due to lack of alternative Sindhi political leaders; remnants of Bhutto-loyalists or jiyalas and emotional blackmailing of illiterates. Yet credit is also due to some PPP politicians like Dr. Fehmida Mirza who kept constantly in touch with locals of her constituency during her last tenure. Sometimes it’s very easy to please the simpletons of our country. All they require is the satisfaction that their leader visits them once every often and has not forgotten them. These voters are not concerned with the bigger picture of democracy, corruption, law and order situation or foreign relations. Hence, the slogan roti, kapra, makaan was engineered for these very commoners and was very popular.

The ruling powers also did not change in Karachi and Hyderabad. These are the citadels of MQM which it managed to keep under its control. Massive coverage was given on media channels regarding rigging in Karachi. Such was the hue and cry that ECP was forced to take action. Now it has been announced that re-polling would be conducted in 43 polling stations of NA-250 (of Karachi) within 10 days. This decision should be applauded as it would clear many doubts about the transparency of the elections 2013.

As far as Balochistan is concerned, no single party has emerged as a clear winner so it is still unclear that who will form the government in this province.

Change # 3: Comparatively Free and Fair Elections:

After the announcement of election results, protests erupted all over the country. These protesters complained of widespread rigging in the elections. Most of them belonged to the parties of PTI, MQM and JI. Lahore (particularly NA-125 where Hamid Khan of PTI lost to Khawaja Saad Rafique of PML N), Karachi, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Jhang and some areas of Balochistan are believed to be the shady areas of rigging.

fafen

During these processions, there have also been skirmishes between supporters of rival political parties. This is very sad and is highly reminiscent of the politics of 90’s when PML N and PPP were at each others’ necks. Therefore, I appeal to these educated elite of Pakistan not to indulge in such lowly activities. This country can’t afford any more political brawls. There is a dire need to start solving the problems with political consensus. A healthy opposition would serve as a watchdog so now is the time to move on. Get over the election results and celebrate the day that was!

However, having said that, there is no denying the fact that rigging did take place. According to an independent body called Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), there are clear evidences that elections in 49 polling stations (out of the 8000 observed by them) were rigged. This comes out to be a mere 0.6125 %…!  Well yes, rigging is bad but we must appreciate the fact that we’re living in a third-world country whose dictatorial history is longer than that of democracy. Our institutions are still young and inexperienced. These irregularities are due to mismanagement of the staff of ECP and not due to their ill-will. We should try to resolve the issues according to law. In this regard, PTI’s petition in Supreme Court is a welcome step. True, street politics is powerful and heady but we shouldn’t get carried away if there are alternatives. Other than rectifying the gross irregularities, the losing parties should accept defeat and congratulate the winners. This would create the much needed good will after the mudslinging during the elections!

 Change # 4: International Image:

After witnessing greater than 60% turnout in the General Elections 2013, I was sure that International community would no longer think of us as illiterate savages fit for dictatorship only. After all, these elections were the triumph not only of Pakistan but also of democracy. However the post-election protests and blame games are dampening the mood in the country and this is not a good omen for the successive 5 years. It is highly imperative for leadership of political parties to let by gone be gone and instruct their political workers to calm down. I’m hopeful that these good-will gestures will come one day. (Indeed, PTI will prove to be different than PPP and PML N of 90’s inshaAllah). Better late than never!

Change # 5: Democracy is the best revenge:

If nothing else, these elections have definitely fortified my belief in democracy.

Who would've thought that  tables would turn so violently?!

Who would’ve thought that tables would turn so violently?!

Democracy ensures that corrupt and bad politicians are one day shooed out of the parliament if they don’t mend their ways!

Abbreviations: PTI = Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf, PML-N = Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, ANP = Awami National Party, KPK = Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, PPP = Pakistan Peoples’ Party, MQM = Muttahida Qaumi Movement, ECP = Election Commission of Pakistan, JI = Jamaat-e-Islaami, FAFEN = Free and Fair Election Network.

Of Humair Ishtiaq, Yasir Pirzada and 50 Minute

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Lying forgotten in the myriad of folders was this blog, which i’m finally publishing….

Today, Sunday September 4th, 2011, Humair Ishtiaq and Yasir Pirzada did what 50 minute hadn’t been able to do. And that is, compelled me to write a blog about the Pakistani Youth. Well yes, I can understand your confusion about the title but all will unfold as this article progresses.

Three oft-repeated statements,

 “Percentage of youth in Pakistan is an astounding 63%…!”

“Pakistan is full of talent.”

“Now the future of Pakistan lies in the hands of the youth…!”

These statements fill us with content that all is not lost and somehow, someone somewhere will brandish a magic wand and fix all the problems of Pakistan and that someone will definitely be from among the talented youth of Pakistan!

Aaah if only wishes could come true!

Muhammad Amir

English: Ali Moeen Nawazish's portrait while s...

English: Ali Moeen Nawazish’s portrait while sitting in living room. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, let’s talk about the huge chunk of our 170 million population: The youth. There was a time when this 63% brought a huge smile on my face and my eyes shone with pride and hope. I always thought about Ali Moeen Nawazish and his great 23 As feat. I recounted with joy how Muhammad Amir was making world records at only 17. Not to forget those young singers performing brilliantly in Indian Singing shows: Sara Raza Khan and Shujat Ali Khan to name a few. These names popped in my mind because I recently attended the Eid special show of 50 minute where the above mentioned sang beautifully and literally won me over. Anyhow the point was that thinking about all the talent that our youth has and then the 63% figure, I was always hopeful until I read the following piece by Humair Ishtiaq in today’s Sunday magazine,

“On the global list of median age, there are 55 countries that have a population even younger than that of Pakistan. As many as 46 of them happen to be African. Among the remaining 9, there are four each in the Middle East and Latin America in addition to Afghanistan.

If youth on it own could do much, Uganda should have been the current superpower of the world for the median age of its population is merely 15 years. And, for good measure, it would have faced tough competition coming from Niger and Mali which have corresponding figures of 15.2 and 15.8 years. But they are economic and political non-entities. Because they are unable to educate the young, who then find it convenient to spend time in the wilderness of a lawless existence. We are naturally, much better off than these ill-fated countries, but if downwards is our only direction, it is only a matter of time when we may get bracketed together.”

An eye opener sure it was. Nations prosper because they possess certain traits like a sense of social responsibility and conscience not because of the high percentage of directionless youth that it has!

Nations prosper because of the calm and dignity that they possess even when faced with crisis whether in the form of natural disasters or economic depressions. China refused to take any foreign aid after the massive earthquake which left thousands dead and millions displaced. Similarly after being shaken by a 9.2 magnitude earthquake, the Japanese displayed immense calm and composure. On the contrary what do we see in Pakistan? Billions flowing in as aid, corruption in millions and so all are unhappy with the government. Media does the emotional reporting and increases its ratings. No doubt, a lot of Pakistanis come forward to help the victims but for how long? The intial few weeks, there’s the hustle and bustle of activity but then the poor people are left to fend for their own. Where are we erring? The successive earthquakes and floods have taught us nothing. We are back to point zero after every such calamity.

Nations prosper because of their ability and training to face hardships. Nations learn from their past mistakes. Have we ever done that? No lessons taken at all from either the military dictatorships or the feeble democracies. No increase in education budgets at the cost of defense. Why are we not learning that education is the solution of all problems? Quality education at all levels will give us insightful leaders and politicians. It will eradicate the menace of poverty and terrorism. It will create awareness among people about their rights and duties. It will create an atmosphere of tolerance where people are not prosecuted against on religious or ethnic basis as is now happening in Pakistan.

And most importantly, it will decrease unemployment and the associated crime rate because meaningful education teaches you the skill to make a living even with no investment at all. (This may sound very foolish, but I have examples where the creative mind was more than enough to create employment opportunities. More on that later). So the bottomline is that we must train ourselves to join the rank of the developed countries and not just say empty slogans. It’s said a slogan kills thinking for 30 years so we must not spend the next 30 years saying that our youth is talented and so Pakistan will get fixed itself overnight when this youth comes to power! Instead we must take positive steps to bring a change!

Nations prosper because of their grace and order. You must’ve met that English babu who went abroad in the 60s and 70s to earn bread and butter but has returned to Pakistan after his retirement. All his sentences begin with, “When I was in England…” and then there’s a long list of virtues that the English possess. They make queues. They consider honking rude. They don’t litter in public places and neither do they let anyone else litter. They follow the traffic rules. They are punctual. Their Police is not corrupt. Their democracy is transparent. Their leaders are accountable and so on and so forth. However that same English babu, when in Pakistan would take pride in deliberately throwing that used tissue paper out of the moving car; he would make sure that he never stops at any traffic lights. Why? Because this is home sweet home. Nobody here, follows rules so why should he? Besides what difference would it make if one person paid the taxes? There are a million others who simply waive them and several million who do corruption with the revenue generated. We are a nation with a dead conscience. We pride in breaking rules and then boast of our not-so-holy deeds. How easy it is for our Interior Minister to say, the situation in Balochistan is not as bad as that of Karachi. Only a few people die or go missing everyday in the former whereas the latter has become a battlefield. What a comparison to give?! We listen blandly to news of deaths, suicide attacks, abductions and bomb blasts and then switch the channel saying, ‘That’s nothing new.’ Excessive and in-depth reporting has made us insensitive.

Then what’s the solution? We need to step up to the challenges at hand. There’s a dire need for awareness among the entire population about the importance of social responsibility. We must stop the blame game specifically blaming the government for all ills because, bitter as it may sound, we are an equal party in the gloomy, dismal condition of our beloved country. We as citizens of the state have certain duties which we are not fulfilling at all. How many of us have ever taken part in community service? Picking up that garbage pile outside our houses; shoveling away water after heavy rains; teaching poor children for free; joining social welfare organizations without the tag of an ‘internship’; helping the poor in long term sustainable ways rather than the short term charity ( teaching people how to catch the fish rather than buying them fishes everyday ); spreading the message of peace and love through our writings, debates, discussions or whichever platform we have; sponsoring children for quality education and there are countless other ways to make a difference. The question arises, are we willing to do so? And then the long list of excuses starts…

Magic With Medicine continues…

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Every citizen has the duty to serve his country in any way possible. It doesn’t have to be huge. It’s just the huqooq-ul-ibaad that he has to fulfill. No littering as it might bother someone. No breaking of the queue as it could violate somebody’s rights. No lying or cheating as that would be synonymous to hurting Allah as Allah lives in everyone’s hearts. Fulfilling your positive role in the society – be helpful to your neighbors; teach the poor children for free; take out some time for the underprivileged – the orphans, the widows and the disabled. Stand up for a just cause; for the downtrodden; for the ones awaiting justice and for the ones who have been wronged. Own your heroes; make them feel loved just because they served their country in any field whatsoever, showbiz, sports, education or even social welfare. Be sincere to your job whether it’s that of a tailor or a doctor…not for the sake of appeasing people but for the sake of fulfilling your social responsibility.

What began as a Post YLC project is now being extended to an ‘ongoing’ awareness campaign that would lead to making the Pakistani YOUTH the most responsible citizens ever…!

We’ll be doing this in the following ways:

 

1) BLOGGING about various issues on….

https://magicwithmedicine.wordpress.com/

2) Holding SESSIONS similar to ‘Magic With Medicine’ in different universities and colleges

3) WRITING motivation articles about social issues in magazines, newspapers etc…

and THEN is the Active phase:

DOING active, social projects like, ‘Teach for Pakistan’ and ‘Gogi School bags’ and many more…

So DO LIKE THIS PAGE:

Magic With Medicine https://www.facebook.com/MagicBlogger

How many of you are WITH us in this?

AND if you have any more suggestions, they are always welcome…

YOUNG LEADERS’ CONFERENCE – a lifetime experience – DAY 1

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This post was published in KELLOGS on 9/7/2011

By Farkhanda Qaiser

Dates: 1st-6th July 2011

Venue: Sheraton Hotel, Karachi

 

DAY 1:

10:00 AM – Departure from Lahore.

11:45 AM – Arrival in Karachi.

1:00 PM – Arrival at Sheraton Hotel

2:00 PM – Lunch

4:00 PM – Official inauguration of YLC

5:30 PM – Informal session with corporate champions

6:15 PM – Asar Namaz

6:30 PM – Rules of the game – align everyone to the YLC way. (By Kambha)

7:30 PM – Maghrib Namaz

8:30 PM – Bank Alfalah – the caring dinner.

9:00 PM – Theatre Performance.

10:00 PM – Isha Namaz

10:30 PM – Quiz regarding stay in Sheraton.

11:30 PM – Putting I first (by Kambha)

1:00 AM – Treasure hunt (by Umair Jaliawala) team names n slogans.

 

“Emaan, Ittehad, Tanzeem…Inqilaab” This was the slogan of the 10th YLC 2011, being held at Sheraton Hotel, Karachi. It made little sense to me until we learned to live by these words in the 6 days of our stay at YLC. We were given seemingly impossible tasks like 20 people standing on 4 chairs, having dinner with our hands and feet tied and eyes blindfolded but we emerged successful every time because we had faith in ourselves; we stood united and last but not the least we were disciplined. Through this famous quotation of Quaid-e-Azam, we hoped to bring revolution in Pakistan. Not a bloody revolution but a revolution in the mindset of people which is indeed the biggest and the most long-lasting revolution there could ever be.

On day 1, this concept was explained to us by the YLC champs, Maalik Khaskhley, Bilal Nazar Sibtain and Namreen Akhter Syed – the trio who had made this entire conference possible. Their conviction about bringing back life to these words really moved me. The motivation had been awakened but the courage was still missing which came gradually. All the 363 participants from 34 cities of Pakistan and a few foreigners were given these green YLC shirts having the YLC slogan. We had to wear these shirts 24/7 excluding the nap time which had been reduced to an average 4-5 hours. At first, I had been disgruntled to hear this. I mean, seriously, what about all those lavish dresses that I had carried from Lahore? When would I wear them? A lot of girls shared my feelings. But slowly, we understood the logic behind this too. Wherever we went in Sheraton Hotel, we were identified by the YLC shirts. People staying in Sheraton were raising eyebrows and were curious to know this vibrant group of youngsters and what they were upto! Moreover wearing the same shirts, carrying the same YLC bags and the YLC dairies, we felt united and part of the same family. So ‘ek teer se do shikaar,’ as we were spreading awareness of our purpose and also experiencing a feeling of camaraderie thanks to a common uniform.

After that we were introduced to the sponsors of the event as well as of the students. As the registration fee had been Rs. 39,900 therefore majority of the participants had been sponsored by brand names and companies like Bank Alfalah, Djuice, NBP, EBM, Dawn in Education, Mobilink etc. I had been sponsored by Qavi Engineering for which I’m particularly grateful to Mr. Arshad dad, the CEO for making it possible for me to attend such an amazing conference…! We also held an informal session with these corporate champions in which we asked them probing questions regarding their success and how we could achieve it too. Moreover it was very encouraging to see that these organizations were fulfilling their social responsibility by helping out the youth and enabling them to tap their leadership potential.

To make this ‘leadership event’ more potent, the participants had been divided into teams consisting of 20 members each and headed by a Youth Facilitator (YF). Each team was identified by a scarf of a certain color. My team color was Rust Sussi and my YF was this cute little guy, Asad Chohan. He may have been short but he talked big and we were all really impressed by his leadership skills. Later on, we devised our own team name which was ‘Inqalaabi Pataakha.’

Having been teamed up and introduced to the major players at YLC, now was the right time for the entry of ‘the great Kambha!’ He is the founding director of ‘School of Leadership’ and is also the director of Navitus*. He has a way with words and can mesmerize any audience. He believes in PPRR to initiate any task.

P = Practical

P = Possible

R = Realistic

R = Relevant

For those of you who are still confused about his name, let me elaborate by saying that Kambha is short for Kamran Bhai as his name is Kamran Rizvi. He has also authored a few books, one of which he was kind enough to gift us autographed and for free! The name of the book is ‘Reinvent Yourself’ and I haven’t yet started reading it but judging from all the sessions that we had with him, I can bet that it’ll be an ‘eye opening’ read for sure…!

“Use you Ara to build relationships,” we were told. You see, a lot of acronyms are used in the world of motivational speakers and trainers. Ara is one such acronym which stands for Acknowledge, respect and appreciation. I saw the YLC team practicing this Ara and was also inspired to follow suit. I learnt to acknowledge people for the little favors they may have done for me then to respect them for who they are and lastly to appreciate anyone and everyone for their good deeds. These deeds could also include asking an interesting question after a session, making the right comment or mini speech or even citing verses of poetry (one brother from Peshawar always had an appropriate Urdu sher to recite after every session)

Another equation that we learnt was H + R = Love. The combination of honesty and respect always leads to love. If you respect someone and are honest about it then he will start loving you as a person. Mind you, this is not the “Indian Movie romance” that we are talking about. It’s the love of each other as human beings or rather spiritual beings having a human experience.

However our learning experience had not yet ended. We were told the rules for stay in Sheraton in a quiz form. At first, I thought this an absurd exercise but the wisdom was revealed when most of the participants seemed to be making the wrong choices regarding keeping valuables in the YLC bag or the suitcase back in the hotel room; having the bed sheets and towels changed everyday or on alternate days and more such questions and answers.

And then finally came the time for me to don the sari that I’d especially taken along for this occasion – the formal dinner when the girls wore saris, shalwar kameez etc. and the boys wore their suits. This dinner had been sponsored by Bank Alfalah – the Caring Bank. After that, a group of theatre artists put up a great show in which they highlighted the major problems of Pakistan in a satirical yet comical way. Issues like loadshedding, insensitivity of public towards national tribulations, immense viewership of Indian soaps as well as bad direction and production of Punjabi movies and what not…! It was definitely a great laugh and a food for thought. This theatre group is known by the name of “Zahrsss” and also has its fan page on facebook. I’d definitely recommend everyone to like this page because this was one very talented group of people. Amazing acting, great direction and innovative production, they had it all…! Hats off Zahrsss!

However this long day seemed to be having no end at all…! We were all immensely tired as most of us were up since sunrise to catch our early morning flights. And now it was past midnight. Yet one session still remained. Groans all around, sleepyheads and painful body parts…but all this was changed by a magician and wise wizard. Yes, none other than Umair Jaliawala…! The crowd roared with enthusiasm to welcome this great man. I simply could not understand why as I had not even heard of him before. But all the confusion sorted itself out as pearls of wisdom and motivation came forth from the mouth of UJ. He is a trainer by passion, an entrepreneur by profession and a social worker by persistence*. He gave us all a wake up call by a treasure hunt which included finding crazy things like X men, a knife, red rose, atm receipt, discount card etc. And also making videos of a cat fight, a human tower of 3 steps, YLC written by human bodies and a picture of each team flying in air. After having done all these activities, we were miles far from sleep but at 2:00 AM, the time had finally come for us to collapse on our beds after a long, long day. The Day 1 of YLC 2011 had ended. But it had given us hope to look forward to extremely busy yet interactive and fun-filled days ahead.