Let’s Try Kindness Therapy – #ItsTimeToChange

By Yousra Mateen

Recently I was talking to a classmate who mentioned how a girl in university was distributing chocolates to everyone, so my classmate asked why she was doing it; was it a part of a project? Or was it her birthday? So this girl who was distributing chocolates smiled and said, she was doing that because it was the World Kindness Day. We were all a little surprised first and actually contemplated on how there are these angelic sort of people who exist who distribute chocolates because they want to be kind but then appreciated how it was a good gesture and later the conversation moved on to other topics.

Later that day, I was thinking about how there was actually a day dedicated to being kind and sat down to research on it. Initially the old weird negative approach we hold towards “Hallmark Holidays” was the first thing which came to my mind, that there shouldn’t be one day for kindness, everyday should be a day of kindness but then I brushed through that thought and eventually found out that this year, the world kindness day was celebrated globally on the 13th November. The day was first initiated by the World Kindness Movement, which is a group of NGO’s working in different countries. It is mainly propagated by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation but is now rapidly gaining popularity worldwide where people are actually taking up small acts of kindness and compassion and sharing them on the social networking sites.

Even though we shouldn’t need a day particularly to be kind, and carry on everyday but maybe by initiating and forcing ourselves to be caring that one day instigate the feeling of contentment we get from being compassionate and eventually continue carrying out random acts of kindness for the rest of the year. Some of these acts actually outline our personality too in the long run as we are usually defined by our actions. There are various ways through which we can adopt to show random acts of kindness. It isn’t just restricting to giving charity or giving out candies but way beyond it. Even in simple things in life like holding doors and saying thank you and giving out hugs to people you know will feel comforted from it. It isn’t just making an old man cross a road; it is also removing that big stone on the path or offering to hold an extra bag for a friend. Not just giving your seat to elderly or disabled or pregnant, but also putting your shopping cart back in place and writing a small motivating text message and sending it to someone who really needs it at that point in life. Hence, kindness doesn’t have any form of boundaries; it can range on all levels and at all levels is equally appreciated. A very small positive gesture can make someone’s day a little better!

Let’s take out time, change ourselves and change someone else’s life positively.

#ItsTimeToChange

Advertisements

The undiscovered hero

Note: This blog I’ve written in two different times hence the months are mentioned.

October ’13:

Hey lovely people,
I’ve been away for quite a long time. Got busy with exams, GRADUATED, found a job and then again got busy with that. But a couple of days ago a friend of mine, DK, asked me for my blogs and there I was, charged up again and searching for a motivation.
I searched and searched but couldn’t find anything worth writing. Its today that I realized that ‘the’ topic of my next blog was right there, giving me a pick n drop service daily. Yes, its none other than my rikshaw driver!

CYMERA_20130929_114913

Last week, I called up my rikshaw driver to pick me up since I was done with the work at office. Unlike other days, he got late and finally arrived after an hour. Quietly, I sat on the back seat only to notice that there was already a girl wearing a black gown (Muslim’s abaya) sitting there. I thought she must be a student or a working lady he picks and drops. But after a conversation with her, I found out that she was the rikshaw driver’s daughter. She told me she studied in a law school and was in her 2nd year of law education.

2 days had passed and again the rikshaw driver came to pick me up with another abaya-wearing girl. After a conversation with her, I got to know that she was another daughter of him who worked as a Manager Operations in a well-reputed company. Since the rikshaw driver’s girls were giving me surprises back-to-back, I asked this daughter of him what her other siblings did. I was told that one brother worked in an NGO and other 2 siblings were studying. Till this time, I was quite impressed by the rikshaw driver because I knew he wasn’t earning more than Rs. 30,000 a month and he had still managed to get his children good education.
In a country like this, whenever people fall in the whirlpool of poverty, one of the first few things they let go of is education. Their reason “how can an empty stomach study?” looks quite reasonable at that time. So they conveniently put the necessity of education in the ‘luxury’ category and keep earning and eating. It’s thus a pleasure to see a rare specie who goes out of his comfort zone just to fulfill the necessity of education for the greater good.

CYMERA_20130930_153318

January ’14:

So I was going through my archives and found this. Its embarrassing that I haven’t blogged since a long long time. I keep writing a few pieces though but uploading just this one today.
The rikshaw driver has now bought his own taxi and climbed another stair towards betterment. What thoroughly impresses me in him is his integrity. Never did I see him being ashamed of how small was the work he did. His children inherited that from him too and were proud of telling everyone that their father drives a Rikshaw. I reckon that comes with the conviction of earning through hardwork. People who lack this integrity and conviction can take this as food for thought.
My father told me once that the same Rikshaw driver was once a street hawker. I can’t imagine how he had made ends meet along with giving his children good education with such a minimal income. But God has definitely blessed him slowly but steadily as his income level increased a little with the Rikshaw and now a little more with the taxi. This signifies the value of faith in my eyes.

Now my lovely readers, if you can spread this story of my Rikshaw driver to the people you know, we might be able to discover more of such undiscovered heroes around and gain inspiration from them. More interestingly, we might even be able to create such examples of hardwork, faith and conviction.

CYMERA_20130929_114139

 

Farewell; moving forward!

I still remember the time when I entered here for the first time. I was as carefree as always, even though it was a matter of my career. Just as I crossed the gate, a green campus with red-bricks’ building came in front of my eyes. It was raining, so the greenery looked even more ravishing. I, along with all students who came for the entry test, headed towards the auditorium. The place was giant and beautiful. It was so cold that even the warm auditorium couldn’t take the chills off. Shivering in our seats, we took the test. Just as we finished the test, we headed to cafeteria to fulfill our crazy wish of having ice-cream in that cold. What we didn’t know that time was that it was a just the beginning of all the craziness and the journey that awaited us would be filled largely with crazy stuff. Sukkur IBA truly mesmerized all of us that day.

Time has flown so hastily ever since.

Whenever I go back to the flashback and return to the present, I find two differences.

That day it was raining; today its 46 C 😛

That day it was my first test; today it’s my last exam 😦

Such a bittersweet feeling. To be sad for the end or to be happy for a beginning, that’s the question. 4 years spent. It was different yet beautiful, uncertain yet amazing. I can’t ever forget my group of friends without whom the journey would have been like an lost match, the classroom jokes which kept us alive during the boring-est of lectures, the hunger emergencies which used to occur to me more often than others, the library which we seldom visited, the time in IBA and then outside, there is so much we all would miss.

In these last days here, I want to do so much – deal with undecided matters, mend the broken hearts, and complete the underperformed acts of wisdom. On my mind today is all what has started and ended in the past four years. I’m thankful to IBA who made me realize what I am and what I’m not. I got my first chance to be a trainer, traveled to Turkey, became the most seen anchorperson of IBA (I remember people telling me that they are tired of watching me on stage again and again) and received bundles of applauds and millions of criticisms.

People asked me today whether I was sad on my last day or happy. I’m happy to start a new phase of life; however it might turn out to be. But I’m sad to leave such respect-giving (read the exact opposite) friends who generously filled my life with so many colors; the yellow color of brightness, the red of love, the white of ease (the unmatchable comfort), the blue of truth and the green color of self-growth. My life would have been colorless without them and I’m sure no one can add the same colors to it. They are the greatest gift IBA could have ever given me.

The entire 4 years have been unforgettable and for that, I believe some credits are in order. To all my teachers, you’ve taught us more than the subjects; a way of life. You’ve chiseled our abilities and played a part in bringing us up to where we are now. To all my classmates, we’ve come a long way together. I wish you all fight well in the big wide world, touch the sky and still remain just as humble. Farewell buddies. Trust me, each and everyone of you is special and will be missed.

It is never easy for me to say goodbyes. So I’ll just ask everyone to stay in touch. See you all on reunions every year. All my good wishes reach out to you. These moments will never return, all we can do is never let the memories fade away.

Thank you once again for four very happy years!

Image

Autograph please!

I was reading this diary my classmate Maria gave me for an autograph. There were a number of other classmates who had scribbled in that diary before me. I read the reminiscence of the best moments of their university life and went down the memory lane. I remembered the times our classes were cancelled suddenly for some un-announced seminars and workshops (oh how I loved those unexpectedly gotten free classes), I missed the times when we missed the bus and stayed in the university till the evening to eat and chatter, I wondered whether the fear of entering the library (looked like a haunting place to me), the joy when a teacher was absent, the thrill of those lovely exam days, the fun of those class activities and so much more that was a part of our routine would ever come back. I love being a student. It’s only a week remaining to our graduation and we’re going to enter a new phase of life. But that means I’ll have to grow up and be mature and act rationally in matters; some things I don’t really prefer. But only if we had an option. I remember the movie “Hook” where Peter Pan and his friends lived in Neverland and never grew up.

 

May for us is the month of final exams, farewells and lots of autographs. For those who find it a bit difficult writing autographs, I’ll tell you how to do it. If you like the ideas, take them. If you don’t, please be kind enough to let them stay here for someone else might come to take them.

 

  • Don’t be all I-wish-you-this and I-wish-you-that. It’s good to include a little wish in an autograph as a gesture of goodwill but don’t just fill a whole page with wishes. Your friend does not see you as a priest.
  • Don’t be formal as it isn’t a letter to the Dean or a proposal to the investor. Write as if you’re talking to that person in real. If you call him “yaar” or “jigar”, please don’t go with clichéd “dear” in the autograph.
  • Don’t forget to quote concrete incidents that happened with your friend. When the friend reads the diary in the later period of his life, those exact scenes will go through his mind and he’ll smile like nothing else. That’s what you want, don’t you?
  • Paste pictures, draw cartoons, or even make a little comic strip. There an uncountable ways where you can add flavor to your autograph rather than just writing everything in plain writing.
  • Remember it is bogus to write “Remember me always”. Instead, you can write “I won’t ever let you forget me” or “If you forget me, I’ll be after you like anything”. Add a personal touch to everything.
  • Last, don’t ever refuse if anyone asks you for an autograph. Those few pages will be a part of you he/ she will always remember. PLUS it will serve as a gift from you to your friend. What’s better than giving a gift you don’t have to pay for? 😛

Writing autographs in diaries and slam books is something that will never be old. This custom is actually a part of farewell that’s exactly why it still prevails in spite of the growing trend of text messaging and social media. After a few years when your friend will come across the diary while going through her shelf or clearing material from his room, he/ she will definitely go into a flashback (read Dumbledore’s Pensieve) and smile for a long long time.

Image

The story of a heart

This is a real story of a very close friend, Sally, who wants the story to reach across to many people but doesn’t want her name to be disclosed. So here I am, writing not only for this friend of mine, but for the majority of youth who fall in love in very young age and lose track.

She could feel her voice gone, no words came out of her mouth and she just awed in that moment of perfection. It was Sally holding hands with Harry. Harry was tall, smart, spectacle-wearing cousin of hers who had proposed the very young, pretty and petite Sally 4 months ago. Harry had an unsuccessful affair before Sally came in his life but it was all a novel experience for Sally, an experience she was not going to forget the whole life. She did have a few crushes before him, all of which got crushed after a week or two but this guy, she didn’t know, was going to have a lasting impact on her life. The first time Harry said those three magical words to her, she felt that indescribable tingling feeling; the feeling of being the most beautiful, the feeling who said “yes he is the one for me”, and the feeling of common sense leaving her body. She was so overwhelmed with what had happened that she forgot all her values, her attitude and said YES to him.

Image

Four months later, Sally visited Harry’s place with her family and met him after a long time. Sally’s family knew about how she was infatuated with him and Harry’s family was also aware of his liking towards Sally. Both the families stayed together for a week and both of them (Sally in particular) had the time of their lives.

One morning, Sally was still in bed when she overheard her family talking about how Harry’s family didn’t accept Sally as part of their family and didn’t want to extend their relationship. Sally heard all this and the fantasy bubble of her life burst there and then. She cried in the blanket for hours and didn’t want to get out of the bed. When her family found her crying, they didn’t know what had happened to her. They asked her but she couldn’t explain the loss. She just told them that she had heard them talking and realised that this relation wasn’t going to work. When she met Harry that day with swollen red eyes, he was totally unaware of what had happened. He asked Sally many times but she remained quiet. She knew that the battle could not be fought without allies; the battle was lost.

A few days later, Sally told Harry what had happened, expecting him to change the scenario. But Harry, being dependent on his family, could not take a stand for Sally. So they decided to close the chapter and prepared their mind to move on.

Image
Today, Sally is happily settled with a person of her choice, her second love maybe. Harry is busy in his own balanced life; work and family. When I asked Sally why she wanted me to write her story, she said,

“I want your readers to know 3 things.

First, choose someone after knowing the feasibility of a long-term relation with him. You gotta see if your family, your culture, your lifestyle is open enough to accept that choice of yours. Your choice need not be from the same background since that would become an ideal situation, but both families, cultures, lifestyles should at least be accepting each other’s differences.


Second, don’t give hopes to anyone if you’re not able to take a stand for them. That applies to both girls and boys. If you think you won’t be able to take the relation till the last step, don’t even start it.


Third and most important, life goes on! No matter what happens, God has given us the willpower to make a way out of it. They say time is the best healer, I totally agree. When Harry and I broke up, I cried for many months, I thought the world has ended, I thought I’d never love anyone again. But when God empties your hand by taking one thing, he fills it with another. And surely God’s options are better than ours.”

With this answer, we reached the end of the conversation. And I went to sleep thinking that at some point of life, you have to be aware that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.

Image

From gloom to glitters

Each morning, I enter my university with a sleepy head. This is the place which has bestowed me with so many achievements, some that overwhelmed me with joy, some which I didn’t even deserve. And on the other hand, has also put me in such melancholies after which a small-town-girl like me could no longer step out of her home. I was among the youngest achievers here and because of my ‘achi angraizi’, started getting the limelight in my very first year. Thus I became subject of criticism and jealousy for many. But that didn’t make me feel superior since all the credit went to the people who supported me and had faith in me.
Then came a phase when I realized that the power of hatred is far greater than the power of love. I call that period of my life “losing”. I was stopped giving opportunities to; I was victimized, fell prey to unjustified revenges; and I was stopped by even my best friends to return to university. There was a time when I was the apple of eye of my family and friends but then came a time when being publicly associated to me became a challenge for them. I always believed that suicides were acts of cowards but at that time, it looked like the only escape to me.
Fortunately, that period lasted for only a few weeks. I then entered a phase of my life which I call “returning”. Things started getting back to normal, or rather I started adjusting with the conditions. People reached out to me accepting me again, some exactly like good old days, some with little doubts in their minds. I was being given opportunities too, reluctantly at first, but then openly and happily.
This story of mixed emotions is the story of my life. A story that is actually a mixed plate having small scoops of happiness along with little bitter reality bites.
So, when my mother wakes me up everyday to start my new day, a flashback of all the good and bad memories passes by me and then I decide that I’m strong enough to put aside the bad ones and live on the support of the goodies.

I can now relate so much with Carl Jung who said

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”