evolretesis

11:17 AM | 9 March 2020

I think the most beautiful thing about life is how there are so many emotions waiting to welcome us: not just grief and happiness and disappointments but also funny mixtures of love and hate, peace and anticipation. I often wonder if it’s possible to develop a new language to describe these feelings as they are.

Maybe you and I are sitting together and the nonchalant chirping of the cuckoo makes me feel grateful for simply being alive, and then we look at each other and I say, “bjhkks” and you look right back at me and smile, and say, “skkhjb”. And only we know the secret of that moment. Twenty-three years too late, I learnt how to say, “abjsojdbdyj hbskisb” and be heard right back.

it’s going to be a surprise

8:50 PM | 27 February 2020

Some days and moments are those fleeting gushes of happiness that fill your lungs with some wholesome air. This was that kind of a day.

Sitting under that starless sky, I looked around and heaved a sigh of surprise: in this moment, I was alive and free and far, far away. Carrying the same beats but slowly this time. I was visible to all but seen by none; simply because I was learning to value my relationship with God, my dependance on Him – an undeniable sense of belonging that was preparing me for what is to come.

It felt good to be sitting there then, with friends who have become family. It was proof that I wasn’t lost – not yet – and I was up and about and even the dreariness of the sad building of the Ziauddin Hospital couldn’t beat me down. It was that magical moment when you impress yourself because, “Wow! I really can do this!” Maybe it’s  what giving up looks like because you’re too tired to fight. Like how we scurry away from political and social debates on family WhatsApp groups because it’s no use banging your head against the wall.
It was that rare moment when you don’t want to go back, you don’t want to move forward. It was that still from the movie of our life where everyone and everything around us was rushing by and we’re standing, smiling, laughing at how His plans unfold. It was that moment in time when we just can’t wait for the plot to unfold and we fast-forward the movie – the dialogues a blur, the characters on the screen speeding away hilariously just so we can know what the ending will be. Except that I couldn’t have done that. All I could do was soak up the soft music around me, the warmth of solitude in a crowd of people, and the easy acceptance that I had welcomed it with.

It’s going to be a surprise.

Boulevard-35, M. Ali Society

CLASS-e, the virtual classroom!

I remember how back in our school days, everyone would be running around for some extra coaching for the subjects that they were weak in. From one tuition centre to another, they would tire themselves – and their parents – with almost no time for any healthy activities! Home tutors would charge an exorbitant fee. In short, those weren’t very pleasant times!

Keeping the needs and struggles of today’s students in mind, my sister, Tooba Masihuddin (super proud of you, my girl! Good luck!) has launched her new venture, CLASS-e, to facilitate all school and college students!

CLASS-e is an online coaching academy presently tutoring students in English Language with collaboration with Walking Thoughts, and Mathematics, Accounts, and Economics, at very economical rates. They use the amazing Zoom app and whiteboardfox.com to conduct their classes.
Why should you opt for CLASS-e?

🔹 Saves your commute time!
🔹 Save on the petrol cost, save the environment!
🔹 No need to get tired travelling to and fro!

Isn’t that an amazing opportunity for all students? If I were a student, I’d definitely go for this and make my life easier!

For details, you can contact CLASS-e.

Facebook
Instagram
E-mail: classe1597@gmail.com
Contact number: +92322071672

 

 

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Abb kya kar saktay hain?

11:04 am | 8 November 2019

The morning shone with a little chill in the air, the first proper welcome to the year’s winter. I really wanted to turn the pages of a poetry book and enjoy a banana-chocolate muffin but I need to finish studying hernias. As I try to do that, I sense the goodbye in the air. Goodbyes and grief and broken chords. Goodbye to the safety net some of us had around us; grieving the loss of a safe space; loose strings mocking us all in the face.

When did it come to this? How did it come to this?

Maybe that’s what adulting is about. We spend years and years in building homes within our hearts – falling down, scraping our knees, crying like a baby, getting up again, wiping away the tears, making up with jelly-os – only to watch it being bulldozed by our irresponsible selves. Maybe we just don’t know how to act our parts well. And by the time we learn, we’ve moved past that bridge.

A pinch of salt can make such a difference in the food we cook. Quite like the pinch of attention and care that can save us all.

Like my best friend says, “Abb kya kar saktay hain?”

Photo: Azzam Murtaza

Creative writing workshop in collaboration with Pakistani Lady Bloggers

2 & 3 November 2019

Reading, writing, and teaching – all things that have played a significant role in defining what the alphabets in my name stand for.

The second of its kind and the first one for the Pakistani Lady Bloggers, Walking Thoughts’ two-day creative writing workshop was a lovely, lovely experience! Interacting with these aspiring writers – and keen learners – with such kind souls has only deepened my love for writing and teaching; all which has come together through this little walk.

With final year medical exams only a few weeks away, and infectious exam anxiety swarming around me, I really was second-guessing conducting this workshop. But I’m so, so glad that I did conduct it. It’s a learning process; self-discipline, time management, multitasking, hardwork, prioritising, and most importantly: not giving up on what we love, what makes us happy.
Warriors come in all kinds of cloaks, friends!

Thank you, Mehreen, for this wonderful collaboration. Here’s to many more for the love of words and all things good!

So how does Walking Thoughts really walk? On sunny mornings and windy days and chilly evenings and stormy nights, here’s how!

Ebbing, swimming, flying – all together all at once. That’s how it has been.

With great delight and an ounce of pride, I write this: a year of some experiential learning and quite some hard work, and Walking Thoughts turns one this October. What started off as a blind leap of faith during my fourth year of medical school and was then powered by the very encouraging reviews on the Facebook page, is now a blooming venture looking around excitedly to bring you more, to bring it better!

If you’ve been following my blogs, I suppose you already know that Walking Thoughts is a literary and educational house offering online English Conversation and Creative Writing courses. Our aim is to make English language learning easier, and accessible to everyone, especially the stay-at-home moms and women entrepreneurs.
Our proud partners are YWWF – Karachi Chapter.

Throughout these twelve beautiful months of both learning and teaching, Walking Thoughts has transitioned from offering just English language courses to catering to the needs of the medical students, too. In collaboration with Dr Talaiha Chughtai, we are now also offering an online Pediatric course for M.B.B.S. students. And that’s not it – we have more cool stuff in the pipeline for healthcare professionals. Stay tuned!

So how does Walking Thoughts really walk? On sunny mornings and windy days and chilly evenings and stormy nights, here’s how:

1. Our students fill out the Google registration form.

2. They receive a confirmation e-mail with details of the payment procedure for the course. There is no separate registration fee.

3. The fee is submitted via online bank transfer or is deposited in the nearest UBL branch.

4. For record-keeping, our students send us a screenshot of the online transfer or a picture of the deposit slip.

5. Following that, they receive an e-mail confirming their payment and registration details, including the class schedule for the upcoming four weeks.

6. The course comprises of online, interactive audio-based classes of one hour each.

They are conducted over the Zoom application where the students are sent a new link to join each lesson before it starts.
It is, according to Wirecutter, a New York Times company, “the best platform for online meetings”.
You can read more about it here.

7. Our courses are customised for each student.
The minimum duration of the course is one month and each student can continue the class for as long as they want.
The classes are both one-on-one and group sessions based on the needs and progress of each student.

8. The syllabus for the English conversation classes consists of a quick brush-up of the parts of speech, commonly confused words, grammar exercises, audio links, podcasts, and conversation scripts, to name a few.
Keeping in mind the occupation of our students, we structure our course so that they can reap the maximum benefit.

9. The pediatric course is taught by Dr Talaiha Chughtai. Dr Chughtai (M.B.B.S., D.C.H.) is a Paediatrician who did her residency from Ziauddin University and Hospital. She also has a Paediatric Nutrition Diploma from Boston University and is currently the clinical supervisor at Clinic5. She has had experience of teaching fourth-year medical students with a passion to make them better clinicians.

The course consists of a choice of three ‘Bubbles’.

BUBBLE A:

1) Growth & Development
2) Fluid & Electrolytes
3) Pediatric GPE
4) Neonatal Examination

Total classes: 8
Each class is of 1 hour
2 classes per week

BUBBLE B:

1) GI
2) Respiratory System
3) CVS
4) Miscellaneous

Total classes: 8
Each class is of 1 hour
2 classes per week

BUBBLE C:

OSCE preparation

Total classes: 4
Each class is of 1 hour
2 classes per week

The pediatric course offers free study material and clinical pearls!

10. At the end of the course, our students are expected to fill out an anonymous feedback form to help us help them better!

And so with tremendous love and countless hours of real hard work, Walking Thoughts is slowly making its way to where I aspire it to be. Not to forget my amazing friends – you all know who you are – and family for their valuable feedback and sturdy support in facilitating my endeavours, and reminding me to keep on dreaming, to keep going on.

A special shout-out to my very talented and artistic friend, Saba Saeed, for designing the adorable brand logo, and hence, believing in me as I took the very first step.

And to the friend who made it possible for me to dream, to execute, to grow – thank you for showing me what Gregory and the Hawk really meant. “Who’s the best?”

To more walks and beyond!

We’ll get better. Like old wine.

2 October 2019

Throw together a few words with a full stop as the only bridge between them, and the reader is still able to understand what they’re being told. For example, “Happiness. Grief. Love. Hatred. Repentance. Fear.” You know that these are feelings. You recognise them.

In this picture, four of the people I’ve willingly – and lovingly – chosen as my family sit together like those words. Each one unique, and yet, still connected. Somehow.

It was a gorgeous Wednesday. The afternoon sun glistened fiercely over warm smiles. A lot of young laughter and some grateful sunny faces sang away to memories as dreams and ambitions peeked out from the window of a cosy apartment by the sea.
The salt in the air. The sea out there.
When the sea and the sun meet, their orange is the colour of what you see when five girls count five years as they grow into their womanhood, together. It’s such a lovely shade because it’s not a mere figment of our imagination; it’s real and it’s tangible. We can feel it in the protective way we guard each other – physically, mentally, emotionally – and the honest loyalty that has our back always. We can feel it in the way we find our way back to each other after foggy evenings, in the peace we find in a mehfil of Gluco and Zeera biscuits and Chocolato dipped in warm cups of tea followed by one samosa after another. We can feel it in the way the air brushes our hair as we drive across the city to a playlist as unpredictable as it’s weather. We can feel it in the promises of not letting time and life and responsibilities get in the way of these five years.

We’ll get better. Like old wine.

 

the Madni phase after the trials of Mecca

1 PM | 5 August 2019

When you’re standing in front of the freezing burst of the air conditioner, shivering a little uncomfortably – but not enough to be noticed – all you can think of is how to turn that damned machine off. A few seconds of good luck that reappear after every minute or so, strikes and the direction of that freezing blast of air moves away from you, leaving you in that very welcome warmth of comfort. It makes you very much comfortable. You may even sigh with relief. And then the cold air comes again.

Unfortunate incidents and bumps in the road are like that; they last for a few days before there’s the warmth of happiness again. Then something else happens to give you another sleepless night before there’s a smile of gratitude. So just like the cold air booming out of the air conditioner, happiness and peace also play hide-and-seek with us.

But what I’d like us to remember is the very comfortable warmth of Love that hugs us. The sunrise after a dark, stormy night of thunderstorms. The laugh mixed with tears. Like a dear friend said, the Madni phase after the trials of Mecca.

 

Tooba.jpeg
Artwork: Tooba Masihuddin

 

I often wonder how a dua makes its way up above the seventh sky

9:03 AM | 5 August 2019

I often wonder how a *dua makes its way up above the seventh sky; a little fluffy ball weighing our hopes, desires, fears, and happiness.

There’s probably more than one layer of ozone that it needs to fly beyond.
There’s the hurt resting heavy on people’s hearts, slowing down our duas. Then there are our own follies – mistakes big and small – and disobedience (do we ever really listen to what He so lovingly says?) that slow them down. There’s fear – and it’s the deadliest of all – that hunts down our duas like vultures prying over a dead animal; fear of our duas going into that empty space, the black hole of the universe.

So, you see. Our duas ascend upwards – it’s a video game! – and there’s fear and unashamed sins, and the sad, broken sighs of humans who may be once-upon-a-times; all attacking our duas from left, right, centre, up and down. The dua gets scared. Who is there to protect it? But there is, isn’t it? Repentance and Tawakkal. So from down here, our hearts launch a missile of both, powering the impossible. Up and up and up. Something just like this. And if it’s powerful enough – a couple of megavolts, maybe – the dua shoots up; beyond the stars and stardust and the misty clouds and the seven skies straight up to fall down and prostrate by His throne. And with the grace that is only His, He picks it up, ever so lightly.

And that is how we have little secrets with God. Beautiful secrets. Life-changing secrets.

 

*prayer

 

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Photo: Saba Saeed

there is no such thing as “things falling apart”

1:18 PM | 4 August 2019

A few minutes ago as I was tidying up my closet, a delightful thought arrived (just like how epiphanies do – amidst the chaos of our daily chores) and my heart smiled. I could picture the twinkling stars in the dark sky covering up the fairy lights set up gaily by humans like ourselves, to lighten up a simple dinner on a hot and humid day.

As I carefully hung one shirt after another onto the white hangers, I wanted to clap and laugh and laugh at myself for not realising earlier that the secret to being happy – eternally happy – was in accepting that with His praise and with gratitude on our tongues, nothing could ever go wrong; there is no such thing as “things falling apart” or “everything that can go wrong in the universe is going wrong” – it is all a part of His plan, His will, His way of rearranging and realigning things to make everything perfect for us. But what’s the key to this hidden treasure? Constant dhikr, remembering our Allah at all times – our tongues moving to sing His praise; our hands removing a thorn from the road; our legs moving to save a patient; invoking in ourselves a gentle consciousness of our actions that doesn’t hurt another soul; thoughtful gestures that rescue another one in need; through kind acceptance of another human being’s uniqueness; by not lying, by not cheating; by fulfilling the rights of our near and dear ones; by killing the deadly nafs that seeks acceptance from this world; by being forgiving; by elevating our souls and becoming better versions of ourselves.

Yep. It is all a part of His plan, His will, His way of rearranging and realigning things to make everything perfect for us. And what is perfect? Extraordinarily different and unique for us all, just like our fingerprints.

So what I’ve learnt in a little more than two decades is that the real joy is in finding happiness and peace and contentment when things don’t go our way.
Otherwise, what’s so special about this life, about us?

 

Artwork: Tooba Masihuddin