Gifts in any form pull my sentimental string, every single time I receive ’em. The thought behind every gift itself is so touching. A poem (above image), a gift to me by my younger sister, a writer who is exceptionally good with words. It had been the best gift I have ever or will ever receive. She explained my life in a nutshell and artistically presented it adroitly. Here is the poem for my viewers to read.
Blue has been the colour of the year 2020 since its commencement. 2020 arrived at our cribs with handouts containing loneliness, unemployment, miserliness, depression and too much free time for the empty vessels to make a lot of noises.
Many coping up with the plight by shifting their daily ways to innovative ones. Giving rise to virtual offices, makeshift work stations, online classes, virtual interaction and many more. On the other hand, a larger group is categorized under the unemployed, sick, hungry, broke and stranded.
The world came to a standstill overnight before we could even realise.
Inflation in uncertainties came paired with the plunge in the economy.
As the months passed by, while nature enjoyed its pink interim, the population adopted and complied with the need of the hour and stayed put with the rules and regulations.
Each one has been put through a unique trial to survive on its own during these times. Uninformed of the twists and turns the future holds.
Withstanding the struggles, May 2020 knocked on the doors with the glad tidings of the blessed month of Ramadan.
Since the dawn of my existence, Ramadan to me has been the most exciting month of the year, a month full of worship, fasting, celebrations, gatherings, feasting, invocations, frequent visits to the masjids (mosques), new outfits, gifts and many more.
Like every year, the nearing of Ramadan filled our hearts with excitement and optimism, but, with a spark of apprehension. Several doubts came into being as the serene drive through the divine month seemed futile.
However, it arrived on its destined time and like all the years, this year as well, it came with all the love, peace, serenity, alacrity and even better, more bonding.
On day 1 of Ramadan, After suhur (early morning breakfast at dawn for entering into the day of fasting), perched on the rooftop, adoring the soft wind caress my skin while the ethereal sun rays swelled up in the sky, made me appreciate the moments I had forsaken for the sake of my busy schedule and my stressful life, it was then the blissful dawn of my Ramadan.
This Ramadan stopped by with the intentions of more than just spirituality, devotion and celebration, but, with gratitude, awakenings, reinforcing the values, counting our blessings, and with comfort amidst the crisis.
As masjids were shut, homes have turned into masjids, as all the five prayers are being offered in a congregation with the family, yet again bonding the family even closer.
No work, no school, meant more time for reading the holy book of Quran, getting to know the religion better, while spiritually getting more aware and every time feeling more harmony with the lock-down, making our offerings and invocations ardent than ever. For the first time in months, during the Covid 19 crisis, I was pleased with the lock-down, as we all stuck together while fulfilling the chores assigned to each one of us making the rituals of Ramadan more fun and lively. My dad leading all the prayers of the day makes my heart swell up with pride as he succeeds in preserving the true spirit of the month.
Seizing the free time, I instil knowledge all about Ramadan, religion and Quran to my son, which I doubt I would have been capable in a regular Ramadan.
However, there are traditional Ramadan happenings which we miss, like exchanging of dishes with our neighbors, the night prayers at the masjids, the massive tents set up at masjids for free-give-away Iftaars (a meal had after the sunset to open the fast), no new outfits for Eid (the month is then concluded by celebrating a festival known as Eid – al – Fitr). no gatherings and many such simple pleasures.
Ibn Abbas reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the believer is in good shape in every situation. He praises Allah Almighty even while his soul is taken out of his body.”
Source: Musnad Aḥmad 2475.
I am thankful to my Lord, I have this Ramadan amidst lock-down. I guess it’s what we needed the most to comfort our souls, mind and body while awakening ourselves spiritually amid all the stress and adversity.
What is your take on Ramadan during this lock-down, do let us know in the comments below?
Do let us know what has been your comfort element this lock-down. in the comments below?
“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
The world knows it as Newton’s third law of motion, I am sure he wanted to say the Third Law of Emotion. Because, whatever you say or do, it tends to generate a certain kind of emotional reaction in other people. This is very evident in the case of social media celebrities – one tweet or one Instagram story from them and you can see all emotions flooding the comment section.
When I agreed to write about this topic, I was a little unsure if I can do it. Not because I do not have emotions. I do realize my eyes oozing out a teardrop when I am watching an emotional scene and my hand wisely wiping it off secretly before my wife finds out about this and mocks me. I was hesitant because I cannot even name many of the emotions. Just like I can recognize only basic colours on the rainbow and not all the shades on the paint company’s colour catalogue, I understand the basic emotions like fear, anger, and happiness but I cannot clearly identify the other emotions and feelings. Partly because, as men, we do not talk about other emotions much. It is not very common to hear two buddies, at least as I have observed, having conversations like “I am extremely anxious about this situation”, “This made me super emotional, I feel sad”, or “I am feeling ashamed”. Most of the conversations will be about positive emotions like pride, excitement & amusement.
Each one is different. In my case, many a time I catch myself going into an empty cocoon without thinking about anything. I don’t feel anything – neither happy nor sad, neither anger nor fear. I am calm. I think this is the enlightenment state that many spiritual leaders talk about. My wife doesn’t think so. She says I may have some sort of diurnal lagophthalmos. As a man who has not read “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, I refuse to let her assumptions shake my belief. I was thinking maybe I am special until I found this video from Mark Gungor. The response from the crowd says how true this could be for all men. All men seem to get into a box (not the final one, although one day they will).
I am not an expert in this field. If I was, I would be publishing a book instead and charging for it. In order to learn more about emotions I started reading the book, “Master your emotions”. I must say that I was not too emotionally attached to the content and set it aside for another time. Like any normal human being slaving in the Information Technology world would do, I resorted to Dr.Google and asked, “Hey Google, how do men handle their emotions?” There were a bunch of articles both from experts and from wannabes like me. Some interesting ways that men use to handle their emotions, that caught my attention, are listed below.
The feelings may be expressed in the form of physical ailments. It looks like men tend to complain of sudden headaches, backaches etc when they are emotional. Have I done this before? I do get headaches and backaches but mostly they are either because I am sick or because of strenuous physical work like sitting in that uncomfortable seat in the flight for 9 hours. I do feel fatigued on certain days but that’s a rare occurrence. Otherwise, I was guilty of occasionally faking physical complaints to avoid a certain situation or people. Maybe that was my way of expressing disinterest? Is disinterest an emotion? Not sure. Only experts can say.
Men remodel one feeling into other feelings. They tend to convert emotions that they perceive as weak like sadness into an emotion that they feel is strong, like anger. The belief that it is okay for men to express anger but not sadness could be because the former is considered as a more masculine feeling. We have all done that. When I feel incredibly sad about how little common sense few people have, I turn the hulk mode on and smash that like button, err, smash whatever is in hand. I miss my Nokia 3310. Sigh!
Walking away is the default survival instinct. When men find themselves in an emotional situation they tend to walk away from that place or situation to calm themselves down. Be it when you are arguing with your better half or when you are in a group where the stupidity hits the fan. I have walked away from a lot of arguments when I sense that my heartbeat is rising up. But with this Corona fiasco on, not many people have the luxury of walking away from an argument. Please remember facing the conflict and having that argument with your wife is far healthier than going away and risking your life.
Is it really a blog post if you don’t leave a quote at the end to ponder about? Here is the food for thought on handling emotions from an anonymous person that is generally attributed to Lord Buddha (or Mark Twain, if you know what I mean) on the internet.
“Don’t promise when you are happy, don’t reply when you are angry and don’t decide when you are sad.”
“But, I love him”, she cried, as her mom caressed her in her arms.
“Love is not enough, darling.” Mom consoled.
This made her sink deeper into her cradle.
Blink of an eye earlier, everything seemed to be as perfect as a fairy tale.
Then, what went wrong?? was the question.
All of the promises and sweet plans right from the wedding to the old age were pushed off a cliff with the first blow of his slap striking her cheek leaving marks, testifying her pain.
Every bash, every thrust untied the knots of hope bound by his weak promises.
A slight shift in his conduct swiftly changed on to his drastic leap in behavior.
With all this happening, she still assured herself with all the self-confirmation of love among the two and various non-existent reasons for staying. Yet, with every passing day, compromising demanded a piece of her self-respect, dignity, integrity and self-esteem.
To choose between love and self-love had become a walk on thin ice.
In the first option, she would lose herself, gaining just the presence of the other and while choosing the latter, she would gain herself back while her heart remains bleeding for the companionship.
Love had struck her hard before she could fall in love with herself failing her to realize her value and worth.
She never thought she would be in such a dilemma to choose between the two.
Not knowing the value of the latter, she chose the first. Destining herself to aggression and oppression the relationship had to offer.
Only if she knew how essential is realizing self-worth would save her so many of her tears and sleepless nights.
Simultaneously, making it impossible for him to walk over her, treating her like a doormat.
Every relationship, demands more than just love.
Love serves as a spark for the relationship to begin whereas, to keep the fire burning, it should be fueled by commitment, sincerity, respect, self-respect and the list goes on.
Love at one point does not play any role in keeping the souls together, it only happens when there is dedication, loyalty, respect, trust, honesty and dignity.
“The word “love” in the Qur’an appears on over 90 places but interestingly it doesn’t define the word ‘love’ but speaks about the very first consequence of love, commitment. If you truly love, then commit, if you do not commit then your claim of love is not real.” — Sheikh Yassir Fazaga.
Commitment to each other’s trust and honesty.
Promise to be considerate of physical and emotional needs.
Commit to being loyal.
Offer and demand a sense of belonging.
Commit to being available when in need.
Commit to each other’s flaws and perfections, embracing and respecting it.
Committing to respect one’s personal space, ambition, dreams and desires.
The list goes on. Here, are just very few examples of commitment and what it seems like.
The kind of love mentioned above is usually found in fairy tales and novels. But, this does not mean that we end up where we aren’t happy.
I truly believe with commitment comes compromises from both the ends and no relationship is successful without it.
However, these compromises should be on grounds which does not pull you down in any way. Compromise only when it is acceptable to you depending on your priorities and not costing you your self-worth, dreams and dignity.
All said and done.
In the end, If you are not successful in ending up with the person you love always choose a person who loves you. This way, the love received mends and puts your broken pieces together, while being sure that you do not exploit the love you receive.
My first love at the age of 17. Lasted for 4.5 blissful years until we got engaged and his mom passed away. His father came into picture demanding for dowry and never-ending requirements.
My father decided to take a stand. Asked Z, if you love my daughter, then understand one thing, I refuse to pay you any extra penny from now on, only to hear in response, “Then I don’t see a point of this relationship. There’s no benefit for me in it”.
I was devastated, yet pleading and compelling about the past 4.5 years spent together for the next 4 months. No result came out of the pleading anyway.
However, Love is never enough.
Do let me know, do you agree with the post. If not, then why??
We may feel low, we may be sad, we might want to end everything at once, but, hold on….
take a deep breath, look around.
You have a roof to sleep under, what about those who spend their nights on the streets.
Think of those who dig the bins to fight rumbling stomach with hunger, when you frown at the dish you have been offered for dinner.
Let the street beggar cross your mind before you crib about the little cash you are left with at the end of the month.
Hatred towards your parents should be impossible after you feel for the orphan who ends his day in a cold bed without any arms around him.
Fights with your spouse should not last for more than an hour when you see someone cry on the loss of his spouse in a car accident.
Beauty and health are to be cherished and be thanked for, when you know there are many out there fighting terminal illness and various deformities.
A peaceful society is to be thanked for when the news flashes videos of bomb struck and red alert areas, where a person cannot move around without the fear of death hovering above his head.
After realizing various kinds of scenarios around us in society, we have to be grateful for whatever we have.
Everyone has their fair share of ups n downs, but life doesn’t end there.
With every turmoil, you have to realise that this is a phase, and everything will fall into place.
Even if we are in the worst of a situation, there are still blessings upon us to be thankful for and to help us stay positive.
Be thankful and count your blessings at all times.
Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever does not thank people has not thanked Allah.”
Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 4811
Do not give up, stand up tall, start with counting your blessings.
When in the situation, I understand that staying positive and thankful is one of the most difficult things when only negativity is taking a toll on your mind. Still, count your blessings, thank people around you, express your love for them.
Self-motivation is an instant outcome of being grateful for your blessings from people around you and your Lord.
Do not let negative thoughts take over your thinking process, stay positive.
Positivity comes from thanking people around you and counting your blessings.
Keep a constant check on your blessings which proves to be a great source of self motivation.
In the era of the rising need for technology and diminishing value of humans around, parting ways, walking away and turning your back on your loved ones has become a norm.
Relationships being replaced by worldly objects and materials give rise to many homes breaking and scattered families. As a result, the knot tied making you man and wife suffers the most, loosening the knot, hence, then breaking it.
The rise of need to find a short route to success and become quick rich has left the man with no real connection and attachment to the people around him.
Among the numerous reasons for homes breaking, financial standing and ups and downs are universal. As we become more superficial day by day, turning a cold heart to the emotions of others, attract us more to the bling, tinsel and pleasure our neighborhood has to offer us on every step of our life.
As the tinsel of the town attracts, one starts looking for ways to enjoy it to the fullest, leaving him in more need of finances, resources and fake relationships. Attraction, need for more is disguised in the form of ‘so-called’ love ending up in marriages. However, this marriage success rate is 0.
Mixing up the definition of true love with the meaning of infatuation and greed ends up in an array of late realization, broken marriages and broken hearts. The intention behind such marriages plays a fatal role in how the marriage last and end.
“The word ‘Love’ in the Quran appears on over 90 places but interestingly it doesn’t define the word love but speaks of the very first consequence of love…commitment. Islam talks about commitment. If you truly love something or someone, you commit. If you don’t, then your claim of ‘real love’ is not real at all.” – Shayk Yassir Fazaga
True love asks for commitment, effort and sets you free rather than making you feel exhausted and all tied up.
Marriage for money Vows are broken once the finance runs out.
Marriage for beauty Beauty fades with age. Hence, intimacy is lost resulting in minds wandering off the wedlock, in search of a ‘new’ beauty.
Marriage for status Once the status gets low, so does the marriage.
Excerpt Prophet Mohammad SAW said: “If someone comes to you whose religion and character pleases you, then marry him.” (Sunan Al-Tirmidhi, (1084)) Thus, character, religion, virtue should be the base of a marriage followed by beauty, status and wealth.
Eventually, all comes down to our intentions. Intentions set the music we will face as a result of our actions and decisions.