Tuesday, March 31, 2015

UMEDA’S LOVED ONES

UMEDA'S LOVED ONES 
Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Chapter 1

Financial problems can lead men down paths they never anticipated. The eighty-nine-year old Umeda faced the torment of loneliness and longing for her family, when her offspring left their native village, Akil, in pursuit of better wages.

It was evening time. Umeda was sewing a quilt sitting on her cot, when her grandson, Amir, returned home from the city. He said to his parents, “It was so hot. I was barely able to sell twenty newspapers today.”

His father, Rustam replied, “It is no problem. We have enough money to buy the food we need for the night.”

His grandmother, Umeda added, “If you need money, I have some. I sold the quilt which I had made a few days before.” Amir approached her and hugged her.

“Oh nanny, my old friend, you are very handy,” said Amir.

Umeda said, “I have always been at your service!” While they were talking, her elder grandson, Wazir, entered the room. He was angry and tense.

“Is everything all right? You look worried,” observed his father.

“I am sick of this village. Whatever money I earn, I spend half of it on van fare when I go to the city and come back. Why don’t we leave this village?” Wazir asked them.

His mother Mominat said, “We are living happily here and it is our native village. We have lived here for ages. We can’t leave it.”

“If you can’t, I will leave it,” said Wazir.

Umeda had six grandsons. Wazir convinced four of them to leave the village and move to the city of Larkana. Umeda’s son Rustam had no choice but to accept what his sons wanted. So he said to them, “We all will go together and we will leave the village.”

They thought that in the city they would earn a lot and that they would also save more. Umeda’s family decided to sell the village house and buy a new house in the city. Umeda was upset. It was appalling for her to see the house, which she had built with her own money, being sold. She was not willing to sell it.

Umeda had three daughters; one of them lived in the village and the other two lived in the city. She thought if she ever wanted, she could come to the village and live at her daughter’s house. They sold the big village house and bought a small one in the city on the road which led to their village.


THE TRUE FORT

The True Fort
by Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Your support was
The true fort.
Through which I fought
And got all that I sought.

With your prayers
All the arrows of the enemies
Missed in the airs.
And God did wonders.

My mother, when you are together,
Why I ask for prayer form other.
Mother, I know, if all the world turns against,
You will still be there.

Raise voice against injustice
This is what you have taught.
Happiness in my life you have brought.
With your love, I live my life to the fullest.

MY VALLEY

My Valley

by Rizwan Ahmed Memon

If I show you my valley,
You will like it more than any.
Trees, ponds, and rivers are its beauty.
Birds sing songs in flowery fields.
You will like it more than any.
Trees, ponds, and rivers are its beauty.

A PERFECT ECOSYSTEM

A Perfect Ecosystem
By Rizwan Ahmed Memon

You hide me in your arms
When it is cold.
Your long chats
Make winter’s nights short.

Your tender touch
Nourishes my dried skin.
With my kiss your moles on your face
Have become bright like stars.

Slumberous wind shakes
Your hair as branches sway.
The winter, you, and I
Have made a perfect ecosystem.

HE WAS NOT WHAT HE IS

He Was Not What He Is
by Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Some are cheated by friends,
Some are cheated by strangers,
He was cheated by his loved-ones.

Some are born silent,
Some choose to be silent,
He was forced to be silent.

Some are taught to be tolerant,
Some become tolerant,
He was made tolerant by time.

Some are taught to be immoral,
Some choose to be immoral,
He was forced to be immoral.

The injustices of the world
Made him what he is,
Otherwise he was not what he is.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Let Me Survive

Let Me Survive
by Rizwan Ahmed Memon 

(This poem is for those people who have suffered or are suffering from wars in their countries.)

Bring me peace
So I can live a little more;
Bring me flowers
So I can feel life’s colors. 

Destroy me no more
I want to live more;
Let me live
Let me survive.

Oh, people pray for me
That God may give me patience;
My loved ones are killed
I am made orphan.

Oh, humankind have mercy
Fear from God;
And think we are humans like you
Let’s not destroy one another.

WAITING FOR YOU

Waiting for You
by Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Today, I am waiting on the bank again
In the hope that you will come.
The waves are raising high
They are indicating that you are coming today.

Oh, I can see a boat
Which seems so little from far.
My heart-beat is getting faster
As I am waiting for you on the bank.

HER HAIR, HER FACE, HER MOLES

Her Hair, Her Face, Her Moles
by Rizwan Ahmed Memon
Last night
As she came
On the roof,
Stars became dim;
The moon lost
Its all brightness.
When she opened
Her long braids,
Clouds started moving.

The time
She went back
The stars recovered;
The moon shined
And clouds gathered.


One day,
I asked them
Why was that?
The stars said,
The moles on her cheeks
Are brighter than us.
The moon replied,
Her face shines more than me.
And the clouds concluded,

Her hair is darker than us.

LIKE BREATH IN MY BODY

Like Breath in My Body 
by Rizwan Ahmed Memon

You are like flowers in spring --
You are like waves in the river --
You are like moon at night --
You are like sun in the day.

You are like shadow of a dense tree --
You are like an oasis in the desert --
You are like a bird in the nest --
You are like a fish in the pond.

You are like a butterfly on a rose --
You are like leaves on a tree --
You are like fragrance in a rose --
You are like Rambo in the rain;

You are like breath in my body.

SHALL I WRITE ABOUT YOU?

Shall I Write About You? 

by Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Shall I write
About you?
Or the king
The kingdom
The rules?

You are more worth writing
Than the king, the kingdom.
Your beauty, your manners
Are far more pure
Than the laws, the rules.

Let me write about you and explain
What you are to me.
You are my world,
The laws, the rules,
The king, the kingdom.

ALL I KNOW

All I Know

by Rizwan Ahmed Memon

I am a mortal;
And No mortal is perfect.
Errors I may make;
God is for me at a stone’s throw
It is all I know.

Although I have mind to ponder;
I may get beguiled.
Devil conspires to make me foul
It is all I know.

Adam made a blunder years ago;
He sought forgiveness and gave it another go.
God forgave Adam and made all systems go.
It is all I know.

Do not do good all for show;
Good and bad will be revealed;
After we go.
It is all I know.


To guilty ones paradise Angel will say no;
Your good deeds cup is too low.
Now it is useless if you bow.
It is all I know.

FRIENDSHIP REMAINS IN THE HEARTS

Friendship Remains in the Hearts

by Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Friendship, when relation breaks,
Remains in the hearts;
Hurts, when friends are strangers,
Life becomes empty, but goes on.

Friends, leave memories when they are gone;
Their voices, laughs echoes in the ears.
Regrets, wishes, reside in the minds,
Till we are gone, too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Our Success


Our Success

Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon


At some point in life man understands the true and exact purpose of life. When a man is young, he considers money to be the paramount goal in life. He sets out in search of a job as soon as he graduates, and money means the world to him. He measures his success merely in terms of wealth.

With the passage of time, after experiencing different kinds of circumstances, he realizes that there are natural rules and regulations for the universe. No man gets more than what is destined for him; no man dies before the time set for his death. Thus, it occurs to him, that there are so many things that are important beyond his job and the accumulation of money.

God created this universe and set laws for it. If He had made all the people rich, no one would have cared for others. There would have been no one to do Godʻs work in this world. Likewise, if He had made all human beings poor, the balance of human life still would not have been equal. In order to make the circle of life revolve, God made some people rich and others poor.

Being poor, is not a crime. In fact, God has called those poor, honest workers His friends. In the condition of poverty man feels the pain of his fellow beings quite well. His eyes shed tears if they see the suffering of other humans, and his heart remains soft like a rose. On the other hand, a rich man might not feel the same pain. He might not perceive the suffering the same way. His eyes might not get teary; his heart might have hardened into stone. This is not the case for all rich men, but often the rich are considered and observed to be insensitive to the suffering of other fellow beings.

If the rich man has palaces, wealth, and attendants all around him, it does not mean that the poor man will die. Food, clothing, and shelter are needs of all humans. Some are privileged to have the best of these and others do not fare so well, but the life of all people goes on. At the end of the day, nobody takes anything with them when they die. We leave all that we have in this world and cross the great divide alone. All our treasured wealth is passed on to someone else.

In this day and age, a baby’s profession is often chosen before the baby has scarcely opened her eyes for the first time. Whether she is destined to be a doctor, a lawyer, or an engineer is decided the day she is born. As she grows up she will hear thousands of times what she is destined to become. To be successful in the field that her parents have chosen for her is all that matters in her life.

Some children are permitted the freedom to choose their own professions as they mature. They give their finest efforts in pursuit of their dreams. Setting goals is not bad thing. Acquiring skills and knowledge is not bad thing. These are signs of a wise and practical person. Pursuing a livelihood is necessary, and all men must, but a man must not be greedy and must not spend all of his life merely accumulating more and more wealth. Success and failure are parts of life. A man must be content with what God has made him; with what God has given him. A man’s real success is achieved when he has endeared himself to Allah; when he is a good human being; when he embraces the virtues of humanity, sympathy, modesty, and generosity. A man can consider himself successful when he has a good moral character, good habits, has a righteous fear of God. This is real, everlasting success.

A lawyer, doctor, or an engineer may work for years, but one day he will retire. If today you are the president of your country, tomorrow you will be succeeded by someone else. Worldly success is temporary. A really successful man makes the most of what God has given him. He employs all his God given powers for the welfare of others. He shares the knowledge and wealth that he possesses with other needy people. Thus, he makes himself nearer and dearer to God. By these measures he lives in the hearts of his fellow beings. Only in this way can he achieve perpetual success in this world and in the hereafter.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Words
by Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Words make us happy;
Words make us sad.
They hurt;
They heal.

Words make us realize the truth;
Words make us lose the right track.
They beguile;
They guide.

Words express emotions;
Words hide the deepest wounds.
They show;
They suppress.

Words create peace;
Words bring rage.
They soothe;
They annoy.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

(1) THE FLOW OF THOUGHT

Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Every night we have many dreams while sleeping. When the nights are long and cold, we often wake up at midnight. Hundreds of thoughts come into our minds, some good and some bad. We think about our past, present, and future, as well as the things and people we have gained and lost. Those long, cold nights give us chances to ponder over our lives. Ramazan, an unmarried salesperson, went through this every night.

One night, as per usual, he was alone in his bedroom. Trying to get sleep, he tossed and turned on his bed, but he couldn’t fall asleep. He got out his laptop and used Facebook for a while.

“Facebook can’t take the place of real chat,” he said to himself while closing the laptop. He lay on his bed again and stared at the ceiling. A thousand thoughts came to his mind. He thought about his childhood and his present days as an adult.

“Those days of childhood were the best days. This age of adulthood is dull,” he said softly. He took his touch-screen mobile phone and played his favorite song from his childhood.

“Why don’t I dance to this song as I did in my childhood? Where is the entertainment?” he asked himself. He thought about how he wandered the streets with his friends as a boy.

“I laughed a lot at even minor jokes, but now my lips hardly move when I listen to any joke,” he said to himself. “I felt happiness when I had only five rupees as pocket money. Now I earn thousands of rupees, but I don’t feel that happy. I wish I could have stayed a child forever. Where are those friends and jokes? Where is that happiness? Why is adulthood so dull and colorless?” he was still asking himself as he fell asleep.

While asleep, he had a dream. He was in class at his primary school. His English teacher was giving a lecture. The teacher told them that he was going to talk about life.

The lecturer said, “Look, dear students, today you are children; tomorrow you will be grown-ups. Today your parents look after you; tomorrow you will look after your children. This chain of life has to go on. You have to make every day count. You have to live every day to the fullest. Life has three main stages: Childhood, adulthood, and old age. At every stage we are different. Every stage has its rules, and with every stage we change. When you are a child, you are interested in toys. You have no responsibilities, but when you are grown-up you have many. Responsibilities don’t necessarily lead to a colorless or dull life. When you take on responsibilities, you become mature and learn more about life. You have to look after your parents, earn money, and get married. Marriage is an important part of adult life. When you are a child, enjoy life. When you become a grown-up, carry out your responsibilities and do what an adult should. In your adult life you lose interest in many things, such as toys. After adulthood, you will reach the stage of old age. This is where you slowly and gradually lose everything, such as your eyesight and teeth. So spend your youth in such a way that when you look back on it from your old age, it will make you proud. You should be proud of your past. Dear children, see the sun; as it rises from the East and it will rise from the same direction when you are old. Time will be the same; same days, same nights.”

Ramazan’s dream was cut short when his alarm clock started to ring. He woke up and looked in the mirror. He said three sentences: “Make each day count. Marriage is an important part of adult life. The chain of life has to go on.”

Thus Ramazan’s dream changed his life. He got married to Nazia, his cousin, and he spent each day as though it were Eid. He looked after his parents well. His parents were very happy to see their inactive child active again.

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Respond to the story:

Why was Ramazan struggling to go to sleep?
What did he think of the Facebook chat?
Where was he in his dream?
What was he told in the dream?
What three sentences did he say when he woke up?
Who did he marry?
How did his parents feel after the new change in Ramazan’s life?
What is the message of the story?
What impact does this story have on your life?
Do you go through all these thoughts at night?
What changes will you make in your life from now on?

Friday, March 13, 2015

(10) CHAPTERS OF INJUSTICE

 Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

Chapter: 1

It was a sunny day. Robbi was so delighted to win the prize in her class for an essay competition. Her teacher told her that he was sure that one day Robbi would become a great woman.

Robbi said to her teacher, “God willing, I will become a doctor.”

The teacher replied, “God wills that. I know because He has given you all the abilities which a successful doctor should have.”

Robbi went home and showed her mother the prize. Robbi’s mother was happy too, but her father didn’t seem very happy about it. Robbi’s father was a drunkard; her mother had to pay for her education. Financially, she made ends meet by doing needlework. Besides going to school, Robbi also helped her mother with household chores and with needlework.

Years passed and Robbi eventually made it to grade nine. One night Robbi’s father said to her mother, “Robbi has now grown up.”

Her mother said to him, “No, she is still young, but why do you say that?”

He said, “Now Robbi won’t need to go to school anymore.”

Her mother said, “No, she still has to study. She wants to be a doctor.”

“A doctor, impossible!” he said.

“She is the most clever girl in the class, why can’t she be a doctor?!” asked her mother.

Her father replied, “Because the time has come for her to go to her real home.”

“Are you thinking about Robbi’s marriage? She is still too young,” she said.

“Well, sooner or later she has to go; the sooner the better.” said Robbi’s father. He added further, “I have already talked to my old friend. He has a son who works in the fields, that will be better for her. I don’t want to talk about it anymore; that’s final.”

In the morning when Robbi was getting ready to go to school, her mother said to her, “Stay at home today.”

Robbi said, “Why, dear mother?”

She said, “I have a lot of work today and I want you to help me.”

Robbi said, “Alright, if you say so, I am not going.”

So on that day her mother told her that her father was going to get her married. Robbi’s heart was torn into pieces. Her mother said to her, “It is inevitable. I can do nothing; nor can you refuse. If we go against your father’s will, we will both be in trouble. So it is better to be quiet and endure.”

Robbi’s dreams were shattered. She felt a storm inside her, and she wanted to cry so loudly that her voice would break the sky. She fell asleep weeping and sobbing.

In a few days, Robbi’s father married her off. Now she wandered aimlessly through life as if she were already dead.

Chapter: 2

Robbi was only 14. She was studying in the hope of becoming a doctor when her father married her off. She was married to Zaman, who worked in the fields. All of Robbi’s dreams were shattered before they could come to fruition. Her husband treated her as if she was a servant or slave. He punished her, abused her, and harassed her. He commanded her to look after the buffaloes and cows. She milked them and grazed them near the bank of the river a short distance from the fields where her husband worked.

Robbi gave birth to Rabia at the age of 15. Robbi and her daughter were weak due to Robbi’s pregnancy at a very young age. Early marriage led to many detrimental effects upon Robbi’s health. It had been more than a year since Robbi had seen her mother. Robbi’s father never allowed Robbi’s mother to visit Robbi; neither did Robbi’s husband.

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and months turned into years as Robbi continued to bear all the injustices that her husband administered to her. In rural areas of Sindh, a province of Pakistan, it is common for men to treat women in this way. Very few women raise their voices against the oppression. Robbi would never resist, but she had decided that she would never let her daughter fall victim to this abuse.

One night, Robbi said to Zaman, “Saeen, Rabia is now five. We need to send our daughter to school.” (In Sindhi the word ‘Saeen’ is used for someone who is admired or respected.)

“School? Don’t you know in our village girls are not allowed to attend school? She will never go to school,” her husband replied.

“But Saeen, she must get a primary education, at least, so that she can read and write our native Sindhi language.”

“I don’t like your explanations and answering back. I said she will never go. Now get out of my sight!” he shouted angrily.

Young Rabia was watching and listening to her parents arguing about her from the window. In her heart, Rabia hated her father because she had seen him beating her mother many times. One day, Robbi went to graze the cattle, as usual. Normally, Rabia would stay at home with her grandparents. Her grandparents had never cared much for Robbi or Rabia because they had been disappointed when Robbi did not give birth to a boy. On this particular day, Robbi decided that she would begin to take her daughter out with her to graze the cattle. Robbi had learned reading and writing in Sindhi when she was a child, and she also knew a little bit of English. She decided that she would educate her daughter herself while the cattle grazed.

One night, Robbi called her daughter, “Rabia? Rabia? Where are you?”

“Ami, I am here with grandpa.”

“Won’t you let me read you a new story tonight?”

“Oh, yes.”

That night Robbi told Rabia about her plan. Robbi had originally thought that Zaman would do the same for their daughter as Robbi’s father had done for her. “At least I have gotten my primary education. I have to do something for my daughter, otherwise in this male-dominated society my daughter will be deprived of even basic education,” she whispered to herself.

The next day, as usual, Robbi woke up early, milked the buffaloes, churned the Lassi, and fed the cattle. When she served breakfast to her husband, she told him, “Saeen, I want to take Rabia with me. She will learn grazing the cattle and cutting the grass. She is not going to school, so she better learn the household chores.”

“All right. Keep a close eye on her,” he agreed.

After Zaman had gone, Robbi and her daughter left to graze the cattle. Along the way, she gave Rabia two hundred rupees, which she had earned by selling the milk. The money was used to buy two pens, (one red and one blue), a notebook, and a first grade text book from the village general store. Robbi also gave her a palm straw bag, in which she packed her lunch. Rabia purchased all these things and put them in the bag.

When they reached the river, the cattle started grazing, and they both started the lessons. On their first day, Robbi taught her daughter some letters of the alphabet of their native language. For five years they studied in this way; hiding their books from everyone. Usually, children do their homework at their homes, but Rabia did hers at the river bank. Rabia eventually learned to read and write the Sindhi language, and a little bit of English.

Stay tuned to RizwanAhmedMemon.blogspot.com to read more of this story.

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True to his nature the man closed one more chapter of injustice with Robbi.
I wonder how many Robbis would yet be killed, sold and kidnapped etcetera! That so called civilized man should know that the woman is also a human. She breathes the same way as he does. Her heart beats as his, and like him she has emotions, too. Let her live her life!

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Respond to the story:

Should Robbi have raised her voice against her father’s decision?
Are men superior to women?
What is the message of the story?
As a male, do you treat women like Robbi’s father and husband did?
How can women be equal to men in a male-dominated society?
What impact does this story have on you?
What can you say about the author’s efforts to support women and prevent oppression by men through these stories? Write an email and tell the author at this address RizwanAhmedMemon@gmail.com

Thursday, March 5, 2015

(9) THE LUCK-STRICKEN

                Author: Rizwan Ahmed Memon

It was March 3, 2005. I was reading a novel when someone called at the door saying, “O Molvi Bashir wo!” I understood who it was by the voice and the name he used while calling. He used the name of my father. I answered him, “Aayo.” which means ‘coming’ in Sindhi. He called two or three times. His name was Haji Gul, a cobbler who wandered the streets mending the shoes of the villagers. He asked me if there were any shoes that needed repairing in the house. I went and brought some shoes that my mother had put aside to be repaired. After he had fixed the shoes, I asked him, “How much money do I owe you?” “Whatever, any amount,” he replied. He repaired shoes for the villagers and took very little money from them. In his youth he wasn't poor and mentally unstable. However, he became so when he lost his wife and son.

Even though he knew my father had died many years ago whenever he came over he would call out my father’s name. I feel like he invoked my father's name deliberately. I felt a kind of happiness when I heard my father’s name. Perhaps, the cobbler also felt good when he used the name. My mother had told me that the man was very dear to my father.

The village children often teased Haji Gul. They threw stones at him, so he mostly used to sit under the trees at Padhro, which was an area near the park in the village. I used to cross that area when I would come back from school during summer. I often found him lying on the earth with a palm straw bag under his head as a pillow. He kept thread, needles and other shoe repair tools in the bag.

In those hot summer days, he found comfort in the dense shadows of the trees. Many times I wanted to sit with him there and chat, but I never did because of the villagers. My mother often told me about his life. According to her, he was a prosperous man. He had two sons.

Once he went to Mecca for pilgrimage with his family. His wife went missing during that trip. No one could find her. The villagers said she had run away with an Arab man. Only God knows what truly happened, but the loss of his wife was devastating for him. He came back to Pakistan with his sons. He had barely recovered from the sorrow when one of his young sons was run over by a donkey cart. His son died. This is when Haji Gul lost his senses.

Since that day, happiness turned its back on Haji Gul. His tears dried. He stopped taking baths, changing clothes, and talking to others. Under those trees he talked to himself, laughed and wept.

Eventually I finished my education and after four years I returned home from university. I had attended university in Jamshoro. For many days I hadn’t heard anyone call “O Molvi Bashir Wo”, so I asked my mother about Haji Gul. She told me that he had died two years ago.

Still, that call echoes in my ears when I read novels in the morning or during summer evenings. In life, we are surrounded by many people who have great stories to share. If we look beyond their faces and deep into their eyes, we can get a sense of their tragedies. If we pay close attention to their voice, we can feel the pain in their hearts. Instead of making fun of these people, we should learn from their lives and actions because life can bring difficulties upon any of us