Monthly Archives: November 2010

Mother UAE, Happy birthday

When I was young, Dubai was that mystical place from where beaming uncles came from, loaded with gifts. While the whole family would wait jostling for space in the crowded visitor’s room, they would emerge, pushing trolleys overflowing with swollen airbags. The rest of the day would be spend amidst amazing toys , exotic sweets, dazzling perfume bottles and shiny attires . The alluring smell emanating from these FOREIGN items still lingers in my mind, an inseparable constituent of yesteryear memories. In those days I was under the impression that Dubai was a city built in the sky. Didn’t uncles have to get into flying planes to go there ? I had shared this idea with many of my classmates and had succeeded in creating a huge following for the City in the clouds concept. When I came here in 2002 and saw the skyscrapers reaching for the skies, I couldn’t help smiling. I was correct after all.

What does this country mean to me ?

• It has provided us a secure haven and have taken us closer to our dreams.
• It has provided us lot of extremely good friends, from around the world.
• It has taken us closer to god.
• It has provided millions of my brothers and sisters a better life.
• It has provided solace to many poor and needy in my community.
• It was built partly by the sweat of my brethren.
• It has graciously hosted my family for 8 years- 23% of my life.

No wonder, the fluttering of its flag and the strains of it national anthem create the same feeling that the symbols of my own nationality create in me.

No wonder, I instinctively get happy when it progresses…. When it proudly wins matches, builds the biggest and the best and finds ways to beat the treacherous tides of the economy.

No wonder, I sincerely pray for the health and longevity of this nation and its visionary leaders.


Our dearest foster mother …..Live on……Grow bigger and better…..Go Higher every day. Our prayers are with you.

Happy birthday

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Any Troubling Memory? – Scramble it now!!!

Does any unpleasant incident from the past come back to haunt you regularly? Does it stir up feelings that rob you of precious comfort? Don’t worry. You can scramble that memory now till it stops hurting you. I will share this magic with you through a personal experience.

One of my projects in the bank ran into rough weather recently. A very high profile senior Manager was inconsolably irked. Though the provocation wasn’t deliberate at all, the person was really angry. I had to step in and apologize profusely to soothe the inflamed nerves. The explanations and requests from our side and the aggressive and defiant posturing from his side left a lasting impression on me. This incident would jump back into my conscious when I would be least expecting it and would leave a very bitter taste in my psyche… till I used this neat NLP technique.

You need to have the following props ready

• A recent photograph of yours-It shouldn’t be a close up snap
• Some loud merry music- from your laptop or mobile phone

Follow the below steps to scramble the incident away

Take a close look at your photograph for a few minutes. Notice what you are wearing.

Imagine that you are sitting in a movie theatre, looking at the screen. See the picture in clear detail. Notice the color of the seats and your clothing.

Shift your focus to the screen. Imagine as is you are watching the scene standing behind yourself. See the back of your head and the screen.

Relive the experience on the screen. Run it from start to finish. Notice the manager and hear his sound. Notice yourself in the incident and watch your expressions. You will experience the familiar uncomfortable feelings as you watch the movie.

Now turn the movie from color to black and white.

Take the central theme- which would be the manager, and shrink him. Make him a tiny replica of himself.

Start running the movie in your mind’s eye in reverse. Start from the last frame and go back to the first.

Do this at double speed.

Convert the manager’s voice to something funny- Mickey Mouse’s voice is a good option.

Give the miniscule manager some really funny clothing. Let him have a clown’s face and attire.

Run the movie in reverse quite fast.

(You will notice that you are smiling now)

Finally switch on the loud and merry music and watch the movie in reverse mode again.

Once you have done this 5 to 6 times, get up from your seat and walk around a bit. Take your mind off the movie.

After a while, try recollecting the original unpleasant incident. In all probability you will not be able to. If you still can, you need to repeat the above steps a few more times. Repeat and Test till you cannot bring the old incident up again.
The whole process takes less than 10-15 minutes. This owes its effectiveness to the technology of NLP, which has actually unraveled the instruction book of the human brain.

The concept is simple. We think predominantly in terms of pictures and sounds. Once we bring these memory bits together, they generate the same old bad feelings in us. Scramble this jigsaw by changing the color, size, characteristics and sounds associated with the incident and the jigsaw wouldn’t fit as before. No jigsaw, no corresponding feelings….. Free at last.

Watch this video on youtube. It will motivate you more to try this technique.
Click Here
If you need any help, feel free to call me on 050 3423552

Go ahead and be Free……

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Never Loose your Cool

“Why do I lose control of myself so often? Why doesn’t my celebrated experience and wisdom hold me from flying off the handle?” -Questions posed by a well read and extremely gentlemanly confidant.

“Blame yourself not, blame thy amygdala”…. I replied.

“Amy who”?

“Amy, the hot tempered roommate of Corty and Thalam”, I said

“Which room…..? ……Corty???? What the #$%^$# are you talking about? “He roared!!!!

Before he demonstrated his “Taking off sans control”, I decided to stop being cryptic.

“My friend, every bit of Information that comes to our brain comes to the Thalamus. From there it is sent to the Cortex and the Amygdala. So the room that I was talking about is our skull and Amy, Corty and Thalam are the three brains that we have”, I elaborated.

“So?” he was defiant.

I went on- “Well, Amy and Corty are very different brains. Amy stores only the dangerous experiences that we have ever had- that too, in vivid pictures. Corty stores all experiences as pictures, both dangerous and pleasant. Each time we face a stimulus, the information is sent by the Thalamus to both the brains. If Amy recognizes the picture, then Corty is blocked and good old Amy takes control of the whole body”

“What is wrong about that?” the flyer interjected

“There is nothing wrong. Amy is our primitive brain also called our animal brain. When it is activated it prepares our body for either FIGHT or FLIGHT. Your senses quicken, adrenaline flow increases and you are ready to face any emergency. This is vital for our survival. All our quick knee jerk kind of responses owe their creation to AMY”

“Then, what does Corty do?”

“Cortex is our new brain or the thinking brain. It allows us to analyze the stimuli and carefully choose the apt response. It is the Mature and Reasonable counterpart of AMY”.

“Thanks for the class. But what does this have to do with my temper and aggression?” he impatiently enquired.

“In ideal situations, Amy recognizes truly dangerous situations and automatically generates the response to it. By blocking Corty out, it is ensuring that we don’t lose precious time in analyzing and weighing options. This is our in- built survival mechanism. But the problem lies in Amy’s tendency to do partial recognition. In this case, Amy prematurely concludes that the situation is dangerous by wrongly interpreting some of the characteristics of the stimulus and forces the body to respond as if the stimulus is a life threatening situation. So the body responds unfairly to the unreal danger. This unreal danger could be a friend making a casual suggestion, someone treating you unfairly, your spouse nagging you or any of the multitudes of irritating situations that you encounter every day. If these situations are captured by AMY, then your body responds the same way it would do when it sees a snake or a hedgehog. This is why you are flying off the handle so often”

“Let me see whether I have got you. If I am able to stop my Amy from getting activated, then my Cortex would analyze the stimuli and allow me to generate the apt response for the irritation”, he explained.

“Bingo!!!!!. Easier said than done though. If Amy gets activated, it sometimes takes up to 48 hours to log off and involve Cortex. This is why no reasoning and rationalizing works when you are angry”

“And in all these cases, my primitive brain was making me react as if they were life threatening situations, when Corty dear could have handled it so differently. But tell me, how can I disarm my over enthusiastic Amy and empower my Corty?” he asked.

“Just keep Reading my Blog”, I quipped.

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Passive for own sake and Assertive for Other’s


We had an interesting conversation in our office lately. We were discussing the relative merits and demerits of being Aggressive, Passive or Assertive. One of my colleagues raised a point that I could readily identify with. “Some people get away with being aggressive all the time. Others are expected to be submissive always. The moment they start showing signs of assertiveness, the whole world pounces on them and demonizes them”. I couldnt agree more.

These three behaviors are functions of one’s courage and consideration. If you have only courage and no consideration, you become a ruthless aggressive. If it’s all consideration and no courage, you become a weakling Passive. The right balance of both makes you an upright Assertive.

Its strange how the world (could be family, social circle etc) teaches itself to accept and tolerate Aggressiveness from some. “That’s his nature”, “She is not that bad”, “He just speaks his mind”, “Barring this aspect, she is a gem of a person”. The list of phrases symbolizing complete understanding, accomodation and justification drones on….
On the other hand the ones who choose to show consideration are easily and readily thrust into victimhood. People exploit them. They have to always sacrifice their interests for others. The world doesn’t show any restraint in hurting the interests of these push- overs. But whenever these victims, tired of being absorbers start to cry foul and stand up for their rights, the world unanimously position them as outrageous villains. “How dare he?”, “See how she has changed?”……

Let’s forgive the world for getting its concepts wrong. Aggressiveness and Passiveness are both ineffective stances to adopt. Assertivess is the only right nature. However you cannot change yourself and the world overnight. If you have taught the world to ill treat you as a passive weakling over many years, you will need all the time in the world to re position yourself correctly and you will have to don the mask of a villain before wearing the celebrated robes of a hero.

Having said this, I would like to propose a totally different approach.

Abu backer (RA) was once abused by an unbeliever in the presence of the prophet (PBUH). Abubacker (RA) kept a smiling face as the man ranted on. The prophet merely watched them with a peaceful countenance. However as the jibes became too scathing, Abu backer started to counter the man’s abuses. But he also noticed that the prophet looked disturbed. After the man left, Abu backer went to the prophet and enquired about his discomfort. The prophet replied that when Abu backer was silent, the angels in the room were retorting to the man’s abuses. But when Abu backer himself started the rejoinders the angels stopped and left.

So even if you have all the courage and ability to stand up to the opposition and blow them away,choose not to. Then beings more noble and powerful than you, will take up cudgels on your behalf. In this case you are not showing passiveness traits. You are merely choosing to delay gratification. You resist the urge to shoot from the hip merely to get rewards for your restraints. And you can be rest assured that your assailants will get devastated in the process.

But won’t this give wrong messages to the world? Won’t they deem you feeble? Won’t they increasingly try to take advantage of you?

I believe that they will. But we get the solution for this challenge from our Role Models. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and their blessed companions were utmost passive and forgiving when it came to attacks on themselves. They suffered silently without lifting even a finger. But when the honor of others was at stake, they were totally non- compromising. They rose in unison to protect the weak and underprivileged amongst them. They fought relentlessly till persecution was no more.

Let’s do the same. Let’s patiently endure attacks on our ego with a smile. But let us exercise firm assertiveness on behalf of our near and dear ones. We will ensure that they get their dues fairly. By doing this, they will be protected. And what is more….The world will also get to learn about our strong side.

And I am sure that they will refrain from hitting us personally… lest the strong side come out in the open.

So let this be our mantra from now on…..Passive for own sake and Assertive for Other’s.

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It’s time to submit

EID Al Adha- one of the strongest symbols of obedience is just around the corner. As I write this, millions of our brothers and sisters are fulfilling Hajj, the 5th responsibility of a believer. I hope and pray that we get the opportunity to follow suit very soon.

On the day of EID, we remember the acts of obedience performed by Prophet Ibrahim and his family. God ordered Ibrahim to take his wife Hajar and their son Ismael to an uninhabited, barren, distant land and leave them there alone. He submitted and obeyed. When Hajar realized what was happening, she cried out, “Ibrahim! Are you going to leave us in this valley where no people live?” She repeated the question yet she received no answer, so she asked him, “Did God order you to do this?” He replied, “Yes.”

So she said, “Then God will not let us perish.”

After a while Ismael began to cry due to acute thirst. The worried mother began running all around the place seeking respite. God answers her prayers by making a stream gush out near Ismael’s feet. Till this date, every visitor to the holy mosque in Mecca re- enacts the actions of Hajar. They run between the hills of Safa and Marwa 7 times and then goes on to drink from the wells of Zam Zam. The very spring that had quenched Ismael’s thirst is continuing to soothe the parched throats of believers even today. As I stood at that very spot and moistened my lips with those droplets I imbibed a valuable lesson from Hajar,- If you put your trust in god and strive relentlessly, you will find success at your feet. God honored Hajar by making her an eternal role model of submission. A beacon for millions around the world to draw inspiration from.

Furthermore, when their son Ismael became older, Ibrahim received a command from his Lord to sacrifice him. He submitted and so did his son. The family of Ibrahim was a family of obedience and submission. They were tested and tried again and again, but the result was always submission and obedience.

Eid is an annual reminder that this life is a test and we must be obedient if we wish to be successful. Once a year, believers of every ethnic group, social status, and culture are reminded and given the message: Surrender to God, submit to God. Are we hearing this message?

Just as Prophet Ibrahim was tested throughout his life to see if he would submit or not, so will we be tested to see whether we submit to God’s commands or refuse! Know that toils, struggles, and hardships will accompany our quest to obedience. But if we obey, we will be rewarded with true and eternal success.

Ibrahim submitted, Ismael submitted, Hajar submitted and through their submission they won eternal glory. And now, we must submit. What are we waiting for? This is the message of Hajj; this is the message of `Eid. We have heard the message.

It’s time to submit…

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A Tiny Test of Faith

After long deliberations and consultations, weeks of apartment hunting and fiery negotiations garnished with lengthy discussions and arguments, we decided to leave our Home of 8 years behind and move to a bigger and costlier new House. The most significant question in our mind was- Are we also succumbing to the soulless materialistic lust that outrace every one of us some time or the other ?. Have we also begun to confuse standard of living with hugeness of expenditure?. As one can sell anything to one’s own mind, we convinced ourselves that our decision was timely and apt and we moved out.

SEWA, Municipality, Cartons, Drills, IKEA, Home Centre, Pick up’s, Movers, Dust, up and down trips, bargaining, pleading, slogging………………Phew !!! it was finally over. Move over shifting…. Welcome to better living.

The relief was short-lived. Just two days into this new state of blissful existence, trouble surfaced- In the guise of a monstrous service room located just below my apartment. The room had a million electrical giants that heated up our tiles considerably. The reading on the AC stubbornly refused to dip below a particular point forcing the room to take ages to cool down. The cleaner who came to help us tidy the place clandestinely let the cat out of the bag- Two previous tenants had vacated the apartment since the heat made it un livable in summer.

CRASH…… Painfully crafted Dreams tumbled down. Fastened heart beats. Palpitation. Headaches

• Will this cause health issues?
• Should we move out ?
• No !!! can we endure the ordeal of shifting again?
• Will we lose lot of money in the process ?
• How can I communicate with this guy who speaks very little English ?

Now this is the very phase that I want to elaborate today. Our faith and conviction was tested slightly and we failed… miserably that too. I am a person who walks around preaching that the good lord knows best . From a hundred lecterns I have advised others that if we endure patiently, constantly asking god for help, and doing the right things, everything will eventually turn out good. I flaunt a phrase that I created myself- Anything bad that happens is a substitute for something worse that could have…..

But in those two days, we realized that we were merely paying lip service to these beliefs and that our conviction in this area was really wafer thin…..and this realization was frightening. It took just a minor issue to defeat us and leave us confused, clueless and disheartened. Though my heart was trying to remind me of these facts, it wasn’t sounding very convincing.

But what happened next was really amazing. Though we remained dazed, we started receiving refreshing help from all possible quarters. And when I say, all possible quarters, I am not exaggerating. My cousin Amit, Uncle Mohemadali, Friend and Mentor Adv. Backer ali, Colleagues- Mahmoud Ramadan, Khaled Al Salamouny, Ahmed Al Shabasy, Hasseb Shaikh, Dr. Syed Tantawy, Hassan Balgouni, Maher Al OLiwi , Seif, Muna al ali….

Each one gave me us a patient hearing. They consoled us and rushed in with their support and help, in their own special ways. To make a long story short- We finally forced the real estate guys to relent and they have started the process of fixing thermal insulation pads on the roof of the service room, a corrective action that will solve our problem. YIPEE!!!!!!!

Quite relieved, we went out to the park located next to our building for the first time. As Amaan was cycling around the park, Jia was having a great time in the children’s play area. As my wife and I positioned ourselves alert fully near the slide to protect young Jia, I mused…..”Look at how Jia is playing, feeling fully secure, confident in her conviction that we would prevent her from getting hurt. Why did we forget that Allah is there to protect us, from every harm ? Why didn’t we rely on his love and strength which is manifold more than ours?”

My wife answered quickly -“How can we be sure that allah will protect us? We have not been the most ardent believers. We are not perfect. We disobey him in so many ways every day”

My colleague Muna had a story to tell, in reply. When an ardent sinner says “Labbaikhallahumma Labhaik (Here I am at Thy service O Lord, here I am)”, The lord rejects his call. When he repeats this call, it is rejected again. But when he says it the third time, the lord orders the angels to open the doors of mercy for him and the sinner ceases to be.

So even if we have the most un glorious of track records behind us, lets rely on the lord completely and ask him for help from now on….. And I am sure that all the hurdles looming large in front of us, will just crumble and fall.

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