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Author: Mino

Voices of Pakistan

As a Pakistani-American residing in the US for over 40 years, I used to go regularly to Pakistan to visit family until recent years.  After the tides turned against Pakistan in superpower politics, and the violence increased in the big cities especially, I began to worry about traveling there due to personal fear.  So when I found myself at Dubai airport this January taking a flight to Lahore to visit my favourite uncle and mentor Dr. Abdul Raouf, I was both excited and scared.  Would I find the driver? Would I reach the house safely? I did find the driver, and as we drove through the rather clean streets of Lahore, I began to feel a peace and a calming feeling washing over me.  I remembered stories and movies of how these very same people experienced the bloody Partition when the British left and yet survived it.   The streets must have been littered with blood and bones at that time as the British army retreated leaving a wake of sectarian violence of a scale never seen before.  And maybe whenever, if ever, the American army retreats, they will survive again, and focus on re-building not tearing each other apart. I felt that vision despite the daily news of murders, assassination and bombings.  And as I sat in the peaceful garden outside the guest room at Chachajan’s house listening to birds chirping in the mango, orange and banana trees, I felt at home and truly at peace.  This is what peace could look like if we humans decided to aspire to our higher selves, not our animal brains, and this peace is all possible if only we put our minds and hearts to it.

For all mothers

If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again


“If I had my child to raise all over again,

I’d finger paint more, and point the finger less.

I’d do less correcting, and more connecting.

I’d take my eyes off my watch,

And watch with my eyes.

I would care to know less, and know to care more.

I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.

I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.

I would run through more fields

And gaze at more stars.

A Return to Love

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

Istanbul Day 3-4

The WISE conference is finally over after 3.5 days of a whirlwind of workshops and presentations all facilitated by me as the MC! I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to serve this network of amazing women who moved all of us by their courage, their intellect and wisdom and their spiritual beauty! 

Day 2 Istanbul

Day 2 Istanbul

Today I met with the Program Committee of WISE at breakfast and we finalized the program for the Conference.  I decided to take a taxi back to Eminomu, the European side, to have some alone time at the mosques and the bazaars and just to watch people, which is so much fun.  The taxi dropped me right in front of the Yeni Cami, New Mosque, next to the Galata Bridge.  As always, the pigeons were there in droves and I saw a blind man feeding them.

Istanbul Arrival October 12 2011

Day 1 Istanbul

As I landed in Istabul airport, I heard my name being announced on the speakers to come to Information Desk- that was really nice and reassured me.  I was walked over to a hotel shuttle and did not realize then that I would get a grand tour of the city too! As the airport is west of the European side of Istanbul, we headed east on the highway next to the Marmara Sea. I was impressed with the number of parks along the shore, including open-air gym equipment. I saw men and women biking, walking, even ellipticals in the open air watching the seascape beyond. What a neat way to work out I thought!  As we approached the City Center, Eminomu, where all the famous sights are, the van driver negotiated the hilly, curvy and narrow alleys skillfully, while we passengers worried he may hit a bike, person or even a wall or window-that’s how close it felt. As we climbed up the alleys that lead to Sultan Ahmed Mosque, my favourite one, we saw one boutique hotel after another, and suddenly he parked in front of Obelisk Hotel, where Sonia, Sheema and I stayed last year! I remember how we could hear the azan of the Blue Mosque at namaz time.