So you need to buy a gift?

If you are anything like me  you know how hard it is to find a perfect gift. It is one of the most daunting task possible. I find shopping centers hectic places, and mostly I get stressed out if and when I can’t find a nice gift. For the last few years, I have tried to give more meaningful gifts to people. It needs to be useful to the recipient and I have to be sure that it will be used by the recipient and not passed onto someone else. My pursuit for that perfect gift has led me to discover a lot of crafters who make the perfect personalised gift for any occasion.

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Although, sometimes a gift basket with generic products is enough but for people who are really close to you, adding a few personalised extras go a long way.

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In my search I came across a lovely online craft shop, La Vie En Rose.

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The best thing about La Vie En Rose is that they not only have a range of products for you to choose from, they are willing to make changes according to your needs and budget. You can also bring your own designs to the table. They have everything from couple shirts to coffee mugs and from key chains to notebooks. And they can all be customised according to your needs.

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The owner of Rose En Vie La, Rameesha, is a young entrepreneur who listens to her clients and works hard to cater to all their needs. She is extremely enthusiastic about her work and this is what she said about her work,

“I was nineteen and on my gap year. I wouldn’t say I was sad about being home but I was very uneasy and unsatisfied with how my life was.
So one day I just randomly thought about starting what I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time. Just hitting it in the air, entirely dependent on what if.
I messaged my entire friend list that if you need help finding the perfect gift, I’m the one you contact. And a minute later, I got my first order.

It’s been almost a year, my venture is still infant, growing up slowly and gradually. But I couldn’t be happier with it!

The best feeling in the world is when you put your heart and all your effort into something and the other says a few words of appreciation. It takes away all the exhaustion.”

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Please note this is not a sponsored post, instead a recommendation after great research.

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Sanju

Please do note that I might be a little biased because I have always been a huge fan of Sanjay Dutt.

#spoileralert
#sanju

I have always been a huge fan of Sanjay Dutt. For reasons unknown to me. The only reason I can think of is that all the adults in my life loved him because he was nargis’s son. I personally have never watched any of her movies but apparently she was almost like a goddess.

And then came the time when he was jailed. I still remember it was soon after the release of Khalnayak which I had on VHS and had probably seen a few hundred times. I remember how people in Pakistan simply assumed that he was targeted because his mother was a Muslim. I don’t remember if I believed that but he still remained a favourite for a long time. Still, the reason was completely unknown.

Over time, Sanjay Dutt’s life became less interesting for me. There were more important things in life to worry about and it was only the first teaser of Sanju that made me look for reasons why I might have liked him. I still like him, just not too interested anymore. He is like this giant with sad eyes and a gentle face. But that’s not enough to like him.

So I used my trusted friend, Google and found out about his first marriage, his drug addiction, how he overcame it, his daughter Trishala and how he abandoned them both while his wife was fighting for her life against cancer, how he cheated on her with Madhuri Dixit and how he almost became the biggest superstar in India and then also how he ended up in jail.

He made some awful decisions in his life. He was irresponsible. He saw what he was getting into and still stepped into it with open eyes. Without realising that his actions, no matter how respected his parents were or how successful he was as an actor, had repercussions. He failed to realise that his wrong decisions will not only affect him, they will affect everyone associated with him.

Now, I do believe that he is not a terrorist and probably he only had illegal weapons at home because someone asked him for a favor. But I do believe that he was friendly to some terrorists and paid a hefty price for it.

Now coming to the movie, it has left me completely confused. I have spent my life liking Sanjay Dutt, making up excuses for him. Now, I am not too sure how I feel about him. Sanju is a movie that tells the story from Sanjay Dutt’s perspective. From his perspective, Trishala, his daughter from his first marriage is so insignificant that she didn’t even deserve to be mentioned in an almost 3 hours long movie. Also, why is cheating on a girl friend or a wife portrayed to be so cool. 308 girlfriends…. That’s something to be proud of as per Sanjay Dutt. And his reasons for commiting all the mistakes are so weak. The reasons I made up for him were far more convincing. Also, the second half is like forcing everyone to believe that he was like a puppet who people used for their advantage and that he was only victimised due to the pressure built up on police and the courts by the irresponsible media. Really?

The movie would not have worked at all if Rajkumar Hirani was not the director or anyone other than Ranbir Kapoor was playing the protagonist. It seems Ranbir Kapoor only got into the industry for this role. He has done it so well that till the end of the movie you pretty much forget how real sanjay dutt looks like. I don’t think he will ever be able to get a role better than this one, anyway.

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If you are a Sanjay Dutt fan and got confused after watching this movie, you will probably just forgive him again for being such a jerk. Because… Well I don’t think I’ve still figured it out but our generation is probably just supposed to love him. And when you love someone, you don’t need a reason.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet and still reading despite the disclaimer, you should be watching the movie rather than wasting time here. Especially if you have kids who are already in their teens, please watch it with them. They need to know that drugs and bad company can ruin lives. And everyone is not as lucky as Sanjay Dutt that no matter what, people still shower him with so much love and affection.

Also, I don’t know why but I have a feeling that there will soon be a movie about how innocent salman khan is.

Ti’s The Season For Weddings

As time is progressing, pakistani weddings have become bigger and larger. Now people want designer wear and creative dance floors only to have a wedding that not only the guests will remember for a long time but will also look better than any other on Instagram and Pinterest. But with pomp and aplomb comes a heavy price that young, newly married couples can hardly afford. Here is a list of 10 trendy items that you can have for your wedding which will not cost you an arm.

1. Customised mehndi/mayon jewellery

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2. Customised paranda to go with your mehndi/mayon jewellery

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3. Little matki- can be used to keep ubtan or just as a little prop to spice up the decor

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4. Customised diyas

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5. Mehndi Thaal

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6. Potli Pouches

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7. Nikah pen and rasam key pattey

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8. Doodh pilai rasam glass

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9. Arsi mushaf mirror

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10. Gift boxes and baskets

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Please note this is not a sponsored post but a recommendation.

All the pictures used in this post are provided by Huma Ashraf. She is a crafter who has turned her passion into her very successful business venture. She is a single mother of a young girl and with her hard work has become a source of inspiration for a lot of other girls around her. She can be contacted via her Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Gift To Give This Eid

Please note this is not a sponsored post.

While Eidi envelopes will never go out of fashion, gift baskets have become a trend over the years as well. Gift baskets are a blessing for a person like me who can take hours and hours to think of a gift and still not be happy with it.

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The best thing about gift baskets is that you can tailor your basket to the theme, person or type of event.

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This Eid you can give a customised Eid basket to your loved ones and there are so many reasons for it:

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  1. They are quick, easy and low cost.
  2. They can contain the kind of quality of products that fits your budget.
  3. They are fun to open.
  4. Can be personalised for the recipient so you always know that your gift will not go in waste.
  5. Usually include products that can be consumed easily and can have both edible and non edible items.

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The pictures have been graciously provided to us by Zara Hayat. She specialises in customised gift baskets for all occasions. I have personally used her services. She listens to the client, is quick with her response and her finished product is of high quality. She can be contacted via her Facebook page.

 

What not to do when meeting relatives a d friends over this Eid ul Fitr

As we approach the end of Ramadan and still try to guess when exactly Eid is, let’s try and make this Eid beautiful not only for ourselves but also for others around us by knowing what not to say.

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None of us mean to say the wrong thing but sometimes we just do especially when we meet our extended family after several months. Sometimes we meet new faces as families expand, or even unexpected guests. Now that I am older, I also see myself sometimes passing the irritating comment, ‘Arey masha allah tum kitney Barry ho gaye.’ It happens to everyone. We often end up asking questions that seem entirely innocent to us but can hurt and/or irritate the other person emotionally.

In the list below I share some of the questions that are not as polite as we might think they are.

What not to ask people this Eid ul Fitr or any other party? 

  1. Do not ask anyone when they are getting married. People might be looking aggressively for an appropriate rishta and sometimes finding a suitable rishta is not easy. And no, it’s not suitable to tell them about certain single women who you think might be extremely lonely. There is no point in showing the grim side of not being married. Sometimes, they do not want to get married any time soon and they have other plans. At times it gets so infuriating that many young adults do not want to join their family during ‘House hopping’.
  2. Do not ask others when they might be having kids. Infertility issues, miscarriages or sometimes just not planning a child might be the reason for a couple not having a child. Other people reproductive health and decisions are none of your business. You don’t know who is dealing with infertility or grieving miscarriages or struggling with health issues. You don’t know who is having relationship issues or who might not be in a position to have their ‘next’ child straight away. You don’t know your seemingly innocent question might cause some people grief, pain or stress. This is one question you must stay away from.
  3. Do not comment on anyone’s weight. You can simply say, ‘It’s so good to see you.’ We will surely meet someone who might lost a bit too much weight or someone who has drastically gained a lot of weight. Weight is sometimes not just about being lazy or over indulgence. Whether you believe it or not, it’s not necessary at all to tell someone about how bad they look due to their weight. They probably do have mirrors at home and know exactly how they look. Their weight is their business. Some people are confident and secure in whatever their weight may be. Some people are struggling. So it’s best to avoid any conversation that revolves around weight.
  4. If you meet a young child, do not ask them who their favourite family member is or who they love most. Love is a huge word and it’s meaning can’t possibly be understood by a young child. Also do not force them to eat something. Nut/gluten allergies are more common than you might think so let the parents choose what they want their kids to eat.
  5. This one is also a basic etiquette that you must have when meeting a young child. Do not say, ‘hug/kiss me and I will give you a treat.’ Please do not invade a child’s private space. They are still learning about trust and do not tell the child that its alright to bribe for certain ‘favours’

So yea, that’s about it. Sometimes empathy is more important than anything else. And the best thing about it is that it doesn’t cost anything.

A Corridor into History

“Let’s get a new engine from Peshawar” and so begin a weekend of adventure. Our faithful red Joy with whom we had traveled the length and breadth of Pakistan had finally stopped in the middle of the road. Simply given up, died. But ours is not a family, not even a nation that gives up. We sought to rejuvenate our eleven year old bride and Peshawar was chosen due its centuries old bazaars which sell every conceivable thing under the sun, its close proximity to our home and of course a couple of friends and places that awaited our presence. It was spring; the weather helped us endure the non-air conditioned, slow journey as our baby was pulled behind the bigger car. Later that night a set of friends suggested a visit to the famous Karkhano Market, a hub of duty free imported nonsense at the gates of the Khyber agency but to make the visit more meaningful another set of friends recommended to extend the visit along a road as old as time and  a journey as ancient as man.

The next morning we piled into the bigger car as our bride was getting a new life in the Kabuli market and onward it was into the Khyber agency and then the Spin Ghar or Safed Koh mountains. Crossing the gate into the agency the road is modern but the bazaar on both sides is rustic and consists mostly of very small grocery stores and very large restaurants with cut up carcasses of lambs hanging outside, their boards showing the now cut up lambs gamboling shyly in vast green fields, ready to be fed to a multitude of meat lovers  in search of authentic Khyber and Shinwari cuisine. In the midst of this haphazard bazaar we crossed the famed Bab-e-Khyber a symbolic entrance to the ancient pass which is also illustrated on the ten rupee banknote. Immediately after it towards the north of the road we were confronted by the famous outpost of the Jamrud Fort whose foundation stone had been laid by the Sikh General Hari Singh Nalwa  in roughly 1836  in commemoration of the Sikh victory and subsequent takeover of Jamrud. A largish fort is now surrounded by fortress like houses on all sides. The population of Khyber still builds high walled houses although more recently constructed and filled with modern amenities.

Through the Plains of Jamrud the road starts to climb and curve around the mountains. The giddy ride was made even more amusing by the amount of modern shops including a pizza parlor with a free home delivery option. The Khyber agency was trying to keep abreast of world too. The valley started closing in on both sides and one could now imagine how armies of invaders all the way back to Darius had traversed through these very ancient walls of the prehistoric mountains. Alexander, Ghengis Khan, Mongol and Muslim rulers had all come down this path in lust of the jewel called India. Millions of caravans had measured its dusty roads as it has been an integral part of the eventful and imperative Silk Road and remained The road into subcontinent until the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the country’s subsequent downfall. Although it currently still is an important trade route as well as a NATO supply route.

The British had built a railway line on which until about a decade ago a steam engine would trudge tourists along its historical turns. However a recent takeover of the agency by armed insurgents has resulted in their blowing up of its sturdy tracks in some places. The government it seems is still busy with other things it considers more important than preserving a potent heritage and an important trade route. The interrupted track still snakes along the road as we move in the entrails of the Spin Ghar range, several tunnels stand with their gaping mouths, each has something written on its entrance, relics of their British builders.

We also pass a large bulbous Stupa on top of a hill to the north, guardian of the pass’s Buddhist past.  Shagai Fort then looms large on to our south, an extensive fortification overlooking the road. The pass then narrows down further, to as legend has it, so slim a path that two laden camels could not have passed one another, this point is called Ali Masjid. The road has now been widened but the steep walls of the mountains still rise ominously close over the road. The road now crawls in the belly of the valley as the Ali Masjid Mosque and Fort look down upon it. The strategic placement of the fort is clear, here was where (if they could be) the conquerors would have been defeated and many were while those whose names live on made it through. Local legend that the Prophet’s (PBUH) cousin Ali led a congregation at the location of the mosque; hence its name. The valley walls are decorated by the shields and the insignia of the valiant’s who have fought here over the past two centuries. Until now a slight river had been flowing along the road but now turns south and the cliffs are dotted here and there by green shrubs and spring wildflowers.

The narrow file then suddenly opens up into a flat plateau; this plate is the ancient city of Landi Kotal. On our way to the border we bypass the city and continue up the road until we see an fort like building atop a cliff overlooking the road. East of the border this is the highest point, this structure is Michni Post. We stop for a wondrous view of the pass as it opens into a large valley.  From the viewing room of the post we enjoy peshawari kehwa and drink in on the horizon, the still snow clad mountains around Kabul while below us the truck and trailer dotted road snakes into Afghanistan. Further west of the post on the mountain side we can see Charbagh Fort and Taimur Lung’s prison, the children shrink in horror as we are told of the steep passage in the prison fitted with blades on top of which enemies were asked to confess or fall in. We also find out the origins of the Khyber Rifles the formerly paramilitary force organized by the British which still maintains law and order in the pass and the agency. The Muzail, a type of rifle was the weapon of choice in the area and when the British thought it prudent to organize the locals into a force to be used in the Afghan wars they asked everyone with the rifle to register; hence the birth of the Khyber Rifles.

It was a treat to view the valley from the calm of the well maintained post and in the care of our very generous hosts. It is a clear day which adds much charm and depth to our view. After which we took a small sojourn on Afghan soil as we crossed the border and turned around. Next stop was the famed Khyber Rifles Mess back at Landi Kotal. We had to ask quite a few people until we finally made it to the mess. Passing several restaurants with ready to barbecue tikka’s wrapped in sheets of fat. It was lunchtime to be fair, hence the drool worthy observation. On entering the Mess gates we were greeted by lush green lawns, an oasis in the center of the dusty frontier town. Peacocks strutted around as long legged cranes sheltered from the sun in green groves. By the mess entrance we saw a huge centurion tree which had been put under ‘arrest’ by a drunk British Officer one night and remains to this day ‘under arrest’.

Inside the mess had an old world charm of dark wood paneling and starched white waiters with perfect manners. Decorated with hundreds of old pictures it required quite a few hours of study which we did not have at the time. We did however view the suite that had been occupied by HRH Diana Princess of Wales on her visit here in the early nineties. Lunch was typical mess fair (our taste buds were still tingling for the fatty lamb we had viewed outside) but the silverware, the crystal ware and the service was like eating in a royal palace; a pleasant experience that added to the old world feeling.

After that it was goodbye to Landi Kotal, not able to visit its famed railway station we had once enjoyed on a former trip, leaving something for next time we turned towards Jamrud and the waiting Karkhano market then towards the vibrant city of Peshawar. Until next time when we will come to sit by the abandoned railway tracks eating barbequed lamb and Shinwari Karai; the pass will remain haunting our memories time and again.

 

 

Neurological Disorder Vs Mental illness

If you’ve ever visited a hospital (and I mean really taken your time to explore it!), you’d know that the neurology ward is completely separate from the psychiatric one. They’re never adjacent; heck, they might not be in the same building even!
Two terms that are often used synonymously by many of us are psychiatric illnesses and neurological disorders. While it’s true that the crux of the two relates to the brain, they are in reality two entirely different set of disorders and diseases.
Psychiatric or mental disorders are a group of conditions that primarily affect the personality of the individual without solid diagnostic evidence. Neurologic disorders, on the other hand, often present as a physical pathology of the brain such as a tumor that can cause not only personality and psychiatric symptoms but also other related motor and sensory symptoms.
Studies have shown that psychiatric illnesses usually involve the frontal lobe of the brain as well the visual areas whereas in neurological disorders, the pathology is widespread and not limited to a specific region.
While the two conditions are easily confused and used interchangeably, recognizing what you might be suffering from is crucial for an effective recovery. Get in touch with your physician today if you experience any symptoms of a brain disorder whether psychiatric or neurological!

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