10/10/10: Escaping tribal traditions
I have always believed that God somehow gave me too much more then I deserve, every step of my life he showered upon me his blessings and provided me with ways which helped me grow.
I have another reason to thank God, my birthday on 10/10/10. A day celebrated around the world, people measuring up their achievements and finding solutions to make this world a better place to live.
I was born in a small village in Balochistan, my parents coming from a family where strict tribal rues prevailed I had less chances to be who I am today, but then is when God helped me too and my father arranged my education. Growing up I came to know about all the difficulties my cousins felt while I was free to be educated. they were married off in younger ages, had to follow traditional rules of male dominated setups and some werent even allowed out of the houses.
It had been that freedom, the education that I got that led me to think that I really really need to do something, then is when God helped me too by providing me with opportunities to stand up against ancient negative tribal laws even when I was sixteen years old. I remember being invited to go to Sydney for the first time for the launching of a partnership with Oxfam when I was 18 and that had been beyond my belief, God helped me by making it possible....even when I knew that girls in my community may even be killed if they step out of their village, here I was flying to Australia one winter night.
Then there had been formal discussions with my parents from many freelance advisers about why give higher education to a girl when all she is going to do is marry off and leave, and God helped me by giving power to my parents to face all that, to remove all misconceptions and to make people stop talking. Time came when my going to office and even going out of the country wasn't abnormal for anyone.
I have seen my father afraid many times...sometimes very afraid but still trying to put on a jolly face, but I would sense it and then is when I used to understand the real importance God has given me. My mother had hard times agreeing on a lot of things that I do throughout my life, like my going out of Pakistan, my traveling inside Pakistan, my opposing the negative traditions....even sometimes my making eye contact with my uncles while speaking to them... things have changed throughout time, but they are yet to be made perfect, but I thank God for the process, for the overwhelming difference between those times and today.
As days passed and years went by I realized more and more about how much blessed I am, and how much lucky to have all this when everyone else around me is deprived.
The hardships of my parents have not been invisible from me, I have seen what sacrifices they had to make to help me become what I am today and I had clearly seen them struggling, struggling with change, struggling with society and more importantly struggling with our tribal structure to help me escape all that and be free to choose what I want to be.
Today as I celebrate 10/10/10 as my 22nd birthday, I cant help going through my life as it were a film or a series of episodes passing my vision and I am made to realize that yes I had been blessed, and there are not just a few things gifted....its a whole package of luck. My life have been full of joy, miracles, amazing pictures, beautiful people, happy moments and loads of love and smiles.
Even though life has already gifted me by giving me wonderful friends and supporters like you all, but as a gift to myself I am going to be slow from this year... I am going to stop and celebrate the blessings not only provided to me but to people anywhere in the world. I am soon to initiate a Chicken Soup section in my blog and would love to have you all among the celebration, because life is beautiful and there are little details in life that make us believe that.