My ‘wonder women’ mind map

The story within.
Inspired by the fable, Huma, a mythical bird of Iranian legends and fables, and continuing as a common motif in Sufi and Diwan poetry. Although there are many legends of the creature, common to all is that the bird is said never to alight on the ground, and instead to live its entire life flying invisibly high above the earth.

Often I wonder if what i do with life is enough. Whether its the perfect house or a perfect workplace or the perfect car or the perfect vacation or raising the perfect child or being the perfect child or the perfect wife.

Do we really have it all sorted?

Not really. Perfection is very subjective and while we are at that… overrated.

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For me each day is women’s day as I go back to the drawing board in search of my perfection.

I have to my benefit the company of many WONDER woman who pop in my wonder women mind map… let me show you.

This brave woman who is a young widow with 2 adorable girls to raise; who just a year back had a perfect home and a perfect husband only to loose him to a deadly cancer.

This resilient woman who got married early and resumed studies at 45 only to specialise and go on to become a psychologist. oh and she is also a grandma.

This talented woman who has not studied but is skilled as a beautician and is an entrepreneur of sorts and who runs her household amidst a nonchalant husband.

This outlier of a woman who broke barriers and not only studied but also worked in a claustrophobic city where women are mere home commodities, in addition to running a house and raising very able kids.

This strong woman who too is a middle aged widow who took care of her husband like a baby when he was diagnosed with motor neuron disease and lived only 5 years after that.

This Herculean woman who at 70 does not ever say no to help anyone, be it her husband, her children or her grandchildren.

The list does not end here. But to each woman above, I cannot tell you all enough how much you have impacted my life and made me who I am today. And for you who are reading this… Happy Women’s Day to you and to all the Wonder women in your life.

 

The writer is a social entrepreneur focused on the areas of financial inclusion, enterprise development and diversity. She can be reached at noorulain.zafer@gmail.com

‘I jumped off the cliff…’

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The title should not come across as too vile. Let me assure there is no viewer discretion needed. (smiles)

I belong to a family in which girls do not generally work. Its not about that it is frowned upon, it is more about having a need. Growing up as kids I always thought that females working equated to necessity, in case a father or a brother is unable to provide for the family or that you are not getting married. It never really occurred to me that you could work for a career.

I thought that I too would follow my mother’s and sister’s path; get married around 20-21 and then the same old handi-roti (cooking at home).

It was not till IBA happened. i saw a whole new world.

yet there was still a doubt: would I break the barriers at my home? would I become the outlier?

till then I  had seen two phenomenal women in my household work; one as a necessity and one for keeping busy… and I saw what it did to their natures; they had somehow a more confident air around them.

And so begun the journey, a journey of which I too wasn’t too sure about myself. Here was I, fresh out of grad school in a new city I knew nothing off. I embraced the change and went on the quest to do ‘something’ for myself. I had worked before, but that too as a mere fact for avoiding boring summer holidays. That ‘something’ was not a thing I was sure about. I was getting paid less and spending more. BUT I was learning a new thing… every. single. day.

Noor giving the presentation on ACCA Brand
First presentation in the professional world

I grew a little and then a lot and then I realised… oh wow.. I AM serious about a profession. I knew what I was worth and I knew it was becoming a part of me. It made me more confident, more money smart, more appreciative of my father’s hard work, more supportive of my mom; trust me if I say it was an AHAAA moment, it would not be wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It made sense to me, this empowerment, this sense of accomplishment. And guess what, some how, along the way, the remaining puzzle pieces also fell in place; from getting married at 27, to having a baby at 28, to carrying on work, for living in a joint family, to travelling internationally and within Pakistan… it all gelled well.

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This guy in the background is my rock; my husband.

I learnt the mechanics of time, of managing my life, of finding a purpose. It might not be all 100% but trust me even 90% is good enough for me… and guess what….. it all happened because i jumped off that cliff…