The Undefeated Kingdom

Dear All,

My dream this year had been to publish my first book (a novella) and I’ve done it, against all odds. I’d feel honored if you go ahead and show your support by downloading this book and giving your feedback on how you liked the book.

http://www.amazon.com/Undefeated-Kingdom-Fatema-Tuz-Zohra-ebook/dp/B01ENXOLG8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461388772&sr=8-1&keywords=the+undefeated+kingdom

Thank you!

 

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Born to be – A Legend

One life. That’s all I have. One life. Time and again this thought crosses my mind and too often, I don’t entertain it because then I know I’d have to stop making excuses and especially stop procrastinating. It’s just like, when I know I love a show that is about to end, I don’t just watch but absorb every dialog, every scene and as much as I can of its essence. When I get attached to the characters of a book, and I am nearing the end … I absorb every line written in the book. When I am on a drive with someone, whose company I love… and I know the ride is about to end, I will absorb every detail of the moments leading to the end. When we think of “the nearing end” we maximize our living. Interestingly, God and the present limitation of modern science trolled us where unless and until you do not have certain kind of diseases, the when and the how of our death is pretty much uncertain. I have met a few people in life who are so afraid to die that they forget to live. In this piece, the assumption is, we are all going to die sooner or later (till the day science comes up with other alternatives). Through this article, I hope you bravely accept and remember that we have only one shot at life and every day you don’t try to work towards your dreams is a day that could have made the difference to the grand summation at the end.

In today’s day and age it is easy to find inspiration; look around, the internet is full of it. Many successful people didn’t get there by accident. I know, I know, you can point some outliers. But we have to assume we may not get that lucky but it is pointless trying to find out why we aren’t the lucky ones. When I listen to a successful person speak or when I read an article about a new debutante writer, a stand-up comedian, an entrepreneur etc. I get the feeling that they know how they have one life to make their dream a reality. Sure, we all want to have EVERYTHING – the job we love, a fulfilling relationship, lots of money and more and all without burning some midnight oil, without the dysfunctional family confrontations and the pain of making tough calls. I wish, believe me I wish that was the case but that’s not how it is. And truth is, we may not be successful in everything and that shouldn’t dishearten us. This world is full of people who have dreams they would like to live but while the dream is free, the hustle is sold separately. What I want you to know is, life is never going to be comfortable. And if it is, then either you have gracefully accepted the discomfort so much so that you don’t focus on it anymore, instead you have your eyes on the prize or you are busy doing the convenient and easy. The one thing about dreams are that they are realized outside of your comfort zone. I always dreamt of being a certain kind of woman, sure I didn’t know how exactly I would get there but being “her” was something that would make my life, worth it. And today I am closer to being her, I didn’t think of it until recently. The kind of woman I want to be, isn’t born like that by birth… she is born out of loss, of pain, of strength and of grace in misery. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to get there but I knew who I wanted to be and that led me to what I really love … which is to write and I want my work to connect, to add to and to motivate my readers. I have a dream of becoming a Pulitzer Prize winner and a winner of the Noble prize in literature. Sure, it’s a dream way out there but this morning as I was making my coffee I thought, “Every day I don’t write, every day I delay working on the projects I believe in, every day I make excuses for why a project is still incomplete… I may not realize it now but I may be losing out on that one day that could make a difference in the big summation of things.”

In conclusion, every day gone by is irreversible, every day gone by is a day lost towards the big summation but every day that I remind myself that I have to be true to my skill, my art, my purpose and my belief is a day that adds to the culmination of all that hard-work I put in. Forget about lost time, the time is now. People can steal my money… but for what I know I am worth and for the One who takes care of me… none can dare touch my legacy. Bottom line, every single day matters… every single effort matters… and my death… my death will only accelerate my legacy.

The Mighty King And A Shepard

A mighty arrogant king sat on his throne,
Summoned his ministry to let it be known…
Every thing under the sun belonged to him,
Then where was happiness, and why was it Grimm?

He raised his voice and said, “Where is happiness? And why isn’t it mine?”
Until he heard the hymn of a Shepard, who walked by.
“He has what I don’t! There is something he knows.
Present him, at once!” Ordered the king.
The hymn grew louder, while the whole castle was listening.

“My king, what can the king of the land need,
from a poor Shepard such as me?”
“I want the happiness you possess.”
The ministry saw the Shepard’s smile lit,
as he said, “you can have it”
The king baffled at the Shepard’s response,
“But how?” He asked without breaking the glance.

“It’s simple really… You just have to look within!”
The king thought the Shepard was joking.
“Name the price of your happiness boy!”
Said the king with pride.
“You can have the gold my king,
For money can’t buy this mysterious thing.
You really have to look within…
My king, there is no one who can escape,
The ruthless truth and it’s mighty blade.
Forgive me, for being the bearer of truth,
I don’t wish to end up with broken tooth.”

The king laughed at the Shepard’s humor,
Decided to promise him a favor.
“I grant you the permission to be cruel…
For this king didn’t get to rule…by being a delusional fool.”
“My king, your ego, your pride, your arrogance,
Has blinded you with ignorance.
For your zeal, your passion, and your victory,
You will be know as the greatest king in history.
You can’t win happiness, the way you win war,
The more you chase it, it keeps going far…and far.
Hold on a moment, and look out of the window,
Don’t just know, but feel the wind blow.
Release yourself of any worry,
For your soul, let your body be a monastery.
Free your soul.
Free your soul.
Free your soul, my king.”

The king sat on his throne frozen,
Like, he was whole after being long broken.
He was the king, the powerful, the mighty…
But the Shepard shone a light on him from the Almighty
It changed the king, it changed his reign,
He went from ruthless victor – whom they feared
to a merciful king – whom they revered.

-FTZ

Born To Be – A Conqueror

Dear Person,

There are days when I’m restless in anticipation of What-Ifs? And the truth about restlessness is, it only happens when you are not in the present. There is nothing you can do about the past and the future won’t unravel itself before its time. So thinking about what could have been? and what will be? is pointless. One thing that helps me out of this unfruitful feeling is, writing. So, as I write to you, I am taking a step forward in centering myself where my body, mind and soul are aligned.

Conquerors aren’t afraid of consequences. They acknowledge its existence and face them. And they make decisions, knowing well that some decisions (how ever challenging) have to be taken. Person, our battles may not be the same but the ultimate war is. We are all here to accomplish some dream that seems impossible, we are all here to overcome our weaknesses and build our strengths, we all – in our own right wish to leave a legacy behind. But none of this means anything if your body, mind and soul aren’t aligned. What does the alignment of body, mind and soul feel like? Like Nirvana, like euphoria, like peace, like happiness and like the shield of strength that no one can get past. You can be amides raging conflict – unnerved because you know your goal – you have your eyes on the prize and not one shred of doubt because you have your priorities in place.

Dear person, there are some things you have wanted to do in life but never had the courage to take that one bold step and move towards it – May be you wanted to be a film-maker, a musician, a writer, an entrepreneur, a scientist, a political figure, a fashion designer … you have limitless possibilities! If you have found or when you find out what you enjoy, what you are good at and how you plan to reach your goal (this is whole another letter… I’ll hold my horses)… you will know, a conqueror without a goal is a clueless person. Many potential conquerors become martyrs by laying their dreams in a grave dug by the society, cultural sensitivities, family’s need etc. They chose to become personal heroes to their family and children. While, tolerance is a beautiful trait to have and by tolerance I do not mean acceptance or compliance; non-violent defiance is an act of leading change.

Finally, person… hold yourself in a high regard and allow people the option to be a part of your conquest or not. You don’t need someone who doesn’t want to be a part of your conquest and you don’t need someone who doesn’t want you to be a part of their conquest. Walk-out or let them walk-out. You have your own destiny to fulfill – you don’t need people – you only need God. In conclusion, three take-away:

a. Be in the moment – each time you get restless, bring yourself back in the present.

b. If you want to be more than a personal hero – if you want to be a conqueror, don’t be afraid – face the consequences.

c. You only need God.

With Love,

FTZ

Born To Be – Empowered

Dear Person,

There is a lot that can be said about, “Born To Be” and summing it up in one short letter would be a monumental task but worst of all, it would rob us of the opportunity to possibly grow. Which is why, I have decided to write you a series of Born To Be letters with the faith that, as I help myself, I can help you in the process. This year one of my resolutions is to nurture a healthy mind, body and soul and I’m ready to work for it. You often want immediate results or changes from yourself and life in general, and even though it would be FREAKING AWESOME to change over-night, it almost never happens else I’d be a mermaid, a unicorn, an actress, a teacher, a dancer, a fashion designer instead of an engineer and a Project Analyst. But don’t feel disheartened because even though you cannot change over-night, step by step – one day at a time, you can evolve. While, evolution itself isn’t an easy process, the positive and negative remarks that come after that is the true test of this evolution. This letter is me reminding you to speak to yourself and constantly remind ourselves to be empowered.

“You will never be fit.” “You’ll be fat forever.” “You are a loser… You can never be successful.” “You’re cursed.” “Each of your decisions are wrong and they are going to cost you.” “A time is going to come soon when I’ll be unapologetic when I say, I told you so.” Yada yada yada … You get the point.

There are three sources you’ll get this sort of information from: someone who isn’t important, someone who claims to love you and finally, the person who has the most impact on your life – you, yourself. And I want you to know, if it doesn’t empower you, don’t believe them. You were born to be empowered, act like it. Its okay to seek approval because it feels good, but it can be disastrous to not know – who not to seek approval from. As much as the loved ones want the best for you, only you are living your situation – they can empathize but only you can feel the pain. And finally, the only one who can save you, is you. I went to bed listening to the voice in my head saying, “You CANNOT even stick to your diet two days in!!! Seriously, half a gallon of ICE CREAM because you felt like your life is a mess… and now, you feel double guilty! Moron!

As soon as I caught myself thinking that, I told myself, “Okay, it’s done. It won’t happen from now on. I count down from 5 and this guilt is gone.” I said that to myself knowing once in a while I may falter but I cannot really evolve if I didn’t falter and then correct it. Here’s the thing, time and again you will falter person. And people who tell you negative things cannot drown you just like people who say positive things don’t make your dreams come true. The “key” to what your heart feels, your mind believes and your body reacts to is what you take and what you make of it.

You have a dream? Chase it. And while you are chasing it, empower yourself. You believe in something? Hold on to it. And while you are holding on to it; let them call you crazy, you empower yourself. You failed in your attempts? Try – either try again or try something different but keep TRYING; let them laugh at your failure but you, you empower yourself. I cannot accept you were born to sink in what “they” think of you, what you “should” be, “how” you “must” be etc. because it’s convenient, it’s the norm and because it’s culture. You were born to empower yourself and break-free from this dogma that boxes you into misery and then calls you crazy. Attitude is half the battle. You were born to be empowered. Believe it. Live it. Period.

Love,

FTZ

I Am A Daughter

I am a daughter ,

Of an uneducated woman, who taught her,

Of people with ambitions,

About societies limitations.

I am a daughter,

Made out of the pride of her father, who taught her,

To live with her head held high,

No matter what anyone implied.

I am a daughter,

Born out of love and misery that taught her,

You may have to fight for your right,

Defending honor like a knight.

I am your daughter,

And I am not your son,

I may be special,

but still not the special one.

I am a daughter,

For the sake of love, don’t become my dictator,

I don’t want to be your son,

Only a child with a fair chance, just like anyone.

I am a daughter,

May be naive and emotional but stronger,

I set out to try to make you proud,

Believe in me and let my success speak out loud.

FTZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awakening The Asleep

It was raining heavily as I waited for my Uber to arrive. My thoughtful Uber driver called me and calmly made sure of where I exactly was. It made the processes of hopping into the car as soon as it arrived fairly easy. I got myself seated comfortably in the car when Akram turned around and confirmed my destination. As we were on our way, Akram looked into the rare view mirror and asked, “How do you pronounce your name?”

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“Well, I did pronounce it right until I came to States. To make it easy for people here to pronounce… currently, I say Fat-ma.”  I said, pretty disappointed at myself. Growing up I had issues with my name because I didn’t think it was cool enough. He asked me where I am from and when I asked him the same, he said he was from Iraq and we moved on to exchange hilarious stories of the various iterations of our names.

“Do you know how to correctly pronounce your name?”

“Yes, It is Fathima Uz Zehra. Even though it doesn’t spell exactly like that in English.” When the name rolled out of my lips correctly for the first time in a long time, it suddenly dawned on me how beautiful it sounded. And I whispered in sudden realization like I was speaking about someone else, “It sounds beautiful…” Akram wasn’t the first one to tell me that my name was beautiful but he was the first one who made it feel like, pronouncing my name correctly  was a matter of personal pride. “Of course. It is a special name. It is Prophet Mohammad’s (P.B.U.H) beloved daughters’ name… and they hold special significance in the history of Islam.”He said

Recently, with 2016 elections underway, there have been a lot of discussions about “radical Islam & Muslims” and Terrorism. Candidates with varied views, all concerned about the safety of the West due to past experiences and current refugee situation, has had a ripple effect on a vast population in formulating opinions about Islam. To encapsulate what it is like to be a Muslim in the world today one quote comes to mind by Charles Dickens with his famous and genius opening lines from “The Tale of Two Cities” :

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

I stepped out of the car feeling proud of my name, which is such a significant part of my existence, for as long as I live and long after my death; if there is a forever, then I will forever be known as, “Fatema Tuz Zohra” The history of this name can’t leave me and the future of this name won’t precede me. For a name that I thought wasn’t cool and thus disregarded it most of my life, the very same name has brought me to existentialism while retaining my unwavering belief that the universe has a purpose and we have a purpose.

You can be a Christian, a Hindu, a Jew, a Muslim, a Zoroastrian etc. and you can be sure that, religion doesn’t preach violence as a message. To a great degree, violence is born out of ill-managed delusions. In conclusion, let’s practice self-love before Public Display of Affection. Let’s practice humanity before or along with faith. Let’s practice self-pride before self-promotion and you’ll become someones’ Akram. Unintentionally awakening the asleep without putting to bed the already awakened – just by being whole with your soul. Because if you are content within, if you are at peace with yourself and if you are about self-growth… you can belong to any faith but be a representation of PEACE.

-FTZ