Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Dirty Green


Photo Courtesy: Unknown

Ahmed looks at the card once again. The navy blue glossy letters spell out 'Kenya Professional Counselors Association, Narok Road'. He looks at the building infront of him but it does not say anything of the card.

"Hellow?"

A voice from the other side of the phone greets his ear.

"Yes hello, this is Ahmed, I'm here for the afternoon appointment?" 

"Ahmed Swaleh?" The voice inquired.

" Yes, but where exactly is here? Google lead me to an Indian doctor clinic and a hardware store in the same storey building...not exactly a Dr. Phil setting"

The voice chuckles, " Yeah we get that a lot. Let me come down and show you up." 

"Actually, I'm not comfortable in closed spaces; gets me very anxious very quickly. Do you mind if we went somewhere else for my session? 
I promise I only eat cooked meat" 

A short silence wears the voice, and finally, 

"Why not. Where do you have in mind?"

"I saw a decent place just across the street, Tic Tac Pastry. 

"Ok, let me get my things then we can start the session there in shaa Allah." 

"In shaa Allah. Nimetangulia." 

The entrance of the restaurant was fitted with glass doors attached to glass walls on both of its sides to its concrete walls. It was a small space but the white theme of its wall colour and furniture enlarged it's dimensions.

The cool air from the ACs mingled with the smell of baking bread greeted anyone who dare opened its doors.
It was like a pint of fresh brown baking air for the nose and the eyes, he thought. He is proud of his decision.

He goes to ask for a table set up and pulls one of the characteristically heightened chairs to face the entrance. 

All the glass seem to disappear if it were not for the metal hinges and plates. He savours the baking air once more as he makes a call to confirm details for his next meeting.

A few minutes later, she walks in. Ahmed notices her flash a smile as she quickly scans the place briefly for him. She walks by his table and he stands up signaling her to take a seat. He winds up his call,

"Yes but only imported papers...yes. Angalia, let's meet after Dhuhr at Qubaa mosque we finalize the deal...naam...Ok in shaa Allah. See you then.

Hey, asalaam aleykum," he says smiling whilst turning off his phone and pocketing it.

"Waaleykum salaam warahmatullah," she replies and takes out her notebook and pen.

"Ok, this place is waay better than I imagined so I hope you like the food and laugh extra hard at my jokes" 

She breaks into a smile and flips the pages for a new chapter.

"How's the air?" he continues.

"Crispy" she replies after a pause. He smiles back.

The attendant arrives with a plate of pie and places it, it's silverware and napkin for Ahmed. 

"Currently my favourite chicken pie is Café Arabica's for its juicy moist bitter sweet chicken fillings, but let's see what Tic Tac has to offer," he explains as the attendant finishes.
 "What will you have?" he adds 

"Just tap water please" she responds to the third party. "So you said earlier you get anxious in closed spaces, let's begin with that." 

"We'll get to that in shaa Allah" he responds as he finishes his first bite. "Do excuse me though for I am hungry." 

He quickly gorges down his order as she notes down whatever psychiatrists usually note down in their notepads. Her order arrives and she puts it at the very end of the table. He follows through this movement and stares at the bottle for sometime.

"I want to start from the very beginning... 

Our lives, our destinies, are cemented by the fraction of a millisecond we take to make a decision. After we decide, our lives are never the same again.

My decision begun on one fateful Friday morning on the 17th of November, 2014. I had planned to go to Malindi for my cousin's wedding the following day. We grew up together so it was a special day for both of us. 

Just as I finished packing, a close friend from university called for pleasantries. We caught up like any bro dudes would and then a thought came to mind.

I remember he used to tell me about this ancient freshwater well located at the very shore of the ocean in Kibokoni, so I reminded him. 

'Tuishie' he said. 'Tuishie' I confirmed.   And since it's been so long since we've seen each other anyways, why not; I mean, I can always travel at dusk. 

We agreed that after Jum'a prayers at Masjid Al Azhar that day, we would eat lunch at his place and go for an afternoon at Forodhani and Co. There's something about kahwa tungu and oceans that did it for me. It was a plan. 

What neither of us didn't know, was that in the neighbor mosque,  the Police had planned a raid. One that would forever leave a mark in the rich history of this beautiful city.

11:53 am

I was sitted in the matatu constantly checking my phone for the time because of how heavy the traffic jam was for a Friday afternoon. It was on its last 1% but the Ultra power saving mode was keeping it alive. 

I should have charged it the night before but I thought I'll probably charge at his place. 

I arrived as the sermon begun so I wasn't able to search for him. More so, my phone died before I arrived. So naturally, I'll just have to wait for him after prayers."

Ahmed leans back in his chair and gazes through the disappearing glass of the shop, his breathing noticeably heavy.

"Then what happened?" She inquires, completely absorbed in the unfolding.

He shifts his gaze to hers and without moving a muscle, replies,

"The raid."

"After prayers, I sat at the mosque's baraza waiting for my friend, as the customary skin colour and soft hair of Arab descendants played about with my hopes. Everyone of them seemingly him but certainly not after the complete view.

After awhile of waiting, I went into the mosque and even checked the toilets for him. I found old people for sure, but not him. So he isn't there, my phone is dead and I had all this time left.

I decided to go to his home. maybe he was late and ended up praying in the nearer mosque to his house and he probably couldn't reach me on phone. The nearer mosque  just happened to be  Masjid Musa.

I avidly recall the feeling of not wanting to go but, when you start something, finish it; unless there's a better alternative. 
So I started for his house. And that's when it all unraveled.

The road leads straight to the main road and finally the mosque. At the end of it are chapati and samosa parlors on both of its sides. I used to buy samosa dough for my mum from them all the time. 

As I approached the mosque, there was an eerie silence to the place and I recall this, this low hum...like shouting and wailing heard from underwater. 

And I move closer and see these navy blue and military green Land Cruisers parked Infront of the mosque, beside it 2 or 3 police officers. 

The wailing gets louder. I move closer. And as I walk to the very edge of the junction road, Bang! Then silence.  Then bang! Bang! Bang! The sound of gun fire. 

I felt my body shake in shock with each shot. I looked at my torso. My knees were giving way. No blood. 

Suddenly a group of boys erupted from the mouth of the mosque shouting, screaming, pushing and pulling with a few geared up men in blue hauling machine guns. 

I was now lost. Confused by what I saw. The men holding on to some boys as others pour between them. Some running for their lives others battling with the men for their freedom. And finally, the one boy who run to where I stood, picked up a stone besides me and threw. 

A long annoying sound pierced through the air and I turned to look at where it came from. A huge navy blue lorry came in to vision just a few feet from me, speeding from Bin Agil with the hazards on. I threw myself out of its way as it swooshed by me and hit the brakes a few yards from the mosque's entrance. 

More geared up men dispatched from the back of the vehicle like ravenous robots from Clockwork with teargas launchers and almost immediately tackled a few unlucky youth to the ground. 

I picked my unbelieving self up and joined the now scattering crowd."

Ahmed looked to the table smiling for a second and continued,

"I sprinted towards MEWA Hospital and a few feet ahead were four more boys leading the run and maybe a dozen behind. I remember how quiet this street was; no open shops, no one on the street. Just the sound of hefting youth and running feet as the four boys took a sharp left towards  MEWA library. 

Just as the rest of us were making the corner, one of the boys let out a cry and a front of men in dirty green uniform came into sight. They had the boys. And they were letting loose their anti-riot batons on them.

The rest and I braked and started for the right side alley, falling in the middle of the running group. The sound of teargas canisters being fired inherited the air and calm of wind amplified it more. 

A sudden realization hit me when I noticed how the running group had only 7 people now. And I was the third one.

We made our way between parked cars and tuk tuks in the alley, running, panting... I was scared." 

Ahmed pauses at this word. He swallows painfully, lightly gazing at the table. He swallows again. He continues,

" I knew that I was done for when the first from us made it beyond the alley and abruptly toppled over and rolled a few times, stopping just enough for us to see his torso. He let out agony as he tried to nurse his rib. Then a military grade boot swung for his back and was joined with a few more. A hand pointed in our direction repeatedly and my heart sunk. 

I slowed down and all the adrenaline was now replaced with anxiety. I felt my body giving up on me. There was this Probox that was parked infront of a canter next to a fenced construction site. 

I came to a defeated stop and slid under the saloon car lying still on my tummy, not minding the dirt that highlighted my sweaty arms. I struggle to catch my breath swallowing gulps of saliva, as I worked to make my panting quieter so no one would hear. 

 3 boys sped past the car and I watched their feet heading for the exit. They suddenly stop and turn back. 4 police boots now chase after them with speed.

The boys run and then slow down infront of the Probox. My heart is now beating outside my chest. They then jump for the construction gate and disappear over the other side. 

'Kamata hio!' A rugged voice immediately exclaims  from the start of the alley accompanied by accelerating feet. I turn to look and see a boy come round the front of the car and tries for the gate. The fastest from the 4 police men grab him and throw him down. 

He cries for mercy..." 

Ahmed stops again. He clears his throat and swallows a couple more.

" I still remember the sound of the batons and the metal plate boots hitting his bones as if it were just mere hours ago. 

'Nyinyi ndo mnataka kuharibu usalama sio?' the raggedy voice threatened as it's baton hit the boy in emphasis after each word.

The boy lied there, helpless. And I beside him, scared like a little girl."

"You were afraid, Ahmed. There's nothing you could have done to help them" she interrupted. 

"I should have tried... And you know what the worst part of it all was?

After they were done, they rolled him on his chest to arrest him and our eyes met. He looked at me, eyes red shot from tears, from pain, and he looked at me. Deep into my soul as they tightened the  hand cuffs on his back."

Ahmed stares on the table, tears rolling from his thinking eyes. He continues with a tone such that if the attendants were to hear him, they wouldn't have known he was tearing unless they looked at his face. 

"I shook my head, pleading with him as tears rolled down my face as they roll down now. I was drooling from the fear, the butterflies in my stomach turned carnival. 

Then the raggedy voice interrupted, 'Unaangalia nini? Eeh? What are you looking at under here,' it asked as a pair of boots start to walk towards the car.

Suddenly a loud crush came from the car and a stone fell on the ground with some glass. The raggedy voice let out a girly shriek. Everyone exploded in laughter." Ahmed smiled briefly. 

"He was like, 'wanataka kunimaliza, eeh?' and laughed along as they lifted up the boy and dragged him back wherever they were taking him.

I laid under there for so long. Very still. Until all I heard was my heart, still in hype. My eyes were itchy from the gas, my mind exhausted from paranoia and all I my nose could smell was oil. 

I thought about home, what everyone would say of me when I didn't show up...I thought about the boy, about who I was as a person, what I've achieved. 

I thought about alot of things, and I closed my eyes as they bled water. And before I knew it, I was asleep.

I woke up to the distant sound of someone calling me, 'Khui...bro...khui!' and I felt someone holding my arm. I jumped up from my slumber startled and hit my head on the axle of the car so hard I opened it.

My ears kept on ringing as the brother pulled me out of my hiding. It was late afternoon, that's all I made out. Nothing from what the brother was saying to me. 

He put my arm across his neck and helped me walk a few yards to his car. He lied me in the back, put something under my head and drove.

The next thing I remember was waking up beside my mother and the rest of my family in Mombasa Hospital 3 days later. 

I came to find out that my friend had actually cancelled the meetup due to family issues and even tried calling to explain but, phone was off.

That day, 4 people died and approximately 250 plus people arrested. Some never to be heard from again. And that boy was one of them."

Ahmed clears his throat once more as his eyes tear up again. He looks straight at her and says, "I should have done something, anything..."

"Look," she interrupts standing up, moving her chair close to his, and resting her palm on his hand, "there is nothing you could have done. It wasn't for you to save that boy otherwise you'd have done it. 

We all can never get something that's not meant for us and can never miss something that is. Whatever destiny the boy had, all you were meant to do for his is just that" 

"Hide under a car," he jumps in,

"No. Live out yours just the way Allah willed it for you."

"I know," he concurs.

"Thanks Zauj," he adds placing his other hand on hers with a smile.

"Always happy to help Zauj," she places hers on his other hand smiling back.

"But it still doesn't explain why for the past few months I've been dreaming about it. I mean I've not talked about it with... anyone..."

Ahmed looks outside with a frown, not completing his sentence. 

"What is it Zauj?" his wife looks at him then outside. 

There parks a dirty green Land Cruiser and from it three men in dirty green uniform alight. Ahmed gets butterflies and his blood starts to boil. He looks at the chubby of them as he talks with a short range frequency radio and stands up from his seat. 

"I know you," Ahmed remarks.

Their eyes meet and the man's face lights up in giggles. 

"We ndo ulikuwa unajificha chini ya gari?  Hehehehe" he laughs with his belly. It was the raggedy voice. He looks towards the other two men and says with a straight face,

"Hebu kamateni hio" 

The two men charge in the shop and Ahmed charges at them. He welcomes the first with a punch sending him stumbling to his left and kicked the chest of the second out the shop.

The chubby man draws out his pistol and Ahmed reaches for his wrist with his right hand and grabs the barrel of the gun with his left, disarming the man. 

He dismantles the pistol, throwing it and takes the man by his collar ready to unleash his punches when his wife steps out and yells, 

"Zauj stop!"

Ahmed turns his head to her and sees the scare on her face. The man inturn pulls out a taser and tasers Ahmed by the neck.

Ahmed falls to the ground subdued by the shock. The two subordinate officers pick him up and drag him to the cabin of the Cruiser. His wife runs after them pleading for his release but null and void.

They throw him in and he tries to recollect himself up. One of the men picks up his machine gun, turns Ahmed to face him and brings down its butt on his face....

                      ******************

Ahmed shoots up seated, breathing heavily and arms up in defense. He catches up with his breath as the room comes into focus. He is sitted in bed. He sinks his face in his hands and exhales a sigh of concern rather than that of relief. The dreams are getting more avid. 

He gets up and walks to the bathroom sink, washes his face and stares into the washroom mirror, his hands on the sides of the sink. 

"You Ok Zauj?" her voice breaks his thought pattern. 

He looks at her from the mirror, leaning with her elbows on the bed, watching him.

"Yeah," he flashes a brief smile, "Just a bad dream, probably forgot to read Dua" he says as he's turning off the bathroom light and shuts the door behind him. 

(Conversation continues behind the bathroom door in muffled voices) 

"What was it about?" she continues,

"Shoes" he answers 

"Shoes?"

"Yeah, I was trying them on and it just wasn't working out"

"That's sad"

"I know right" he says as the bed springs squeal from his jump.

"What colour were the shoes?" 

"Dirty green"

"Neat" 

" Yeah. They had guns on them"

"Ah, those kind of shoes... classic" 

"The one and only"

"Ushasema"

"Ushasikia" 

"Goodnight Zauj" 

"Night Hun."

Monday, 6 August 2018

The King & The Advisor

Photo Courtesy: CelebMix.com


This story is a result of a challenge I did earlier. It's a children's story that can teach even the oldest of timers. And I feel that if you acknowledge the power of perspective in your life, it can really do wonders for you.

I want to resume on the Youth and Us series after this and if you don't know what that is, hit the "home" option on you're screen to find out. 

If you're the kind of person who can't find the right guy/gal, don't feel fulfilled by your job, have to pretend like you're Ok all the time or don't have strong meaningful friendships and relationships, then this is the series for you. And where we are going next, you gonna want to have read the first two. 

Otherwise without further a do, here's the story of the King & his Advisor. Break a leg yo 😄

"Once upon a time there lived a great king who ruled a big land with lots of people and houses. The King lived in a beautiful palace by the ocean and his kingdom rose around it. 

The kingdom was next to a big scary dark forest made of fat and ugly Baobab and other trees that were said to hide monsters and beautiful animals. Some even say that during the full moon, the trees would move around the forest and even talk to each other. 

The elders tell stories of how once the monsters attacked their village and they all ran into the palace and were protected by its big fort walls. And that the monsters till this day await anyone who goes to the dark forest alone at night to eat them.

The king had a best friend who always was there for him. This friend helped the king rule the kingdom with fairness, kindness, honesty and justice. His name was the Advisor.

Advisor and the King grew up together and we're best friends since their childhood. One day when they were playing swords together, the palace doors flew open and the bravest and strongest men in the kingdom walked in. 

Each of these men was chosen by their village elders to join a special group of men who went into the dark forest for many days to fetch food like meat and fruits for their people. They were known as the Royal Guard.

Everyone in the village loved them because they were brave and not scared of the forest. People would gather around them and hear their scary stories of monsters and dragons, and all of the beautiful animals and plants that lit up in wonderful colors. 

After the stories the King and Advisor would pick up sticks and play pretend of fighting monsters and ogres in the forest. And they wished that one day, they would also go out into the forest and fight monsters and bring food to the people. 

Finally when they were older, they joined the strong men. They were so happy and loved going out with the strong men to bring food and fruits. They saw plants that close their leaves when touched, some that light up in the night like street lamps, leaves that caught fire when they fell, birds that would scream instead of chirp and animals that grew flowers on their backs.

The King's favourite were the floating cottellas that looked like bright jellyfish swimming. They were so many and they only appeared at night around the biggest tree in the forest. Sometimes the ocean water would rise and reach the tree and glowing fish would come out and start moving in bright blue circles around the tree. Everytime he saw them, he felt happy and relaxed. 

However, ever since the king and his friend joined the hunting group, they have never seen any monsters or ogres before. But that was about to change. 

One day, the strong men were leaving for their trip to fetch more food for the kingdom. The king and the advisor decided to join them in their journey. But this time, things were different.

After they entered the forest, the sun suddenly hid behind dark rainy clouds and the trees started dancing from side to side to the wind that blew on them strongly, making scary sounds as if they cried. 

The forest became dark like night and the plants did not light up like street lamps. Suddenly, it was quiet. Too quiet. And it started feeling extremely cold and silent. Then, scary noises started running around them making everyone a little scared. 

Everyone took out their swords as one of the strong men lighted a fire torch to see in the darkness. When the torch was ready, the man lifted it up for everyone to see properly and to their surprise, a monster stood right next to them. 

It's mouth was open with sharp teeth, feet with long claws and a fat tail with spikes on it. It hit the man with the torch down and roared like thunder to the other men.

The king took his sword and run towards the monster to fight it. He picked up the torch and swung it left and right together with the sword. The monster tried to fight back but the fire frightened it away. It then roared in defeat but before running away, swung it's sharp tail and hit the king on his hand. 

The king was in pain and the strong men rushed him back to the kingdom to be treated. But the damage was too great. And the King could no longer use his hand like before. 

He was so sad and disappointed in himself. His friend the Advisor came to visit him in the treatment room in his palace and saw how sad the king was.

 The advisor told his best friend that it was part of God's plan that his hand would not be healed well enough but because the king was still very sad, he told his friend to leave and never help him rule the kingdom again.

The Advisor was saddened by this but he said that this was also part of God's plan. And he left.

Years passed since the accident and the King got much better with using his other hand in most activities. He even started going out with the strong men again. He was faring well.

One day, he got a message from the neighboring kingdom to go visit them for an important meeting. The trip to the other kingdom would take a week's journey on horseback. And since they would be passing near the dark forest, the king asked the strong men to go with him and hunt for food for their journey.

When the time for the journey came, the sun hid behind dark rainy clouds again and the trees started to swing side by side to the wind that blew on them strongly, making them cry again.

The King got afraid for sometime but because the meeting was of great importance, he decided to go on with the journey. 

As they prepared to enter the dark forest, suddenly, shouting was heard all over inside it. Everyone froze for a second and thought people were  in trouble. The King drew out his sword once again. The other men joined him as well and made circles around him for protection. 

Suddenly, one of the men shouted and then magically disappeared into the forest. And then another. Then another. Nobody could see what was happening and who was taking the strong men. 

The King swung his sword frantically to the left, then to the right and then to the left again until finally, the shouting stopped. The king was shocked when he realized he was the only one left. Everyone else was gone.

He held tight to his sword looking around to see if he saw anything. Then, a short man with big eyes, pointed teeth and a long tongue stepped out from the bushes. Other short men started appearing and before long, he was completely surrounded. 

One of them, who wore a big ring sawn with dry grass like the shape of a crown, stepped forward from them and stood Infront of the king. 

Sweat dripped from the King's face as the short man moved close to him. He begun sniffing the King. And then sniffed his good hand, and then his hurt hand. He looked back at the King deep in his eyes and suddenly let out a loud shout with his large eyes popped out even more in anger. The rest of the short men also started shouting at the King and that is when he knew it was all over, so he shut his eyes closed, and waited for the worst.

And then, there was silence...The king opened his eyes and the short men were all gone. 

He got on his horse and quickly rode back to his palace and went straight to his old friend's house, the Advisor, near the mangrove trees at the shore of the ocean. He told him all that had happened.

After listening to the King, his friend explained to him that those short men were the evil witchdoctors from the South hills of Atita, and they were the enemies of many kingdoms and villages around the Indian Ocean shore. 

The Advisor continued to explain that the King was spared only because these enemies only took people who were not hurt in any way in regard to their bodies.

After hearing this, the king was so happy and pleased that he got hurt on his hand otherwise, he would have also been taken by the witchdoctors.

Suddenly, the Advisor started to laugh and laugh. The king was confused and asked why he was doing so. The Advisor explained to the King with a wide smile on his face that, if the king had not hurt his hand, he would have not sent him away. And if he was not sent away then they would have been together when the witchdoctors attacked and the Advisor would also have been caught.

So by sending him away, the King had actually saved the life of the Advisor. They both laughed in joy and the King said that truly, it was all in God's plan. 

Since that day, whatever good or bad happened to the King and his people, he knew that it was all in God's plan and that God always wants the best for His servants. Even when everything seems to be going the wrong way, it is indeed, all for the best of them.

           The End

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The Youth & Us: Technology

Photo Courtesy: pixabay.com



I remember in primary school we had a mathematics teacher, Mr. Ruma, who whenever he walked in class, everyone would light up and enjoy his lesson to our bones and wish it would never end. 

We also had another teacher, Mr. Musa, who caned anyone who'd cough without his permission (metaphorically). The bell was our saviour in his classes. 

Mr. Ruma got the best performance of our class than any other teacher. And even when one would fail his class, they would feel bad and try their best afterwards. 

We were the same students for both teachers and more so, performed better in Maths of all subjects than any other. This is what leadership is all about.

A leader takes care of the people responsible for the results and Mr. Ruma, he did this for us and thus the results spoke for for itself. He created the right environment for us to succeed and Mr. Musa didn't. The difference, Empathy.

Through empathy, he understood us and knew where to work on so we could succeed. Unfortunately, for millennials (our current generation of youth born from 1982 onwards), elderlies only see their laziness, unfocused attitude, entitlement and can't keep a job qualities, but haven't understood why they exhibit them.

There are four major 'Whys' for this behaviour. And if this is your first time reading this, read on the first 'why' about Failed Parenting Strategies here. The next 'why' is Technology.

There is a chemical in our bodies called Dopamine. This chemical is responsible for the feeling you get after finding something you were looking for or after achieving a goal.  

That elation, that feeling you get after finding your keys, wining a game, crossing something from your to-do list or even tasting something sweet or delicious, that's dopamine.

This chemical is however also released by nicotine in cigarettes, by gambling and the intake of alcohol. It is actually the root cause of addiction for these activities because every time they are consumed, it feels good. 

Furthermore, majority of alcoholics; "walevi conc" discovered the numbing effects of this chemical when they were at their teenage years. 

The reason for this is that when we are young, the only approval we seek for is from our parents -- if they say no it's a no, if yes yallah. But when we get to teenage hood, our approval shifts to the outside world. That's why our dressing, behavior, changes so that we can 'fit in' 

This period is a very stressful one and is meant to teach us how to cope with other people and develop social skills.

So every time there was significant stress in the alcoholics' lives (financial, social, depression), instead of turning to a person for help, they turn to the bottle -- dopamine; makes them feel good.

Now here is where it gets interesting. The same chemical that is released by these drugs, is also released by cellphones and social media. 

We love to hear the sound of our notification exploding when we turn on the data; feels good -- dopamine. We go back to our posts to see how many likes we scored on it; makes us feel worthy -- dopamine. When we are down, we text ten of our friends simultaneously (hi, hey, Heyya, A.a, Alafu...); so that we feel lifted when they respond, guess what -- DOPAMINE. 

And you know what this has in common with alcohol, cigarettes and gambling...it's highly, highly addictive...

We have age and religious restrictions on all of these drugs, but we have none when it comes to cellphones and social media. 

It's the equivalent of opening up a liquor cabinet and telling youth, "Heyya, whenever this adolescence thing stresses you out, try the Vodka it'll dampen your pain." Translation, Not good. 

If you are the kind of person who looks at your phone first thing in the morning before you greet the people sleeping in the same room/house with you, you're addicted. If you walk with your phone in hand when you're moving from room to room in your apartment complex, you're addicted. If you can't stay without your phone in sight around you guess what, you're addicted.

And whilst we're on this topic of phone addiction, imagine you're sitted in a hall with people besides you and I'm standing on stage speaking to you on this. Now imagine I'm holding a phone in my hand whilst I speak to you. Do you at that moment feel as important to me as the phone I'm holding while I speak? 

No you do not. This is the subconscious power of the phone amidst human interaction. And that example is just an artificial environment( stage and audience.) Now how about every time you go out with friends, attend those important meetings with your superiors or have chats with others and you have your phone out beside you...this is why the youth claim they can't form deep meaningful relationships with others.

PS, and turning the phone upside down isn't more polite 😐

You see youth sitted together but everyone of them is glued to their phone screens. You can shout at them for such behavior but it's not just an addiction, it's a chemical addiction (dopamine). It's like shouting at an alcoholic or a smoker and expecting them to change. 

And the results of this addiction is the rise of depression among our youth because of how cellphones and social media has replaced social skills.  Thus youth don't know how to talk to others when stressed. The increasing rates of suicides and the new epidemic universities are dealing with of more youth taking a Leave of Absence due to depression is another issue. 

I personally had to push my graduation to retake a unit I missed due to depression. And these results are the extreme effects. The more likely ones are people skimming through life just, fine... "how's your friends? They're fine... Your job? It's fine..."

There are no deep meaningful relationships between friends, relationships and no fulfillment in life because the youth don't know how to share there problems, with their friends or others when they are stressed with life's demands. 

Friendship has become a relation where you know when your friends are to get something better to do, they'll cancel on you.

Such crucial and even life saving social skills was replaced by the temporary 'good feeling' of dopamine once a teenage year ago and now, it has become hardwired in their systems at the expense of human relation. 

And online support groups aren't the answer because the human touch has no share button. 

Technology when balanced in life, has no issue. But when used with no restriction, leads to addiction. And like every addiction, it wastes resources; your money, your time and ultimately, destroys relationships with others.

It is no wonder one is ready to live with a tiny budget on food but have credit and a connection for social media #red_flag 

So, we have a generation that, not by their own fault, grew up with failed parenting strategies and technology that has resulted to low self esteem and depression from poor social skills. 

For the world to get the most of them, it must understand these two 'Whys' and the other 2 to be expounded on after this in shaa Allah, and only then will it be able to generate a legacy of never before seen leaders of this millennia. 

In the end, it all boils down to Empathy. If you're the kind of guy who dreams to make a difference to the world, try it. I promise, it works. 

Thursday, 5 July 2018

The Youth & Us: Failed Parenting Strategies

Photo Courtesy: pixabay.com
Claimer: This post goes first to the parents and guardians in the audience then to my fellow youth. 

A man once coined a quote saying 'A good leader isn't responsible for the results but rather, responsible for the people who are responsible for the results.'  This is the exact opposite of what we have everywhere today.

I am passionate about this because I believe that good leadership is the answer to the magnitude of problems in our lives. I envision living in a world where such qualities are taught to the youth not in their schools or madrasas, but in their very homes. And I believe that it is their right upon their guardians and parents to teach them these qualities by first learning them and then showing them through actions, and guiding them through their words.

But there is a problem, "the millennial problem" as vividly termed. Millennials are a generation born from about 1982 onwards, inclusive of most of you here 😏, and they are known with a set of qualities they poses.

Elderlies have agreed that millennials are entitled and rebellious, unfocused, lazy, can't keep a job among other grim qualities. Well, it is true, I mean, yeah... But no one has gone further to find out why-- loosing points for Empathy y'all, step into them shoes.

And after discovering that why, they are put into four main categories; failed parenting strategies, technology, impatience and environment. But for convenience, we're only going to go through the first 'why' for this post. 

Failed parenting strategies unfortunately, came by because of the love of parents to their children. Most parents went through hell building their wealth and status and thus didn't want their kids to experience such pain. That's why up to date, it's become very hard to marry; simply because the kids are princesses and princes to their parents.

What built this up is parents telling their kids (ya'ani us) that they are special, can have anything just because they want it and in learning institutions, made sure the teachers give a pass to their kids whilst not laying their hands on them. 

An extension of this is the Participation Medal; medal or price given for coming in last-- detrimental to the child since it affirms how bad they are in that competition.

So when the kids graduate and get in to their first jobs, in an instant, they realize that they are not special, can't get anything just because they want it, get nothing for coming in last and their moms can't get them a promotion. 

So in an instant, their whole self image is shattered and turned on its head. And so we have this whole generation that is growing up with low self esteem.

And the boggling part is that, because they grew up in a Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat world, they are soo good at putting filters on things. Ya'ani they are experts at curating how we see them; so much so that they can tell the elderly what to do and what life is and how to go about it. Now who older than who here?😕

But the reality is, they don't know where they are coming from, where they are going. And even when they are offered a listening ear, it is assumed that they have the courage to walk through that door and open up. But the don't.

Just like someone who is frugal and always uses toothpaste and other things to the last drop, we know that they grew up in hardship and consumed in rations; their environment influenced their behaviour; is the same thing with millennials and social media influence. 

Fact of the matter is that they are just youth who are still discovering their way; not assertive know it all's. It's just that society and environment doesn't allow them to breakdown.

Until the time we understand this and the other three "whys", and listen to them in a way of wanting to understand them, that is when we can build strong leaders who carry the potential to change our world. 

But first, we have to be good leaders to them. We have to empathize. Because even though they are the leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of Today. So let us lead.

Fun fact: lead them in such a way that your child doesn't throw tantrums to get what they want 😋