Her eyes shone, when she talked about Amma. Amma has been the driving force in my life, she declared. She was the one who pushed me out of my comfort zone, who was my backbone, who made sure I never gave up.
“We had a beautiful relationship, she loved me with all my heart and I was heartbroken when she passed away recently,” she ended, with tears in her eyes.
Contrary to what you might think, Amma was her mother in law, not her mother. I listened with rapt attention, and the first chance I got, I blurted out impetuously, “was your relationship always like this?”
She smiled at me, with the wisdom of someone who had earned that love.
She got married, at the age of 22 in a family where there were no women, other than Amma. Amma didn’t have a daughter, so she didn’t know how to deal with young girls. Also, she had never had to share anything all her life, not even the men who surrounded and loved her.
Zohra hailed from a family where issues were discussed, problems were resolved by brainstorming and then deciding on the best way forward. But, to this new family of her she was an outsider and her biggest task was to make Amma believe that she wasn’t here to challenge Amma’s authority or to take away any part of the love, respect and status in the house that had always been Amma’s.
Zohra took a break from her career, she was a senior counselling executive before her marriage. It was a choice she made herself, and believed in firmly because she felt that the newer relationships demanded her complete time, love and attention. She also believed that she needed to mark out her own identity in the process and she had every intention of doing so.This was also somethingher birth parents had instilled in her as part of her character building.
She had always been taught to be resilient, independent, out of the box and focused but at the same time, never forgetting that her actual role was to be a daughter, sister, wife, daughter in law and a mother.
She spent the first few years at home. She had her first daughter in the year that followed her marriage, and she also started her writing journey. She was a loving soul, and did her best to be an exemplary wife and a good daughter in law.
Amma loved everyone around her and she was an independent woman who ruled her house with discipline but at the same time with a rule of thumb to never compromise on the perfection of a chore or a task. This meant she had to learn every aspect of living this new life that was acceptable and agreeable to this new family.
Zohra was quick to adjust in the new house, her father’s upbringing and training standing her in good stead. He had always advised her to give time and love to relationships and ingrained in her the duty of being a homemaker.
And off all of his words these marked Zohra’s memory everyday … that it is no wonder living life alone on your own terms, but it is a remarkable achievement if being human, we muster the courage and effort to ensure all relationships around us are respected and they are given their due time and consideration.
For the next few years, life was a bumpy roller coaster ride, especially a very tough phase where her husband faced career bumps and financial troubles. She shouldered those responsibilities with her husband, lending both a loving shoulder for him to lean on, and a determination that she would help him out of this troubled time.
Zohra dedicated more hours to her work. Along with the responsibilities of the house, she started working entire nights to meet her deadlines, where she would hardly get any sleep. There was a lot on her plate.
One fine day while typing on her keyboard, Zohra’s hands froze and she could not move even a single finger. Hysterical and panic stricken, she rushed to her husband, who took her to various specialists.
She was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, commonly known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Zohra was devastated, and the next few months were spent in and out of bed, the pain management drugs playing havoc with her life. But she was a fighter, Allah had made her strong and resilient. She realized that she needed to fight this disease, especially for her daughter who needed her so much.
Zohra went to a specialist who could teach her to manage her pain, without too many medicines. The specialist was a wonderful woman, and it was there that Zohra had her breakthrough. She convinced Zohra that she could do two things in life. She could either live with the medicines all her life, or she could make peace with the situation around her and live a life of acceptance by staying away from the situations that triggered her disease.
Life after that became much more peaceful for Zohra. She had come to terms with the life she lived and she now wanted to do something productive again. It was time to carve out her own identity.
Counselling and mentoring was something she had been born to do. She had a drive, her energy and positivity radiated for miles
Zohra set out to rediscover her passions, she also found spiritual mentors around her, women who amazed her with the work they independently carried out for the underprivileged members of our society. She underwent spiritual healing with them, and her voluntary work strengthened her resolve to do great work.
It was then that the people around her stood with her and urged her on, Amma especially was her rock and her strength. She believed in her daughter in law with a fierceness and love that knew no bounds. This was the reward of Zohra’s patience and love that she had chosen in the earlier years of her marriage, the time she had invested in the relationships that mattered more at that time, the choices she had wisely made.
Zohra knew that her words could have great impact if she chose. She now had a vision, she wanted to set up a one of a kind mentoring and training firm in Pakistan, which would be recognized internationally as well. She was a certified trainer, counsellor and an NLP Master Practitioner. She knew she could do great things. With this in mind, she became the founder of Mentoring Hub.
Today, Mentoring Hub is recognized as a Positive Element of Impact nationally and internationally. The content of the program includes many NLP and Mindful techniques and practices. She has formed the first ever Mindful Satori Network of Pakistan. She has set the new trend of amalgamating EQ and Skills together. Her vision is to work towards a more Mindful Pakistan both within the corporate and Academic sectors. She aims at breaking the proverbial glass ceilings that enwrap the concepts of counseling training and mentoring in the region. Trainers in Pakistan before have never explored these.
Zohra is now a satisfied soul, having achieved her dreams of building something huge in this life of hers. She firmly believes we die only when we stop learning. She gives all the credit of her incredible journey to her connection with Allah, saying that nothing would have been possible without the link she has tried to create with her Lord. Along with all her professional achievements, she has always been an involved homemaker, living her life with her loved ones around her.
It is time to take inspiration from women like her, who have made efforts to create a balance and continue to invest in the relationships around her. Who have given all that they have to their relationships and made their own identity in the process. Through our platform, she wants to reach out to as many hearts and souls and ensure by sharing her failures and dips in life, so that more of us can learn how to not fall but jump over the obstacles in life.
If you feel you have a story to share, reach out to us so that you can be an inspiration for the women around you too.