Κυριακή, 7 Αυγούστου 2011

A Life Revealed


Her eyes have captivated the world since she appeared on our cover in 1985. Now we can tell her story.
By Cathy Newman
Photograph by Steve McCurry

She remembers the moment. The photographer took her picture. She remembers her anger. The man was a stranger. She had never been photographed before. Until they met again 17 years later, she had not been photographed since.

The photographer remembers the moment too. The light was soft. The refugee camp in Pakistan was a sea of tents. Inside the school tent he noticed her first. Sensing her shyness, he approached her last. She told him he could take her picture. "I didn't think the photograph of the girl would be different from anything else I shot that day," he recalls of that morning in 1984 spent documenting the ordeal of Afghanistan's refugees.

The portrait by Steve McCurry turned out to be one of those images that sears the heart, and in June 1985 it ran on the cover of this magazine. Her eyes are sea green. They are haunted and haunting, and in them you can read the tragedy of a land drained by war. She became known around National Geographic as the "Afghan girl," and for 17 years no one knew her name.

In January a team from National Geographic Television & Film's EXPLORER brought McCurry to Pakistan to search for the girl with green eyes. They showed her picture around Nasir Bagh, the still standing refugee camp near Peshawar where the photograph had been made. A teacher from the school claimed to know her name. A young woman named Alam Bibi was located in a village nearby, but McCurry decided it wasn't her.

No, said a man who got wind of the search. He knew the girl in the picture. They had lived at the camp together as children. She had returned to Afghanistan years ago, he said, and now lived in the mountains near Tora Bora. He would go get her.

It took three days for her to arrive. Her village is a six-hour drive and three-hour hike across a border that swallows lives. When McCurry saw her walk into the room, he thought to himself: This is her.

Names have power, so let us speak of hers. Her name is Sharbat Gula, and she is Pashtun, that most warlike of Afghan tribes. It is said of the Pashtun that they are only at peace when they are at war, and her eyes—then and now—burn with ferocity. She is 28, perhaps 29, or even 30. No one, not even she, knows for sure. Stories shift like sand in a place where no records exist.

Time and hardship have erased her youth. Her skin looks like leather. The geometry of her jaw has softened. The eyes still glare; that has not softened. "She's had a hard life," said McCurry. "So many here share her story." Consider the numbers. Twenty-three years of war, 1.5 million killed, 3.5 million refugees: This is the story of Afghanistan in the past quarter century.

Now, consider this photograph of a young girl with sea green eyes. Her eyes challenge ours. Most of all, they disturb. We cannot turn away.

"There is not one family that has not eaten the bitterness of war," a young Afghan merchant said in the 1985 National Geographic story that appeared with Sharbat's photograph on the cover. She was a child when her country was caught in the jaws of the Soviet invasion. A carpet of destruction smothered countless villages like hers. She was perhaps six when Soviet bombing killed her parents. By day the sky bled terror. At night the dead were buried. And always, the sound of planes, stabbing her with dread.

"We left Afghanistan because of the fighting," said her brother, Kashar Khan, filling in the narrative of her life. He is a straight line of a man with a raptor face and piercing eyes. "The Russians were everywhere. They were killing people. We had no choice."

Shepherded by their grandmother, he and his four sisters walked to Pakistan. For a week they moved through mountains covered in snow, begging for blankets to keep warm.

"You never knew when the planes would come," he recalled. "We hid in caves."

The journey that began with the loss of their parents and a trek across mountains by foot ended in a refugee camp tent living with strangers.

"Rural people like Sharbat find it difficult to live in the cramped surroundings of a refugee camp," explained Rahimullah Yusufzai, a respected Pakistani journalist who acted as interpreter for McCurry and the television crew. "There is no privacy. You live at the mercy of other people." More than that, you live at the mercy of the politics of other countries. "The Russian invasion destroyed our lives," her brother said.

It is the ongoing tragedy of Afghanistan. Invasion. Resistance. Invasion. Will it ever end? "Each change of government brings hope," said Yusufzai. "Each time, the Afghan people have found themselves betrayed by their leaders and by outsiders professing to be their friends and saviors."

In the mid-1990s, during a lull in the fighting, Sharbat Gula went home to her village in the foothills of mountains veiled by snow. To live in this earthen-colored village at the end of a thread of path means to scratch out an existence, nothing more. There are terraces planted with corn, wheat, and rice, some walnut trees, a stream that spills down the mountain (except in times of drought), but no school, clinic, roads, or running water.

Here is the bare outline of her day. She rises before sunrise and prays. She fetches water from the stream. She cooks, cleans, does laundry. She cares for her children; they are the center of her life. Robina is 13. Zahida is three. Alia, the baby, is one. A fourth daughter died in infancy. Sharbat has never known a happy day, her brother says, except perhaps the day of her marriage.

Her husband, Rahmat Gul, is slight in build, with a smile like the gleam of a lantern at dusk. She remembers being married at 13. No, he says, she was 16. The match was arranged.

He lives in Peshawar (there are few jobs in Afghanistan) and works in a bakery. He bears the burden of medical bills; the dollar a day he earns vanishes like smoke. Her asthma, which cannot tolerate the heat and pollution of Peshawar in summer, limits her time in the city and with her husband to the winter. The rest of the year she lives in the mountains.

At the age of 13, Yusufzai, the journalist, explained, she would have gone into purdah, the secluded existence followed by many Islamic women once they reach puberty.

"Women vanish from the public eye," he said. In the street she wears a plum-colored burka, which walls her off from the world and from the eyes of any man other than her husband. "It is a beautiful thing to wear, not a curse," she says.

Faced by questions, she retreats into the black shawl wrapped around her face, as if by doing so she might will herself to evaporate. The eyes flash anger. It is not her custom to subject herself to the questions of strangers.

Had she ever felt safe?

"No. But life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace and order."

Had she ever seen the photograph of herself as a girl?

"No."

She can write her name, but cannot read. She harbors the hope of education for her children. "I want my daughters to have skills," she said. "I wanted to finish school but could not. I was sorry when I had to leave."

Education, it is said, is the light in the eye. There is no such light for her. It is possibly too late for her 13-year-old daughter as well, Sharbat Gula said. The two younger daughters still have a chance.

The reunion between the woman with green eyes and the photographer was quiet. On the subject of married women, cultural tradition is strict. She must not look—and certainly must not smile—at a man who is not her husband. She did not smile at McCurry. Her expression, he said, was flat. She cannot understand how her picture has touched so many. She does not know the power of those eyes.

Such knife-thin odds. That she would be alive. That she could be found. That she could endure such loss. Surely, in the face of such bitterness the spirit could atrophy. How, she was asked, had she survived?

The answer came wrapped in unshakable certitude.

"It was," said Sharbat Gula, "the will of God."

Even Disney inspires me !!!

"just keep swimming"

~finding nemo

"reach for the sky"

~toy story


"nothing's impossible"

~alice in wonderland


"hukuna matata! it means no worries for the rest of your days"

~the lion king


"even miracles take a little time"

~cinderella


"they say if you dream about something more than once, its sure to come true."

~alice in wonderland


"if you live to be 100, i want to live to 100 minus a day
so i never have to live without you"

~winnie the pooh


"all it takes is faith and trust"

~peter pan


"ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind"


~lilo and stitch

Σάββατο, 23 Ιουλίου 2011

Amy Winehouse


“I just heard the news that Amy Winehouse passed away. What a true talent. I pray she’s in a better place & at peace.” — Kim Kardashian

Παρασκευή, 22 Ιουλίου 2011

75 Lessons that MUST be Learned in Relationships

1. If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away.
If he doesn't want you, nothing can make him stay.
2. Stop making excuses for a man and his behavior.
3. If you have ANY doubt in your mind about a man's character, leave him alone.
4. Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.
5. Stop trying to change yourself for a relationship that's not meant to be.
6. Don't force an attraction.
7. Slower is better.
8. Never live your life for a man before you find what makes you truly happy.
9. If a relationship ends because the man was not treating you as you deserve then heck no you can't "be friends." A friend wouldn't mistreat a friend.
10. Have faith in God regarding your relationship, but don't let faith make you stupid. God does things decent and in order.
11. Don't settle.
12. If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is.
13. If he keeps changing his mind about the relationship--take that as a BIG sign that he is unstable. Do you really want to be with a man like that?
14. Don't stay because you think "it will get better." You'll be mad at yourself a year later for staying when things are not better.
15. Honorable men take care of their business and aren't involved in a whole lot of mess.
16. The only person you can control in a relationship is you.
17. There's only one 'reason' a man dumps you; he doesn't want you.
18. Avoid men who've got a bunch of children by a bunch of different women. He didn't marry them when he got them pregnant, why would he treat you any differently?
19. You really do have to kiss a few frogs before finding the prince.
20. Always put yourself and your happiness first.
21. Always have your own set of friends separate from his.
22. Maintain boundaries in how a guy treats you. If something bothers you, speak up.
23. Like from the show Sex and the City, if he doesn't call, he just isn't that interested.
24. Be honest and upfront.
25. Know when to cut the cord, don't be strung along.
26. Don't fall for the "I'm confused role". Remove yourself from the situation to let him figure things out (but don't wait for him, move on).
27. If you want to have a clue as to how he will treat you, watch how he treats the WOMEN in his family (not just mom).
28. There's more than physical abuse, there's emotional and mental abuse. If he causes any of them...flee.
29. You cannot change a man's behaviors. Change comes from within.
30. Don't let him place rules on you that he is not willing to follow himself -- double-standard.
31. Don't EVER make him feel he is more important than you are...even if he has more education or in a better job.
32. Do not make him into a quasi-god. He is a man, nothing more nothing less.
33. Demand respect and if he can't give it, he can't have you!
34. Don't compete with other woman, but be aware that men are attracted to what they see.
35. If you think he is cheating, he probably is. Confront him right away and if you feel he's lying, let him go.
36. Actions speak louder than words.
37. Never let a man define who you are.
38. Never rely on a man for compliments, look to yourself for that.
39. Never borrow someone else's man.
40. If he cheated with you, he'll cheat on you.
41. Just because he says he loves you, doesn't mean that he won't hurt you and it doesn't mean that you are meant to be with him.
42. To use painful hard-won wisdom -- 'get it right' the next time.
43. Know that you deserve to be the number one person in the life of the No.1 person in your life.
44. Love is a verb ...
45. Learn to give up your lifelong task of trying to make someone unavailable-available, someone ungiving-giving, and someone unloving-loving.
46. A man will only treat you the way you ALLOW him to treat you.
47. All men are NOT dogs.
48. You should not be the one doing all the bending...compromise is a two way street.
49. If you don't love self...you can't love anyone else.
50. You cannot mend someone else's broken heart.
51. You need time to heal between relationships...there is nothing cute about baggage...deal with your issues before pursuing a new relationship.
52. You should never look for someone to COMPLETE you...a relationship consists of two WHOLE individuals...look for someone complementary...not supplementary.
53. Dating is fun...even if he doesn't turn out to be Mr. Right.
54. NEVER give more in a relationship than you are getting out of it.
55. Never become your man's "therapist".
56. When actions and words conflict, believe the actions. Respond to the actions.
57. A real healthy relationship requires two people. One person can end it - but it takes two to make it work.
58. Don't fall for the "I'm not the loving type"...when a man loves you there is nothing in this world (within reason) that he wouldn't do for you.
59. Make him miss you sometimes...when a man always know where you are, and you're always readily available to him he takes it for granted.
60. Give him his space...let him go out with his boys, don't pressure him to spend time with you, You cant force a man to hang out with you.
61. If you wouldn't allow your daughter to be with him you shouldn't.
62. Never let a man know everything. He will use it against you later.
63. Never move into his mother's house.
64. Provide financially for yourself and don't depend on anyone.
65. Never co-sign for a man.
66. Never believe you have the perfect guy and he is so innocent.
67. Never spoil your man; let him spoil you.
68. Never let a man mess up your credit.
69. When it's time to let go; let go.
70. Good men should be treated like good men.
71. Don't play games.
72. Don't fully commit to a man who doesn't give you everything that you need.
73. Keep him in your radar but get to know others.
74. Compatibility in terms of educational attainment, values, beliefs, personal and career goals, and socioeconomic status, are important.
75. Never date a guy who wears color contact lens.

Πέμπτη, 21 Ιουλίου 2011


There are no words to describe the beauty of the world we live in.

"The hair is the richest ornament of women."
~ Martin Luthe

Life is Meaningful

The fact that you were born,
Is proof, God has a plan for you.
The path may seem unclear right now,
But one day you will see,
That all that came before,
Was truly meant to be,
God wrote the book that is Life,
That’s all you need to know.
Each day that you are living,
Was written long ago.
God only writes best sellers,
So be proud of who you are,
Your character is important,
In this book, you are the ‘Star’…God has a plan and purpose for all of us

Τετάρτη, 20 Ιουλίου 2011

Give Your Best To Relationships

A boy and a girl were playing together. The boy had a collection of marbles. The girl had some sweets with her.
The boy told the girl that he will give her all his marbles in exchange for her sweets. The girl agreed. The boy kept the biggest and the most beautiful marble aside and gave the rest to the girl. The girl gave him all her sweets as she had promised.
That night, the girl slept peacefully. But the boy couldn’t sleep as he kept wondering if the girl had hidden some sweets from him the way he had hidden his best marble.
Moral of the story:
If you don’t give your hundred percent in a relationship, you’ll always keep doubting if the other person has given his/her hundred percent.
This is applicable for any relationship like love, employer-employee relationship etc., Give your hundred percent to everything you do and sleep peacefully.

Birthday Gift

It was his birthday today. She wanted to give him something best gift. She made all the arrangements and was waiting for him to return home.
She had thought they will celebrate his birthday in the evening. She took the leave for the same, so that when her husband comes back she will be there to greet him.
It was almost a year they were married. Immediately after marriage he got transferred into another city & they moved to that unknown city. It was only her support due to which they were managed to live in such unknown city away from his home town.
She was always with him through every moment in life..happiness, sadness, all. She was not only his good wife but also was a very good friend knew each other since ages…knew what he likes & dislikes…
It was his first Birthday after marriage & she wanted to make it beautiful. She had asked him to come around 7. She was waited. It was already 7.30 pm and he did not turn up. She was continuously checking her cell phone..
Finally the phone rang & it was him…It was happened that he celebrated his birthday with his office friends. They went out for the lunch, so did not get time to look into P1 issue which he was suppose to finish it today… He said that he will be coming late; so she should not wait for him for dinner…
As usual he managed to convince her… She kept the phone down…she felt bad. She had planned for something …all got wasted. Her eyes filled with tears… But one thing she knew that her husband loves her a lot.
But she did not have her dinner. And was waiting for him. Her eyes were continuously looking at the door. Finally at 11.00 pm bell rang.. She ran to door..just like a marathon race… She opened the door.
With half opened door gave a beautiful smile to her lovely husband. Looking at her face he forgot how much tired he was! He gave the smile in return. He entered into the house. He looked at the corner dining table, which was arranged with the all his favorite food items made especially for him by his loving wife.
There was a cake in between. He was disappointed as he could not make his promise to come early. “I am sorry. Its too late” . “Hey no probs, still we have one more hour to celebrate. Right?” “Yeah” “Okay, you go & fresh. Let’s have a dinner”. He went into his master bedroom…Switched on the light.
He noticed that something was kept on the bed… He went & saw… there were 2 beautifully wrapped gifts & a lovely red rose has been kept over there, with a note “I LOVE U – To my Dearest Husband, from his wife”
He slowly opened the small box. There was a photo album in it with “SWEET Memories…” written on the front page. Inside, on the first page it was his childhood snaps…snaps with his parents…his sister…to whom he could not meet since last one year.
Then next..there was his school..colleges..previous offices snaps were included. On the next page there was his snap with his best friends…with a B’day wishes messages form them written below. He was totally surprised to see all these things…how she managed to do!!!!…
Next was his snap with a guitar which he used to play in his college days. There was a key embedded along with snap, with a message: “I know you love music…I would like you to continue with your hobby…here is the key for the same to open the second box “ . He looked at the second box containing Guitar.
Now his eyes were completely filled with tears. He returned in into the last section of that album, where there was his marriage snaps…n then last snap which was including his family photograph with “My Family” written on the top.
His tears rolled down on his cheeks. He looked back; his wife was standing over there. He ran towards her. He kissed on her forehead & hugged her tightly. “ I love you dear”…”I love you too” Before he could say anything she wanted him to give the last surprise of the day that she had planned.
She took him out of the bedroom where everyone was waiting for them. He could not believe that his parents were standing in front of him. And it was the best surprise; she knew how much he loves his parents. He thanked her for everything & for being there always with him.
It was only one hour but it was the best one in his entire life..and the Best Birthday too… Much more than he could imagined. He was happy & by looking at him she got happy too. He took out his guitar & start playing. Those moments were so precious. Entire atmosphere was filled with melodious music, happiness, love.

Attitude and its importance

An old man lived alone in a village. He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was very hard work. His only son, who would have helped him, was in prison.
The old man wrote a letter to his son and mentioned his situation:
Dear Son,
I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my potato garden this year. I hate to miss doing the garden, because your mother always loved planting time. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me, if you weren’t in prison.
Love,
Dad
Shortly, the old man received this telegram: ‘For Heaven’s sake, Dad, don’t dig up the garden!! That’s where I buried the GUNS!!’ At 4 a.m. the next morning, a dozen FBI agents and local police officers showed up and dug up the entire garden without finding any guns.
Confused, the old man wrote another note to his son telling him what happened, and asked him what to do next.
His son’s reply was: ‘Go ahead and plant your potatoes, Dad.. It’s the best I could do for you from here.’
Moral:
NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN THE WORLD, IF YOU HAVE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING DEEP FROM YOUR HEART YOU CAN DO IT. IT IS THE THOUGHT THAT MATTERS.. NOT WHERE YOU ARE OR WHERE THE PERSON IS….