Sunday, February 19, 2012

MOSAIC 2011: A Life Changing Experience - Guest Blog By Norah Jan, KSA

Norah Jan is working in the education sector as an HR-Recruitment Officer in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She is a graduate of King Abdullaziz University, majored in English Language and Literature. Norah appreciates diversity, philosophy and exchanging stories of success. She also enjoys poetry and fashion. Thanks to MOSAIC, she decided to shift her post-grad study from MBA to MA in Cross-cultural Studies.

'It is fascinating how people smoothly open up to complete strangers. Considering that you will only live with this group of people for 10 days, and then, most probably won't meet again! Something ticklish in that sense urges you to speak your heart out. Share your hopes, regrets and moments of pride and joy. Trust others with your fears and dreams. No concerns of judgement or misinterpretation.' 

I was privileged to be let in to others hearts. A roller-coaster ride of emotions. 

Dramatic shifts. Between fighting a soft lump in my throat, and letting go of a big crack of laughter: I lived in between. Lives told. Whole lives were summed up in between. And I lived in between. 

I Listened by an attentive heart, in a religious respect, to the recited dreams. Observed pure eyes as they glistened to the painful memories of failure and despair. And shivered at a euphoric lift of sensations, overwhelmed with rising hope and belief in a better tomorrow. 

I witnessed sincere tears. Some dripped down the tender cheeks, and some were firmly locked in the corners of the eyes. In both events I felt so little, humble and helpless. I felt so naked. My pride faded. I shrank in presence of intense humanity and feeling for others. 

"…To serve the Ummah." -- An eye opener. 

What a shame! 

I could not even remember the last time I heard the word "Ummah", 
and consider it as an entity I belong to. Let alone building my world around, and dreaming of serving it. 

A waking bell rang in my head. I have always been drawn to personal concerns and never had a careful look at the bigger picture. Even at the level of philanthropy, I have always considered myself in the first place instead of others. What a shame! 

"I come from a poor family…" -- 'Poor' only exists where ignorance does. 

How small I felt! 

I wondered how such a genuine heart could relate to poverty, while carrying all the richness of giving and caring for the less privileged children. How could that be poor? 

My mind drifted away. I was amazed by sincere altruism while in a similar situation; common sense would suggest 'care for me first!' 

I learnt that common sense is not common after all! Giving; despite the need, never equals losing. It actually enriches one's life, and leads to the most aspired for: Self-satisfaction. 

"…Because I have always dreamt of saving a soul." -- A Paradigm Shift. 

Nothing, ever, sounded more angelic, holy and sublime. 

I could not help recalling a Qur'anic verse: "And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind." AlMa'ida, verse (32) 

I was; and still am; utterly fascinated by the shared values among these young passionate souls, their awareness and dedication to noble causes. I walked away overwhelmed, inspired and lost in thoughts. 

10 days later I went back home… 

It has been only few months. However, I can already sense the profound positive changes in my perception, future plans, attitude and sense of responsibility towards my community, environment and the world as a whole. 

I went back home a different person: An Enlightened Citizen of the World.

Norah Jan