knightsofcedar knightsofcedar

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Knights Of Cedar  Our version of One Hundred Names.

"'There's always tomorrow’, that’s the worst mistake any of us could make; thinking we're all promised tomorrow. Many of us take life for granted as if we have forever to fix that, many of us think it's okay to hurt people, to be the reason behind someone's tears, to backbite about people and to think we have forever to fix ourselves. I, myself, was the person who took life for granted, who thought I had a long time to fix my mistakes with my father. For two weeks straight, I thought of messaging him telling him how much I loved him and how much he meant to me, but I always left it for tomorrow- tomorrow led to day after and the day after that until I thought I'd do it later.
Although the pain only increases, I’ve learnt that life is way too short to leave words unsaid, to not cherish all relationships and not tell the people close to you that you love them while you can. I've learnt to make decisions wisely after I ask myself 'what would baba want?’ to be the best version of myself and keep family close.
I will never be the same . . . as I was before. In some ways, I see life as a puzzle – every experience you have forms a piece of your unique puzzle. When combined, they form the entire picture of your life. My Dad took a piece of my puzzle with him, a piece that will never return. I am incomplete without it. We shared memories that nobody else shares, he knew me differently than anyone else. When someone you love dies, that part of you dies as well. You can’t re-live that memory with anyone else. Your puzzle may grow, but you can never replace that missing piece. And because of that, I will never be the same again.
I felt safe with him, I felt loved, protected and I was at peace because I had one person I relied on for everything, and although I have an amazing support system, I feel alone and scared. And because of that, I will never be the same again." (2/2)

"Ever since I was 12, I’ve faced quite a few obstacles of life, I’ve gone through a fair amount of pain and hardship, but I never gave it the power to break me until the 10th of June.
It was the 10th of June when I was sleeping next to my mother, and she got a call around 11 am and burst out crying and screaming after, when I knew something had happened. I was too scared to ask because I didn't know if I wanted to hear her say it until she said 'He's gone, baba’s gone'. At first, my sisters and I just sat there and stared at her like she wasn't making sense, while I muttered to myself repeatedly 'no that's not possible, just stop'. My heart started racing really fast, my eyes started tearing up but I couldn't feel anything from the inside. I couldn't get myself to accept it even after I was taken to my father's house where everyone sat in tears, I sat alone in my room where I held on to his favorite shirt and put my head down and kept praying to God that this was a dream. A few hours after, I was convinced to go see him one last time and say good bye after I begged everyone to let me stay outside. I couldn't get myself to build the courage to do that considering it would make it real, it would force me to accept it, it would mean he's gone.
I held my mother's hand in there and while he was laying right in front of me on the deathbed, it didn't look like him at all. Maybe because I couldn't let myself believe that it was him, or maybe because I couldn't accept that someone I had to spend the rest of my life with, someone who promised me that he'd watch me grow up and would never leave me, had left me.
Ever since the 10th of June, I haven't been myself and I don't think I can ever be myself without him." (1/2)

"Two weeks into Cedar, we met. Another two weeks and we couldn't stop hanging out together.
Everything between us clicked, like we were meant to be the best of friends. Somewhere between gossiping and being absolute foodies, our friendship bloomed.
After all, life is an ugly, awful place to be without a companion."

"I've always believed that each man lives for himself. But my dad, he lived for us, for his family. He made me believe in selflessness, in sacrifice. He gave and gave and gave, till his last day. I've never seen anyone with so much unconditional love in his heart. When I think of him, I think of someone who always felt "too much", whether it was love, or passion, or kindness, he just gave his all, never holding himself back.
There are so many things I wish I had realized sooner, so many things I wish I had said or done. But there's no way to go back. I wish I had understood that earlier. But we always wait for something to go terribly wrong, to realise how short life truly is.

All I can do now, is try to celebrate him as much as I can, to remind the world of who he was, through me and my actions. It hurts me a lot how my little sisters didn't have much time with him. I never want a day to come when they forget who he was. They may not feel his physical presence anymore but I want them to remember his soul. I try talking to them as much as I can about him, how much he loved them and little things he'd do, like bringing me food in my room when I'd be studying for a test, or jamming out to Atif Aslam or how he'd look after us when we would get sick.

Everything can change in the blink of an eye. I don’t want to live that life I lived before in oblivion, just trying to be ignorant to everything; I think you should just face everything when it happens because you don’t want regret and guilt later. That’s why whenever I have anything to say, whether its a compliment or an issue I need to address, I tell them. People probably think "what the hell, she’s so extra and rude." But I don't think there's any point of keeping things in your heart when you don’t know you’ll be here tomorrow, when you don’t know if the other person will be here tomorrow.
We're always waiting for a moment. I've finally understood that the moment is now. Say and do whatever you need, while you still can."

“It happened in June. In the beginning, my whole family was there. I vented out to them, and we cried and laughed and talked about my dad- together. After the 40 day waiting period, however, they had to go on with their lives. Everyone was still lost and in grief, but they had to return to their jobs, schools, etc.

Every time, someone expresses themselves, or cries about something, people say "stop crying, be strong". But allowing yourself to feel and cry it out, I've always believed that that's what strength is. However, for some reason, I still didn't let myself get anything out. I stopped trusting people and I put myself in this really dark place. I had some problems with a few of my classes and this girl went like, “Why don’t you ask your dad to talk to the admin?". I just stood quietly, I didn’t even say anything. For a long time, nobody in school even knew about it. I never knew how to bring it up. Maybe subconsciously I thought that if I kept it in, maybe it wouldn't be final, maybe it could still be a dream. When you say things, everything just gets so real and I didn't want it to be.

I tried for so long to keep myself together, to let life go on, or keep myself distracted. I joined most of the societies, tried new sports, did whatever I could to keep myself busy. But when I’d go home, I’d feel so empty, like there's this huge weight on me.

When your heart gets so heavy, the only way to undo it slowly, is to let out your emotions, instead of running away from them. Recently, I’ve been in conversations with people so I tell them, and I feel lighter. I allow myself to feel and not put on an act; I don't go to plans when i don't want to anymore. And sometimes, when everything gets too much, instead of faking a smile, I just let myself be, even if I'm sitting in silence.

With time, I've realised that you don't have to always keep up with the world. Go on your own pace and you'll be okay." (1/2)

"When I was 10, I scared my family into thinking I'd been lost, while I slept peacefully under a pile of blankets in one corner of my house, and I believe this is the perfect example of the sort of person I am."

“The one thing I like about us is familiarity. Whenever I come from a family event and I have things to tell her, I don't have to go through the extensive who's who and what his or her relation is with me. She knows everyone in my family, from my grandparents to my second cousins (vice versa too). You name it. We always find things to talk about, even when we don't, our convos are filled with words like 'sup', 'nm', 'ok' but it never dies.
What really annoys me is how fond my family is of her. If I want to go out, the first question they ask is not where I'm going but if she is coming along. It’s like they trust her more than me!
I can't believe Cedar will come to an end. We both have really different plans after Alevels but I know we'll make time for one another. We have to.”

"One of my life goals was to get accepted into a good university. I worked really hard on building my profile on CommonApp, to the extent that it took a total of 4 months to be completed. In the end, it paid off. I got admitted into NYU which has an acceptance of less than 5%. Particularly, the Shangai Business School of NYU, which is ranked amongst the top 7 best colleges of business in the US. I also won a scholarship of $140,000 which is a lot. In spite of that, due to limited financial resources, I wasn't able to attend this college. It's not that I cannot afford it, but had I opted for it, the future of my siblings could've been at stake. And that's the essence of life, to work with what you have and learn from every experience.
Getting into NYU and not being able to attend it was a positive experience for me. I was successfully able to prove that I'm capable enough to get into any university I want, while not being able to attend it is the true depiction of what life's going to be. You'll get chances to do a lot of things, but then again, you'll have to compromise and work with the available resources along with your family as one unit, instead of taking it on your own.
God has always been very kind to me and has always showed me the path and helped me in situations when I started doubting myself. So I'm really, really thankful for all the things I'm able to achieve over the past four years. In the end, I just want to address that it's okay! Not everyone gets what they want in their lives. It's not only about achieving things, it's more about how you learn and treat them and tackle your way throughout.”

“I had never really thought about death or pondered over its effects until my grandparents passed away. Unfortunately, I lost both of them within a week. What makes it worse is the fact that I was in Singapore at the time and was, therefore, not even able to see their faces for one last time. I remember when I used to visit my grandparents and they would have these wide smiles on their faces. For a couple of seconds, it would seem as if they were the happiest people in the world. However, now there is nobody to open that door for me or to hug me. All I see is that long empty corridor, and it breaks me every time. The news of their death was so shocking - I felt completely shattered when I heard it - they had been perfectly fine so how could they have left everything behind in such a sudden way? Their lives may have been temporary but their existence in my heart is everlasting. Since that day, my perspective on life has changed along with my priorities.”

“At that time, I didn't understand what happened. When I pondered over the entire scenario, I realised I had managerial problems, food quality and standard problems. Then my mom, a professional cook, helped me lock recipes for the dhaba. I helped provide proper training and incentives to the staff. I started a completely new marketing campaign to target students and families. I decided to dedicate one area of my restaurant for studs, and the other for families. I thought this would be a very, very, very good step. Gradually, my idea got acceptance as my sales started to grow. It became so successful that I opened a new branch within 6 months. And further 6 months down the lane, I opened a third branch. Within a span of around 18 months, we had three branches.
Then this day came, when I felt I was on the perfect track, I could only imagine. School wise, business wise, and even relationship wise, I was at the verge of success. My father was on a visit to the US when my partner cheated on me. He tricked us and took all the copyrights to himself. Hence, I lost my dream project, Chotu Chaiwala, entirely. It was the perfect loss for me. I remember I felt complete failure in my blood. I felt as if my life had ended. Then, a special friend of mine, consoled me and said, ‘Hassan, you should get up, think of a new thing and move on.’ At that point I came up with the idea of Charlie's Chai. I introduced the idea of providing varieties of naan and doner kebabs, unlike the usual parathas and chai. Today, by Allah's grace, Charlie's Chai is a big hit.
The third major transformation of my life was changing my looks. When I was a mama's boy, that special friend once said, "Hassan, there's a complete world beyond books. One has to make friends. One has to groom him/herself. And that's also a life where one should succeed. Only reading books doesn't make anyone a champ". She also said, ‘Teachers teach rules to follow. But winners and successful people define their own ruleset. And rules are made only so that they can be broken to create new ones.’”

“Basically, my life has been through 3 major stages. What I thoroughly believe is, whenever I fail I will find a new reason to succeed. Whenever I fall, I have new motivation and new ideas to stand up and face my failure. Whenever I fail I have an incentive to succeed in the same field.
Likewise, there have been 3 major transformations in my life. The first being my obesity. I used to weigh 120 kg for which I faced humiliation from my friends. I used to love food, which I still do. I remember I started dieting twice in my life. Once, I failed because of a breakdown. I didn't have food and felt weak, and eventually fell unconscious. The second time I tried, my weight dropped from 120 kg to 75 kg, and now I'm proud of what I am.
Soon in life, I started realising how important networking is when socialising. You need to have friends with whom you can create new ventures. If you have a fight, or just want some help in studies, you need to have friends.
So I came across a friend, who apparently was my father's friend's son. One day we were sitting at Chai Wala where we discussed about starting a new business, particularly a Chai dhaba. Chotu Chaiwala was the name suggested by my sister. I used that name for a modern dhaba where families could come and enjoy. What I've noticed at other dhabas is that families are not comfortable sitting, because there are a lot of influential people including stars, who choose to do drugs and other stuff. So, I invented this idea of a chill place where stars and other influential people are not welcome, in order to provide a relaxing environment for families. I knew people won't realise this at first until they come and experience it. Since I have a lot of interest in politics, I themed my dhaba accordingly. I got portraits of four political personalities including Imran Khan, Altaf Hussain, Narendra Modi and our very own Naraaz Sharif made. Then I tried creating a perfect ambiance where families get attracted particularly. During the entire process, my mother helped a lot.
Then all of a sudden, all of our boosting sale came crashing down. We went into a drastic loss.”

“Everything happens for a reason. I have seen the most unexpected events of my life turn into the most meaningful ones. At times what you get is not something that you have always wanted yet the turn of events that takes place is sometimes too valuable to be let go of. This is something I have always noticed that things make sense at one point in life, the pieces that were once scattered are bound to fit in one day or the other. When I was in 9th grade I had to go through the process of choosing subjects, I personally wanted to opt Computer Science, it was a subject I thought I could do well in but since everyone from my family had a biology background I was also told to go for biology instead, I agreed. I again got a chance to choose a field in 11 grade, this time I was sure that I will choose nothing but the required prerequisite for Computer Engineering. Fate had different plans; the college I got into offered only pre engineering and pre med. I went for Pre Engineering because it seemed like a better option in comparison to Pre Med. As the time for university came near I had a lot to choose from because Pre Engineering gave me the option to switch to any field that I wanted to. I again decided to go for Computer Engineering but due to some family issues I couldnt get a chance to choose what i wished for. So when choosing majors I was for once lost, I had no idea what I wanted to do ahead. I had given up the hope I thought that whatever is happening now will happen in the future because according to me it felt as if nothing was happening, I was living the life that I was made to live. There was no element of choice. I was just going with the flow. Then, I decided to go with Physics. It still seemed like an already paved road for me until the day of graduation when I saw my parents having tears in eyes watch me receive a Gold Medal in Physics.That moment cleared up all the abstract lines that had been in my brain. For once I forgot all about the ‘ifs and buts’ that had once roamed my mind. Life has taught me a meaningful lesson that everything serves a purpose on your journey.”

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