knightsofcedar knightsofcedar

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Knights Of Cedar  Our version of One Hundred Names.

“I would encourage people to be themselves and not fall into the pressure of other people.
If they say you’re not religious, they don’t have the right to decide what you are, what you’re not. If they say that you’re dumb or you look weird, they can’t decide that! That’s just their opinion and it shouldn’t matter to you. I mean it’s hard to ignore it but, you should be true to yourself because at the end of the day it’s better do decide who you are, rather than letting other people decide.
Till, I think, the 8th grade I used to follow a lot what people said, they called me weird and stuff. I used to take that to heart. When I entered O levels I was like you know what, this is affecting me as a person, its effecting my studies, I really need to get myself together and that’s when I decided: I’m gonna cut my hair, I’m gonna go wild! I’m going to be who I am, because it was really annoying following a norm of what other people expected me to follow; that I have to have long straight hair and be fair. I’m pretty dark skinned in comparison to other people and people used to be like ‘Oh My God, why don’t you use Fair and Lovely? It was really annoying because it’s full of bleach and it used to hurt my face a lot but, I had to use it. After that I was like no, there’s no point, because I’m proud to be brown and proud to be the way I am, just be myself! When you are constantly living under the pressure of what other people want you to do, there’s one moment of realization and you’re like, you know what? I need to break away from the mold that people are making of me and I need to make my place in this world.
I’ve heard people say I look weird, that I don’t belong in this society. There are people who stare at me; there people who take pictures of me just to make fun of me. It’s really sad people waste their time judging other people when they could be making a difference. You could be doing charity work or completing your homework, instead of making fun of some ones hair, the way that they look or their skin color.”
(Photography by Daniyal Lotia)

"I think what bothers me the most is that in our society, in the world even, people tend to see the gender rather than a human being. They forget that the person they are looking at, talking about or hearing things about are human beings before they are men and women. We forget that and in doing so, we forget that they are not different from us and that they too deserve the respect we think we deserve.

I would like to try and get people to see others as human being with emotions, and right before they see them as men or women because then there is nothing to argue about. Both are human beings, hence both deserve to be treated with the same rights."
(Photography by Minahil Zehra)

"Alhamdullilah all of this success came through Allah. We think the best time was seeing our dad extremely proud of us twice, first when we led Taraweeh for the first time and he stood behind us and was in tears. Another proud moment was when we got sport scholarships from Cedar and various colleges.
We’ve always been together in the same teams and that really makes a difference. We want to continue sports for the rest of our lives. We know each other well and if one of us is not present in the match it becomes very difficult to play without the other. Yes we do have fights, quite often, but at the end of the day we know we’ll be there for each other no matter what.
There are obstacles and problems in life but you have to be strong because there’s always a good end to it. We learned at a young age that you don’t wish for something, you work for it. You don’t wait for inspiration, you become an inspiration. And that you didn’t come to this life to be average. Unshakable confidence changes everything. " (2/2) (Photograph by Mohammad Ahmed)

"We were born together, but not “together-together” I was born 5 minutes later and I guess that made all the difference, between me and Taha. It was our dad’s dream for both of us to become hafiz. While we started hifz at a very young age, we had to keep our academics on hold. After we finally completed hifz, our parents admitted us into “The Academy” (school) directly into 6th grade where I realized that Allah really helps and takes care of the hafiz. That year I achieved second position while Taha scored first scoring 83% and 84% respectively.
Passion for sports is in our genes; my dad was a national basketball champion. When we got admitted into FPS in 7th grade he taught us to play, after that we were the first 7th grade players to ever make into the O level basketball team. But that wasn’t enough for us so we started playing cricket. We worked very hard at that game which we fell in love with and had a lot of interest in. We made it in into under 17, under 19 and the under 21 Karachi Gymkhana cricket team. Then at the same time we turned our attention to football, whose team we also made. All the time through we kept on winning trophies and awards together. After that we started leading these teams. The school basketball team for example; Taha became the captain and I was the Vice Captain. Now we’re playing for Cedar’s basketball and Cricket team too. None of our family members could believe the kind of success we had been achieving which made us only more motivated." (1/2)

"Becoming house captain and vice captain for the basketball team in Cedar, has probably been my biggest achievement. I remember how I really wanted to be captain in my previous school, but unfortunately it didn’t work out, so I was very proud of myself for becoming house captain here. The game itself has been a big motivation for me, in my life. I feel like it has played a huge role in my life and without it, I would feel really empty.
I started playing back in grade 7 or 8 and at that point although I wasn’t very fond of it. My coaches started training me a lot after which I gained a lot of interest in the game. I had actually picked up a lot of sports back then because I wanted to find out what I wanted to do. In other sports like throwball and football, I felt as if they weren’t my sports. In basketball my coaches saw something in me, and they pushed me towards it, after which I started to become team captain which really helped build more interest for me for the game.
For me, basketball is my getaway from everyday life; getaway from all my problems at home. I feel like when I play basketball my mind is so much in the game that I forget about everything else in the world. I think everybody needs to have something like that in their lives. We recently lost a match and it came to the point where I had tears in my eyes. I get very emotional over basketball, as it takes over all my emotions. Then I try to talk to myself and convince myself that you know what, there will be plenty more matches and I can’t stay demotivated. I just have to train harder now. After this I really hope to get a scholarship for basketball because I always want to take it with me through everything. In the end of a long day, it’s the one thing I look forward to."
(Photography by Mohammad Ahmed)

When I was a kid, I was in love with football. I wasn't a very good player, just average. But whenever I played, it made me forget all my problems. The feeling I used to get... it’s just unexplainable.
One day in the winter of 2015, I had to rush to the hospital because I started having breathing problems. I got diagnosed with asthma and eventually had to stop playing sports. I started spending more time indoors and slowly I developed interest in watching movies. The first one I watched was called “Goal”. It was a football based movie.
Slowly, I discovered my passion for filmmaking. I started watching YouTube videos and learned how to analyse films. It took me 4 hours to finish a 2 hour movie because I used to pause it, analyse it and write notes in between. I started watching online lectures on script writing and also tried to write my own scripts.
My goal is to get into a good film school in Europe or US and just keep doing what I love for the rest of my life.
This is to anyone who can’t do what they want to do because of a disability/ illness. Please don't lose hope. Look at the bright side. You may lose something good but you might gain something that’s even better. Like I did. Just don't give up. (Photography by Daniyal Lotia)

"I feel like there are a lot of men who are over feminist allies, but if they are in the company of a female and they are talking about feminism, then they will over power what the female is saying. They would go like, “Feminism should be this and this and this,” and the female would just be trying to say something, but the guy will takeover - which I think is a very terrible thing to do. Men shouldn’t do that, because if you are an ally, as you claim you are, then you should give voice to the people who don’t have as much privilege as you do. You want to bring them up to the level and not have you be bringing them up to the level - if that makes sense. Like, you’re not supposed to be the saviour, you’re supposed to tone down your own privilege, and your own presence, because for some reason it’s considered to be more important.

You should validate and listen to experiences, and not stay detached just because you don’t want to have major opinions or you’re scared to be called a feminist. It’s not a bad word, be okay with being called a feminist, it’s a good word. It’s a good thing to be a feminist.

Why everyone should be a feminist? I think, if you don’t care about feminism, or if you say, “No, I don’t want to comment on this,” or, “I’m okay with this but I’m not a feminist,” then you’re kind of disregarding these experiences or feelings that so many people in society have. So just by saying you don’t want to talk about feminism, I feel like you’re invalidating a lot of experiences, and that’s very tragic. I think everyone should be a feminist because they should care about everyone in society.

Read about feminism and learn about it. Don’t disregard the movement because the word has been associated with so much anger and hate. Even if it’s associated with anger - so what if feminists are angry? We have the right to be angry. Society treats us in a terrible way. And if we’re angry, then listen to us! It’s not a bad emotion. It can be very productive and constructive. Just validate my experiences."
(Photograph by Minahil Zehra)

“I want to be a chef. I’ve been cooking since I was five and I loved it. My attraction to cooking comes from Hell’s Kitchen; that’s the real stuff! Gordon Ramsey is my IDOL! But I’ve had my mom’s friends come over to ask me what I want to be and when I’d tell them that I want to cook, they would judge me. This is because society has made excelling in this field very limited to the household. I think society plays a major role in people rethinking their dreams. If you go to any restaurant in Pakistan, you will rarely see any female staff; there is only Marcels. They have a female head chef and they charge a lot for this reason which shows that there is scope for women in this field. If Pakistanis would just change their mindset, we might actually make some progress. When I’m done with my studies, I want to open a restaurant and hire a purely female staff. I’ll be the head chef as well as the one in charge so whenever anyone comes in they see women and realise there is scope for women in this business. However, even if I do not excel, I will try very hard to get the results.”
(Picture by Abeer Siddiqui)

"Cricket is a game that I’ve loved ever since I was a child. For me, cricket is not only a sport but a way of life. Cricket teaches us discipline, unity and tolerance. It also teaches us how to deal with failure. Like the ball in the game, you have to bounce back in life no matter how badly you are hit.
When I was 7, I used to see my dad play on the field. He was very passionate about cricket and I really admired him. I used to cry in the pavilion because I also wanted to play in the field but of course, I was never allowed to.
A few years later I started playing at Southend club. I practiced a lot and one day I qualified for the under 17 inter-zonal tournament. My days and nights were spent on the pitches of Malir, the grass of Korangi and in the pavilion of the national stadium. They were the most tiring days of my life. It was also a very hard time for me because we didn’t perform well in the tournament. I had lost hope and I felt really useless. I also struggled to find a balance between studying for CIEs and practicing cricket.
Soon after that I qualified for the under 19 regional tournament. I played for the Karachi team which was called Karachi blues. The matches were live streamed on TV. It was very nerve-racking because so many people were counting on us! It was tough but we won the tournament.
I can’t thank Allah enough for giving me so many opportunities. I’d also like to thank my parents and friends for always supporting me, all my coaches and mentors for guiding me and Cedar for giving me a chance to truly express myself and hopefully, inspire others as the captain of the cricket team. "
(Picture by: Ahad Hakim)

"We all have dreams in life; without dreams life would be pointless. Our dreams inspire us and push us to work hard.
I always wanted to be a footballer. I was really passionate about it. However, one day in 9th grade, my life took a turn. I went to the cinema to watch a Shahrukh Khan movie. I was never a fan of watching movies but his performance blew me away. i was so inspired by him that i walked out of the theatre with an unbuttoned shirt imitating his walking style. The first thing i did when i reached home was try to act like him in front of the mirror. That night i discovered my passion for acting. I stood in the front of the mirror till 4 in the morning and the next day i watched 5 really long films. The characters started to fascinate me. I was really excited to learn more about acting and polish my skills.
It’s been four years and i’m still sure that i want to be an actor. I’ve gotten much better at it by practicing day and night. Back then i used to need glycerin for fake tears but now i can genuinely cry when i’m acting out an emotional scene. If there is one thing i’m not very confident about, it is my looks. I have average looks and i believe i’ll have to work extra hard to make it big. I want to be recognised as one of the finest actors locally and abroad and i’m ready to dedicate my life to it. "
(Picture by: Amal Mujtaba Kazmi)

"'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)

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