Have Fun While You Learn

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I am being invited to a Leadership Management Program every year by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for the last four years at the HEC Khanaspur retreat, Ayubia, KPK and I must tell you that it is indeed a privilege which only a few of us at the top are granted year after year.

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<p>Have fun while you learn!</p> <p>Shaikh Muhammad Ali</p> <p>2012</p> <p>http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2011/01/05/the-aleph/comment-page-10/#comment-776944 Intro: I am being invited to a Leadership Management Program every year by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for the last four years at the HEC Khanaspur retreat, Ayubia, KPK and I must tell you that it is indeed a privilege which only a few of us at the top are granted year after year. Learning with the top 20 officers of HEC is a fun deal. HEC usually does this in July every year and for the last four years I have been privileged by the HRM Division to invite the guest speakers. With these privileges granted, I can comfortably claim that I have been my organizations best corrective measures. Laughter The first time around, I invited Mr. Suleman Ahmer, who is the CEO of Timelenders, Karachi; in 2009. Suleman, I have followed from the US days; is a passionate and inspirational speaker who among other corporate endeavors has worked in Bosnia to help the Muslims during the Bosnian war. He is a very religious person and through his management training programs tries and brings you to the Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (The path to salvation) and does this beautifully. He is also the celebrated writer of the book titled Embattled Innocence which is based on his Muslim relief work in Bosnia. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering from University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA and is a much sought out speaker locally and in the Middle East.</p> <p>Have fun while you learn..</p> <p>Page 1</p> <p>This is what his website says about him: He has trained thousands of individuals from over 50 nationalities in Strategic Visions, Strategic Time Management and Strategic Negotiations Skills. The vision of Timelenders, which he founded, is to help individuals and organizations develop worthy visions. In 2010, I introduced Sohail Zindani to HEC and he won the contract to come train us on Leadership and Management. Sohail is known to me from Karachi and is called the Little Master in his circles and is an exuberant personality. Young, bubbly and lively and while hailing from Karachi, he runs around the room with enthusiasm and looks you in the eye which does not leave you enough room to catch a little nap during his trainings. Laughter! He has an MBA from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. This is what his URL says about him: Few people have impacted the day-to-day execution of learning in Pakistans corporate arena more than Sohail Zindani. A gregarious, sought-after speaker, author and organizational development consultant, Sohail is characterized by friends, colleagues, competitors and clients as one of the most insightful, humorous, compassionate and professional individuals in training industry. On the last day of this workshop, Hassan Nasir Zaidi and I went to successfully scale the Mushkpuri peak; the 2nd highest peak in the Galliyat which stands at an elevation of some 9,470 feet. It is another story that we got 2 hour late to class and bore the brunt of getting the participation certificate about three month late since we had set a bad precedence for the rest of the officers. No regrets! In 2011, HEC again contacted Suleman Ahmer to come speak to us. After this workshop, four of us hikers wanted to scale the Miranjani peak on the following Sunday but the two of us had serious stomach infections and the plan was shelved. Come July 2012, and I was asked again to find a new face for the HEC Leadership Management Program. This time around I was finally able to catch Ms. Maryam Chaudhry who is also a good friend and is the CEO of Corporate Communications. Maryam hails from Lahore and her style says that. As usual; Hassan and my family planned to travel together to Khanaspur, like always. We met at the Malpur bus stop on the Murree Road around 5:00 p.m. and from there proceeded in our two cars i.e. his Jeep Cherokee and my Club Santro. We took the old Murree road and on the way to Murree, we stopped atHave fun while you learn.. Page 2</p> <p>our favorite Chai-Pakora stop somewhere between Charra Pani and Company Bagh.</p> <p>Our favorite Chai-Pakora stop enroute to Murree Further enroute to Murree, Hassans jeep broke down and was having heating problems but with the help of his mobile phone and a friend in Lahore, we were guided to have the necessary stops, cool down the jeep and thus finally reached Khanaspur albeit late. As expected, I decided to stay with him all along since we are both hikers and hikers always stick together in times of need. What are friends for, huh!</p> <p>Hassans jeep is being cooled off This is what Maryams website says about her: Ms. Marryam Chaudhry is the Managing Director of Corporate Communications, Lahore. She is a professional corporate trainer and her company facilitates the business sector by providingHave fun while you learn.. Page 3</p> <p>practical, interactive and fun filled activity based trainings to the corporate sector through workshops and seminars. She has conducted numerous trainings, and has 10+ years of experience. She is a former Banker and a Gold Medalist MBA, and has lived most of her life in the United States. This time around a few of us wanted to hike the Miranjani peak on Sunday; right after the training but yet again failed miserably since it started raining cats and dogs on the previous Saturday evening. While everybody else rejoiced, some of us were caught with long faces. Man proposes and God disposes. Huh!</p> <p>(Some of the 1st ladies enjoying the Galliyat) One of the best parts of these workshops is that it gives a chance to some 18-20 senior officers to mingle together with families outside the work environment in the beautiful setting of Khanaspur, Ayubia which is at a height of some 8,000 feet or so.</p> <p>(The up and down trips in the Galliyat)Have fun while you learn.. Page 4</p> <p>While the officers attend 2-3 days of intensive 9 5 classes, the spouses and the children enjoy the environs of the hill resort.</p> <p>(Ladies and girls are all smiles while their husbands &amp; fathers are in class) Amazing friendships are developed, minds open, and we all get a chance to think outside the box. Unfortunately, a very few of us still refuse to come outside their boxes and they continue to remain clerks. LOL Public servants in this era often do their best when they stop caring about whether they will get fired. Since there is not enough space in our guest house thus many officers are made to stay at different hotels which include the Montana Hotel, the Willow Grove, Punjab university guest house and the PTDC guesthouses.</p> <p>(Hassans, Anees and my family outside our hotel after a long day)</p> <p>Have fun while you learn..</p> <p>Page 5</p> <p>The workshop usually culminates with a Bara Khana (Last supper!) which is followed by song and dance.</p> <p>(The cooks, drivers, assistants are dancing the night away) Since we could not scale the Miranjani peak thus we had the entire Sunday 15th July 2012 to ourselves. Suddenly, in the morning three of us colleagues decided to walk the pipeline track and off we went at 9:00 a.m. for this 2-3 kms walk.</p> <p>(From L-R: Anees, I and Awais at the start of the Dungagali pipeline walk) It is always an exhilarating experience to take this walk which is also known as the Dungagali trek. This is what the Virtual Tourist site says about this trek: Dungagali is situated on slopes of Mukhspuri peak, 3 km from Nathiagali on main Murree road. By road its a 5 minute drive from Nathiagali. You can go for walk on famous pipe line track at an altitude of 8,200 feet (2,499 m). On yourHave fun while you learn.. Page 6</p> <p>way enjoy views of Mukhspuri, river Jhelum and Ayubia national park. Pipe line track also serves as an entry point of Ayubia National Park, which is spread over an area of 3,312 hectares and is the natural habitat of numerous species of wild animals. You can witness rare varieties of birds, animals and trees. An entry fee of Rs. 5 per person is charged by forest department to enter Ayubia National Park. Walk on this 4 km long track is an experience of a life time. In 45-50 minutes you would be in Ayubia where you can spend some time and then come back following the same track. 1</p> <p>(The caption of the picture says it all) After a lavish brunch and while we were planning to return, Farman Ullah Anjums (DG-Services @ HEC) kids made a plan with my wife to go to the resort close to the Kohala Bridge. Always waiting for an opportunity to visit new places, we immediately decided to join the bandwagon. Since the drivers and the caretaker @ Khanaspur advised us not to take the longer route due to the hordes of people returning to Islamabad via the run-ofthe-mill road, we took a short cut instead which routed us behind the Governors house in Nathiagali.</p> <p>1</p> <p>http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Asia/Pakistan/North_West_Frontier_Province/Nathia_Gali1307715/Things_To_Do-Nathia_Gali-Dunga_Gali_Pine_Line_Track-BR-1.html</p> <p>Have fun while you learn..</p> <p>Page 7</p> <p>(One of the most amazing landscapes in the Galliyat of Murree in the backdrop) Although, we took this road but did not discern that it had three seriously broken patches and was extremely steep. While Farman and his family were riding in the official Land Cruiser, I was driving my Baleela aka Club Santro 1.0.</p> <p>(Camaraderie at play while my car cools off) My car brakes almost failed twice on the way to the resort but we saw the most amazing landscapes on this route which are closed to public eyes since the road is a shambles and is not a beaten path.</p> <p>Have fun while you learn..</p> <p>Page 8</p> <p>(Have you ever seen someone drinking Coke in a French Fries Bag?) The views were simply breathtaking and the horror ridden ride was worth at least once in life especially in my little vehicle. We stopped almost after every half hour since my car was a street car and the road was only meant for a 4wd.</p> <p>(Both the families are enjoying another breath taking view) Once we reached the Kohala hideout, it was verminous with the well-known species called homosapiens. My God, the place was infested with Darwinian monkeys jumping around all over the place, on the roads, in the water, up the hill, trying to swim, dancing in the rain, peeing in the open. Organized chaos, I would rather call it!</p> <p>Have fun while you learn..</p> <p>Page 9</p> <p>(The population explosion following us around) It was like 14th August in Murree. Well, this is the type of cheap entertainment the nation gives us and the haves and mostly the have-nots enjoy to the hilt. We somehow managed to grab a few chairs and although wanted to have tea and Pakoras there, ended up having a late lunch of Chicken Karahi and Pateer (Bread). The children enjoyed the water under their feet although we wanted to get out fast due to the huge and mostly uncouth and uncultured rush around us. After living in Islamabad the slow for over a decade now, one thing that we try to avoid is; public places full of people.</p> <p>(At the Kohala resort somewhere next to the Neelum-Jhelum river) We left the place quickly after lunch and while taking the Murree Expressway, stopped by at a road side restaurant for tea. This was a rather cleaner place</p> <p>Have fun while you learn..</p> <p>Page 10</p> <p>with a good ambience and better views of the Murree hills. The children also enjoyed their short stay here.</p> <p>(Tea break at the road side Caf on the Murree Expressway) We stayed here for a good half hour and enjoyed our tea. While the ladies enjoyed their usual chit chat, Farman and myself reflected on new strategies that we learnt during the workshop and the good times spent together during the last three days.</p> <p>(Mr. and Mrs. Shaikh, the two love birds!) All good things must come to an end and thus we had to leave for home. On the way back, we were caught in a huge traffic jam which started after the Satra Meel (17 mile stop) on the Murree road. It almost took us 2 or more hours to reach the Shell Petrol pump off Murree Road from Satra Meel stop.</p> <p>Have fun while you learn..</p> <p>Page 11</p> <p>Post Script: Hope dies last and hope is but all I have. When the world works, and it often has over the recent centuries, its because everyone moves forward, in a kind of modest unison. With my escapades I have learnt that I am, in short, a traveler at birth; for whom even a visit to the candy store was a trip through a foreign world where no one I saw quite matched my parents' inheritance, or my own and the most distant shores, I am constantly reminded, lie within the person asleep at our side depending on which ever side of the bed we get up on. As you can tell, I'm a firm believer that the human spirit is capable of great things and able to solve any problem. The world is moving fast and it's only getting faster. So much technology, so much information, so much to understand; to think about, to react to! So we try to speed up to match the pace of the action around us. We stay up until 3 am trying to answer all our emails. We Twitter, we Facebook, and we Link-in. We scan news websites wanting to make sure we stay up to date on the latest updates. And we salivate each time we hear the beep or vibration of a new text message. We somehow need to slow down and appreciate the beauty around us before we are no more. Why bother speeding and trying to achieve all that we need to achieve. We just need to decide on our needs and wants and take it from there! A study of car accidents by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, USA put cameras in cars to see what happens right before an accident. They found that in 80% of crashes the driver was distracted during the three seconds preceding the incident. In other words, they lost focus dialed their cell phones, changed the station on the radio, took a bite of a sandwich, maybe checked a text and didn't notice that something changed in the world around them. Then they crashed. For God sake dont text or listen to the Cell phone while you drive. Have a safe journey. The world is indeed yours. Go out and explore!</p> <p>The Wandering Dervish</p> <p>Shaikh Muhammed Ali</p> <p>E-mail: dushkashaikh@gmail.com Cell: +00-92-321-5072996 nd September, 2012, 20:15 (PST) 22</p> <p>Have fun while you learn..</p> <p>Page 12</p>

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