When I made my way through the gates of Alhamra Arts Council, Lahore on Sunday (yesterday) I had absolutely no idea I would walk out a changed individual. I had heard of Tanzila Khan earlier, I knew enough to know she was a woman working towards a better future not only for herself but for all humanity, but little did I know the magic she possessed inside her. I was greeted warmly by Zoya Ishaq who was hosting the event and also happens to be the founder of ‘SHE’ – An organisation that works towards celebrating and promoting womanhood in Pakistan.
Tanzila Khan – a motivational speaker, an author, a mentor and an inspiration to many has been empowering individuals since 5 years but it seems so effortless that one could presume, she’s been doing this her whole life. She has her own production company by the name ‘Creative Alley’ and she also happens to be exceptional at public speaking and marketing. Tanzila Khan with the collaboration of ‘SHE’ held an interactive session for women by the name ‘Lemonade with Tanzila’ at Alhamra Art Gallery, Lahore. The event consisted of seven segments based on problem solving, activism, confidence building, communication, career, relationships, and personal grooming.
Amongst the laughter, the light banter, the never ending packets of ‘Oye Hoye’ provided by United Snacks, the oh so sweet and gooey brownies provided by one of Tanzila’s friends and the most beautiful ornamental baskets provided by NN creations, was an aura of rebirth and rejuvenation. It was as if each and every one of us who was a part of that gathering was there to fulfil a purpose, it put so much into perspective. The short while spent with Tanzila wasn’t just about celebrating the joys of womanhood, it was about self-reflection as a human being.
Life is all about creating a balance. As a woman residing in the Pakistani society, it is so important to know how to perfectly balance responsibilities. A woman carries the weight of the future on her shoulders, she has to recognise her strengths and weaknesses and condition herself in a manner that emancipates everything around her – Lemonade with Tanzila aimed to do exactly that and succeeded to a great extent.
When I walked out of that place, I felt much lighter than before, I realised that my life’s grievances were insignificant compared to those of the women sitting before Tanzila, discussing their lifelong struggles and hard earned achievements. I spent the four years of my undergrad at Beaconhouse National University (BNU) fussing over the minutest details of my coursework. I worked so hard I forgot to stop and smell the roses, and while my parents were and are extremely proud of me for achieving what I have, I still can’t make up for the lost time.
I just can’t make up for all the golden moments I missed spending with my parents, the times when I could’ve skipped typing away on my laptop for that ‘very important submission’ and just gone out for ice cream with my family. I don’t regret any of the hard work I put into my work. I was respected for my diligence and still am, but a small part of me feels like that perhaps I went too far, my ambitions got the best of me.
It’s not like I didn’t try to strike that balance, I really did, but I made too many sacrifices for no particular reason. I spent a good amount of time with my friends but not enough with family, which is why I’d say that if I could change one thing, I’d give all my time to my family and little to the people who no longer even exist in my life.
Anyhow, my point here is that I let go of a big part of me yesterday. I realised that while I couldn’t change the past, I had the ability to reflect on my mistakes and make the present better. Every woman present over there left with a little string of hope, Tanzila’s “Empowerment Party” succeeded in making the most tantalising Lemonade anyone has ever tasted and something that those women would carry with them for a lifetime.