Yasmin has had quite the journey, spanning across different countries, different people and enriching experiences. She grew up in East Pakistan, spent the major chunk of her married life in England and is finally settled in Karachi to look after her ailing mother. During her time in England, she immersed herself in designing and gained experience with the likes of Paul Smith and Lulu Guinness, among many others. Looking after her mother who is ninety years old and has been bed-ridden for sixteen years, she currently runs a sampling house in Karachi and additionally also acts as a creative teacher and mentor for those who are eager to learn from her experiences.
Yasmin’s latest breakthrough experience was working on the new PIA uniform with Nomi Ansari and Sania Maskatiya. Yasmin feels that this merger of three designers and the amazing PIA team was an adventure for everyone. She explains that “We tried to work a whole year but somehow couldn’t do it till July. That is when I was called in and put to test for the 14th August deadline. I had only two weeks to put it all together and too me it was a miracle that it happened. Working with a big organisation was a different experience as you had to know the two ends of the rope to tie the knot, from the top to the ones below whose hard work is never seen at the front end.”
The biggest challenge for Yasmin has always been dividing herself between her work, and family responsibilities. “There are times when even 24 hours aren’t enough,” she laughs. She believes that the ladder to success starts from having faith in yourself and your work and it is very important to keep a balance in life to achieve that. To keep this balance, she decided not to get into “unnecessary situations that would consume her energy” by giving up on excessive socialising. “My mother’s home is my workplace. She sees me all day and that keeps her happy and me satisfied.” she explains. Yasmin’s extra time is therefore spent on looking after her mother’s medical needs, tending to her children’s emotional requirements, staying on top of things that are priority and maintaining her peace.
Yasmin explains that her housework is her exercise. She has no help at her apartment and having the home to herself leaves her free of stress. As far as ageing is concerned, she agrees that it is something that most women are petrified of but she has decided to take it as it comes. She drinks a lot of water and keeps her spirit young to stay fresh.
Yasmin believes that it is essential for a woman to be emotionally independent. “As long as you depend on other people emotionally, you are in trouble,” she says. She adds that more than financial independence, it is imperative for a woman to know how to manage the finances of the family sensibly. For Yasmin, the key to a woman’s strength is education and a skill that she can turn into a profession if need be. Education will also help a woman be a better mother as teaching begins at home.
Miracle Woman Yasmin Shaikh’s journey is an example of how one should embrace the challenges as well as the unpredictable changes life poses before us. One can succumb to difficult situations and break down or accept them without fear, find practical solutions and emerge as a winner.