Weird Things That Keep Us Awake At Night

This post is a collaboration with sulphurman. It was a long time coming considering the idea was borne a couple of months ago but as we all know, life happens and we got busy with our schedules. Nevertheless, we finally decided to finish it off and present to you guys the weird stuff that keeps one awake at night. Let me know if you have similar experiences/thoughts in the comments. I would love to know I am not the only weird one.

  • Did I brush my teeth? I am pretty sure I did. Blows air  onto hand and smells for bad breath. Hmm smells good. Wait, that’s a biryani smell. Arrgh I didn’t brush.

 

  • I have to go to the toilet but I just got so comfy and warm!!

 

  • If I sleep now, I will get exactly 3 hours 15 minutes sleep. Now only if I could fall asleep.

 

  • Did I lock the door? Hmm I should go and check. Rabia aunty was telling about this robbery that happened the other day. One can never be too careful. *flips the blanket over, icy air rushes through the bones,slips banket over* aaah never mind. Quite sure it’s locked. Dad must have locked the door. And I don’t even have any enemies to kill me right? Hmm wait, Reshma did hate me in primary school. Always snitched on me and stole my best friend Neha. But she wouldn’t rob me or try to kill me yeah? I mean she lives in Bangladesh. She wouldn’t fly all the over to Australia. She doesn’t even know where I live. I think she got married. lets stalk on instagram.I mean who on earth agreed to marry her? *grabs mobile and switches it on* Aarrghh too bright. *squints in the darkness*. 3 hours 15 minutes later. Wait, is that the sun?
  • Cousins who kick you in sleep. Constantly. Repeatedly. You find solace sleeping on the floor.
  • You are about to sleep and your phone pings with notification. You pick it up and its the phone company sending you a text message that you have exceeded data limit. And its only been a week since you started the data cycle. So now you cant sleep thinking how will you survive 3 more weeks of being 3G less.
  • You analyze and over analyze that aunty’s comment that she passed on you for being a failure.Whereas your brother became the successful doctor. The good thing is your younger bro is also a non-doctor. So you both can cry together.
  • You are planning your whole wedding in your head. The dresses, who to invite, the flower bouquets, chocolate fountains, waiters on wheels for swift service, carpeted halls in purple and cream colour,brides maid dresses, who to make your brides maids,also a silent prayer to Allah that let the groom’s mother let you decide what bridal dress you wanna wear for both baaraat and walima instead of gifting sweet and hideous dresses that isn’t your style. Parlour bookings, what type of makeup and jewellery and henna designs.
  • Also one thing that doesn’t let me sleep is temperature control. Its spring here. Sometimes it is hot at night and sometimes it is cool. Sometimes hot changes to cool and sometimes cool changes to hot. I throw off my blanket to the floor and then a while later I am curled up in fetus  position with chattering teeth. Too cold and lazy to grab blanket off floor. Other times I am wearing winter wear with sweater and socks and it starts burning. Next morning mum comes to wake me up and finds sweater thrown on chair, socks hanging on fan, me lying spread eagled soaking cool air.
  • Thirsty. Drinks a whole bottle of water by bedside. Falls asleep. Gets up 30 minutes later for toilet. Comes back to bed. Falls asleep. Few minutes pass. Thirsty again. Bottle empty. Gets up to refill water. Drinks water.Falls asleep.30 minutes later , toilet break. Cycle goes on till Fajr.

You get the idea.

Go check out sulphurman’s post for the second part. Show him the love by following and reading his humorous and not so haha funny posts.

Thank you Mahaah for asking us to collaborate. I had fun coming up with points that didn’t allow me to sleep while writing the post. Go check out her blog too. She clicks awesomesauce photos, draws and paints awesomesauce pictures and writes awesomesauce stuff.

 

 

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Breaking stereotypes

Indians are a minority in the Western World. Scratch that, I meant Indian representation is low in the Western world. There are certain stigmas and stereotypes associated with us Indians that I would like to clarify doesn’t work for all of us. We are all not the same. So why generalize? Below are a few points that I would like my fellow white people to read and grasp. Also, not all Indians worship cows and not all Indians have the accent and we all don’t do the head shake bob thing.

  • I am an Indian but I can’t tolerate spicy food. My eyes, nose and ears get red. There is waterworks everywhere.
  • I am an Indian and I hate bangles. They always make sure you are aware of their presence at the most inopportune moments and somehow literally feel like a load lifted by my hands.
  • I am an Indian and I can survive without eating curry. Really, I can.Pasta over paneer.
  • I am an Indian and a Muslim (shocker, I know).
  • I am an Indian and can converse in,read, write and understand fluent Urdu.
  • I am an Indian and I don’t speak Hindu (fyi Hinduism is a religion and Hindi is the national language so technically no Indian you will meet will speak Hindu and yes I do speak Hindi).
  • I am an Indian and I wear an abaya instead of sari. So yeah I don’t “look” like the typical Indian.
  • I am an Indian and don’t like wearing gold.
  • I am an Indian but do not know how to dance Bollywood.
  • I am an Indian but I don’t watch Bollywood movies.
  • I am an Indian and no Shahrukh Khan is not my neighbour. Neither is Shahid Kapoor nor Salman Khan nor any other celebrity.
  • I am an Indian and I don’t hate Pakistanis.
  • I am an Indian and will not get forcefully married to my cousin. I guess I shall be conforming to the stereotype of an arranged marriage but neither will it be forced nor will it be with my cousin.
  • I am an Indian and I live in a nuclear family.
  • I am an Indian and I am not a cricket lover.
  • I am an Indian and I am not an IT professional. And neither am I a doctor.
  • I am an Indian and my degree is not fake.
  • I am an Indian and I am not cheap/stingy. I don’t dine at restaurants because of halal issue not because I am a miser.

Yes, such Indians do exist.And yes, there are Indians who eat spicy food and can’t survive without curry. Point is : there are all types of Indians.And all are cool and awesome.

He won’t bite. He will just maul you to death.

So WordPress does this weird thing where you save a draft and it schedules it to post and you schedule a post to be posted on Saturday and it just publishes it which is what happened with this one.I quickly removed it but it was too late and people who got my new post in subscription feed emailed me to ask where the new post was.So I quickly finished it up and am posting the would-be Saturday post today.Enough of my blabber.Enjoy.

This post is inspired by Sulphurman’s post on dogs.Go check it out as his posts will have you nostalgic for the hassle and dazzle of Indian streets and golgappes,chaats and the cows that form a makeshift round-a-bout where ever they chose to sit in the middle of streets.

Although my fair share of experiences with dogs have been little than what most people can go on for hours about, there are two incidents that stick in my mind. For dog-lovers and dog-owners who are reading this : I DO NOT let me repeat DO NOT hate dogs. Ever since Simba came into my family, I have mutual love for all animals. Animals that don’t seem to jump up to your shoulders to sniff and bare their canines (pun unintended).Even so, my fear for animals have decreased considerably. In fact I go all mushy when I see kittens or baby goats and had the opportunity to pet the latter while on my visit to India last year.

baby goat

Onlookers came to know that I didn’t live there, that I was an NRI, born and brought up abroad, because who really looks adoringly at the goats chewing loudly, minding their own business?

India, with its already booming human population, can also easily account for the highest dog population, given the amount of stray dogs barking at every corner or howling at night throughout suburbs and cities. One dog starts howling, the whole pack imitates and pretty soon the next street dogs and then the whole town is filled with collective moaning of dogs. It was some thing I got used to while falling asleep and so, when I returned to Australia, the sheer silence of nothingness kept me awake for hours at end.

Once I was out to shop with my mum and we were stuck in the traffic. In bustling India, being stuck in traffic is awesome because there is never a dull moment. You get to hear verbal abuses of drivers “Chal bey, dekh ke nahi chalta (Oii move!!Fool can’t see where he is walking)”, the afore-mentioned cows walking ahead ever-so slightly at a snail pace, swishing tails in the process and looking at you in mock innocence and incomprehensibility when you honk the horn at them to hurry up. Then a driver gets out of his car to smack the cow’s behind. Meanwhile you hear a baby crying and turn your head in the direction to see where it is coming from. Aaah little kids running through the dirt, one fallen onto the gravel, crying,holding up his bruised knee. Anyway so I saw this stray dog minding his own business, when a 25 year old something guy, just kicks it in the face. The dog howls in surprise and pain and receives another kick. My heart lurches at this assault and I wish to get out of the auto and run to this sadistic guy and kick him the face but I can’t and I don’t. To this day, I wish I did. So yeah, I don’t hate dogs, I just fear them. Something that white Australians don’t get. What they do get is offended if I see a dog and run in the opposite direction. They would rather I scream at the sight of their 6 month old baby than shriek at the sight of their munchkin boo Lady Diana.

Incident 1 : I had gone to my neighbour’s house with my 3 year old cousin and was waiting outside after knocking the door. The door opened ever so slightly and a black daschund-size dog whizzed past my legs onto my baby cousin prancing in delight.Dog prancing not my cousin.My cousin was running around my legs in circle crying and shrieking asking me to pick him up, the dog chasing him and I am frozen in terror screaming my head off. The aunty doesn’t know what to do so she calls her teenage son who bribes the dog with treats. Dog leaves, I pick my cousin up and we dart out of there forgetting the purpose for which we had gone to their place. To this day, I avoid any sort of contact with the next door neighbour.

Incident 2 : It was a nice sunny day and I had taken my 3 cousins (aged 10,7 and 3) to the park. I was pushing the 3 year old on the swing and the 10 year old was pushing her 7 year old sister and we were laughing and chatting away when a door nearby park opens and a huge dog (what is with all these huge dogs? why not a chihuahua?) comes rushing.

dog runner

All of us start screaming. In reflex action, I forget my cousins and rush for my dear life (Hey, don’t judge. It was a do or die situation). The dog runs after me and I am screaming and crying and running circles in the park, the dog chasing me in joyful barks with its tongue lolling around its chin and my cousins screaming out my name like a jinn had possessed them. The owner is calling out the dog’s name but the dog is busy enjoying my squeals of terror to listen to its master. Like in any horror movie, I trip and the dog is over me and I close my eyes because it’s all over.The owner yanks away the dog and mutters an apology but he is clearly insulted at my offensive behaviour. I don’t know what he was expecting : for me to bow down to his dog or what? Naah man ain’t gonna apologise for your hyper canine mate.

dog meme

Dogs and desis do not gel.Well 95% don’t. Apparently Pakistanis are up in the game with most of my friends adopting furry poodles but for Indians and Bangladeshis :  well the hatred is as much and as real as for each other.

***Images and gifs courtesy of Google.

Point of appointments??

Recently my mum diagnosed me of the Sleeping Beauty syndrome.I would go to sleep early (well early for me is 12 am) and I would be unconscious till 1 pm except on uni days. Mum would try waking me up but I would be snoozing away in Fairy Land.And even when I woke up, I would feel lethargic all day, yawning in between conversations. For a young girl who only had to attend university 2 days a week, this behavior was slightly getting to my desi mum and hence she decided to book an appointment with the doctor to confirm her doubts.

The appointment was booked at 11:10 on a Tuesday. I was the one who had to make the call. The receptionist asked me all my details, medical history and booked in my appointment for “10 to 11”. I hate such terminologies : quarter to 1, quarter past 3 and all that. I mean why can’t you simply say 11:10 or 12:45 or 3:15. Why complicate it? The world is complicated as it is without people making it even more complicated. After I put the phone down, mum asked me what time did I get and I said 10 to 11. I swear the receptionist DID say 10 to 11 ok. But since my tone was a bit flustered, (I always get nervous when I am talking to a receptionist, or any stranger for that matter), mum decided to double check and called the receptionist the next day before driving me into the clinic. The receptionist says the appointment is booked at 11:10 not 10 to 11. ARRGGHHH!! I mean I know its just like 20 minutes difference but it made me sound like such an idiot.

embarassed

We reached the clinic at exact time 11:10, the time my appointment IS, the time I am supposed to see the doctor but no, the receptionist smiles and asks me to take a seat. Which I dutifully do. After 10 minutes, mum says she shall go to the nearby Coles and have a look and asks me to call her once I am done. Mum goes, I watch the lounge TV for a couple of minutes, then start browsing my phone going through social media : Twitter,Facebook, etc.30 whole minutes pass and I suddenly realize that I was so engrossed that I might have missed my call. So I go to the receptionist and ask whether my name was called. She looks at her register and says no with a smile. That sickeningly sweet smile.I return to my seat. At 11:50, I hear my name being called out and I jump so quickly that everyone looks at me. The doctor was really sweet and she told me that my tiredness might be due to anemia.I would have to come the next day for a blood test after 8 hours of fasting. Oh joy.

happy-not

Dear hospital staff, what is the point of appointments if you are just going to waste 40 minutes of my life? The doctor didn’t even apologize for calling me in late which they totally should do. I mean if you and your friend plan to meet up at a set time and one of you arrives late, don’t you apologize? Doctors aren’t even late to clinics. They are IN the clinics, in their cubicles probably playing Solitaire on their computer which is why every patient is waiting out in the lounge for 40 to 50 whole minutes. My younger brother Mikaeel had an ear pain and booked an appointment last week for 8:50 pm and got called in 9:50 p.m. OUTRAGEOUS!!! One time this patient came 10 minutes late for the appointment and the receptionist was like “You are late for your appointment. We shall have to reschedule”. Like whaaaat? If she came in early, the doctor would be late and she would be sitting in the lounge anyway. Might as well spend it in the car amongst traffic.

The whole doctor patient interaction takes about 10 minutes max, the patient leaves, doctors fill in report which takes 10 minutes and then what? Just because we are not emergency patients does not mean you can take your own sweet time. My mum reckons its a gimmick so that the clinics are jam-packed with people in the waiting lounge which shows how popular the clinic is or how good the doctors are for people to be flocking into the clinic. If that is true, then dear hospital staff, if I have a problem or I am writhing in pain, I won’t care about a clinic’s popularity. In fact I shall go to a clinic with fewer people so I can get attended to faster. Let me know what the reason is. It better be a good medical,scientifically proven valid reason because wasting 40 minutes of my life is not funny. Booking in appointments and calling in an hour late is not funny.Your receptionists who smile and say please take a seat when I arrive at time and who get confused between 10 to 11 and 11:10 are not funny.Most importantly the programs you show on TV in the waiting lounge are not funny. No, but seriously, you people should clean up on your act.

Sincerely yours,

A severely tired,mentally exhausted,physically frustrated, angry patient.

The Yes Girl

I haven’t watched Jim Carrey’s Yes Man but my friend was telling me it was about this guy who says no to everything and then goes to this seminar thing where he is told that in order to truly live life, he should start saying yes. So he does that, he starts saying yes to each and every opportunity and his life changes for the better. Sorry for the spoiler but the movie is quite old I believe and those of you who would have wanted to watch it would have already done so and those like me who haven’t, well, if you’re reading this, it’s too late (geddit? Drake reference?)

I am the opposite of Jim Carrey’s character. I can’t say no. I am the actual yes girl. And I hate that. It has gotten so bad that now when I say no to a plan or a suggestion, people look at me surprised, they can’t fathom the fact that my mouth actually formed into an O and produced the no sound when they are accustomed to me saying yes. And while everyone is blinking their eyes,still unable to comprehend, I get all flustered and reply “Ok yeah, let’s do it.” So, in the end, I end up acquiescing to whatever’s up.

49774-Emma-Stone-yes-gif-Ss8U

It’s not that I am getting forced or people drag me. It’s the fact that I feel I am getting forced into doing something. And I often question why I can never say no. Is it because I am a people pleaser? Or is it because I am a don’t want to offend people-er? I like to believe that I am the latter. I care way too much for people’s feelings. And no, I am not complaining. I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone intentionally or not. But I have realized you can’t really please everyone.And even if you try, you don’t end up pleasing yourself. Which comes back to what I am trying to put across : Saying yes to every one and everything, even if you don’t want to doesn’t make you happy. But saying no sounds stuck-up and selfish.

For as long as I remember, my friends would come up with something, like going somewhere or working together in a group project and suggesting an idea, and while I would try to explain why it wasn’t such a good idea or something to improve to get better grades, they would just override it and continue doing what they liked. And it left me with feelings of anguish and helplessness because hey, I am getting graded for the assignment as well and I know that your idea is not good,so shut up and listen to mine but majority rules and damn it, the majority’s opinion suck!!!

It’s too late for me to start being the no girl and personally saying no to everything will lead to a boring life, so no, don’t say no. But say no once in a while. I am trying my best to practice but it is not working out as I would like to. I wish I was strong enough to say no. I wish I was strong enough to not care for others and care for myself once in a while. For now, I know the very first trait I shall be inculcating in the future generations : the ability to say no.

***Image and gif via Google Images

Like for like

As much as I enjoy technology and social media, I don’t enjoy the pressure that is associated with it. When I was little, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist. Even internet with its unlimited data, speed and connection was non-existant. The other day, my brothers and I were reminiscing over the fact that back in the days, after our family had dinner, we would disconnect our phone to connect to the internet. Dial-up connection would take ages to connect with its annoying ringtone. Mum would log into msn messenger or Yahoo Chat to talk to my aunt or call my grandma via Voip. We would play internet games but that was only sometimes. Solitaire and Minesweeper were our companions. Oh and who could forget Microsoft Paint? Best times, I tell ya. I know you kids will disagree but let me tell you, we didn’t have to check our phone every two seconds for notifications to blow up our phone on the latest selfie uploaded. Not throwing shade (well kinda,just a lil bit).

shade

This post was inspired by another blogger whose every (literally every, like she doesn’t blog about anything else) blog post is on how many followers she got and OMG she just started her blog and didn’t expect so many follows, likes and all that jazz. I get it. The excitement. The popularity meter spiking up. The comments of congratulations. We are all humans.We like being loved. We like being known we are loved. It boosts our ego and sense of accomplishment. But what we fail to realise is there are others who are not getting followers and likes and all that love. They look at your posts and feel down. No one compliments on your face anymore. For this person,no one does it on social media either. How is that person going to feel?

It is for this reason I am very inactive on Facebook. Not because of lack of likes or comments. I don’t even post on Facebook. I used to be the silent viewer. I used to silently watch who got friends with whom, who was tagging whom on which party that they had, who was checking out at which fancy restaurant, whose profile photo was getting 100+ likes. I didn’t know I was getting affected but suddenly I was planning a meet up or was asking my parents if we could go out to eat and trying to do all the “fun” stuff but whenever I used to hang out, or go out it didn’t seem natural. I didn’t like it. It is because I realised it wasn’t me. It wasn’t who I was. I was the quiet nerdy girl who loved reading books and staying at home. Yes, I like being social and meeting with friends but I couldn’t and didn’t want to do something crazy every week just to compete.So I stopped being the silent viewer. Now I am the ghost. People ask if I am still alive because there is no activity on Facebook. I just holler at them through Whatsapp . I would rather have real talk through Whatsapp then post a status to let the world know I am alive.

And then Instagram popped up and the world went nuts again. I mean Facebook is basically Twitter and Instagram mashed together. You post a status or share something on Twitter and post a photo and get likes and comments on Instagram. Weren’t those features on Facebook already? But no, people loved the 140 word limit because it seemed challenging and OMG filters on Instagram, no but for real, have you tried those filters?Let me tell you, they are plastic surgeon’s app. I connected with a friend on insta and all her selfies she looked different like really different.Eyes bigger, nose thinner,teeth whiter. And I met her in person and she was still the same. Ok and then what’s the deal with food pics. Did you make it yourself? No??? Ohhh the chef at the restaurant made it? Going to a restaurant and eating a fancy meal every week is such a big thing, I should just give you a medal. I personally believe,if you didn’t make the meal yourself, don’t post it. You post selfies on your account,not otheries, why post other’s creations? I get it, it’s your dinner. Click a photo and save it to your camera roll. But no, Instagram IS camera roll. Just post everything.

frustrated

I am not hating those who do whatever I mentioned above. If you are one of those people, then good on ya (or shall I say food on ya hehe.) Post em delish food,gorgeous selfies, do your thang. All my friends do it, and I support em by liking. But I personally don’t. Well,selfies sometimes.I can’t help it with lighting so good and angle so great.

Real talk tho, always remember, quality over quantity. For bloggers who are blogging for years, or youtubers making videos, do your stuff with passion and don’t worry about followers or likes. It’s hard but don’t. You will gain followers (not an overnight success), the real and genuine ones. Not the follow for follow people. But people who followed you for the content. Who discovered you through your posts/videos. Don’t go chasing people.It will be slow progress but it will be worth it.

WordPress,Instagram,Twitter, Facebook etc., don’t make it easier on you. They show statistics on how successful you are getting. They post notifications on the likes you got on a post. I am not complaining. I enjoy it. What I hate is when we start equating that with success when it shouldn’t be the case. The number of followers/likes does not validate you,your awesomeness. Numbers don’t define you.They never did and they never will.

***Feature image and gifs via Google Image


Email : aaliyahzahra@hotmail.com (Come chat with me!!)

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The Lovely Ones…

So last Friday I wrote a post on racism and how it is still well and alive in Australia. I promised I would be showcasing the other section of society.The lovely ones.

I used to volunteer at St. Vinnies during my school holidays. The lovely manager over there, Miss Kate, was a terrific conversationalist. She was friendly,lively and always complimented me for my style and the skirts I used to wear. She would ask me how my weekend was and would proceed to give reviews on the next best movie that she had watched or a restaurant she had gone to with her partner. I stopped volunteering two years ago but whenever I bump into her, she always greets me with her cheery smile and twinkly eyes and asks me if I am married yet.

lady-in-suit

Another great Australian that comes to mind is my classmate Jennifer. School year starts in February and we had arrived Australia early in April. By the time, I had enrolled into school it was mid-May and classes were in full swing. New country, new school, new people. It all seemed overwhelming to me. For the first few weeks I was that new kid who was all alone by herself, too shy to ask questions, too afraid to meet anyone’s eye. Then this boisterous, bumbling Jennifer came sat next to me and all changed. She introduced herself and I knew I liked her from the start. She had a cheerful and outgoing personality and she used to offer me with whatever snacks and treats she had (I had to refuse due to most of it being haram but she never got offended). I saw her recently working at the supermarket Aldi. She was too busy to look at customers but had she not been, I still wouldn’t have had the courage to walk over and say hi. (The weird thing with me is that, if it has been a while since I have seen you last, I will try to avoid rocking up to you for fear you might not recognise me or to avoid the awkwardness of Hey!!Remember me?? I tend to believe it’s because I am an introvert, my family thinks I am just weird).

Students and teacher working in lab classroom

Last semester I had to go to an exam at a venue (Melbourne Showgrounds) that I had never been before. I was already a jittery mess and the fact that I had to go to the unknown was getting me antsy. My older brother had accompanied along for moral support but he was as clueless as I was. The indecisive GPS was not really being of much help in calming me down as it keep displaying different routes each minute. We got off at Footscray and were waiting for the tram that would hopefully take us to our destination. As soon as the tram arrived, I hopped on and asked the tram driver if he would be leading us to Melbourne Showgrounds. He said he would be going along that way but I would have to change the tram and hop onto another one which would take us 2 stops down from there. This kind sir asked me to sit in front right behind his driver seat so that he would let me know when to get off. He assured me he wouldn’t forget. Right before our stop, he announced “Students wishing to go to Melbourne Showgrounds please disembark and board on Tram 52 to get there”. I don’t know who he was, but I sure will never forget him.I got to my exam hall 30 minutes before scheduled time and my frazzled nerves had calmed down considerably.

Tram driver

Such acts of kindness and support, I shall cherish forever. These are just a few examples of the lovely acts of random kindness that I was fortunate enough to receive. I hope that I can be such a person to someone someday.

***All images via Google Images. The tram driver pictured is NOT the tram driver who helped me and Miss Kate is not the model pictured above.

East,West and the Middle

As most of you would have pieced it together by now, I am a 100% Indian who was born and brought up in the Middle East, currently living in Australia.

Fellow desis growing abroad would relate to the fact that parents try to inculcate culture in a variety of ways. For me, my parents spoke to us in Hindi/Urdu and took us to India during the summer vacations, dressed me in frocks and traditional dresses such as shalwaar kameez and lehengas rather than shirt and jeans (although that would be more a religious reason than cultural). My parents also taught us to respect elders and would rebuke us if we even joked about our teachers. We ate traditional dishes such as daal (lentil), curries and roti. We were taught to be accomodating to everyone’s tastes and to put everyone else’s needs before our own. We were taught not to talk bad about others even if they were younger to us and to not mock or ridicule anyone. We didn’t have television growing up, not because we couldn’t afford to but because my parents believed it would mature us earlier than usual.

Growing up in Dubai in the 90s, I saw like-minded selfless people who did not take the wrong meaning of what you said or did, where aunties mollycoddled you more than their children, where everyone helped each other out in anyway possible. No one had time for gossip, in fact no one cherished gossiping. Everyone cared for the betterment of others.

Cut to Australia and I not only experienced a cultural shock but psychological as well.To be honest it was latter more than the former. I mean I knew that there wouldn’t be as many desi families here than there. But even the small circle of desis that I have made here is vastly different than the group of people I grew up with. Everyone here is intent on building their own paradise. No one wants to advise or coach other’s children because they don’t want to build competition. No one wants to recommend “friends” for jobs because they don’t want to strain their own relationship with the boss.No one wants to help or give advise to anyone out of fear that the suggestion they give might be taken in the wrong way.

I used to be open-minded free thinker who gave out honest opinions as I wished. But I realised that not only people took double meanings out of it but they also later quoted me in the wrong context which used to infuriate me. I no longer speak as I please. I think thrice before I speak if I ever speak at all. What I have learnt is to keep mum at social situations.

Australia, as they say, is a land of opportunities. Too right they said. Here, I had the opportunity to get hurt. I had the opportunity to see people behind their masks. I had the opportunity to muffle my existence. I had the opportunity to grow up and meet the real world. Because Dubai was just a fairytale with its flowers of innocence and sweet gestures.

I am not attacking or eulogizing countries or generalizing its people. I am just ranting against the viewpoints and mindsets of people I have had the opportunity to get along with. Perhaps I am yet to meet selfless desis in Australia. Until then, I shall continue to be the selfless one.The way my parents raised me to be.

***Feature image via Google Image.

Life of a Loner

If you read the title and assumed that I am going to complain on how lonely I am while others are out socializing, you would be wrong. I am not complaining but I am not too proud of it either.

party

Ever since I can remember, I used to enjoy parties and socializing and having a good laugh. But coming home and entering the sanctity, the warmth and solitude of home, now that, I enjoyed that more. I still do. While everyone else is posting on social media about how much fun they are having on weekend or meeting up with their mates, my only accomplishment worthy of mentioning would be that I was successful in making delicious chocolate mousse. While everyone is clicking selfies or snapping away on Snapchat on a recent meetup, I am at home, in bed, checking it all out. Now it’s not that I don’t get invites.I get heaps of invites, both on Facebook and personal. Why don’t I attend? Various reasons

  1. Religious reasons (I can’t go places such as clubs, pubs and discos (total no-no).My friend is a DJ and has invited me multiple times on Facebook to go clubbing with her and I can’t explain to her without offending her. She seemed nonplussed when I replied religious reasons and I don’t really know how to delve into it deeper without having an hour conversation).
  2. When-there-are-no-kids-your-age reason. This mainly happens during desi get-togethers. All aunties and uncles are busy gossiping away, leaving me in charge of their little kids. They don’t officially ask me to babysit but what you gonna do when you are stuck with kids whining and crying? Keep them entertained of course!!I get bored in the process. So now I attend a party once in a while but try to avoid them if I can.
  3. When your Muslim friends invite you to a lunch and choose a restaurant which sells halal chicken but also sell pork or an Indian restaurant that has all chicken and beef menu but also sell alcohol. Now the restaurants claim that they cook and fry separately, which might be true but when you have teenagers behind the counter cooking and cleaning at such places, you can’t assume they would be too careful not mixing oil or changing oils of the fryers or cleaning dishes well enough before using it for halal chicken. I mean cleaning their own rooms seems a hurdle to them. And I was a teenager once. And I know that even though I am a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning and scrubbing, even I used to get lazy once in a while.Even if there aren’t teenagers working but adults, I still wouldn’t risk it.The chicken is not halal anymore if a drop of oil that was used to cook/fry pork gets on the chicken. I avoid such places altogether.
  4. When you go to a party but people have already formed groups or you go to a party and have seen them after ages while they have been meeting practically every weekend and are having a conversation about something that happened at a party two weeks ago to which you did not go to and hence have no clue what they are talking about. You sit there clueless, not really getting the jokes and they are laughing so hysterically, they are in tears. You feel a bit lost or the feeling that you don’t belong there. So then you vow that either you will attend EVERY party from then on or mute and exit the group.Knowing me, I do the latter.

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And hence, tis the life of an eternal loner who would rather spend weekends writing blog entries and playing Sudoku or word puzzles than be turnt up for the weekends. And that’s nothing to be ashamed off or pitied on.Do what makes you comfortable. The only downside is your friends are going to think you are a haughty snob but oh well, doesn’t warm tea (or coffee) and warm bed sound heavenly?

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*** All images via Google Images. Excuse the spelling of “Because” in 3 reasons image. I inserted it  because it was spot on and fit with the article perfectly.

Say No to Racism!!!

I was rushing to my class today morning when this dude just pops out of nowhere and hands me this pamphlet that screams : SAY NO TO RACISM!!! JOIN THE DISCUSSION 5:30 P.M TODAY AT THE STATE LIBRARY!! (I made up the venue). As always, I toss pamphlets into the next rubbish bin that I find and this was no exception. I threw it away but not before actually thinking about the impact the words had on me.

I recall the time when I was in the metro with my parents and we sat across a lady, who after a few minutes, excused herself, claiming to be claustrophobic. Bear in mind, it was peak hour, 5 in the evening and hence the train would be jam-packed with office-goers and students rushing home after a long day. If she truly felt claustrophobic, she would get out of the train and board the next to next one when the rush hour had died down. But instead she just sat behind us, right in the middle of where it was so crowded that people had to stand due to lack of seating spaces. I could only assume that she had incorrectly diagnosed herself of claustrophobia when in fact she was suffering from Islamophobia.

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Australia always has something or the other with different minority groups. Doesn’t help with the fact that Tony Abbott is only adding fuel to the fire. Then there are media people (Andrew Bolt of Herald Sun),handing out generalizations and incorrect knowledge to the masses who just chew up on it and sit in fear of any hijabis or extremists. Narrow minded bigots who yell at others to go back where they came from, could you kindly look back a couple of generations and see how your forefathers were shipped from Britain as convicts?

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Refugees , Muslims and Aboriginal people are all people. There are good and bad in each population group. If we are posting labels of terrorism on ALL Muslims, why don’t we label all white American males as shooters and British as looters (who plundered vast wealths from India and other colonies)?

Before I conclude my rant, I would like to clarify that I am not validating any shooting or terror attack, or supporting those who purport violence. I detest savage and brute attacks of power.I detest closed minds. I detest brainwashing masses of people with misguided information. What I especially detest is being placed in the same category as the people I detest.

*Side Note : Not all Australians are rednecks. That would just be generalizing them (and oh my,how I truly detest doing that!!). Some are truly the loveliest people I have known. Another blog post on that later.

***All images via Google Search.