Blessed

It has been a month since my birthday and I was recalling how I was finishing up a last minute assignment the night before. I had a long day at university and I rushed home to get on with my assignment. I finished it up at 11:45 and was ready to pass out on bed. I am glad I called before I did but I am quite sure even if I hadn’t, you would have called at midnight. Because you had remembered it was my birthday when I had forgotten.

I was sleepy azz and wished you good night but you wouldn’t let me hang up. You kept talking when all I could respond with was hmmm and yeah. You pleaded to stay awake for 4 more minutes which confused my already sleep-deprived brain. Normally you put me to sleep but not that night. When I asked why, you blabbered with what you had been up to the whole day and when 4 minutes had passed, you suddenly wished happy birthday which woke me nice and proper. Well, also the fact that my phone pinged with notification at the same time, opened my shut eyes and when I rubbed my eyes to respond to you and my phone, I realised that you had sent me a poem. A heartfelt, beautiful and thoughtful poem that not only had you carved from your own thinking, but you had written so elegantly and beautifully. All this was too much for me to handle. The rush of emotions that came from within resulted in tears of happiness and I started weeping in joy. For I felt truly special. And cherished. And although you are miles away, I felt as if you were right next to me. How I wish you were, so you could see my giddy smile and excited heart. For even though, we both have grown old to celebrate birthdays, the gesture made me feel like a child again.

And this is why I say alhumdulillah, I am so lucky to have you.

The One

When I tell my friends of my parents actively searching for a guy for me, they seem confused. “But how do you know that he will be the one?” You don’t. You make him the one for you.

Arranged marriage is a weird concept to white people. Dating is frowned upon in my culture(Bollywood creates false image of acceptance of love.Those aunties that click their tongues when they see you talking to the opposite gender don’t make the movies.It’s the desi uncle who love masala and spice)and forbidden in my religion. It is hard when you have clash of cultures, religions and people in a group. One of my non-desi non-muslim friend has a boyfriend, one of them is a muslim desi engaged to be married and I am the single muslim desi. So while both of them are busy texting their significant others, I am deciding on what snacks will be awaiting me when I reach home from uni. Not that I am complaining coz hey, the sight of food pleases me just as much. I get all mushy too when I see steaming pizza and we never fight like ever. Food and I are just meant to be.

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These days all I hear about are proposals and marriage and my friends getting engaged, my cousins getting engaged, when the marriage date is getting fixed and which aunty is searching for a boy for their girl or a girl for their boy. Maybe I grew up and that is why these topics seem more pronounced to me because all of a sudden the theme changed from career to husbands. And I wasn’t prepared. I am still in the career mode. And while marriage won’t put a full stop to that dream of mine, it will most definitely be a life-changing experience. And I hate changes. Well, changes are good or I would get bored of routine. But not my life change changes. The plaza gets renovated, the apps get updated and my house gets repainted, that’s all cool. But changing house, families, living with new people, it will take ages getting used to it. Even though it has been 5 years since I moved to Aus, I still wake up in the morning and wonder where am I? for a few seconds. If 16 years of living in Dubai did that to me, you can only imagine my reaction 22 years living with my family will have on me. I shall wake up and scream at my husband and ask “Who are youuu??”

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My parents will celebrate their 27 years of marriage in October. When white people reach such jubilees in their time of spending together, they get asked what is the secret? Desi people have unlocked the secret ages ago. The secret is live together,STAY together (no matter what, even if the husband is ugly). I can’t say for desi people my generation now though. Divorces are getting common in my area too unfortunately. And as cliché  as that sounds, I feel social media is partly to blame. Wives are in competition of which husband gave the best present and who is more romantic and where did which couple celebrate their getaway.You know, that competitive desi mentality lol. Its ruining marriages now.But that is just the tip of the iceberg.Other factors account too.

Now, when I am at that age of what is supposedly every girl’s dream of meeting the one, it doesn’t seem all rosy. Books and movies don’t offer step by step manual.Even if they did, chuck it away and create your own.That doesn’t mean it will be a fairytale story. You got to prepare yourself for the bumpy ride.And I guarantee it will be smooth sailing after for a long long time. The magic word is compromise.

***All opinions stated are mine (ok some might be the influence of a couple of aunties and grandmothers’ advice. I went to a party recently and got heaps and loads of advice on how to handle marriage so yeah.They told me to compromise I replied yolo (not really)).

***All images and gif via Google Images.

In the grey…

As a student at RMIT, living in the suburbs, I can safely say that I have done enough travelling to and fro city for a lifetime. 4 days a week, sometimes 5, bus and train drivers as well as ticket officers would know me by name now. The mundane task of dragging myself to get dressed and attend lectures now seem exciting to me as I near the end of my Bachelor days. I used to assume that one needs friends for the whole university experience to be unforgettable. Listening to my parents’ and older brother Khalid’s stories of hostel life and adventures or silly pranks that they used to get into, I set my foot into university in 2012, promising myself that I would make it one of those memorable experiences worthy enough to relate to my kids.

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First semester was going really quiet and I wondered if I would graduate as a nobody when suddenly in my Scientific Skills class, another hijabi, Ayesha, came and said hi to me. Now one thing you must know about me is that I come across as shy when you first meet me but once you make the wonderful mistake of approaching me and getting to know me, I emerge from my multiple layers of shyness and blast you with my philosophical depth. By the end of class, we had exchanged phone numbers and details about ourselves and interestingly enough we had a lot in common so we hit it at the start. Since I was still on a Nokia, we exchanged Facebook details to chat and exchange memes and gifs. I don’t think whatsapp wasn’t even a thing back in 2012. A few weeks later, my mum got a call from Aisha’s mum and we were invited to dinner at her place where we got to know each other a bit more. Both mums sighed in relief when they realised that their daughters were studying the same course and would be looking out for each other against the big bad world. Inwardly I was mighty glad as well since I wouldn’t be stuck outside class or in practicals, wishing for someone to pick me to be their partner. As days rolled into months, I got to know every little itty bitty detail about Ayesha so much so that we were inseparable at university and at home (constantly chatting away). Other friends in my group circle would even laugh when they would spy either one of us without the other and ask how we were even alive without the other half.

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Alas those days were to end. Ayesha was engaged to be wed and had to finish off a semester during a vacation. I, with no such plans as of yet, am still trudging to university these days to complete my degree. While everyone believed that I would go into bouts of depression from which I would never regain to continue uni, I proved them wrong by still attending lectures and practicals dutifully. I won’t lie, I hated the first day. I felt abandoned and desolate among the chaotic chatter of excited first year students. As days passed, I realised that there was a whole different level of adventure awaiting me to explore on my own. I got more independent and organized as there was no one to remind me of due dates. I could decide whether or not the lecture was worth attending to without someone riddling me with guilt. I could leave the uni straight after the long hour pracs without having to wait for someone to get rejuvenated by a cup of tea from the cafeteria (I don’t drink tea, I watch people drink tea (well not watch, wait) ). I could be of free will and decide on plans without someone debunking them because they had other plans or simply weren’t up to it. I could just sleep in as long as I wanted to and get to uni 5 minutes before lectures/practicals without someone waiting for me hours earlier. I can now explore the city and travel in any direction I wish to without someone complaining of tired feet. I feel anonymous and obscure and I relish that feeling as well.maxresdefault

People assume that just because a certain someone has walked away, that life will never be the same. And that’s true. It will never be the same. It will be different. Sometimes that difference is what makes you realise you can still be you without needing someone. You are a whole. And while I will have many funny anecdotes of me and Ayesha to relate to my kids, I shall also have loads of nostalgic memories of my university experienced first-hand by me. No recommendations, no suggestions. Just me and the city.

*** All images are from Google Search.

Bored of board games??

I am a 90’s kid and as most people who grew up in the 90’s would know, board games, tamagotchis and Pokemon were the rage. In fact, my brothers and I have an ice cream box filled with Pokemon cards. My little brother Mikaeel and I were reminiscing about how we used to spend summer vacation nights playing Monopoly and how we had three tamagotchis, one for each. Mine and Mikaeel’s was a blue tamagotchi while my older brother Khalid had a red tamagotchi and we all had dinosaurs as pets. Somehow they died and I can’t recall if we ever named them. I, to this day, believe 90’s era was the best era to be brought up in.


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My parents recently hosted a dinner party where the guests were a mix of aunties, uncles and the littlies (ranging from 5 to 12 years of age). To keep the kids entertained, we downloaded a couple of animated movies. When we questioned whether they would like to watch Minions, a general response of “We’ve already watched it” rang out. After giving them a series of options such as Home, Tangled, Frozen, Up, Toy Story (all three parts), Monsters, Inc., etc, and getting “no, nope, borrrriinngg, seen that, hate that” in response, I decided to settle for my final trump card : Lion King (a movie that even I (non-repeater of books and movies) would watch countless times over and still not be able to get over Mufasa’s death). I was shocked when almost all kids made a face in mock horror for me to be so stupid as to suggest such an old classic when they found the recents so ho hum and mundane. So then I brought my board games such as Monopoly, Ludo, Battleship, Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble and Pictionary among many others.

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What I didn’t realise was that these kids were the I generation, where iPhones, iPads and iMac dominated their eating,sleeping and waking habits. They slept with iPhone’s in their hands, woke up with it ringing and ate with Youtube playing their cartoons. So naturally the concept of board games as a form of entertainment not only seemed medieval but absurd to them. And no matter how exciting or appealing I tried to make the plastic counters and cardboard game board, the kids just seem uninterested and indifferent. In the end I gave up and fetched the iPad that resulted in squeals of pleasure and satisfaction and a few minutes later the ruckus died down as they found a video suited to everyone’s taste. I was left with feelings of woe and disappointment, seeing them huddled around screen, eyes wide, enchanted and motionless, almost brain dead as zombies, recalling how I used to scream and shout at Mikaeel for taking rent money from me when I was broke at Monopoly, not considering the fact that I was his only sister.

Maybe I consider 90’s to be the best, the same way my mum considers her childhood to be the best. Maybe these kids will grow up someday and shake their heads at their kids with 4D technology and futuristic gadgets and recount on how their childhood was simple and the best. And maybe I should just consider being grateful for having such great childhood memories while understanding that each kid is living the best childhood he/she can.

*** All images taken from Google Search

Haaalllpp.. I am getting a huge zit on my forehead!!

As a teenager in Dubai, I was one of those girls who had clear skin. No it wasn’t flawless (I did have dry patches) but at least my face wasn’t festering with red spots. I didn’t apply any creams nor lotions nor any makeup. I didn’t need to. That all changed when I arrived Australia at the age of 16. It was all going smooth until my mum observed this redness on my right cheek. When I peered into the mirror, I realised I had become victim to someone’s fit of frenzy jealousy. What I didn’t realise was my days of clear skin had ended and that I would look at someone’s flawless face and ache for what I used to be.

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I turned 22 a couple of months ago and while most of my friends are over that awkward acne filled, braced up stages of their lives, all dolled up and pretty, I am sitting in front of my bedroom mirror contemplating whether to apply a week (or 2 weeks) of absence from university to tend to this ginormous volcanic eruption that is about to occur on my forehead. It almost looks like a swelling or a bruise and my mom worriedly asked me whether I had bumped against a pole. On replying “no, it’s just another zit about to pop”, lil bro chimed in “NOT AGAIIINNNN” , which just goes to show how frustrating acne is for victims and viewers alike.

I have tried various creams, lotions, acne treatments ( natural and chemical), grandma’s cures & next door aunty’s remedies but I am still yet to recall the last time I looked in the mirror and was satisfied at what I saw. Sometimes there is an invasion to fight and sometimes there is scarring to treat. My face is the battlefield on which countless of wars of bacteria versus treatments have been waged on.

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Ramadan 2015, I believe was the best short period, I could have cherished clear skin for. It was almost miraculous that my skin hadn’t spoken out for so long, so much so that even mum commented on how my skin was clear. No attacks by the oil production company and my scars were fading away. All in all I was having quite a gala time and was fantasizing on what makeup and dress I would wear for Eid and was giddy with excitement that on Eid I would be looking flawless for once. Two days before Eid, I guess I got short on preparing and planning, or maybe the facial bacteria that were exhausted with all the fasting got excited about Eid and decided to help out by going into overdrive and lo and behold, I was the proud expectant mother of triplets or possibly quantuplets of pimples. While my left cheek and forehead were as clear as a cloudless sky, my right cheek and chin were having their own little Eid party. Three to four zits on my right cheek and it seemed like they had bullied one who went away and was festering on my chin.

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And that’s how Eid was. I had my own facial guests to attend to nevermind the actual guests and their reactions.

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Honey masks and lemon ice cubes, salicylic acid and aspirin paste, cleansers and moisturisers for acne skin, my face has seen it all. I bet even the zits are like “Really Aaliyah? Are you still going to fight us with anything and everything? Haven’t you seen our strength? Haven’t you realised that we are making up for those awkward teenage years that you missed by giving you awkward adult years? I mean, c’mon, let’s become friends now alright?”

NEVERRRRRRRR!!!!!

***All images are taken from Google Search.

Moon Sighting Confusion!!

Background : The Islamic calendar is based on the moon, unlike the Gregorian calendar that follows the sun. So for Muslims the beginning of the next day actually starts at sunset and not at 12 am midnight.Also since it’s a lunar calendar, each month of the Islamic calendar is of 29/30 days as opposed to 30/31 days.

Ramadan this year was quite uneventful. By uneventful I don’t mean that it wasn’t very spiritually enlightening, rather the Imam of my mosque slammed down all the commotion that occurs every year of when the Eid* will be by asking the mosque- goers that there wouldn’t be a single question or discussion on it. I came to Australia 5 years ago and there hasn’t been a single Ramadan that wasn’t fraught with debates on moon sighting and occurrence of Eid. People wish to know before-hand which day the festival falls on so they can take the day off work and kids can quit school for the day. By before-hand I mean like a month earlier. Now Eid and moon-sighting go hand in hand.If one can sight a sliver of the crescent moon on the 29th or 30th night of Ramadan,then Eid is declared the next day. How can anyone know when the moon will be spotted a month before-hand?

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Now get this : The board of Imams declared Eid to be on Friday, the 17th of July, 2015. They declared it on Tuesday the 16th of June ,2015, almost a month early to hush the persistent questioning of people whining about Eid, holidays, and problematic bosses. And thus Ramadan was quite peaceful.

On the 29th night, after breaking the fast, my older brother Khalid and me (and later the whole family) went out to sight the moon with our naked eye. It had always been the tradition of mum and me to eat Iftar** as quickly as we could and go for moon-sighting. Usually Melbourne sky is enveloped with clouds but that evening the sky was as clear as could be. And despite efforts put in by the whole family, the moon couldn’t be sighted. Next option : to rely on sighting from Hilal committee (Moon Sighting Committee), the experts with the big telescopes. And by Isha*** , it was declared that the moon was not sighted anywhere in Australia. The board of Imams, on the other hand, stuck to their decision of celebrating on Friday. Maybe it hurt their ego or maybe the wrath of thousands of Melburnians who had taken leave according to schedule would be overwhelming. My family decided to stick to moon-sighting and hence we would celebrate Eid on Saturday after observing the whole 30 day fast. We were in the minority but we were adamant. The majority were feeling a bit apprehensive but they justified with the hadeeth of following the Imam.

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We fasted the next day while our friends celebrated Eid. Eid was also declared in Saudi Arabia and so people celebrating got to validate their Eid. Of course we attended the parties throughout the day which were full of debates and exchange of views on who is right and who is not. We neither condoned nor condemned anyone. But all this left me feeling a bit nonplussed.

Two days ago, the Saudi government announced that the moon sighted on the Thursday evening was in fact incorrect as it was not the moon that was sighted, rather the planet Saturn. And hence Eid was actually meant to be on the Saturday.

The End.

*The Islamic festival of celebration that happens at the end of Ramadan.

**Breaking of fast.

*** The night prayer.

^The crescent image is via Freeimage while the Eid celebration is from Google Search