The whole point of this blog is to bring some coherence into my ramblings. Mostly poetry, yes. But not quite :)
It always helps to have somebody criticize what I've written. At least THEN you know they've read it ....
You'll find pretty much constant whining here. No, I've still not QUITE grown out of it. Do we ever ?
Never ending grumbles... here we come!
The "state" of affairs is such that if I think too much, I can actually start trembling. This is the night before the big V interview. Visa interview I mean. I shouldn't be this scared, I know. I should realize that whatever happens tomorrow is pre-destined. I know. I should focus on being confident, more than anything else. I know. That is my weakest point, by the way. I also know that.
My brain refuses to stop conjuring up images of scary and intimidating visa officers, asking me a load of difficult questions and getting me all confused or babbling incoherently. **scared stiff even now**.
I do wonder what there is to be scared about anyway. Scribbling on this post is a reminder for me not to be scared of situations where I have absolutely no control. I mean, yes I have control over my tongue, but then again, how do I control what goes on in the VO's mind?
The scariest bit is getting a rejection of course. All the hard work, the effort, the expectations, will amount to nothing but a huge heart-ache. I guess I can re-apply, but that will take too much time and I think that will make me miss the semester.
The hopeful bit is that it's for a PhD so maybe it'll be better than if it were for a Master's. I so so hope so. Insha Allah. Lol, take a look at this:
Huge huge reminder for me and then all others. It's very rightly pointed out that the Muslim attitude towards the Quran is reserved for:
1. Special occasions: marriages, births, deaths, moving into a new house, sickness etc.
2. When something wrong happens - and we need help (and all other sources fail)
There is a serious lack of Quran reading (with meaning and pondering) as part of a daily routine. I so hope I learn from this, and straighten up my routine with pondering over the Quran each and every day. Insha Allah.
Just one month left. 30 days. How few are thirty days, I've realized today. After a month, I can no longer sit in this particular corner of my house, with my laptop and write a blog post. Not regularly at least.
After a month...
I will no longer be able to call this room 'my room'.
I will no longer be able to call the kitchen 'my kitchen'.
I will no longer take out the car whenever I feel like.
I will no longer be eating breakfast alone.
I will no longer be shopping!
I will no longer be calling this house 'my house'.
I will not be able to see my folks whenever I want to.
I will no longer be able to yell in the house, "Muummmm, Daaadddd.... "
I will no longer be able to hide in corners of the house, alone.
I will no longer be in control of my time.
I will probably be using Skype if I want to talk to Mum and Dad.
I will not be able to go out to see the kittens (7 of them!) whenever I want.
I will no longer be doing the morning walk outside the house (which I've been missing for many days).
I will no longer be able to go to gym.
I will miss Quran classes.
I will not be able to sit for long periods of time at my laptop.
I will not be among people I've known all my life.
I will have to...adjust.
I made karelay (bitter melon) for the first time in my life. My Dad had been "mentioning" it for days. Apparently, its a food that's used to control sugar, and that's the primary reason why he was after me to make it someday.
That day was today.
I went out and drove to the sabzi wala - brought 1/2 kg karelay. Then, came back and waited for electricity to come back so that I could hunt up a recipe for cooking it. This was 12 ish am. Light came back late :(. Khair, hunted for the recipe. Found it. Set about to peel the karelay and er, clean them. Then they had to be salted and kept away for 20 minutes, so that they would um, shoo away the bitterness.
Sigh sigh sigh. Cutting them and cleaning them was no easy task. Next time I saw the clock, I was wet through and through (it was a hot day), and it showed me : 12.45. Which meant, I had stood in the kitchen for 45 minutes, just using a knife/potatoe peeler and my nails. If only somebody had told me that cleaning karelas does NOT mean, trying to pick out the seeds individually and prying them out with your nails.
Anyway, finally they were cleaned. I set them aside for 20 minutes, and hurriedly put on rice, and daal too (my backup in case karelas failed, which seemed a lil likely at the point).
After 20 minutes, I washed them and put them under the fan (to no effect). If only somebody had told me that we're supposed to squeeze them with our hands to get all the water out.
I browned the onions till then, added masala, and tomatoes and then hesitantly put the karelas in. Well, mixed the whole thing together, and then added a little water for the karelas to cook. Meanwhile, rice and daal were made. Then had to make brownies for some guests who were coming today.
Allll that (and a good 2.5 hours) later, our domestic servant came and she sat down to drink tea. I served her some karelay and asked her nervously, what should be improved in it. She couldn't swallow it !!
Anyway, I dolefully took the plate of uneaten karelay back to the pot, and then gave her a brownie. She loved it!
Later, when Dad came, and I served lunch, I mentioned casually: You know what Dad? I made karelay today.
Him *all excited*: Wowww! Wheree?? **looking expectantly around the table**
Me: *trying not to make my voice wobble*: Actually, it's a tragedy. They didn't turn out well.
Him: Whaat? How? Who said?
Me: *told whole sad tale*
Him: *very kindly*: Okay, just bring some and let me try it.
I tried to dissuade him. I really really did. He just wouldn't listen. So I brought some karelay out on a bowl and gave that to him.
Now, he took a bite. I looked anxiously on. And then he said: It's amazing!
Me: *gave him a stop-trying-to-be-nice-to-me-look*
Him: It really really is. There is always some bitter taste in karelas. That's why they're karelas!! And you know, they're really good for sugar control!
*started eating karelas araam se*
It was real. He wasn't faking it. My karelas weren't a huge failure after all!!
Then, in the evening, after my much-needed afternoon nap, Mum came into my room (she had been out for the morning). She said: Those karelas are awesome. You know, my family relative [forgot who] used to cook like that.
Me: *stunned again*.
Later on. Chotpo was like: These karelas are really really good. Have some daal and some karelay and you won't even feel an ounce of bitterness in this.
Finally, I tasted them. Lolz. They really weren't that bad. I guess cooking them for a loooong time paid off. Poor domestic servant.
So the end was actually sweet of the whole "bitter experience" :D
1. When you got nothing to do in life, make karelay. Perfect ones.
2. Don't take just one opinion on your work.
3. Don't get too dejected on just one opinion on your work.
4. Believe in the power of the mind, the stove and the.. salt.
5. Keep a backup. Always.
6. Thank Allah for the blessings we have - and for the food on our tables.
For the past quite a few days, my blood has been boiling at the extreme contemptible actions of our dear government and others in power, their blatant disrespect for the court, their sheer hypocrisy, and of course, their unprecedented fear of the almighty amreeka.
And there are quite a few educated people in our country, who support these goons.
Check out a few brilliant statements by our dear convicted PM:
May 13, 2012: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani says Pakistan Peoples Party is
pursuing the vision and philosophy of its great leaders for the cause of
democracy and down trodden segments of the society.Source
London, May 12 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has
said he wants to improve relations with the U.S. following the killing
of Osama bin Laden on its soil last year. "There have been lots of
ups and downs in our relationship. We know the importance of the United
States. We really want to improve our relations. We are in the middle
of discussions and I am sure that better things will come out," Sky News quoted Gilani, as saying.
So Mr PM, we know you really really really want to improve relations with the US, but is that really following the PPP policy of working for the downtrodden? Last I heard, the downtrodden got more trodden upon when a person called Raymond Davis opened fire on our citizens in Jan 2011, and the downtrodden got more trodden upon when the Salala checkpost incident occured, and the downtrodden keeps getting trodden upon (in fact, they get shredded into pieces) when drone attacks continue in our country.
So which type of downtroddens are you supporting by really really really wanting to improve relations?
It’s important to mention that Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has
indicated today that the time has come to reopen the country’s Afghan
border to Nato supplies, saying the government had made its point by
closing the route for nearly six months in retaliation for deadly US
airstrikes on its troops. [Source]
Oh reallyMs Khar? Really?
We've made our point, yeah? Ask that to the wife of a troop killed on that base, calling again and again for help, and getting bullets in return. Does she think we've made our point in six months? That's how long it takes to get over a human being in our lives? That's how long it takes to forget the brutal way in which a human being (let alone so many!) was taken away from us? If your blood relative was one of those in that check post, would it have taken six months for you to move on in life, and extend a hand of friendship to the killers of your relative..?
Another statement by our great hero of the past...
Former Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President and Pakistan
People’s Party (PPP) leader Aitzaz Ahsan said the punishment meted out
to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani in contempt of court case, is
unconstitutional. Talking to media here, the PM Gilani’s counsel said
the short order cannot be delivered in criminal cases. Ahsan said the
premier could not have been sentenced in the absence of a detailed
verdict. He said short orders were not issued in criminal cases and that
the prime minister’s sentencing was against the law.
Sir, I marvel your abilities to talk. Talk nonsense, maybe. But yeah talk. One cannot even begin to fathom how big a turncoat you turned out to be. But hey, everything is fair in love and war and swiss accounts yeah?
Immunity immunity immunity. That's all you can think, dream, eat, sleep ! Fundamental question: Why need immunity? Ever thought about the obvious answer?
I have the good old fear that this post is going to turn out whiny. But there's something interesting I'd like to begin with, which I discovered only today. In Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, the author explains that when men face a problem, they need to alienate themselves, and sort things out in their heads. It's called "going in their caves". And today, I discovered that it's not just men who need 'caves'. We all need our private caves, where we can think things through, and sort the muddles in our minds. Sigh.
Back to the day. I just had some verses of poetry running through my brain when I was offering Isha prayers today. Why don't I just scribble them down, instead of whining out each and every thing that is not positive in my lil ol life.
Yeah okay. *convinced myself*.
Here goes. It's completely free-versy.
As I watch the tides turn
And waves of fury crash
Splitting apart those rocks
That stood for ages, intact
The ripples of anger and bitterness
Washing over anybody in the way
I watch it all in dismay
Watch the bonds disintegrate
The bonds that held on
Through thick and thin
And now time has changed
And the tide has turned
The ones we want to hold
So close to our hearts
Drift away, far away
As the tide changes its way
Inclined though I am
To leave everything and run away
Reason catches up pretty soon
In the end, I can just pray
The waves keep crashing
The distance keeps growing
The 'fun' is all but drowned
In the fury of the foamy waves
I wonder what it was like
To feel light-hearted and free
To have no threads attached
To my heart...
To be able to smile freely
To be able to receive smiles freely
To give generously, and expect
Nothing in return
The clouds in the brain
Grow foggier by the day
Dark, threatening clouds
Refusing to go away
The tiny object in our mouths
Small, yet potent enough
To create rifts and barriers
That waves of fury only strengthen
As we withdraw in caves
Each one of us, truly alone
Looking around in despair
And finding, absolutely no one.
When the tongue forgets dhikr
And the heart doesn't remember
Praying seems mechanical
And actions become self-centered
Life still goes on and on
Each second bringing the end closer
It's hard to muster hope in this
Disjointed, chaotic, hypocritic atmosphere...
It is a well-known fact that the Prophet of Islam
(PBUH) was the supremely successful man in the entire
human history. But he was not just a hero, as Thomas
Carlyle has called him. According to the Qur’an, he was
a good example for all mankind. He has shown us the way
of achieving supreme success in this
By studying the life of
the Prophet we can derive those important principles
which were followed by the Prophet. In short, the
Prophet of Islam was a positive thinker in the full
sense of the word. All his activities were
result-oriented. He completely refrained from all such
steps as may prove
Principle: To begin from the possible. This
principle is well explained in a saying of Aishah (rah). She
said: "Whenever the Prophet had to choose between two
options, he always opted for the easier choice."
(Al-Bukhari)To choose the easiest option means to begin
from the possible, and one who begins from the possible
will surely reach his goal.
Principle: To see advantage in disadvantage. In
the early days of Mecca, there were many problems and
difficulties. At that time, a guiding verse in the
Qur’an was revealed. It said: "With every hardship
there is ease" (Quran 94:5).This means that if
there are some problems, there are also opportunities at
the same time. And the way to success is to ignore the
problems and avail the
Principle: To change the place of action. This
principle is derived from the Hijrah. Hijrah was not
just a migration from Mecca to Medina. It was to find a
more suitable place for Islamic work, as history proved
Principle: To make a friend out of an enemy. The
prophet of Islam was repeatedly subjected to practices
of antagonism by the unbelievers. At that time the
Qur’an enjoined upon him the return of good for evil.
And then, as the Qur’an added, "You will see your
direst enemy has become your closest friend" (Quran
It means that a good deed in return
of a bad deed has a conquering effect over your enemies.
And the life of the Prophet is a historical proof of
Principle: To turn minus into plus. After the
Battle of Badr, about 70 of the unbelievers were taken
as the prisoners of war. They were educated people. The
Prophet announced that if any one of them would teach
ten Muslim children how to read and write he would be
freed. This was the first school in the history of Islam
in which all of the students were Muslims, and all of
the teachers were from the enemy rank. Here I shall
quote a British orientalist who remarked about the
Prophet of Islam: He faced adversity with the
determination to wring success out of
Principle: The power of peace is stronger than
the power of violence. When Mecca was conquered, all of
the Prophet’s direst opponents were brought before him.
They were war criminals, in every sense of the word. But
the Prophet did not order to kill them. He simply said:
"Go, you are free." The result of this kind behavior was
miraculous. They immediately accepted
Principle: Not to be a dichotomous thinkerIn the
famous Ghazwa of Muta, Khalid bin Walid decided to
withdraw Muslim forces from the battlefield because he
discovered that the enemy was unproportionately
outnumbered. When they reached Medina, some of the
Muslims received them by the word "O Furrar" (O
deserters!) The Prophet said "No. They are Kurrar" (men
Those Medinan people were
thinking dichotomously, either fighting or retreating.
The Prophet said no. There is also a third option, and
that is to avoid war and find a time to strengthen
yourself. Now history tells us that the Muslims, after
three years of preparation, advanced again towards the
Roman border and this time they won a resounding
Principle: To bring the battle in one’s own
favorable field. This principle is derived from the Ghazwa
of Hudaibiyya. At that time, the unbelievers were
determined to engage Muslims in fighting, because
obviously they were in an advantageous position. But the
Prophet, by accepting their conditions unilaterally,
entered into a pact. It was a ten-year peace treaty.
Until then, the meeting ground between Muslims and
non-Muslims had been on the battlefield. Now the area of
conflict became that of ideological debate. Within two
years, Islam emerged as victorious because of the simple
reason of its ideological
Principle: Gradualism instead of radicalism. This
principle is well-established by a hadith of Al-Bukhari.
Aishah says that the first verses of the Qur’an were
related mostly to heaven and hell. And then after a long
time when the people’s hearts had softened, the specific
commands to desist from adultery and drinking were
revealed in the Qur’an.This is a clear proof that for
social changes, Islam advocates the evolutionary method,
rather than the revolutionary
Principle: To be pragmatic in controversial
matters. During the writing of Hudaibiyyah treaty, the
Prophet dictated these words: "This is from Muhammad,
the Messenger of God." The Qurayshi delegate raised
objections over these words. The Prophet promptly
changed the word and ordered to write simply Muhammad,
son of Abdullah.
These were the principles
through which the Prophet of Islam gained that success
which has been recognized by historians as the supreme
In the end, I would like to repeat
those ten principles of success:
To begin from the possible 2. To see
advantage in disadvantage 3. To
change the place of action 4. To
make a friend out of an enemy 5. To
turn minus into plus 6. The power of
peace is stronger than the power of
violence 7. Not to be a dichotomous
thinker 8. To bring the battle in
one’s own favorable field 9.
Gradualism instead of radicalism 10.
To be pragmatic in controversial
This post is actually meant for May 5, 2012. One of my best friends got married that day :) Alhamdulillah. She had a tough time leading up to the marriage, what with the PhD thesis defense viva and all - but everything turned out amazing Alhamdulillah!
I wish her a hugely happy life and a joyous future, and an even more amazing Hereafter, Ameen!
An excellent lecture outlining the approach parents (especially dads) need to take in order to teach Islam to their kids. It should start from a really early age (and the dad, not the qaari sahib), should teach Quran recitation and meaning to the child.
I hope we all benefit from this, and learn to protect our future generations and guide them towards this deen.
1. When you see them, they remind you of Allah, the Almighty. 2. When you sit with them, it increases your FAITH. 3. When they speak to you, it increases your knowledge. 4. When you see their actions, you remember the HEREAFTER.
should be no surprise that when rich men take control of the
government, they pass laws that are favorable to themselves. The
surprise is that those who are not rich vote for such people, even
though they should know from bitter experience that the rich will
continue to rip off the rest of us." Andrew Greeley (Chicago Sun-Times, February 18, 2001)
After a gap of quite a few days (sigh), I went to the gym today along with Sis the Priss. Kiddo was in school btw, in case you're wondering where bhanju was. He must be having fun with his 'mich' (Miss), the one who is 'Abaaya peni' and also the one who is '(du) patta peni'
Anyway, so when I started the routine, I noted the gym instructor looking at me with some concern.
She: Uni, are you all right?
Me: Yeah, why?
She: Is your tabiyat theek? (Are you feeling well?)
Me: Yeah of course. Why?
She: What are you eating these days?
Sis the Priss injects (looking very smug): Ask her what is she NOT eating?
Me: *scowling* I'm eating normal home food.
Gym Instructor (not looking very convinced): *nodds her head and doesn't say another word*.
A little while later, when me and sis were talking, I expressed my concern about why the instructor was asking about my tabiyat and eating pattern.
Sis the Priss: Why wouldn't she ask? You look beemaar! (ill).
Me: *scowling again*.. I so do not!
She: Yes you do. You look like the way you did when you had that stomach infection and had to be on drips. You're all shriveled.
Do I need to mention that we all went to the seaside yesterday where we had loads of fun.. (grinning) and I sat on the camel with sis the priss and bhanju squashed in front of me... :D. Awesome, I tell you. Then we all went in the water and bhanju kept saying "Oneee, twooo, theeee, Jumpyyyyyyy!!!" (he jumps at three).
And THEN, we all went to BBQ Tonite and had dinner there??? Do I need to mention anything else?
brothers and sisters, I really need your help. I have a dear friend,
Tayyaba Beg whose family has been hit by tragedy. Due to a rare genetic
disease (MPS), starting at the age of 3, her daughters went from being
completely normal, to slowly losing, one by one, their ability to walk,
see, eat, talk, and even swallow. Now they live in wheelchairs and on
oxygen tanks. I have gotten the humbling honor to visit Tayyaba and her
family in their home, and it was one of the most shaking experiences of
my life. Tayyaba is up day and night caring for her kids (may Allah
grant her and her family the highest jennah) and they cannot afford
these overwhelming expenses. Tayyaba and her family are drowning in debt
due to the monthly medical expenses and equipment. They desperately
need new wheel chairs, which cost $2000 and up because their old ones
are giving them bruises due to being too tight. Just one bill for
a surgery her daughter had is $8000. They are required to move, but
cannot do so until their debts are filled! Please donate generously and
Assalamualaikum. Again, my entire family is going to attend this event insha Allah :). We loved the last workshop which was about People of Substance, conducted by Nouman Ali Khan. You can read my posts on this event from the following links: