Lunch Saga

If you have been following my lunch stories you know what I mean just after reading the title of the post . It’s been a while I haven’t posted , nothing much has happened . Many of my lunch mates went to India or elsewhere for their vacations  so there wasn’t much happening .  I am now no longer the only female in the group, we have a additional member recently added and I am happy about it, that means a  bit less of political discussions on the table.

Yesterday one of the lunch-mate asked on our lunch group if any of us can bring him lunch  since he is returning from holidays this morning and will not be able to cook. The food in the cafeteria is not really great as someone would love to eat so I took the burden on my little shoulder and raised the hand to help. Bringing food for the colleague is nothing bad until you have to stand in the queue near microwave to warm for  them as well so I had in total of 3 boxes to warm up. Normally the patience of people has already died when they are near those cursed microwaves . One out of four is still not functional. Nobody cares to replace them or fix them, the government offices works the same way I guess be it India or Belgium.

While I was warming up my boxes one after the other, the people behind me in the queue were getting more restless ,checking the timer button every two seconds to see much time is still remaining to wait for. So there was this Mr.Impatient  who was behind me waiting with his little box to warm up, He could not control when I put in my last box to warm up , he ran away to the next microwave because the guy there had just left and there wasn’t any queue , There are in total 10-15 steps distance between that two microwaves, so while he was almost flying to reach there, two people from behind    emerged and stood in front of that microwave , finally he was third in queue when he reached there.  I felt sorry for Mr.Impatient , wicked Murphy played well for him, couldn’t stop my evil side to laugh as well !

The thin line between being Proud and taking pride.

Some recent incidents and conversation in near past have left few open questions in my mind. How can we be sure that we are not being overconfident and proud while we assume we are simply taking pride in our things and being confident . The recent conversations with many  successful people have put me in this doubt if they are aware of the impression they are creating around as proud  and arrogant .

Being confident is a good thing , one need it always ! Speaking up your mind is another good thing but speaking trash is not . Being proud and passing judgement based on your experiences is not. At least I don’t expect it from educated elitists. Communication is an art and everyone needs to learn it. Conveying your thoughts with right words in right tone while being polite and sparing few seconds to think over what you are saying is utmost necessary before you put up your arguments . Getting aggressive , making fun of people , not giving others chance to speak and not open to listen to others ! so guys what are you doing in those debates and discussion groups , please get a training in communication and then grace us with your benign presences. My message to  Indian News channels who bring in any x ,y, z to get their Trps high and add some masala in their discussion panel.

Coming back to discussing the terms being Proud and taking Pride . When can we say someone is proud and arrogant than just being a dignified and satisfied being. We often use terms as proud parents , proud citizens etc when we are happy and satisfied with ours or near ones’ achievements or things we/they have. That’s a right thing to do but when we put others down, or put ourselves in higher position than rest or be self important to limits of superiority about self , there lies the problem.

Psychologists have even recommended to refrain from using the word Proud or Pride because it might lead you to be arrogant , to bask on something that has happened and it is dependent on external factors, it might lead you to err and be proud . Using the positive terms as dignity and self worth are much better. There is nothing wrong in respecting ourselves and demanding respect from people, acknowledging  our self worth, being more humble and showing gratitude for things we have and our achievements rather than just taking pride.  They are driven from inside, they give you positive energies to  transform you into somebody better which on contrary pride doesn’t.

I have been using quite a lot the word ‘Pride’ for example  when I started wearing my Hijab In one of the post I wrote  : ‘It’s a pride for Muslim women’ , What I meant is I am no less of a woman if I wear a Hijab than any other woman but my sentence could be very mistaken for being proud in negative way  that I am considering those who don’t wear Hijab as less. The word ‘pride’ came to fill up the gap and lack of respect we feel exists for Hijab clad women. It was  a defensive sentence because my post was to defend my position as Hijabi woman  , which now  I am self analyzing a year later after re- reading my posts . It could have been better If I would have omitted the word ‘pride’ and wrote : ‘Our dignity and self worth remains same as any other woman despite of what we wear, we feel  confident and dignified wearing our Hijabs ‘  could have been so much better with this.  S always think, weigh and then speak or write your words 🙂

Learning and improving should never be stopped .

Psychologists-have-even

References: 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/intimacy-path-toward-spirituality/201506/three-vital-differences-between-pride-and-dignity

 

Saudi Arabia’s ban on Qatar

While I was planning to be away from blogging  for most of the time this month, where can one go to rant/voice concern when you have world issues coming up like these !  Never in my dreams have I thought that Saudi Arabia, the head of Muslim States  will impose such a ban of another muslim country during the month of Ramadan and instantly  my aging memory reminds me how can you forget Yemen!  For those of you who don’t know (which I doubt) Saudi Arabia has recently put a ban on Qatar along with UAE, Bahrain and Egypt . The diplomats have been asked to leave and nationals of Qatar are giving two weeks to leave for their country and now there is ban on Qatar Airways to fly to and from these 4 countries. The ground for imposing the ban has been the charges to  support terrorism in their countries and backing the agenda of their arch rival  Iran which Qatar has clearly denied.

I am not here to justify Qatar since I don’t know the realities but  I am definitely here to condemn the ban on a muslim country by other muslim countries supposedly their brothers in Islam in holy month of Ramadan where millions of muslims are fasting and want to spend their fasts in peace . I am sure these things don’t happen in a day and Saudi Arabia must have been preparing for it from long to get the evidence and consent from rest of the states but then why choose Ramadan?  Where are the warnings issued and peaceful  discussions  held before placing a  direct blockade ! Where the proofs of violations of warnings ? Did you give enough time to make it easier for Qatar nationals to exit ?

Does the respect for Ramadan and teaching of our holy Prophet holds nothing when it comes to Politics , that too when you claim running the government by Sharia Laws, Is it really a part of Sharia to coerce tie with a Muslim state in Ramadan ! Everything in the end sums up to greed of power by these rich countries  and insecurity of their states being taken over by rivals. Saudi Arabia has been waging a war in Yemen from past few years where millions of civilians have been casualties, some have fled the country while others still starve and continue to suffer like in Syria.

Saudi Arabia has recently signed  an arm deal of 110 bn dollars with US and after a week or two of signing it We have this Qatar ban , Does that ring a bell? Iran continues to be their number 1 enemy state and a potential danger seen by West as well. Anyone keeping a relation with Iran will meet up a fate like Qatar ? Is that the message on board? Is it a bait for Iran to intervene and then start a war with it?  Qatar has supported the Palestine for long and since now Saudi Arabia is indirectly an Israel Ally by signing the weapon deal with US, it wants it to stop its Palestinian support. So many questions in my mind for now, thanks for being patient with me  to read it to the end , One thing is sure the  humans keep suffering in names of fabricated wars to sell weapons and arms,  be it terrorists or  soldiers, they both need weapons and in the end it is civilians who pay the price of war.

 

Say No to Body Shaming #saynotobodyshaming

Body shaming has not much explicitly mentioned in our societies, It is  only non serious small little hilarious remarks or advices  you get from people every now and then regarding your weight ,height or color of the skin. Your body could be a topic of discussion for people and sometimes direct remarks are shot as well.This is so normal  and acceptable practice in our South East Asian societies  and we can hardly protest, those who dare to , are often regarded as misbehaved ones.

I have always been taught to never reply back to elders for any such remarks  otherwise people will question  my  upbringing ( what kind of a daughter my mother has raised , an audacious and shameless girl! ) so sometimes words just remained in my mouth and much longer they remained in my mind .

I have seen women going into depression for not losing weight even after trying everything , people making fun of them at social or family gathering, even family members don’t spare them. Somewhere  while trying to keep up the smiling face they were probably crying inside. At the end of the day either white , brown or dark, short or tall , slim or bulky , black or blue eyes , these are all diverse ways how people can vary from each another based on their region , climate and living  like any other species vary ,  we don’t want to end up looking all same right ? so why worry so much for how we should look then rather how we actually look and be happy with that . The current parameters of beauty are in contrast with what it were in the past,  having a belly  was sign of prosperity and richness, Being  thin  was a symbol of poverty and starvation ! so  let no parameter  define your beauty except on moral and spiritual grounds or limit your confidence, let no fashion police put down your spirits. We are all beautiful in the way Allah created us, We are all struggling with our own issues and problems so why put an extra stress because someone stupid thinks you are not beautiful so next time you see someone body shaming you or any third person in your presence , better shame them for being outrageous to talk about other’s bodies and not minding their own business.

A few from young generation I have observed,  stood up against it but they are more taken as rebels, their arguments are plainly rejected because  they got angry at first place or said something mean before putting their arguments ! I  don’t think blunt replying will only help, People might shut up in front of our faces but will continue behind our backs ! We need to fix the problem at root level by creating more awareness and educating people  for this issue which is lying so unseen and not enough dealt with. What you can do is share such posts on your social media , write about it , talk about it with your family and cousins and you will be done with your bits 🙂

While I was going through the post about Body Shaming of Women in Pakistan by Saadia Haq , I always had wanted to write about it , I have spoken on it various times but this time under a dedicated post. You can read her post in link below :

https://saadiahaq.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/body-shaming-of-pakistans-women/

Book Review: Bedouin Bedtime

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This is the first time I am reviewing a children’s book  from an amazing blogger and friend Um A’yube , from  the blog  Desert Chameleon , Do check out her blog , I am sure you will love it too and that is where we had met . Bedouin Bedtime is her first book MashaAllah and I love it.

It is the cutest little book I have read. It makes up a good read for little ones who likes bed time stories or you can even read out to them and show them pictures to inculcates good reading habits since beginning. The book has interesting pictures with text  liners to relate to the pictures and trigger the imagination of children. There is also a introduction from the Author and her first hand experiences of Bedouin life. The book consists of 12 pages,  not enough for an adult’s perspective I wanted to read more so  I went through it again 😀 , jokes apart,  for kids I think  it is good enough and the sense of finishing the book will be great for them. Um A’yube is a mother herself so the book is well written keeping in mind the needs of children and what they like. We definitely need to know more of such Bedouin stories, I wish her all the best for her future books.

Book Description : A picture book for children 0-6 yrs celebrating diversity and a now fading, nomadic way of life. A boldly illustrated story about the simple, natural, bedtime routine of Bedouin nomads. Included after the story is a short section about Bedouin people, the word “Bismillah” and a note from the author.

My Ratings :  4 stars 

Muslim Feminism

Can you be a Muslim Woman and a feminist ? For some both of the terms together don’t go down the throats very well. If you say the F word , you can be dreaded for a woman who will run down the streets naked shouting weird slogans ! Thanks to ‘Free the Nipples’ Campaign supporters and FEMEN activist for giving such an image for Feminist Women worldwide. Feminism is much more than just freeing our bodies or not wearing makeup or making some odd stands ! The earliest dated Feminist movement  started in 1848 in America with the first Women’s Conference which identified the issues such as  guardianship of infants, property rights, divorce, access to higher education, equal pay , right to vote and protective legislation for women workers.

Do you see any problem voicing any of the above mentioned issues?  I think every woman will stand for it and this is what Feminism has always revolved around , then why so much noise when you hear someone being a Feminist?

Thanks to all those Feminists who stood against the patriarchal and misogynist systems and fought  which is why the constitutions of the most of the democratic and republican countries safeguards  the rights of Women today.

Since then feminism has evolved in West and it has evolved in the East. There was a growing wave of feminism in Muslim major countries where branches like Islamic Feminism have originated  so what is this Islamic Feminism and how is it different than main stream Feminism or secular Feminism? There have been books written over the entire two words, so I cant do justice to  explain everything in few lines but to cut the long story short, Those who identify with Feminism based on teaching of Islam and support rereading and interpretation of Quranic texts from a women’s perspective are mostly called Islamic Feminists. Some of the well known women are : Amina Wadud, co-founder of Sisters in Islam  ,Leila Ahmed , Asma Barlas . They advocate for Women equal rights in Mosque and Rights to lead the Prayers as an Imam,  etc which have not been well received by Islamic scholars worldwide.  Their work have been condemned by major scholars. Recently I have been researching a lot on these terms and the pioneers of such movements. More to be followed as I will advance on their work and books.

So to keep away the scorns and frowns of clerics, Muslim women more  like to be associated with the term Muslim Feminists than Islamic Feminist because most of them don’t agree with re interpretation of verses keeping aside the source of Hadith and Sunnah and different MAdhabs or leaving the technicalities of interpretation as done by Islamic scholars. No, they donot want to enter that grey zone. They just want to advocate for the legal rights as per Islam and the law of land where they are living . Some men even argue that you cannot be a feminist if you are Muslim , according to them Islam doesn’t not give equal status to men and women and supporting feminism meaning going against the teachings of Islam. Well most of the scholars have agreed on the term Allah’s creation for referring to men and women  where both stands equal. They might be different in physical appearances, strengths ,in thought processes and  their capabilities ,there is certainly no way a man superior to a woman or  women less favored by Allah in comparison to men except based on his/her deeds. We both have to adhere to same 5 pillars of Islam , pray the compulsory 5 times prayers , follow the same foundations principles and will be judged on the same ground of our deeds on earth.

Muslim feminists that I have talked to, till date or with whom I  agree with , strive more for exercising their rights which have been given to them by their Creator but  are hidden behind the blind cultural practices given the name of Religion.  They call out for Women Education , self learning and knowledge building for women to increase their intellect, coming out of victim mentality and being strong and helping other women to be strong . If all this for what a Muslim Feminist stand  today is wrong  then I really wonder what is right ?

 

The Lunch Saga

Yesterday while doing our kitchen chores before going to bed , I was at my usual  best to bore my husband with daily blabbers of what happened during the day and so on. He looked amused for a change ! so I have saved the story for you as well .   As you already know it is  an achievement for me  to warm up the food during lunch hours  at the office microwave , my husband has already proposed that I take our microwave from home and put it in the office 😀 , I will save some time and my mood too   .

I am standing in the queue at microwave, there is an Indian guy ( very serious looking) waiting for his turn behind me and one of my Indian colleague warming up his food in the microwave. We are cracking up few jokes, the other Indian guy still look tensed, doesn’t bat an eyelid forget about the smile on the joke ! Just when my colleague is about to finish , I see another of our colleague also Indian rushing towards us, he said he is in such a damn hurry  if we can warm up his food first .While I was thinking to give a response , my other colleague has already allowed him (and I was like Hey !  , it is  my turn what about the guy behind me if he will also allow)  These words never came out of my mouth though! and the other colleague has already put his boxes in the microwave and started warming up his food, so we were now waiting for him to finish, boxes after boxes he kept putting inside ! so he finally finished after 5 minutes  or more!

I took a moment of relief , just at that moment , the other guy behind couldn’t hold his anger anymore , He exploded at my colleague:

‘ You should have some respect for others ! ‘

My colleague “We are all just friends “, and fled the scene with his uncountable boxes of food.

The angry guy : ” I am not your friend ” .

Me (Left abandoned on scene, still have to warm up my food otherwise I would choose to go invisible ) mustered up some courage and spoke: ‘You can warm up your food first, I can wait more ! ‘

The angry guy :  ‘No, its your turn , go ahead’.

Me : ‘ Okay ‘ and starting warming up the food.

The angry guy :’ At least there should be basic manners and etiquette’.

Me: ‘ Relax bro , the basic manners are missing when it comes to Indians vs Indians , Sorry ‘ followed by a nervous laugh.

The angry Guy  , clueless! but  still angry.

Me: fled the scene  with my box too!

I somehow managed to hold my laugh and reach the table where my colleagues were sitting and started laughing there. The guy who caused all the ruckus enjoying somewhere his lunch with his boxes clueless of embarrassment he caused  me !  but anyway as he said we are friends !

 

Does your wearing Hijab or Jilbab guarantees you will not be eve- teased ?

Does your  wearing Hijab or Jilbab guarantees you will not be eve- teased ?  Unfortunately, It doesn’t ! There are many times this argument has been given over modesty of women where her covering up is directly linked to the response and behavior of eve teasers and molesters . A covered woman implies I am not open for harassment then what does  a women in shorts implies ? Is she is quite open to it ?  I don’t think any woman would like that. There is no guarantee if you wear Burqa or Hijab that nobody will stare at you, or harass you or pass lewd comments or might even try to touch you inappropriately on  public transports  especially if you live in third world countries. We are often so engrossed in thinking how a woman’s behavior and dress should be that we forget how  behavior of men should be ! Who is going to moral coach these men to  behave with women and respect them, irrespective of what women wear and  look like. Why our scholars not talk about it more often, than they do for pious women . If by wearing Hijab  I have done my part for modesty, then where is your part Brother or my not doing Hijab gives you a right to not do your part ?

There are pictures on internet floating in support of Hijab where there is a comparison of Hijabi and a non Hijabi  by showing an  open candy surrounded by flies  and a  wrapped candy safe and sound like a Hijabi in her Hijab , I mean really ? What are you reducing us to ? mere candies ! This is what you think of woman as? and it’s a pity seeing women supporting it. Are you wearing your Hijab because you feel you are fulfilling a command of Allah or you think it makes you holier than the other women and you can assume them as lower and less worthy than you , if that is the case , it is time for a Reality Check sisters. This  holier than thou attitude is like a pest and eating all your efforts and goodness. We have to let it go, we are wearing Hijab because we want to, because Allah asked us to. Us doing something and other’s not doing it  doesn’t make us any better . Even when you read Quran , Allah always mentions things as This is better for you  and you might now know or harmful for you that you do not know. He nevers says ,I will love you less and you are now less holy than others. We might be doing something more worrisome than wearing or not wearing Hijab  and we might even not know about it . Time to self introspect and improve .

Time to stand up for all women respect and dignity irrespective of her choice of clothes. It is time for men to start behaving than pointing fingers on women . If you say a woman in less clothes provokes you , what argument you have to misbehave with a woman in Hijab or full covered clothes, you don’t like what she has put on her head or that loose garment around her body, you have to admit it is your pervert nature and it needs to be cured.

Book Review: A Case of Exploding Mangoes

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My rating for the book: 3 stars

The Book starts with a great opening, the storyline is superb, It has the advantage of historical fiction where the readers know some of the characters and start imagining them in real life as they are described by the author.The humor is good and fresh in first half but I felt  it started to get boring and monotonous in the second half and I dragged at few places to finish the book, The story is set on the scenes when Zia ul Haq was the ruling President of Pakistan, it throws light on corruption of Army , his dictatorship, The Hypocrisy of American intervention in Afghan War and how the Islamization of country started at his hands. The book is about the possibles conspiracies that could have been in place which killed the then Military Dictator of Pakistan in airplane crash of 1988. There are so many interesting pieces in the book which highlights the the plight of country like case of blind Zainab where the failure of judiciary is shown, She was convicted to being stoned when she was a victim of rape, the overpowers of ISI chief who were killing people mysteriously to their advantages, The mystified death of Colonel Shigri around whom the story revolves as the male protagonist of the story is his son trying to avenge his father’s death . Overall it makes a good read ! An altogether different book I must say.