Winter Days

These constant winter skies

Hanging above, so grey

The dull houses sadly sits

With nothing to say.

The angry wind dances

shaking the dull branches .

Naked trees stand appalled

And the last leaves fall.

(The picture was taken in Dusseldorf Germany)

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Book Review: Unveiled by Rumki Chowdhury

I am back guys , this time with a Book Review ūüôā , Thanks to Sister Papatia for introducing me to this book which I have enjoyed thoroughly . It is a collection of short poems and an essay . I would say a very poetic expression of what Hijab means to the author, breaking some stereotypes through her power packed poetry. The images used in the book adds so much more to her words . The name of book is Unveiled , though it is all about the Islamic Veil -Hijab , I was wondering why she chose this name and smiled then thinking why not , the Author has unveiled her heart writing this book. The book is well divided into 3 sections ( Body , Mind and Soul) which gives an overview of Hijab inclusivity to all aspects of person’s life who is wearing it . I loved how the contrast is shown about Hijab as people conceive it as symbol of oppression while the person who wears it sees it as symbol of liberation from all peer pressures of conformities. There is also her Hijab story at end of the poems which reminds me so much of my Hijab story . Every time I read someone’s Hijab journey, I walk down the memory lane again . The book is simple, well written and heart touching. An inspiring book for all Hijabis and women in general. A small book but impactful !

My Rating for the Book: 4/5

The book is anyone who is a Poetry lover and also for people who are curious to read Hijab stories.

You can find her book on links below :

Unveiled+ebook_preview+with+quote+11+23+17

Blog and Life updates

This has been one hectic year until now, lot of things happening in life so eventually very less happening on my blog ūüôā Its been 5 months now ¬†we have shifted from Brussels to a smaller town, away from noise and traffic to a quieter place. The shift from apartment to a house took some time to get habituated and adjusted to bigger rooms , less cosy though. There were weekends spent in shopping for the interior decor for the home and then deciding ¬†what to place where. The setting ¬†remain same for only a week ¬†and then ¬†it was changed again. The best part for me to live in a house is the garden , it’s a pity ¬†summers are short here nevertheless we have enjoyed our first summers in our new home. We have grown some potatoes, tomatoes ,ginger and garlic.

If you has been following me on Instagram , then you know we have quite frequents visitors to our home . There was a black and white calico cat coming to us quite often ¬†and now we have another black cat whom we call ‘Bagheera‘ living in our garden from a month. The former belongs to one of the neighbors and this one we are not sure is stray or not . ¬†Today morning I saw another Black Cat eating from her food bowl while she watching him(I presume :D) ¬†lovingly .

We also have some fishes in the pond and every time I see them near the pond my heart sinks ! but they just go there to drink water and fishes are safe so far. By the way these cats refuse to drink from the water bowl I have kept for them. I was worried for the fishes but the ex-owner assured me the cats in neighborhood are trustworthy . Another of the neighbor has a rabbit , and he told us the cats are playing with their rabbit sometimes ! I think since these cats are well fed so they are not into hunting business yet as most of the people are keeping food for these cats in their gardens irrespective of the fact if they are the cat owners or not. I really pray that they remain this innocent always ūüôā . The other day we bought a ‘mouse’ toy for Bagheera but she ran away when she saw it coming towards her instead of playing ! Apart from that I have taken up painting for weekend, enjoying it so far ,you can check few of them in pictures below .

Hope you all are doing well as well. See you soon with another Blog post.

 

 

 

Just Another Post by Woman in Hijab

There are everyday struggles of ¬†Hijabi Women that only they can understand. They is always a lot of noise in media for the word ‘Hijab’ and ¬†it remains a debatable topic not only outside but within the muslim community itself. I as a Hijabi feel more accepted in my non Muslim friends or environment than among the Muslim ones I have met lately online and this is really bothering me. Where the heck are we going as a Muslim society ? ¬†Recently someone shared some Videos about successful Hijabi Entrepreneur and ¬†with the following comments ( in one of the social media groups of Muslim Women Achievers)

‘ I find these Hijabi Women very shallow and pretentious ‘

‘I have a problem with word Modesty that they use every time ¬†‘

I wouldn’t give a damn had it been any x ,y sharing it but the very fact that it is coming from ¬†educated muslim women who have successful professional careers and making a mark in various fields. Probably the real sense of education hasn’t reached them yet if they cannot have inclusivity of all muslim women and cannot respect others . The worse happens when these women get the chance to speak for the rest of the community . ¬†They just end up making more confusion for the rest of the world. I certainly dont feel part of that ‘Educated Muslim group’ ¬†anymore , neither I feel welcomed , it is doing more harm to me than good when I read such messages being shared and empathized. ¬†I dont see any room for discussion either, because their nose is kept somewhere too high and probably you are lying down somewhere to be saying anything to them or be of any worth to be listened to .

However  it is more hurting  to realize it is the mirror of our society with in our own  community. If there is no acceptance and tolerance with in , How can I complain about the the outside world ?  Well, this was my experience and probably sounds more a rant but I had to pen it somewhere before it gets too much on my nerves I really wish yours to be better than mine.

For those who make such comments , I want to tell them that as a Hijabi ¬†I am not wearing it because I want to show off my religion. I just feel it is the right thing to do for me, and I am not saying that you are wrong for not doing it. If I feel the tangible aspect of my modesty comes with my Hijab along with my behavior and actions , ¬†it doesn’t imply you are not modest if you dont wear one. What I feel and do is for me alone, so just let me be myself. ¬†Please dont assume things and create a strong opinion ¬†against it. Shallowness or depth is also seen by the judgement or opinions that you give about others. Why dont you just talk to next Hijabi woman you meet, instead of keeping prejudiced views. ¬†We all need to come together and accept each other ¬†first before asking the world to stop judging us. There are so many issues to be worked upon than just fighting over Hijab or not talking to someone or working with someone who wears a Hijab or Niqab.

I am so thankful to all my readers for your continuous support on my blog ! Happy Blogging !

Interview with Author M.K. Johnston of ‚ÄėHalal Comfort Food‚Äô and the GiveAway ‚ÄĒ From World’s Kitchen

Hello people, I hope you are all good and healthy . Today we have a special guest on our Food Blog, and the post is not a normal recipe post. We are doing a Book Giveaway and interview with Author Mindy Johnston . ‚ÄėHalal Comfort Food‚Äô is her debut work which has a guide for¬†[‚Ķ]

via Interview with Author M.K. Johnston of ‚ÄėHalal Comfort Food‚Äô and the GiveAway ‚ÄĒ From World’s Kitchen

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüėÄ , 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