The Blue Scarf

On a sunny autumn afternoon a  woman sauntered a shop to check scarves and under scarf caps( used by women who wears Hijab). She was checking few things for a while and then got stuck by the striking navy blue pashmina shawl , something similar she had been looking for a while . The scarf was put on display at the door.

She inquired from the shop keeper  a tall guy with a dark beard, skull cap on his head and a big prayer mark on his forehead. ‘Where can I find that blue scarf  inside the shop ?’  he pointed her to a row of scarves without looking at her.

The woman went to that shelf, there were indeed pashmina shawls, she checked them one by one , much to her disappointment the blue shawl wasn’t in there. She picked up other two colors that she liked thinking the blue shawl might be over. She went over to the counter to pay ,there was another woman before her so she waited for her turn.

The shopkeeper to the woman : ‘Why are you  not buying the blue shawl ?’

W: ‘ I wanted to buy it but  I think it’s over, couldn’t find in that section .’

The shopkeeper turning red, raising his voice : ‘ If you could have used your eyes, you would have find it, Allah gave  brain to women as well but they dont want to use it. Come I will show where is the shawl, Learn to use your eyes and brain. What do you mean you cant find it, it is there ! See. ‘

The woman heard it disbelievingly. No it can’t be true what he said, she must be day dreaming , he cant treat a customer like that, For a lot of people the response could be a fight , but hers was freeze. She couldn’t utter anything from shock. Meanwhile her eyes met the helper standing next to the shopkeeper , his hand on his mouth , and as soon as his eyes met the woman’s he pleaded her to ignore the guy .

The woman still in shock, paid quickly , thinking there must be a problem with the guy, after all who treats customer like that. The shopkeeper now turning soft, ‘oh are you an Arab ? ‘ The lady shook her head to say no,  ‘oh it doesn’t matter ! Here is your change, have a nice day! ‘

The woman didn’t say anything and leaves with a trail of thoughts not willing to leave her mind for a day or so.

To calm herself down, she was constantly explaining herself, he must be a sick guy , there might be a problem with him, while her alter ego was provoking and shaming her for being such a meek and a fool in front of that guy .

‘Why you didn’t throw the stuff on his face and walked off,’

‘Why you didn’t shout at him ! ‘

‘ You know you have just encountered a pathetic misogynist ‘.

The voices in her head, didn’t want to shut . She had indeed been insulted by a misogynist. She really wished and hoped that this  guy should learn his lesson one day .  Her heart went out to all such women who are living with these men and suffering every day. She has just felt an iota of that hurt and feelings that those women go through every day and sometimes some of them didn’t have a choice to even walk away.

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And you can imagine who that stupid woman was that day!

 

When do we start being a Positive or a negative person ?

11 year old me: Abba , when I am praying or Reading Quran my mind always wanders off but it doesn’t happen when I watch tv or read another book which means I am only reading from my tongue but my heart and mind is not in there. I am so upset at myself.

Abba : (laughs firsts) I am glad you noticed it , please keep trying to focus and it will come inshallah . 

me: I feel bad that my prayers will not be accepted .

Abba: Look there is always a positive way to look at things . First of all you have realized it and you  already know what should you do about it. Even though you feel the prayers are not good enough there is still a part of your body ( your tongue) which is still busy in ibaadah of Allah swt, things are not as bad as we think they are. You keep trying to focus and soon you will pray with full focus and attention.That’s how we all learn and practice.

The above conversation is at least 20 years old between a 10 or 11 year old me and my paternal grandfather . It is one of the many wonderful memorable conversations I had with him which have shaped the person I am. It was the first thing that played in my mind yesterday after talking to a friend who refuses to see the positive side of life and not being optimistic for the days when things will be better. She told me I am not as positive person as you are which kept me thinking for long , what could be the reason for this difference in positivism where she clearly is lacking. Is it part of personality? Is it learnt  by self  with a conscious effort ? or is it constantly fed by our surroundings and people around us in our formative years .

I think all three reasons are valid and the most important one is the last one. The people around us, our parents our family , our environment,if they are positive or not. A child picks up the first vibes  and outlook to see life from his surroundings. Is my life or any other person’s life different from each other in terms of daily struggles ?  We are all in our bubble of life, struggling to survive and to be. We all have our share of problems and griefs, there might be difference in level and gravity of problems but we all have our share so why is it that some people could bounce back after a setback or problem while others cannot ? where is that subtle difference ? that difference might be coming with the  positive attitude in life. I think it is very important to create a positive environment around us for  ourselves , to preserve our sanity and imbibe the positive thinking in our children.

 

 

Self Love or Selfishness ?

I have often wondered about the difference between Self Love and Selfishness. How much of self love is okay and when does it become selfishness. Mostly the people that I have seen growing up were either in Self denial or Selfish. I have always come around the black and white brushes of Selfless and Selfish classification of people , the term  self love was new to me in early 2000 where people were writing books about it, sharing motivation quotes on it where they were changing the game of society . for example the mothers who were going out to work leaving babies behind were  called Selfish , or working daughter in laws were selfish for not taking care of in laws and house chores. Where as on the other hand , self negligence and self denial were highly appreciated and admired qualities of being an ideal woman of 70s and 90s. Unfortunately what was often seen was a selfless person surrounded by bunch of selfish people sucking his/her blood and occasionally thrown with admiration remarks  and the poor one only thriving on these remarks.

Then comes the new era of people who are indulged in self love but are not selfish . They will take care of themselves and of others too . More of themselves and less of others 😉  almost negligible. They will force themselves on others because they think it is their right. They need the things that they need irrespective of situation around them. There is problem in their moral compass which fails to tell them where lies the problem. They are always just and right in their opinions , only others have done injustice to them so far. The difference between the previous era and current is the diminished paint of black and white and it is no longer easier to point finger who is selfish now. Everything has been neatly hidden under the carpet of self love without their conscious thinking.

I think the idea behind the post was not so much of rant which it turned out to be  but a conclusive and educative one,  to be aware of our own behavior and its impact to people around us. Where and how  do we set the limit to our self love ? I am not a fan of being in self denial, we should all strive to be happy which is our right but it shouldn’t be at cost of somebody else’s happiness. Our comfort , pleasures should not be come from somebody’s discomfort . Empathy is an attribute that we all need to learn and always keep  practicing it because there is never enough. There will always be situations where we will lack empathy and then we have to ask ourselves deliberately  practice it. Self love is good , much needed and deserved but we need to keep an eye on our subconscious or conscious evil self that it should never become selfishness.

 

The not so funny side of being funny!

Hello Everyone ! I am hoping you are all doing fine in your lives and blogs 🙂 I was not so active on my blog because I didn’t have much to say. My talkative mind was sober these days with my new found hobby of painting, well not so new, painting for an year now. I am not a born artist, drawing a straight line without a scale/ruler is difficult for me but I am getting better at it, though I am good with colors, love to mix and match , I do much better at canvas , just throw in some random colors, put in my palette knife and try to bring out some abstract art, my every weekend game 🙂 Sounds fun isn’t it ?

Apart from it, I want to thank you all for following my blog and reading my posts for which I am truly grateful to Almighty that out there , are some souls reading  your thoughts , connecting and responding .

The reason for today’s post: There was always one topic I wanted to write about but I never did it , always kept it for later and I think the later has come . Humour .

Humour is good , it adds an extra spark to your personality , lits the surroundings and throws in roars of laughter and keeps life light. We need humour in our lives otherwise life is too boring but have we looked beyond that light hearted humour or evaluated the cost of that half a minute’s laugh, what is the price of it, Is it expensive ,where is it coming from , who is paying the cost ? There is a darker side to it, the evil sinister side, the bad face of our society which ward offs all bad and mean things to people in name of humour and I totally hate it!  Pick up any comedy show and you see our comedy is nothing but  a true reflection of who we are . I remember watching The Comedy Nights with Kapil Sharma which was nothing but making fun of people , saying mean things to them just in the name of humour.The only difference was his characters were fictitious but his jokes were taken from real life situations and later these were  reapplied by our young generation in their daily lives to create fun and jibes.

Is it really funny to make fun of somebody’s size and weight , their color or face, their failures or shortcomings ?

I think it is very important to lead a mindful life , to be aware of our actions and words and their impact on us and around us. Humour is good but we need to careful and watch what are we saying in name of fun . ‘ Just kidding‘ or ‘ just joking ‘ could be injurious to you and others as well. With this internet thing people are getting really creative to make memes and being funny , what if the same joke is done on you? Perhaps it could be a no issue with you, you play it game but  the other might be too sensitive. Someone might be struggling with weight issues, skin issues or has a height complex , someone trying to overcome his possible shortcomings and you might just rub it in.  As a human being it is our duty to live responsibly and take care of not hurting others.

A humble advice out to some cool guys out there : Stop being cool and playing a bully just in name of humour, don’t hide behind it, if you have guts say those things on a person’s face and allow him/her to smash your face.

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

 

Indians Living Abroad

Living in another country than your country of origin  has all its pros and cons , Besides it makes you over sensitive to the behavior of people around you and attached to every little detail that reminds you of your country, hearing a fellow speaking your language or smelling the familiar spices from the food  warming up in your office microwave always bring a smile on your face .

My work place has a lot of Indians so whenever I go down to cafeteria for lunch , I feel like I am in Bangalore or Chennai office with queues of Indians alongside the microwave to warm up their meals.The locals (Belgians)  prefer to take food from canteen except few who bring their lunch from home ,  mostly  it is us Indians who occupy all the microwaves during lunch time so normally it could take upto  10-15 minutes in the queue to warm  up your lunch.

Today was one such another day of waiting in the Queue, so when it came our turn to warm up, me and my colleague,  We decided to keep our boxes together and increase the timer instead of warming one by one. I think it took us less than 4 mins to finish ,  meanwhile we were standing there , there were those restless glances exchanged between the other Indians behind us as if we are taking a lifetime and those expressions of seeing a monkey on the microwave rather than a human being ! Generally they are polite and smiling when it comes to someone who is not Indian and cooking  his food in Microwave for more than 10 minutes, it was such a disgust in their eyes of ‘ O my God these Desi pendu people ‘ , I am still not over it ! I have seen them for almost two years near that microwave , either before me or after me , never smiling to anyone who is an Indian and not from their Company.

This is just one of many incidents which I can write a book about , I have actually came to the conclusion that we Indians never respect other Indians inside or outside our country .We still live in the mindset of  third world countries where the West is still superior to us.  Have  you ever seen an American or German or British  not respecting their fellow country men in a third country. ( The names for  these Countries are just for example sake ) Probably you won’t find many examples, but what I have felt and written here I am sure many Indians living abroad can relate to it.

The terms like ‘Arey ye to desi hai ‘ , Leaving the door on the face, bypassing the queue , Just because on the other side is a ‘desi’ and not a European .How easily we take the liberty of breaking the rules and disrespecting the etiquettes with another Indian , Why ? or in other words we do not respect our own self because every other Indian that you see around is a mirror image of you irrespective of what you wear and eat and this is how the rest of the world see us, we are only Indians for them  , It doesn’t matter if you wear western clothes or traditional Indian clothes , eat the Indian food or European food, hang out with others  Indian or Locals , Speak English with an Indian Accent or British Accent for the rest you are one Entity , one single identity  to be referred as Indians and if you are complaining about loopholes of a  third world society , we better leave those  habits that has still kept us in the third world , Why  these double standards ! If you love right to equality , no discrimination based on anything,  equal respect of  all jobs , practice it with all human beings, start right from yourself and your home first! Once we achieve this , our societies will progress with a big leap,  back at home and wherever we are.

Welcome to the Age of Digital Anxieties

Recently read one of the article  from  Brain Pickings  called  We’re Breaking Up by Rebecca Solnit about Modern Non Communication and how it is changing our lives . My mind instantly found words to conform the behaviors  experienced everyday which I was communicating  through words like addictions , dependencies on internet and phone.Undoubtedly internet has changed our lives forever and there is no life imaginable without internet,without our Dear Phones held in our hands constantly .

Being a digital migrant and some of you might  be digital natives as well  there is constant surge of anxieties within us all the time, for example right now I have switched the tabs on my Chrome Window once  every 5 minute to check what’s happening elsewhere. I am always switching between my work laptop and phone. There is a constant anxiety to check Facebook or Whatsapp even if there is nothing really exciting happening .There is always this  feeling of  restlessness  to keep switching from what I am doing currently.  Is it  lack of focus and self control or boredom ?  Or is it FOMO , the fear of missing out on information ? My rate of getting  bored of whatever I am doing  is just ticking high with years passing by, I  always feel an urge to keep switching my focus , my concentration to something else of what I am doing in that moment.This need of doing many things at one time , this lack of interest in one thing as soon as you start it,  this lack of focus and attention of what a particular task deserves , it all annoys me in fact it bothers me. I want to be perfectly engrossed to what I am doing at that moment, that is how I was  but not any more .

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So far , I have been consciously minding myself and learning to discard these impulses, constantly reminding myself of how should I behave but the reality is  the anxiety of Digital Age  do exist and the struggle is also real , it is just that nobody is talking about it much until it will be an epidemic.The fact that you cannot be really alone even when you want to is disturbing ,to shut down your brain of everything else except where you want to focus is getting difficult everyday. To introspect, to muse requires lot of self motivation and practice than ever.

I am trying to regulate the behavior by switching off my data for few hours on work , going for a walk without phone, doing something for an hour without technology like reading a book , cooking , they are helping me so far. Do let me know how you deal with this untalked anxiety of our Digital Era would be great to know.

High Expectations from your Spouse ?

I often have thoughts about writing on Marriage and Relationships but I always keep postponing since I  think myself a novice at advising people who are already married for years but I think I am experienced enough for newly married people or people going to be married soon .

Marriage is a wonderful bond where two people come forward with a  shared thought of spending rest of their lives together .Both of them have already a  set of expectations from each other .The main reason of conflict among newlyweds is often Higher Expectations which  lead to loss of trust and interest in married life which has just begun . We all live inside our  bubble world of dreams, we have an image of our future spouse in our minds how he/she  would be, how their behavior should be with us in our perfect ideal world

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life is different so is every individual , Coming face to face with reality is a tough ride , how you take this ride and degree of your acceptance to it defines your future married life.The way you have lived your life until now is different from how he/She has been living so far.Coming together under one roof after spending almost half of your life somewhere else is already a  big move in itself.

Marriage is not only about getting new clothes, deciding wedding albums  and choosing honeymoon destinations . Marriage is a big responsibility of your own self towards another.Thanks to TV, Media for setting all wrong expectations in our minds especially for girls that  a prince charming will come to  take us away and we then say bye bye to all our life long problems.Life will be fun ! eating,  shopping and merry making ever after.  Sorry to say that , it only happens on TV and in stories.

The natural behavior of man and woman has lot more differences than you have actually read or thought about, and this you experience once you start living with your partner. Women are more emotional, more talkative and yearning for expressions of love from their husbands! Men on the other hand  are practical human race who have a set of things of to do everyday, wife also becomes a part of routine and the special something becomes everyday thing (my own thoughts ). It is not that he doesn’t love you now or you’re not special person in his life, this is how he is! Expressing as we expect them to  is not at all man’s thing! TV  and phones are their inseparable sweethearts. A daily tiring work routine completely takes off their energy to be so excited to see you in evening or talk to you incessantly! A good meal is preferred over  rant about in laws or maids or life in general.

How do we  women take it ? It often start with small complains first  and then these  complains become  arguments leading to fights and soon a loving new couple finds themselves amidst a fight every now and then.

  • I think first thing to do is never ever involve any of your parents in your fights. Solve it between you two.
  • If you think a discussion is leading into a heated argument, where one of you is losing temper, Stop it there. Tell him/her to discuss it when their mood is better. There is no point talking to an angry person who has no power to rationalize things.
  • Living by example, show your partner how you would like to be treated ,treat them that special way, First Give and then expect .
  • Find some common activity  to spend time with each other like cooking together, taking a walk outside or praying together .
  • Don’t force yourself on other person for things she/he doesn’t like.Respect their choices and opinions.
  • Don’t forget to celebrate the differences ! Of course we are not mirror images, there will always be differences but it should never come to our hearts.Once in while try to do things your partner likes to make him/her feel special. Wear their favorite color, cook or bring their favorite food.
  • Watch your tone while talking to your partner, we often take each other for granted . A well mannered tone with respectful words for putting your point could never lead to a fight.
  • Every human being has flaws ,our spouses and us are no exception either. We need to accept their flawed real version than the perfect version from our dreams .We have to overlook  each other’s mistakes and retain the sweetness of love.
  • Give it time, time is best therapy. Marriage too needs time like everything else. You would be soon well adjusted with each other’s way of life and know each other like nobody ever did.Watch-your-tone-while

It is a come back post

Hi Everyone,

I am back from my much awaited vacations  in India, which got over too soon. I am still having a hangover effect from the holidays, still not back in my routine.I missed you all and reading your blogs. My head  right now is an overstuffed bag , full of stories and anecdotes struggling to come out, which one first ! ( Last in First out or First in First out ) !  I am planning to share them in small posts in coming days .

I actually took a break from technology and all devices, didnt use internet , phone or TV for two complete weeks which actually helped my brain to calm down from unnecessary information I was exposing myself to and getting worried for reasons least important to me, having anxiety and then feeling tired and sad. That didnt mean I had no stress at all, I had some stress during my brother’s wedding lots of work  for lone sister running upside down in heels and gharara (traditional attire) for few days , which  I compensated  well with some travelling done with my husband, it was his first time in India . So after spending few decades on earth I finally managed to see Taj Mahal in real , Thanks to the never giving up , incessant wishing of my husband to see Taj Mahal , it was worth every wishing .

I feel much relaxed after meeting my family , hugging my mother tight and annoying her until she starts yelling .Noticing the changes in her face , few more wrinkles now , newfound behavioral changes in my father, he actually started speaking more ( you can read it as  too much)  and repeating everything he says as if trying to remember things like a small child, he has started sleeping like a cat in every corner of the house for his small nap and don’t you dare tell him that he actually slept while we were talking !

I met my cousins and we had our overnight talks which ended up until 8 am in morning. Kids grown up fast entering their teenage , babies grown up  , now losing their front teeth , some new additions in family crying all night and not letting their parents sleep . My grandparents overjoyed to see us and not letting us go  .

I think it is already long briefing of my vacations, I keep the rest for other posts as well, Hope you had good time as well while I was away  🙂

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How to stop being Judgemental ??

Life is a constant process of learning, unlearning and relearning things or ‘better things’  would be more appropriate  ,  in order to make our and others life better. In the first 20 years of my life I was just learning things, the process was to grasp as much as possible from my surroundings and observations, there were some analytical processes in background but not much.  The time after my twenties started with the unlearning process of many things I have known in wrong way, and re learning started in parallel, the struggle is ongoing and I guess it would remain the same till we are alive. We are in constant process of learning stuff and this quest should never end.

One of the things we learnt while growing up is judging things. We need to have our judgement about life, everyday situations and what we think of others. A person without an opinion is considered to be dumb at least in my society, so everyone is always expected to have an opinion about everything. Is having an opinion also a part of judgement? I think yes, otherwise how can I have an opinion about someone If I didn’t judge and how do I give my opinion ?  I put other person in my shoes and think what could I have done in this case. Yes , you read it correctly I didn’t mistyped the line, I actually meant we put other person in our shoes, rather than being in his shoes because we are still judging him somewhere, the process is so much part of our thinking mechanism that even while saying not judging we are actually doing it .

What can we then do about it?  Many things, first  we need to constantly put a check on ourselves whenever we form an opinion, Are we judging someone based on so and so reasons?  You can either agree with someone or disagree with, when you do not agree to somebody’s idea, thoughts or actions which is not in accordance to your school of thoughts, and form an opinion about it, it often end up in bad judgment. To be aware is problem half solved.

There are many ways how people handle it, the best one I have come across is  a method/formula. Being an engineer, formulas goes more quickly into my head  and are  easier to remember. It is called DUAL method, I have put it down here for you.

 

DUAL Method :

dualmatrixDon’t pass judgment: Hold on to the urge of passing a judgement. Take some time to think.

Understand: Try to understand the situation, circumstances .Two people can react differently to same situation. Try to walk in his shoes and see through his perspective.

Accept: Accept the person with his faults, his different opinion and choices.

Love: Love the person as fellow human being, nothing can beat  love and compassion.

A very good article where you can read more on this method  is mentioned below:

Reference for DUAL method :http://zenhabits.net/a-simple-method-to-avoid-being-judgmental-yes-that-means-you/