Grief and Gratitude

How do you describe a grief for a person you haven’t met in 10 years or weren’t best friends with, but it just sits heavy and hurt in the middle of your chest for more than a week now but you do know they meant the world for their family.
You remember  their gentleness, their distinct humor, their goodness, their simplicity and a tear rolls down , just like the rain drops on this window glass.
I remember the teenage girl with twinkling eyes and contagious laughter, I haven’t met the wife and mother she became in last decade. Our well being was communicated to each other through our families which are neighbours and friendly.
We were always keen to receive news of the other and wished only goodness.
Her sudden passing  has  shook me deep, out of the autopilot mode my life tend to switches despite my continuous efforts to be more mindful many times per day.
Gratitude has changed my perception of Life, the abundance people are yearning for is already present in our lives. We only need to see and acknowledge it. Gratitude which  is so many layers deep is what I wish to explore now.
The news of her passing has made me more mindful and  grateful for each day I am able to spend with my loved ones, see them, hear them, respect them, acknowledge them! None of the next slice of day is guaranteed, death is just round the corner watching us play the life game and just like that it will blow the whistle and say Game  Over, Time to go.

#fromadaydreamersdiary#talkwithsana#grief#gratitude#indianwomenwriters#womenwhowrite#womenwhothink#womenwhospeak#igreaders#igwriters

How do we preserve the Self and all the hard work done on it.

Working on your self is a never ending process, There is never a moment when you can say hey that’s enough and I no longer need to work on myself any further, even maintaining a status quo needs work otherwise all that hard work will be gone.
Accepting your self with all your realities is hardest thing.
I am saying here Realities because the  faults or error that you see on your physical self are so relative to your perception, your thoughts at that moment , experiences in life.
But once you have passed that self acceptance test, comes another test.
When you are in self care mode, happy in being yourself, sitting relaxed with your guards down , someone might just say you something that you feel those shards of words digging deep into the skin..hurting so bad. All that self work feels lost, gone in those moments, doubts creeping in from the wounds.
I kept reflecting for long what happens in those moments and this is what I came up with as an answer.

Preserving the Self

What happened in those moments is we were not ready to see us / ourselves from their eyes. The way they saw us , their reactions, how they spoke of us was not what we have prepared ourselves for , all this while.
We were preparing only to face our own critical eye.

So how do we prepare ourselves for these situations.

Preserving the hard work on Self.

When the weather inside us is cool , calm and we are at peace within our selves.
Suddenly a remark, an unpleasant reaction from someone who caught us offguard jolts us completely !
All the self acceptance work done so far seems gone down the drain in that moment.
So when are your guards down, When are you most vulnerable?
You are most vulnerable and with your guards down among the people you trust and love, in familial and friendly settings.
Anything which comes from these people affect us directly,
One of my friend commented : We cant control everything and we cant prepare for everything.
She is 💯 percent right , we can’t control everything but what we can control and definitely prepare , is our reaction to it when it happens again, we can choose to not get affected.
We can choose to understand what someone is saying and is hurtful to us, might be the projection of their fears, their insecurities,their realities and experiences.
We have made peace with ourselves and we will not let it affect us.
But if it’s repeatedly done , a boundary needs to be setup and it needs to be respected.
Nobody should be allowed to transgress it.
We need to inform the repeated defaulters that this topic shouldn’t be further brought up again or we will not like to discuss it period.

Know Your Author Series:Episode 4 with Shereen Malherbe

Shereen Malherbe  is a British Palestinian author.

After spending over a decade living throughout the Middle East, Shereen now resides in England with her husband and four children.

Her debut novel Jasmine Falling  is an accumulation of historical accounts from her Palestinian heritage, It has been voted as one of the top 10 books representing Muslims in Literature and in the top 20 Best Books by Muslim Women.

Shereen’s second book is a contemporary fiction novel, The Tower. It now features as required academic reading for a U.S University on courses discussing Muslim Voices Post 9/11.

Her first children’s book, The Girl Who Slept Under The Moon, was published in 2021 and is the first of a series of migrant children’s books published by Beacon Books.

I have really enjoyed our conversation! There are so many tips and advice for writers and Authors that Shereen has shared. We talked about representation of Muslim Authors on Book shelves, stereotyping, pigeonholing, her experience with getting published in UK, Writing about Palestine and her contemporary fiction novel The Tower as required academic reading in one of US university for a course on Muslim Arab voices.
A must watch I would say!

You can watch the interview on link below:

National Girls Child Day India

Seeing all Girls Child Day posts today brings back a lot of memories from childhood . We are a big family where there are more girls in family than boys from all sides ( aunts and uncles) . My grandparents had 7 children out of which 4 are daughters and 3 sons , who further made them fortunate grand parents of 19 grandchildren out of only 4 are boys and 13 are girls.
Growing up we had so much privilege, pampering and favor being girls that we forget the boys should also be equally treated 😅🙈.
My grandparents doted on girls , boys were always trouble makers , mischief makers and were mostly on reprimands from elderly.
The boys of the house still complain of injustice done to them as boy-child .
My grandmother never went to school, her only school was my educated open minded grandfather .
We were fortunate to never face any discriminatory act as daughters or girls at home and I am forever grateful to them , my parents , uncles , aunts for creating such a safe haven for all us girls.
The life outside home has taught us the bitter reality that what we had at home wasn’t the Norm and a majority of girls face inequalities, discrimination, exploitation in society. As a woman now I do feel that a lot has to be done to provide those safe havens for the girl child in our country.

Lets raise awareness .

PS : my grandfather holding on my cousin Zoya who was the cutest child of the family,
Second pic is my niece Ameera : a curious, carefree, rebellious, defiant , fearless girl. Basically Everything I wasn’t and wanted to be as a child.

#nationalgirlchilddayindia #24january

My niece,
Pictures are subject to copyright ©️
My grandfather with my cousin!

Pictures are subject to copyright ©️

Self help Diaries -1

I sometimes write to find answers to questions my mind is baffled with. I don’t know how many of you do it but it definitely works for me.Words waiting inside to be released , to be unleased. Answers buried deep down my subconscious, waiting to be found, to be discovered.

Constantly worrying over something? something consuming you? Write about it ! Some things need to be said and you need to be released from being their prisoner. I am constantly worrying for people who don’t worry ! Sounds strange ? Let me complete the sentence then, I am constantly worried about people who don’t worry about themselves and about others , who live mindlessly who don’t care for their and others’s future. This thing worries me. Infact it terrifies me.

I just take a pause then and take an aerial view of myself outside my body looking at my worried self. And I start by asking questions ? Am I responsible for them ? am I their provider ? Have I done my bit today? What more can I do ? If there is nothing else I can do I need to stop worrying there and then. Take few deep breaths and say a prayer for them and myself.

O Lord of the universe! the one and only ! who is complete and perfect ! guide me and guide them.Secure their and my future here on earth and in the hereafter .Teach us to live wisely and mindfully and be grateful and thankful for all what we have. Educate us and remove the darkness within our souls and fill it with your light.

Ameen.

A woman’s quest for place called home

There is old saying that you should live like a traveller in this world since this world duniya as we like to say it in Hindi /urdu isn’t your real home. You should never let the feeling of permanence satiate you , as we all have to depart from this temporary dwelling to our permanent abode.

But as a woman specially a married woman we often struggle to find a home and to feel at home. The home where we have grown up as nestlings becomes only our parents home and we set off to build our own nest. You can be lucky if you can have an independent house of yours and if you are married in a joint family the struggle to adjust in another person’s home and his family and to feel like home may take a while . Though I have build my own nest I often long for my family members to be living there with me like it used to be when I was young.

This time when I visited my parents’s home ( I have decided to call it this way now , before I always referred it as my home until my latest visit) I had to stay there for almost 4 months due to covid 19 lockdown. I was in India for my holidays and just a night before my return the lockdown was imposed, all flights were cancelled and I couldn’t travel back.

The realisations started when your 3 year old niece started asking you questions like phuppoo when would you go back to your home ? since I was supposed to be on a short visit. Why don’t you live with us always ? You have a room up but why don’t you stay here? Her sense of belonging was so much stronger and assertive than mine , it’s her house after all. She has been born there and in those 3 years she saw me once when she was 8 months and which obviously she doesn’t remember anymore.

I wanted to tell her that a part of me is always there in that house and a part of me which is here writing this piece is continuously missing her parents and the childhood home she grew up in (with her crazy brother). A long timeline has slipped in between. The house is no longer the same , my parents are getting old now , though my brother is still a bit crazy and there are new members added in the family now. Another thought passed meanwhile that may be some day my these thoughts would be her thoughts too.

We as woman are continuously searching for our homes meanwhile building new homes and settling in the new spaces and then later to resettle in the gaps which our kids would leave with their moving out. I cant say my mother has coped up with my leaving completely. She still cries every time we part .

A woman is the migrant about whom nobody talks about. Living her life in bits and pieces left in different corners of her childhood , her parents’s home and her current home . She comes as a stranger in her husband’s home and later in life she feels stranger at her parents’s home. The quest of a true home always remains on.

Motherhood Chronicles-1

Motherhood brings with itself a lot of things new role, responsibilities , lot of love, sleepless nights, fatigue , lots of advice , criticism and lots of judgements.

From now on you will always be judged as a good mother or not ! And then good enough or not. My baby was only 2 weeks and I had already heard the phrase ‘ never saw a mother like you! ‘ which in my opinion wasnt in a very good way and it came when I wasn’t willing to lift my newborn to change his diapers alone outside in some restaurant (which means taking him to restroom few meters ways and holding him up all this while climbing all the stairs) .

So the story behind it goes below.

I havent seen a newborn around me until I had my own and I was always scared to handle babies, they looked so delicate and fragile to me so you can imagine me with my child the first few days ! I have played with few months old babies from time to time but thats it ! no first hand experience with infants and then there was another reason I refused to lift my baby . I had swollen hands and feets during pregnancy due to water retention which continued for few weeks after giving birth as well. I was not able to pick up anything heavy (even 1 kg was heavy for me that time) for long or without dropping it first so imagine lifting a newly born. I was scared to death and already having nightmares of having dropped the baby so to lift this tiny whiny creature with my then clumsy hands which were dropping things left and right I was so nervous and scared careful . I was doing it only when I had my husband next to me .

I had eventually overcame my fears , my hands were better and I had starting doing all things for my baby but those words will always echo in my mind.

I think we all need to be really kind to new mothers .

Blog updates 2019

Hi Everyone.Yes , you are reading it right! Its a blog post from me after a very long break and it was a happy break .Alhumdolillah I am a mom to a 7 weeks old baby boy now. We are both doing fine. The pregnancy brain fog didnt allow me to write or think anything except the baby. Now the things are settling in slowly and so is my brain so you will see me more often. See you soon with my next blog post.

A sad observation !

What do people with pain

Have with them

to give to others ?

Kindness , empathy may be

Or sometimes

it is just the pain.

A part of pain here

and a part of pain there.

Turning someone’s smile

into sadness becomes

their daily chores.

Mean , vile , poisonous

Words that sting and hurts.

Wicked smiles and shrewd

minds they become.

A pain they have gone through

An ember of pain which

they hold on forever ,

And refuse to let go.

Refuse to let it heal.

A pain which they share

With the world as Ripple effect .

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.

images

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