Minimalism according to me

Minimalism and the lifestyle has been catching up. Youtube is filled with videos and documentaries on the Minimalist way of life. You watch a couple of them and you kinda sorta get an idea of what they’re trying to tell you, but then it starts to seem black and white and depressing. It’s difficult to ever imagine yourself being able to maintain a balance in your life in that manner.

But I tried to ponder more, on my own, whenever possible. Started to observe my lifestyle, and that of other around me. took mental notes of what I liked and disliked, what i agreed and disagreed with with this new lifestyle. And like always I try to bring all my cluttered thoughts to religion to seek guidance in the right way. Because the base of all my beliefs is that if there’s a right way to do anything my Creator knows it, because He created me and everyone else on earth and beyond. And so I did that.

Minimalism is not out there in that term, but there’s a term that would drive you to minimalism. And it’s a simple concept, a concept many of us have come across way before minimalism itself. Extravagance, in Arabic ‘israaf’. Israaf is not just a disliked activity in Islam, it is also a greater sin (Gunah e Kabira). So, there you go, forget choosing a lifestyle, you may have very well been sinning all this while! hehe.

We have taught Israaf on a basic level to children at madrasa for years, it is part of their ‘manners’ curriculum. And while we teach it m we only discuss it on the surface. Anyway, rightly assuming I don’t know anything about the topic I started reading the chapter of Israaf in the Greater sins book. It’s amazing how we are able to relate to examples as we grow older, and observant of people around us. Their decisions and their doings and how everything makes sense on a deeper, more productive level. Needless to say, I had multiple ‘aha’ moments, and forwarded the link to few people on my whatsapp contacts.

I had never looked at israaf beyond its basic definition, honestly, I hadn’t even thought about it deep enough to realise how much of it I do on a regular, basis. And most importantly,  need to be more mindful of these things. As a parent if I practice these day to day things correctly, it won’t be as much a struggle for my children.

To sum it up Israaf can and more often happens in our time, our physical and emotional efforts, our energy, our mental abilities, our money. In fact, every breath can become a victim of extravagance. If we realise that, and work towards eradicating this leech we would not only reduce wastage, but increase efficiency by putting in efforts where they’re needed. being mindful of israaf can actually enable us to not do it in things you don’t even currently posses. That’s the beauty of this concept. And while we all need to and are ordered to live up to our standard as per our means, we are also supposed to think about those around us who are in need before spending our time, money and energy on things we don’t need, but want.

As a human ending her 29th year of life, I would like to be in a state to be able to pass on wisdom, and gain more each day. Otherwise, it’s an israaf of my intellect. This made me realise how much I have already wasted, never to regain. We don’t see how much israaf negatively impacts our everyday lives on an individual and social level. It’s not a philosophical concept, it’s a realistic concept that every child and adult can relate to. I am so glad that I have a better more clearer perspective on things, another curtain has been lifted from my intellect and I am looking forward to (more than ever before) uncovering more wisdom in the future.

 

Living in FOMO

See I didn’t know how to describe this feeling till I came across few weeks ago, FOMO. That’s what my twenties have been about. And while I slowly reach the end of my 29th year of life, that’s how I can describe my twenties.

Hindsight is a terrible thing, it can make you feel guilty, smart, stupid, naive etc. And I can’t help but look back at my twenties when I am so close to ending a significant era of my life. There are many TEDx talks on this issue, make twenties your everything, or twenties aren’t everything. Everyone has a point of view, and a lot of those points seem logical, reasonable, understandable, but nevertheless don’t calm my soul.

You see I didn’t ever make a concrete plan for myself, I was only 19 when I got married. To be honest, I didn’t even know the significance of having a plan in the first place. But with time, I realised that the sane thing is to be the best that you can. Achieve what you’re capable of, and hustle for that.

My twenties, I lived in FOMO, and when I asked myself what exactly those things were. I strangely, with a broken heart had to succumb to accepting that I actually was in the FOMO on my twenties. It doesn’t get disappointing than that. Nothing I have done in my twenties has given me leverage for my thirties. Isn’t that what it’s all about in the end? Everything we do consciously has to eventually yield some fruit. None of the seeds I sowed, are worth jazz for my future. Highlights include a degree via distance in Psychology, a career stream I am no longer interested in because it requires dedication and higher education. I started a Sunday School, and Yes, Allah will reward me in continuity for this venture. However due to my health I’m not able to go as regularly as I used to. I spent 6.5 years married, trying to make things work, only to end up divorcing. Wasted the crucial early twenties in this. Got married again, and have a baby boy too. And as we all know babies bring a big gigantic comma if not full stop to your life. The struggle of adjusting to a new home life, a new partner, a new marriage is on another level. A simultaneous custody case in court for the daughter, drains energy out. I won the case and have her, and working on damage control.

I am not anti-struggle. I just want a different struggle now. I want a struggle that takes me somewhere, a struggle that has some promise. Otherwise I will remain in this state of unrest, irritated, in quarter life crisis, constantly confused, pulled on one side spiritually, and struggling to survive through every worldly issues.

The highs and lows are extreme now, emotionally it’s draining to be a mom, add to that someone who actually wants to be more than that. Simply because I have the potential. How does one get clarity, when the clouds of disappointment are always around? Where do you go for support when you have only one friend in the city? How much can you burden others with your same unresolved questions?

One thing I know for sure is that the thirties shouldn’t have to be this way. But unless I figure things out, I will be aimless squandering like a nomad. What do we do, to not live in FOMO?

Fast and easy Shalgam /Turnip curry

Cooking is a significant part of my day and I try to ensure that it takes the least amount of time, and yeilds the most yummy results. Keeping that in mind, it is also important to think about the benefits of the produce used, I try to be as mindful as possible in not just picking them, but also using them correctly to preserve its benefits.

I made Shalgam curry the other day and shared pics on my instagram, many asked for the the recipe so here it is (Serves 4 adults):

Ingredients:

Turnips (500gms) peeled, washed and chopped into one inch cubes

Onions 2 large chopped finely

Tomato 2 chopped roughly

Green chillis 2 finely chopped (you can add more if you like it spicy)

Ginger garlic paste 1 tbsp

Salt to taste

Corriander powder 1tsp

Cumin Powder 1 tsp

Turmeric powder 1tsp

Sugar 1tsp

Butter 3 Tbsp

Water 1 cup

Fresh coriander 1 bunch divided into two parts (for garnish and to add while cooking)

Method:

Melt the butter, add the green chillis let them fry a little till they change colour. Add Ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric and stir quickly and add the onions. Mix well, and fry until onions turn slight golden brown. Add the tomatoes, saute till they are half cooked, add salt. The salt helps the tomatoes to cook quickly. When the tomatoes have excreted their water, add the turnips and mix well, check for seasoning and add water. Close pressure cooker, for one whistel on high flame, and 15 minutes on medium to low flame. This will ensure the Turnips are cooked well, as we have chopped them into cubes. If you have sliced them, they will cook faster, and you can cook on Medium to low flame for 5-10 minutes instead.

Safety first! Let the pressure die down before removing the whistle and opening the cooker. The extra left over pressure/steam helps in cooking as well. Stir the curry, roughly break few pieces of turnip with spoon, reduce water till your liking. Now add the sugar and half of your fresh coriander, and let it cook on low flame. The coriander will leave it’s flavours and enhance your dish. When serving garnish with the coriander

You can keep it runny if you are going to eat with rice, or reduce it for thicker gravy.  . We ate it with parathas and I reduced it to a thick gravy. Notice there is not red chilli powder in this curry, but the spicy flavours from the cumin and green chillis will make it flavourful.

Let me know once you have tried it, Happy cooking!

 

 

 

 

2017 The year that was

2017 has been a big year for me. Life is not easy when you’re an adult, and no one prepares you for what can come your way. Fact is, no one knows and you can’t possibly be prepared for everything.

I am hoping this post is probably the last time I think about this year and everything that happened in life until now. I find it liberating to take control of my life to the point where I choose to never ever refer certain years, incidences, people just for my own mental peace. We all deserve to live in the present, and live happily. There’s no need to spend each moment, comparing, contrasting, frustrated. We don’t get the option to go back in time do we?

The year started off with being very close to my due date. Baby Abbas was born in Feb, as a full term blessing and the year ended with getting back my little doll. This is nothing but a blessing. The test of children is always the most difficult.

The months in between were all about the two of them, getting used to taking care of a baby, and working hard to getting back his sister. In the midst of it was an impromptu vacation to Dubai, which went by too quickly. I guess when you become a parent,all your thoughts are in sync with the needs of the kids, and that’s the beauty of this bond. You can be anything in the world, but being a parent lifts you up like nothing else.

The husband and I have experienced a marriage like no other. Court visits, lawyer visits, prayers, advises, hospital visits, so many firsts of Baby Abbas. Having a partner in life that you can share your life with, no facade, no drama, 100% raw and real isn’t easy. Both have to be on the same page, or be able to get the other on the same page 🙂

Education wise, I mentally set aside my graduation from IGNOU in 2017 and with time have released that while I like my subject I am not passionate about it enough to make a career in it in future. Also, I do not like to get degrees that don’t satisfy me, in terms of my effort, and what I have learned during the studying process. I have new plans, but will share them when the time is right, when I am comfortable and sure.

2017 was an eye opener to human behaviour, and the Indian prejudices. I have been shocked and surprised and then shocked some more.  We human beings are very powerful, the beauty is in using it for the good. I have great respect for the people who have the courage to not just acknowledge truth, but also stand up for it. We all want to do it, but we all fail at it most of the time. Some of us don’t even get the opportunity. I respect girls and women who respect another female friend, and family member, who have the guts to stand up and speak what is right, who defend their sister in her absence. Who risk their societal standing for the truth, they get labelled, and shunned too, but the satisfaction of being right, being truthful is beyond any societal prize!

I am happy to have grown, will be taking life in a new direction with 2018. I have never been so excited for a new year.

Here’s a wishing to all my readers, and a big thank you for all the support.

Happy New Year!