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?

Vacation and all that comes with the mindset

I am all for vacations in life. Married women tend to have a whole another situation when it comes to vacations, especially moms. I have noticed a lot of moms just get too caught up in their routine lives and aren’t able to plan a vacation. For many who live away from their family, their holiday is all about meeting their family than actually exploring the world. It’s almost like a choice you have to make, between family and your lifes goals. We all are not able to take vacations whenever we wish, finance being one of the major reason. With a family to book tickets, and plan an itinerary around, you need a lot more of it!

What I have learned is that “me time” can serve as good mini break while life takes over. We need that time not just to pamper ourselves, but to be able to think about us, and where we are and where we are headed. I often times find life to be moving way too fast to be able to even breath. Especially with a baby around, it gets even more tough, add to that your everyday responsibilities and you’re one lost soul. I have observed that since becoming a mother I very easily put everything that has to do with me to the side. The attitude is ‘Will do it later, after the baby is xyz old…’ It’s like a bottomless list of priorities and whatever has to do with me gets lost in the bottomless pit. Sad isn’t it. Take a moment and think, you too may have thrown some of your lifes goals in that pit!

Thing is no one trains you how to live your life with periodic vacations. No one prepares you for things, mentally, physically, emotionally or even spiritually. I do believe if the moms of my mothers generation were more insightful, thoughtful, or simply vocal, we would be prepared for a lot of what we experience as surprises. Not to blame anyone, I am being realistic, and hence talking about it myself. There will be plenty people ready to make you feel guilty for taking a break, some don’t understand the concept of ‘me time’, and as a mom you are so aware of the incredible list of tasks that you feel bad to skip some to take time out for yourself.

I used to wonder what people get from a ‘weekend getaway’ but now I understand, that few hours away from routine helps a lot. The world isn’t how it used to be before, cycling for hours to school/work, walking to your cousins place, getting together on weekends for a tea, writing letters, and waiting patiently for responses. We live is a world that is too fast paced. We ourselves aren’t ready for what we have created, we do not have the coping mechanisms for our inventions and innovations. So what do we do? We vacay as much as possible, however possible and try to maintain our sanity to get through life 🙂

What does Patience mean to us?

Patience is by far the most manipulated word I have come across is. Here’s a fun activity to do; ask people around you of varied ages what they mean when they say ‘have patience’. You will get a mixed answers, some may make you feel pessimistic about it, some may make you feel good. You see, patience is like a shawl that all of us have had to wrap ourselves with at some point in our lives. Based on how our issues were resolved we define patience. A lot of the people take patience as a miracle that will cure all problems, but their way to practicing it is just sad.

Patience around me mostly has been defined as to bearing with whatever is happening, basically putting up with whatever rubbish it is that is going on in your life. Now mostly our problems are due to others around us and not so much because of ourselves. So once we do whatever we can to resolve our problems, we have to be patient while others continue to be the way they are and hence continue to mess with our lives. Spiritual people will manipulate patience with no end. They will say God will reward you for your patience (as defined earlier in this para), you shall go to heaven for your patient (ditto) blah blah blah….But I was never satisfied, why would my own creator want me to just sit and suffer?

So I got very interested in the topic of patience/Sabr and found much to read, and understand. Some of the stuff didn’t set with me, as humans we always try to apply every concept to our own personal lives and see if it fits, and if it doesn’t or seems like it doesn’t we totally reject the idea/concept/belief. In Islam patience is of different types, there is much reward for the one who is practicing patience etc etc. Understood. My ultimate understanding of patience was discovered in an interview of Maulana Jaun, it wasn’t even on the topic of patience BTW, but in his talk he cleared the air about it. And that is when the cloud of confusion moved away. However this cloud is one stubborn cloud and keeps coming back, and pushes us to despair.

As struggles in life increase with age, I have noticed that the most difficult problems are the ones caused by others. We don’t control the universe, and anxiety can totally take over our sanity and leave us pessimistic, sad and depressed. The worst state that one can reach due to such happenings in life is despair AKA Yas. (It is the second greater sin in Islam). Basically once you reach there, it’s all downhill!

Anyway, today being the first day of the month of Ramadan, I decided to listen to a lecture I had saved in my ‘watch later’ list on Youtube. Usually in life I have noticed that I go looking for something but somehowI end up with something more. I guess it’s Gods way of guiding His people. Just like the lecture above I actually went about to know more and learn more from and about Bibi Zainab (AS) since I share her name and believe it is important for us to understand the affect of the name of the person on whom you have been named.

It just so happened that Sheikh Jaffer in this lecture speaks about the various good qualities of her, but focuses the majority of his lecture on Patience, and while some of the information (like the types of patience) was already familiar to me, it was his explanation that answered some of my questions, brought peace to my heart, and most importantly gave me the inspiration to be more patient.

Patience in all it’s true meaning, means to be steadfast, while waiting for the results. And so you don’t sit thinking patience is the finality of your struggle, it is what will enable you to work, struggle, move to make things better.  The truth is that it’s a phase, and Islamically your patience being tested is a sign that you are chosen to be tested.

As mothers and human beings, we have the responsibility of a society on us as we nurture future adult members of the society. It also the responsibility of the fathers, but I am focusing on mothers because I am one. And I firmly believe and second Maulana Jaffer in educating and supporting our children in understanding what patience is. And most importantly as parents we need to not just jabber about the theory of patience, but be brave role models. We all know that children learn through what they see, and they should see the beauty in our struggles, so that they are chosen for bigger struggles and grow closer to their creator, and also become the support system for others who are going through a difficult time.

Anyone can make you laugh to take your mind off worries, but it is a true human who will help you through your difficult time by showing you how to be patient, and be patient with you while you struggle 🙂

Moms we should be talking about

Mothers Day went by and brought a lot of joys for moms across the globe. The social media exploded with posts, photos, heart warming messages and quotes, videos and loads of competitions/giveaways. There was happiness everywhere. I am a mom too, and I pondered over my life and the many moms that I know of. Deep thoughts made me realise that we don’t discuss some mothers. We are too caught up in the normalcy of life, and the struggles we see in common around us that we do not think beyond them to realise a fellow mom exists who isn’t in the same state as us.

This Mothers day I thought deeply of the moms like me, Moms who visit the courts to fight for their childs custody. I at-least have baby Abbas with me now, to feel more like a hands on mother, but what about the mothers who are struggling in our judicial system fighting in court for the best interest of their child? Dealing with an ego-centric ex-husband, not being allowed visitations! Thoughts led me to think about the moms who aren’t living the ordinary life. They don’t get a card or gift from their child, because their child passed away….Moms who are trying to make a living on their own as single parents, moms who have just separated or divorced and are trying to figure out the dynamic of their new life…moms who have child/ren with disabilities….moms who have children fighting for their life in hospitals..moms who chose to be moms and adopted children…..moms who have recently lost their moms…moms who may be battling a life threatening disease…moms who have been separated from their children due to war, moms who are unable to meet their children waiting for visitations rights….Moms who have children who have not turned out to be morally sound….Moms who are consoling daughters/sons who have been through abuse…..moms who became moms due to assault…They are all moms aren’t they?

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From my personal experience I have learned that; yes, in our country and culture moms are given much respect. But a lot of that is in words. “Maa” they say, but sometimes a mother can be another mothers worst enemy. I guess it’s only when you go through certain experiences do you recognise the honest people from the big-talkers. Everyone says moms are the most important person in the lives of children, yet we aren’t as aware of the severity of mommy struggles that surround us. Truly mothers are the strongest creatures on earth. I remember my moms prayers, whenever she used to hear the sound of speeding sports bikes in the late hours of the night, she used to say “May Allah give patience to the mothers of these boys”. I’m talking about school days, the thoughts that used to come to my mind were ‘oh cool, they’re going by like lightening…or I wish I could ride a bike that fast…..or why can’t be quieter….’ But since my mom voiced her concern as the mother, empathising with the moms of those biker boys I realised that there is such a solid perspective to this. How many times a day or month or even year do we think from the mothers perspective? How many of us have tried to think about the experience of the mother whenever her child goes through something?

I tell myself during my mommy struggles that, at-least I have faith, and the faith in God is the best. I am grateful that I am not a refugee separated from my child, I am grateful that my child hasn’t died in a shooting at school, or been killed by terrorists or extremist groups. As a mother I think it’s important to empathise, put ourselves in the shoes of other mums, even if it’s just in our thoughts and try to understand what the other moms are going through. Only a mom can understand another mom.

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This may not have been the most chirpy, candyfloss and balloons kind of a post, but important none the less. It’s extremely important for us to discuss the societal issues, and value EVERY mom, and think about the not-so-common struggles of a mother, and if not be able to help, be grateful that we aren’t facing them 🙂

I request prayers from everyone for my pending custody case, hope to get my daughter back soon and give her the life she deserves.

Welcoming baby boy and quick life update

The miracle pregnancy has gotten over and concluded on Feb 15th with a miracle baby boy. I call it a miracle because never had I imagined to deliver a full term baby with a bicornuate uterus, it was a done deal, every doctor was expecting the pregnancy to go up to max 32 weeks. But keeping hope, taking precautions, staying healthy and a tonne of prayers sprinkled with the mercy of God has made this pregnancy progress into week 39!

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Baby Abbas was born via an emergency C –Section after normal just didn’t seem to happen. I am just glad that he and I both got through everything healthy, no NICU involvement and a decent recovery for me. A month has passed now, I can’t believe how each day passes so quickly. Loving every bit of caring for a little baby, some nights are definitely more exhausting than others, but I try to make-up for the sleep deprivation during the day time, when little Abbas is asleep. I have no experience with a full term baby, everyone seems to say things settle down in the first few months and a routine can be formed. Love routine!

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I had placed an order for a copy of What to expect the first year, and so far it’s been a decent guide. Only issue is, there’s not much time to read! I would recommend parents to buy one during pregnancy and go through the topics and book mark pages that may be seem relevant. I had read up all about breastfeeding during pregnancy as well, as I have never experienced it. I also read up the bathing baby topic, basically these were my top concerns.

Been taking a lot of pics, he seems to be very creative with his hand positions. Trying to get a hang of maintaining sanity while sleep deprived; but it’s been good overall. The baby is nothing like me in looks, hoping for the chatter box personality of mine to kick in soon. Till then, will enjoy every adventure, a running clock, and hopefully be able to blog more often along the way.

The human moles

Some of the best descriptions of human beings can be made through comparisons with animals. We’ve all done it at some point in our lives, sometimes in anger, sometimes in just plain humor. We ourselves tend to identify ourselves with certain animal instincts and personalities that are exclusive to certain animals. And while I do not like to categorise humans being as animals, there is a mole phenomenon that exists.

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Who are the human moles (as I like to call them)?

For starters let’s try to zoom into which aspect of the animal I am referring to -The digging deep into the earth, FYI moles are nocturnal animals. And when you have a mole problem in your garden or back yard or house even, you will constantly be surprised as you explore each hole they have dug. Just when you think you’ve seen the deepest, you will discover a deeper one few steps ahead. Ditto is the case with the human moles. They’re not physically digging any hole, they are stooping lower and lower, losing all their self-worth, respect, sense of humanity.And just when you thought you discovered the lowest of that person, you will surprised by another lower level fall.

This is an experience of great betrayal. It eventually makes you accept that there’s talent in stooping low and that this person has no baseline. There is just no stopping such people, who are determined to showcase their true status in life. Initially it is difficult to accept, but then you just can’t even get surprised, just feel sorry for them. The lower they go the more difficult it is for them to get out.

Moles die due to prolonged exposure to sun. It’s same with the human moles, they can’t survive the light of a good human being. While you may not be able to witness the tortured death of the human moles, I advice you to have faith in yourself, your goodness, the light of integrity that you carry within your soul and be grateful you aren’t them.

Identifying the strength in you is enough to deal with the rubbish in others. We tend to think we are weak based on the  false/ exaggerated power showcased by our enemies, but the fact is, their strength doesn’t define ours 🙂

Playing the victim

I am only 27 years of age. Sometimes when we get into the true adult struggles at a young age, we tend to start feeling like we’ve seen it all. I have to remind myself that there’s much more to learn, this reality especially strikes when my husband tells me that the world isn’t as simple as I look at it. And well while it is difficult to hear those words, I have learned to accept it, because it is the truth.
There have been various experiences I have been through, till date I have gotten married twice, had multiple miscarriages, a pre-term baby, co-founded a non-profit organisation, worked and volunteered, and now growing my family with my husband. There have been problems, and being an observant and empathetic person I always tried to put myself in the shoes of others and be forgiving. But that doesn’t work for all, not all the people are deserving of that. And now I have learned to draw boundaries. I have explored my personality strengths, both in my professional and personal life. I have discovered many characteristics about myself that I need to love and respect, and several I need to work on and eventually let go of. One of the major lessons I have learnt is that there’s always scope to grow, and the right people will bring out the good in you, and help you work on the not-so-good bits about yourself. These people are the ones who are worthy of patience, care, empathy and love.

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What’s the purpose of this post? Well, I wanted to discuss a classic characteristic of people I have come across- Victimizing yourself. The people who just won’t accept their fault, and their ego is too big to accept any weakness in themselves, and when they know they’re wrong, they turn to playing the victim. Blaming you for the problems you are in and they are in as well, instead of owning it. You may have come across such people in your life. What I have observed is such people tend to become the way they are due to backing from their parents, family or friends. Poor parenting results in irresponsible children, who just refuse to take ownership of the rubbish they have created, they also tend to be liars, lazy, selfish, and inconsiderate. If you’re a sensitive or naïve person you will very easily fall into the trap, and start feeling like the problem, because of their skills in playing victim. They do it with confidence BTW.
Fact is, when it’s a stranger you will behave differently, but when your own friends or family are like this you tend to be more forgiving and hence are taken for granted. This is where the damage on you starts while the other person just enjoys the attention and pampering. Anything wrong that happens becomes your fault by default. Point to remember here is; you are strong and don’t need to manage anyone’s rubbish. I learned this the hard way. In the end it’s a logical discussion to have in your mind, take a deep breath and be sure of yourself, be rational in analyzing the scenario and try to see from a third persons eye if it truly is your fault. And don’t worry about how elder or younger the person is, if they’re wrong they’re wrong. You need not be their ego polisher, that’s not our job on earth.

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A recent experience just boiled my blood, and I for the first time stood my ground and didn’t give in to the emotional manipulation. Makes me feel so strong it’s indescribable. Experiences mold us, but we can choose to change our reactions to every situation, see what works best for us. As human beings we have a natural pre-disposition to gravitate to goodness. Let’s liberate ourselves from the negative people in it who unfortunately walk the earth. And make sure we aren’t contributing more of such types, through strong parenting.
Be strong, be right!

 

Diaper dreams- Gender-specific diapers from Huggies

There is not end to ‘new and improved’ in the world we live in. Huggies has launched their gender specific pant-style diapers in Hyderabad. It took me some exploration to get to them, and while there’s still time for the diaper days to begin again for me, it was nice sharing my experience on world of moms.

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Catch the blogpost here. Leave comments with your experience/excitement for the gender diapers below and share the love….

 

 

Really, What is lonely?

Probably the most difficult feelings to feel; loneliness. It’s one thing to want quiet time, alone time, a break from everyone, and it’s a whole different scene when you feel lonely, in your heart. That’s why there’s marriage, for companionship, however I have noticed the most lonely, helpless people to be those who are “happily” married. I am not anti marriage, I am pro marriage like proper! It saddens me when people who are lonely, with  partner for life, consider themselves “happy” or define their marriage as “successful”. They project marriage in a negative light too.

Number of years do not project success of a marriage, the happiness, contentment, non-lonely feelings do. Human beings can believe the most hideous form of illogical rubbish if it’s drilled enough in their head. Which is why Indian people or at-least the ones I have been exposed to value marriage so much, but don’t even know what the purpose of it is. And the worst is they stick to it because that’s what they’ve been taught to be the right thing, lonely married people are the worst at giving advice, especially if they haven’t accepted that their marriage is crappy. This false believe, delusional living, lonely hearts, living with each other for purposes beyond my comprehension are basically just weak, conforming to notions of society, culture, and random people.

Lonely isn’t not being married, lonely is the feeling you get when you truly are looking for another human to share your every day with, and reciprocate the same. Lonely can happen with 25 yrs of marriage, it truly can.

It’s ironic that people celebrate their wedding anniversaries when they’re not happily married. Truth doesn’t become non-existent just because you refuse to admit it! ups and down are part and parcel of every area of our life not just marriage, jobs, education, career, children, health all will have ups and downs, what is supposed to make it bearable is faith in your creator and that special person who eases the pain. With whom it’s all hopeful. Someone to rely on, someone with whom you belong and are appreciated, someone who doesn’t make you feel lonely.