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?

Batools Birthday Part 1 of 2

May 19th! Batool turned 5 years old!. I can’t believe it, I don’t feel as though the 5 years just “flew by”, however I do feel like her getting older is making her less controllable hehe. I have to beg for hugs and kisses, and I know soon she will be too heavy for me to lift and grab and squeeze….IMG_2693

It’s an accomplishing feeling, we are so career driven and women in general especially younger women, my age group tend to weigh their accomplishments in terms of educational qualifications and jobs. There’s nothing wrong in that, whoever for me no matter what the most significant thing in my life would be that I am a mother. It’s the most satisfying thing.

Stopping my random ramble, I am dividing her birthday post into two parts, the first part is going to be about what we did, and second part about her presents. I will review and discuss them. So here’s what happened…..

The day started off with a visit to Dubai Festival city play area, which she enjoys a lot.

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Then came the cake cutting….

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Next post coming soon…

too much commotion I am exhausted

The last two weeks feel like a year with the amount of activity going on. I so desperately need a break. My sad life in Hyderabad with only 2 friends is becoming unbearable. I am feeling needy, stupid, and well just exhausted.

My folks are in town for a wedding and starting the construction of their house, which is in full swing now. There was a tiny pause for dasera and Eid and now it’s all sand everywhere. I don’t mind that, it’s just the chaos. The weddings bring with them late nights, a constipated child due to disturbed eating schedule, and add to that school. What really is frustrating to me are my dead lines. They’re so close, they’re touching my nose and even then I am unable to just get any work done. People are constantly visiting the folks, no schedule on that. Can’t blame them, my dad leaves in few days and the mother will stick around for a couple of months. I am hoping for a visit to Dubai just to get away from everything that is Hyderabad. In Jan maybe, but I don’t know. I don’t even have the energy to dream.

I hate the stuck helpless feeling. It’s the worst. I know I slack away days when I very clearly know when my submissions are due. It’s not that I am not inspired, it’s just that life is going by too fast. I don’t want to become 26! I am not looking forward to a year passing away, while I struggle to keep pace the whole time. I know people are living their lives like that, with vacations becoming nothing but week-end getaways. I just want the calm back. I don’t like this struggle, like I’m drowning and just want to breath enough to survive another minute. At times I have difficulty putting my finger on exactly what’s wrong. And that’s just sad. That’s just stupid, I know.

I am not unhappy, I am just waiting for the calm after the storm. But the issue I have is once the deadlines are done, I still haven’t figured out a one guaranteed relaxing day. Everything is dependent on others’ schedules even my own day of chilling. I’ve decided that I am going to do my masters full time. I need to socialise, make friends, have people ready to hang out with.

I just want to take a breath, and I shall and this time I’m going to make sure, my assignments are not left till the last moment, and I am not blogging a negative ass blog, throwing negative energy into the mommy world.

Shopping and book update

I went out, a very deserving outing alone…My friend wasn’t available as well, so I just had to hang out and chill away from the daughter. And well, I ended up spending. Has a few things on the list but got carried away…Lets dig in shall we?

I was at city center, and wanted to get a drum for the little one, she didn’t get the concept of it while doing homework the weekend before, So i thought she needs to experience it, even though it would cause great noise pollution. Picked it up at the toy store there.

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Also picked up two white hair bands, a lunch box she’s broken hers, and also broker her water bottle, that’s second one this school year already!

Next stop Max, the daughter has suddenly grown tall, and needed a little addition to the wardrobe

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The green sleeveless hoodie is reversible! This is her first pair of jeans, loved the tiny print detail and the colour I was crossing my fingers they’d fit and they did, wonderfully…

Dropped by health and glow, had a very strict list on here, but I also sneakily picked up a new body bath/scrub and a bubble bath for Batool from Baby Biotique. Frankly I didn’t know Baby Biotique existed!!The surprise comes from the fact that I do enjoy using the Biotique products myself. I haven’t tried it yet, still have a little bit left from the MEE MEE one. Will do a comparison post on them when I do try.

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The scrub however is phenomenal! Yummy! smells like the first lip gloss I owned when I was in school it was called ‘wet lips’..Yum Yum….

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Got myself a key chain by daffodils from Crosswords, picked up a cheap water bottle for the daughter who is rowdy!

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Coming to my book I placed an order on flipkart for few things, and one of them was my book!! ‘On Dublin street’ by Samantha Young…It’s an adult romance novel, but with a proper story, and an ending, 300 odd pages finished it in 2 nights….Great read, easy, refreshing, nice. I would love to see it as a movie, with the right screenplay and cast this movie will be a great one for sure.

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I’ve decided to try out Indian authors, and hence I have ordered ‘Sorry, you’re not my type‘ by Sudeep Nagarkar, it’s cheap 150 but Flipkarts having a discount on it (Unlike Dublin street which costed 950 nucks!!) and sounds like a fine book. I’ve per-ordered Chetan Bhagats new book ‘Half girlfriend’ as well.

I also ordered a reference book, I am having a growing inclination toward learning disabilities even though I wouldn’t dare tread that path as career, it would help me understand it better, explain it better to parents/caregivers/teachers/students etc. and also for my present diploma.

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It’s by Meenakshi Dave and I highly recommend it to Indian parents.

Also on the flipkart order was my daughter book ‘Bruno put your toys away’, already have the rest of the books from the series, she desperately wanted it, asked me several times and I couldn’t find it at crosswords, so paid double the price because of shipping and bought it.

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I am trying to get her TV time limited, even though she doesn’t watch any cartoons, we don’t have cable, we just download selected rhymes and make CDs for her. I have to get it down to 1 hour a day with a min half gap in between. So inorder to do that I have increased book time, now we have two sessions and we go through the charts I had blogged about previously. She’s enjoying the attention too, in the spirit of entertainment sans TV I ordered a finger painting set in the flipkart order…It arrived today evening, and well she enjoyed a lot and it got messy but it took a good 45 mins off the day, and the paints almost are over, Im going to buy more paint….

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As you can see, it comes with shaped sponges, tiniest pots of paint, few plain white sheets and few images to paint. For 210 plus 40 shipping I don’t recommend it, you can just buy a box of paint and give them to your child to finger paint. Nothing special in the box, a great gift though, if you have a birthday to attend want to budget it under 500! It’s not worth it otherwise.

Well that’s about it….purchased two pairs of shoes online as well…

 

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Haven t taken a pic of the other one 😉 oops! Will note it in an outfit post….Need to get those done more often….What have you been upto?

 

 

A minimalistic life- Rambling away

I despise clutter. Over the years I have truly found my style, I used to be a total tomboy layering clothes, mixing and matching, this was reflected not just in my clothes but also my room, study table etc. But I have changed, Pinterest can do wonders to your taste, and add motherhood to the chaos and you know you have to cut down on everything.

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It’s difficult though, I have mastered the art of donating or simply getting rid of things, I try not to think too much, the more you think the more time you give yourself to change your mind. My mother has this issue, I did too, sentimental attachment to everything. Saris, broken watches, books, rusted picture frames, old fashioned bags etc. the list is endless. My mom can’t part from spoons, water classes etc as well. I hoarded too, but that was more like a habit, I wasn’t consciously keeping any of the things I did keep, there was no reason, no ‘sentimental attachment’ nothing, It was just the way I was raised I guess. But I am not like that anymore. And boy am I glad. In the end you’re not going to take all of that to grave, there will be so much confusion for your children to sort through the junk you left behind. The more you hoard the more you hoard, there’s no two ways about it.

I’ve realised the only practical way to live is to live like a minimalist, and I struggle the most in the wardrobe. Us Indian women have two wardrobes, Indian and Western. That’s a lot of wardrobe to manage, not only is it financially annoying, it is super difficult to maintain no matter how big your closet is. I hardly wear Indian ethnic wear, so I take all joy in distributing and donating it all away, but right now I’ve come to a point where it’s too much. Everything I have is either new, or I like a lot, or will definitely get a lot of wear out of. Yet the quantity is large, not to mention my mom buys me Indian wear, I don’t shop for any of it, I have no taste in that genre of clothing. Every time she comes from Dubai and reminds of a particular dress my mind goes “oh oh! I gave it away”. And with clothes you just can’t say ‘ I misplaced it’ like a freaking pen. Then it’s a big blasting from her, can you blame her? So I tried to nip it in the bid this time she came, I told her to stop buying me clothes period, unless I specifically ask her to get anything, I extended that request to Batools clothing too. She has a tendency to not just buy a set but a whole suitcase!. She didn’t take that very well, but I guess it’s the only way. I can’t be forced into hoarding, and ‘not having enough space’ is not good enough for her. To her my western wardrobe is useless, and vice versa for me!

Point being, your home, flat, bungalow, castle or whatever it is you reside in, should be clutter free. It should only contain what is necessary. You will always have money to spend on important things, plus you’ll never have to feel like you have constantly sort through junk. Hoarding usually starts when you already have a lot of junk and just don’t now where to put it, so you just let be, because it’s too much hassle to figure out what to do with it, the thought of throwing it away simply doesn’t occur, or seems very difficult to digest. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Monthly cleaning always works, especially if you’re a mom, children grow out of their clothing super fast, it’s best to only keep those things that you want to give to your child when they grow older for memory sake, everything else should get donated. You can always buy more clothes when your next baby comes, till then many many children can benefit from them.

2. Purchase only what’s essential for your kids, we are made to believe kids require a load of clothes, when they don’t. Wash the clothes frequently buy good quality clothes or clothes on sale. The child won’t complain, and when they grow up look back and complain it’s going to be too late anyway 😉

3. Don’t buy anything for the purpose of storing it, like books unless you already have plenty space available and know exactly what you’re planning to do with them few years down the line. Donating books to your local school library is great. Even your childs books, they grow out of their books too. It will be a while before your kids have books they can store too.

4. Manage your space, look at how much space you already have in your house before deciding to keep things. You have space of one shoe rack but you want to keep 20 pairs, it’s going to make you mad.

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5. Buy only what you can store. don’t buy clothes before buying hangers to hang them, don’t buy shoes without making space to keep them etc.

6. If there are things you haven’t used for over a year, even if it’s a knife, chances are you didn’t need it in the first place, GIVE IT AWAY.

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7. Get used to giving things away, in the end they are just things. non-living things.

I am trying to get my daughter to be minimalist. If you only need one box of crayons, then she will get only one and be responsible for it, I will of course keep in hiding a spare box. But the child should learn to value what she/he has. Toys too, most kids have too much toys, too much of left overs from many games, get rid of the half missing pieces, they just add clutter. The child too gets confused about what to do with random pieces of toys from various kits.

8. Teach them to organise their toys after play, not just put them in one place organise them. All toys should first go into their respective bags/boxes/cans/ etc before they are thrown into the main toy box or room. This is HW for you, make sure there are different boxes for each toy set. The kitchen set shouldn’t mingle with the animals, there’s no logic to it. Jigsaw puzzles should always go into a box or (I love) zip lock bags. The boxes in which toys actually come in are useless, they break apart in two seconds. Unless they’re the ones with the screw on tops or containers, keep those. Don’t expect the kid to manage random cardboard boxes, it’s not going to happen. Plastic is the best, a trip to your local ‘china bazar’ should do it, get cheap ones, nothing expensive or airtight required 😉

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The earlier in life we teach our kids about a minimalistic life the better more self sufficient they will be. There’s not doubt about there will always be things we will have when we don’t need, as long as we have the strength to let go of them when need be it’s fine.

 

Why juggle so many duties? and update on study life

I’ve always been someone who has to have my plate full. I need to be constantly doing something, constantly looking forward to a project, anything. Being in Hyderabad has taught be the importance of being this busy. It’s the only way you can avoid politics, gossip chains, your mind won’t allow you time for those thoughts to creep in. I am hence, allergic to being free. Frankly I rather complain about ‘not having enough time’ to complete the many tasks I have at hand, than be free enough to meddle in others’ business.

Having said that, I shall give you an update on my latest addition, my one year diploma in School Psychology started in July, and it’s from IHMH. I am over the moon about this one, it’s nothing like how my graduation was. The diploma has been drafted in such a way that you are compelled to study and it pushes the student to explore their potential. I am totally psyched.

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Those are the first two books that arrived through mail. I LOVE studying, it’s the best feeling in the world. I regard myself as a student for life, I want to constantly keep studying, and it’s not for the  certificates, but the triggering of mind, and truly learning as a student. Plus I get to shop for stationery and study supplies which I love too! 😉

So why be this busy? There are times when I want people around me to process the many duties and responsibilities I juggle, give me some space, try to understand the tornado that runs on my head on a regular basis. But then I have to remind myself that I chose this type of life, I decided to keep this busy, I believe I can do it. Expecting from people to go out of their way to understand is irrational, because no matter what they can never comprehend the importance of these things in my life. People (in India) typically have the attitude of end everything after marriage, ‘you don’t need to study’ especially when you have a kid. But the fact is those are not the reasons why people should study in the first place, education is about overall development of your personality, so logically it should never end.

I am the first to encourage anyone irrespective of their age to keep pursuing some form of education, even if it is in their hobby areas, (crafts class, a culinary course, reading clubs) no matter what you will be afford to get something included into your life. And just being a part of something so fruitful is pure joy.

That’s the reason why I juggle, I feel 24 hours are meant to accomplish more than a few tasks each day. And with experience I’ve realised that; the more you include into your day the more you feel there’s time for more activities. There’s no excuse. 24 hours are a great responsibility we have towards ourselves, there’s always time for more, Always.