Back home there is this unsaid rule, this expected norm, that the daughter-in-law that has wed into the family has to mould herself to the family; so much so that she is expected to forego herself completely and become “one” with the fabric of the “susral” – the new wedded home of the girl.
Now as much as one can think, “and?” as in what is wrong with that, especially someone who has been brought up in an environment where this is the expected norm, there is some very wrong things with this practice.
For starters she is an individual human being, with individual: needs, desires, dreams, visions, strengths, methods – everything. Remember no two people are alike. Not even two twins, they both have their own unique personalities. Secondly, asking someone to become something or someone else not only goes against every cell of their being, it also goes against the necessity of life. Life does not need 50 of one identical person, it needs each and every one of those 50 people to be their own unique and individual selves. No one can or should become a carbon copy of someone else. Otherwise Allah SWT would have created one “perfect” specimen of the human race and had us all “cloned”. But that is not the case. Just like each plant, each flower is unique and provides different things, each and every human being is INTENTIONALLY made to be different and unique BY DESIGN! It is necessary! Allah wants us to be exactly who he has made us to be and not forego our unique identity, and what it is meant to bring, to become like someone else. By doing so not only are we not being far upon ourselves, but we are neglecting to see what gifts Allah Subhan-o-Tala has given us, thus robbing the world of our unique offerings for the would that we are meant to bring.
No two people, no matter how similar in personality; no two people, no matter how similar in background; no two people, no matter how similar their life history may have been, are ever actually ever living identical lives. NEVER!
So why am I bring this up today? Well, there are two main reasons, firstly as mentioned above the health of the individual person, the “daughter-in-law” that has wedded into a family needs to know and understand this for her own health and sanity; and secondly for the health and wellbeing of the family that she weds into. BOTH are very important; as the age old saying goes: it takes two to tango, or you need two hands to clap.
The would-be effects on the health of the daughter-in-law is somewhat easy to understand, how this having to forego oneself and become someone/something else can be detrimental for one’s health – mentally, emotionally and physically, (explained further in lots of my other posts); but the health and wellbeing of the others in the family I think needs some light shined upon as well.
We, as the receiving family of a new person into our family, need to understand the importance of allowing the new person coming in to be themselves; both for their health and for our own. You see, often it is these misguided expectations, when failed to have been met, that cause dis-eases in both our beings and in the fabric of the household. This I’m sure is plain to see as therefore not being a good thing. Any dis-ease leads to disease; whether of the body of an individual human being or the “body” of the household – dis-eases in the fabric of the household can lead to diseased relationships! Yes diseases are not confined to just “physical matter”, it can find its way into “invisible” threads, the threads that bind together and create a fabric that holds a “family” together. Without this fabric holding us, we are but individuals living under one roof.
Coming back to the point at hand. When a mother-in-law brings in a daughter-in-law and expects her to live her life by the mother-in-law’s rules and ways, then she is setting up the relationship to fail! That is it! Plain and simple, the hard truth! It is a trap laid out by cultural dictates from which there is no escape!
Why, why do we expect this? Why do we want this? Why do we think we need this, and that it is the “right” thing that needs to happen?
My son already has me. I am his mother. I bring to him, to this family to this world everything that I need to. So why do I think that my son, my family, this world needs someone else to be me? I am not looking for my replacement when I seek a daughter-in-law. It’s not like my secretary who answers my calls is gone so I need a new one to do so. No. I am not looking for, nor do I or my son need a replacement for me. The reason why we try to make someone else live life like we are, or we think it should be lived, or we think our son needs it to be so, is AROGANCE! We think we are right, we think we are great, we think we have it all figured out, we got it all down. But that is the biggest and most ridiculous lie we are subconsciously telling ourselves and subsequently also believing! We are not the greatest to have ever walked this earth, we have not got ANYTHING figured out, we cannot even open our eyes and see the world without Allah SWT permission!
Allah has entrusted us with our children, for us to be there guardian, to be their guide to take care of them because we were the people that they needed AS PARENTS. No one else can be a better mother to my son than me. But equally no one else can be a better son to me than my own son (or daughter of course, it’s not about sons or daughters so let’s not side track).
But my daughter-in-law has not been sent to my son to be his mother! Either in kind or in personality. He already has me, dead or alive. I am me for him. Neither does he need more of me, wants more of me, or should have more of me.
No, his wife has to be her herself. She was brought to us because she was the person who was the perfect life partner for my son. She is meant to share and live life with him in only the way that she can. And that includes all: the way that she is, to the way that she wants to live her life, run her home, raise their children etc etc etc.
Just like my children are not carbon copies of me, and I never wish for them to be; how can I expect, think, want that my daughter-in-law should be anything like me, do anything like me, agree to anything in life with me. We can be standing either side of the number 6 or 9 and seeing a very different reality. No one’s reality is better or more correct than anyone else’s! They are just different but equally true and valid. That is not to say that if she wishes to learn something from me then there is anything wrong with that. But equally I should not be arrogant and think that I cannot learn how to do things her way and see life from her perspective. We are always, and need to always be open to, learning and growing; that is the only way that we can evolve otherwise we stagnate. A desire to learn should always be present in everyone, but remember no true learning can synthesis if it is externally forced. So yes, offering suggestions, recommendations, giving advice is not wrong; what is not appropriate is us expecting that those need to be followed through. Don’t imprison one in to your reality. Allow your realities to be free to sit as close to, or as far apart as they need to, in a healthy honouring way.
This all is not just something that I, “the mother-in-law” needs to understand, but my son, “the husband”; my daughter, the “sister-in-law”; my other son, the “brother-in-law”; my husband, “ the father-in-law”; all need to understand! We all create the fabric of family together, so together we all must understand and embrace for the betterment of the overall wellbeing and health of the family. We together make the fabric and together we must open our arms to embrace new threads as they are. They may be of a different raw material, they maybe of a different colour, they maybe of a different weight or thickness, they may induce a change in the tension of the fabric; and to accommodate it all, we all must have a level of “give” to prevent any thread from breaking!
I hope it goes without saying that all the above mentioned “people” are fictional and just stepping into these shoes for role play to better understand the matter at hand.
All these of course equally apply the other way as well, where the family accepts in a son-in-law into their household. Equally a son-in-law can be made to feel “not good enough”. But not good enough to what??!! Perhaps what you envisioned for your daughter? But we are limited to seeing life only through our own eyes, we cannot see through anyone else’s eyes, (don’t even think about bringing in organ transplant into the discussion here, JUST DON’T). We may think that our daughter needs to live life in a certain way, and no doubt it is most likely nothing short of life like a princess; however, Allah knows and ALWAYS does best.
It is hard to see why someone, anyone would need to live a life in “poverty”, hard to see how that would be “best” for them. But in all honesty, we can’t and never will be able to, because we think and feel from our hearts. But that is where faith comes in. That does not mean one has to reside to living a life of hardship, we have to keep praying and trying our best to better our life, but equally not fret too much over the shortfall between our dreams and realities. Remember, life on earth is not our ultimate goal, always keep the bigger picture in mind. It’s like fretting over the cleanliness and facilities at a service station! Um, it’s a service station. You are here to grab gas, maybe some food and use the loo; you are not here to make it into your permanent residence! Sure try to plan to stop at a service station that has maybe got a better track record for cleanliness, has the types of food that can better cater for your needs ,but you are not going to go to a service station that is on the border of Scotland if you are trying to go from London to Plymouth!
Not everything we think we want is actually something that we need!
So on that note, I hope you got all that you needed, even if it might not be all that you necessarily wanted! ;)
What qualifies one to be a friend or a relationship to be "friendship" as oppose to "acquaintanceship"?
Is it time period? For example: how long you have known one another; or how long you spend with each other; or how often you meet each other?
A lot of the times people we consider as “friends”, we do often meet regularly and for a good length of time; but it's not these things that qualify the relationship to that of the "friendship" status. It's not how long or well you know someone, or how often you meet, but rather the fact that you connect with them that makes them your friend. One can sometimes "click" with someone instantaneously, they just know they are friend material; and on the other hand one can have people in their life they meet very frequently and at lengths, but they do not consider them as a "friend" – why because we do not connect with them and they not with us. So no matter how long one does or doesn't know them they will never become their "friend"; they will always ever be an acquaintance or in some instances a colleague.
Moreover, with colleagues as well, they can be just colleagues or they can be a friend as well as a colleague; depending on how well you connect with them. Sometimes, one does not even want to call a person they work with a colleague either, they feel so unconnected to them that they simply refer to them as a “co-worker”; because even the word “colleague” has a certain level of respect and warmth, and in some cases we feel so removed from the person that even “colleague” feels too endearing a word to acknowledge them with. Its all about how well we do or don’t connect with someone.
And life partners, well they really are just the best and closest of ones’ friends; the one we connect with the most.
Life really is about what and who we connect with.
Sometimes we have people in our lives that we would rather not have, but we have no choice but to put up with them; and sometimes there are people we feel really close to and want close to us and in our life, but we do not have the luxury of their company as we would desire.
Life has its own course that it takes; who, when and for how long life brings together we have no control over. Instead of fighting life’s wisdom, search for that which life is showing you. No conversation, no meeting, no interaction is “random” or “unnecessary”. Every conversation we have, every interaction we part-take has a purpose. A necessary energy exchange needs to happen with those that are presented; and energy exchanges with those that are not present are not meant to happen, for whatever reason.
Stop fighting life!
Listen to it.
I have had “random”, “fleeting” conversations with practical “strangers” that have been life changing!
No conversation, no interaction, is random or unnecessary!
Everyone has an important role to play in the lives of the people that they interact with.
Nowadays FOMO is a growing problem for people, they constantly feel they are missing out on something important. They need to know what converstaions and meetings are happening between whom and about what. Stop fretting. Just like no one can take what is yours and you cannot take what is not yours. No conversation that you should have been present in, you will ever miss; and no conversation that you were better left out of, you will ever attend.
The problem is our Ego.
We let our Ego get the better of us.
We think that we should be in the know of this or be part of that, but Allah always knows and does best. HE knows better than anything and all; what we need, when we need it and how. Trust in HIS plan, for HE is the best of planners, Subhan Allah!
Like I have said above I have been in literally life changing conversations that I didn’t even know were going to take place. The direction they took me in was not even on my radar, better yet the fact that I needed a change of direction itself was not even on my radar either. So before the “random” stranger spoke to me I didn’t even know I have to make a life changing decision after this conversation that would come from the conversation!
How mind blowing is that?!
So now I trust in Allah’s plans! I don’t force things, I don’t avoid things, I just live true to myself in every moment and let life unfold itself for me and take me where I need to go when I need to; because Allah guides our life in the best ways possible, Subhan Allah!
So if you are fretting over the people you have in your life today or fretting over the people you want to have in your life. Don’t. Good, bad, desirable undesirable, life partner, friend, acquaintance, colleague, co-worker, employee, employer, neighbour, relative, local shop-keeper, fellow commuter, stranger, etc.; whoever they maybe that are in your life, they are there by design, not coincidence!
See what energies life is guiding you to exchange with them. Be open to seeing what life is bringing your way as new opportunities for exchanges and growths that were not their before.
And the people that are no longer in your life or have not come in your life, again no need to fret over them either, there is a reason they are not present in your life. We might not always see the wisdom or the reason, but that is where faith comes in; we have to trust in Allah’s wisdom and plan and trust that if they really needed to be with us they would be and as they are not, there is some hidden wisdom there.
Its hard no doubt when you really wish your mother was by your side; or you miss your childhood best friend’s shoulder; or you feel that your crush is the one you are meant to end up with forever, and they are not here. But as hard and harsh and wrong as it may feel, there is wisdom in everything Allah does. Alhumdulillah. If we always got to know the wisdom behind everything then there would be no need for trust and faith.
So my message for you is – Connect. Connect with all that life is bringing forth for you today in the best way that you can; for through every connection we make, energy is exchanged and growth enabled.
Live, Learn, Grow and Connect otherwise we and life becomes stagnant.
Much love to you all.
For some time now I have been seeing this struggle with people from the indo sub-continent who have moved from there to the west or otherwise. Back there, there is a lot of house help and a lot of family support due to joint family living so people indulge in a lot of practices that frankly is not achievable to live up to outside of said areas. Not only due to the reason we don't have the same house help and family support, but also nowadays a lot of the women have to/or would like to work.
One such practice I find people drowning away in, is the practice of cooking a magnitude of dishes! Not just for parties, but also for daily meals! I mean talk about madness, these women come home from a full day of work, get in the house, straight away sort the children out. Getting them washed and dressed ready for bed, sorting through homework loads and ensuring it gets done, all the while preparing a feast for dinner??? I kid you not, a feast is exactly what it is: a meat curry dish, a veg curry dish, a kabab dish, a salad, rice, daal, nan some even make two meat dishes??? I mean come on!!?? Why are you trying to kill yourself?!! There is only so much any one person can eat and frankly even one well-made dish will be just as satisfying!!!
No one, but no one will come to ease your aches and pains when you have ground yourself to the ground and you sit in your old arm chair at 75, so for who and why are you killing yourself for today?
A little self-love, a lot of self-forgiveness and smart working attitude can do you a whole lotta good!! And I talk not only to the people who are outside of the indo sub-continent, but to those also who are in it! House help is a luxury not everyone can have all the time. Don't depend on it. Become self-sufficient, smart-working, self-loving people. Schedule in one chore per day for yourself, one each (age dependent) for your children and one for your Husband- we need men brought up in the indo sub-continent culture to "grow-up" and realize that we are not living in the 1930's when we were all part of the "creme"! We are living very fast paced lives in the 21st century. House help is a time of the past, stay at home women are but a few, if she is helping you with the finances, help her with the house! It's not a taboo thing anymore, it's called we are a family, we work and support each other. Thankfully the latter is a positive change though that is already coming about! I see a lot now, both in the indo sub-continent and out, men being very supportive of the wives working and helping them achieve that. I have the pleasure of knowing many kind hearted men who nurture their children like a loving father and not like the times when the theory was "children are meant to be seen and not heard". Thankfully there are now plenty of men who are more than happy to do the dishes or vacuum, or even help wash n get the children ready for bed, let's keep spreading this positive message and break free from that taboo once and for all!
Coming back to this change needed for day to day cooking. The way of the indo sub-continent is to eat in quite a “princely” manner. Having a long table laid filled with a variety of indulgences, but what then happens when you come to throw a party??? A celebration in a manner of speaking should be bigger and better more elaborate then the everyday, so now what happens when you already lay a huge table for the everyday then your celebrations need to be bigger and better. So you end up going OTT with cooking and decorating etc. which means man more hours of labour both before and after; and not to mention the amount of food always left over! And the amount of money spent on everything! Let’s thinking about scaling back maybe? And I am not saying any of this for my benefit, what do I care how much money time and effort you spend on your day to day or your special celebrations! I say this for you, for your wellness. Its ok to have less items on the table every day, its ok to enjoy simple uncomplicated flavourful foods that don’t span the length of the table. Make life easier for and on yourself. Make one veg dish and one meat dish at the most. Make one accompaniment with it, rice or bread not both. Lets make our lives easier for ourselves, not harder. The outside world puts enough pressure on us as it is, lets at least give ourselves a break! As you are “modernizing” your wardrobe, lets modernize our dining tables too perhaps. Let’s modernize our self-love too! We no longer have to be hard on ourselves because we think that is what we are supposed to do. Relax! Take a break, enjoy life, enjoy being with your family, not just serving them. The key as always is in the balance.
I am not pro or anti modern or traditional life styles, I am just saying don’t drive yourself to the ground by putting unrealistic pressures on yourself. Re-assess your life and make it easier for yourself. Its your life, your health; only you can look after it and do what’s best for it. The days of where women were looked upon as the servants of the family are gone, but the practices are yet far from gone. Let’s change that.
As people we are always learning, growing and evolving all the while still living life.
Life happens around us and we happen around life and together we co-exist in a sort of dance where we bend and twirl, shuffle and twist while we co-exist in this space of ever vibrant and volatile energy.
I am sure those who have been following my story for a long time, whether here on this web space, or via a more personal connection, you will already be witness to how my life has evolved over the years. This of course keeps going on and will keep going on for as long as I exist, I will dance my weird and qwerky dance with life for as long as life has me here.
So what’s the new rhythm that life has me bobbing on these days I hear you ask?
Well it’s a tune that’s been playin’ on my mind for some time now. It has surfaced a few times earlier in my life as well, but for the last two years it has definitely been playing in the background of life for me.
So let’s go a little further back in time shall we, in the famous words of Timon from Lion King 1 ½ “We’re going way back… to before the beginning”
So let's go to before “the beginning” so to speak.
I have always had a little “issue” let say to start off with, with social media.
This obsession people have with posting pics of their meals, never really sat well with me, both on a social/personal level as well as a more religious and spiritual level. Then there are the pics of themselves here there and everywhere, it’s quite a self-obsessed act if one thinks about it. Not to mention all the random totally unnecessary “updates” that, no one needs to know; wants to know; or should know. Along with all the inappropriate one as well: both on a social level; personal boundaries level; as well as a privacy level. And let’s not even get started on the point blank wrong posts which are nothing but down right mean, full of bullying and abuse. I mean the fact that I even have to write it is just wrong! It should never exist, yet we all know what society is like. If anything social media has actually given rise to this type of behaviour and indirectly supports it, without it exactly being its intention for doing so. The very detached and faceless nature of the medium allows us to come out and say downright nasty things and walk away without a hair out of place for it! I mean come on, can we really not see how it is completely desensitising, thus dehumanising us! Not to mention how ugly, nasty and hurtful on multitude of levels this behaviour is. I would really really hope that at least a descent portion of society can still see this, otherwise really it would have been the end of the world.
SO back to me (the very self-obsessed creature that I am). Like I was saying the very essence and being of social media never really sat well with me. Firstly for the longest time I do not understand (and still don’t!) why anyone thinks that people are interested in reading my random “updates” of I woke up and had a cup of tea etc. really NO ONE CARES! No seriously NO ONE CARES!
But as life would have it I ended up subscribing to FB, because I was told: I can be in touch with old class mates etc. and there is one point in life that we sit there and think that would be a good idea, and then of course you do that and then remember oh wait that’s why I hated school to start off with. Well no, I didn’t really hate school, I actually did love it. But yes some of the less nicer memories of school life sometimes do resurface with such interactions. Anywhoo, I pressed on and when things got way outa whack for me on a personal level, I deleted half my FB contacts, most of which were all those supposed school mates that I went on to “connect” with on FB to start off with. (What a waste of energy! she says rolling her eyes)
So that was the “start” so to speak of my FB and social media journey, which spanned over a few years. Then I stopped using it almost completely and would go on it only very rarely.
Anywhoo, life pressed on and things changed drastically both on FB and the rest of the social media world, as well as my life: not drastically changed, but it started to change. So I found myself making a bit more of an appearance on FB again. And then late one summers day in 2019, I thought I need to set up my own business. So then I thought hmm.. well that means I will have to use social media for advertising, Uggg I thought!! Just the thought of it was like ekkhhhh! Anyway, so I decided to dive right in, set up insta (ekh), then I set up twitter (hmmm), and started to be more active about what I believed in and stood for on FB (emm).
I started having to remember to take pics of food that I would make, which never really happened, so the photos were very drip drap and definitely lacked flare like a lot of the now very versed and established food bloggers’ pics were. Because, well let’s face it, it was never me! I never agreed to it, so it never had my heart in it. Therefore, it could never really take off, common sense really when we are willing to look at it clearly. I was not trying to be someone else so to speak, I was still trying to be myself; however, using advertising through social media for my “food stuff” was never really me. I was forcing it on to myself, like forcing on a coat made for someone else just because I am cold. I use to think that if I wanted to “get anywhere” with my business then I have to, “I have no choice”; but of course, we always have a choice!
So fast forward to watching “The social dilemma” movie Sept 2020; all of my feelings were confirmed and reaffirmed. I knew all of the stuff that was being brought to light in the movie already, I knew it, I fully believed it, but that movie really made me think that, if I already know this stuff and I am so anti it all then, what am I doing here?? What type of example am I setting for me children?
[There was a time when I used to think that in order for us to protect our children from it, we also need to be aware of it and all its “happenings” ( I have written about this in an older post “a little bit of techyness”). Now however, I think no! We can make a life without social media and that is what we need to show our children that life can be easily and very happily lived without social media. Just like there is no negotiation for "Tik Tok" in my mind, then why can’t there also be no negotiation for FB, Insta etc. ]
So coming back to the social dilemma movie point in time. That is when things started ticking for me, clogs started turning and I started working on my “exit plan”.
I started slowing saving all of my intellectual property on my machine, so I do not lose all my posts. I started exploring other avenues etc. Then of course the whole censorship heavy, long hand of Mr Money came out in its full ugly force; and I though: Right! Things are just getting from bad to worse! Not only are there the general inherent issues of the social media world, but now taking away our freedom of speech on this mass level! That is just not on. SO operation exit was kicked up a notch.
I started looking at other spaces where I could have my voice outside of my website. In the midst of it all, there was also the big who ha over WhatsApp’s new T’s n C’s beginning of 2021. This led me to start using Telegram and Signal as a back up. So now fast forward to late 2021, as I sat there thinking about using other mediums, I decided to give Telegram a better look and set up my telegram channel. At the moment it doesn’t seem too bad, but I’m not planning on getting too comfortable. I’ll be ready to leave if things start looking not right here as well!
In the meantime I also stumbled across MeWe, which again does appear not too bad at the moment, but I don’t trust any of these companies if I am honest! So let’s see. For the time being I have a tiny presence on Telegram and even smaller on MeWe; but that is the direction life has taking me upon at the moment.
And I have to stop here for a mo and say: I am not saying all of these things because I am self-obsessed, or that I think you all are super interested in my life. NO! I am not that delusional! Lol! No, my purpose of sharing my journey is so that if anyone else is struggling with similar things and needs another perspective, or needs to hear a similar perspective to their’s to help them out with whatever steps they need to take, then maybe reading the notes on my journey might help them in someway.
In terms of Twitter, well, it’s not that they have not been heavy on the censoring I am aware that they have, but for some current indescribable reason I feel I still have a bit of a soft corner for twitter. Maybe, because I enjoy writing little inspirations on it, or maybe something else who knows. But for the time being, for better or for worse, I have decided to stick it through with twitter for a little longer; but let’s see. Again, this little corner can also very easily be overridden if push comes to shove, but for the moment its seems to have survived my detoxing surge of 2021. How long it will survive, only time will tell.
In the meantime I also moved away from Linked in, which I do not think I even knew how to use, TBH. I am sure there were lots of issues there too, but I hardly knew anything much about it. However, the mere fact it belonged to the company it did, was enough for me to decide to move away.
Am I a hypocrite to still use some mainstream SM products and not others; am I a hypocrite to be so anti some Meta products and not others like WhatsApp... Maybe. In fact, most probably, if I am honest...
Well, the way I look at it is: firstly it’s the company that owns it and their whole demeanour. Then, it is the product and what and how it is being used in general and lastly how am I using it and how am I encouraging its usage as well.
Based on all three I made my decisions, so yes some people might label me as a hypocrite and so be it, can’t please everyone. But the way I see it, I have a system in my mind which I used to determine my actions and make my decisions at the current time. At the end of the day that is all that matters! Are you able to answer honestly to yourself, are you being truthful to your true self?
Authenticity! Learn it!
If you can be true and authentic to yourself; you can answer to that little voice inside your head with truthful integrity for your actions and decisions and BE OK with them, THEN nothing else matters!
I will always be wrong in a way with something in someone’s book, that is the nature of the beast; but if I can at least be at peace with my own decisions and understand and differentiate why I made the decisions and took the actions that I did (any decisions and actions in life), then that is all that matters. Your actions need to live well with YOU, within the heart of your soul; because if there is dis-ease there, then there will be disease here later to follow...
The debts we take on in life today, take over the scales and distort the balance of life for tomorrow...
My love of "Britishness" extends far before my arrival in this country.
I have been forever in love with the flavour that the British bring to the world.
My romance with the days long ago, when men dressed as proper gentlemen and women in their fancy gowns with hats gloves and fans.
An era that though is from long ago still lives and thrives deep within the British soul.
Our "properness", in any ceremonies, our fuss and pomp with all the uniforms and parades; the spectacular display of the red arrows on special occasions; all the history and heritage that is preserved, lived and relived and cherished in our modern lives.
This is what I love most about the British Culture: we keep the past alive!
O My beloved Bihari family, help me bring Bihar back to me…
It's been lost along our journeys it's been hidden away behind the glossed over Englishes…
But deny it all one wants, it lives and breathes within our soul...
It shines through our every dish
It laughs with our every story…
Please help me preserve it for our future generations… our ancestral stories are getting lost with every passing of our elders..
Our oh so proudly flashed around eclectic taste buds are losing out on culinary treats once our grandmas used to slave away in kitchens to make…
Our lifestyle maybe different now, our fancy gadgetry may save us from the painstaking ways of our ancestral cuisine, but if we don't save it now, dishes which we have once tasted in our childhood or sadly have now only heard names of, will be lost forever….
For our future gens, let's come together and document our heritage together...
Any stories any recipes please help me preserve them and make them accessible for all our children to read, enjoy, use and be proud of….
I wish to take no credit for anyone else's work I will accredit each piece with its rightful authors… my dream is to only preserve and spread…
I thank you all in advance, even if you have nothing to share on the site itself, please share and enjoy this space with all your families, this legacy belongs to us all it yearns to be shared!
It's time we brought Bihar into the limelight it deserves….
No matter where I may roam there is only one place that my heart calls home… Jeddah
Jeddah is dil ki jaan tu hi hai,
Jeddah you are the soul of my heart!
It's not perfect but no place ever is or will be, I grew up in this city it's my “hometown”!
There are so many memories people who grew up here can relate to, only they can understand. I can't even begin to pen down my memoirs without getting all choked up with nostalgia.
Where do I start with, do I start with my most awesome school experience I had, or do I start with all my amazing like minded family friend's circle, or maybe the food.
Maybe I should start with the one thing that is lost. The one thing I use to enjoy and boast about… the one thing I miss most from my childhood when I think about Jeddah when I visit it now, something that would identify it. That one thing was it's array of roundabouts. At every cross roads there would be roundabouts, now someone living in the UK would think "and your point is, London is the city of roundabouts you shouldn't miss it", but these weren't just painted on the ground like UK. There was a unique feature on each and every one. Something that was so Jeddah something that we would identify as us and us as it. You knew where you were exactly looking at the roundabout in front of you. Directions would be given with the reference of these monuments on these roundabouts. All that is now lost. I can no longer say I live near “taiyaara chowk”. Newcomers to the city would look at me thinking I'm coo coo, they just don't know. Bar “cycle chowk” and a few others dotted near the coast, all the rest have been slowly but surely gone. How I miss driving by them! Or rather being driven by them, because yes soon the next generation will never know days of male only drivers. A New era is at its dawn, the dawn of the female drivers in Saudi. A thought which once was the joke of the town, people in the west would say “when pigs will fly… “ people in Saudi would say “when women will drive…” it was considered that impossible an ask, but here we stand at the doorway to the world of impossible. A new age for women in Saudi.
Health and fitness is not something to achieve, it’s a side effect of great living.
I do not advocate for exercise! I Don’t, I know some healthy living advocate I am right! How can I not stand for exercise??
I’ll tell you why not, it achieves nothing! (Did she just say that! Like seriously!!) oh yes I seriously did!
Ok let me flip the question what do you think exercise achieves?
Think about it, I mean really truly deeply think about it. What are you getting out of it? You put in time and energy, you burn fuel, but what is the outcome? Nothing, nada, zip, zero!
Ever see a farmer exercise? Ever see sailor exercise? Are they fit? Are they healthy? Are they active? (And yes I am just generalising at the moment, I am sure there are some who do, but just hear me out for a moment on this one.)
I advocate for being active!
There is a big difference in being active and exercising.
Exercise is like a roundabout: you can drive around it for hours, burn all your fuel, but get no where. Being active is the winding country road that not only burns fuel, but takes you to a destination whilst also giving you a great view until you get there too.
We need to start rethinking what it is to be healthy, truly healthy.
I’ll tell you why I don’t think people who exercise are not necessarily truly healthy. They work all day look after all their domestic affairs and then have to make time to burn calories all the while not achieving anything with those burnt calories.
What do you have to show for them, some abs maybe, but someone who does back breaking work can also show you abs too; all the while also show you the fruits of his labour too. He achieves something when he burns calories, he creates, makes, grows, does something with those calories. He isn’t just burning calories for the sake of burning calories.
Let’s take a step back in time shall we, say a century or two ago, did gyms exist? Did we need gyms? No people were naturally fit. (I know not everyone, I am not referring to everyone, neither back then nor now for that matter, there are always exceptions to the rules). Men, women children, everyone did work that was labour intensive, this meant that people were naturally “getting a work out” while just getting on with their daily life chores. No one had to make time on top of their work and chores to burn calories. You ate to get energy to work and you worked to get food on the table it was a natural cycle.
Now I am not saying that we all need to go back in time and live how people did back then, no (even though that would be ultra cool). What I am suggesting is instead of making time for the gym, we need to make time for things that we enjoy, that we can create, make and do, that will get us naturally active due of the nature of the activity.
Now I know you can say well why does it matter, why do I have to do an “active activity” when I am happy burning calories in the gym? That is my “active activity” I enjoy it. Yes no doubt there are people who do enjoy going to the gym, it makes them “feel better” and they get a satisfaction out of it. In which case fair enough carry on, I am not suggesting you stop. If you truly enjoy it, then it is beneficial and health giving to you. I am not anti exercise! I am just not pro drilling it into people as a must.
I am here to talk to all those people who feel they have to go to the gym, to keep fit and healthy. People who really struggle to fit it into their schedule, people who really don’t fit into the whole gym culture.
I am here to tell you that you do not have to!
Do not force something upon yourself that does not come naturally to you, otherwise you loose any benefit that you can gain from it. After all health is more than waist size! True health only comes to be-ing when you are truly happy in your being, in your skin, in your life. This pressure that is felt of having to “keep fit” and “active” of having to work out everyday or week, it is not natural, it is not healthy. It is much more health giving for you to indulge into a new hobby that keeps you active naturally. All this step counting and calorie watching, that is not health giving, on the contrary it is health robbing! Why, because you are living in stress! One already has enough stress in the modern world, lets not add to it shall we!
Let's live a little shall we and do things for the sheer joy of doing.
Creativity is relaxing, healing and health restoring!
Spend time out doors, go exploring new parks, go walking with your family, play games, sports with them in parks, or sports centre, build things, restore things, grow things, but do it for the joy of doing it and not because you feel you have to!
Now more than ever people are waking up to “being active” for their health sake, to avoid catching the next bug or virus that comes along. Yet again though, the importance of it is emphasised in a way where it feels yet again a chore, “a must”; a sort of stress and anxiety takes over one if they did not go out for their “daily walk”.
Again this is not health giving, its robbing!
Yes of course you should go out for walks, nothing wrong with it, just like there is nothing wrong with going to the gym, but what is wrong is how the whole things plays out within us, within our minds.
Is it really putting us in the rest and relax state, or is it still keeping us in the fight and flight state I wonder…
…. and so should you!
Do you remember your childhood?
Maybe it was a joyful one or maybe it was not. What do you remember of it?
Let me describe to you what I remember.
I remember games, playing, simple life, simple home and being very happy in that space. I never felt worried for anything. I never remember a conversation which made me think I should stop playing and be concerned or worried for something. I grew up in Saudi, we lived through the Gulf War and yet I do not remember any feelings of sadness or worry or concern. When I look back at my childhood I remember it fondly, I remember it to be a wonderful time. I remember it as an “easy” “trouble-free” time. But war?? I mean you are living in a country at war is that really a “trouble-free” space?? No it definitely is not, but my parents never had a single conversation in front of me that would alarm me. Never did they lead on that we didn’t have “enough” money. They had to calculate whether they could afford to buy an ice cream this month for me. An ice cream. One! But I never knew that! Time just flowed as did life.
I never knew that I was a “girl”, I knew I was a child. As I walked passed a slightly ajar toilet door in first grade I thought that the boy in there was ill, which caused his body to be “deformed”. I felt so so sorry for him. I didn’t know for the longest time that what I had glimpsed was a penis! I thought he was hurting and his body swelled up. I still remember the genuine sympathy I had for him! Wanting to go up and asking are you in a lot of pain? Innocence its precious! We need to treat it as such! (Thank god though that I didn’t go up and ask him! Thankfully even then some childish common sense thankfully prevailed! Can you imagine if I had! How embarrassing!)
As I reflect I have this feeling of being one with something, I can’t quite put into words what; but I remember around my tenth year or so emerging from this oneness space and waking up into myself. It’s a difficult feeling to describe. Almost like you are part of this massive bowl of fruit custard and slowly you bob up to the surface and discover yourself to be a cherry, a complete entity in itself. Up until before this point you yourself were not aware that you were an individual entity in and of yourself and simultaneously also part of this bowl full of other separate entities. You thought that you, your family, your surroundings, were all one- a mush of being; with everything being one and connected and attached to each other, nothing being a separate entity. Its only when slowly you wake up that you first realize that the mush can be separated. You get scooped out into a bowl with a ladle, I realisation of your greater family/country/community. Then from that bowl your get spooned up by a dessert spoon, a realisation of your immediate family, where you can see yourself and your parents siblings etc, as little blobs sitting in mush. Then you get picked out from the mush to see you are a little cherry a separate mass and complete in its own right as are your parents and siblings and other family members. You suddenly are woken to the pieces in the mush and the mush and how that they can be viewed both together and separately.
This is the awakening that Rudolph Steiner talks about when he talks about the rubicon, the awakening and realising of yourself as being a “self”, a complete and separate living thing.
In this particular post I do not wish to indulge any further into the Rubicon and what it brings and how to deal with it, that is a topic for another time. In this post I intend to look at our relationship our presence our conversations and its effects on our children and their childhood.
(Btw here in this article when I refer to “child”, I mean from the ages of 0-10 roughly).
If you do not have a fond memory of your childhood, does it not bother you, does it not hurt you, does it not want to make you wish to have it different for your children?
If you do have a fond memory, do you not cherish it? Do you not feel like that is how you want your children to look back at their childhood?
CHILDHOOD, CHILD – hood, not little-adult-hood, not little-person-hood, not mini me, not small human. Not Not Not!
There is a reason it is called “child” hood, there is a reason why there is a differentiation between “child” and “adult” they are two different stages and separate entities of the human life. Don’t dedifferentiate it, don’t blur the lines. If you look at a building you see two parts always, the foundations and the “usable” structure. If you do not build foundations the building is not sturdy. That is what we do if we do not acknowledge that childhood is a different separate and important part of the entity. If you blur the lines you can end up with a foundation that is not strong or capable of preforming its task.
Special precautions go into making a foundation, the ground needs to be dug, needs to be levelled the cement laid the pillars put and the lists go on. Just like that special care and attention needs to take place in childhood. They are not mini adults they should not be exposed to every “truth” they do not need to be given a reality check! They do not need to be troubled with worries. They are not your safety net to pour your problems out in front of.
Be mindful what you say in front of children it has profound and lasting effects. You do not want to leave deep and lasting imprints in your foundation cement causing the foundation to be uneven and weak to lay bricks on top of. That is what we do with our words and actions. Keep your opinions in the adult world, keep your worries to the adult world, keep yourself from encasing your children in your shell. They will grow to beyond your shores if your let them be.
Its not just the words we say to them, its how we say it, they pick up more on your tone and body language than on the actual words themselves. Our presence in their presence is one we need to constantly keep checks on. They pick up on everything that people do in there surroundings, even if you think that they are busy and not looking they will absorb it on a subconscious level. Being mindful of all conversations happening around them, even if it is not directed to them, is vital. Phone conversation with other people, internet, t.v., radio, news, billboards, etc. our children are soaking up and learning from all that they see and hear. From how to act with family and friends to how to react on politicians. From what is “sexual” to what is uncool. What family, love, and relationships look like, to our dealings with road rage and littering. We are ALWAYS the first and longest standing teachers for our children. If you want your children to be a certain way, you first have to be that yourself first. We need to embody the messages we wish to impart to our children.
Imagine a teacher, how would you want your child’s teacher to be with your children, that is how you need to be every waking hour of the day with them. From your actions to your speech, gestures and dressing, to your daily habits, we need to be mindful of what we are portraying to our children, what we are conveying to our children. How and what we shop to what and how we watch, read and learn, they are being moulded by everything around them. Every action or the lack there off, is laying down foundations in their brain, which is forming them into the adult human they will become. The foundations always dictate the structure that can and will be laid upon it!
Why is it so vital for you as a person to tell your child every truth of the world, no matter how ugly, scary, unpleasant or awkward? What are you so afraid of that makes you want to spoil their childhood? You think you are doing them a favour by getting them “ahead” of the curve; instead what you are actually doing is robbing them of their childhood- a space and place which needs to be kept pure and beautiful, so that they can have time to set a deep and strong foundation that will support them all through their life!
These same things can still be taught to them, brought to them, when they are more awake in their teen years, but the childhood stage will never return. Once that time is past, it really is gone! No matter what you do, you can not unset that foundation. When we are at our darkest hours in our adult life, the light we need to get through is the light inside us that we kindled in our childhood, that happy place and memory is what keeps us strong and pulls us through. But if you rob them of that chance to kindle this anchoring light, what will keep them strong? What will bring them through, home and dry from the storm?
Keeping your child in that timeless bubble of happy bliss, is what should be a Right for every child!
For this I voice my concerns today!
For this I stand to fight today!
Happiness is not a feeling, it’s not a place, its a choice! Make that choice for your child today, for if you don’t, they may not be able to make that choice for themselves in the future!!
Sometimes all they need is a hug...
Doesn't matter who it is, hugs have a huge part to play when it comes to healing matters of the heart.
The hug doesn't have to be an actual one, it can be metaphorical; but more often then not, a real one is the ticket.
WHEN ASKED WHAT IS MY ONE ADVISE THAT I WOULD GIVE TO NEW PARENTS, I DO NOT HESITATE TO SAY HOLD THEM, HOLD THEM AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!
It is quite a contradictory piece of intellect especially from what we are brought up with in the indo-sub continent, but most probably in being so, is most likely why it is my go to advise for everyone, because I truly believe in it and want to change the general ruling on it.
We are always told "don't hold them too much they will get too used to being held, they wont leave you to let you do anything else". But truthfully you should not be needing to do anything else in those early days anyway! This stage of the baby, of wanting to be held, last all but 6 months by which time they are crawling and literally they are like "seeya" then you will be left craving to hold them and they will not want to know you, as they will be more excited to explore the new world around them.
People think that this stage will never end, but it ends far sooner then you are ready for it to end in the end. However, if you do let them live out that time as meant to be, in your arms literally, then you too will be more than ready for the progression of growth of the child. Yes you may feel "strapped" to the bed for those 6 months but honestly, enjoy it! cherish it, that time never comes back, that one to one time that you get with your child, that bonding lasts for a lifetime, this bonding if far superior to any bonding you may try to do in the future when they are teens or adults and you wish to be "closer" to them. This is the time they need you, the house work will always be there, but they will no longer be a baby for you to give that time when it counted!
If you are worried about cooking as you have no support you can do a little cooking while they sleep, if you can get away from the bed; or do some cooking once your other half is home when they can hold the baby and you cook. Try not to go too over board with complex food during this time, cook simple nutritious meals that are quick to put together. Encourage your partner to cook! During this time all you both really need is just full on nourishing food not gourmet! Don't experiment, just prepare foods that you can prepare in bulk and mix up with. For example, we make this boneless chicken handi curry dish in bulk, first night we eat it with boiled rice or chappati/nan bread, then second night mash up chicken and make chicken stuffed bread (chicken puri) then third night we throw in rice in the now "more masala than chicken" curry, and cook it as a pilao rice! One dish cooked three ways! Honestly work smart, not hard! (but that is a "in general advice" btw and not just for those early mommyhood days!)
I find people in general who miss out on those cuddling days are often craving for it afterwards in life and hence you find middle aged women craving to hold a baby, its quite sad really, don't deny yourself, only you will suffer!
Enjoy each stage of your life, you don't get second chances....
Take it from me, I celebrate and applaud every grey hair... after all I worked damn hard to earn each and everyone of them! I am proud of them, they are each a silver feather in my cap!
Experiences are what make us the people we are, don't be afraid or too busy to experience experiences. Appreciate each one you have had the privilege to let into your life because they truly are a privilege!
To be privileged is not to be resourced, but is the ability that one can be and do things (whether they be material or immaterial). Appreciate everything you have and are, its all worth appreciating....
Appreciate that you have today to live and tomorrow to correct,
today to dream and tomorrow to hope,
today to hug and tomorrow to heal...
hug to hold so that you can heal...
This space features my reflections, opinions, ponderings and from time to time announcements of what I am up to. It literally is me in my corner on my soapbox.
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