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 hat 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!
Your life's works, takes a lifetime of work.
Although some can say my "this chapter" is yet to begin, or that I am currently in the "introduction chapter" of this book, but learning and developing does not start from any one singular moment, it is a result of many little seemingly unconnected moments combined which lead you to a place, to a space, to a doing, to a becoming, to a Be-ing.
When you stand back from life and think when did I start "this" journey, or "that" journey, you realise you were ALWAYS on this journey. Everything you were, or are, or have been, or have done, has led you to this point of being. It is not isolated landmarks that have brought you here, but rather each and every big and small road, every twist and turn, bump and ditch, every encounter with every person has all been essential for shaping and allowing your presence in this space; which you have always meant to have been in.
Going forward, as well, it is not milestones that will allow you to be, but your entire existence and journey will be what enables you to become. You are not separate from your journey, your journey is there to unfold your self-discovery.
defines, refines & shapes....
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 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 yourself and 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 words. 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, radio, tv, news, billboards, 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 dealing 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.
Imagine a teacher, how you would 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!!
Just like every tide that rolls in must roll out
Every visiting soul to earth must clock out,
Tides come and go but leave an impression on earth of their presence so.
Some impression stand strong the test of time, whilst others quietly dissipate away, leaving but a sweet memory of their existence in the harmony of their moment.
But each grain of sand that is visited by the tide is washed by its love, nourished by its offerings and assisted with its journey, for however long their companionship tis meant to be.
You are but a grain of sand in everyone's story, but a tide in your own, be the tide that rolls in with affection, full of nourishment, not the tsunami to cause chaos and disruption.
Be the grain that supports in unison the weight of every passing tide,
Be the grain that stands witness to the love and grace of every story in which you part take.
The sea is salty no doubt, but remember not the taste of the salt but the replenishment that it provided to your thirsty soul.
I got reminded again today why I chose a Steiner education for my children.
The whole feeling of disheartening that comes with the mainstream approach to education came knocking on my door once again today. I felt, yet again, what it is like to work so hard on something and get it thrown back in your face as “not good enough”, because although “you demonstrate a good understanding... include the obvious”! What do they mean by that: well although it is apparent from the work that I understand it, but as I have not used their favourite ‘key words’- ‘stated the obvious’- which win the brownie points, means my work is sub par!
The frustrations of my childhood days run wild through my veins again, where children who put in sub par effort and read cliff notes to bag brownie points excelled and children who spent hours with bucket loads of effort got left stranded as “not good enough”.
This whole system is designed for compliance!
You say the right words, do the right actions and you get rewarded, if you veer from what the authority deems necessary you are penalised. The system is not designed to allow learning and gaining of knowledge, it is there to “school” you, train you to comply and then rate you as to how well you comply.
When I stepped into the world of learning once again, I hoped I was walking into a place that would be more respective of real education, but alas it was my wishful thinking that led me to believe that there could be a world free of brownie points outside of the Steiner realms.
I chose Steiner Education for this very reason for my children. I wanted them to enjoy learning, I wanted them to engage in it whole heartedly. All the while with their efforts and learning appreciated for its own merits and not marked or ranked according to one persons perception of what an understanding of a subject consists of. After all one mans understanding is only as good as their own comprehension abilities. Who is to say that another person’s comprehension, be it even a child’s is not better than theirs! Does the name Thomas Edison ring any bells?
As Rudolf Steiner says in The Spiritual Ground of Education-
“We must never imagine that we are the most intelligent people at the summit of human intelligence; this, in fact, would show that we are very poor teachers. Rather, we should think of ourselves as only relatively intelligent. This is a more realistic mind-set than the other. Now in this state of consciousness, we enter the classroom. As we enter, we must remember that, among these children, there may be a very intelligent being, one who in later life will be far more intelligent than we. Now if we, who are only relatively intelligent, were to bring up this child to be only as intelligent as ourselves, we would render him merely a copy of ourselves. This would be quite wrong. The correct approach would be to educate this very intelligent individual to grow and become far more intelligent than we could ever be. This means that there is something in a person that we must not touch, something we must approach with sensitive reverence, if we are to exercise the art of education properly.”
This, this is the primary and most fundamental difference between Steiner education and mainstream education for me! The whole attitude surrounding how a child is educated makes a fundamental differences in how a human being develops and grows. This has been my biggest beef with mainstream education, why is there only one perspective that is acceptable? I am not saying I am more profoundly intelligent than my educators, I don’t have to be to hold a different perspective, but why is a different perspective disregarded? After all is it not different perspectives and thinking outside of the box that has lead society to where it is at today?
Every great discovery was horrifically outrageous at the time it was proposed and yet today it is widely accepted as “truth”. So why is having a different point of view so wrong? Why is thinking of it in different ways penalised? Why can it not be allowed to be pondered over? After all one is innocent until proven guilty are they not? So why is an opinion, a perspective not allowed to be until proven otherwise?
I am not saying that I do not appreciate the “wider accepted views of the world”, but why can I not allow that to be, but also still hold my own perspectives too? I am not arrogantly thinking my views are better, they are just different, why can I not be allowed to hold me views until proven otherwise? Why can I not be allowed appreciation for my work despite it not holding the “key words”? Why is my demonstration of understanding not good enough? Why do we have to earn brownie points to show our worth, why can it not be allowed for our own worth to speak for itself?
Why does our worth need to be measured against others and be quantified? I am not like anyone else and no one else is like me. Why can I not be seen and appreciated for my own unique traits that I have to bring and offer to the world? Why do I have to hold the same or equal abilities as others, why can I not have my own weird and wonderful flavour that I can bring to the table? If all Coffees tasted the same would that not be boring?? Allow children to grow and learn in their own way. Develop there own unique tones and flavours that they can enrich the world with; for you and I do not know what it is that they have to unfold into. Do not force them into a box that will restrict their growth only into certain ways, for every flower needs to bloom into its very own unique shape.
It was this thinking that led me to firmly choose a different path for my children, so that their thinking and being could be allowed to be and appreciated for what it is and not pounded out of them in the name of “education” by “superior” intelligence.
On the dawn of the new year, I love you and leave you with another of my favourite quotes of Steiner’s from the same text:
“it is important to foster the development of a child’s inherent capacities. Thus, all teaching must be at the service of education. Strictly speaking, the task is to educate, and teaching is used as a means of educating.”
There is an old saying:
If you don't want it read, don't write it down.
If it is written it will be read!
I have lived by this saying my whole life.
Basically anything we do or say will be associated with our life, our parents lives, our children's lives, our grandchildren's lives forever and then some.
I think if we hold that in our minds and then do what we do, we will hopefully not be caught off guard.
This two pence comes in light of the big panic that has come to being, due to the new T&C's of WhatsApp.
I am not "anti" or "pro". I am just looking to raise awareness.
Knowledge is king!
If you know that all apps (especially "free" apps) are designed to collect and sell on data, tailor ads, program your mind and habits, be addictive, then that is half the battle.
It is much easier to avoid falling into a pit if you can see it.
I am not here to say stay away from social media or this app or that, I am simply saying this does happen ALL the time, with EVERY app, just be aware of it. I'm just here to shine the light on the existence of the pit(s).
I'm sure almost all of us have experienced the "oh my god is my phone listening to my conversations?? I just said about going to a holiday in Hawaii and now I am getting ads for it!!" moment, ("tailored ads"); but let me tell you I have had moments where I have THOUGHT of something, not said it out loud not wrote it to someone, not heard it and then thought it. No. Just a pure simple "innocent" "random" thought and it comes up in ads!?! ( I'll tell you why these two words are in quotation marks below)
Well the conversation followed by an ad is quite easy to understand, they ARE listening to us. (Watch "The social dilemma" movie if you have any doubts!)
But the whole thought being "read" thing?? 😱
Well, unless I have a microchip inserted in me, that really ain't possible.
So far to MY knowledge, that is not the case. (I could be proven wrong though, I do understand that is a very likely possibility too!)
However for this moment in time we will assume, said is not the case. So how can they "mind-read".
Well, it's not really "mind reading", but rather mind programming. YES! They programme your mind to have the thought.
"How?? For the love of God how??" I hear you ask.
Well, to be honest it's a lot simpler that you think; well, simpler than the lengths that DiCaprio had to go through in Inception. ( Again a brilliant movie if you have not seen it, go and watch this! ) But, basically the principal is the same.
The idea is planted inside your brain, but in a way where you believe for it to be your own. In other words your subconscious has been primed to have said "thought" - through ads. In fact, you may have already subconsciously seen the ad first, but as it did not "register" in your consciousness, you don't recall it. Then you had the "thought", most likely triggered by another not directly, but semi- related ad; and then finally, you see the ad again, but this time you actually see and register it.
So in actual fact you did not have an "innocent" "random" thought, but in fact, you had a thought that your brain had been primed to give.
I'm just gonna let you soak that one up.
As always, with kids especially, when things go too quiet one starts to wonder, what's cooking?
Well things have definitely been a-cooking here! I have embarked on a new leg of my journey of self discovery and self development.
I found myself exploring an old dream at the start of the year, (completely unconnected to the 2020 kurfufall, btw, I have to add! ) This exploring found me discovering and re-connecting me to my true calling.
You may have already somewhat fathomed my love of food by now I'm sure; but I'm sure by the same token you also know it's not just a love of food, but it's a love of real nurturing food. Food that heals all: body, mind and soul.
Well you may have noticed also that that is my theme running through my whole being and my blog too: health of body, mind and soul. Therefore on that note it most probably won't come to you as a surprise that I have always had a keen interest in Homeopathy, a medicinal art that looks at the whole being, and treats the whole being, body mind and soul.
At the start of this year I embarked on my journey of self development in the art of both Homeopathy and nutritional health, with a side serving of life coaching of course; might as well get a cert. that says I can do it too while I am at it right! After all these years, back to College! Yikes!
Well with a heavy investment on books galore I set my ship a-sail some many months ago and now in College I steadily chart my course for a destination just out of sight beyond the horizon, but I place my faith in Allah All Mighty that he may help me reach my goal! Insha Allah Ameen Suma Ameen
As I go "under-construction" I am sure you may have guessed I will have a little less time to spare to pop a post here and there, but rest assured I will not be abandoning my space here, I will pop little notes here and there as I go, both on my journey of development and for tips for your journey of development!
We are ALWAYS, learning, growing and living!
Here is to forever evolving life!
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.