A Cultural Revolution is due.
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.
Over the past couple of decades I have suffered from depression several times, sometimes very severe and other times less so, but suffer I did nonetheless. On several occasions I used Homeopathy to “cure” my depression and “cure” it it did, or so I thought, until now. Surely the cloud of depression dissipated and I managed to get on better with my day to day life. But as life rolled on so did with it the cloud of depression roll on back in. Every time I took Homeopathy for it I did feel as though I had “healed” from it and most likely I did heal from said depression. As a homeopath would describe it, that layer that had formed had gotten removed. But had I actually really cured my depression? If it keeps coming back, even though in different forms as the remedies needed displayed, can I truly say I have cured it?
Let’s take a closer and deeper look at this shall we…
Yes clinically the depression I was suffering from in all the different occasions each time cleared with homeopathy, but the question is: why if I have cleared the layer of depression does it keep coming back? Do I just have a depressive personality? Do I have a depression tendency? Or it is just the ups and downs of a depression patient as an allopathic practitioner would tell you. Or is it the maintaining cause as a homeopath would say?
Well, let’s explore my life from a bird’s eye view a little for some perspective.
Each time I went into depression, was because of certain triggers; then I would take homeopathy, which helped me come out of it. But then what did I do after coming out of it? Did I remove the trigger from my life? Did I change how I reacted to the trigger to prevent the same consequences? Did I change my life in any way to prevent the trigger from being a trigger and still triggering me. The answer, as any one may easily guess, to all of these questions is “NO”. I did not remove the trigger; I did not change my reaction to the trigger; nor did I change myself in any way to prevent the trigger from being a trigger. Thus, it’s no surprise really that I kept going back into depression. The flavour of the depression may have been different each time, but that is about all that truly had changed over these past two decades…
Here in lies the problem. I did not learn anything from my depression…
I was on a boat on a stormy sea, I fell into the water, somehow I managed to pull myself back up on to my boat, but what did I do then? I did not complete the journey, I did not change how I handled the storm, so all I kept doing was falling back into the sea and rescuing myself over and over again. There was no progress. Thus I came to realise this now: I keep getting thrown overboard into the stormy sea, because I keep doing the same things again and again; I am not learning from my mistakes; I am not progressing in any direction on my journey, just staying stuck.
This is not healing myself; this is not curing myself; this is still symptom management.
After deep reflection I have come to the understanding that merely removing the triggers (or trigger people) from ones’ life is also not true healing, that is just being an ostrich – how many people is one to “run away from”? We cannot run and hide away from our problems. It is not the people that is the problem, but us with not being able to “cope” with the problem being present to us by these triggers.
I’ll explain it in another way: why is it that certain character types; or certain traits; or certain habits of people trigger us? Are they really the worse traits on earth? Are they really the only bad traits? Are they the same traits that trigger everyone else as well? NO.
Every person gets triggered by different things. Sometimes the things that trigger us might not be the worst possible traits on earth, but they still trigger us. Sometimes there may be some other traits that we do feel are also bad, maybe even just as bad as our triggering ones are, but we don’t get triggered by them. Why?
It is because of our history. What we have been through, who we are, what our belief systems are that determine what triggers one and what does not. Any trait that triggers us in any way is because of us and not the trait itself. The problem is not with one trait or the other, but within us. [That is not to say that its ok to have bad traits; or that an evil act per say should not be condemned; or that it can be pardoned. Just because it is not the actual act itself, but what it does to us because of our history, that is causing us a problem does not make the bad actions O.K. NO. By no means is this an excuse for any wrong doers to keep doing their wrongs. NO. Bad traits or evil acts are not excusable and the perpetrators have to be accountable for their ill doings, which they will be to ALLAH SWT. This matter being discussed here is not about them or their actions. This matter is about us and us getting triggered.]
Again let me explain this in another angle.
If act 1 triggers us but not act 2, why does act 2 not trigger us? They are both equally bad. Why can we “tolerate” or brush past act 2 but not act 1, despite our condemning both acts equally. It’s because somewhere deep inside act 1 has hit a nerve of ours and act 2 has not. So why has act 1 hit a nerve and not act 2? The answer to this question can only be found in our story of life. Sometimes we can find this answer with relative ease, other times maybe even deep psychotherapy might not be able to reach that far into our core. But the question is, do we need to reach the this answer or have we already reached an answer that is sufficient to proceed with remedying the situation? Does it matter what in our history made this nerve active? Is the solution not still to make it un-active? Yes if we can pinpoint it great it may help break the cycle sooner however, even if we don’t, it does not mean that the cycle itself cannot still be broken. Therefore whether we can deduce exactly the moment and incident that activated this nerve or not is neither here nor there, the point is to understand that said actions hit said nerves. Now what needs to be done is our neural pathways need to be rewritten to prevent us from going down the same neural pathways and hitting said nerve.
Is that even possible I hear you ask? Yes it really is. Our brains are not fixed, new neurons can be created and new pathways laid, but we have to actively chose to walk a different path and not let us keep slipping down the same pathways.
How can this be done? Well the first and most important step is to recognise that this needs to be done; for we cannot chose to walk a different path if we do not realise that it is our default path wherein the problem lies. Once this has been understood and our triggers identified then comes the long hard uphill slog of actively choosing a different path to set into our brains. But it is actually not as difficult as it may sound! It just calls for persistence.
Understanding ourselves is quite useful in this, if we can understand what part exactly about our trigger is causing us suffering then we can work backwards and teach ourselves not to let that take hold upon us. Like pointing a torch upon the shadows in the dark can relieve us from any fearful thoughts; pinpointing that it is (for example) the lack of ones’ freedom, felt from the others’ dominating and controlling nature, that is causing ones’ suffering can then give rise to the idea for creating a space and place for ones’ freedom.
We cannot change or control another’s actions; a dominating person will continue to try and dominate that is their personality, we cannot change it, but one can change how the others’ action affects them. By understanding that one craves their freedom which is being challenged and robbed through said actions which is affecting one negatively, they now have a better chance to fight for it. That does not mean a literal fight, but more a stand against the injustice.
It always helps to know what we are fighting for; what chance do we have in a fight we do not know we are in?
Once one has identified where the problem with a certain trait lies for them, then every time that trait presents itself they have to actively choose a different course of action to prevent the suffering that they feel from it, (for example, using the above scenario: refusing to be ruled by and dictated upon by another persons’ insecurities or ideals, being ok to set in boundaries and being content by them being placed, restores a space and place for ones’ freedoms). Do this enough times that it becomes second nature and hey presto the trait no longer presents itself as a problem for us, despite the trait itself still actively co-existing with us.
So you see, it is not just merely recovering from a fall that one needs to do, they need to heal and seal – recover, learn and grow from said fall so to not repeat it again in order for them to actually be cured from the fall.
Complete the journey of every challenge life presents to you. Don’t stay stranded in the middle of the sea; for if you stay stranded, I promise you, you will just keep staying stranded. There are no rescue boats upon these seas; there are no heroes in these stories; this is your life’s journey and you can only keep moving forward in it if you so choose to do so, otherwise you will keep re-living the same mistakes over and over again – like being trapped in a time loop. Let’s truly heal from our trauma and cure ourselves from them.
Don’t run from yours triggers, learn and grow to co-exist with them in peace, that’s is where true healing lies.
MUCH, MUCH LOVE TO YOU ALL,
Meher Andleeb Eqbal
thoughts that actioned the actions
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...
Lost in time...
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.
The story train series
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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