Monday, September 29, 2008

The Bill FAILED!

I don't know why i'm so surprised, i'm referring to the $700 bill bail-out plan. It just failed the House vote. I would be lying if I said that I understood this issue 100% but what I do know is that the DOW JONES plummeted to it's worst point since Sept 17 2001. Honestly I wanted it to fail because of some sort of revenge factor- i mean why do we get stuck paying the bill for wealthy CEO's who decided to make a buck by breaking the rules and fudging the books? But then the rational side of me is like: grow up. What happened on Wall Street will affect not just OUR economy but the WORLD. We are already seeing British banks failing, and the Asian markets haven't even opened yet! The effects of globalization.
Right now i'm waiting to hear from House leaders to talk about what to do next. I mean the bill proposed was supposed to have the government buy bad mortgages to clean up the banks and we were going to do this hoping that in the future (yet with no guarantee) we would make the money back with a profit, the only problem with that is that its all speculatioN! AND on top of that $350 bill of those dollars would have no congressional oversight whatsoever so basically if Sec. Paulson wanted to put the money behind special interests, there would be no way to find that out. So yeah there are problems with this bill but there is no way we can sit back and do nothing, right now headlines are being made around the world about the failure of this bill- we were the first country to come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the failures of the banks- and now there's just chaos.

Med school diaries: Labcoat Dilemma

I lost my old one in the radiology department. It fit me perfectly. The company's name was Barco. I can't believe I remember it. Actually I can since it was such a good coat, I can see myself at one point in our relationship thinking, "You are such a good labcoat I wonder who made you?" I think I sound really obsessive right now. But I can't help it. It was so nice and white and pretty. I got so many compliments on it. Yes, it was that good. I got a stain on it and spent TWO HOURS bleaching it and cleaning it. THAT is how much I loved my labcoat. My beautiful white lab coat, or "apron" as they call it here, stood out amongst the rest. A diamond in the rough. And now it's gone! I wonder who stole it. We asked the Radiology department and they didn't see it. I feel so bad for my coat...all alone and lost in the world. I really wanted to cry when I lost it. WHO WOULD STEAL A RANDOM LABCOAT? Seriously. Who would spot a labcoat lying on the back of a plastic chair in the corner of a room, pick it up, inspect it and decide to take it??

*sighs* So I ordered a new one and this is a size bigger because the dumb site didn't have any in my size. It came with my dad and I tried it on as soon as I saw it. I look ridiculous. I won't be wearing this. It looked fine on the model but not on me because of the ill fit. The material isn't as nice as my old one. *SIIIGHS* Now I need to get a tailor and get it altered.

I'm out. I should be studying instead of writing about a labcoat.

{edit} Y'know...since Symphonic Discord started up I've wanted to keep another blog aside. I've made two so far and keep deleting them because I feel like posting on here. So I'm sharing my med school experiences here because I feel like I'm cheating on this blog by having another one on the side. lol. O.o {/edit}


You know what, there is something I really want to get off my chest, and I find this the perfect forum especially after reading Provoking's post.
I don't have much of an attachment to Pakistan except for the occasional nostalgic reaction to samosas' (I mean who doesn't love deep fried bread filled with potatoes??) So when Benazir Bhutto died I was like ohhh she's dead, my mom on the other hand, cried. When Zidari became President I was like, grreat another corrupt leader that will probably be assassinated. My mom agreed with me this time, although we had some fierce debates about Musharraf (she liked him. I did not.) So when people talk about the "old country" or "back home" i'm usually just like, dude i'm from Michigan. You know that question most people ask to exotic-y looking people, "so..where are u from...originally?" I hate that, because what determines country of origin? The place in which one was born..or the place in which your parents hailed from? And then you know being Muslim and all, I thought there really wasn't supposed to be nationalism in the sense that: i'm Pakistani hear me roar! But more like i'm MUSLIM. The end. But no, I mean I have to say on a side-note that the Muslim community is one of the most discriminatory and racist peoples I have ever met- and i've traveled the world :D. We all like to talk about how our religion our deen is to follow in the Prophet's footsteps, yet so many of us can't even crawl in his wake! I include myself in that description. So the holier than though attitude is slightly tiresome.

So this brings me to ask what exactly did the Prophet teach? There are so many different answers to this question, but i'm not interested in other people's opinion so i'm going to answer how I relate to this question: peace and love. The prophet was a hippie in my book. Do I need to go over the Hadith (saying) where he was attacked and beaten by children in I believe Tabriz, and was asked if he wanted them to be smited by God, and what did he say? he said no. and prayed for them. Now what type of man does that sound like to you? And I know that you could probably dig up a bunch of Hadiths that would point to the contrary but again, I could care less. But you know what I transgress, I am American, plain and simple. That's almost like a bad word in our culture...surprise surprise. This isn't me trying to jack "western idealism" or whatever, although i've pretty much been imbued with them, this is me saying that THIS is my country, THIS is my stake in the world. I care about what happens HERE, not to say I don't care about what happens in the world, I do. But I don't want/have to CHOOSE. And I shouldn't be asked to. So when I talk about politics, especially the elections, i'm talking about MY future, MY life. You can say all that you want to say about how your vote doesn't count and that it doesn't matter whose elected, the agenda's already set- I respectfully will tell you to get out of my face, because yeah I have a problem with representational democracy, yeah I kind of which we had a multi party system and yes I do hope that sometime in the near future we have public financing for campaigns. BUT don't tell me that if Gore won in 2000 that things wouldn't be different, that we would be in Iraq, that the Bush Doctrine would still exist- because that is just BS plain and simple. And all of those things that I wish would happen, or want to have happen, won't happen with me bitching about it- it happens when you get involved when you take part, and not just in elections but in local politics (Kwame anyone?)

And yes I want change. Does that make me naive/dumb/un-educated? Maybe, but careful now, everytime you point a finger you have three pointing right back at you.

Soap bars shaped like "O's"

So there's this movie called Obsession everyone' s talking about. Silly zionist propaganda to instill fear in the hearts of Americans!!111 People are just ig'nant man.

But that's not what this is about. It's that my friend told me the DVD cover has "Obsession" written with a crescent moon and star to make the "O" and an AK-47 on the "N". how badass is that?? Since my name starts with O, I am officially photoshopping My name to look like that. That's just how I feel right now. Do guns empower me? No, but I see their potential. Just saying. I think instead of an AK-47 I'll have a 9mm. Because I'm just a tarantino-style Gangsta at heart. I'm like Jackie Brown. Or Mr. White. Or Zoey in Death Proof. I love Death Proof. I can't believe people don't consider it the greatest movie of all time.

Sometimes I feel like, I can never talk about violence. Muslim girls don't do that. I shouldn't see destruction and say "SWEET DUDE!" or "what a beautiful spiral of life." I can't joke about suicide without being reported to the FBI. I can't say things like "I came here to chew bubble gum and kick ass. And I'm allll out of bubble-gum," and other such popular 80s phrases. I'll get stared at, or be an object of amusement. Sometimes I have to stop and think before I talk about my childhood aspirations of becoming a neurosurgeon, so that I could turn people into powerful bionic-cyborg-androids (Yes i am aware of the redundancy). I guess I don't mind. In this society - in this "state of fear" - I am always dancing on a fine line. Like an ant on the lines of a spider web. I'm sorry I'm not trendy enough to say that "Islam means peace" and "jihad is more about inner struggle." Of course, that's all true (explanation not provided here, sorry). But I feel like we are constantly making ourselves more and more powerless. Everyone's talking about politics these days. Everyone is saying that: we will vote between two puppets, and this will somehow empower us. I like this puppet because he has a cool hat. I like the puppet on the right because he has shiny buttons.

Why must we sugarcoat the situation of people that are victimized or attacked? Ignore the rape, the torture, the murder, the slaughter, the genocide, but dear, why are you Arabs so angry? Embrace the message of Jesus while cluster bombs rain on your hospitals and weddings!! I don't understand why you must be so full of rage... let's work together for peace, while we send you to a cage to be raped 20 times a day without due trial, and re-allocate your homes. But yes, WE are peaceful. Yes, WE cannot be "radical". We cannot be "extremist." We must learn to be more reasonable, more civilized, and peace-loving, to appease the "liberators" as they rape us. Let's admit to our alleged crimes and say that Islam does not stand for this hate and "terrorism". Let's have interfaith dialogue with the people trying to divide us and categorize us and name us without any authority, and say we did our part. Let's ignore the duty of a human being to fight back. A man's instinctive nature to defend his family, his beliefs, and his land. Let's downplay that and let's talk about how moderate and civilised we are. How privileged we are.

It becomes easier to numb any pain in our joints or limbs. Sleep at night with no bad dreams.

I have had many lovely discussions these past couple weeks about getting involved in these affairs, about politics, about history.

What's growing however, is deeper. bigger than politics. Bigger than economics. Bigger than historical patterns.
Have I become "superstitious"? Or cynical as they say? Suffice it to say, it has become easier and easier to predict world events. It has been so since I was 10 years old. But its becoming more and more intuitive and less about reading books and such. I hate to be the one at the end saying "I told you so." I am not cynical. I want to be wrong. Two years ago I predicted what would happen in Pakistan. When your hopeful barack obama becomes leader, I will be there to expect the war fully escalated into my country and elsewhere, intensified and worsened.

Sometimes I wonder if despite all my efforts towards scientific discovery and medicine, is it inevitable for me to be thrown into the dynamics of Pakistan, and to a broader sense, the "muslim world"? In fact, will science itself lead me to political uprising? To complete my father's work in our country, as it is deeply infiltrated by people with vile agendas? Is all my thinking, all my insomnia, ultimately to turn me into the strategies that my mind concocts?

But really, is any of that important? When reality is that politics is overshadowed by deeper forces. We must all know this deep down. It is silly to talk about politics and war, and refuse to acknowledge these forces.. A very ancient war with very dark forces surrounding all of us. Wars about definitions and contexts and beliefs... "politics" is a dumb way to describe it. and here i digress

What's deeper is the thought of tapping into a collective psyche. The hope of common sense. It comes in cycles I suppose, just like the cycles of growth and recession in the economy. Maybe 'common sense' is a shorter peak though, a variance approaching zero if you will. Perhaps we can map this out with variables including revolutions, coups, rise of movements. With enough statistical analysis, can we predict the next wave of collective awakening...?

Have I wasted so much time trying to come up with a political model? Is the answer just in physics all along?

Actually O, the answer is in 99 beautiful names (102 to account the hidden), 114 wonderful meals, 9 excellent volumes, and countless revivals....

Perhaps by recognizing these, my opponents may recognise physical battle (self-defense to be exact), charity, invocation and sincerity as the only viable references towards "change" as they love to call it. and not the deceptive dividing mechanisms of our propaganda queens... Of course there is something deeper that is missing. A matter of the heart. A level of intimacy, believe it or not.

[These thoughts took their own life and control, like robots with artificial intelligence breaking free of humankind; none of this was intended when i sat down to write. and I'm actually a very colourful and happy individual. just ask my friends ;)]

Sunday, September 28, 2008

United They Stand

speed, originally uploaded by Rabujee.

So, where do you find a Pakistani and an Indian, an Irani and an American, a Palestinian and an Israeli all working together, passionate about one common goal?

In Geneva of course! Yep, 7000 scientists from over 80 countries are working together and excited to be part of this history making event. The Hadron Collider is the largest particle accelerator in the world, built underground between the Alps and the Jura Mountains.

Its WAY too technical to get into the details but basically the scientists hope to accelerate two separate beams of protons (moving in opposite directions) along a 17 mile circular route. These beams will contain matter of only about a billionth of a gram, yet the momentum reached will be equivalent to that of a freight train moving at 120 mph!!

What's the purpose of all this, you ask? WELL, the findings could redefine what you've been taught in your chemistry and physics classes. I think even the scientists don't know what it could all mean, yet. The Collider won't be into operation until Spring of 2009, as they're still working out some technical difficulties.

I think this is a huge deal, not only from the science and engineering perspective but because amidst all this chaos in the world, theres still one society which stands firm and united. And that's wayyyyyy cool!

Okay, nerdy moment over; I know that if nobody else enjoyed ANY part of this...then at least one person did: Provoking Invoking =D.

What bad news could look like...

This year we face a pivotal point in our history. In no other time have the decisions of our President made an impact that resonated the world twice over. Please take a minute to see what bad news could look like:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Uh..because I wanted to

I wanted to take the time to recommend this singer that I came across a while ago but was just reintroduced to recently (well really I was just bored and decided to put his album on), Yoriyos. If any of you are familiar with Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), it's his son. And his music is like the indie version of his father. Well actually thats a bit misleading since Yoriyos doesn't, to my knowledge, do nasheeds (religious songs), his songs are more conscious-ness based. Below I have included a video he made last year it's pretty interesting so check him out!

PS on an unrelated note: Obama, his wife, Biden, his wife, will be at the Detroit Public Library on Sunday. Doors open at 11 am if anyone's interested. It's a free event! Try and make it! It should be pretty tight :)

So annoying

Everyone has a signature phrase. Catch phrase. Whatever you want to call it. A phrase that everyone else hears them use often or a phrase that relates back to that individual.
Gossip girl ends every narration with "You know you love me. XOXO. Gossip Girl." We all remember Mr. T's infamous phrase "I pity the foo!" Mrs. Cullen has a million of these. "Hay gurl hay", "Holla", "Gurl, shoot" and "That's what she said", are just a couple of her infamous catch phrases. Simply me ends every email and conversation with Kthanksbye. Artistic Logic often refers to her closest friends as "Loserface" . Falling Up gets "Ugh"-ed out by almost everything. And Controlled Chaos thinks everyone in the world is a baka .

So what is my my catch phrase, you ask? So annoying. I say it so much that everyone else has begun to say it as well. I end every sentence, paragraph, story, letter, email, and conversation with either you, it, he, she, that, they, anyone, and everyone is so annoying.

It started off as something I would say to my siblings about something that they did or said that would be *suprise, suprise*...annoying. And I would shout at them "You're sooooooooooooo annoying". Emphais on the word "so" .Now it's just second nature for me to say it all the time. How are you today. So annoying (annoyed). The weather today is very nice. So annoying. Can you do me a favor and pass me the ketchup? Ughhh, you're so annoying.

I don't really get annoyed easily. At least I don't think I do. Family and friends will probably beg to differ. But who cares, they're so annoying and you shouldn't listen to them. However there are quite a few things that annoy me that I would like to share with ya'll.(Everyone else has a rant session on this blog, why can't I?) :

The only people that comment on this blog are the writers of this blog, being compared to others, boys, snoring sleepers, not being able to do my "own thing", neck pains, people who ogle at you, long lines, parking my car, having people watch me park the car, merging into the freeway, unappreciativeness, people who say "Mozlem" or "Izlam" even after you've corrected them, living such a sheltered life,tomatoes, call centers, bad habits that die hard,rude people, the new facebook, procrastination, dogs barking, being misunderstood by family and friends, asking for help, writers block, teachers who are overly excited to be teaching and don't think there is a single thing that could possibly go wrong in their classroom, ignorance, really boring commercials that seem to last for a million years, jealousy,semi trucks

People who critique every single thing that you do in a negative way, people who try to change other people's personality or appearance to fit with the social "norm", change-- of any kind, my siblings, girls who refer to a guy as "the one", being woken up from the best sleep ever, a family member touching my feet in the hopes of reviving me from my sleep, traffic jams, liars, cheaters, stealers, conversations about marriage,rap songs,toothpaste overflowing from the tube, negative feedback, rising costs of textbooks, washing clothes, cleaning my closet, dust bunnies, relying on unreliable people, cleaning the bathroom, taking the trash out, hearing anyone say "I told you so",vegetables, pot holes, snow, being called lazy, shopping during the holiday season, snobs, short weekends, uninvited guests, being told over and over to learn "how to cook", losing things, allergies.

Printers getting jammed, my hijab getting stuck in printers, being asked a question that I can't answer, birds chirping (ok that probably makes me sound like a horrible person, but if you are in a deep and much needed sleep mode, you truly do not want a bunch of birds to ruin that for you with their incessant chirping.), my niece and nephew spending the night and crying non stop, people asking me a million times "When are you getting married?", people asking me a million times, "When are you graduating?", professors who can't teach, getting paid bi-weekly instead of weekly, serving guests tea, news, the media, racist bigots, showoffs,hot and humid weather, people freaking me out/stressing me out about student teaching, brushing my hair (sad, but true), not knowing what to wear in the morning, shoes that hurt like no other, being on my feet all day long, Monday mornings, Blogs of Note: some people just don't deserve to be on there.

Uhhh, that's quite a list, huh? *shrugs shoulders*

Newest phrase that I've found myself using (thanks to the Grey's Anatomy cast ): Seriously.

Do you like it?

Do you?

If you don't, than, seriously, you're so annoying.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

On the Road [Again]

On the Road [Again], originally uploaded by Rabujee.

OK so, just thinking of some silliness tonight before I sleep and I thought I'd share it real quick (or not so quick, I usually prolong my stories ;)...or "dramatize" them as Constructive Attitude says hehe)

I am sort of a germ-o-phobe and use hand sanitizers a lot, and those of you that know Bath and Body Works, probably have used their scented or "flavored" sanitizers like me. I have this one currently called Pink Grapefruit...something.... A few months ago, I used it while sitting in Circuits lecture one day and after about 10 minutes my professor paused, turned to the class and said "Is someone drinking beer?" Everyone awoke from their sleep and looked around confused, when the proff. repeated "I smell beer..."

At this point I begun to realize it MIGHT just be my sanitizer, and unfortunately I had left it out on my desk, SO there was no attempt made to hide it... lol. It was useless at that point. Not that I was afraid of having it out, just that I didn't want any awkward conversation being directed my way in the middle of class.
But of course, there's always the classmate who has to have the answer to useless things and everyone turned and stared at me as this kid pointed at my desk and said "It's probably THAT." I managed an awkward chuckle as my proff. started interviewing me on what it is, and on its alcohol content.... *Lame*

So today at work, I used the same sanitizer again and after some time, I heard my co-worker in the next cube say "Hmmm... that's weird." Someone in our row asked her "What's weird?" She answered "It smells like booze..."
Again, the culprit was sitting on my

Funny thing is, I didn't even KNOW what beer smells like ...until now...and I guess it smells the same as what I use to kill germs.

And on a *slightly* serious but related note, I find it very interesting when I meet people of other cultures, where beer and alcohol are a social norm, say that they don't drink. Not that I'm expecting them to drink alcohol, because I know everyone is different; it's just interesting when they explain WHY they choose not to. And for most its "I just don't like to be under the influence of something..." or that they don't like to be "not in control" of themselves...
Hmm, very interesting, that thats the EXACT reason why its not allowed in Islam. Think about it, there's always wisdom behind these rules we have.
Good night =).

P.S. Don't drink and drive or you'll be seeing this [pointing to photo] through your windshield...not that I speak from experience...

The Beauty Myth

The real truth about beauty-a major global study reported:

The definition of beauty has become something limiting and unattainable, as if, only thin, young and blond were beautiful.

As published by Dove, according to a study they did:

-ONLY 2% of women around the world describe themselves as beautiful
-81% of women in the U.S. agreed that the media and advertising has set unrealistic standards.

And people still wonder why so many women/girls are unhappy with the way they look no matter how many hours they spend on themselves...

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we will not find it.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "When Ramadan comes, the gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, and the devils are put in chains."
So that means that Shaytan aka Satan is locked up and can't influence you in any way to make you do anything wrong. And that means that anything wrong you do is your own doing.

People do crazy things.

I liked it better when I could blame Satan for everything. H's a better scapegoat when people do unexplainable things. I like staying in my little bubble where no one is completely evil; that there's good in everyone.

That bubble has burst.

And life goes on.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My fabulous morning

I had a boring morning. Let me share it with you. And if you love me enough, you'll read it. And if not, who cares. I don't think I'd read it either.

I had quite a bit of time on my hands today.

I woke up bright and early this Tuesday morning, got dropped off at the hospital only to discover that classes have been cancelled. The next would be at one. I look at the time. 8:07 AM. I have postings but its dentistry and they don't take classes. Grrrreat. No sweat, I can just go to the library. Locked. Exam time for the seniors = no classes for us. The reason why that hadn't informed us? They forgot. *sighs* I took an auto to the college. The auto drivers always claim that they don't have any change. *rolls eyes* Well, I'm not giving you a hundred for a 40 ruppee trip, but thanks for the offer. We ask the phone reacharge guy and thank God he has some.

8:34 AM
While walking into the hospital I had to fight the wind as it was blowing my cotton shalwar khameez up. So light weight, so breatheable, great for the heat, but your worst enemy when it gets windy. Upon entering I spot a security guard on his way out. He was a very slim man whith a gray and black uniform complete with a cap. He looked pretty jolly, which in my opinion, is hard for skinny people to appear {the word "jolly" specifically}. His rather large beard was what made him stand out. It was quite scruffy. It went in all directions possible and was even wider than his small frame.

9:17 AM Five hours until class. I have to do SOMETHING. I walked up to the library. Locked. It should be open by now. Just my luck. I plop down on the staircase in front of the elevators and near the library door and open my textbook and start to read, getting distracted by the opening and shutting of the elevator doors. The nurse, or "sister" as they call them here, caught my eye. She was a middle-aged woman. Maybe late 40s. Black hair with a few gray strands here and there. Her uniform looked like a nurse's halloween costume gone horribly wrong. The tunic went down to her knees [Thank God!}, instead of wearing pants like the other nurses she wore white knee-high leggings. Spandex or any other stretchy material is a no-no in my book. It looks weird on slim people; imagine it on an older, "healthier" {Read:plumper} woman. But she was all cheery and friendly and old woman-like, I could do nothing but push the spandex out of my mind and smile.

11:00 AM
I am going crazy. People watch other people in the library. So I was watching the people who were watching the other people. Get me? I don't stare or anything but it gets so boring. You just sit there and wonder if anyone else is just as bored as you and hope that they aren't so you can watch them do whatever it is that they are doing. It's live TV.

11:30-something AM
The library cleaning woman comes and stops by my table. She wants money. As usual, I have none. But my sister gave her some so I'll let her know we are from the same family. lol. She's a rude woman, in my opinion. Usually they thanks you, say a little prayer and walk away happily. I don't think I deserve a prayer but some common courtesy is greatly appreciated. This woman was saying the Muslim greeting to my sister, "Asalaam Alaikum". My sister stuck out some money to give her while she was saying it. The woman stopped in mid-sentence, grabbed the money, turned around and walked quickly away. So it was really, "Asalaamu wa-" I think people like that are too greedy.

12:49 PM
I don't know what happened or when I dozed off but it was finally, finally time for class. Then freedom. I have the rest of this week off thanks to the seniors having finals exams. I think this is God's way of giving me more time to make the most of Ramadan. And I'm super happy for a break. I just wish I didn't bother waking up so early in the morning.

Moral of the story: Don't go to class on time. Let the losers like me go for you and then text you if there isn't class.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No beginning and no end

It started on the 25th of September that year, when the trees were starting to look bare and each morning there laid a misty fog over the valley. Perhaps, the fog wasn’t a reality, rather a figment of my imagination as everything happening around me had a sense of obscurity to it. For a few weeks now, it had become like a routine… each evening repetitively boring itself into our lives; waking us from our denial that this really had started.

At first it had been difficult to make our way to the neighborhood shelter; each step seemed to echo loudly calling the enemies, disclosing our scurried attempt to save ourselves and make it another day. But make it for what? Only to live on borrowed time and breathe borrowed breaths? To lose our identities, our worth? Just to wait in fear each hour, in the darkness of our abodes, those homes which once rang with laughter, now turned into asylums for the grief stricken, boarded up to give the appearance of abandonment. So many had already been lost, each night there were less of our neighbors present among us. In the beginning people whispered about the missing ones and tried to give reason to where they could have gone, how could we bring them back? Now, it seemed all hearts had become sullen to the point of numbness at the horrors around us; for we no longer cared what happened to anyone else, to each his own survival.

COME QUICKLY! My father would whisper to us, as he stepped outside our home into the dusk. My mother, sister and then I would follow, clothed in dark shawls; we wore no shoes any longer for shoes were to be worn when one had purpose in his path and an important destination to reach, with important work to be done. We did not have purpose, we had been robbed of all our life’s substance; it was an unknown force that impelled us to make this short journey each night. I kept watch ahead of me, at my father, as he turned the corner of the alley and stopped. We all crouched, my sister next to me, her bated breath like a siren ringing through the night. Why couldn’t she breathe quieter, I managed, why couldn’t she? Did she not know how important it was, to be discreet in form, figure, and sound? Father was looking for clearance to step into the street where the only street light that still shone down was our most dangerous point each night. Anyone could see us and if that happens…I always stopped at that thought.

All I knew now was when I dreamt I did not see soldiers and guns like most victims of war ravaged lands. Soldiers were just puppets strung up and powerless, I could not hate them, they were acting on someone else’s wishes, just as suppressed as we were. It was those countless faces, faces of the so called “leaders” that haunted me. Those eyes which had stared back to us, rather blankly, and declared that they loved their land as much as we did. Had stood in front of us and taken oath that they would protect us, shelter us. Had given promise after promise of restoring security, working with others to build bridges and empower us. To remove injustice from the land and bring about equality. Empty. Empty words, they were because always behind the curtains, there was something else stirring, shuffling of money, shaking of hands, deals made. Deals which betrayed us and threw us into the darkness. Deals which would seal our future and sign us away into nothingness, creatures of no value. Even animals weren’t as baseless as they...

My father scurried to the street as my mother bit her lip to hold back a moan; fearful that we may lose him as he moved fast through the lit region and stood silent motioning to us to follow suit. That trek across the debris riddled road, would have been short in normal times; in fact I had crossed that very path many times as a child. Now it seemed like it took hours for us to reach that adjacent corner where we would find the door to the underground shelter. The entrance to the shelter was a wooden door, with peeling paint, camouflaged with thick vines covering the side of the building from the top to the bottom. Then there was a climb down a steep flight of cemented and mildewed stairs and through a small tunnel before finally reaching that titanium encased haven. Above the shelter was an ordinary shop, one where the owner had once sold newspaper, candy, and tea among other things. Where men of old age gathered for a daily talk, now it was all abandoned just like the rest of the town. My father had quickly disappeared into the vines, followed by my mother and sister. I crept in behind them and as I was closing the door, there around the bend I saw and heard the heaviness of the soldiers’ boots as they came for their nightly rounds. Just in time I thought, once again saved by a fraction of a second. How much longer can this last?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Perks of being a teacher

So according to Mrs. Cullen, becoming a teacher or going into the education field, is basically considered taking the "easy way out". I don't think she really means it. I hope she doesn't. Because in all actuality, becoming a teacher is not, I repeat, NOT, taking the easy way out. If anything, becoming a teacher is probably one of the hardest jobs and dumbest decisions a person can possibly make. Myself included. Yeah we occasionally do make a difference in a students' life and inspire them in some sort of way and get a long summer vacation-- big freaking whoop. Most teachers usually work EXTRA during the summer because our pay is crap. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. We are probably the most underpaid profession there is in the entire universe,and we have to deal with 30 plus children at the exact same time. Talk about a migraine!

However, going through the motions for the past two weeks, I realized that it really isn't that bad. Or at least it hasn't been yet. Ms. D, my cooperating teacher, or the teacher I'm working with rather, is an amazing mentor and shows me all these cool tricks. For example, the school I'm doing my student teaching at is in an innercity school district. And it is in the heart of one of the poorest cities in the USofA. That being said, the school doesn't have much money and/or resources to provide teachers with the appropriate materials needed in their classroom. So most teachers have to buy alot of their supplies with their own money. Ms. D, however, asks parents, yes parents, to buy things for her. Well, she doesn't directly ask them, more like she invites parents to her classroom for an open house, where she basically butters them up and serves them hors' dourves. Then once the parents are full and fed, WHAM!, she presents them with her Wish List. Yes, a wish list. This is basically a list that she puts together stating all the things she needs/wants for her classroom. And get this: The parents actually go out and buy these things for her!!! Pretty cool, huh?

Not only does Ms. D get parents to buy her stuff, but she gets the children to do whatever she wants. And you might be thinking that it would be pretty easy to get students to do what you want. You are the teacher, right? Wrong! Sometimes children don't care who the authoritative figure is, they just refuse to listen. Bratty kids that they are. But pull out some candy, stickers, treats or thoughts of painting (Oooooh!) or having free time on the computer(Ahhhh!) and they are hooked, line and sinker! Seriously. She let me try it. And believe you me, it worked! There was one day that I got to choose who got treats or candy, and I didn't choose some students because they were behaving horrendously. And when they came to ask me why they didn't get any treats, I told them they were behaving inappropriately. Lo and behold! the next day they were little angels.I swear. Seriously, sometimes candy works miracles. You should try it sometime.

One last thing I will leave you with is that if you ever hear a teacher complain about not getting a proper "lunch break", you should smack them. Lunch breaks (or "prep" time) for teachers at this school is not one, not two, but THREE WHOLE HOURS!! To THEMSELVES! Three entire hours to yourself. Can you believe that? I still can't get over it. Mind you, they are not three consecutive hours. But who cares! Three hours is still alot! I bet you no other profession can beat that!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mrs. Cullen: The Victim

Dear Friends,

I am sure we have all been a victim many times [ex: car accident, love, mugging, etc] but this week I was a victim to the most terriblest thing ever. Please don't read ahead if you are pregnant, nursing, or have a history of heart disease. The following is not for the faint hearted. Well I warned you! Here goes nothing! Wait, CC: why are you still reading?? [You're soo annoying]. Anyways. I have a cat. She is the cutest cat in the world. Shes all black like Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch =) I love her. But she is obsessed with my parents. Which is so not fair because shes mine mine mine and I was the only one who cared for her when she was a kitten. Whatever. I got over that a year ago. Anyways. Every night she sleeps in my parents room. The only time she would ever enter my room is if I would force her in there. And even then she runs under my bed and doesn't come out. Whatever. Shes so annoying. Anyways. As you all know its Ramadan so we wake up early before sunrise to eat before a long day [or not so long day in the winter] of fasting. A few days ago C**** [oh yeah thats the name of my cat. I was trying to put that off as much as I could. I'm quite embarrassed of that name now. Sigh] kept coming in my room all night. She would not let me sleep. She started ripping a plastic bag I had lying on the floor. After that was demolished, she began ripping my papers. I had some papers lying under my window. Oh yeah. I have a window in my room!!!! Hehe I know everyone does. Mine is actually not so cool because since my room is above the garage, I can see the driveway if I look out of my window. I mean whatever thats fine but its just annoying because garage rooms [yeah I just made that up get over it] are always soo cold.

Ok. So when I woke up for Sahur [thats what we call the meal we eat before the fast begins at dawn] the first thing I said to my mom was, "C**** was in my room all night. She wouldn't let me sleep." Then my brother said, "Yeah she kept coming in my room too." But I was like whatever, most of the time she was in my room. [Everything is competition for me.] After we ate my dad went to the mosque to pray Fajr [the first of our five daily prayers]. As soon as he opened the garage [one of the benefits of living in the garage room is that you hear and sorta feel when it opens] he yelled our names. So we went outside and there was glass everywhere! Someone had broken into my dads car by completely smashing the driver's side window. There was glass on the drive way and glass on the seat. We quickly looked inside and realized nothing was missing. Of course I also went to look at my car which was right next to his. [My daddy bought me a new car three weeks ago so of course I was scared.] But alhumdulillah it was perfectly fine=) Not even a scratch. Of course blah blah blah my daddy went to the police station after prayer and reported the crime. There he was told that this has happened 11 times already in OUR neighborhood and it is someone from OUR neighborhood. Ahh. Ok you don't know where I live so you won't understand.

When I told my sister what happened [she lives in New York] she asked, "Did it happen in Detroit." But no people! It did not. I lived in Detroit for a year and I had a car that was parked in a parking lot but nothing like this ever happened to me! This happened in ******, MI. ****** was once known to be a very very safe area-- one of the safest. But after those two psycho high school boys beheaded a truck driver I guess kids are going wild or something. And on top of that, I live in a really nice subdivision. Everyone here is pretty well off. So, I dunno what someone would want to do that for. Anyways, it turns out my dad's navigation system thingy was stolen. We didn't realize it until the cops asked us if we had one. Since Allstate will pay for the damage of the car the only problem this caused was just an inconvenience for my parents. My daddy had to drive my mom's car to work and so my mommy had to miss her Qur'an class for the day. No big deal I guess. At least no one was hurt. EXCEPT FOR ME. I was hurt here [points to head] and here [points to heart].

Why would I not be?! Poor me, garage girl. Poor me, the victim of everything. Love, school and now psycho navigation system robbery. What if my window was open and the psycho decided to bring a ladder and climb into my room. Of course I was worried after that. For the next two days I just slept with my grandparents in the basement and of course we parked three of the cars in the garage. My brother had to leave his car outside with the psycho thief. Ok, lastly I just want to add that I have mad respect for my cat who was just freaking out all night. I can't believe I didn't hear the psycho right outside of my garage room. But C**** did. And she tried to wake me up. But I did not. The lesson of the story is. Listen to your cat.

Yours for the sake of Peace, Sisterhood and the Prevention of Animal Cruelty,
Mrs. Cullen

PS: Thats Allstate's Stand. Are you in good hands??

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I'm a cry-baby.

I lost my favorite dupatta {or it lost me}, so I got a little sad.
I lost my favorite cluth purses, so I got even sadder. {thank God I found one, the other is suspected to be in America} Now as I was brushing my hair, I found that I've lost an earring.

It's time I stop crying. What are these things? They're really nothing. Yeah, it's pretty and makes me happy it's mine. But aside from's nothing! It doesn't help me out or do anything for me. This world and everything in it is just a means to the Hereafter and won't be there later on {Unless I special request it when I get to Heaven; if I make it Heaven that is..Or I think everything in Heaven will be so much prettier that everything on Earth will look like crap.} I get really materialistic at times. Just gotta remember: Wasn't I just as happy before I bought whatever it is I lost? MmmmHmm. And has anything changed now that I've lost it? Not really. Oh and I'm not saying go around looking like a peasant or anything. Carry yourself well but within your means. It's doable. And remember not to cry if it's gone.

THIS will help me later on. It's reward is super pretty and doesn't even get lost ;) :

When a person dies, all his deeds come to an end except three: ongoing
charity, beneficial knowledge (which he has left behind), or a righteous child
who will pray for him
.” (Muhammad, peace be upon him, At Tarmidhi)

The News Today

There were several things that happened today and this week that I wanted to talk about. So we've all heard something about Lehman Brothers filing for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch being bought up by Bank of America for $50 billion. This is just a couple of weeks after the bail-out of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (who came up with these names?!) I believe on Tuesday the DJIA (Dow Jones Industrial Average), lost more than 500 points which is the worst that its been since 9/11, and just yesterday the Dow lost more than 300 points. And i'm sure you've heard snippets of McCain saying that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong." But back to what I was saying about the Dow, the FED knew that AIG (leading U.S. insurer for securities), was about to go under so they stepped in on Wednesday and bailed them out for $85 billion. Many people are saying that these are the effects of the credit crunch and the housing market bubble (which is not really a bubble, but a full blown crisis now), but thats not really what I care about right now. What I want to know is that with all of these bail-outs costing the government around $150 billion, who foots the bill? I mean for real- the government doesn't have a magic wand obviously, (thank you President Bush for pointing that out), so where is this money coming from? well the short answer is..YOU. The long answer is......YOU! Yes! If you are a tax payer you are likely to see your taxes being raised in order to pay for these bail-outs!

Well then now that i've gotten that off of my chest, lets turn to other news. Ok so yesterday while we were all scratching our heads over the financial stuff that was going on, the U.S. launched a drone (yes a drone) into Pakistan killing five people. I'm sure you have heard something about the standoff between the U.S. and Pakistan forces, where the head Pakistani General said they would protect Pakistani sovereignty at "all costs". So yesterday, American officials told Pakistan, ok we won't come into your country and conduct ground raids BUT we will still fire drones! So who wants to predict whats going to happen between Pakistan and America? Anyone? (me rolling my eyes)

Now lets turn to Yemen, there was a double car-bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy they tried to get past the security gate, but never made it that far. 16 people were killed, all of them Yemeni.

Cold War anyone? It seems as though Russia has missed the days of Mutually Assured Destruction drills. With a Lame Duck President that can do literally nothing (or won't) about the situation in Georgia, Russia has decided to be the provocateur and sign friendship treaties with the unrecognized breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Which of course includes a pledge of military assistance from Russia. With America (or maybe just the Bush Administration), wanting to build a Nuclear missile defense base in Poland (some would say WE were provoking Russia), Russia has decided to show us the middle finger and do what they want to do in matters of their foreign policy.

On that note I shall end.
p.s. smile! it's a form of charity :)

Brown is Beautiful

I walked in on her putting a lot of cream on her hands and face.
"Is your skin really dry?""No," she replies as she rubs the cream on her arm into her skin.
"Then why are you putting on so much cream?"
"I want to be white like Heba."
"But you're skin is so beautiful the way it is. You would look yucky if you were a different color. Allah made you perfect the way you are."
"No, white skin is better," she tells me, and continues putting on cream.

Later that day I find my five-year-old sister putting on more cream. My mom and I ask her if someone called her brown at school {she's not that dark, actually, maybe tan}. She says yes. *sighs* There are almost a billion people in this country and most of them are brown, but people still get criticized for their skin color. We're Indians. We're supposed to be brown. But the fair-skinned ones are usually Muslim or from a higher socioeconomic class or both. I think people here want to be fairer to be identified with this class? Or at least not looked as of the lower class. And with my sister going to school & being friends with rich kids of fairer complexion and watching the TV ads, no wonder why she developed this complex. She's only five.

This started at four. She thought she was the fairest thing in the world and wouldn't be friends with/would not prefer to play with kids darker than her. We taught her that it's okay to be different and Allah made people of all different "colors". And I thought America was pretty racist. Here are people hating on their own kind.

There are so many adds for whitening your skin color. Face bleach. The most popular is called Fair & Lovely. Men have started using it, too. {or have they always been?} So they have another one called Fair & Handsome just for them. *rolls eyes* We learned in Dermatology that some women come in because these fairness creams actually cause dark blemishes on the skin and take years to disappear. It's a small percent but it happens.We also learned that it the fairness creams don't really work. The most they'll do it take away a tan.

An ugly fair-skinned person is considered more beautiful than a gorgeous brown-skinned person. This is especially seen in the case of marriage proposals. Girls use the fairness cream religiously in hopes of getting a shade or two lighter and getting married. If a girl has everything but is "colored" she will get all the praise from everyone. However, in the end, they'll always add, "...magar rang kam hai, ". "But she's kind of dark".

There's an ad on TV where this girl is in her room practicing ballet and her dad walks in and bascially gets mad at her for not studying or something. She puts on fairness cream, suddenly gets amazing ballet skills, and does amazing at her performance. Her dad comes up to her and is very proud of his daughter. Thank you, Fair & Lovely!

I think we need to start a "Brown Is Beautiful" campaign.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Don't be sad...for too long

"Everyone wants mourners to 'snap out of it' because observing another's anguish isn't easy...To be human means to naturally react with feelings of sadness to negative events in one's life," writes Robert Spitzer

"By brooding over the past and its tragedies, one exhibits a form of insanity---a kind of sickness that destroys resolve to live for the present moment. Those who have a firm purpose have filed away and forgotten occurrences of the past, which will never again see light,since they occupy such a dark place in the recesses of the mind. Episodes of the past are finished with; sadness cannot retrieve them, melancholy cannot make things right, and depression will never bring the past back to life. This is because the past is non-existent."

-----Don't be Sad by 'Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarn

Do you guys think the quotes contradict one another?

I don't. At first I thought they did,but if you understand each quote you realize they don't. Life isn't always easy and can be painful at times. For those painful times, it is OKAY to mourn and to be sad. Different people react to experiences differently. Some cannot or at least refuse to be brought down by the events of life. Others, aren't as great. They need to express grief in some form. After all, God did give us the ability to feel sad or feel grief for a reason. If it was flat out wrong, it would be forbidden to us so these negative emotions are not always a bad thing.

On the other hand, if you decide to dwell on those occurrences that bring you down, then yes you could be committing some kind of wrong. Granted different situations bring on different levels of grief, and thus require different periods of mourning, but there is has to be a stop to the constant depression. What is it that you exactly accomplish by 'brooding' over a 'tragedy'? Look around, life is going on, your life is still going on, it won't freeze for you, the past is now gone or 'nonexistent'. Not to mention you are losing those thousands of opportunities in life to be grateful for what you have or something like helping someone else through their grief.

Now losing a loved one, is something altogether that's a horrible experience. There is no simple "Just cheer up and move on" motto that can be applied. To that, i want to say, I'm sorry. Even if I don't know who you are, I'm sorry you have to go through that. Forgive me if I sound like I'm preaching , but don't you sometimes think that your constant state of depression is also making your late loved one grieve. Don't you also think, that being in that constant state for too long is making you lose your other loved ones, or would-be loved ones? Would you wait until everything passes you by or by the time you lose everything to realize that it's ok to move on. And it is not the same as forgetting. Your love for them won't go away, and why not make them proud instead? Why not pray for them instead? True it does pain me to see you grieving, but at the same time it's not that I want you to snap out of it immediately. The spot that person holds in your heart most likely won't and doesn't need to go away for you to be okay. But you will be okay, and you need to realize that. That you will be okay.

And finally, I'm sorry again. I'm sorry for your loss, I'm sorry for your pain, I'm sorry I can't help. I truly am.

"Oh Allah,(Arabic word for God) Possessor of Majesty, Magnificence and Might, let comfort take the place of sorrow, make happiness come after sadness, and let safety take the place of fear." Amen

P.S. I know I said I'll post pictures of India and God willing, I will be in the next couple of days :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Men in the game are blind to what men looking on see clearly.

Today I'm in a contemplative mood, maybe its the non-stop rain thats gotten me this way. Anyways, I found something which struck a resonance in me and I wished to share it with someone:

“Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace.”

Charles Sumner (American Statesman and Abolitionist dedicated to human equality during the American Civil War period. 1811-1874)

I wonder when the leaders of the world will step back and recognize the extent to which their actions and decisions affect the common man.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kids say the darndest things

I received my student teaching placement this week. And officially started student teaching two days ago. I was placed with a 2nd grade class in an innercity school district, where majority of the students are African American ( I want to say about 95%) and probably have not interacted with a Muslim female who practices hijab. How do I know this? Well they couldn't stop staring at my head and whispering to each other, "What's that thing on her head?"

When I was told that I would be placed later on in the semester I was kinda worried that the teacher I was placed with would hate me. But it turns out that the teacher I'm with absolutely lovesssssss having me around.Alhamdullilah. And boy am I grateful! Ms. D is the teacher that I'm working with. Once we were introduced, she informed me that I would introduce myself to the students once the students settled in their seats. Of course, I heard whispers coming from the students asking each other, "Who's that?" and staring at me. And not so discreetly, I might add. So once they did get settled and finished some of their morning work, Ms. D told me to introduce myself. I didn't know what to say really. I mean what do you say to a bunch of second graders about yourself, that they might actually care about or be interested in. So I basically told them "I'm Ms. Attitude and you're teacher will be teaching me, while I'm teaching you all. I attend X University and am excited to work with you during this amazing semester with the hopes of actually becoming a teacher after I graduate." Then I asked them if anyone had any questions that they might like to ask me. And of course all hands shot up in the air. (They just didn't want to get back to their morning classwork) Uhhh, where do I start? Ahh yes, you right there that's waving your hand and saying "Oooh oooh, pick me, pick me."

"Did you drop him off to school today?" pointing at the other non African American in the room.
-Uhhh, no I dont know him. We're not related.
"Are you sure?"

Next question please.

"Are you from India?"
Pffftttttttttt. Of course not. What a dumb question. Jay kay. I didnt really say that. But I should have. I did explain to them that my parents were from a country near India called Bangladesh. I then asked if any of them had heard of that country. At which point all of them nodded their heads. I didnt believe them.Some adults have no idea what Bangladesh is, let alone know that it is a country.How would a bunch of second graders know what Bangladesh was? However it turns out I was wrong and they did know because the boy that I supposedly dropped off to school turned out to be from Bangladesh. What a coincidence.

"Why do you wear that thing on your head?"
-Ahh the anticipated question. The reason I asked them if they had any questions. I knew they were curious about it. They kept staring at my head since they walked into the classroom. I didn't go into depth whilst answering that question. Didn't want to confuse them anymore then they needed to be. Instead I just answered with a simple, "It's a part of my religion and obligation that women cover their hair."

"What's under there?"
Didn't I just answer that question? What the heck do you think is under there? Magic? Candy? The secrets to 2nd grade?

Little Boy:So you go to X University?
Little Boy: *starts listing random facts about X University.*
-*awkward silence*
Uhhhh That is very interesting, thank you for sharing all of that oh so useful information with us. What would we have done without it?

My favorite question of the day:
A little girl who looked really concerned about my commute to and from her school: "Ms. Attititude, do you have to take a plane home?"
What a silly question my dear! Of course I don't take a plane home ,I take a camel.

Later on in the day during a Math lesson the students were asked who the president of the United States was at the present time. They all shouted "Obama". That being said, we all know who they would vote for if they were old enough. It was too funny. And when two girls said that they liked John McCain and were hoping he would win the upcoming elections, the entire class turned on them. Even Ms D. gave them a funny look.

I can tell this is going to be one funny and *hopefully* fun student teaching experience. And also a fast one too.

Feasting..err Fasting In Ramadan

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other and cautiously stepped on. I said a mini prayer or two and slowly opened my eyes. A sigh of relief. Nothing. I didn't gain a single pound. I quickly thank God Almighty and get off. Despite fasting from dawn to dusk, I feel like a big ball of pure fat.

Ramadan is to thank for that. Just kidding. But when we break our fast, my eyes grow bigger than my stomach and I can't control what I put on my plate. I'll have a little sample of everything, I tell myself. I sound like I take plates and plates of food, but I only fill one plate. One meal a day. Even though it is recommended that we eat before dawn, I get hungrier during the day if I eat {I'm pretty shaky from hunger by 11 AM}.

One of the reasons why we fast is to try to feel what it is like to go hungry. Some people out there don't know when their next meal will be or whether it'll be out of a garbage dump or not {Living in a third world country I unfortunately have witnessed this}. Instead people pig out before dawn so they won't feel hungry and then pig out even more at dusk to "compensate" for all the energy used.

Ramadan food. Ahhh. What is cooked at the blessed hour of breaking our fast is the problem.* This is why:

  1. Indians like to fry vegetables in batter {Bhajiye}.
  2. Then we fry some other stuff {I thinkit's lentil/legume based??} and dunk that in yogurt {Dahi Baday}.
  3. Can't forget the Rooh Afza. It's milk, sugar, and this really sugary rose syrup.
  4. And fruit. We can't go without fruit. Topped with a few tablespoons of sugar along with other spices. It's sweet but also has a bite to it.

So there you have it: we have our fruits, vegetables, dairy and carbohydrates all rolled into one meal topped with lots and lots of sugar and fat. In my family these four things are served almost every day. And we get sick of it. But if one of the items is not present the meal seems incomplete. "Mamma!! Why aren't there any Bhajiye?" "Uhh..because you never ever eat them when I make them?" "I feel so..empty inside" *stifles a cry* This is the bare minimum. There are usually one or two more other things present since we don't eat another meal after {some families have a very light meal and then dinner later}. Most people become really gluttonous by the time dusk comes around and end up gaining quite a bit of weight in Ramadan rather than losing.

There's this quote by Rumi that comes to mind every Ramadan:

Hungry, you're a dog, angry and bad-natured. Having eaten your fill, you
become a carcass; you lie down like a wall, senseless. At one time a dog, at
another time a carcass, how will you run with lions, or follow the saints?

Let's do a grand weigh-in at the end of the month and see how fat we've all gotten. OR let's see how many of us can learn self control and eat just until we aren't hungry; maybe even shed a few pounds if we need to? I am pretty fair-skinned for an Indian and for some reason my cheeks get this natural blush when I gain weight. I love the color red. But I don't want to look like Santa. I think this is one more goal I'm adding to my list. If I don't add it I won't do it. I like lists. :D

* This "Ramadan food" I speak of isn't any special food that has to be eaten during the month. You can pretty much eat anything you want but these foods are especially cooked in Ramadan in India and by Indians.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


In the next few weeks I'll be having to adjust to a myriad of changes. Good? Bad? We'll see when they happen. I'm not concerned. I think I'm kind of excited, actually. Change, for the most part, is great. It helps you grow. Without change you wouldn't really be able to experience new things. New feelings. Think new thoughts. Learn more about people and more importantly about yourself.

Here's a quote I found on someone's facebook. I think it's from Gray's Anatomy. You know, it's weird, I'm in med school and never bothered watching that show. While my friends who are scared of everything medicine/science seem obsessed with it. Pfft I AM Gray's Anatomy.

"Change - we don't like it, we fear it. But we can't stop it from coming. We either adapt to change or we get left behind. It hurts to grow, anybody who tells you it doesn't is lying. But here's the truth, sometimes the more things change, the more things stay the same. Sometimes, change is good. Sometimes change is everything. "

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hidden Beauty

I've had a bad couple of days and I can't seem to get out of this funk. I feel like I'm always complaining on this blog. Oh well. I think I'll just write whatever comes to mind and hopefully that'll help.. :D

This world is balanced. Or it's supposed to be, anyways. So for every bad thing that happens, just as much good will come of it? Even if I can't see it? "God is Beautiful and loves beauty." This hadith {saying of the prophet Muhammad Peace & blessings be upon him} came to mind today. I'm not in a position to interpret anything since I don't have the knowledge nor the qualifications; but I think I'll put in my own two cents about this to make me feel better. So God is beautiful and loves beauty, huh? Does this mean that everything from God is beautiful?

A test from God could be beautiful because God tests the ones He loves. And He is elevating you in His eyes. A punishment could also be beautiful because it's expiating your sins. Or it's making you stronger. In the end it'll help you achieve the ultimate goal {which should be Paradise/Heaven}, therefore it is beautiful..? The gifts from God are beautiful, too. The gift of our senses and basically anything good that happens to us. The gift of choice, freedom and happiness for most of us. That's beautiful. There is so much beauty in the world. It definitely outweighs the bad. I think theres hidden beauty in the bad. but to see that beauty it all depends on how we handle it.

So these tests/yucky things that happen to us..are they there to balance the beauty? Because there has to be good and bad everywhere? hmm. And if the world was void of bad stuff, it would be heaven? Or it would be a really easy test and tests are supposed to be hard. This life is a test so there has to be bad and good to test us with. Liiike how we act when we are being tried: do we remain patient and seek God for help or do we handle it the bad way? If we are going through really good times do we remember to thank God or do we forget Him, only to rememeber Him when tragedy strikes yet again?

Tragedy strikes. Now I'm thinking of Titanic. They said even God couldn't sink that ship. And He did. Such a beautiful ship filled with beautiful things and maybe even beautiful people. but they challenged God and it ended in tradegy.

Now I'm thinking of the Prophet Muhammad {peace and blessings be upon him} He was the most amazing man I have ever read about. The trials he went through would make anyone weep. When he visited the city of Ta'if he was treated worse than an animal. That was bad. But how did he deal with it? Angel Gabriel came to him and told him that he will crush the city if the Prophet Muhammad wished. Did he? Nope. He just did a little prayer for that city and it's people in hopes that they'll one day become Muslim. And they did. {please correct me if I don't have my facts straight, but I think this did happen with Ta'if}

And I think about how much this beautiful man went through. And then My mind goes to this hadith where Aisha, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, would see her husband night after night standing in prayer with his legs swollen and maybe even bleeding. She asked him, "Hasn't Allah forgiven you all your past and future sins?" And he would reply, "Shall I not be a thankful slave?"

After all we go through, remember that there is always beauty there, always a reason to keep thanking God and going to Him. There's too much beauty around us for it to go unthanked for {or however one would say that}, no matter what situation we are in. God is Beautiful and loves beauty. We should handle everything beautifully. God would love it if we did.

This did help me. yay :)

Your thoughts?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Marijuana...Miracle Drug?

Researchers have found that the main active ingredient in marijuana - tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC- show promise as antibacterial agents particularly against microbial strains that are already drug resistant. Cannabis Sativa (marijuana) has been known to have antibacterial properties for decades. Current research suggests nonpsyhcotropic (no psychic powers! :D) cannabis would be in use in the near future.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I'm Back :D

After a long and eventful hiatus I have decided to grace you again with my savvy political commentary :). So lets start with the month that was..lets see there was the Beijing Olympics which was actually a success (surprise). Micheal Phelps broke numerous records for the Men's Swimming bringing home eight gold medals which is an all time high (no surprise here). Beijing now taunting London (site for 2012 Olympics), in essence saying, beat that! London not phased by the elaborate and lavish reception in Beijing, the Mayor of London promising to in fact beat Beijing.
Ooh and Russia invaded Georgia to flare up separitism in the South Ossetia provinvce. After a peacekeeping deal from the European Union (no help from the Americas), Russia decided to "withdraw" taking it's sweet, sweet time. Russian troops still continue to patrol the city of Poti.
August has also seen its fair share of history right here in the homeland, with the August Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention being the first in history to officially nominate an African American for president and a Republican woman for vice president, respectively. Lets not forget that the Democratic nomination of Geraldine Ferraro for vice president in the 80's was the first ever nomination of women for VP.

So lets talk politics. Who is this gun toting, hockey mom Gov. Sarah Palin? Would believe me if I said she was Mephistopheles in high heels? I didn't think so (wiki it). She has served two terms in city council, then two terms as mayor. In 2006 by being elected as Gov. of Alaska she became the first woman Gov. and the youngest person to hold that office. She used to go moose hunting with her father in high school and she was the captain of her basketball team. She finished second in the Miss Alaska Pageant and won the "Miss Congeniality" award. She admits to smoking marijuana but has reportedly said that she did not enjoy it..(riiiight). She also helped her husband in his fishing business. Now lets get to her policies: she's an oil and gas woman, pushing hard for drilling in Alaskan National Wildlife know the place set aside for endangered animals and wildlife...In 2007 she unsurprisingly allowed state biologists to hunt down and kill wolves by helicopters to increase Moose gaming population (what does she have against animals??) AND she doesn't want polar bears to be put on the endangered species list EVEN THOUGH it has long been studied that polar bear populations have declined by over 40% and will increase to do so with the melting of the Ice Shelf in the Arctics. And she's against protecting wales from oil drilling...hmm oil spills anyone? Now lets get into why she's under investigation by the Alaskan State. Palin dismissed the Public Safety Commissioner allegedly because of his refusal to fire her ex-brother in law during a bitter custody battle with her sister. Interestingly enough the investigator will make his public announcement on the matter on Oct 31, 4 days before the general election, smart really (sarcasm).
My whole issue with her is really not even about her, as McCain has said the job of Vice President is to ask after the health of the President and step in if something happens. She will really have no say in his administration- unless he dies but thats a completely different tangent. My problem is that Mccain on the eve of his decision was still strongly for Lieberman, only when he was sat down by his campaign staff and forcefully pushed into not picking Lieberman, did he choose Palin after a 15 minute conversation with her on the phone- he hadn't even met this woman. If they had vetted her I would bet my fall semester tuition ($4000) that Palin would never have been picked. This shows what a McCain presidency would look like: rash, risky decisions without the careful and necessary research. Sound familiar? I know everyone on the Democratic side is trying to make the point that he's voted with Bush 95% of the time, but I don't think people fully grasp what that means. Do you want an invasion of Iran? A nuclear war with Russia? A million North Korean soldiers declaring death to America? Lets not even get started on what could happen in Pakistan- lets not forget they've gone nuclear as well. These are trying and dangerous times, who do you want answering that red phone at 3 in the morning?

Oh and I guess I should mention that yesterday Coalition troops pursued Taliban fighters into Pakistan killing 7 (not confirmed how many deaths yet). The fighters escaped.

And on that note I shall sign off, forgive my long rant I just feel real passionate about this. SO with that, I hope you all take advantage of the blessings of this month and when you get hungry I hope you might reflect on those people who do not have the luxury of an iftar waiting for them.

May your lives be filled with the peace and blessings of Allah

On Hijab.

"So...if I see your hair does that mean I have to marry you?"
"Do you shower with that on?"
"Were you born with it?"
"Can you only wear black?"
"Aren't you hot in that thing?"
"Do you sleep in that?"
These are a few of the many many questions my friends and I have been asked in reference to my hijab/scarf, the piece of cloth I wear on my head.

And then I get the more serious comments like:
"F***ing Mozlems"
Luckily, I don't get too much of those, which is why I couldn't list more than two. I've heard that others have been called "towel head", too. People are so creative.
I was going to do an informative piece on hijab and everything but I decided not to. This blog is about sharing experiences so I thought I'd write about my thoughts on hijab instead. If you would like to know more about hijab or Islam in general in terms of facts and proof in the Qur'an and stuff, you can always leave a comment here or in any post or you can click on some of the links provided at the end of this post.

I love wearing a scarf. It gives me a sense of identity. I'm not known by my looks, but how I am as an individual {This is not a memorized line, by the way. I know I've heard this one before and you may have, too. But I really honestly feel that this is true}. Conversations with people are more on a personal level, in my opinion.
I started wearing hijab when I was 11 years and 8 months old. There's no reason why I specifically remember how long. I just do. I went to an Islamic school so maybe that had something to do with m decision to wear it early. My parents never forced me to wear it. Ever. My parents are practicing Muslims so I guess the Islamic environment from school and home made my decision easy. I learned at an early age that hijab gives you respect. When I was 9 years old there was this boy who really bothered me and would follow me all around school. I found out he liked me..and I told the teacher! haha {I was nine, okay?} Oh, and btw, I didn't like him back so the love story ends here. So anyways, one day I get this short haircut I don't really like. I think to myself: what better way to cover up my short hair than to wear a scarf? So the same day I started wearing the scarf to school was the same day StalkerBoy left me alone. Coincidence? I think not. Needless to say, I started wearing a scarf to school from that day on. One: StalkerBoy forgot about me in a second and two: I felt guilty using the hijab to cover up a bad haircut so I left it on at school.

Hijab is not just a piece of cloth on your head: it's a whole package. Hijab literally means "to cover/shelter/screen/protect". It refers to modesty. Modesty isn't just about covering your head; it's about how you dress, talk, walk, interact with people. Everything about you should reflect modesty. Oh, yeah, I also think that hijab is obligatory. Well, I don't think it, it is. There are enough sources in the Qur'an and Hadith {examples/sayings of the Prophet Muhammad Peace and blessings be upon him} that tell women to cover. But there is no compulsion in religion, so one should not be forced to wear it. It's a requirement, but in the end it's up to you to wear it or not.

Perks of wearing Hijab
- I get to represent my religion.
- Bad hair day or bad hair cut? No problem! Don't have time to brush your hair? Slip on a hijab and everyone will be none the wiser
- It can be a fun accessory. ;)
- Random and non-random boys don't check me out. Except maybe in India, but they check out anything that breathes over here. yuck!

"Cons" of wearing hijab
- You stand out. But this can be a good thing, a better opportunity to give people info about Islam when they ask you why you cover.
- It gets hot sometimes. I'm fine in the heat, but some find it hard to cope with. Most people get adjusted. Luckily there's AC everywhere these days. I find that I'm equally hot with or without the hijab in summer. Not that I've gone out without my hijab since I was twelve. But at home and stuff. I see no difference.
- I really don't have any cons about wearing a scarf.

I'm very proud to represent my religion. Being covered up isn't being backwards. It's about respecting yourself. I wear hijab and the only people worth seeing my hair are select people in my life. Hair is a sign of beauty for women, and that beauty shouldn't be displayed for everyone to see. And let's face it, women are way better looking than men any day. We're so much more prettier. :D So I wouldn't want some random guy checking me out. He has no right to look at me in a disrespectful way and I shouldn't give him a reason to.

Sure I like to do my hair and dress up. I love getting compliments. {You know you do, too!} But I don't think that the compliments I get when/if I went out without my scarf are worth it if it means a bunch of random people can see them, too. I'm special, you see. And so are you. We all are. And the only people who should be able to see your beauty are special people. :D

I realize that I've focused on hijab* as a means for protecting myself from others' eyes. But that is the main point of hijab for me. I feel like guys stare too much and I feel that it is really disrespectful to be eyed at like a piece of meat. Wearing the veil demands respect from others and demands that I act in a way that gives me the respect that I deserve. Women all over the world have always been and always will be viewed as sex objects. By covering myself I protect myself from being looked at in that way. I would much rather be perceived as "poor oppressed mozlem" woman {of which I am NOT. Islam has liberated women and given them so many more rights thank you very much, God, btw...future blog post!} than a sex object.

Hijab links in case you're interested:
Wikipedia - general info
Sunnipath - Why hijab?
* by hijab here I mean modesty in appearance, actions, words, etc.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Delicate dreams...

Delicate dreams, originally uploaded by Rabujee.

I want to sleep like a baby tonight... why? Because tomorrow's a big day and no more sleeping in for me!
I'm actually excited though, finally a job where I don't have to wear dirty jeans and work boots and play around in coal dust. Yup, the previous job was at a power plant and all I breathed for 8 months was disgusting coal dust; I'm sure my lungs suffered a lot of trauma due to that, in fact, I have a feeling that job was pretty hazardous for me in the end.
The month after my term was over I found out the office building where we sat had black mold lol. I'm no doc, but I'm sure Falling Up can tell us the consequences of sitting in that 40 hours a week aren't too great.
Don't know what this new job holds for me, but I'll find out tomorrow and until then I'm excited and semi-nervous.
Anywho, speaking of babies...I actually came here to share something funny I heard while shopping the other day. I was at the Target near my house, in the shoe aisle, where I overheard a little girl probably about 5 or 6 complaining to her mom. These were her exact words "MOMMMMM, I JUST want my school supplies.... I don't care about shoesssss." I had to chuckle 'cause I compared myself to her and realized I could learn a thing or two from her about priorities hehe.
You gotta love that about little kids, my niece whose first day of first grade is tomorrow is absolutely in love with school and her teachers (thank God). Also, she recently has taken a liking to imitating TV commercials and combining these two loves of hers results in another funny tale to tell.
The other day she told me how she "can't wait" to go to first grade but hopes she doesn't get Mrs. Blank " 'cause shes too old!" She continued "And Ani (short for Aunty), I don't want to just go back to school... I want to ARRIVEEE" and with that she throws her hands into the air and strikes a pose.
JcPenny, you have a new spokesperson and she's darn good at it!