• My Abode of Peace

    Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but never our hearts. (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr)

  • Solace

    When nothing can comfort you, His words can. His words always will.

  • Some days, the view looks scary. Trust Him. He is the Best of Planners.

  • Showers of blessing.

    Clouds come floating in to my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky. (Tagore)

  • Hop and Jump

    For in every adult there dwells the child that was, and in every child there lies the adult that will be.(John Connolly)

Young Times

Oct 30, 2013

I was rummaging through old stuff when I came across this. For children who grew up in the Middle East in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, this magazine would easily fall in to the ' fond childhood memories' category.

My first contact with Young times came in 1993, when we shifted to Doha. Sister had to do a project and Uncle came up with some old Young Times issues and she happily used some of the clippings in making a scrap book. Thereafter,  father subscribed for the magazine so that our reading skills and vocabulary would improve.

In 1994, I joined school and slowly started with my YT journey. Initially,  I used to be content reading the comics and the Otto club section. I have consistently read every issue until July 2006. We used to specifically tell our newspaper provider "Uncle" to save us our copies when we would go to India for our vacations. There used to be a ceremonial Tuesday war in my home on who gets to read the magazine first !

My reading craze began with Young Times. My late night reading habit got strengthened with Young Times. There used to be 2 YT copies under my pillow every single day ! ( Now it is smart phone aka tweeting device) How much ever we promised our mom that we would keep the YT stack neat and tidy, it could never be done. We had to read, re-read and re-re read YT old issues over and over again. Seeing our YT strewn room, mother would always comment, " Evide nokkiyalum Young Times" ( Wherever I look , I find Young Times! )

Slowly from comics and short story, I passed on to reading the weekly cover story, Postscript, Backstage, Aunt Alice & Ask Marisa, the coloumn by Munawwar Shariff ( did I get the name right?) and so on and so forth. I still remember the hue and cry which went on for months on wanting a complete Back Street Boys issue, first raised by Sara M. (?) and also the stories published such as Saman Zaar, Anmol, When in love by Shahbaaz Anwerr, A will to go on or the issues raised in the Cover Story section such as Save Water, handling Exam stress, Trolley bags in school. Who can forget the weekly posters or YT famed Shane & Talia or Otto & Totto !

In 2006, I left Doha to continue with my education. My younger brothers used to save up the issues for me to read when I got back for holidays but with passing time and age, I had slowly started losing my YT craze. A couple of years later, when I came back for holidays, brother said me, YT stopped publishing... and I knew a wonderful part of my childhood was over.

A couple of years ago, I came across the twitter page of Ashraf Ghori. I was quite thrilled to get in touch with a YT illustrator ! YT does have a twitter/FB page currently, though not updated often.

If Young Times was published still, what issues would it cover ? Would there be a hue and cry for One Direction/Justin Bieber posters? What questions would the current adolescents and teens have for Aunt Alice and Marisa?

Nomadic or mobile existence is a very common aspect in the life of expatriates based in the Middle East. I donot stay in the same house I grew up in.( Threw away almost all our YT copies when we shifted our house!) I did not do my higher education in the country I grew up in and with all probability,  I might not settle down there too.

Tangible evidences of my childhood is being slowly replaced. But then, I have a truckload of wonderful memories of a childhood well-lived ! ( Alhamdulilah)

.... and Young Times surely holds a prominent position in  that truckload !

( A quick Google search led me to this piece by a former editor of YT and this by a Young Timer)


Oct 28, 2013

( I usually avoid any of my notes on my blog because I am a stumbling student and I am afraid if ill write anything wrong due to my ignorance. Looking through my notes from last Ramadan, (1433) Surah Maryam....I came across this piece I had written back then.  Brought a smile. May it be of some benefit to those who read )

Like every word  from the Holy Qur'an, Surah Maryam is a perfect reminder for every human being. It is a more personalised reminder for every single muslim girl.

In the saddening situation of a pregnant lady in pain, faraway from her family and community,  Allah provided Maryam AS with water and food. He provided for her a small river so as to drink and quench her thirst and also commanded her to shake the trunk of the palm tree, so that fresh dates will fall upon her.

In situations of adversity and difficulties,  we have to do our part, exhaust all the opportunities and take the means. Then Allah will provide for us our small rivulet and palm tree.

When the people were accusing her of being unchaste, Allah willed for Isa Aleyhi Salam to speak from the cradle so that tongues stop wagging and the name of his beloved mother is cleared up.

In the same way, Allah will provide you, your rizq (provision). In the deepest of thoughts and darkest of phases, remember that, He will provide. He is ar Razzaq.

(A good source to study Surah Maryam in easy to understand English is the tafseer session by Sheikh Abdul Nasir Jangda, uploaded on muslimmatters.org )

20- s

(Read this profound statement today about 20-something young adults. Related to it)

THE 20S ARE LIKE the stem cell of human development, the pluripotent moment when any of several outcomes is possible. Decisions and actions during this time have lasting ramifications.

The 20s are when most people accumulate almost all of their formal education; when most people meet their future spouses and the friends they will keep; when most people start on the careers that they will stay with for many years.

This is when adventures, experiments, travels, relationships are embarked on with an abandon that probably will not happen again.

( Read the whole article here :  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22Adulthood-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& )


Oct 20, 2013

If I have wished some one on their b'day once, I can usually remember the date every year. I remember most of my close friend's date of completion of internship. So goes with the date I reached Bangalore, joined college, left Bangalore , so on and so forth. My friends said me I am weird, and I believed them.  

I was reading daofto.com the othe day and the blogger talks of her eidectic memory. That set me thinking about my own memory. I don't have eidectic memory, but I do have a weird sort of memory. Until now, I have never thought of it as a gift or blessing. It was always a weird aspect of my life to me. Imagine remembering every minute detail of a friend/acquaintance when they don't even remember your name! I can recognize the people from my school though I might have never talked to them back in school or I can read a name and just simply remember reading her name in Clarion or so! Or imagine recalling chat conversations !  

I asked my siblings and mother too whether do they recall incidents from childhood, remember dates etc and they too said yes ! Wondering why it never occured to me until now, it was a positive thing. Not something to be ashamed of...sigh!  

During my final year of college,  I felt I was forgetting things that I learnt, whereas earlier I could recall facts well. Apparently, stress and depression decreases your ability to recall facts and statements. How I wish, I knew all this back then and would write  my exams in peace, with out taking stress !  

The  subtle facts we learn about ourselves as we grow up...


Oct 11, 2013

I have rules, mostly made by myself, for myself. I have to always follow them. It has always been like that. Things have to be prim and proper.

As a child, my hair had to be always tied neatly or else I would create tantrums. Often, I fought with my mom regarding it. Once while in Calicut, at my grandparent's place, I was getting ready and mom was plaiting my hair. I didn't like the way she was tying my hair and started arguing with her. Exasperated with my tantrums, mom said, "Go to your grandma. She knows to tie well. After all, she has many daughters na."

I ran to my grandma and said her, 'You have 5 daughters, right. So you would know how to braid hair properly na. Please, tie my hair too."

She replied, "Not 5, I had 6 daughters!"

Little did I know then, even 40 years later, she was a grieving mother !

(May Allah bless my chaachi-grandma and the aunt- whom I have never met in this life - with the highest place in Jannah and may He reunite us again in His eternal blissful gardens)

Rant !

Oct 9, 2013

Constantly asking a single girl, 'When are you getting married?' or a newly married bride 'When are you going to have your baby?' is neither kind nor a good etiquette. Wifehood and motherhood are extremely personal decisions. Along with it, they are the kind of the decisions for which we cannot put a time slot to it by ourselves. They happen at a time when it is ordained by Allah and is a rizq from Him.  

Though our cultural practices donot dictate the concept of respecting personal boundaries, that is not what our religion teaches us. The best Muslim is he who leaves what doesnot concern him - so taught us our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ  

If some one's decision regarding marriage etc donot concern you directly, quit asking her the same question over and over again. Your constant questioning is not going to hasten or delay the decisions. It is only going to put the said person in a kind of emotional stress, though most often , she might not voice ‎it !  

Belittling a girl because she is not a wife or a mother is not from our religious etiquettes. If so, Maryam Aleyha Salam or Ayesha Radia Allahu anhu would not have been our role models.  

Wifehood and motherhood are no doubt,  one of the rewarding and gratifying roles to fulfill in this life, yet it is NOT the primary role of a girl. Her first concern in life should always be  about servitude to Allah.

End of lives at the end of a rope !

Oct 6, 2013

Back in June, I was just skimming through my FB newsfeed and I saw a 'Rest in Peace' post on one of my senior's FB wall, by her class mate. I immediately messaged a fellow cassmate and asked her what happened to S (as we shall refer her here). I never expected to hear what I heard. 'She suicided due to some marital troubles'. I donot know if it was suicide itself or murder by her in laws, as was claimed by her family.

To know that one of my own seniors was no more, was a difficult fact for me to digest and believe. She was one of the first few seniors I came to befriend in college, since we stayed in the same hostel.

A few weeks ago, I came to hear of the sudden suicide of a lawyer-beautician-business woman. I cannot express in words, my shock on hearing the news. I had just met and interacted with the lady a month prior to the incident. She was well educated, financially well off and a reputed lady in her community. Seeing her lifestyle and smiling nature, no one could have ever even thought that she would ever take such a fatal step.

.......and we all would have read of the suicide story of Jiah Khan, a young famous Bollywood actress of Ghajini fame.

That brings me to this post. Suicide. What pushes a person to take that final step? What are her thoughts right before? Why cannot we or the close ones, most often, not ascertain or even just have a clue of the difficulties the said person is going through?

I used to think the rich and the famous would be happy. But reading of many celebrity-suicides, we can, with finality, say fame and money alone cannot bring true happiness.

Happy FB pictures with kid, spouse, friends donot always mean the person is truly happy- so teaches me one of the above incidents.

Education. Spouse. Kids. Family. Beauty. Why should a person who has everything we consider as essential requirements of a well-settled life, ever have to take such a fatal step, we wonder...

Then I recall a casual tweet, I had read on my twitter timeline, ' Had it not been for my faith, I would have been mud by now'. That, precisely that, is what can help a person from taking away her own precious life. Undying faith in a higher power. A merciful and beneficient God, who knows your every tear, every trouble, every feeling of distress ! Who teaches you by way of adversities and obstacles , your own strength and your resilience. I recall one of the oft repeating Ayah (verse) from the Holy Qur'an - No soul shall be tested beyond its scope. Meaning your troubles are tailor-made for you. He alone knows your capabilities and strength to face your sadness and despair.

Faith in God. Faith in the Hereafter, a place where justice will be served. Faith in destiny -good or evil. A triad that will help us in overcoming difficulties.
To any person going through such thoughts, I have only one sentence to say : You cannot be replaced !  Your role in this world can be filled only by you.

I leave with one of my favourite verses from the Holy Qur'an.  "For indeed with hardship will be ease. Indeed with hardship will be ease " (Verse 5 & 6 of the 94th chapter - Surah Sharh) The verse doesn't say after hardship, there will be ease. It says, with hardship,  there is ease. As we are going through our difficulties,  there is another way opening up for us! Most often, it is just not evident to us !