• 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)

Coming home.

Dec 17, 2013

I call myself a nomad. Since 2006, it has been rightly so. I have been constantly travelling between Doha, Kerala and Bangalore. I loved packing and leaving, either to Doha because I was tired of college or back to Bangalore,  because I was tired of  the desert.

My black Amberst trolley bag has been my constant companion in all these travels. It has been a pleasure to meet some interesting co-passengers. Roaming in Dubai airport alone is always a different experience. And so is exploring the book shops of the various airports. All the latest titles that you cannot seem to get hold of otherwise, you will surely find them in the airport bookshops. Observing people from different countries, from different walks of life and how they react to stress of a journey or flight delay or how they deal with their screaming kids has been my past time. Some airports like Dubai, Doha, Bangalore and Bahrain are impressive. Some like Sharjah, Calicut, Trivandrum, Muscat are mediocre.  

As much as I have enjoyed the nomadic adventures of the past 7 years, I wish for a change now. I wish to be in one place, call it my home, have my clothes, books and collections in one place instead of it being strewn over two countries. When I am in Doha, I get bored and want to get out. When I am in my hometown, I donot find any connection with it. Definition of home changes as we grow up. What was home will not be home. I wish to have a place in which I feel home. They say, home is people. Home is also constant. Home is comfort and security. Home is joy.  

Wandering new place and constantly travelling gives you a glimpse of different people and perspective, but tonight, I want conformity. I want to have that favourite pillow or the corner of my cupboard for my favourite collection of newspaper scraps, quotes, letters etc. I want to have a favourite hang-out, a shop I frequent, a menu of a restaurant memorized. I want to know the place, the people, the community. I want to be home.  

That is my wish, prayer, hope and dream for 2014. To have a place and a person whom I call home.  

Ya Allah. Give me strength to endure.  

(... and maybe, when I get that, I might write a blog post of how I want to shed off the cobwebs of daily life. Grass is greener on the other side, they say. C'est la vie! )

Festival of Words.

Dec 15, 2013

For the past 7 days, after waking up, my first thought was 'Oh...what will I write today'. It reminded me of writing English essays in school, at the last-minute. I read countless blogs, beautiful ideas and interacted with many bloggers. (the most I have interacted with, in all my X years of being in the online world -an introvert, offline & online ! :D )  

Taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words was a different experience for me. I don't call myself a writer or blogger. I mostly write when I am feeling low. I write to clarify my thoughts and it helps me to look at my situations from a different angle. Writing has been my refuge and the written word has helped me in masking my pain. I write because I convey my thoughts and feelings better through it, than a conversation.

This would be a summary of my experience and observations...

●With one word given as a prompt, there were nearly 50+ entries for each. Just one word can lead to such a creative splurge of different thoughts, varied emotions, stories and incidents. Colourful kaleidoscope of thoughts from just one word!

● Each and every blogger tried their level best to interact with others and read through their entry. When veteran bloggers (say, what, 2 million hits?) read and comment on your blog, it is a beyond happy feeling. Everyone took to Corinne's advice of 'pay it forward.'  

● Reading through many blogs, I got to know, some have demanding jobs or are mothers to small children, yet almost everyone did a wonderful job of updating 7 posts, inspite of their hectic schedule. When a definite goal is set, we can always find a way out to achieve it.

● For me personally, I am no seasoned blogger, neither do I update 7 posts per month. Last week was the hardest, with being quite busy at home, ill health plus a terribly slow internet (read 40kbps :D), still managed to update, read other blogs and comment. *happy dance* (I know, I haven't read all of your blogs, but in due time, InshaAllah, I shall do it. Apologies !)  

●Positive comments, constructive criticism helps in improving ourselves.

 ●Writers can come in any shades - mothers, housewife, corporate employee, doctors, students. As long as you have the flair and interest to write, you have every technology right in front of you to write and publish it to a wider audience.

●.. and, yeah almost all of us are crazy about books and most have started their reading journey with Enid Blyton.

● 7 days got over way too fast !

Looking forward in taking part in other Write Tribe festivals and prompts. (and frequent blogging and writing, maybe!)

Delhi dreams.

Dec 14, 2013

Her father's dream was for her to get an education,
he sold his land in Ballia to pay her fees.  

Her dream was to secure her family's financial future,
she worked hard and became a physiotherapist.  

Fate had other plans. Wrong time, at the wrong place.

As the city slept on a cold December night,
she was being tortured, humiliated and violated.  

They could injure and scar her body,  
but not her hopes and dreams.  

Fiercely she  fought her battle,
"Mother, I want to live", said she.  

Unbearable pain, she endured,
Unwavering strength, she showed.  

Eventually, she bowed down to destiny,
13 days later, she left for her eternal abode.  

A dream of a young girl aborted, quite painfully.
A dream of a father snatched away from him, so quickly.  

Protests, vigils and candles, alighted the country.  
Rage, disbelief and shock, soon turned to grief, tears and sorrow.  

As dreams turned into a nightmare, A nation awakened, though late.      

This is written in memory of the Delhi brave heart who was brutually gang raped on December 16, 2012. She succumbed to the injuries and left for her eternal abode on December 29, 2012. It was an incident that shook the nation and protesters lined the streets in every nook and corner of the country. According to statistics,  every 20 minutes, a woman is abused in India. After the incident, awareness has increased and crimes are being reported and registered daily, yet we have a mammoth task left to do.  

I and my sister studied in Bangalore and Trivandrum while our parents and extended family were in another country. We have taken early morning flights, long train rides and night bus journeys alone. To think, things could have gone wrong is a scary thought. Now, if my younger cousin sister wants to come back to India for her graduate studies, my family might think about it twice !

I hope and pray for a safe and secure India.

(I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013. This is the seventh and final post in the 7 day series. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the festival)        

To Teacher, With love.

Dec 13, 2013

Being a shy, dreamy kid in an over achieving family will make you often feel like a fish out of the pond. All through my Junior and Middle school, I considered myself as an average child with no special talents, neither in academics nor in co-curricular activities.

  ....and, then I met a teacher in 8th standard. Bubbly and energetic is what any one would describe her at first. She taught us math - most high schooler's dreaded subject. Her unique way of teaching us the subject made almost all of us to fall in love with numbers and equations. For three consecutive years, she taught us just more than math.  

One of her foremost principles was 'always respect people'. Respect the lab attendants, the cleaners and other non-teaching staff in the same way you respect your teacher or Principal. Respect should not be based on profession, financial status, age or gender. Respect all people - she taught us.  

Believe in yourself was the lesson she instilled in me, personally. I believed I was incapable of scoring good marks in math or doing well in physics. She saw the potential in me way before I did. She appreciated me for who I am. As kids, one of the greatest gifts a parent or teacher can give is positive validation. As long as you ready to put  in your effort and hard work, success can be yours, she said.  

Over three years, she inspired me in a way no one else had. What helped was she didn't know anyone in my family other than me. So I was not under the undue pressure to keep up. Her impressions or expectations from me was not due to others associated with me, but due to my own abilities and talents.  I started loving math and doing well in studies(lottery of genes worked there :D)  Eventually I went on to secure top scores in math in 9, 10 n 12 th grade. As a 7th grader, that would have been the last I expected from myself !  

When given with a challenge, one of my first reaction, as a kid was , 'It is not possible for me to do it'. Her kind and encouraging words helped me in improving my self esteem and confidence. As I grew up and left home for college, it helped me in facing many adversities I had to battle with. So much so, challenges thrill me now. It is one of the easiest way to make us step out of our comfort zones.  

Eventually she left our school and I lost touch with her. Everytime, the thought of 'I cannot do it' cross my mind, I look back onto the memories of her kind, smiling face telling me to never stop believing in myself.    

Good teachers leave an indelible mark in the life of their students and the effect of the lessons they have taught linger long after the students have left the gates of their school.

(I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013. This is the sixth post in the 7 day series. Wohoo, I made it this far in my first ever attempt of any blogger events )

Train flavours.

Dec 12, 2013

To learn about India, take a train ride through the country, they say. My version of that saying would be, to observe different people's different reactions to same situation and learn of the various shades of human behaviour, travel a long distance in a crowded train.

From the Chai wallah (tea seller) to the co-passenger, there is  never a dearth of "colourful" people. The fellow passengers in the same berth start off as strangers suspicious of one another, yet eventually warming up to each other and sharing personal stories with one another. It is often easier to bare open our souls to utter strangers !  

Trains are often late. Some people wait patiently. Others read. Some observe other people. Yet, others voice loudly every expletives ever heard.

The way a person treats a porter (luggage carrier/coolies) conveys more about their character than the words they speak.

As the train crosses the country side and villages, many a times, there is lack of network coverage. Have you ever noticed the different expressions on people's face? Some get too high strung, some raise their phones to a height, whereas some dont even realize that there is no coverage !  

To a generation that craves instant gratification and instant results, how many of us can actually go on slow, passenger trains now?! I, for one, find it really difficult.

(I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013. This is the fifth post in the 7 day series)

Rhythm of cultures.

Dec 11, 2013

Every community has it's own unique art forms. In India, festivals, birthdays and weddings are never devoid of music.  

I will give you a glimpse of the way music is celebrated amongst the people in my community - Mappilas from the Malabar region of Kerala (southern Indian state)  

The most common and enjoyed music in any Mappila household is the 'Mappila Pattu'. These songs have a unique rhythm, symphony and style. Heavily influenced by the Arab culture, due to trade relations between the Arabs and the merchants of Calicuts during the pre-British and British era, these songs are usually sung in Malayalam (native language) or in Arabi-Malayalam ( Mixture of both the languages with the script written in Arabic). They deal with themes such as religion, love, satire, social issues, folklore, heroism, even anti-colonial struggles and the trend of migrations to the "Gulf" and are often sung at weddings, family get togethers and meetings. Over the years, the Mappila pattu has undergone its own metamorphosis with it being influenced by popular cultures and recent trends, now.  

Oppana -  Where mappila pattu is talked about, oppana has to be mentioned. A dance form performed by the ladies (or bridesmaids) around the bride who is seated on a bridal chair in the centre. The mappila pattu is sung live or played as the group claps, performs simple steps according to the music  and  move around the bride. In short,  the oppana adds to the celebration of the wedding and wishes the couple a lifetime filled with happiness and joy.

Katha prasangam - A mappila version  of the musical where a story  is told with the help of both prose and poetry. It usually talks of inspirational stories, fables of the glorious past and stories of religious significance.  

Daffu muttu - An art form performed to commemorate festivals and for social entertainment with the help of a musical instrument called "Daffu" made of wood. ( Imagine a miniature version of the drum which is open on one side). Around 8-10 boys stand either in U shape or form a complete ciricle with a leader singing songs, the chorus following him and the group drumming on the daffu and playing steps, all in symphony with the song. Similar to the mappila pattu, the daffu muttu talks of Lord's praise, a tribute to heroes or sometimes, addresses issues relevant to the community at present.  

Kolkalli - Similar to the daffu muttu, instead of the daffu, there are two sticks with the dancers, which they strike in unison according to the rhythm of the song. The circle of dancers expands and contracts as the song progresses.  

Music transcends boundaries. Any language or any story, as long as there is a melodious and soulful song to it, our ears are attuned to appreciate them.

( I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013. This is the fourth post in the 7 day series. The prompt was 'Music' and I was wondering what would I write, since I have stopped listening to most forms of music around 3+ years now and hence really not aware of the current music scene  besides related tweets that come on my Twitter timeline! :D)


Dec 9, 2013

Grandmother fills her grand daughters back pack with goodies... food is a sign of affection.  

Mother makes her daughter's favourite "cutlets" when she is back from hostel.... food tells 'I missed you'.  

Eid, the entire clan and Biriyani ... food leads to strengthening family ties.  

Christmas cake and Diwali sweets from the neighbours ... food is a sign of mutual respect.  

A saturday movie night with friends, in the hostel room...food is a sign of bonding .  

On that shy first date... food is a conversation enhancer.  

His lover is ill with fever, he makes bread toast and coffee...food is a means to show he cares, sans words.  

The new bride takes extreme care in preparing food for her husband...food is a sign of love.  

After a terrible day at work, a homely dinner.....food brings comfort.  

High school reunion....food helps in recollecting old memories.  

Across borders, cultures and religion, any event, function, get together or reunion are always punctuated with delicious food. Inspite of our differences,  we have more in common !

Truly, food helps in cementing relationships.      

(I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013. This is the second post in the 7 day series )

Memory in white.

Dec 8, 2013

(I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013. This post is part of the 7 posts series )

 There is a congregation of people. Everyone is talking in soft voices. Sombre mood alighted the house. White clothes around. A group of people were carrying a white casket away. One of the ladies in the family is pushing her face onto the window grill in the sitting room . I can see her tears. I donot know what is happening.  

Later on, after recalling this to my mother, she pointed out, that would have been the funeral of my father's second uncle.  

I was 3 years old. This is my first memory.  

Which is your earliest childhood memory? From what age do we start recollecting  incidents ?

The Book.

Dec 5, 2013

The golden lettering of the beautiful Arabic calligraphy on the cover is fading. The green hard bound cover is fraying at the edges. The bookmark thread has torn off from the end where it is attached to the inside of the hard cover.

There is a spot here or there. Remnant of drops of water, now dried. Her tears maybe. There is a mark in the last part of 29th Chapter, a stray mark. She might have made it unknowingly, while studying as a child. Otherwise, the Book is free of any written marks. The pages are sharp and crisp. Still.

Her mother gifted it to her when she was in 7th grade, after she came back from Hajj. Until then she had used the smaller, by parts, version of the book. She was happy beyond words. She was growing up, she knew.

Little did she know then, the Book would travel with her from her childhood home, to the strict hostel run by nuns, to her ancestral home in Kerala, to her first hostel in Bangalore, to the bigger, better second hostel and then finally to the single room she spent the last 8 months of her college life. From there, the book travelled with her to her new family home in Doha, while she went for Umrah and then to her house in Kerala. Wherever she went, the Book travelled with her.

She read it while she was lonely when all her friends were out partying, stressed out before her exams, scared while she was travelling alone, broken up when her dreams didnt come true, betrayed by her friend.

She regrets it to this day for not reading it, while her grandfather was breathing his last, like her dad asked to. She was scared if she would make any mistakes, in that sacred moment. She regrets to not giving the Book time, when she was happy, free and relaxed. Had she spent time with the Book, during her times of ease, would harship have arrived? During periods of contenment, why do we forget the pillars of support of our hard times?

She regrets not learning of the secrets of the Book. She prays everyday, for the knowledge of the Book to be opened to her.

In His most beloved house, she prayed for her soul to be taken back to Him, only after she had learnt and comprehended the wisdom of the Book. A secret, sincere plea.

The Book is healing, mercy and guidance.

Her Mushaf.

Al Quran al Kareem. His divine word.

The content.

Dec 1, 2013
Being a very private person, I have kept this blog away from most people I know. Also, I have never joined in any blogger forums, groups, etc until now. This blog was mostly a 'Dear Diary' started in my 2nd year of college,  where I could vent my frustrations. My initial thought was, who would be interested in another person's rant ?!

After hearing some reviews from some tweeps and two of my closest friends and their advices telling me to keep this blog public, I am doing so now. I have joined a couple of blogger directorys too.

As the readership of this blog grows, I am on a fix, as to what topics should I blog about. After all, if other people are reading, there should be some beneficial content !

... and so, I have decided on these few topics. (I dont know if I will purely stick to these. Anyways,  I shall try)
      ● Excerpts from any interesting book I read. Book reviews.
      ● Notes from my Tafseer sessions.
      ● Literary work.
      ● Relevant topics to my community -Malayalee Muslimah.
      ● Personal opinion, funny incidents, and life everyday.

Do let me know, if you have any more suggestions.
Thank you.
(Edit : Fighting my blog-introversion and hence added Google Friend Connect and Subscribe by email )