RAMZAN 2017

ramadhan

And one by one they disappeared…..

The serene and sweet month of Ramzan came and went. Like always the start was rocky and needed some adjustments but once the body learnt the rhythmic melody it became second nature.

 I always feel sad when Ramzan ends because for a lot of reasons that month is sacred and special. Prayers, actions, devotions, control, charity, food, sleep anything you name, tastes better. It’s as if you are feeling that feeling for the first time.

When you look forward to folding your arms to pray…..

When thinking of less blessed people makes you more and more grateful and humble……..

When food eaten at Sehri and Iftar has a unique flavor……..

When you try to find reasons to be good……

When you do zikr into the wee hours of the night and that even with full concentration trying to shun the sleep away……..

Such is the blessed month of Ramzan.

Every year I hope to carry on the torch of Shukar, Yaqeen and Sabr with the same enthusiasm but once Ramzan ends, the light starts to flicker making me realize that the efforts needs to increase.

If you make a lot of promises to yourself or desire to do a lot of good things even after Ramzan ends and are not able to live up to to your own expectations, don’t get disheartened. It’s okay to fall off the train, the more important thing is to get up and board it from another station because there is a train waiting for you at every corner. All you have to do is to take the first foot forward. Start small and build on it.

Let us keep on encouraging each other to be good and do good because this something the world needs today. Do a random act of goodness every day be it as small as brining a smile to someone’s face.

May Allah accept our prayers and fasts and bless us and write out names in the lucky people who will be blessed with Ramzan next year.

Ameen!

Thanks to my friends, here is sneak peak into some of the yummy food I enjoyed this Ramzan.  You will be in a food coma just by looking at it 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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15 LESSONS LEARNED IN LIFE

lessons learned in life

My life has soo many rich, vibrant, eye-popping, nose opening, jaw dropping lessons that it was honestly hard to choose which one should make the list. But since I am suffering from short-term memory loss these were all I could remember. Maybe more later.

Without further ado and in no particular order here are the valuable lessons learnt:

1.  Elves are not real. I leave my house upside down every other night but they never show up. Maybe the shoemaker is seriously keeping them busy.

 

 

2. Low quality canned Beets taste like old sweater tucked at the bottom of a tote/trunk laden with Moth Balls.

 

3. On a 16 hour-long flight if your seat is next to a bathroom you will have an aromatic journey.

 

4. On the same note, wearing headphones do not conceal your farts. Unfortunately people travel with their nose and ears.

 

 

5. Life was giving me lemons until my neighbor chopped off their lemon tree. Now I have to buy them like everyone else.

 

6. First it was the parents now its my kids. Why can’t I ever find the remote when I seriously need it and how come they know the exact scene to make an entry?

 

 

7.  Why does my GPS think that by now I can tell the difference  in 1 mile and 200 ft. I am still learning distance so it needs to take it slow.

 

 

 

 8. Everything brown is not chocolate. Especially if you have kids.

 

9. Miracles happen. You can happily recover the cake, you trashed a while ago from the bottom of the bin and just by removing a thin-film of coating eat it too.

 

 

10. Clothes do not walk out of the dryer into the closets on their own. They need assistance.

11. You are never first. So don’t rejoice. There is always someone who has already done what you thought you would be the first one to achieve in the entire human race.

 

 

12. Disney should have a ” Patience Award” for watching the same movie over and over again without complaining.

 

13. A bad joke is still a joke.

 

 

14. Buying cleaning products does not guarantee a clean house.

 

15. You can join the green bandwagon by turning your chicken curry into Biryani or using cookie tin to store sewing stuff.

 

That’s it folks….

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RANDOM LIFESTYLE FAVORITES

Is 2017 running a marathon?

Last I checked it was still January and we were unpacking from our trip back home. And in the blink of the eye its April?? And not the start but the tail end?

I seriously think 2017 has a hidden agenda 😉

Anyways, back to the topic. Don’t you think the word “FAVORITES” is hypnotizing? Any where you read this word, you automatically have the urge to dig deep and find out the lucky winners who made this list.

I am just like you. I luuuuuuuve (yes its serious) to google/watch/read favorite stuff. Sometimes the stuff is soo real that the very next day I run to the Target nearby to get it but other times I am left confused as to why….

I also love-making small lifestyle changes which make our family happy and healthy.

For me favorites can be a product, lifestyle change, a podcast, a book or as simple as……

a  moment.

Here are some of my random favorites lifestyle/products:

Lifestyle Favorites

Chai….

Every night after dinnertime, once the kids are in the bed, me and my husband enjoy a cup of soothing herbal tea, sometimes with a sweet bite, other times on its own.  It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long busy day. This is the time where we discuss our day and everything around it. Sometimes the chai is accompanied with a show on TV.

My current favorite is Pukka Herbs Tea Herbal Three Fennel while he enjoys Tapal Green Tea 30 Tea Bags (Mint).

 

google keep

Organization….

If you are like me and love-making lists then this is App is just for you. Now you don’t have to make multiple lists every time you switch device. You can make lists, write notes or snap photos to Google Keep. If you are pressed for time, then record a voice note and it will be automatically transcribed.

Accessible from computer, tablet and phone. Everything you add, gets synced to all the devices which makes it so convenient. You can also color code the lists/notes which makes it super easy the find them in a jiffy.

The reason why I love it the most is because of its organization and accessibility across the devices.

Check out more at: Google Keep

Tashakkur  (Gratitude)……

Do you want to be happy, contented, healthy, optimistic???

Practice Tashakkur.

This is one habit which has brought immense positivity in my life. When you take out time to say “Thank You” for all the blessings in your life, no matter how insignificant, your outlook will change.

Tashakkur has a chain reaction. When you start being grateful for little things in life, the blessings keep on multiplying. You realize that you might not be the richest person in this world when it comes to money, but you are richest when it comes to contentment. A feeling money cannot buy.

At this very moment, take a look around you. I can safely say that you can find at least 5 if things, if not more, to be grateful for. The first being the ability to read.

There are many ways to show gratitude. By praying, meditating, penning your blessings in a journal etc. But the simplest way is that whenever you feel blessed or even if the thought of the feeling arises, say ThankYou God or ShukarAllah.

 

And now on to some of the products I am currently enjoying…

Scrub & Protect

Thanks to the unpredictable Californian weather my skin has been acting very strange. There are days when it gets super oily while on the other days its soo dry that I am one flaky mess. Also as the sun is super Sunny here, my body is now an array of colors.

I tried a couple of products but nothing seemed to fit the bill.

I am a DIY type of girl and sugar with some olive oil and lemon is the best scrub on this whoooole wiiideee world but sometimes a girl has no time to whip up some magical concoction and most of the times when the thought of DIY arises I am already in the shower 🙂

First time I saw Soap and Glory was back in 2015 while walking the heavenly aisles of Sephora (Don’t you love it?).

I loved the packaging but didn’t get it then and later when I went to get it, found out that they don’t carry this brand anymore. Oh well….

Time flew.

Last month while shopping at Target, I saw these cute pink packages again. I was already looking for a scrub so picked up the Sugar Crush Body Scrub and Sugar Crush Body Lotion. To be honest, I didn’t have much expectations as more pricier brands had disappointed me.

Moment I opened the jar and took a whiff, I knew ….THIS IS IT!!!

It smells like fresh lemon with the warmth of brown sugar and a musky hint of vanilla. It scrubs and exfoliates. DO not over wet the skin as the oils melt with the warmth of your hands and they will flow instead of scrubbing. If you have dry/ flaky skin you can comfortably use it 2-3 times a week. For oily skins, one a week is enough.

Follow it with the luxurious lemony, AHA fruit complex infused with kiwi water and lime seed oil Body Lotion.

You can but both these products at Target or Ulta or from Amazon by clicking the links

Soap And Glory Sugar Crush Body Scrub With Smashed Brown Sugar & Lime 300ml

Soap And Glory Sugar Crush 3-in-1 Body Lotion 500ml

 

Breathe…..

With Summer almost here, get ready to sweat…..

I have been religiously using Schimdt’s Deodrant for the past few years and still am their loyal customer. You can read my detailed review by clicking the link below:

Schmidt’s Deodrant

Yummies……

I love me my chewing gum. My latest love is these Glee Chewing Gums which are Non-GMO, natural chewing gum with no artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.  They are available in the regular flavors like all kinds of mint and cinnamon but there are some sassy flavors too like lemon-lime, tangerine, and  wild watermelon.

Check them out at your local natural stores or via amazon Glee Gum 6-Flavor Variety pack, 16-Piece Packages (12 Total Packages) 2 of each flavor

 

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LET 2017 BE ABOUT TWO THINGS…..

2017 art

Yes you read it just fine….Just TWO!

 

Firstly invest in YOURSELF.

YOU

 

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you all to start investing in the superficial things like clothes and shoes and accessories etc. But instead, listen to your body on a deeper level.

This year attend to all non-glamorous things, mainly your health. All those noises and signs your body has been showing and those which you keep on ignoring, now is the time to attend to them. With every passing year you are not going to be any younger, so be wiser.

From the constant ringing in the ears, to the popping of  the joints to the occasional tooth pain to gasping for air at night are merely some examples of our body alarming us that something is wrong somewhere but we knowingly ignore it. We push it and push it till it breaks and then we attend to it often with phrases like “When did it start?” or “Why me?”.

So this year become pro-active and schedule your yearly physical exam today, feed the body the necessary supplements and pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Health comes hand in hand with what you put in you mouth. 2016 taught us a lot about GMO’s and the pesky artificial ingredients hidden in our foods. Educate yourself. For starters head to EWG for a complete list of the dirty dozen and clean fifteen vegetables and fruits. Learn how to read labels and remember not all calories are equal so stop stressing about it.

Do your bones and joints a favor and move. Start with leisure walks and build up your stamina for some real killer moves. Do some kind of exercise every day even if it’s a 5 minute dance. For me the real thing this year will be adding weights to my workouts. If you are clueless, like me, ask your friend who loves to workout or if you are too shy to ask anyone, make YouTube your best friend.

Lastly do something soothing for yourself in 2017. Be it cooking, dancing, reading, exploring, meditating, listening to music or simply hanging out with friends, plan it. Write it in your schedule/planner, or put it in your cell phone calender, and block sometime every week or better yet every other day for some “me- time”.

Secondly invest in your relationship with God….

 

south lake tahoe pier

What ever religion you belong to or who ever you believe in, its time to reconnect.

I am sure we all have been praying one way or another but this is not about that. I want you to strengthen your belief.  I want you all to find  that sweet contentment, the ultimate sukoon.

Even if you are not a religious person, we all have had that special moment in our lives, sometimes just for a split second…a feeling so pure….a feeling when you felt at your very best….when you felt you needed nothing more….a feeling so honest that you felt it could not get better….lastly a feeling so holy that knew it wasn’t earthly.

I want that this year you try to get that feeling back in your life. There are people out there who pray and worship every day of their lives but still feel there is something missing whereas they are some, despite having nothing, feel contented.

Reconnect on a higher level. Make your intentions pure and then strive for that wholesomeness. Every day take out some time and pray. Trust me, that will only come by going back to the roots and re-establishing or strengthening  your bond with God. Never will you be struck with depression again and the “Why Me” questions will get less stressful. Once you have that sacred bond established, life will get easier. You might not end up having everything but you will be blessed with the ultimate feeling we all strive for our whole lives…..Contentment….Sukoon.

What are your plans for 2017?

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Stay at Home Vs. Working Mom……Is one better than the other?

My question to you is “DOES IT EVEN MATTER?”

I was sitting in the waiting room of my kid’s pediatrician when my eye caught a women sitting next to me filling out a quiz of some kind in a magazine. After a few moments our eyes met and she looked as if someone had just received the worst news of her life. Our gaze was cut short when our kids starting fighting over the same toy and we had to get up to solve the problem.

“I’m sorry”, I said, pulling my kid to the side and giving him another toy to play with. To which she replied ” I am the biggest loser”.

“Huh??? Was probably the look on my face as I made my way back to the seat. You know how looooong waiting for doctors can be, so me and that lady got a chance to talk.

We had barely started to talk when out of no where she blurted “You know the quiz even proves that I am a career woman not the stay at home type”. She continued to tell me that she had to put her career on hold to take care of her kids as her husband had a travelling job. I asked her if it was a mutual decision to which she replied yes but was regretting now. “Money is not the problem, it’s that I miss being important”. The doctor called out my kid’s name and that meant the end of our conversation. For some reason our brief encounter stuck with me for the rest of the day especially the word “Important”.

This is a topic which all moms have discussed at least once. “Working Mom (WM) or Stay at home Mom (SAHM)…Which is better? To be honest it matters more to SAHM since the working moms already have a lot on their plate. Let me put some “REALITY OF LIFE” light on it.

As I headed to the stage to get my Masters degree I was on cloud nine. My dream was about to come true. I had always envisioned myself as a financially independent, strong woman with a loving husband and beautiful family and finally I was going to have it all. But life happened. Towards the end of my degree, my younger son was diagnosed with Autism. My husband has always been very supportive and wanted to see me fulfill my dream so he told me to keep going on and said he will pitch in as much as he can and with some external help everything will work out perfectly fine. Will it be? The mother inside asked myself.

It was time for some reality check. ” Will I be okay working and have someone else take my kid to therapy? “What is more important right now… Family or Work?” ,  “Will I be able to balance everything?”, “I have no family around, what if I need help at the last-minute? Who do I call?” The answer was right there……The Reality. The doors of opportunities were wide open and all I had to do was to take the first step forward but life was showing me a different course.

The degree was carefully stored in my achievements file where it sits peacefully till this day. Staying at home to be with my kid was my choice. I am not, in any way saying that it is the only right choice, but at that moment I could not see anyone else taking care of my kid the way, I, his own mother could. I would be working to earn money, feeling a bit guilty of being away from him, and then eventually will be giving it to someone else to take care of my kid. It didn’t make sense to me and so I decided to be a stay at home parent.  I am blessed that I could even make such a decision since I know a couple of moms of kids with challenges who had to go back or continue to work to make the ends meet.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that it happens with all the women but the reality is that there is a large chunk of woman who are in a situation without any choice. They are there because at that moment in their life they have no other option. So many of my friends had to quit their jobs because their husbands didn’t approve women working (Trust me, it still happens) or they had to take care of some family member in need while others were forced to work against their will to pay off for the extravagant life which they never wanted in the in the first place or due to some major crisis where they had to become the bread earner of the family.

To be honest, it does not matter which category you fall into. What really matters is how honestly are you living up to it. The beauty about life is that it is always moving. You might not see it, and since the movement is so subtle that you might not even feel it, but it is changing with every breath. Take a look back, your yesterday is different from today and you never know where will it take you tomorrow. So if you are in a phase of life without your choice, don’t worry, things don’t always remain the same, you wont always remain the same.

My point of writing all this is that whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, you are important and already contributing a lot, so don’t fall for the quizzes or the online surveys or random articles to define you. The important thing is to give your best so that at the end of the day you are one satisfied, happy mama. As far as being important goes, sit back and do nothing for one day and see your world, your castle collapse. You are the CPU, the heart of the family and that family will be lost without you. We are all being rewarded  one way or the other. Some people think that if they are not getting a paycheck, they are not being rewarded and they fail to see the biggest blessing. The blessing of having the time and the luxury to stay home with the kids.

So lets get over with this mom vs mom useless debate because we all have an important job to do, and it does not matter what we are labelled as because at the end of the day all moms deserve one thing.

RESPECT!

 

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Ramzaan-As I remember it

dslr nikon moon

Last night I got into an argument with my 9-year-old. “All my friends are fasting and I am the only one who is not…..Tomorrow I will fast!!”. The Ramzaan environment in his school is pretty much the same as mine growing up back in Pakistan. His school is a global village with people from countries like Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, Afghanistan, Japan, Morocco, Egypt to name some. His school is still open for another week and I thought I would let him fast once the vacations start. But he won the argument and I woke him up for Sehri. Growing up we were not allowed to fast during school days and it was the weekends we would do so. We of course did keep loads of “Chiri Rozas” (half day fast) till we were old enough to fast like adults.

My conversation with my son last night took me back to my childhood and I could not help but smile at those carefree days. Here are some of the sweet and silly memories I recalled.

 

  • ARE YOU FASTING??

    Every day at school all the friends would gather around and the most important question was “Are you fasting or Not”. If for any reason your answer would be no, you were given those horrible scorns and scoffs and you would feel worthless.  “Abhi tuk nahee rakha??…tsk tsk” (Still not fasting?…too bad). In your defense you would reply “Ami nay uthaya hi nahee” (My mom didn’t wake me up) or ” Ami kehtee hain abhi farz nahee, chutee walay din shouk pora kar lena” (My mom says they are not a must at this age and you can fast over the weekend). “Tum batao mera kiya kasoor” (Now you tell me what is my fault). With these statement you would earn their sympathy.

  • WHAT DID YOU EAT AT SEHRI??

    “Sehri pay uthi?? kiya khaya???” (Did you wake up in the middle of night to keep the fast and what did you eat?) At that time it was ultra important to share the food details. Usually it would be paratha and anda (bread and eggs) or roti and salan or kebab (bread with curry or kebab) followed by a big glass of milk and loads of water. There would always be one person saying that since their moms did not wake them up at sehri they were keeping “ath pehra” ( fast without eating).

  • HOW MANY ROZAS SO FAR??

    If that was not enough it was the “how many rozas so far” game. It would be a moment of joy to tell “Ab tuk saaaaray” (All of them so far) with pride dripping from every word as at that age it was a biiiiig deal.

  • QURAN COMPETION:Then came the Quran Competition. It could be between friends and family. The goal was to read more paras then the competitors. Sometimes that meant reading the whole para in one sitting and reading some more if you could still see what you were reading.

  • YOU SAID WHAT?? Not to forget the whole long list of things which broke the fast.       “Haw aisay nahee kehtay, ab to tumhara roza toot gya” (You broke your fast by saying so and so). It seemed that everyone was more intelligent and knew more than you so you were always wrong. Looking back now it seems so silly that according to my friends or my sisters my fast broke at least once every day due to some huge thing I did or said which now makes no sense but at that time meant the whole wide world.

  • ROZA KUSHAI:If someone had their Roza Kushai (Celebration on completion of first whole roza) you would feel so jealous when they would tell the long list of presents they got and how amazing their celebration was and deep inside you would wish for having a much bigger party and more gifts.

  • SLEPT OR PRAYED: Lastly it was the “Did you pray or sleep whole day” question. If you did pray you were the most awesome person in the whole universe. While still in school I had no energy to do anything after coming home. With no energy, sleep was the best friend. I still remember my mom saying “Rozay ka matlab sona nahee….utho namaz parho, Quran parho” (Fasting doesn’t mean to sleep….Get up and pray). But I still managed to sleep. Oh how pleasureable that sleep was….

At that age the biggest attraction of roza would be the iftaar time (breaking of fast). While the kids slept to pass the roza, it was sure shot that when you woke up the table will be loaded with yummy delights. You could smell the amazing aromas of samosas, kachoris, pakoras, dahi phulki, jalebis,fruit chaat coming from every home. It was simple family affair nothing like it is these days. Even when you were invited to an iftar party, it was a simple gathering nothing commercial like the party these days. I still have sweet memories of iftaar at my grand mother’s home where I can still picture the hustle bustle, with the ladies of the house making aromatic foods and us kids running around laying the dastarkhawan (sheets) on the carpet to accommodate the whole family while the men sat outside discussing politics, religion or cricket. I never understood that when I was young I could not even linger around the stove as if the stove would specially come and burn me ” Kia kar rahee ho…jal jao gi” ( You will burn yourself)  but as I got older I had to cook, “Seekho gi nahee to aye ga kaisay” (You will not get it if you don’t learn how to) as if now the stove was a perfectly safe spot. No matter how hard you tried your mom would somehow lure you in the kitchen with simple questions like “Namak kahan hay?” (Where is the salt?) and soon you would find yourself cooking.

After iftar and resting for a bit the men along with the boys of the family would hurry to go the mosque for “Taraweh”  and almost everyday they managed to make it chaotic. Where are my clothes??? I can’t find my shoes?? I am still hungry!. The boys would try to find excuses not to go but they would never win and would eventually end up going. The women did not go with the men but prayed at home, later prepared for the sehri before going to sleep. I didn’t go for taraweh but have memories going to the mosque with my dad on Shab-e-Qadar to recite surahs and getting a balushahi (sweets). Oh how sweet it tasted….

How I miss my childhood Ramzaan and the sweet memories it holds….I hope and pray that my kids have amazing Ramzaan memories of their own, ones which bring the same smile as I have while writing this post. Let us, as parents, try to help our kids form such memories.

 

Till then,

Happy Ramzaan

 

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WE ALL HAVE A WAY…..

As I close my eyes it all comes running back to me. A memory soo painful yet deeply etched in me for ever.

It might have been an ordinary day for you but for me it was special. The happiness was so big that it was becoming impossible to contain it. Am I dreaming?

Is it real?

Is it really happening?

 Of course it was, but it was taking time to sink in. Never in my life before have 2 lines seemed any more meaningful. I was going to be a Mom.  I wanted to run to the rooftop and shout it out at the top of my voice.

I WILL BE A MOM!!!!!

It was something that I had always dreamt of.

Who doesn’t?

There is something about babies that makes you want to have them, to hold them, to love them, to cuddle them! I guess my hormones had already started doing their job. For the first few days I was happy, excited, jumping with joy then a strange feeling took over me.

An individual….a part of me……Gratitude!

A week later I called my family and shared my good news. Blessing and Congrats starting pouring via phone calls, emails and texts since most of my family was away….in other parts of the world. Luckily my sister lived a few hours away. As I shared my good news,  we mutually decided that she would come over the weekend for a sweet celebration. Lets just say I couldn’t wait to meet her, to ask her all the teeny weeny details of being a mom from the precautions to take to the handling of morning sickness to the pregnancy woes and of course the dreaded weight gain (biggest worry)…

Yes, you can imagine there was a lot to discuss.

Finally the day came and I wore my favorite outfit and got ready. The table was set and I finally sat on the couch thinking what will I discuss first?? Maybe I will start with just hugging her or maybe I should waste no time and directly ask the questions. I was ready to have the talk or better yet super excited to have one.

But I never got to talk the talk.

Before she arrived I started to bleed. Initially it was just a few spots of blood. Like any other person in today’s internet age I googled fanatically. What was wrong? I was a doctor myself, but at that moment I was just a mother who wanted to be told it was all ok. That nothing was wrong. My baby was safe. Please be SAFE!

My sister came, but instead of laughter and hugs I ran outside and we rushed to the hospital . A few hours and some bleeding later it was all over. The chapter of motherhood that I had just started to write was ripped out from my book of life. I came back home to  flowers, balloons and a baby book that my sister had brought so lovingly. They looked sad. As I held the baby book something inside me broke and I  began to cry hysterically.

It was all over.

The human mind works in strange ways. I knew about miscarriage,  first trimester losses, how they are very common and mostly they have no explanation, in a few cases either chromosomal or genetic defects in the growing embryo or occasionally the anatomical defects. I knew that none of it was my fault but my mind refused to believe it.

It’s strange that human beings are the most intelligent species but in situations like these where there is no answer…..no explanation,  our intelligence is nowhere to be found.  The easiest way to overcome grief is to place the blame on something or someone. Usually when we cannot find that something or someone, we blame ourselves. And so did I.

Then started the brain racking…..

 “Maybe I shouldn’t have walked that far….but I walk the same distance everyday….No!!! I should have walked AT ALL”…Was it the walk???

” Maybe I didn’t drink enough water”……Was it the water??

” I took the train, I shouldn’t have taken the train.  It did feel bumpy, didn’t it???” Was it the train??

” I shouldn’t have worn high heels…..Yeah!!!…. My mom told me not to wear high heels. Maybe its the high heels…..Wait….I don’t even own high heels….

AAAAAGGHHHH!!!! What was the reason???

No matter how lame the excuse was, I was ready to accept that it was I, me, myself who had to be reprimanded for my acts.

As I look back now I realize how naïve I was. I spent that dark phase of my life crying and blaming myself for something I had no control over. Unfortunately this is how we cope with grief. It is not how we should cope, but actually what we have taught ourselves to do.

There are numerous occasions in our life where things go wrong and there is no single answer and no one to blame.

 Big situations like a marriage that failed…. an accident…..a financial crunch…..losing a loved one….a health situation or even small ones like a job interview….a friendship….an exam.

It’s just how life works. But we have taught ourselves that every time such a situation comes, we must go down that rabbit hole. We have to play the blame game. I must have done something wrong that is why I am being punished.

Situations where there is someone or something to blame, no matter how painful are still easy to process. You have a target and you can vent your anger or unload your feelings and move on feeling lighter. But the real challenge lies in situations where there is no answer.

Who to blame??

Who to target???

 What to do??

We take the blame ourselves and go down the whirlpool of guilt, swirling down the drain of emotions, slowly….painfully we torture ourselves, we kill our happiness….our smiles….. our good memories….. our friendships….. our existence… Till it’s just us and our ugly guilt face to face. The pain helps to ease the loss. The time heals the rest.

But, there is another way…..

A much harder yet less painful way. A path which will seem blurry initially but as you keep on walking it will light up.

That path is a 4 lettered word …..

H-O-P-E.

It is also the path of belief. An unseen staircase where new steps are added every second.  Where you learn that situations come and go but life does not stop. Yes it might break you initially, yes it might seem difficult but it will give you enough energy to not only get up but also be strong and move on. You will learn to live, to thrive, to find new doors with new opportunities waiting to be opened only by you. You will learn that you are not to be blamed because you are as good as you could be.

“You did your part, Life did theirs”.

You will find happiness in much smaller things as your garden of gratitude will thrive and prosper. Sometimes even the most toughest situations will not daunt you. It takes real courage to take that path but once you do the dark skies will start opening up and the rays of “I can do it” will start peeping through.

 I’m not saying that life will be a bed of roses or full of butterflies and rainbows, or even an empty road where you can drive in any direction or at any speed you want because that would be stretching it a bit too far. All I am saying is that Hope is like an airbag in your car. At the moment of crash it balloons up and shields you to decrease the impact for just those few moments of your life when you are unable to comprehend but ultimately it is you yourself who has to get up and figure out the way.

Just remember…..

 We all have a way!

(…….In conversation with my sister)
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How could it be worse?

how it be more worse

You have lost your job….had a miscarriage….received a life threatening health diagnosis or have lost a loved one. The last thing you want to hear is “It could have been worse” .  Seriously?? More Worse?? At that moment these words are pinching, killing . When the pain is new it hurts, it hurts super bad. It is all you can think of.

My religion teaches me that when in any kind of situation look at people less fortunate than you and be grateful. Well, honestly at that moment you simply are not in a position to think….comprehending is out of question. At that moment all you can think of is “why me” “it hurts” or why isn’t the world stopping. The more people say that all will be okay the more it angers and frustrates you.

I understand that people say what they say firstly in good faith because they do care and secondly because they know no better. How can someone who has not gone through that situation understand the depth of it. When someone is facing a problem, it is their problem and only they can understand.

When my son was diagnosed with autism it was my pain but I expected everyone to feel it. I got angry when I would not get the same reaction which I expected. How could someone compare my son’s autism with their son’s flu??? Why did they ask me over and over again why is he doing what he is when I had told them so many times that he is autistic. I was drowning in the sea of whys.  On top of that people would tell me to be grateful as it could have been worse. Really??  It just made me more angry. Angry with people, angry with God.

It was much later that I understood it all and it happened during a phone call. My friend was telling me how hard last night was as her kid had fever and she was up all night. She was angry that no one sympathized with her and she kept on repeating it over and over again. At that moment it hit me. For her that was the maximum amount of pain. At that moment all she could think of was why no one understood her. That was her limit and she could not comprehend anything beyond it. So how was I expecting her to understand my situation. Her burden and my burden were different. From my point of view it was just a fever and even found it funny that she was complaining about it. Complaining to me whose struggle she could not even fathom. That day I stopped expecting anyone to understand what I am going through.

If someone shares their problems with you, be happy that you have a special place in their heart and they are confiding in you. You cannot end someone’s pain but what you CAN do is provide moral support. Give them your shoulder to cry on. Listen to them. Do not tell them that it could have been worse or it will be okay!  How will it be okay or could have been worse for someone who has lost their parents?? Tell them that you will always be there for them. Ask them if there is something you can do for them. And if there is nothing you can do just their share their silence.

 

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10 Tips to Sleep Better at Night

Our lives are already so busy that the time we get to unwind and de-stress, we are loosing it to technology. I myself am a victim. There are soo many days when I can actually go to sleep by 9 but “one last Facebook post”, “one last twitter update”, “just 5 mins of web surfing” or the monster of it all ” lets just finish this one episode on Netflix” ruins it all. It is supposed to be five minutes and the next time my eyes gaze the clock it’s almost 11. “I will not do it tomorrow”, I promise to myself as i try to close my eyes when my mind is still wandering the sets of the last watched episode making me think maybe i should watch just one more episode to find out who did it.

The next day you wake up as if a truck hit you last night and then the blame game starts and you promise yourself that tonight you will sleep early but as the night approaches the “just 5 minutes cycle” starts again. Apart from technology there are other things which affect the sleep too. Here are some tips which will help you get a good night sleep.

DITCH YOU PHONE/IPAD/TABLET :

no phone

We all know it but still can’t resist it. Keep your electronics at bay. If within reach not only will you keep going back to them but they emit light which confuses our brains into thinking that it’s still morning and it suppresses the release of the sleep hormone Melatonin.

 CAFFEINE : coffee The effect of caffeine is different on different people. If you are someone who gets affected by it a lot then try having your last cup by early afternoon so you have enough time for it to get out of your system. If you can handle caffeine, it’s still better to have it atlas 4 hours before going to sleep. If you really crave something warm to soothe you, try a glass of milk or better yet some herbal tea. Anything with Chamomile and lavender will help you relax. My favorite night-time teas are Yogi Bedtime Tea — 16 Tea BagsTrader Joe’s Herbal Tea Well Rested No Caffeine 20 Bags   and Traditional Medicinals Organic Cup of Calm Tea, 16 Tea Bags (Pack of 6)

BIG HEAVY MEALS : 

 Do not eat a large meal before bedtime. The food does not get enough time to digest and may lead to acid reflux or indigestion. Gaia makes an excellent Tea-Gas & Bloating – 16 Tea Bags for those days.

WATER :

Do not drink a lot of water before bd. The frequent trips to the bathroom will disrupt your sleep. On the other hand do keep a pitcher or glass of water on the nightstand so that if your throat feels dry you can just take a sip without leaving your bed.

ZEN ROOM :

Make sure that your mattress and pillow are comfortable and there are no distracting noises or lights in your bedroom. Also I like to diffuse essential oils (Lavender, Chamomile, Mandarin, Lemon Balm) which helps to soothe.

TEMPERATURE :

It takes longer for our body to relax if the temperature is too hot or too cold. Make sure the thermostat is set to cool as studies have found that 65-70F is the ideal temperature range for a good night sleep.

 

LONG NAPS :

Avoid taking long naps in the afternoon. Though short power naps do help but if you have a hard time falling asleep then cutting out the naps is the best idea to else it can lead to insomnia.

NATURAL VITAMIN D: 

 Make sure to spend sometime in the sun. New research shows that getting some sun exposure during the day helps to wind up better at night.

EXERCISE: 

People who exercise tend to fall asleep easily and stay asleep too. It does not matter what time you workout so if working out at night is your thing…go for it.

 

heart

SCHEDULE :

 Try going to bed and getting up in the morning the same time. This will help you sleep better and stay asleep too as your body clock will adjust itself accordingly.

 

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WHAT IS SUKOON YOU ASK?

Sukoon is an Urdu Language word which means calm, peace, relief, serenity, tranquility, wholeness. Its not a material object, it cannot be weighed, it cannot be named…it can only be felt. Its the most priceless feeling. So expensive…..yet free. Many a men strive their whole life trying to taste a morsel of it but still remain hungry. Its what our journey of life is all about. To be calm, to be free….to be whole. Nirvana!

We all come across those people who do not have a lot of money, no fancy schmancy stuff yet their aura is so serene that when we move on all we take are positive vibes. That is sukoon.

Crashing on the bed after a productive day with your body sore but smiling with a sense of achievement….that is sukoon

Sitting quietly….so quite that you can hear you own heart beat taste your own breath….that is sukoon

Sharing a good laugh or giving someone the shoulder to cry upon…..that is sukoon

So close your eyes for a moment stop doing what ever you are. Take a deeeeep breath. So deep that you can hear yourself breath and then….let it glide…..What did you feel???

That my friend  is “Sukoon”.

 

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