Wednesday, April 26, 2006

How much do we really know anyone?

Recently I have noticed that people say “you know me” a lot in the middle of a sentence when they are about to divulge some information that they would assume you would have gathered from being in the company.

When ever someone says this to me I stand there suppressing the need to say “no I don’t”. I have been trying to work out why I react so strongly to the phrase, most of the time when someone reveals something after having used the phrase “you know me” its something that you have already gathered. Especially if I have known someone for a long time and their behaviour patterns are stable and thus predictable.

I have come to the conclusion that we can’t really know anyone because individually we are all trying to get to know ourselves and hence ourselves isn’t ridged or fixed and changes as we learn and grown.

I think we most certainly have a core self but in order to access this we must pass several layers which make up a person.

Our perceptions are derived from the impressions a person gives us, or the side of their being they choose to share, sometimes this is deliberate and sometimes its not. When it’s deliberate our perception (if we can’t see through the ploy) are not objective. Is all we know about a person what they want us to know?! Hmm

Monday, April 24, 2006

Street Smart

If you’re going to visit native female at home then you should be warned, especially if you are a female under 50 and you are planning on walking there!

To keep this short and informative rather then factual lets just say that you are likely to be solicited at least 4 times by a variety of arm…brothers (loosely using the term to encompass humanity).

We don’t need to discuss these 4 different scenarios, lets just say these brothers are persistent, are indiscriminative ( refer to my under 50 comment) and will use a variety of techniques and lines that are designed to charm but only succeed in making me feel rather uncomfortable and I hate to admit rather vulnerable.

I am reliably informed that the best way to avoid this is to:
1) Not make direct eye contact for more then 5seconds
2) No friendly smiles
3) look purposeful and alert
4) Walk in a group
5) If you’re vocal and the other 4 tactics don’t work

Native female says to say

‘Yo, I ain’t down with that’

The brothers will walk away with a new found respect for you!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Muslims and Museums

I met up with Hayak after Bosnia, feeling diseased but able to leave my bed, after about a 3 hour conversation we walked into the myf and the poster for 1001 inventions caught my eye, I pointed it out to Hayak and since she has time on her hands at the moment we made a spontaneous decision to go to the museum on Friday after jummah.

Friday came around and i walked into the ladies section, to see Hayak and Bangles deep in conversation. We met, prayed and left to make the journey to the museum, when Hayak informs me that ufakar is coming along, I thought great the more the merrier. We set off on the journey but as I discovered a hungry man is a cranky man. So we had to stop off and feed him before we severed ties. After our leisurely meal we walked to the Manchester museum, started off on the first floor and made our way around unhurriedly.

After a while Ufakr walks up to Hayak and I to point out that it was 4.30pm and that closing time is at 5.00pm so we better find the exhibition. We couldn’t find any signpost so we moaned a little about how there where no signs.

The conversation went something like this?

Hayak: I can’t see any signs, can you?
NM: No I can’t… typical the first Muslim exhibition and there no signs….how rude…
Hayak: let’s ask someone
Ufakar: seen any signs yet?
NM: we are going to ask someone

So we walked to the nearest person who worked at the museum and asked for directions. The two ladies, behind the gift shop counter looked at each other then looked at us.
When the shorter lady turned around to the taller one and said ‘everyone seems to be coming to the wrong museum today’ I think this was to ease the obvious blow that she was about to deliver to 3 eager looking people.

The tall lady turned to us apologetically and said ‘it’s at the science and industry museum, near the G-max’

Ufakar looked at Hayak, Hayak looked at me and I burst out laughing,

Earlier we had discussed the serious need for Muslims to visit the exhibition and support the immense work that had gone into organising such an innovative way of presenting our heritage.
So much for seeing our heritage!!! Ufakar asks Hayak how we got here, Hayak asks me how we got here I shrug my shoulders! None of us bothered to check we just assumed, spontaneous act my foot, Check your information before going gallivanting is the lesson here!

Ufakar’s parting remark ( I must point out that ufakar is a revert here) was
‘ This says a lot about how often Muslim visit Museum!’
Next week we are going to give it another go inshallah, second time lucky eh.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sigh Sigh

I am back from Bosnia feeling very diseased but to be honest I went there feeling rather diseased anyway. Never be fooled by a toddler (especially if you have prior knowledge that they have the flu) when they cuddle up against you the day before you leave for foreign shores, push them away, shove them away!! Unless someone is watching (i.e. their parents) in which case you should extract them from your lap and leave while you are still uninfected!!

Did I do any of that NO; my niece is just too cute! And because I am and was so diseased while in Bosnia I don’t think I can do the experience justice. So as soon as I leave my sick bed and I get a hold of the pictures that my boss took I will post them and let them do the talking.

I can however write (while the drugs are still in my system) that Bosnia is truly one of the most beautiful places on Earth that I have ever seen, and most likely ever will. The people are the most welcoming and warmest of those I have ever met!

Basically I am moving (at least for a month or so to Zenica to live amongest my new found friends)!

Oh and friends if your able to, swing by my house I will be the one in my pyjama’s being fed lots of chicken soup and grapes ( my mum’s remedy) bring chocolate and DVD’s or even better something to read!!!

I am going to crawl back into bed now! Inshallah sickness is a purifier…better now then later right.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Practice listening to your inner voice and feelings about certain things. You are more than your measurable qualities, as you have a larger part of you that is far more valuable, although it isn't as quantifiable.

It is this qualitative part of you that holds your compassion, your spirit, your heart, and your instinct. It is up to you to allow yourself to experience yourself in anothers presence. If something feels wrong, it most likely is. This is not something that is easily explainable to others, but is nonetheless valid.

In order for you to begin to be able to act based on a collaborative between your mind and your heart, you first need to recognise the voice of your instinct and validate it such that your decisions are not out of anxiety, but instead out of valid reasons; some of which you can explain and others that you can't.

Everyone has an instinct, but sometimes more educated individuals have a very hard time validating it and listening to it, let alone even daring to act based on it. We have this belief that if it is not empirical, scientific, and provable, then it is not valid; however, experience teaches us otherwise.

While our minds know a lot, our hearts know even more, and there is a breadth of knowledge that you can access if you allow yourself to open up to it.

Monday, April 10, 2006


I had an odd nights sleep, it involved waking up 3times after falling asleep.
2 were a must the other however was not welcomed at all. I woke up at 2.30ish
With a stomach ache, I was freezing and had a full bladder (Stupid coke!!!)

Then despite telling MD and Hayak that I would wake them up if I got up for Tahajjud
I groggily rolled out of bed around 4am, made wudu and went to pray Tahajjud and fajr forgetting about my promise to wake them up.

I finally remembered my friends after I prayed and text them apologies (I hope am forgiven). This reminds me of the time when I made plans to meet up with Big AD on Friday and once again forgot about her and went to Jummah with MD.

Only to find the Khutba being delivered my Imam Sohaib Webb, Big AD was not amused as she missed Jummah because she was trying to get a hold of me and to add insult to injury Imam SW was there!!

I hope these incidents are not a vision of the future, is rather disconcerting that I keep forgetting my friends as I worship…..

May I take this opportunity to apologise for my lateness and forgetfulness, neither of which I want to keep but they seem to be my constant companions.

Help!!! (But first shower me with a few words of forgiveness)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Come back

I am feeling stuck in a rot

I have had 2 very very long weeks, I seem to have had every day filled with something or the other and physically the running is helping but mentally am feeling slow, lethargic and in serious need of something to break this cycle of over commitment!

And now that my roomie (my sister has deserted me and gone to turkey with most of our friends) am behaving like a lost soul and watching a never ending list of DVD’s and reading books I have already read at night in exchange for the conversation Mona lisa used to share with me which in the beginning I must admit used to arose violence within me but in time became a ritualistic part of my winding down.

Muna,.. mona…Queen nafatiti (you know how you earned each of these names ) I am missing your messy ways, your cute infectious laugh, the way i embarrass you in public, our arguments about who moans more, the way you demand head massages, your tiny hands and your energy peaks at 10pm, your stories of the bank and Mr B lull me to sleep!

how i love thee

I hope this is how you feel when I go on my work trips!!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Seeing clearly

Now and again we need something out of the ordinary to jolt our awareness, to raise our consciousness to a higher level so that we can focus on the grand scheme of things. Often this comes in the form of a person who enters your life unexpectedly, they may leave after making their mark or they may become a permanent part of your life so that you may grow together.

Now and again we all need a humbling experience, one which makes us behave in a manner which is not typical of our day to day and somewhat predictable behaviour! Something which enables us to become acquainted with facets of our being, which had remained dormant. A side to us which breaks the expected norms that even we hold of ourselves.

What am I talking about, words fall me but let’s just say that I was so moved by two very different events this Sunday. One which made me cry and one which made me smile infectiously.

There is something about experiencing potent pain and joy consecutively which forces us to see clearly.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

What not to do when visiting a new mother

A good, social outing starting with a cup of mint tea at either of the WilmslowRd. Arab restaurants, so AD and I met Curly sue and M2 at Jaffa’s. Only to find them sat around a table with only two chairs. AD and I tried not to take offence but did feel the need to point out that it was a bit mean.

To which a rather high (too much mint in the tea I think) Curly sue jumped up and stated repeatedly that there wasn’t a table with 4 chairs available when they sat down. We turned around to see a group of brothers leaving a table so we moved over to their area.

We sipped mint tea and conversed to the backdrop of Arabic music (habibi was overly used as always.. ya habibi .. its all coming back to me) After a while we proceeded to leave as we had planned to visit a new mother who had had a baby girl a few weeks back at her home.

Getting there became a task M2 and Curly sue before we left were insistent they new where they were going. We wondered around and around till we finally made it to the house around 7pm when we were expected at 6ish

Other then arriving late the visit seemed to be going smoothly.. till the following conversation too place

Curly sue: (looks at baby) wow mashallah, she is beautiful, what did you name her?
Mother: (beeming proudly) Asiya..we spelt it with a Y so that it wouldn’t be confused for Asia.
Curly sue: Mahallah, that’s beautiful Asiya was Firawns wife, an excellent role model for her inshallah.
M2 (Allah only knows what M2 was thinking at this poing): She was also the one who ate Hamza’s heart wasn’t she
Mother (jaw drops): really!!!
Curly sue (damage control): HA HA that was Hind M2 and she didn’t eat his heart it was the er… it was the liver, yeah that was it ( she point her finger at M2 excitedly now that the mystery is solved).
M2 ( Again no idea way ) Lots of people who chopped up Muslims later became the best of Muslim
I: Ha .. ha…ha ( as I rolled around on the sofa)
Mother (looking rather anxious) am just going to get you ladies something to drink

Things go back to normal for a while as we sat chating and admiring the baby (that is except I, who is still sat on the sofa taking note because it was just too funny a situation not to blog about)

Just before the mother returns the baby gets transferred to AD who while snuggling the baby

AD: mmmm the baby smells lovely; you know you can’t get this baby smell
I: Ha.. ha.. Stop sniffing the baby AD it looks weird we wouldn’t want the mother to walk in while you’re incessantly sniffing her baby.
Curly sue: AD you’re a head sniffer ha ah
Mother (walks in and takes in the rather odd scene) salam again, here are the drinks and some snacks

AD and I insist that we had eaten twice already, but that will eat a few things, in the middle of the meal

Curly sue (turns to the mother): Have you taken the baby to the GP’s about her nails?
Mother, M2 and I (looked puzzled: They said just to bite them off

Curly sue, looks horrified then starts laughing, Mother, M2 and I are still puzzled why ask about the babies nails, they were standard baby nails nothing out of the ordinary am sure a nail clipper is all that would be needed.

Curly sue: I am sorry I asked about her nose, what did you hear

M2, AD and I all burst out laughing, poor Curly sue thought the mother was told to bite her babies nose off, all of them !

AD (tries to steer the conversation away from all this cannibalistic talk): Some crazy people in this house.

To come to poor AD’s defence she has been doing night shifts again and wasn’t her usual sharp self, so knowing that I trid to control the situation by pointing out to the mother that

I: She didn’t mean you and Asiya

(I forget to mention the rest of the people who live in the house, DOH!!!)

The mother leaves to make food for the rest of the family and M2 starts to sober up and assumes her responsible role as the oldest and points out to Curly sue and AD who are trying to make the baby pose in comical/alien poses and take pictures on Curly sue’s phone that the mother wouldn’t appreciate it.

So alhamdulilah some sanity is returning to the group (am still sat on the sofa, feeling rather stuffed now and still taking notes as I laugh with and to myself)

M2 (worded her very responsible statement like this) Stop that ladies, I mean what will happen if the mother walks in now and asks to use your phone Curly sue anD accidentally stumbles on alien looking pictures of her baby.

I guess this could happen, highly improbable though unless the mother did a through search of all camera phone owners before they left! So we all burst out laughing again, sinking back to our giddy way of being.

When we left the house, M2 decided to share with us that the food wasn’t in fact all for us but was meant for the whole family (DOH!!)

So what not to do when visiting a new mother

1) Never be more then 10mins late, its just rude otherwise
2) Never defame the babies name ( no comparing the baby to infamous people especially those with cannibalistic tendencies)
3) No incessant sniffing of the baby
4) Never point out the need for medical intervention ( be it nose, nails or anything else)
5) Never call the residents crazy ( its frowned upon)
6) Never make the baby pose in comical/alien poses and take pictures.
7) Never eat everything your offered ( you never know who might be waiting )