Friday, September 30, 2011

HBBC: Hijab Removed

Welcome to The Half-Baked Bloggers Consortium's (HBBC) fourth post. Meet the members here. This week's topic was chosen by Marwa.

I've been wearing Hijab since 8th grade. My 7th year now. That's a while. It's enough for me to feel as if it's a part of who I am. It was a mutual decision between Huda and I. Though it was originally hers. My parents welcomed it, they wouldn't have forced us to wear it though. They didn't to my other 2 sisters and they didn't to us. Sometimes I wish they were more strict with our religious upbringing. They were a bit more strict with us than my older siblings. Perhaps they realized after sometime that's how they should have brought them up too. Believe me, I wish I was more of a religious person so I can't preach here, not that I like preaching. I won't judge you based on your spirituality, I don't talk about religion, I firmly believe that it's between you and your creator. How can I ever know what's in your heart? And how can you ever know what's in mine?
Anyways. We were young when we wore it, and many people would tell my mom why do you make them wear it so young? Surprise surprise. It was a choice. Till this day some people tell us why do you wear it. It's weird, what does such a question mean. Does a woman have to wait till she's married to think about wearing hijab?

 It's sad that hijab is becoming just another item of clothing you wear because it's more of a tradition than something you actually believe in. I just feel sad that some families force their daughters to wear it. They don't understand why they should wear it. If there's no inner conviction of Hijab then what's the point? They're definitely more likely to take it off which brings us to the core of this week's topic. Wearing Hijab then taking it off. Why? It was at the wrong time I'm not ready, it doesn't look good, there's not enough Hijabi wear, my friends don't wear it, I didn't know what I was getting myself into, I was forced by my family, etc.

I hear of stories of girls removing their hijab and to be completely honest I feel sorry for them. Whatever reason made them take it off. Some either take it off for good, or postpone it to a time when they're more ready or simply because they're travelling abroad. The latter happens so often. It's as if you leave your religious beliefs behind.
I'm going to sound self-righteous, and I'm not usually one to take extreme opinion on things but it's wrong to take off hijab. There. I said it. I don't want to generlize. Yet, Allah clearly states that women should wear it so taking it off is against what Islam preaches. So, learn about your religion. Take your time. Believe me, it's not hard wearing it everyday. I live in one hot country, 40 C is normal for us. Yet, I wouldn't take it off. Walk with pride. Be fashionable, yes you can. Don't give in to peer pressure. Nothing matters if you believe in Hijab. Nothing.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A soul learning to dance says

I'm as naïve as they come. And I used to be so much more. If I had to confess something it'd be that I don't think what I say has any value. Face to face talk that is. I don't want anyone to listen to me anymore to be honest. Can you talk instead? Count on one thing. I'm listening. Even if I couldn't manage a decent reply. Even if I just sat there. At least I care.
I wouldn't ask anything of you. Perhaps I would. But not what I really want. I don't know why. To that, I'm utterly incapable.
And I'm on the sideline. Once on the sideline, always on the sideline? Perhaps. Perhaps not. The world of possibilities. Why are they scary when they're there to give you hope? I have no idea. They are though.
I'm see-through. I feel it.
Timidity blocking my path? That and the other things I must learn to grow out of. Will that do any good, or will that be enough? I don't know if I can shed those traits away.
Oh I'm self-confident. A bit harsh on myself. A bit insecure. Within normal range.
I want a portrait of myself. One that hid those black circles around my eyes. Showed me as an elegant lady. And an intellect. Beautiful too. A face that radiated warmth. Eyes that spoke a great deal of the world. Oh, wait. I wanted a portrait of myself. Silly. What would I ever do with that?
So, sigh sigh sigh. Smile. Glad we said the above. Never mention it again.
Finally. A surge of gratitude to the people who care about me.
That's all.
Yours truly.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


I saw you carrying on with your life
Though I knew there was a part of you waiting for me
I knew it yet I always doubted that fact
How can this be?
Don't ask
Just listen
I watched you, smiling hoping my smile changed something
Praying that it did
Made you smile
Lifted your spirit
Washed away the pain
Gave you hope
Saved you from self-doubt
Engulfed you in compassion
Took you away from the world
Brought me to your mind
Even for a moment
A moment can last a lifetime
What about forever?
What is wrong with wanting forever?
Now's enough
And a forever promise is...
Yet desired

5.30 a.m. 8/8/2011 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

The opening lines to A Tale of Two Cities. I can't think of another book that has such a resonating beginning that makes you want to read it again and again to make sure you felt the beauty of each sentence lurking deep in your soul. It lures you in, how could it not?

Dickens takes his time with his story telling.  There's such a huge conflict in the book, and a brilliant political plot that is astounding. The characters take time to grow on you, they did for me but at the end you realize there's such a strong presence but it wasn't the characters that made me fall for it so much actually, except for the end in which one of the characters makes your heart weep but I won't go into that because not only was it the best part in the whole book and if I venture to tread on it lightly I'll either ruin it for someone or go on and on about it. Read it for the ending. That's all I'm saying.

The book shifts in the middle to something else entirely. I was hooked then to be honest. I liked the first part, but the second was amazing. Dickens isn't my favorite author, but I was a fan. I think that this book totally shifts the way you view him. It has the feeling of a proper classic, yet it's different. It's full of raw human emotions. Love and hate. Patriotism. Family. Compassion and brutality.

For me, A Tale of Two Cities is about how far we humans go for something we believe in or love. How far would you go for the greater good and how often are you misled in you path? How far we willing to sacrifice for love and  the happiness of the one we love?
When you actually think about it, it takes you off your guard. This is what's different about it I think. The fact that it had such a plot that kept changing and surprising you again and again. The language was beautiful. Some of the phrases and expressions will definitely strike a cord with you. You will find yourself staring at a line.

One thing about the characters, they'll seriously surprise you. I know I was. I was quite taken back with them, though they're not what I love about A Tale of Two Cities. Yet, I can't believe what changes they go through, and what they're capable of. Till the very last page you keep on discovering more about who they really are and I love that about the book. That it kept you engaged till the very end.

Here are some of the quotes I loved, some more for the language and the way words are put together, more for the thought they're carrying:

"Is it possible!" repeated Defarge, bitterly. "Yes. And a beautiful world we live in, when it IS possible, and when many other such things are possible, and not only possible, but done--done, see you!--under that sky there, every day. Long live the Devil. Let us go on."

"Nothing that we do is done in vain"

So strangely clouded were these refinements by the prison manners and gloom, so spectral did they become in the inappropriate squalor and misery through which they were seen, that Charles Darnay seemed to stand in a company of the dead. Ghosts all! The ghost of beauty, the ghost of stateliness, the ghost of elegance, the ghost of pride, the ghost of frivolity, the ghost of wit, the ghost of youth, the ghost of age, all waiting their dismissal from the desolate shore, all turning on him eyes that were changed by the death they had died in coming there.

"If you could say, with truth, to your own solitary heart, to-night, 'I have secured to myself the love and attachment, the gratitude or respect, of no human creature; I have won myself a tender place in no regard; I have done nothing good or serviceable to be remembered by!' your seventy-eight years would be seventy-eight heavy curses; would they not?"

A humongous thanks to Yasmine who made me read A Tale of Two Cities now when I was so sure I'd leave it unread for quite a while if I was left on my own. I enjoyed it all the more because of you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Render me helpless

Pass me by
Heed me no attention
Don't bother smiling
Don't answer my questions
Don't listen to my words
Don't think of me
Never cry for me
Never plead my case
Never need me
Kill whatever thought you have of me
Forget me
Abolish me from your world
Ignore my efforts
Lie and deceive me
Tie me down
Lock me
Laugh at me
Think me worthless
Take my everything
Forsake me
Render me helpless
Answer them
Tell them what you never told me
Tell them what you exactly told me
Give them the world
Be there for them
Laugh with them
Reach out to them
Whisper in their ears
Crave their attention
Hurry into their arms
Burden yourself with their pain
Bring them joy
And when they've had enough of you
Find others
Just keep walking down the path I never took.

Photo Courtesy

Monday, September 19, 2011

LBC: Breath

Welcome to the Loose Bloggers Consortium, where AkankshaAnuAshokConradDeliriousgaelikaaGrannymarOrdinary JoeMagpie11Maria the Silver FoxNema, RohitPadmumPaulRamana SirWill knotand I write on the same topic. Please visit the other blogs to get seventeen different flavours of the same topic. Today’s topic has been chosen by Padmini.
To be completely honest I wasn't going to post this week. I didn't have any decent idea for a post though Rohit and I discussed it thoroughly. I then decided I'd share a bit of lyrics to a song I love called Breathe
 Breathe... just breathe
Oh breathe, just breathe

That part of the song is the relevant bit to this week's topic. That's not what I mean to say though. I shall stray away from the topic, and I apologize for that. Here's the part of the song that gets to me:

 If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to

It's just that those words are becoming truer everyday to me. That's why I have trouble writing on my blog here, or sharing things. It feels as if you're see-through. Letting people in like that. The real you. The thoughts in your head. My words would scream for compassion, sympathy, love, care, attention and comfort. I can't ask for any of that out loud. I don't want to. No scratch that. I can't actually.

So what do you do?
You take a deep breath.
Watch life moving on.
Learn that you have to keep calm, move on and struggle to live. That's what people do. They get by. I get by, too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just like any other

Some chocolate, or popcorn, and a movie. Alone preferably. Lose track of the events for a while to think. Get back and focus. No comparsions made. Too many differences. Hers was an easy life, and the world never fails to remind her of that fact. There was so much condescension around, wasn't there?
So she didn't know much about the world. Big deal. Did everyone who seemed worldly know much about it? So she, too, lived. Just like everyone else. There was a lot going on. So many living in their own private worlds. They didn't want to be disturbed.

A scene went like this:

One of the characters made her case so clear, persisted to the point of demanding things till her friend had no choice but yield. Thoughts and feelings began to show, and you watched her friend's timid, happy to feel cared about, troubled face. The scene ended but she was already lost in its details. Was it a special bond between these two? Surely not. No, she couldn't honestly say. Perhaps it is a special bond, or it will be after this, who knows?
Some people had a way of getting a person open up. She wished she was such a demanding friend, asking because she had a right and getting a chance to show how much she cared. Thinking that people will tell you
things without you asking is very farfetched. She was among those who waited to be asked till she told all, so it was unfair asking any different from people. She was taking her time to do things. Taking time to change things. Time. She knew time was vital, and she was learning patience. No more unrealistic plans that never saw the light of day. No more of that. It did way more bad than good.

Where was the movie going? She couldn't believe herself, she lost track of it. Again. It was coming to an end, what were they fighting about? Did she have the heart to go back and watch again? She must. Rewind. She felt herself close to surrendering to her thoughts again. This time, No. She fought it. The movie ended soon enough. Did she really have to go back wandering where her thoughts told her to go? She didn't want to give in. She didn't want to think anymore, it was agonizing most of the time. It was draining her. She felt like putting everything on hold. Take herself out of there. Away. She didn't want to think about herself anymore. Enough is enough.

A walk. She couldn't go walk alone. What a sad world. Her reflection in the mirror troubled her. The look on her face. How dejected she looked. She laughed it off, tried to make a silly face. It didn't matter.
She knew what she needed, but couldn't ask for it. How she wished she could. I'm there for you. Are you there for me? You're there for someone else. How could this be? Just as her thoughts neared the core of what was getting to her. She stopped them. She couldn't handle it. That was enough. She occupied herself with something else. It worked. Yet, whenever she was alone it came back to haunt her. What would you do? Watch another movie?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

LBC: Things I don't tell about myself

This is my weekly post with the Loose Bloggers Consortium (LBC) including Rummuser, Anu, Ashok, Gaelikka, Grannymar, Conrad, Padmum, Anki, Will Knott, Maria The Silver Fox, Nema ,Paul, Plain Joe, Rohit, Magpie, Delirious, and myself, where we have a Weekly topic to discuss. Please visit their blogs to get different views about this. This Friday's topic has been chosen by Gaelikka and Anu.

I talk about myself a lot. Choose a random post here, and you'll see what I mean. They say write about what you know, and I know myself. Yet, there's a lot of things I don't share with others. I'm excited to hint at them, though I don't talk about them for a reason and I hope I don't say too much.

First off, I don't talk about how how well I do at school or college. I never felt comfortable doing that. I'll reply with one word if asked and then change the topic. I don't want that to define who I am.

Then, there's all these details I won't share unless you ask. Even if you ask, I'll refuse to say sometimes. I contradict myself when it comes to this point, I'll share random useless information with my friends. I always find myself wanting to apologize for that, but then again there are things that I hold back. For an example, how I'm feeling, details about my family or my friends, incidents, things like that. I guess when you grow up (no, I'm not there yet and though I have a long way to go, I find that I'm on the way) you become less and less open with anyone. I'll give you the impression that I can tell you everything if you're willing to lend me an ear, but it's not quite true. I'm not leading you on though, far from that in fact. I am a talkative person by nature, but you have to give me time for me to able to feel comfortable enough to share my inner thoughts. It just isn't as easy as it used to be.

I won't tell you about my insecurities, I won't dwell much on my dreams. I thought before starting writing about these things I'd manage to say a lot, but now my mind's going blank. I think it's because it refuses to share these things. I'll just wrap up with why I think I hold back from telling these things. I like keeping a few things to myself. Sometimes it's because I don't want to bore you with all these details and instead I'd rather listen. I guess there's also a part deep down that doesn't feel comfortable having people know so much about me, then they'd start getting under my skin. Sometimes these things that I choose to not talk about, are very serious to me so I'd hate for them to be ignored or made light of, which happens only because I can't say how much they mean to me or because people simply can't understand. Then there's a part of me that hopes you get those unsaid things without me saying them.There are a lot of reasons, and I guess it's only normal.

The ironic part about this post is that it's gonna get published with so much yet to be told but we'll leave it at that.

HBBC: Forgive and Forget

Welcome to The Half-Baked Bloggers Consortium's (HBBC) second post. Meet the members here.
This week's topic is Forgive and forget, chosen by Noor Al Zubaidy (me). Please take the time to view the members' blogs just as you viewed mine in order to get different perspectives about the same topic.
 Life puts us in all kinds of situations. We've all been wronged, by a friend, a classmate, a stranger. Anger comes first. What did I ever do to that person, I don't deserve this, life's so unfair! You start questioning yourself and the people around you. At the end, you force yourself to think that we all wrong others, and it happens to the best of us. Call it a mistake, imperfection, misjudgement. It's all the same. You learn to forgive, thinking that you have to treat others the way you want to be treated. You forgive. Holding a grudge for a long time isn't healthy. It feels good letting it go. You try putting it behind you when you're with that person. You learn. You grow. These experiences, regardless of how painful and disappointing they can be, really help you become a better person. 

The second part is the hardest though, forgetting. It's not an act of will. It's out of your hands. You can't help remember these incidents, and though you've moved on, they come back to you at times. You find yourself asking your brain to forget. I always wondered why we don't forget as easily, does it mean we haven't completely forgiven that person? I don't like to think so. I don't know why our brain chooses to cling to those memories. Is it to remind ourselves of what people are capable of? Is it because it's an experience we should remember to never forget the lesson it taught us? What is it? Why do we remember? In all honesty, I'd choose to forget. I'd rather keep the lesson than the memory. I don't like how my memory works. When I remember those moments, I can't help feel a bit sad and I start questioning my forgiving abilities even though deep down I know for a fact that I've forgiven them.
I'd change this phrase to simple Forgive. That's a better advice. The Forget part makes me feel as if I'm missing out on a secret that allows you to choose to forget. Am I though? Or is it normal? Am I giving it way more importance than it deserves? 
So, forgive and if you can't forget then don't. Just don't hold a drudge. Be the better person. We all make mistakes

Monday, September 5, 2011

My head

I'd like to be original but the first excuse I'm going to come up with for my inability to do so would be that I live in my head, and then I'd go on about how it's normal and how we all do it. I'd then blame the fact that I don't have a life and I live through books. I bore myself with my predictability even as I'm writing this.

Would I like to change this, of course. Yet, I don't want to give up the life I lead in my head. The one where I can be with myself, where I'm not pressured to talk to people because if I don't I start questioning myself, if I can't talk to people then who am I? A world in my head where I think of my friends, their troubles, and remember things they told me. A world of possibilities. Imaginary, fictional ones. How sad. Yet, it's a comfort zone I'm not willing to give up just yet, because you see this world (aka my head) understands me. It does. It can keep track of my every single thought, because my thoughts once they're voiced out they stop making sense even to me. These voiced thoughts are foreign to me when I hear them in my voice, and I'm left with a deeper conviction of my failure to make the world understand. I give up trying at the end. It happens often. I am yet again defeated. I surrender gladly because wanting to be understood this bad isn't good for me. I know that. Perhaps, I can be understood easily if I kept things simpler and didn't want people to understand me so well. At the end, there's so much to be understood not through words, but through being around that person and paying close attention to the things that usually go unnoticed. To be honest, there are hints and you can tell most of the time. Instead, our head tells us not to pry. You don't know that person well enough, if they want you to know they'd have said something, perhaps they're praying you won't notice so just pretend you don't think they're acting any different, you have problems of your own, plus do you really want that awkward moment of not knowing how to comfort them and feel worse? Is that what we're expected to do? God. I always want to ask, always. Who cares about what you're expected to do anyway? I know that when I'm down, I hate to be asked what's wrong because I get angrier at myself for not knowing how to explain what bothers me. This happens almost always. I then make myself believe that I'm upset over nothing, and well, well, that realization does not brighten one's mood. But, honestly. I'm not upset over nothing. I just don't know what I'm upset about. And we're back to point one. I can go back and explain more how I can't express myself because I still haven't expressed that point as well as I'd hope. You see, you don't understand. You can't anyhow. Or, I could talk about expectations and how my head's designed to hate them yet always think about them. But see, I've already exhausted these two things.

What do I say then? Oh, perhaps a bit about how I shouldn't feel obliged to do or say anything to anyone. No? Then what? The movie I just watched? The fact that I'm still up trying to feel a sense of accomplishment through a mere post on a blog I keep? Perhaps. You know, after my head here's the only place I can bore people with my thoughts. I know you think I love talking about myself, and to an extent I do but I shy away from people when they deliberately turn the conversation about me. I usually succeed in steering it away. The problem is that though I need someone to understand, I don't feel comfortable knowing someone is capable of understanding.

There's more to say. That'll have to wait. Another dawn, and another day to depress myself with my never-ending thoughts. :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

HBBC: Self-love

Welcome to The Half-Baked Bloggers Consortium's (HBBC) first post, where Maha Mohamed, Ammar Al-Majali, Rana Safi, Maryam, Yara Hani, Noha Hanafy, Nema, Deppy, Nouran Ziad, Noor El terk, Salima Al Masrouri, Mariam Tarek, Sara Amr, Yasmine Fayez, Rania Khaled, Engi Amin, Ibhog, Abeer Zaki, Hagar Haggag Yomna Arbad, Salma M San, My Essam and I voice our opinions about a weekly topic chosen by various members. This weekend's topic is Self-love, chosen by Nema. Please take the time to view their blogs just as you viewed mine in order to get different perspectives about the same topic.

I'm full of myself, I've always been the kind of person who replies playfully with "I know" to compliments. My family knows this, and my sisters always tease me about it. Yet, I can be really low on self-esteem and it can get ugly. I love myself, but I often hate it too. And sometimes, it's neutral and I don't have any feelings of either love or hatred, instead they're replaced with a sense of peace. I think that's the best kind of existence. I don't know why. Yet, it makes you love everything around you.

"I love *insert name of friend/family member* more than I love myself."
Think of it. People say that when they want to express the huge amount of love they feel towards others. Do we by nature love ourselves more than we love anyone else? If you have so much self-doubt, if there's so much you want to change about yourself, does that necessarily mean you don't love yourself? Perhaps it does. Perhaps it doesn't. Perhaps self-love isn't connected to the image you have of yourself. Perhaps it is. I'm as clueless as the next person about this, if not more. And I don't have a piece of advice to share with you at the end, just a lot of confusion.