Thursday, October 27, 2011

Crowd Control

I started work as an afterschool program leader (aka afterschool academic and enrichment instructor) and for most of the time, I feel like I am directing a crowd. It is only 21 students, but each one of those twenty one children have their own twenty one different things going on. I don’t blame them. We all rather be somewhere else, doing something fun, than listening to someone tell you what sound the letter ‘m’ makes while you have to sit up straight in a chair that has not left your behind for a couple of hours.

But as an instructor, there are boundaries and agreements you have to create in order to make the environment as stress-free for you as possible. This ensures that the students get a chance to do what they came to do-learn. Obviously, crowd control in a classroom is different than one in a concert or airport line. Although, it might seem like a good idea to have those queue stanchions leading to the bathroom, the field, or anywhere else you need to take the students during the course of your program, it is not a practical solution.


If you are interested in crowd control for large adult audiences, a company that offers barricades and stanchions will be most useful for you. You can select from a variety of designs that suit your needs. Stanchions are mainly for lines in an airport, grocery store, or other events. Barricades are normally used for security and privacy.

If you are dealing with school children, here are two suggestions for you:

1. Teach in the field.

The best place to teach children about rules and procedures is out in the field (not just in the classroom). When you have to go out for your physical education, use orange cones liberally. Place the cones as boundaries for your students. Tell them that you want them within the orange cones. Place additional cones a couple feet away and have students run to those and back. I have found this to be the best way to teach children about boundaries.

2. Enforce ‘proper line behavior’.

Whether you are going to the bathroom, or to an adjacent classroom,make sure the students are always in a straight line. Having them hold on to one side of a long rope helps them stay in a proper line. If you are consistently diligent about proper line behavior, it conditions them to follow rules and agreements in other areas as well (such as inside the classroom).

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Q&A with Brianna

One of the best reasons for blogging is the opportunity to network with other bloggers who might have similar interests (or not, but they become your friends anyway). Along the way, you form friendships you may not have otherwise even considered. One way of showing your appreciation to your blogger buddies is by promoting their blogs. Today, I am doing just that. Brianna is a lovely lady who blogs about fashion, beauty, and décor. After you read the Q&A, please go and check out her blog here.

So let’s get started!

RukhparMor: When and why did you start blogging?

Brianna: I started blogging around the beginning of this year. This is my third attempt at blogging. My first couple of times were not successful. I didn’t have or make the time to put anything into it and I didn’t share it with others. It was all private. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to share with the world.

RM: What is your blog about? 

B: My blog is evolving slightly since I began. It began as a Style/ Décor and Beauty themed blog where I share pretty things, give away fun stuff, and meet new people. Ultimately, I would like my blog to be more streamlined and represent my inner “Martha” and mimic the idea behind Real Simple. I do crafts, cook, and decorate. But, I am also very much into styling and beauty advice. So, I would love to merry them all together and offer some posts on each subject per month.

RM: Tell us 3 unknown facts about you.

B: 1. I suffer from depression and anxiety disorders. It has been a constant battle. After much thought, I started seeing a therapist and it has dramatically helped me come to terms with events in my life and move forward. I realize now that I am not crazy. I needed to deal with my problems instead of bottling up emotions and bursting at the seams. I would advise anyone that takes a sudden turn toward moodiness, withdrawal and anxiousness to seek out professional help.

2. I am the oldest child of 5. I have always been quite independent even when I was young and have always acted as the “mother hen” to friends and family alike. I’m bossy and it’s quite annoying sometimes but its just the way I am. People close to me don’t take it personally and laugh with me and endure my silliness.

3. Relay for Life, a benefit for the American Cancer Society is a huge passion of mine. I spend lots of time and energy fundraising and spreading awareness for this cause. I do it in remembrance of my Grandmother specifically and all the other family members I’ve lost to Cancer. Cancer Sucks!

RM: What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?

B: Oh gosh, it’s a scramble. I wake up every morning to several of my husband’s alarms set to really crazy music and then I hear mine and tap on him and if I realize he isn’t there, then I understand that it is MY alarm going off. I worry instantly that I am late, wonder where my husband is (even though he leaves earlier than myself for work) and I start figuring out what I’m going to wear/ how my hair will look/ time for coffee or not? It’s kinda funny really!

RM: What is something you would like to change about yourself? 

B: I really like myself the way I am honestly but I’ve always said I wish I was born with a chin! Mine is non-existent.

RM: What brings a smile to your face? 

B: So many things…. my husband, the life God has blessed me with, children, my cat Plato and every single Cancer Survivor and Patient that I meet while volunteering.

RM: What is one thing you would never joke about?

B: I won’t make jokes or support racist comments. I HATE them. I think they make people look ignorant and unimportant.

RM: Since your blog deals with fashion , is there any fashion tip you would like to give us?

B: Be yourself. Don’t be afraid of who you see yourself evolve into, embrace it and be confident.

RM: What is something you will never be caught without?

B: Lip Products. I guess I’d say I have good lips really. I keep chapstick & several lipsticks and glosses in my purse at all times, each and every single purse too! I find that it’s a great way to change the mood of your outfit, project confidence, and it just lifts my spirits when I have a pretty pout.

RM: What is one thing you want to know more about?

B: I am a nerd for information. I love it! I have become slightly A.D.D. when it comes to research because I enjoy it that much. Whether it deals with the blog, work or Fashion…I become entangled and lost like a good book.  There are so many things I want to know and learn more about, I can’t quite put my finger on just one topic really.

Bloggy Buttons - Page 001

Click here to visit her blog.

Visit her Etsy page here

Visit her on Smashion (New & Used Items) here.

Visit her on Facebook here.

Twitter: @Bresbaubles


Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Toast to Toastmasters

I joined Toastmasters International in May 2011.

I heard of Toastmasters while I was studying at University of California, Irvine about a year or two ago. At that time, however, my reaction was, “there is NO way that I’m going to participate!” Fair enough. I mean, who wants to be giving speeches in front of an audience when the thought of standing in front of two people is tormenting. I didn’t mind learning about public speaking-how important it is and how to be a good speaker-but I was not in the least interested in actually doing it.

That is where the problem lies for many of us. Listening to lectures titled “How to be a Great Speaker in Ten Days” or “How to Get More Twitter Followers” is not automatically going to make you a better speaker or get more people to ‘follow’ you on twitter. 

Finally, I decided to check out Toastmasters this April. I went to their main website and searched for a local club. I found a club in Cypress,CA called “The Talking Heads of Cypress” and saw that they were having a communications workshop in the month of April.

I was hooked after the first day. I met some of the nicest people who were dedicated to becoming better communicators and helping each other along the way. During this workshop, I gave two speeches and was asked to give impromptu answers to questions during a section of the meeting called “Table Topics”.

I officially became a Toastmaster in May and have given four speeches and participated in lots of Table Topics. Additionally, I became secretary of my local club and am ‘Contest Chair’ for a competition taking place this month. My job as ‘Contest Chair’ is to recruit volunteers, assign them a role, tell them their job requirements, and make sure they do their job on the day of the contest. I am also in close contact with our Area Governor (for Toastmasters International) and she has become my mentor.

If I hadn’t joined Toastmasters, I would not have gotten a chance to experience leadership. In my 22 years of existence, I had never taken a leadership role in any of the clubs or activities that I was a part of. It’s very different with Toastmasters. Everyone encourages you to become part of the leadership team and there are mentors available that can help you along the way.

I am so grateful for Toastmasters and I encourage all of you to join as well. Visit the website and click on ‘find a club near you’ and follow the prompts to locate a club near you. There is a club in almost every country! If you don’t have one close to you, start one! It’s a great way to improve your communication and leadership skills.

To read my ice-breaker speech, click here. To read my second speech, click here.

Do you know of any clubs that help you develop a skill? Make sure to mention them in the comments. I would love to know!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I’m Linkin’ it:

Just yesterday, I heard a speech promoting frugality in our consumption of food, electricity, water, etc. The speaker mentioned a time when his colleagues went to Germany on a business trip. They stopped over at a restaurant, ordered some food, and then (since they enjoyed it so much and had the money to spend) ordered some more. When they were finished, while they went to pay, an older lady sitting across the room called the police. The police officer fined them a good sum of money. What was their crime? They ordered more food than they ate and the rest was wasted.

Whoa! I didn’t know that existed. Americans are among the top in consumption and wastage, yet we have nothing in place like that. Even in a month like Ramadan, which is dedicated to consuming less food, Muslims in the US aren’t exactly practicing the true spirit of Ramadan.

I remember reading a poem written by a Chinese lower class citizen. One of the lines of the poem mentioned how the emperor had milk spoiling in his reserves while the rest of China was starving. Every time my mom has to throw away milk, that poem comes to mind.

What if there was an incentive to recycling and ‘greening’ our lives? Would more people do their part? That’s exactly what Recyclebank is set to do. Not only do they have tips and tricks on living green, but they have incentives so that you can feel good about recycling. You earn points at Recyclebank by recycling and taking pledges. It’s easy to earn points and you can redeem these points to buy coupons (valued higher than the regular newspaper coupons), gift cards, or magazine subscriptions. For example,to get a one-year subscription to Redbook, Whole Living, Better Homes and Gardens, you only need 115 points and it’s easy to get to 200 points. 

So, join Recyclebank today to get involved in making our world greener! It’s absolutely FREE to join!

Once you join, click on EARN REWARDS and play the Green Your School Challenge. Just the challenge earns you 110 points. After that, take other pledges on the page to earn more points. Once you receive at least 115 points, you can order a one-year subscription to the following magazines:

Better Homes and Gardens
Food Everyday
Good Housekeeping
Marie Claire
Midwest Living
Popular Mechanics
Siempre Mujer
Town and Country
Whole Living

Remember, you can earn enough points to order the above magazines in one day! I’ve already ordered mine. Join Recyclebank! It’s free so you have nothing to lose.

Note: Some programs are only for residents of certain countries. Make sure to check if it is available in your country.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mom’s Ramadan Recipe: Chhole


What you need:

2 cans chickpeas, drained and washed
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon yogurt
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
Salt, to taste
Water, as required
Optional: 1 cubed potato

For garnish:
Chopped cilantro
1 sliced tomato
1/4 sliced onion
1 chopped green pepper

How to make it:

In a small bowl, mix the turmeric, salt, red pepper, ground cumin powder, and 3 tablespoons of water.

Heat oil in pan on low heat. Add above mixture and stir well. Keep adding 1 tablespoon of water every 30 seconds for 3 minutes while stirring (so that the mixture doesn’t dry out). Finally, add potatoes with another 2 tablespoons of water and stir. Add chickpeas and 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer on low heat.

Meanwhile, mix yogurt and tamarind paste in a separate bowl and keep aside.

Once water has evaporated and potatoes are tender, remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes (the chickpeas should be tender as well, but not too soft).

Add tamarind and yogurt mixture to the chickpeas and mix well. Place in serving bowl and garnish as desired.

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Ramadan Season 2011

Today was the first day of Ramadan. Out of the 12 months in the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan is when Muslims are supposed to fast. Fasts begin at sunrise and last until sunset. My family starts their day by waking up really early and then fueling themselves for the day ahead. After the morning prayer, everyone goes about their day as they normally would, but without eating or drinking. About an hour before sunset, preparation begins for Iftar, the time at which we break our fast.

People usually greet each other by saying Ramadan Mubarak or Ramadan Kareem. [Because of the recent events in the Middle East, many Egyptians are avoiding anything with the term Mubarak in it.]

Click here to read last year’s post on Ramadan.

I have a few goals this Ramadan that I wish to accomplish:

(1) Memorize Juz ‘Amma

Explanation: The Koran, the Holy Book of Muslims, is divided into 30 parts to make it easier to read in a month, or to memorize it. The whole Koran contains 114 Surah (chapters). Juz ‘Amma is the 30th part of the Koran. Since the Surah are shorter in this part of the Koran, Muslims start memorizing the Koran with Juz ‘Amma.

For a better explanation of what a Juz is, click here.

(2) Memorize Surah Mulk

Explanation: In simple terms, a Surah is a chapter of the Koran. Each Surah has a name and this particular one is called Surah Mulk. Since Surah Mulk is 30 ayaat (verses), it is an ideal Surah to memorize during Ramadan (which also lasts for 30 days), which means we memorize one ayah (verse) per day.

To access Surah Mulk, click here.

(3) Read Islamic fiction/non-fiction

Explanation: To keep with the spirit of Ramadan, I want to promote Muslim women writers. I will read books, essays, short stories, and anything else written by Muslim women and review it on my blog.

I will be using a Facebook page created by a friend for recommendations. Click here to take a look.

(4) Reach out to my non-Muslim connections

Explanation: This is probably one of the most important goals I have this Ramadan. I have a lot of non-Muslim friends and acquaintances, which is why I wanted to reach out and include them in my Ramadan celebrations [I have already asked one of my friends to fast with me for one day].

In the coming days, I will be sharing book reviews by Muslim women writers and some recipes of my mom’s Iftar dishes.


^Iftar feast, clock-wise starting from upper left: dahi bade, chhole, pakore (traditional Indian/Pakistani cuisine for Ramadan).

How are you planning to spend your Ramadan? Do you have any goals? If you are not Muslim, what are your thoughts on Ramadan? If you have any questions, feel free to ask them too!

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Monday, June 27, 2011

She Writers 2nd Anniversary!

How cool would it be if there was a place for women writers of all backgrounds to come together, share ideas, learn from each other, and grow in the process?

Wouldn’t it be great if aspiring writers could connect with established ones to gain insight on the process of writing and publishing?

How about two women from different religious faiths sharing their stories about their experience growing up?

Well, there’s something out there just like that and it’s called “She Writes”. I joined this network of female authors, publishers, and bloggers almost a year ago (August 2010) and am enjoying the virtual company of my fellow writers.

Here’s a chance for you to not only join She Writes, but also meet some of the lovely ladies face-to-face at a meet-up near you!

She Writes 2nd Anniversary is coming up on June 29th, 2011 and there are meet-ups being held all over the place! To give you an idea, just in Southern California where I live, I know of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties each having their own meet-ups! That gives you a chance to meet your fellow writers without having to travel too far from where you live.

If you see that there is no meet-up near you, you can start your own. It doesn’t take too much planning! Follow these easy steps to celebrate She Writes 2nd Anniversary:

1. Join She Writes, if you haven’t already (Just do it!)

Visit She Writes

2. Click here to visit the Volunteer HQ page, where you can find more information about the She Writes celebration. Read the discussions and posts.

3. Click here to find a meet-up near you or create one of your own.

4. Attend a meet-up, have fun, and make some new connections!

Here’s the info about meet-ups in Orange County:

Nirvana Grill, 303 Broadway Street, Laguna Beach, CA
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 6:00 PM

Java Joe's, 4973 Yorba Ranch Road, Yorba Linda, CA
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 7:00 PM

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yearning for that ‘little girl’

I used to be obsessed about God. I really thought about Him and called on Him for the littlest of things. I remember that thick, silky curtain that separated the living room from the rest of the house (it was used when guests were over). I used to wrap myself in that curtain and pray. It made me feel like I was invisible from the rest of the world.
I remember I used to pray all the time (no joke). I was hopeful at every moment during the day. I would hide behind those curtains, form a cup with my hands, and ask for things. A doll house. Australia. A pet. America. I wouldn’t quit asking. I wanted to leave Pakistan. My uncles were living in Australia and the U.S. and I wanted so bad to leave and live life in a better place.
“Allah* mian  mujhe kahin bahar janaa hai” (Allah*, I want to go outside, i.e. abroad).
“Allah mere test mein achhe scores deejiye ga” (Allah, please give me good scores on my test)
“Allah please mujhe aaj Papa se ice cream dilwaiye ga” (Allah, please make my dad buy me ice cream today)
So many years later, after having moved to the U.S. at the age of nine, that little-sparkly-eyed-girl has become extinct. A once-upon-a time-species. She is similar to those birds that I talk about during my naturalist meetings. The ones that used to exist, but now are only in the memories of the birders that were enthusiastic about them.
I wonder where she is now.
I know she’s here somewhere. She’s overshadowed by years of so-called “adulthood”. Morose-hood is a better term. We don’t just become adults. We somehow become epitomes of pessimism. Why should we define when childhood ends, and adolescence starts, and when that is overtaken by adulthood? Why can’t we just live as innocent, little, curious creatures? (Yes, I understand that I might not be making any sense).
Now, it feels like a chore to ask God for anything. It makes me sad and frustrated. What happened to that little girl? Where did she fly off to? Will she ever return?
Maybe one day I will go back to being the girl that asked, asked and asked from Someone who gives, gives, and gives. Today I ask God for something –I want that little girl back.

pretty flower

*Allah= literally translates as ‘The God’ in Arabic. It’s unique because it is neither a masculine nor feminine word.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Blindisms- Are you guilty of these?

[This was my second speech for Toastmaster’s International. The objective was to organize my thoughts with a clear goal in mind. I talked about a topic that I have always wanted to share with people ever since I started working at the Braille Institute.]

A person with a badge with the letters V.I.P is standing next to me. A conversation occurs:

Me: Excuse me, I am trying to get to DeAnza Boulevard and Prospect Drive. Do you know where that is?

Other: Sure. Take this bus and get off at the third stop. Walk about 5 feet and take the bus at that stop. That should get you where you need to go.

Me: Thank you!

A similar conversation took place about five years ago. It wasn’t an unusual exchange as you saw. I asked for directions at a bus stop and was kindly given an answer. Instead, I want to bring the entire focus on the man that helped me. He is someone who one of my acquaintances would call a VIP; in other words, a ‘visually impaired person’. This acquaintance is herself blind so she uses this acronym in a light-hearted way.  

Today, I want to talk about a concept that is frequently discussed amongst VIPs called “blindisms”.“Blindisms” is a term coined by one of the instructors that I assist at the Braille Institute. These are ideas, perceptions, and mainly misconceptions that many of us sighted people might fall into. I want to focus on only two of these “blindisms” that the visually impaired community wants the rest of us to know. I talk about the following two specifically because they come up often in conversations amongst the students at the Braille Institute.

First, you can’t always tell whether someone is blind.  Although we might imagine a blind person to ‘look’ or ‘act’ a certain way, like carry a cane or perhaps have their eyes look ‘different’, there will be many VIPs that do not fit into that mold. As an example, although a white cane can be an identifier for us to know if someone is blind, not every VIP feels comfortable carrying one. I met an elderly lady who lost her sight due to glaucoma and macular degeneration and because she was an independent woman all her life, she said it was hard for her to rely on a cane. She refused to use one and thus, most people would not know just by looking at her that she is actually blind.

Secondly, visual impairment is not only limited to complete blindness. In fact, only about 10 percent of all blindness is one that causes its recipient to be in ‘complete darkness’. The rest either have only light perception, or their central vision is intact and they see nothing in the periphery.  For example, I met someone who said that people at the grocery store wouldn’t believe her when she said she was legally blind because she was previously seen reading (or trying to read) some signs (though she had to stand touching her nose to the sign to figure out what it said). So, you might have some vision, but this certainly does not mean that it is any easier to complete daily tasks in a sighted world.

Like I said earlier, there are many “blindisms”, but I presented you with the two most common. The reason I talked about these was the frequency with which they occur and with the hope that by sharing  them, I inspired us all to recognize the diversity that exists in the VIP world.

[The speech was very good, according to my evaluator, but the conclusion was too abrupt. I felt that I stumbled many times, but apparently no one noticed.]

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reaching Milestones, One Rock at a Time

[I wrote the following for my first Toastmaster speech. It was supposed to be an ice-breaker speech, where I talk about myself in any way that I wanted to.]

Imagine this: You are holding onto a 20-foot wall with all your might. You haven’t reached the top of that wall yet, but you anxiously look down at the distance between you and the ground. You have your harness wrapped tightly around your body. One end of a rope is securely fastened to your harness while your partner holds on to the other end on the ground. Your face is sweaty, your palms are cracked, and your legs are sore.

That was me on my fifth attempt to reach the top of a wall during one of my very first rock-climbing classes. On my previous attempts, I would get nervous and come down after getting about half way to the top. This time was a little different. One of the class instructors decided that he would be the one holding my rope at the other end. Before I started climbing, he said to me very seriously, “You’re going to the top.”

So, I started climbing thinking that I will be down after another failed attempt. However, the instructor had a different plan in mind. He decided to keep me up there until I reached the top. He kept saying, “I’m not letting you down until you reach that bell.”  There was a bell at the top and I kept staring at it, desperately wanting to reach it. After about an hour or so, I made it to the top.

The reason I talk about this event is because it was a milestone in my life. I told myself, “After this, I can do anything.” Two years later, I decided to take it one step higher. Last summer, I went bungee jumping with my friends. Though I waited till the end to attempt that 100-foot jump, I still did it. Whenever I am faced with a new challenge, I tell myself “You climbed that wall. You jumped off that bridge. You got this!” These experiences summarize my passion for trying new things and the more scary they are, the more satisfied I am after having accomplished them.

[The speech went well, except that I had too many “Uhm’s” and “Ah’s” and I tended to clasp my hands together too much.]

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I’m Linkin’ it:

gawaahi_2 is a new website aimed at bringing testimonials of every day Pakistanis to the rest of the world. Whether it’s the survivors of last year’s devastating flood, minorities being oppressed, or a Pakistani celebrating her heritage, the website brings it to you via videos, pictures, interviews, articles, etc.

It’s refreshing to see the perspective of those that are actually affected by the events we hear about in the news. “Official” stories do not give us a real insight because it’s not personal. Through, Naveen Naqvi, Nofil Naqvi, and Sana Saleem (founders) bring stories of everyday Pakistanis to you through digital media. These are stories that celebrate and educate. I think it’s a great initiative and I hope to contribute something to this project myself.

Here’s a video found on about a woman named Mangla Sharma. She is the Chairperson for the Pak-Hindu Welfare Council. She talks about protecting the Hindu temples that already exist in Pakistan, as there is a law that prohibits the enacting of new ones.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

The Rukhpar Mor blog received the ‘Stylish Blogger Award’ from Zarina Hassem, who blogs at ‘Muslim Women Exposed’. Sister Zarina is a counselor with an M.S. in Psychology and resides in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has authored a book titled ‘7 Things to Talk About’, which deals with important issues about Islam and encourages Muslims to reflect upon these.

JazakAllah Khayr (meaning: May God grant you goodness) for the award Sister!



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Talat Farooq: The Voice of Pakistan

Guest post by J. Jacobs

J. Jacobs is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on online nursing classes for the Guide to Health Education.

Talat Farooq is nothing short of extraordinary. Anyone trying to fill her shoes will have to find multiple pairs of feet, as Farooq serves as a poet, educator, human rights activist, student, columnist, and the executive editor of the Islamabad-based Criterion Quarterly. Recently, Farooq has taken up study at the University of Leicester United Kingdom, specializing in American policy towards Pakistan after the September 11th disaster. Although international affairs remain important to her, Farooq also focuses on what goes on in households behind closed doors. Farooq strives to communicate to the world about the struggles of women (Pakistani women, in particular) through her enticing poetry. Her work highlights how difficult it is for women to exercise control in a world run by men, especially in countries where women have continued to be cast aside. Through her colorful writing, Farooq helps the reader to understand the powerlessness and emptiness felt by many females across the world. One of the ways Farooq carries this out is by writing of instances of domestic violence.

Farooq has written two books of poetry, but her second book, Scheherzade, focuses largely on the many forms of abuse carried out against her beloved people. The National Language Authority (NLA) and the literary organization in Sherzad, Islamabad, came together to launch this powerful piece of literature, which has been spoken highly of by NLA chairman, Iftikhar Arif and Urdu poet and activist, Kishwar Naheed. Scheherzade incorporates the political sphere, as one cannot avoid it living as a female in Pakistan. Farooq's poems touch on certain areas of democracy and memorable events, such as the 2008 Pakistani elections, the assassination of former Prime Minister to Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, and former President Bush's visit to Pakistan. If you seek to learn about women's empowerment, Scheherzade is a necessary read.

Personally, I honor Farooq for speaking out about some issues that frequently go ignored. Because domestic violence occurs in the private sector, many people believe that it shouldn't be brought to the forefront. Too many have been misguided to think that what happens at home should stay among the family. However, if what happens at home results in bruises, lacerations, tear-stained cheeks, or any other destruction to a human body or soul, something must be done to prevent it and/or to ensure that retribution comes to the perpetrator. I'd like to give my personal thanks to Talat Farooq for bringing this issue to the masses. As of now, certain legal blockades exist that prevent us from fully addressing domestic violence in certain parts of the world, but that doesn't mean we can't speak out against these atrocities, thus granting voices to all those who have been abused.

Additionally, abuse does not only come in the form of five fingers. Farooq's writing teaches her readers about the countless social injustices experienced by Pakistanis. Lastly, although women are often the targets, I respect Farooq for recognizing that both males and females are victims of injustices. If we are to move forward, we cannot place the blame on an entire gender, but we must work to end the cause of suffering of all sorts.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Gurdwara Adventure

I went to Houston,Texas last week to take part in a wedding. My dad’s first cousin’s son was getting married and we wanted to be part of the celebration. Since I am not a huge fan of wedding celebrations, I will just skip to the part about the adventure I had with my cousin (the groom’s sister).

We decided to take a walk in her neighborhood and small white domes caught my eye from the distance. I asked my cousin if it was a mosque and she informed me that it was actually a Gurdwara (Sikh temple).


I got excited. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to take a look inside a place of worship belonging to a religion so similar to the one I follow (i.e. Islam). So, we embarked on a journey. The Gurdwara seemed close enough from where we were, but getting there took a while. We ran into two or three dead ends before we finally figured out how to get there.


We found a nice man inside who gave us a tour of the building. We saw a shrine that holds the Holy Book called the Guru Granth Sahibji. Sikhs show utmost respect to their Gurus (religious leaders, including the last one-Guru Granth Sahibji) and when our guide entered this room, he prostrated before this shrine.


^shrine with Guru Gobind Sahibji

Sikhs also have the concept of ‘seva’, which means to volunteer services to their community.

We were given prashad (food served at religious ceremonies). While I devoured the prashad, I talked with a sweet lady who told us that there was a religious service every Friday for kids and every Sunday for adults. They teach the kids to play tabla (drums) because the religious ceremony often involves singing from the Scriptures.


^Parshad-made of flour and sugar

Here’s some other tidbits I’ve learned from Dr. Google:

-The members of the Sikh congregation that have been baptized are referred to as a ‘Khalsa’. These sikhs carry the Five K’s or ‘panch kakke’ as they are called-kara (bracelet),  kanga (comb), kes (uncut hair), kachha (undergarment), and kirpan (dagger).

-There are eleven gurus, of which the last one is the Guru Gobind Sahibji. The tenth guru established that the last and final guru be the Holy Text that he left behind.

Here’s to a new year with many new adventures to come! =)

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