Wednesday, 24 February 2010

2nd Month Anniversary

It's time for my 2nd month anniversary!

I know I haven't posted as much this month, but I've been awfully busy with this thing called life! However, the number of readers, followers, stimulators, commentators, and casual passers-by has definitely increased - I'm starting to love the Google Analytics' graphs!

So again, to thank you all, here's a bit of entertainment. What I call educational comedy ;)


Tuesday, 23 February 2010

My Housemaid Beats my Kids up And I’m OK With it

“I’m a single mother to the most adorable two kids in this world. They’re 6 and 2 years old. I love them to death and want them to live the best life possible on Earth. About 6 months ago, my life suddenly became extremely difficult and hectic, that I couldn’t afford any minute of the day at home, let alone giving them any sort of love and attention.

I have a limited number of family members, and each has his own life and family to take care of. Therefore, I only have my housemaid to depend on for taking care of my kids during the day. She’s a great chef, she cleans quite well, and she can protect the house more than any trained guarding dog. She’s a expert in gardening, and has extraordinary sewing skills – she can fix anything up. She’s been with us for quite a while and understands the daily routine, both my children’s and my own needs. Basically, she’s our family’s Superman and I cannot believe my luck to have her. However, my housemaid secretly beats my kids up.

How did I find out? I saw the signs, on their frail bodies, and it couldn’t be anything, or anyone, else. I was completely shocked and couldn’t utter a word or look at her face for nearly 2 days. She was our fairy, our miracle! How was I supposed to react? The immediate thoughts were to get her out of the country. But then I decided to think more about it. It’s not only that I depend on her so much, but my kids ADORE her. Surely this means something? Surely it can’t be that bad; she might just finch them here and there every once in a while. I still don’t know how far she goes though.

But what if it was my sister instead of the housemaid? What if my sister did only half the wonderful things my housemaid does, yet she sometimes beat my kids? I wouldn’t have minded. I would’ve thought, “I’m sure they really got on her nerves that day and needed to be slightly punished...” or “She’s their aunt, she loves them, so she’ll never really be dangerous to them. Sometimes a little beating doesn’t hurt” or “If I were in her place, I’d probably do the same”. What difference does it make if the beating comes from my sister or my housemaid? Is there a difference at all?

So I decided, after weighing all my housemaid’s good qualities against the bad ones, that I’m OK with it. As long as she doesn’t cause them serious injuries. As long as she doesn’t cross the limits. I’m OK with my housemaid beating my kids up.”

What do you think?

P.S. Just in case you’re thinking it, the lady in the story is NOT ME. It’s just an imaginary scenario to stimulate some discussion.

P.P.S. Is anyone facing any problems when trying to comment on my blog? If yes, then please send me an email!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Wedding Leftovers

There are lots of negative aspects of weddings in Oman, but in this post I’ll just focus on food leftovers.

“Ladies, dinner has been served. Please help yourselves”

And this is how it all begins. From 40 tables or so, the glitter-faced skinny-gowned flab-repressed ladies of the Omani community semi-walk semi-jog to the buffet like hungry children. They try to still look pretty, with the masked smiles properly plastered upon their faces, and walk head high, heels high, straight to the crowded queue.

Both the variety and amounts of dishes are astonishing. I wonder; do we really need all this? “Oh of course we do”, says the ladies of our community. Or else others will reckon us rudely stingy. Or else the society will pity the newlyweds, thinking they started off being poor, God only knows how they’ll survive. How will the newlyweds get any respect later on? The buffet, among the other ridiculously priced parts of the wedding, has to be plentiful, eye-catching and extremely inviting. So much so, that invitees would start pouring in food on their plates without thinking, without hesitation, without really being hungry to start with!

And the disaster comes to action. Put a bit of this, a spoonful of that, one of these little bites, and a good serving of this, this, this and yes… There, that one! A really good portion please! Back to their seats and their eyes start to wonder. Why have I put so much? I don’t even like vegetables. And urgh, I don’t want to eat both rice and lasagna today – I’ll just leave the rice aside. Slowly, but effortlessly, they pick out their favourite 5 dishes out of the twenty ones stuffed in their plates, and decide: it’s OK to throw away most of what they’ve just, just, dished up. It’s OK to make this decision. They easily excuse themselves, allowing multiple unreasonable reasons to be temporarily reasonable: Everyone does it, it’s not healthy anyway so I don’t have to eat it, there’s plenty more for everyone else, blah blah blah.

Well I’ve got news for you my dears, IT’S NOT OKAY.

It isn’t! Do you have any idea what the end result looks like?!!! Well I couldn’t resist myself to take the following photos. I’ve been to a few weddings recently and I decided enough is enough. Look at them and tell me what you see:

Ladies, come on. You know you’re better than this. You know that when invited to people’s houses, you wouldn’t leave half your plate as full as weddings. I’m not sure about the men’s side (although I do hear that they have many leftovers as well). But you don’t HAVE to taste every single dish available. You don’t HAVE to put a heavy portion of all the different meals. Try holding yourself! Think for a second or two before pouring those humungous servings. Resist the temptation. If it turns out it wasn’t enough, there’s no shame in adding some more. I’m serious, there’s no shame, even if others tell you that in fact there is. Think with your brain and heart, before your eyes and appetite. And most importantly, TRANSFORM THE TREND.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Thanks Sandhya Menon

This post is dedicated to dearest Sandhya, who noticed me out of the crowd, made me stand out, and wrote about me as a blogger, among the other excellent bloggers of Oman. The article appears in the Times of Oman today, February 16th 2010, under the title “For the Love of Change and Blogging”. Part two will be in tomorrow’s paper.

Thanks Sandhya, you definitely made me a follower of your work!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Facebook = Haram?!!

Imagine swimming and swimming lap after another, searching for a piece of land to rest on, food, water, or anything that could help remind you what it felt like to be human. The swimming tires you, exhausts you, and slowly you begin hallucinating. You see a far away island, one that requires only a few more minutes of moving your restless and weak arms and legs to its direction. You keep moving, and swim even faster to arrive quicker. And it suddenly hits you. Your eyes have betrayed you, and your brain was just teasing. There’s no island. There’s no ending. It’s either the swimming continues with a numb soul, or you give up and let the savage waves take control.

And that’s how I feel every now and then. I love Islam. I feel it’s a beautiful pure religion which always, always, makes sense. It covers everything, and if conducted properly it would make us the happiest people ever. However, (and a big “HOWEVER” this is), Muslims go on and on making their own explanations, creating their own rules, and enforcing their own limited point of views upon it. They either make it ridiculously difficult, because for one reason or another they personally cannot do something allowed in Islam and so they want everyone else to stop doing it. Or, they take it easy – too easy – and try to explain why they personally believe something should be allowed while it clearly isn’t.

And here is where I fit in. I don’t claim to understand every part of this great religion, but I can say that I know the basics. I know how I’m supposed to live, to think, to feel and to “deal” with people/issues according to Islamic teachings. But lately, I feel all I do is defend Islam. Explain why some people did something wrong, and how they linked it to Islam, but it really isn’t Islam – they just misunderstood it. I just wish I could one day stop defending. Stop explaining. I wish Muslims would act as Muslims, rather than act upon their personal beliefs and say those are Islam’s beliefs. I wish there’s an ending to this tiresome battle with the savage waves.

The latest Fatwa is a typical example. According to yesterday’s Muscat Daily, a top Egyptian cleric from Al-Azhar issued a “fatwa forbidding the use of popular social networking site Facebook” !!!!! And why is it forbidden? Because it “encourages spouses to have relations with other people”. Well I guess I’m going to hell then, since I’m very into Facebook and I check it every day!

Aaaarrrggghhhh!!!! Nothing about the Fatwa makes sense! It just makes Muslims look ridiculous. As if all we think of is having relationships with other people. As if we never knew how to do it before until Facebook, hurray, came to existence. As if we are so weak, so stupid, and so na├»ve, that we would easily fall for any friend request and the next day betray our spouses because our new “friend’s” profile picture was so gorgeous we couldn’t resist it. How sad.

It’s even Haram in Islam to say something is Haram while it isn’t. Any Fatwa has to have some concrete basis. I don’t see any basis, let alone solid basis, for this Fatwa.

But I suppose I cannot lose hope. Hope for change, and hope for a world where both Muslims and non-Muslims understand Islam better. But I need help in this – and dearest readers do help me out. Let’s erase these misunderstandings, let’s think and analyze and understand better, let’s use common sense rather than traditional viewpoints and ancestors’ beliefs. As Lin Yutang says it:

“Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.”