September 30, 2006


In Indian and Pakistani wedding tradition one of many days that make up the wedding celebration Shaadi, is at least one Mehndi Day (Henna Day). This is a picture taken of the stage of the groom's Mehndi Day (a stage I helped decorate). The bride and groom sit on the stage while family members come up to them and paste henna on their hands, oil on their hair and turmuric on their cheeks. (In reality the bride and groom held a tissue paper in ther hands which we smeared on. Modern times and all...) Traditional Mehndi colours are bright orange, green, yellow and pink.

September 24, 2006

Yusuf Islam a.k.a cat Stevens in Dubai

In May this year I travelled to London and attended an evening of remembrance of the Prophet Muhammad, and at the event Yusuf Islam showed up unexpectedly and a video was played where he pulled out his guitar on stage which he had left in the closet for nearly 20 years and sang what was to me the most beautiful version of the old Arabic song "Tala' al badru 3aleyna" (the white moon rose over us).

A song that was sung by the people of Medina upon the arrival of the Prophet Muhammad to the city.

I have searched for the video on the net and today by chance I stumbled upon it, here it is, from his live performance in Dubai earlier this year.

September 23, 2006

Our guest has arrived

Ramadan has finally decided to visit our homes. Today will be the first day of fasting. Here in Sweden that means eating the morning meal before 4.50 am when the sun rises, and breaking the fast in the evening around 7 pm when it sets. Roughly 12 hours of fasting.

A Ramadan blog, initiated by fellow blogger Kaya, has been set up and anyone who would like to contribute can go there and sign up.

Recipees, Photos, Ramadan thoughts, Tips etc will be the main focus of the Blog. Do drop by Ramadan Kareem...

Have a blessed and wonderful Ramadan!

September 22, 2006

Female French Revolution

For those of you who missed reading my "A French Revolution in Saudi" post, here is a re-cap of it:

I have a suggestion for all Saudi women; it's time for a revolution!

Yes you heard me. Bring out the guillotine (in the form of kitchen knives that do an excellent job on tomatoes), guns (in the form of the latest version of blow-dryers) and don't forget to claim the code; Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité!

You are to tell the men in your lives (and the king), that you are not able to work outside your home and contribute to the economic growth of society because it is against your fitra (human predisposition). Don't forget to quote some of the leading wahabi scholars; I'm sure you will find heaps of material for your defence.

-Fraternize with your kitchen utensils and chop your husband up a lovely salad, Tabbouleh perhaps? That knife of yours will chop up those tomatoes in small squares before you can say "Help". (Oh and if you don't have a husband, a brother or father will do just fine.)

-Equalize yourself to that of a servant (for what could possibly be better than to serve your husband?) And last but not least:

-Liberalize yourself just enough to pull out the blow-dryer and fix your hair in the latest western hairdo (for even the learned wahabis don't mind you getting all dolled up á la Hollywood, as long as it's for your husband).

Vive le reverse psychology!

September 21, 2006

E-mailing Musharraf

Did you know President Parvez Musharraf had his own website?

The reason I found out is that there is a "Women's Protection Bill" in Pakistan that has been proposed and is now on the table of the President himself, where he can either take action and approve it or not.

A campaign on the net has been initiated by blogger Eteraz and brought to my attention by fellow blogger Baraka. You can read more about the Bill there.

For those (Pakistani, half Pakistani, or non Pakistani) interested in lobbying for this Bill to be taken seriously by the President concerning issues of forced marriages, rape and abuse, the following can be done.

Go to Musharraf's website, and send a comment with the following text:

We believe that you should support the passage of the Women’s Protection Act in the form proposed by the Select Committee of Parliament. The passage of that bill would be a significant step forwards in the protection of women’s rights in Pakistan and an achievement for which you would always be remembered.
Musharraf is to appear on The Daily Show with John Stewart on Sept 26th.
Ps. one can actually download desktop pictures of Musharraf on his website... *Laugh*

September 20, 2006

Beyond measure?

It has been discussed and philosophized over by most romantics, poets and what nots. Can love be measured? And if so, by what means?

It would be cool if we could use a measuring stick or a scale in order to know how much love we or someone else felt. "I love you 156 pounds." But what would be the purpose of such a measuring device? What would we do if we found out that we loved our partner more than he or she loved us? Do we have to love the other in equal amounts?

Me personally, I wouldn't see much use of such measuring devices or what do you say?

For me one quote sums up the more important aspect of defining love, be it between family members, friends, lovers or even pets;

Love is as love does

At the end of the day, it is that general feeling of what that love makes you feel like, and what it delivers in actions. This means there can be many types of love, but we decide what we can or want to live with.

A woman with an abusive husband who claims he loves her and finds herself believing in what he says can ask herself, "what does his love do to me?" Maybe she will change her mind.

September 18, 2006

Tiggedy Tag

I was tagged by Kaya, master chef of teh blog world, always cooking something up:

I am thinking about..
how much milk I have had to drink these past days.

I said...
to myself this morning, "you have to take care of your plants". I have been neglectful lately, terrible of me.

I want to...
travel to Mali.

I wish...
"I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller", remember that song?

I miss...

I hear...
a tractor.

I regret...
putting myself in positions of regret. Oxymoron?

I am...
right now concidering Tanzania or Uganda?

I dance...
classical indian dance and a million other things.

I sing...
currently Aaja Aaja.

I cry...
when someone cries, even on tv. Snap out of it!

I am not always...
someone who is always something. lol

I write...
in order for my soul to breathe.

I confuse...
you, don't I?

I need...

I should try...
to eat something.

I finish...
all cashew nuts and complain when there are none left.

September 15, 2006

On hills where nothing grows

On hills where nothing grows,
She waited for it but it didn't show.
If ever it would have she'll never know,
for she planted a rose where nothing grows.

September 11, 2006

September "El (now we can get) Even"

Where is the war but in your own hearts?
And who are those targets that you fill with darts?

One man's errors do not represent a Nation's,
And spreading hate for revenge is no justification.

A man's dark side is no darker than the darkest in you,
Misplaced hate will only bring out his hate anew.

Set an example for generations to come,
Hate breeds hate, even more in some.

We are only liable for the things that we do,
Just like I'm not liable for the wrong in you.

Explain to the child that has no knowledge of hate,
That because of one man she will meet with her fate.

An eye for an eye, and a life for a life?
Where's the logic in vengeance for strife?

The world has a way of giving back your contribution,
Once and for all stop the emotional pollution.


You've all been listening to Romanian Fantasy No.1 by Alicia Svigals on my stickam. (UAE visitors, I am sorry that Etisalat, or rather "it is haraam" has blocked stickam so you can't enjoy the music but do visit amazon where you can hear it and other songs.)

Romanian Fantasy No.1 is a Jewish wedding song of a style developed mostly in Eastern Europe. The name of the genre is Klezmer, which comes from the Hebrew words Kley (instrument) and Zemer (song). It is usally as the name indicates, an instrumental song.

The style was more or less non existent after the Holocaust, however Jews who had fled to America brought the music with them and it had a short upswing. With high demands on assimilation, less emphasis was placed on preserving the traditions. In the mid 70's when a new generation of American born musicians with Jewish ancestors started listening to old Klezmer recordings from the 40's, Klezmer had its rebirth.

September 06, 2006


Home is where the heart is,
yet the heart isn't always where it should be.
If home was where your heart is,
then why isn't it here with me?

September 05, 2006

Wither not...

Wither not loved one,
before the first leaf hath fallen.
Before fall has begun,
don't you hear summer's calling?
Picture Dartscape

September 01, 2006

Travel Time & Wedding Planning

It's time for another short but sweet trip. Will be back to blogging hopefully by next week.

The Wedding planner
A friend of mine is getting married and the whole Pakistani thing has to be done. First two different mehndi (henna) days. One for the bride, one for the groom. On top of that, one wedding day for the girl (Baraat), and one for the guy (Walima). Are you feeling exhausted?

Anyways, with Pakistani weddings you can always be sure to expect drama. You know, of the Bollywood kind. 200 gulab jamuns have to be made, a woman who can play the dhol (drum) needs to be located, and, make sure to tell that woman alongside her friends not to sing for 5 hours (please!!!), find sticks to make dhandiyan (wooden sticks in colour used for a special dance.)

Finding the sticks & A No Fork Policy
I mean you just don't find the right equipment for Pakistani weddings here. So what does any normal Pakistani do?...They go to the hardware store, buy some wood, and saw some dhandiyan...

Then there was the purchasing of supplies for the first Mehndi that we did today. So I tell my friend TP, lets get 200 forks, knives and spoons.
TP: Shaykhspeara what are you saying? These are no Swedes. It's all chammach (spoon) and roti (bread).

Then I'm like, so, shouldn't we get you like a guestbook for all the guests to sign it?
TP: Are you still on about those Swedish things? I'll be happy if they leave stains of curry in it.

To be there or not to be there
Then there is the issue of planning the actual program of the day. When is the groom entering, who will throw rose petals on him, and when is the bride entering with her entourage? So naturally, I ask.
TP: Well she's not gonna be there.
Me: What do you mean she's not gonna be there, she's the Bride??
TP: Well I don't know don't ask me. I think her mom said it was bad luck.

So I don't plan the program with her in mind. A few days later I get a call. The bride is after all, gonna be there.

A few days later, another call.

TP: Well, there's been a slight change of plan.
Me, bracing myself: Oh?
TP: Yes, the bride isn't coming oh and, the wedding has been moved earlier, to next week.

So the bride is not coming, but, get this...her family is.

The bride's Mehndi
Then there is the issue of the bride's Mehndi day. So I ask TP, what's the plan for that?
TP: Well I am not going.
Me: What's this now? Why are you not going?
TP: Because her mom wanted it so. But you are going.
Me: I am going? I am going to your wedding but you are not gonna be there? I am not even related but I will be there?

The Almond Talk
We (as in the grooms entourage), have to come to the bride's Mehndi day with almonds in a basket. So let me get this straight: I am going to my friend's wedding without my friend being there, to attend his bride to be's Mehndi whom I have no affiliation with, carrying almonds in a huge basket we bought from IKEA...

All in all, what don't you do for your friends? A small sacrifice to make them happy on their big day, umm, I mean days. Even though they won't be there to witness some of the days!! *laugh*