Unity

The prompt “together” reminded me of a story I had been told as a young girl. The story that has stayed with me since today. A story which had implications I hadn’t thought about.. A story of a lumberjack and his five sons.

There lived a lumberjack who was extremely old and knew he was to die. He had five sons who never got along. He wished to teach them a valuable lesson so he told them each to go and get two sticks.

Being obedient sons and knowing their father would not live long, all the sons went and got two sticks. The father then asked each son to break one of the sticks that they had gathered into two halves. Each son easily broke one of his sticks.

Then the father asked them to hand the remaining sticks over and tied these sticks with a string. He handed the bundle of sticks to his oldest son and asked him to break it. He tried as hard as he could but could not break the bundle of sticks. The father asked the bundle to be passed onto the second oldest and asked him to do the same. He, too, could not break the bundle.

The bundle of sticks made its way from son to son but none of the sons could break the sticks. After the last had tried and failed, the father smiled and asked the sons if it was easier to break a stick at a time or five together. The sons answered one at a time and the father said, “There is power in unity”.

The sons lived as one even after the father’s death.

This story is one of my favourites to this day because I truly believe in the power of unity. I had once been made to question the validity of unity when in freshman year of high school, I learned that Mussolini’s symbol of fascism was the fasces: a bundle of sticks tied together to  depict the strength of unity. I don’t remember if I laughed or choked. I think it was some mix of those.

It is fascinating to see the two depictions of the very same concept. I am not one to say that one is right and the other is wrong. I just know that to me, there is power in unity. There is beauty in unity. But just because something is part of a whole does not mean it is not whole itself. 

Radical… The Elections?

Not joking here: the first thing that came to mind when I read the prompt was the presidential elections that are about to take place. Let me just tell you: they worry me.

I am not fond of Hillary. I hate Trump. Like many others, I too am going to choose the lesser of the two evils. But I want to assert that the evil I have chosen is a much lesser evil than the one I reject.

Trump will “make America great again”. He will make it his version of great. He will turn us into a sexist, racist and fearful society of hate. A society that does not tolerate. But I should keep my political opinions aside and focus on the radicalism of this election: the two party system.

We all have probably heard enough times that voting for a third party is equivalent to wasting our votes. And I want to rebel against that notion.

But the stakes are too high. Especially as a person of color,a Muslim, and a woman. The stakes are too high. 

I recently heard that voting for a third party system and being able to say “My vote counts and is not wasted” is a privilege only white people can afford. I did not quite understand it at first, but thinking about the stakes for us, it makes sense.

My optimism and desire to believe that there is hope are fighting against my fear of what could go wrong (because a lot could go wrong). The third party is the only thing that does not seem radical in this radical election. But is it worth the risk?

Comment your thoughts below! I would love to hear more perspectives!

 

Eid Mubarak

Today was Eid. Since “life doesn’t stop for anyone” (especially if you are a college student), I went to school regardless of the fact that it was Eid today. Even though Islam is the second largest religion practised in the world today, few people know of Eid or its significance. Questions like “Didn’t you have Eid this past summer?” and “Why are there two Eid’s?”So today I will share a story that my first-grade teacher shared with me a long long time ago. The story of why we celebrate Eid-ul-Adha, the “Festival of the Sacrifice”.

One day, Prophet Ibrahim A.S. (Abraham) had a dream. In this dream, he was told by Allah to sacrifice the thing that is nearest and dearest to his heart. He thought long and hard about what was nearest and dearest to his heart and decided that his son was, in fact, nearest and dearest to his heart. Prophet Ibrahim A.S. did not hesitate a single moment and went forth to tell his son, Ismail, about Allah’s command. Being a believer, Ismail did not hesitate either and they set forth for the sacrifice. Ibliis (Satan) was there every step of the way, trying to  mislead Ismail and scare him into disobeying God’s command. Ismail’s faith did not shatter, however.

They went to the man who was to sacrifice Ismail and Ismail lay down on the table, ready to die for Allah. The man blindfolded Ibrahim so he would not have to see his son suffer and brought down the knife as hard as he could to Ismail’s throat, but the knife just would not cut through. He tried again. He could not bring the knife down. Then he tried once more and the knife did go down all the through. Ibrahim removed his blindfold and found that instead of his son, there was a dead ram on the table. He was afraid that he had somehow disobeyed Allah. But then came a voice that told them that it had just been a test for Ismail and Ibrahim to test their faith and they had passed. From that day onwards, we sacrifice an animal, such as a lamb, goat, or cow and human sacrifice was forever forbidden.

To me, this is a story of faith. It is a story of Islam, of submission. It is not a story of violence, nor is it a story of killing blindly. And it breaks my heart when people make it out to be one. 

I have had FREINDS who have argued with me that it shows the violence that Islam is “deeprooted” in when I have told them this story of faith that I learned as a first grader. Perhaps it is because of that itself that I am afraid to tell them that it’s Eid anymore. But I want us all to be aware, of holidays and traditions all around the world that those around us celebrate.

Eid-ul-Adha is not celebrated right after Ramadan but after the first ten days of the holiest month. It is often accompanied by Hajj, which has another story behind it that I encourage everyone to look up if they can. I apologise if I have gotten any part of the story telling wrong but I strongly feel the need to share the story of Eid.

I felt like I met my people whenever someone smiled and said “Eid Mubarak”. Heck, I contemplated starting wearing a hijab so that more people would be able to tell that I am Muslim when Hijabis would greet each other and not realise that I too am Muslim. I wanted to claim my identity. 

I want to say “thank you” to everyone who took the time to stop and wish me Eid Mubarak today. I want to especially thank the two girls in the bathroom who went so far as to stop me and give me a hug. I may not remember your names but that gesture meant a lot to me.

I hope to see a world someday where more people are aware of religious holidays and festivals that those of other cultures and religions around them might be celebrating. Eid Mubarak.

 

Recharging My Spirits

I have lost a total of three eyelashes today. To the crazy girl I was, that would amount to a total of three free wishes that she would have made with a smile on her face and blown away with just as much gusto. But today, this girl did not make a single wish.

I texted my friend who is off to college yesterday, with the same “Booo!” that greets everyone. He sent me a picture of the group he was chilling with and my heart told me it’s best to let him be.

When I met the boy whom I thought was Mitch and learned he was Andre, I chatted with him for about 3 minutes and ran out of things to say. I spent a good twenty minutes talking to a girl whose name I did not know but as soon as class ended and her name greeted me, I had no desire to keep talking to her anymore.

I was the girl who loved fiercely and cared passionately. The girl always willing to help you, even if it hurt her. The girl who smiled even when she wanted to cry. And that hurt. 

In fact, it hurt so much that I think my heart’s immunity system finally woke up. It has closed off its walls. It needs to recharge. I had tried to ignore its cries for rest and I tried to go on loving, hoping it would recharge as I went on.

But charging your phone while using it only worsens its ability to charge. Maybe I need this break. I will give myself this break. 

Perhaps then I will be able to be the crazy girl who loves like hell and laughs until she cries. I will be waiting for the day my heart is fully charged again.

Feminist housewives and stay at home moms – yes, we exist and no, that’s not a typo in the title of this article.

So, here I am. A 35 year old woman with a beautiful, 17 month old daughter and I have made the decision to become a full time parent and quit my job in finance. A decision I made with my husband for the good of our family…..

Her voice from the kitchen window

So, here I am. A 35 year old woman with a beautiful, 17 month old daughter and I have made the decision to become a full time parent and quit my job in finance. A decision I made with my husband for the good of our family as a whole. I think to myself,

“Isn’t it a great time to be a woman? I can make my own choices. I’ve had access to education and fantastic job opportunities. All that experience and knowledge will stand to me in the future if I decide to go back to work later on.”

“It’s ok to take some time out to raise my child. Yeah, it’s ok to do that. I’m going to do it!”

“Look at me everybody, making my own choices.”

Cue uplifting background music as you watch me sterilise baby bottles in slow-motion. A quick flip in my Mummy montage to me multi tasking…

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