Month: January 2012

The Perfect Fairytale

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A lot of us girls think of ourselves as princesses in a fairytale. We await our prince in shining armor to save us from the fire-breathing dragon so we can live happily ever after. But the thing is, real life is not a fairytale. Real life is a long tortuous road with continuous obstacles in the way, and when the road becomes smooth for some time, we are taken by surprise when rocks start hurling down the mountain and onto our path. In real life, there’s pain, there are tears, there are bad decisions and worse actions. There are mistimed steps, unspoken words, closed doors, high fences and extreme uncontrollable emotions. Real life is charred by all that so that our moments of joy become just that; moments.

But then they say that things are known by their opposites. Without the pain, how will we know what pleasure feels like? Without the tears, would we be able to appreciate the tear? Without the scorching heat and dryness of the weather, would we appreciate the cool breeze and the rain? Then we go back to the idea the highlights of our lives happen in moments; short bursts of laughter in the middle of long hours of tears. In others words; moments, just moments…

But then a shawl is woven out of three main fibers, a shawl that enwraps you and helps you survive the cold bitter winters, and look forward for that next moment. A shawl that makes the tortuous roads in between those moments smoother than they are. Those fibers are called; dreams, hopes and aspirations.

So you’ve read 266 words right now, but right down the three words that you will carry with you through the day….Then tomorrow try to remember what three words you remember from this post…

We grow great by dreams. All big men are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them; nurse them through bad days till they bring them to the sunshine and light which comes to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.

– Woodrow Wilson

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PS image courtesy of google images

Of Power and Power Outages

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If you’ve ever lived in Africa then you probably experienced power outages at a regular basis. Some countries have the rationing system, where each region is given electricity for a certain time. My aunties used to call KPLC (Kenya -lack 0f – Power and Lighting Company), pinch their kids and say, “see, the kids are crying, can you please hurry up.”

Seeing that customer (dis)service that they have, a common response used to be, “We already announced the power outage in the newspaper. Don’t you read the papers?”

Then the debate would shift to why these women don’t read the papers. Totally not the point.

A funny Mombasa thing always happens when the power is back on. Members of the whole neighborhood collectively scream, “Hizo!!” (there it is) It has become the cue for knowing when the power comes back on. If you’re asleep you’d probably wake up from the noise.

Personally I’ve always seen some advantage to power outages (the main word here being ‘some’), but have you ever stared at the sky when the whole city is engulfed in darkness? The star-studded sky is so beautiful it can bring tears to your eyes. Now if you live in the more developed part of the world, then you probably don’t get the privilege of such a sight.

  Guess that’s it for now. Leave your comments below, feel free to share and subscribe.

The Blessing of A New Day

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Recently I was listening to the tafsir of surat Al-Asr in English (you can find it in this link) and they were saying that sadly enough, even though the surah itself was talking about the significance of human being’s limited time on Earth and how he should utilize it, people tend to read it quickly during salaat when they’re in a rush to go somewhere else. Unfortunately this is the common attitude; there’s a class lecture in five minutes? Read surat al-asr during salat because it’s short. There’s a football match soon? Read surat al-asr during salat because it’s short.

About a month ago, my facebook timeline was inundated by the image of this facebook status.

What you see was the last status that Alaa Abdel Hady posted before getting killed in the Cabinet sit-in in Egypt last month, Allah yir7amo.

Later on that month, a friend of mine got into a car incident similar to the one we got in last september. All praise is due to Allah, the girl came out of it shaken but with minimal injuries. “But you know,” she told me, “it was the best thing that happened to my life.” She continued describing about how it made her realize that life can end within seconds, so she’s just learning to make the best of everyday without complaining anymore.

News like those just make us stop and wonder about life, and how we never know what would happen next. So when you wake up and get the blessing of a new day, be grateful to Allah for that blessing, because no matter how much you try not to think about it, this blessing will not last.

That’s it for today.

Quote of the day: Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don’t. And believe that everything happens for a reason…if you get a chance – take it; if it changes your life – let it. Nobody said that it would be easy…They just promised that it would be worth it.

Waking up from a dream and stepping into a nightmare

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Dreams, they feel real while were in them, right? It’s only when we wake up that we realize how things are actually strange.

Have you ever woken up from a dream wishing you could go back to sleep and continue the dream because it was so beautiful? Have you ever woken up from a dream wondering to yourself what it really means? What about waking up from the dream and realizing that the life you life has nothing of the glamor and beauty you just witnessed in those hours of sleep? That maybe your real life is actually a nightmare in comparison with your dream?

Sometimes a dream may taunt you by showing you a world that you don’t have – and might never have. Or maybe your dream life has been occupying your  mind for so long that it naturally trickles into your subconscious and gives you a make-believe world to live in for a few minutes. So maybe it’s making you suffer through taunting, or maybe it makes you happy for  just a moment.

Lately I’ve been overloading my imagination to tell you the truth. During the daytime, not just at night. It’s an escapism mechanism that I’ve adopted for the longest time ever. When I was unhappy about something or something was worrying me  I tend to conjure up images that take me to a place that is so far away it’s amazing. Sometimes the exercise can last for a few minutes, and sometimes they can last for hours, and I lie in bed imagining things, imagining people, imagining dialogue, and I can get so consumed that it’s easy to shut the system down. It usually works because I tend to project myself to a place and/or time when this thing will stop worrying me. So if, let’s say, I’m worried about an incident that is about to happen on the 8th of March in Masdar (deadline of thesis submission en sha Allah), I project myself to a time beyond it, say, June, in Kenya, and I’ll be telling myself (or maybe an imaginary person would be telling me), “It’s behind you now, see? You were so worried over nothing!”

“But it ended terribly…”[Since I need to prepare myself for worst case scenarios right?]

“At least you learned your lessons, and it’s time to pick up the pieces and move on. Don’t think about it too much. Think about the now. You’re here, you’re happy with other parts of your life, so you messed up one part, so what?”

So by doing that what I’m trying to do is reverse the title of this post; stepping out of a nightmare and into a dream through my imagination.

And this text (taken from a story I wrote once) describes exactly where do I go when I feel like running away in my mind;

By the time she reached her favourite spot in Mombasa, she did not know what she was feeling. The anger that she had felt at some point in the evening had died down, but sorrow still resided within her. It was nearing sunset. The sky was dimming gradually, and the squawking of the crows became more boisterous. Behind her, there were screams of bare-feet children playing football while beneath her, the ocean breathed as the waves crashed against the pointed rocks. She was seated on a low yellow fence at the edge of a cliff hanging over the ocean. The fence was part of Fort Jesus; a historical monument that was built by the Portuguese in 1592 to guard the harbor. The monument was turned into a museum that was open for tourists. She had indulged in the tourist experience only once, but since she was a local, once was more than enough. Even though it had been years since she last sat there, the contrast of the place still reminded her of her life; the contrast between the ugly fort with the peeling paint behind her that represented her life, and the endless beauty in front of her that represented the hope of a better tomorrow. In her line of sight, she could see a part of Mombasa jutting out into the sea from the left; a piece of lush land with pearly white mansions nestled among the trees. Even though the mansions looked tiny from where she was sitting, they had a dreamlike look – like castles out of a fairytale. 

Staring out at the sea had a soothing affect on her. She loved that place because of its beauty and timelessness. It was easy to block out the noises around, and sink within herself in deep thought. When things were going bad, she went there to clear her mind, sometimes carrying a book with her to read, and most often than not, ending up writing. But the real reason why she loved that place was what it meant to her. What it used to mean to her, at least. It was hard to imagine just five years ago, that she would be sitting here again with those particular thoughts racing within her mind. Questions that she felt ashamed even asking herself; three words that kept on repeating themselves over and over in her mind despite herself. She tried to close her eyes and bring about happy images, but the only scenes that passed through her mind were those connected to the incident at the office that morning.”

Below is a pic I got off the internet of the scene from FJ in Mombasa though I have to admit it doesn’t do the place any justice. I’ll see if I can find any pics of my own later. As for the fort itself, you can google it to see how it looks like.

So when life becomes tough for you, what’s your escapism techniques?