Sunday, February 28, 2010

FEBRUARY

I think my recent trysts have been enough of a challenge for this month. Besides, I’ve never had a real Valentine before, so that’s one less thing on my list of 1001-things-to-do-before-I-die. Infatuation is like a drug. At its best it yields the highest of highs and the worst brings about the lowest of lows. It doesn’t help that a lot of people confuse infatuation to be L.O.V.E.

Ironically, I don’t believe in ‘Love’; not the conventional commercial kind anyway. I think in a way, I approach relationships the way most men do, pragmatically. I’d love to think with my heart, but my brain will kick its ass. So my heart is left to fantasize to its content, while my head makes those mathematical calculations that determine whether a relationship is worth pursuing or not.

There aren’t many people who capture my imagination and infatuation on a such grand scale (I think there were 2 or 3 in my lifetime) so when one does comes around, I jump on that bus and don’t get off until the last stop and will try to bribe the driver with peanuts so that I can stay for another round. Infatuation is my drug of choice and I have the ability to immerse myself in someone else’s existence to such an extent that it’s difficult to differentiate where I stop and he begins. But I don’t call this love and I enjoy it for what it is… the flirtation, the romance, the stolen moments… it’s like magic self-esteem in a bottle. My biggest problem is that I love the chase too much because it stimulates the adrenal cortex (I really should explore other extreme sports as an alternative) and that’s how I get my kicks.

Love… it’s a word taken all too lightly by too many. I come from a school of thought that believes that to a large extent, everyone has the ability to control their emotions. Anyone has the ability to love anyone else, or anything else for that matter… all that is required is that you should want to love that person/thing. You can learn to love someone or something you’ve hated for most of your life (ask me and broccoli). All you have to do is look close enough, beyond your perceptions and will it to happen. How many times haven’t you heard of hostages who love their captors? And the Rihanna’s of this world who love the men who beat them? And those little midgets (children) who are more than willing to trade a parent for chocolate or their teddy bears or blankies?

In many ways ‘Love’ is an oxymoron because there’s a fine line that separates it from ‘Hate’ and it has the ability to generate the very best of emotions (like elation) as well as the very worst (like psychotic jealousy, something everyone is very capable of; and with ingredients like 2 exes, a bunch of flowers, an unidentified phone call and some dodgy behavior you’re guaranteed a recipe for disaster). It has the ability to bring about incomprehensible joy and in a matter of minutes, profound agony as well. But we need love to be able to be compassionate and we need compassion to get through the daily grind on earth.

I still maintain that real love only exists between parents and their children (bar the crazies) and that every other variation is just that, a variation or derivative. I will go into more detail on this in a few days. All I know is that I will enjoy every moment of my journey through infatuation, with the hope that it becomes more than that one day.

In other news… on the 1st of March last year, I took my little Window and launched “Azra’s Adventures” in the hopes of living to my full potential and inspiring other’s to live too, in the here and now. I don’t know how successful or unsuccessful my endeavour has been and I will continue as usual, but on the 1st of March this year there'll be a new addition to my family in the way of a sister blog called “Off The Record”.

In retrospect, I should have done this a long time ago but everything in it’s time and better late than never. What will make this sister blog different is that it’s kinda like the black sheep of the family with a no-holds barred, uncensored commentary on my life. This is Azra Uncut and very little is off limits. It’s a holiday home for the most outrageous thoughts in my mind and a playground for every eccentricity.

I’ve already deported some of the content on this blog to its new home. “Off The Record” will host an in depth view of my life, love life and everything else... as well as my thoughts on other so-called taboo subjects like Sex and Sexuality, PMS, Jinn, France (lol lol I'm just kidding!) etc. etc. Blog-land just got a hell-of-a-lot more interesting. BUT YE BE WARNED!! It’s not for the feint hearted or the sensitive, or the close-minded, or the gossipmongers, or the judgmental, or the hypocrites. Entry into my personal space will require only three things: an open mind, honesty and discretion. Oh yeah and an email, requesting access. I think I at least deserve to know who’s reading the writing engraved on my soul and if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen baby ;)

Interested parties should mail their requests to azmarita@gmail.com. I have resolved to wait for email requests instead of granting access to people I think would be interested - mainly because (as I stated previously) it's not for the feint hearted so I won't make that kind of assumption and it is imperitive that individuals make the conscious decision to be there. All applicants will be subjected to intense scrutiny, background checks as well as sporadic periodical polygraph tests. LMAO, just kidding!!:)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Next Stop, Swoon-Town

Post Removed. Available on request, please send an email to azmarita@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tying Up Loose Ends

My life has just been absolutely insane over the past few weeks and it seems like everything’s just happening all at once. It started when my ex-boss heard that I was looking for a job and asked me to help him out temporarily because he’s short staffed (he needed someone he can “trust and rely on”, I’m flattered that he thinks that person is me). I obliged, unaware of what was waiting for me. So I spend hours out in the field on lengthy arduous investigations, putting pieces of information together, gathering evidence, etc. It’s a lot of work and a very stressful environment and I was quickly reminded of why I left in the first place… this lovely lady knows exactly what I’m talking about.

I initially wanted to move overseas this year… it’s still a toss between Alexandria, Egypt or Tunis, Tunisia at the end of May… but that’s been put on hold for now. Even so, I’ve decided to wrap things up on my end in case I decide to leave. I’ve had to shop for an adequate University to transfer to, boy what a mission but I think I’ve found a suitable candidate. And all the research projects I’ve been involved in (four in total from two different universities nogal, I really have to stop being such a masochist) have to be either concluded or reassigned to other members. So I have to write up four bloody papers (which I sorely doubt I’ll complete in time). I’ve also been asked to present a paper at the annual International Conference on Information Management and Evaluation (ICIME 2010) at UCT in March but fuck that, I’m not super-woman.

In addition, I’ve been looking to simplify this blog too… I need less clutter and more pretty-ness. And BDB? Well, he takes up a considerable amount of my day-dreaming time since he left for the USA for two weeks on a work assignment (and yeah, I’ll finish the story soon).

Then there are other so-called issues I’ve decided to address because I’m tired of listening to stories from people who mean well, but really should learn to stop gossiping and carrying tales. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t even deem this worthy enough for two seconds of my precious time, but while I’m cleaning out the closets, I might as well. I left adolescence almost a decade ago and I’m really not keen on going back there… but it seems that not everyone shares my sentiment. Let me tell you a quick story…

The summer before I turned 16, I had a small group of friends and one day, while we were on holiday together, one of my best friends and I had an altercation over how to use the steam iron. It was trivial and insignificant but it just so happened that on that particular day she was in a bad mood and she snapped at me for whatever reason, and I retaliated. Anyways, in less than a week we sorted out the matter and were fine, but a strange thing happened amongst our other friends staying with us. Most of them felt the need to pick sides and get all angry and involved in our fight…adding their 2 cents here and there. In the meantime, we had already resolved our issues and moved on, but had to deal with shit from everyone else sticking their noses into an issue that had nothing to do with them.

Interestingly enough, I find history repeating itself. Now if there are two things that really fuck me off; one would be two-faced bitches and the other would be people who stick their noses into my business when it does not concern them. I’ve chosen to speak generally, out of courtesy, targeting a specific group of people… not because I’m afraid to call them out on their shit… not at all. If there is one thing I’m not afraid of, it’s confrontation. In fact, I’d be too happy to name and shame every single one of them (and I will if it continues) but not today. Today I’ll be courteous…

First off, I don’t tell people what they can or can’t say on Facebook or Twitter. But I constantly find some or other fucker telling me what I can or cannot say. That shit has come to an end and “block” has become my new favourite button (I don’t even know some of them, my fault for giving morons the benefit of the doubt). Secondly, I don’t go around to people’s blogs and then make arbitrary comments about their crappy stories, or their mind-numbingly boring ambiguous poetry because I respect the fact that even though I may not appreciate some of their work, it’s important to them and other’s do. I don’t go around identifying people suffering from eminem-tourettes where the ability to write only comes when it involves slagging off someone else. So I get mildly annoyed when people think that they can do that to me.

But what I find most amusing about some of these people is the hypocrisy and the complete lack of any kind of backbone because if they were to be confronted, they’d cower away like the spineless bastards they are. Add to that, I CANNOT RESPECT YOU OR TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY WHEN YOU’RE DIRECTING COMMENTS INTO THIN AIR. I fucking hate people who don’t have the decency to address any issues they have with me directly, and feel it necessary to go all schizophrenic on their computers (well it’s a little funny actually because they look like fucking lunatics).

What most people have to understand is that this here is MY blog. I will say whatever I damn well please. I don’t need anyone’s approval or validation. The fact that I come here and share a part of my life; or that I may have spoken to some of you a couple of times online DOES NOT MEAN that you know me. YOU. DON’T. KNOW. ME. You may think you do, but you know fuck-all when it comes to me. You only know those parts of me and my life that I want you to know… that I choose to disclose.

I blog for my own amusement because I enjoy writing and documenting my life as it plays out, for my own personal records. I’m not here clamouring for attention or consent. I’m not interested in making this a career and I don’t come here with the intention to create some “literary masterpiece”. I’m not looking for fame or glory because I am enough. Your approval or critique is neither desired nor required. This is MY page and I have the right to state how I feel and what I think etc. I’ve never cared about what people had to say before, and I’m not about to start now. Maybe I should write a sonnet called “How do I NOT care? Let me count the ways”… maybe then it will sink in. Unlike most people, I’m not just a talker.

Your presence here is a PRIVILEGE, NOT A RIGHT. And if you cannot respect that then kindly fuck off and don’t return. I’m not holding a gun to anyone’s head. You’re not paying my rent or doing me any favours.

I do not take kindly to two-faced bitches. Do not for one minute think that you can go behind my back and chomp on my flesh, then come and act like my friend in front of my face… it does not work like that. You obviously do not know me. And for the one who actually does know me… you’d want to think long and hard about making an enemy out of me, because I know too damn much about you for you to be that stupid.

I’ve had enough of this petty inane behaviour from people who are supposedly “educated” and “open-minded” but obviously aren’t and have no fucking lives. I’m an adult (and a very busy one at that) and I choose to deal with issues by confronting them not hiding in corners talking to myself like a bunch of school-girls on crack. Again, I cannot acknowledge, let alone respect, anyone who can’t even approach me with their issues like normal human beings and will instead sit in their corners making their own assumptions. If you cannot respect me enough to address your issues with me directly, then get the fuck out of my life, it’s as simple as that.

If I cannot relate to or identify with the material, if I don’t have anything that I’d deem to be helpful for the person, if I have nothing good or inspirational to say, I refrain from making any commentary. If I have issues or something to say, I have no problem approaching the matter and dealing with it. I don’t fight with the air around me. Grow up.

It’s a brand new day people and I’ve already begun getting rid of all the filth, negativity and hypocrisy. I don’t have time for childish shit and I won’t tolerate it either. My life is too good to be contaminated by human sewerage. As for the tattle-tales, enough stories, I’m not interested and you don’t want to be eating rotten swine, it’s Haraam.

I’d like to go back to swooning now thanks.

For those who have too much time on their hands, take a lesson from this passage I wrote some time ago… ironically, it seems to be quite apt today. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll be worthy adversaries.

It’s a brand new day indeed.

“The Art of War”
I believe that it’s important to be able to defend yourself in any situation, regardless of the outcomes. But I also believe that not every battle is worth fighting especially when the merits of such a ‘battle’ is based on juvenile, trivial matters and does not even warrant the irritation one would get from a paper cut. Now I have very specific rules and principles when it comes to War and since most humans love to imitate animals, I thought I’d explain some aspects in ecological terms, for better comprehension:

KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND RECOGNISE YOUR WORTH
When you know who you are and you love, value and respect yourself, you’ll always come first. You’re the reigning King of your Jungle. A lion or lioness. A pioneer. A leader and a hunter. You don’t follow the masses, you seek the truth through knowledge. Your self-worth allows you to harness your personal power, realise your full potential and makes you aware of what you’re capable of. You’re not looking for validation and acceptance from anyone else. You’re also not intimidated by anyone else either. And with this type of confidence comes a sense of fearlessness, because you know that no matter what happens, you’ll always triumph.

IDENTIFY AND KNOW YOUR ENEMY
Now, very very few people possess this kind of confidence and you’ll always find someone who’s threatened by you. In some people, their insecurities will manifest into a false bravado and they’ll try to provoke you, or pick a fight and try to push your buttons because they feel that they have something to prove. In their minds, bringing you down will make them feel better about their pathetic lives and give them that self-worth that’s so obviously lacking. But the reality is that self-worth comes from within and while they try to goad you in a number of amusing ways, they don’t realise that nothing they say can upset you…because you know you’re the King!

If you look close enough, you’ll find that most people are transparent, easy to read and very predictable. A staggering 99.5% are afraid of confrontation. Now being confident and fearless and taking from your experiences on the battlefield, you’re more than capable of confronting your opponent, giving you a significant advantage over most. You’ve made a point of learning all the lessons from those previous experiences. You watch. You observe, like a real hunter. Never interrupt your enemy while they’re making mistakes, tactics Salahuddin used to win the war against the crusaders in 1187. The weaknesses and flaws of your opponent are easily identifiable and quite apparent.

CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES
In war, discipline can do more than fury. This is the most important rule of War because most of the time, you’ll come to see that your opponent is nothing but a monkey in wolf’s clothing that hides behind a rock, throwing banana’s in your direction, trying to get your attention. And more often then not, this so-called opponent will have other chimps and weasels encouraging him/her, because every absurdity has a champion that will defend it. They’ll be the ones hiding behind his/her back, because they don’t have the gumption to be upfront with you, may also feel like they have something to prove or enjoy the drama. A lot of conflict or antagonistic behavior is a direct result of jealousy. Maybe the monkey and his/her crew secretly think that you’re better than them, and then they start thinking that YOU think that you’re better them, and resent you for it.

Now you know you’re out of their league, they are simply no match for you. Lions do not fight with monkeys and weasels. Fighting with a monkey makes you look like one too, and spectators can’t tell the difference. But the challenge drives and excites them and they long for a reaction from you. So they’ll make sinister comments disguised as jokes so their intentions are not completely apparent to the general public; or maybe they’ll gossip about you because while great minds discuss ideas and average minds discuss events, small minds tend to discuss people; or maybe they’ll even do things trying to provoke that reaction out of you…because you’re THAT important and special.

But the most fascinating thing about the monkey and his/her minions is that when they are confronted, they will backtrack so fast you’ll think you imagined it, because that’s what spineless bastards do. And then they will tell the most elaborate lies to try and cover up whatever shit they were trying to sell, because they’re pathological like that. But the Lions are too intelligent for them. They know everything and usually have loads of fun watching them squirm under the spotlight.

One of Machiavelli’s rules of war is to always be honest, people won’t know if you’re telling the truth or not. Joan of Arc revealed her plan in great detail to a soldier from the opposing army. He wasted no time in reporting it to his superiors, but they dismissed the information and regarded it as false. They reckoned that no one in their right mind would reveal their strategies, not in a war, and so planned their attack contrary to the information they received and she defeated them in battle.

So it’s all thoroughly amusing to you and you find that you have to refrain from laughing so hard that you’re about to pee in your pants; because firstly as the Lion, you know that at least three of the minions from the monkey’s camp play both sides in the Jungle and can’t be trusted. Secondly, you can’t fight a monkey that doesn’t even have the decency to address any issues he/she has with you upfront because he/she doesn’t have the balls.

But most importantly, the monkey has NO resources...and with the exception of those few bananas that he/she throws in your direction for your attention every now and then and the few chimps and weasels supporting his/her cause, there is absolutely no substance there. But as the King of the Jungle, you have your entire pack to count on as well as other formidable allies in the animal kingdom, giving you immense power and capabilities. So in essence, it would not be a fair fight. It’s like expecting Optimus Prime to fight with a calculator…not even a scientific calculator…but those free calculators you get on promotion from BP when you fill your tank.

The truth is that Lions do not have the time to pursue fruitless petty grievances with monkeys, chimps and weasels because they’re engaged in the huge epic note-worthy battles with jackals, deviant panthers and even the lesser of the lot, the hyena’s. And holding the title of King means that apart from going to War and fighting the real battles, you actually have a life and you’re more invested in your plans for world dominance, raking in the cash and looking good for that potential one that will share your title of Ruler. Forget inane paltry matters.

1000 WAYS TO DEFEAT THE ENEMY
Occasionally, you’ll encounter real enemies – not the ones playing Mickey Mouse games – and you’ll have to deal with them accordingly. The best physical way to defeat an enemy is through their pockets. If you can build a solid case, nothing hurts as much as having to pay out of their arses. Too many people are under the false impression that to defeat the enemy, you have to use physical brute force. This is not the 1500’s. Torture is only reserved for cheating spouses or people allergic to pain.

In reality, there are thousands of ways to annihilate your opponents without even touching a single hair on their heads…the severity of each varying in degrees. Death is never an option for an enemy. Why would you want to send them to heaven by making them martyrs? No, instead you have to evaluate and ascertain what is important to them, as well as what are their weaknesses and insecurities. Maybe it’s their reputations, or their careers, or their BMW’s…but everyone values something. Family member’s, spouses and significant others’ are not recommended, unless you have no morals or scruples. Known tactics include everything from wrecking their cars to having them framed for child molestation, fraud or murder so that they can rot in jail for 25 years with no parole.

The ULTIMATE way to defeat your enemy and guarantee your triumph is to enlist the help of The Almighty, because there is NOTHING that you can do to your opponent, that God won’t do a million times better. Karma is a bitch my friend.

DEFEND DON'T OFFEND
“There is nothing as likely to succeed as what the enemy believes you cannot attempt.” Never start wars, but always make sure that you end them. If you find yourself on the receiving end of an attack, assess the situation. If necessary, call in your allies. If it’s just another monkey, you can be extremely flattered at your importance. It’s nothing to get too upset over because they do make for entertaining viewing and when you’re with your pack, around the fire after a delicious meal, you can laugh heartily at their stupidity. Who needs theatre.

*Additions to original post

Monday, February 22, 2010

Inhale Exhale

Post Removed. Available on request, please send an email to azmarita@gmail.com.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Infatuated & Slightly Insane

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sultry Glances

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Definitely Maybe

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

V-Day Triumph

"Each of us creates a personal dream for our own self, but the humans before us created a big outside dream, the dream of human society. The outside Dream, or the Dream of the Planet is the collective Dream of billion of dreamers. The big Dream includes all the rules of society, its laws, its religions, its different cultures, and ways to be. All of this information stored inside our mind is like a thousand voices talking to us at once. The Toltecs call this the mitote.

The real us is pure love; we are Life. The real us has nothing to do with the Dream, but the mitote keeps us from seeing what we really are. When you see the Dream from this perspective, and if you have the awareness of what you are, you see the nonsense behaviour of humans, and it becomes amusing. What for everyone else is a big drama, for you becomes a comedy. You can see humans suffering over something that is not important, that is not even real. But we have no choice. We are born in this society, we grow up in this society, and we learn to be like everyone else, playing nonsense all the time, competing with mere nonsense…you have no wounds in your emotional body. You are not afraid to be who you are. Whatever someone says about you, whatever they do, it doesn’t hurt.”
~ The Mastery Of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz

This is the ultimate Love, the love and respect you have for yourself. I’m extremely fortunate to have this rare gem in a world that defines ‘Love’ as something that you can only get from being in a relationship; and that being in a relationship determines your self-worth.

No one can validate you. No one can make you happy or whole. Your approval is the only one that’s required, the only one that counts. Happy Valentines Day.

P.S. and remember, it’s NOT Love when it’s all about you and your selfish needs.

Friday, February 12, 2010

God Is Not Your Friend

I once said that I don’t want to go to heaven…or rather, that I don’t expect to go to heaven, to quite an uproar of “you can’t say that, you don’t know”, “God is Merciful” etc. etc. My reasoning behind that statement was that I can’t do something repetitively, knowing full well that it’s wrong according to my beliefs, with no intention of changing. I’m not that vain or arrogant to expect The Almighty to forgive me every time I decide to flout one of His laws, even though He is Most Merciful.

I’ll give an example...I like enjoy looking at BDB. And given the chance, I’ll probably look at him later tonight and tomorrow afternoon and on Sunday morning again. But I’m fully aware that this is NOT acceptable in terms of the Shariah. Another example…I don’t wear a headscarf; and I’ll never negate the fact that as a woman I’m supposed to cover my hair and preserve my modesty, for my own protection against unwanted male attention and from Jinn; but I’m not planning to do it anytime soon. We all choose our sins and these are some of my sins…I know every one of them. I’m not proud of them, but I own them. I take responsibility. I don't make it OK because its not. I’m not making any excuses and justifications for my behaviour.

In Islam there are many issues that are debated upon because people have different opinions on them, based on different interpretations of the Qur’an and people’s perceptions etc. I will never deny that people view things differently, especially since Sunni Imams Hanifa, Shafi’i, Malik & Hanbal introduced and adapted Islam to fit into the various cultures of the people in their respective times. And really, at the end of the day, Allah SWT knows best.

BUT. In my opinion, there are certain fundamental laws in Islam that are non-negotiable like Tawheed, Salaah and Fasting; Zakaat and Hajj too depending on the person’s means. Then, in my opinion, there are what I’d call ‘Secondary Fundamental Laws’ like modesty and purity as well as those laws warning against some of the biggest sins including associating partners with God, consumption of alcohol (& intoxicating substances), interest, adultery & fornication, murder and all the acts that may lead one to commit these sins.

There are also what I call ‘Universal Laws’ or those laws that are prominent at the core of every religion and agreed upon unanimously like “Thou shalt not steal” and other laws prohibiting blasphemy, oppression, gossip & slander, lying, gambling and murder too etc. etc. And like I said previously, everyone is guilty in some or other way, because we all choose our sins.

In Islam, we’re encouraged to seek knowledge from the “cradle to the grave”. Over the past 26 months, I’ve been part of a group observing the changes in societal, religious and cultural trends and how these changes are interpreted amongst individuals from various ethnicities and religions. In our findings we’ve discovered that people’s opinions, perceptions and attitudes to certain rules and regulations as well as what they consider to be morally normal and acceptable, have changed or become somewhat more ‘liberated’ over time. Issues like promiscuity, drug addiction, alcoholism etc. have become so prominent that it is no longer frowned upon with the intensity bestowed upon previous generations.

With the spotlight on Islam and Muslims, it was found that people’s attitudes and perceptions of what is considered ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ have also changed, and younger generations in particular do not carry the guilt attached to defying religious laws because according to most of them, they do not perceive their actions in a negative light (traits common amongst the Jews too). Even more shocking, many Muslims interviewed in High School’s and Universities were found questioning those non-negotiable fundamental laws of Islam, a few even quoting text from the Qur’an supporting their misinterpreted views.

There were common excuses or justifications from the thousands of people interviewed. Some of my favourite were:

1. “Its all up to interpretation”
2. “But that’s what my parents did”
3. “It depends on your intentions”
4. “We are required to fit into the culture & society we’re living in”
5. “God will judge me, why should I fear him, I want to worship out of love”

As a Muslim and when it comes to Islam, this is where I stand on these issues (point for point):

1. There is no way around those non-negotiable fundamental laws of Islam. And it doesn’t matter if the words in the Quranic text have several meanings, the message is clear. Terrorists use Quranic interpretation (by omitting verses and context) to justify their cause. Just because Google is available worldwide, or because some idiot claiming to be an authority on the matter expels his opinions and interpretations of the Qur’an or Hadith, it does not mean that we should accept it as doctrine. In addition, because most of us can read in English and Arabic, it does not make us authorities on interpreting text from the Qur’an, (whilst ignoring the context/time/incident/situation related to the verses revealed) so that we can distort the meaning to suit our needs.

2. Just because there are parents and grandparents that love to visit Witchdoctors and practice black magic, it does not mean that it’s acceptable according to Shariah and moreover, it does not mean that we should follow suit. The Prophet SAW said that we should not do as our “forefathers have done before” us “in case they have erred”. Just because we have the RIGHT to make choices and choose our sins, it does not mean that it’s OK to justify and excuse those sins using parental examples, misinterpreted or inaccurate information.

3. When one of the major laws in Islam have been violated or disregarded, intentions whether good or bad are irrelevant. So for example, fornication and adultery of any kind cannot be justified by having pure intentions. One cannot say “oh I didn’t intend to do that” with the expectation that the contravention of the religious law is inconsequential, because there was no intention to infringe on that law.

4. We are required to respect the laws of the land we live in to the extent that they do not infringe on or compromise any Islamic laws. So if the consumption of alcohol is intrinsic to the culture of a society or country, it does not mean that it’s permissible to overlook the Shariah and consume alcohol when visiting or residing in said country.

5. It is true that only God will judge everyone. But if you are witness to a mistake/error made by a fellow Muslim brother or sister especially if the mistake/error is made in public and they don’t know any better, it becomes obligatory to correct them. However, there are specific ways to do this. Remaining silent under the guise of refraining from judging others makes one complicit in the deed and we will be held accountable for that.

Understand this: God is not your friend. He is not your choma that you can call on the weekends and go bowling with and that will let things slide if you cheat to win. He owes you NOTHING. Every good thing you do in your life is for your own benefit. He needs nothing from you. You’re not doing him any favours by obeying his laws.

And why do we Love Him?
Because every single nano-second that you’re alive and breathing without the aid of machines is because of His Grace and Mercy. And every moment you can see, hear, taste, smell, laugh, cry, love, feel, hope, pray etc. is because He permits it. And even though He knows you’re a moron, He will still forgive you if you repent and will continue to bestow His Mercy and Blessings on you.

And why must we fear Him?
Only because He warns us repetitively of the ramifications of flouting His laws in every second paragraph of the Qur’an. And who are we to question His forewarning? The accounts of the destruction of Thamud and ‘Ad, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Deluge of Nuh (AS)…these are not fables designed to terrify your wits out of you. These are historical accounts, examples attached to those forewarnings.

“But how many (countless) generations before them have We destroyed? Canst thou find a single one of them (now) or hear (so much as) a whisper of them?” (Quran 19:98)

And yes, the people of Haiti and Banda Aceh did not deserve their afflictions, but who do you think allowed such catastrophic events to occur in the first place? Our sole purpose is to submit to His will and worship. Do not underestimate your Creator. God is not your friend.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beautiful Dreamy Brothers

Post Removed. Available on request, please send an email to azmarita@gmail.com

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Some Perspective

I mentioned a couple of months ago, that someone I’d grown quite close to passed away very suddenly. Well, some of her final words were “Don’t take people for granted, appreciate them every day”. It’s a simple message, something we all know but don’t really grasp until it’s too late. Those words have stuck with me ever since and they hover, flitting about my wits like butterflies. One of my fears is coping with losing a parent – not that I couldn’t live without them – just that it would be so much more difficult to do so.

I often think that one of the biggest illusions on earth is our concept of time because we're fooled into thinking we have so much of it, when we really don't. We’re so caught up in every day trivialities that we are not mindful of the expiration date on our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

To put things into perspective, let’s assume that each person lives an average of 65 years, give or take a few. Now you weren’t born with your Mom and Dad – they had entire lives before you came along – so let’s assume that they had you at an average age of 22. That means that you only really know them for 43 years of their lives. But that’s just it, you know them for those 43 years – you don’t necessarily spend every waking moment with them in that time.
Click on image for a better view

And from those 43 years, roughly a third of our time is spent sleeping which is approximately 14 years; and another third is spent either going to school, university or work, which incidentally adds up to another 14 years. Then there’s all that time you spend cruising the highway in peak hour traffic, running errands that are essential for daily living and engaging in activities that require you to be alone, like pee-ing and bathing…and at an average of 3 hours a day it all adds up to 6 years of your life dedicated to maintenance. Then there are other family members and friends that require your attention, some daily, others less frequently and at 10 hours a week, you’re looking at 3 solid years spent on sustaining relationships.

That leaves you with a grand total of 6 precious years of quality time with your parents, which (assuming that you’re living with them) is only around 7 weeks a year. And with the natural procession of life, you’ll probably decide to get married and move out. So if you get married at the average age of 25, the time you would have spent with your parents for the remaining 18 years of their lives, decreases substantially. At this point, you would have only spent a little over 3 years with them and assuming that you’ll get to see them for 5 hours a week when you’re married; those other 3 years meant for quality time will be reduced to almost 28 weeks, or a mere 6.5 months.

So there you have it folks. Even if you’re one of the extremely fortunate few that will get to see your parents alive for 43 years, only around 4 of those years will be dedicated to quality time with them. And that’s not counting all the time wasted on silly arguments, petty family feuds, the days or weeks or months spent not talking to each other; or those occasions you’re out of the country or working over-time etc.
Can you wrap your mind around less than 4 years at the most?! Make it count.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Male Ego

Women in general have to endure a lot of pain and angst in their lives. Think about it. There’s the pain of PMS every month when it feels like a kitten is trying to claw its way out of your womb, or you're about to give birth to a calf. Then when a woman gets married, she has to give up everything – her life, her family, her home etc. for the man. Then there’s the agony of childbirth. And what about the hundreds of other twinges that come from being a self-sacrificing being – something that is so innate to most females.

But from ALL the pain and anguish suffered by women worldwide, nothing is more agonizing than dealing with The Male Ego. A natural by-product from the Hunter gene, The Male Ego has illusionary qualities and is intangible in nature, so giving it a kick in the ass is out of the question. It has the same physical qualities of a human soul – so you know it exists but you’ve never actually seen it – but sometimes it could easily be mistaken for a poltergeist. To describe The Male Ego in more tangible terms, it will most likely resemble a creature that is an amalgamation of a peacock and a rat.

My very first encounter with The Male Ego was as a pre-teen, with my Father. “Doting” was never in his vocabulary and throughout my early years we fought like monkeys. I remember one particular day, when we spent the better part of the day arguing about how to make Jelly. He had a specific method in mind and I dismissed his approach and substituted it with my own (yeah I’ve always revolted against authority). Both of us had strong personalities and were hell bent in our ways, so it was always a power struggle of some sort (thankfully that changed in my mid teens).

My next rendezvous with The Male Ego was in early adolescence, with my very first infatuation. Now I was one Fugly Betty in my pre-Bosch & Lomb days with my thick glasses and braces and curly mop of hair all over the place. He was my aunt’s neighbour’s son and every holiday I’d conveniently move in so that I could polish those stalking skills. We were a bunch of kids spending our days playing insipid games, pranking the neighbourhood and entertaining ourselves for hours on end. But even back then, I was not one for subtleties and after months of friendly banter, flirting, equivocation and prevarication (fancy words for beating around the bush) I went up to him one day and declared my Sweet-Valley-High-version-of-love for him…in German. He stood silent and contemplative, staring at me, knowing full well what I’d disclosed to him. I had no expectations. I didn’t want anything from him. I just wanted him to know. And then I walked away casually, happy and relieved that I was unburdened with the heavy secret.

Then something weird happened. When we were alone in conversation – he’d open up and tell me all sortsa personal stuff. We’d talk for hours completely absorbed in each other, oblivious to everyone else. But the minute we were around other people, he’d pull a Merlin and magically transform into the biggest asshole I’d ever known. We fought a lot because of this and I’d often go for days without speaking to him…it was like my own personal Jihad against his Ego. I hadn’t stopped caring for him, but like a bad Jessica Simpson tune, he quickly plummeted to No. 13 on my Billboard Top 20 list.

It was when I got to Junior High School that I was forced to learn how to go to war with The Male Ego. The Indian Muslim guys were especially terrible, displaying their lack of respect and exerting their false sense of authority and dominance on the girls in their classes – behaviour and characteristics they no doubt learnt from their fathers. There were a few in my class who would tell the girls what to do, where to sit etc etc. All the girls always complied, either out of fear or because they saw nothing wrong with it – reactions they no doubt learnt from their mothers. Of course, all except moi; I had issues taking instructions from my own father, never-mind from a bunch of retarded hooligans. So they would try to terrorize me because I refused to conform. I say try because none of them ever succeeded or even came close.

My policy of “anything you can do I can do 1000 times better” meant that revenge was mandatory, always sweet and somewhat perverse. Some of the guys' would pull at the girls' bra straps from behind – meant to sting if it slammed back in place, or unhook if done properly. One guy made the mistake of trying to do that to me and got a pencil stuck 4 inches into his leg. They hated me; and would verbally abuse me whenever they could. I retaliated by recording everything they said to me on a tape-recorder and played it for all the head teachers and principle. Then I stood back and watched them cry like little girls when they got the shit beaten out of them in front of the entire school, while I laughed hysterically in their faces.

Tired of the drama, I changed schools and was introduced to La Dolce Vita- The Sweet Life. It was the equivalent of flying first class as a VIP on Emirates after years as a passenger on a cargo plane with goats, chickens and donkeys. There were guys (from all races, including Indian Muslims) oozing charm, respect and charisma, and I was swooning every day like a love-sick puppy. Chivalry was the school anthem and for the next few years I never had to pick up anything I had dropped on the floor, or open any doors, or carry any heavy loads etc. The Male Ego wasn’t out to hurt me and we became respected friends. I was singing hallelujah because I had left the zoo and all the filthy animals to swim with the dolphins in the blue tranquil waters of the open sea.

It is perhaps fortunate that I was unaware I was to joust with The Male Ego several times over the next decade, well into post-adolescence. Because had I known what awaited me, I would have seriously considered a monastery-ic lifestyle, bounded by seclusion. In the duration of the years that followed, I met every variation of The Male Ego, in every classification as well as all the sub-species associated to it. It was kinda like meeting every member in a family of reptiles; the snakes, the crocodiles, the lizards, the chameleons etc. They came in many forms; some of them were friends or family members, others potential ‘love’ interests. There were even a few complete strangers because The Male Ego knows no boundaries.

Once, I made the mistake of telling an acquaintance (Ego1) that I thought he was handsome. It was purely an observation on my part, with no romantic inclination what-so-ever…but it was like I had opened Pandora’s Box of delusions. For some reason Ego1 convinced himself that I was head over heels for him. I didn’t even know and had long forgotten about the compliment when I started noticing a change in his behaviour. Every time I was around he was flexing his muscles, puffing out his chest, running his fingers through his hair like the men in those Nivea commercials. It was when he began telling others in our social circle that I “wanted his ass” that I got peeved off. I went straight up to him, seething, “ …just because I gave you a compliment, it doesn’t mean that I want to marry you”.

Unfortunately for me, that wasn’t the first or the last time that I’d Waltz with The Male Ego and have him misconstrue it for a steamy Salsa session. I had a conversation with another acquaintance (Ego2) and offered him some Sprite (because I’m hospitable like that) and for some or other reason, he had also convinced himself that I was planning the wedding. And then all of a sudden I found it odd that whenever I was in a 2km radius, he went to great lengths to avoid me. I caught him off-guard a few times but there were times he’d even pretend not to see me. On one such occasion, I’d had enough of his shit, tapped him on the shoulder and said “Listen, I don’t like you – never have never will – so you can stop running and hiding like a pansy ok”.

It was Déjà-moo when the same thing happened with Ego3, but in reverse. Ego3 and I were never friends or acquaintances, nada. I knew him from my school days and that was just about it. I had absolutely no interest in him and we hardly ever spoke to each other. He was engaged to be married to his high school sweetheart. So it was peculiar then, to have him try to impress me whenever he could. I got the distinct feeling that he wanted me to like him. He wanted me to want him, even though he wasn’t interested in me romantically. Talk about Vain. It’s like his version of The Male Ego went out, got married to Narcissism and had a hundred little Egotistical babies.

When I lived in London, I encountered The Male Ego in friends who thought they could dictate how I lived my life:
Ego4: Where are you going?
Me: I’m off to the HMV sale.
Ego4: You can’t go.
Me: Excuse you? Who died and made you daddy?

There was even an incident at a restaurant once, when I tried to locate our waiter to request an extra fork. Since she was not in plain sight, I looked around the room intently but at no one in particular. Two hours later and upon exiting, this freak approached me:
Ego5: I saw the way you were looking at me and I liked it.
Me: If you’re talking to me, you’re mistaken.
Ego5: Just admit it, I know you want me.
Me: Bwahahaha... Boytjie, I wouldn’t even piss on your teeth if your gums were on fire.

In a way, The Male Ego is a funny thing. It has the ability to inflate and expand to astronomical proportions, but the tiniest perforation will make that balloon pop so fast that it will literally disappear. My experiences have taught me a lot, made me cynical and sometimes defensive. BUT, I believe that even some of the so-called ‘bad’ guys are inherently ‘good’ in nature (because people in general can never be underestimated and are capable of all sorts especially when provoked by circumstance) but that their learned bad behaviour, sinister intentions, motives and actions is the mask that conceals the truth. People can be good people, but still do bad things...does that make them bad people? Not necessarily. It just means that they're asses because they don't make the right choices. Fortunately for us, there are still good guys out there, hidden in the crevices of life like rough diamonds amongst the rubble …I’ve encountered quite a few. Waseem, Irfaan, Edge, Mohamed, Uzayr are just a few of many that can testify to that ;)