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Posts Tagged ‘Pakistani’

I watch in horror, the beautiful Swat Valley, a treasure of unparalleled natural beauty broken by the very same nature. Bahrain, Kalam, Madyan, Mingora, vacation spots from a childhood past, beaten, drowned by the 20-foot waves in the River Swat. The terrible force of Allah(swt)’s water destroying everything in sight, crumbling homes and bridges, made of cement and bricks. The monsoon season is in swing and, as it continues to rain, every river from the north down to the southern part of Pakistan has swollen and inundated its surroundings. So far 20 million people are affected by disease and displacement, entire villages (650,000 homes) destroyed.  The United Nations is calling this a worse disaster than the tsunami, the 2005 earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake… all put together! These are not just statistics; these are people, our brothers and sisters.

Rain can be a mercy or a test from Allah(swt)  – they are surrounded by water yet they do not have a drop to drink. Inna lillahi wa innaa ilayhi raji’oon. Truly to Allah do we belong and to Him we shall return!

We hear so much bad news, courtesy of 24-hour news channels, that our hearts have become hard. We say a quick dua or shed a few tears and sometimes send in some money. As I sit here in my brother-in-law’s luxury condo overlooking the serene Potomac River in Washington D.C., do I even deserve to comment on these people’s suffering?  To be there and actually deliver bread and tents or shelter a family, to risk my life to rescue a human in the land of my birth, would I be worthy then? I want to be there, yet I feel so inadequate.

Besides clutching our own brood of kids, showing them pictures of the tragedy helpless children are suffering a few days before the merciful month of Ramadan, so they can learn to look beyond their own wants, what else can we do? As we get ready to fast, we can remember these people have not eaten for days. As we take our babies to the doctors, lets remember the water-borne diseases their babies may suffer. As we stock up our freezers from the Halal store and our overstuffed pantries from Costco, lets remember the true spirit of Ramadan and give as much as we can.  Maybe this is Allah’s way of reminding us that we are NOT giving enough in Sadaqah.

Give to fill his empty pots

In a Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A man has sinned enough if he neglects to feed those in need.” (Related by Muslim and Abu Dawud)

Ya Rabbi, the advent of your blessed month is here, please remove the sufferings of our Pakistani brothers and sisters. O Allah, nothing is beyond your power. O Allah, send upon them helpful, wholesome and healthy rain, beneficial not harmful rain. Ameen!

We are more in need of the reward of our sadaqat that the flood victims are in need of our donations.

Having lived in New Orleans and seeing that beautiful city wrecked by Katrina and still trying to rebuild itself despite being in the wealthiest of nations, I wonder how Pakistan will survive this flood?  This clip was so heart-wrenching but reinforced the belief of a Muslim– the good brother says standing waist deep in water “by the grace of God we will reconstruct everything, we have courage to face this situation, we are Pakistani… we live here, we will face every problem inshaAllah”.  Alhamdulillah fi kulli haal. Lets help them rebuild.

Join Muslim Matters Fundraiser for trusted organizations to donate to.

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I just wasted 4 hours of my life. Invited to a henna (mehndi) party. Got all dressed up thinking it would be ladies event. my bad. Next time I am going to pull on my abaya over my pjs.

The decor was lovely- that I was enjoying along with the yummy appetizers; until I got a preview of the belly dancers’ decolletage in the ladies room. Why do people invite people like me to these things anyway? Felt like such a prissy goody two shoes excusing myself with the lovely hostess because I felt ‘uncomfortable’. She was so sweet wanted us to stay for dinner- so I gathered my girls & a friend’s teenager and headed to the newest ice cream shop in town called SHAVE IT, promising her we will be back in time for dinner.

The whole ‘show’ was for the viewing pleasure of the few dozen white guests, to introduce them to the groom’s Egyptian and bride’s Pakistani heritage.  The groom’s family sat in a corner miffed, not exactly thrilled by the Diane of Belly Dancers Unlimited’s hijack of their culture.

Three or four Pakistani women were on the lit dance floor in an otherwise dark room, when I wandered in 45 minutes later, dancing as if to prove something, nothing joyous or spontaneous about their moves.  No men up there with them; they were busy staring hungrily from the sidelines.

The invitation said 6 o’clock so naturally most of the non-desis showed up at 6:00.  Dinner wasn’t served until 10:00. Feeding the non-desi guests on time would have served our culture better. Dinner before the dancing starts always; this way guests who do not want to be ‘entertained’ can leave without rejecting the hospitality of the host.

I really have to ponder what we are trying to prove about our culture after I examined the dancer’s brochure left on the entrance, next to the rose petals and the dripping ruby-red candles.  Clad in Hollywood inspired harem costumes with angel wings ‘veils’, a superstar dance troupe, not one of them Arab or South Asian.  The all male bhangra act also hired for the night were fully covered; why is it always the women who have to expose their bodies to entertain?

Was the henna ceremony itself not enough culture, the aroma of the mehndi and oil rubbed on to the bride’s hands. The mithai (sweets) in an antique silver bowl, placed lovingly or playfully in the bride’s mouth, depending on who is feeding her. The rose & jasmine jewellery and garlands fashioned by hand, the bangles placed by every dinner plate. Why do we HAVE to dilute our identities?  Give them an authentic Pakistani or Egyptian experience, it is enough. We have such an inferiority complex!

At my sis-in loves (inlaws) wedding, we had more than 200  non-desis attend. The beauty of our simple nikaah ceremony, the grand arrival of the barat, the greeting & feeding of the guests, the recitation of the quran, the poetry reading by my husband’s grandfather,  including Allah in the celebration of a new life left many of them marveling at the grace in our faith & culture.


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Planning my weekly menu

In an effort to getting back to being more organized I am going back to weekly menu planning- It saves me time, money and since I know what’s on the menu I can shop and order the halal meat more efficiently. I ask each kid except LF#4 what they want to eat each week, Boss gets to pick one and Mondays are Meatless.

  • Meatless Monday- Fried Okra- Bhindi Do Pyaza with Chappati
  • Tuesday- Ground Beef  Lasagna with Herb Salad
  • Wednesday- Chicken Bombay Biryani with Raita ( Yogurt sauce)
  • Thursday- Whole wheat pizza with grilled chicken & veggie toppings
  • Friday-  BBQ Tandoori Chicken with Naan
  • Saturday- the kids are going to a party-so leftovers
  • Sunday- I’ll grill extra tandoori chicken breast and make a tandoori chicken pasta because I teach at the masjid on Sunday so it has to be an easy dinner inshaAllah-

Since this is the first time I am doing this on my blog I will post the recipes as I go. Go make yours now 🙂

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Day of the week to honor Meatless Mondays, when my family made a commitment to go veggie one day a week. So Boss found fresh, crisp okra at the desi store. We all love bhindi.

I am going to use my Ammi’s Bhindi Do Pyaza recipe, this is quintessential U.P. style cooking. You use a lot of onions to give the okra that sweet- salty taste. If made perfectly, its crunchy . When you chop the okra it seems like a lot but like spinach it tends to shrivel up. I make enough for a family of six.

  • 1 lb fresh okra, lady fingers, bhindi   (wash and pat dry BEFORE chopping into 1/2 inch pieces, don’t use tops, check out the picture for size)
  • Olive oil (or canola)
  • 2 med onions sliced finely ( I like using my trusty slicer @ .75mm)
  • few whole dried red chilli peppers
  • 1/2 tsp safaid zeera (cumin seed)
  • 1 tsp lal mirch (red chili powder) This is SPICY so adjust to your taste.
  • 1 tsp haldi (turmeric)
  • salt to taste
  • Lemon to cut the viscosity of the okra.
  1. Heat oil in a wok or chef’s pan-I have anemia so I try to use cast iron pans as much as possible
  2. Add zeera (cumin seeds) until  they pop
  3. Add onions until they turn color, adding salt at this point help make the onions crispier
  4. Add the okra
  5. Then the spices
  6. Stir fry till the okra is crispy
  7. Give it a good squeeze of lemon
  8. Serve with chappati

All the scraps go in to the compost pile. Hope you can make it an easy habit. Happy Eating!

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As the end of the year approaches our kids often have class parties, where they exchange gifts with their friends. Sometimes I send in toys or books. This craft was an Eid/holidays gift for my daughter’s preschool class. I painted one on canvas for each child in her class, inscribing their names in English and Arabic. MashaAllah the kids were fascinated, seeing their name in another language and hopefully will carry happy memories of a Muslim girl and her mommy for many years to come. Many of the parents appreciated the time and said they would display these in their kids rooms. All praise belongs to Allah.

This kid was half Indian Half African American

You will need ready made canvas available at Micheals or Aaron Brothers

I used acrylics and distressed glitter glue

First paint the background and let it dry before doing the calligraphy. Be as creative as you want. For some I shaded the background.


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We are hosting a dholki (a pre-wedding girls party, where we sing wedding songs) for my sis in law. I had a mini one in December for her but this will be her grand going away party. First we thought of hosting bridal shower for her but she is all ready having TWO. So it would be over kill.
Our theme is damask. LOOOOVVE IT both of us love it- its classy, crisp and looks stylish on everything from invitations, decor to favors.
Deciding on damask party favors:
How cute are these lip balms! they are for about $1.30 at this  website other places have them for $2.50

All Natural Ingredients: organic palm oil, beeswax, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic hemp seed oil, vitamin E, rosemary extract, and SPF 15

Damask Lip balm

Placecard holders I am thinking we could put the wedding prayer on it (Dua for the bride and groom) $1.30 (90 cents if you order more than 80)

Damask Placecard holders

Bingo! These mirrors are so couture and practical Bit pricey at $3.oo each but if you don’t too many attendees these would be great

Damask Mirror Favor

Photo frame/coasters/placecard holders although these aren’t strictly damask

Black & White Coaster photo frame

My favorite these would look so adorable in any bathroom

Heart shaped soap in a box

Candles are a classic. These are $1.40 but if you order 72 or more then they are as low as $.90
These candles would fit our theme perfectly-my only concern is that they aren’t unique

Damask Candle Favors

If you don’t want to spend too much these mints tins were the cheapest 58 cents each! Fill them up with Jelly beans or M&Ms

Damask tins

These are tiny but way cute– they are $1.53 each if you order 72 or more otherwise $1.92 each

Wedding Lipbalm customize in damask

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My poor devraani is 8 months pregnant but I have been there done that; last two weddings in the family, I was full-term. My sister-in-law is getting married to my sis in law’s brother- that’s being desi for you. Nand to Devraani’s brother.  Very didi tera dewar dewane.  I love party/wedding planning-note to self: potential career option once kiddos are grown up. Which one should we choose? Would love comments

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Third Annual South Asian Art Festival

No 1 by Kinda Hibrawl

The Festival will include fine art exhibit, art, fiction and non-fiction book launches by South Asian/ American writers, Poetry Readings, Comedy Show, Art Work Shops for Adults and Children.

May 1, 2010: 1- 7 pm Interactive Gallery tours with artists.

This is what I am really excited about -the Islamic Art workshops especially for kids.

Art workshops (registration upon arrival): Exploring Islamic Patterns and Designs, Endangered species in Sindh and Rajasthan Deserts.

Poetry Reading: 1:30 PM by Beo Zafar, 2:30 PM by Mehnaz Turner

Reception: 4-7 pm Refreshments will be served

Comedy Show May 1, 7-8 pm, May 2, 4-5 pm by Beo Zafar,

All proceeds will benefit

The Citizens Foundation Schools

www.tcfusa.org 501 (c) (3)

Tickets $45.00 online purchase or call 310-459-5826.

www.zanbeelart.com

Trees of Existence_Tree of Light by Halide Salam

Artists participating: Sonia Chaudhary,Pritika Chowdhry, Hayat Gul, Ramesh Gorjala,

Reem Hammad, Abid Hasan, Asad Hussain, Tehniyet Hussain , Wahab Jaffer C.F. John,

Masuma Halai Khwaja, Lubna Lipton,  Bina Malkani, Zahra Malkani,

Amitis Motevalli, Suresh Muthukulam, Murali Nagapuza, Antonio Puri,

Ali Rahamad,  Tara Rashid, Amin Rehman,  Satayakam Saha,

Shakil Saigol, Halide Salam, Natasha Shoro, Azis T.M., Huda Totonji, Farooq Yousufzai.

Ayat by S A Noory

Book Launching: Alive and Well in Pakistan by Ethan Casey

Dust of children by Ali Eteraz

Home Boy by H.M. Naqvi

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Danial Mueenuddin

Kolachi Dreams by Nadya A.R.

Rock and Roll Jihad by Salman Ahmad

The Dreamer Awakes, Poems and Paintings by Beo Zafar and Tabinda Chinoy

Art books by Foundation of Modern Museum Art, Pakistan,

Art books by Marg Publications, India

Art books by Sadequain Foundation, San Diego, California.

Sponsored by Zanbeelart

Arena 1 Gallery

Santa Monica Art Studios

3026 Airport Ave.

Santa Monica, CA. 90405

www.santamonicaartstudios.com

310-397-7449, 310-459-5826

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