Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Allah has blessed me!

Oh Allah! I must thank you! SHUKRAN! For bestowing upon me and my family the presence of my dear father. Allah, I may not understand right now, neither may I ever, but I will place my complete trust in Your plan for all of us in this lifetime. Shukran for blessing me with the beautiful family I have! I am forever indebted Ya Allah! And, shukran for the time you have allowed us to experience each other.

On Thursday evening, my daddy experienced some seizures. It is the scariest thing in the world to witness and all my brother and I could do was hold onto each other for dear life as we tried to help my daddy. Algamdulilah, my mom is very strong and takes things with such ease but I know it’s difficult for her too.

Algamdulilah, only with the mercy and blessings of Allah, my daddy is recovering and is doing better every day. This has certainly been an eye-opener for me. But, the hard part still lies ahead… acknowledging and doing.

For now, instead of focusing on the worry and anxiety, of what needs to be done and what will change, I want to concentrate on right now. For, right now I have the presence of both my beautiful parents who have reared my brother and I with such grace, love and gratitude. And, right now I want to express how deeply thankful I am for a father who has displayed nothing but pure and utter tenacity throughout his life. Life has thrown him some heavy curveballs his way and each time, without fail, he bounced right back. Algamdulilah! I really admire him. Afterall, I would, wouldn’t I? I’m his daughter after all… in awe! And, my mother who has always been and continues to be our beacon of strength, hope and faith. Each day she goes about her tasks with such grace and honour and strives each and every day to fulfill the needs of her family. I am so thankful to both my parents for everything they do for us and want them to know that all the sacrifices they have made - are certainly noted and never in vain. I love Mommy & Daddy so much.

My dad always puts everything aside for me, my brother and mother. If ever we need to speak or need his help, he’ll drop everything and attend to us immediately. How can I not appreciate a man, my father who walks alongside me, bearing every single step of my life with me and guiding me so astutely with the glorious help of Allah Almighty. If ever anything is weighing us down, my daddy’s the first to call on, for all of us.

So, Shukran Allah, for Your Mercy, Your Grace, Your Love and Your Plan. Without Allah’s Will, this could never be, so I’m thankful today! May we continue to be with Allah’s Mercy and Insha-Allah, may my daddy have a full recovery, Ameen! I do love him so very much!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rolling with life…

So, I’ve had a pretty crazy week thus far… thankfully, it’s the weekend… and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to it. Really, really need this time… just to relax and be.

A little update… after a stressful period of hurried shopping before the stores at Canal Walk close and four tired feet later, Raafiek and I decided to try out Fego Caffe. Boy, were we in for a surprise, we ordered things we wouldn’t ordinarily do… and that was the beauty of it. What was most exciting was their non-alchoholic cocktail drinks. I ordered a Watermelon & Chilli Martini and Raafiek a Strawberry Dachkery… hmmm.. it certainly was delectable… and to top it, my mouth was on fire from the chilli. But, this time round, I didn’t mind at all.

Then on Wednesday evening, I attended Zanap’s 3rd Birthday party, Raafiek’s little cousin! She was smothered with gifts from everyone and immediately started putting on the cute shoes, necklaces and clothing. Awww! What beauty to see a child smile. Lemeez planned everything and made tuna pasta while Raafiek & I made the cheese sauce to accompany it. It was quite delicious! Shukran Meezy!

The other day, I was delighted to find out that one of our Matric Reunion pictures was posted in the local newspaper, People’s Post. Here it is… Matric’98 making history! Thanks to all!

And, after Shahieda left everyone’s mouths watering after posting her appetising recipe of Malva pudding… I decided to try it out myself! Shaheema, being very undomesticated, actually enjoyed it very much… and hey, it can out perfect! And, after all-round wonderful appraisements to my pudding… I might just try to venture into the kitchen once again to try something new.

Finally, I finished off my last dress of the Smooches collection… for now that is. Aaah, a sigh of relieve. I’ll pick up this hobby again after the month of Ramadaan… but for now, I’m planning to give it my all… Lailatul Baraah Mubarak to all!

Have a special weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Raafiek & I attended a Mindfulness conference some time back… think 7 May 2008… and the concept has since intrigued me. I was meant to write a commentary article about my observations and findings, but alas, I didn’t. Perhaps I really need to become more mindful of my myself and my actions.

The conference was held by the UCT Graduate School of Business at the Breakwater Campus, in Greenpoint. On arrival at 17:30 we received a complimentary orange juice and were seated. We were in for something really big here. Something I now wish I took more cognisance of. And, something which could change the rest of our lives.

The conference was led by Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, a professor emeritus of medicine and the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the US. He did lead a very interesting discussion and one which certainly left my mouth gaping. It then struck me. How many times are we really aware of ourselves within a day? Do we really tune into ourselves? Or do we just live life endlessly, day by day, never really taking in all it has to offer?

I don’t know about you, but I’m very guilty of this. Many times, I’m flooded with ‘things to do’, errands to run and just generally clogged with clutter all round that I never get to see any beauty. A beauty which is free for all, a beauty always available, a beauty we sometimes never see or bother to care about.

Dr Kabat-Zinn showed us a very interesting PowerPoint, a presentation in which there were 15 people, 7 wearing white sweaters and 8 wearing black. We were meant to focus only on the white sweaters and to count how many times they passed a soccer ball between each other. Raafiek and I both came to a final answer of 13. Everyone had different answers and where ready to argue their cause. But, that was not the real exercise. We certainly did what was asked, but most people missed the actual test. Even us. He then asked us to watch the presentation again… this time not counting and purely enjoying what was presented. We couldn’t believe what we saw. Not even one person saw it the first time around… there in the midst of passing the ball to each other was a man covered in a black robe passing through the entire screen from right to left. That really made me think. It was right there. Different from everything else... how come i didn't notice it?

It wasn’t a different presentation, it was the very same one we viewed the first time around. But, when given an instruction, to count only the white, we were unable to focus on anything else… which led me to thinking. How many times a day don’t we notice something because we are too focused on something else? Do we even realise the magnitude of this? So, how much opportunities, observations and chance for friendships do we actually miss in our lifetime?

This is how he defines ‘mindfulness’:

“Mindfulness is the ability to focus our attention in the here-and-now, purposefully and without judgement or expectation. Our deep conditioning often means we are habitually lost in thought. This often results in a sense of disconnection from our feelings and our bodies and what is happening directly in front of us. Mindfulness practice is a simple way to begin to reconnect with our inner resources.”
For more information visit http://www.mbsr.co.za

From now on, I want to be more present. To live in each moment I’m presented. To be thankful for all which crosses my path and to smile on the passing of a day, knowing I gave it my very best and really lived in each moment!

So, let’s be mindful!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Accepting life’s course…

Who ever told us that we were in control? That we could have whatever we wanted? Perhaps, we tried really hard and didn’t receive what we desperately needed, would that mean that there is a lesson to be learnt?

I think so. I think we are meant to learn of life’s blessings through our hardships. That our most trying times in life will shape us into beautiful beings of appreciation, gratitude and love.

Today, I stumbled upon this email I received some time back which extrapolates exactly how i've been feeling lately:

Everything Happens with the Will of Allah

Man plans and plans. He makes all the arrangements, drawing up detailed itineraries and he confirms bookings for every minute aspect of his journey on the earth.

It is good to remember two aspects in this regard:

1. As much as man plans, the Plan of Allah always prevails.

2. Planning for the journey is given so much priority what about planning for the destination (the aakhirah).

We sometimes concentrate too much on the luxuries of the journey. Our homes have become too comfortable and sometimes it seems that extravagance and overindulgence is becoming the norm. We spend too much time on the issues of the world and fulfilling the needs of our existence in this temporary abode. Death must come to every person and death will bring an end to the life of this world. The opportunity to prepare for the destination of the aakhirah is only during the short life that we have. Once the last breath is drawn it is too late.

It is mentioned that the Prophet (sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam) said: Work with regard to your worldly life, as if you will live forever (in the sense that if you need something, there is a long time to get that). Work towards your aakhirah as if you will die tomorrow. (Some scholars say that this is not a hadeeth but rather a saying of the pious).

May Allah (subhanahu wa ta`aala) give us an understanding of the purpose of our life on this earth. May He guide us to make full use of our time on this earth before the time to depart is here. Ameen.

So, today, I’d like to leave you with these few words… there’s too much to experience in life and just so little time. Accept it. Give only the things you deem important, or which should be important… priority time in your life. Because I fear to find the day when we’ve spent our precious time on mindless tasks… hoping for one last moment to tell someone we care, only to find we are too late. So, always say what’s in your heart. And, remember: That sometimes we may pray for something and not receive it… therein lies endless opportunity. Seek to find it!

For it's certain, Allah knows best.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I’m thinking of you…

It took me a long time to sort out my thoughts, well, honestly, I still haven’t. So, I figured I’ll just get them out. Hence, today, I’d like to blog about a very special woman in my life… Raafiek’s mother, Aunty Safura.

I only know her for just over a year… and she has made an instrumental impact in my life. Firstly, she accepted me just as I am, no idealizations, no special requests, no “if only’s” or “I’d like you to’s”… just me… unconditionally.

She is such a strong woman, who has endured so much, yet she stands there oozing the greatest of confidence and zest for life. She is so beautiful to me. In many ways, she’s like a friend… one I just can’t see living without.

On my first visit to their home, it was a Sunday afternoon and I was invited for lunch. I was graced with the presence of his beautiful mother, siblings Lemeez and Zane and their significant others as well as Shireen and Samir (Raafiek’s cousin and friend respectively). Aunty Safura had made some creamy butternut soup (or was it prawn noodles? Hmmm… my memory deceives me) for starters and yummy chicken curry with roti as the main course… I thoroughly enjoyed it! I brought the desert – chocolate cake with fresh cream. My first thought of her – she cares so deeply for her children – firstly to have gone out of her way like that for her son, Raafiek; secondly: the way she interacted with everyone present; and thirdly: how comfortable she made me feel.

Over the years we built a friendship built on acceptance, love, trust and pure spirit. In many ways we are so alike… sort of shared the same experiences but on different scales. It was easy to open up to her, to share my thoughts. I value her opinion as she does everything with the purest of intentions always striving for the best outcome.

I can’t really explain my connection to her… it's something far more spiritual. Something I sometimes don’t understand, but now having experienced it, know it’s something I’d never want to live without. I care very deeply for her and always do my bit in keeping her happy and smiling… as she deserves to feel nothing less. I feel so blessed to have the honour of being part of their family.

Today, she’s not doing too well and is in hospital. Please spare a thought and dua for someone who deserves the very best in life, who has lots of love to give, who is a pleasure and my treasure and someone who without a doubt is truly loved. Please keep her in your prays and dua’s that she may have a speedy recovery and return to the family soon, so she may see and experience the joy of her two sons get married next year… and to be the epitome of support to her daughter, who still needs her so much.

Aunty Safura, I wish you all of life’s best. May Allah grant you strength, guidance and good health so you may emerge with renewed passion for life and ready to make your dreams and desires a reality… something only you can do! I love you and long to share my life with you again!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Matric '98 Reunion

Jeez… this must’ve been the craziest weekend of my life! On Friday evening, Raafiek and I went to Canal Walk to pay accounts, buy a baby present for Marildiya’s little boy’s name-giving as well as a wedding present for Khaalid & Shireen’s wedding! Alas, this was taking place all on one day (Saturday)… plus to top things off… it was my matric reunion as well.

So, up I was early Saturday morning. It was to be a crazy day ahead. Hair salon at 09:00, Rashmi at 10:15, other appointments in between, Marildiya’s baby’s name-giving at 12:00, had lunch there… then rushed to get some pantihose (lol!)… hurried home to finish the Powerpoint Presentation of our Matric year which was to be viewed the evening, Rayanah fetched it at 15:40. I got dressed in another hurry… then we were off to Khaalid’s wedding at 16:00.

Was such a lovely occasion and Raafiek looked oh so nice cladded in black and white.

Thereafter, we popped in at my house, greeted my parents, popped in by his mom, greeted her and then we were off to My Matric ’98 Reunion.

The function was held at The Ritz Hotel in Seapoint, one of the hotel’s main attractions is its revolving restaurant. Our function was held in one of the conference rooms, it was beautifully decorated with rose centerpieces, white linen and little memento’s too.

The reunion was a blast and certainly the highlight of my day! Finally I could let my hair down, relax and just be at peace. I had so much fun! It was so great to see everyone after 10 years.

Marilyn, who was always the life of the class… was there and lifted the spirits of everyone with her often crazy and bubbly personality. She was in my class since Standard 6… so we’ve come a long way! Pity we lost touch once we entered the big world hey… but like I said in a previous blog: A reason, a season or a lifetime, that’s life hey. But, we in touch again... so that's all that matters.

Ruwayda was there too… and Marilyn made the comment of us always being side by side in every single picture… and that’s exactly how we still are… after 14 years of friendship. We met in Standard 7 and remained in contact throughout. From 1995 a beautiful bond was formed and all through the years we’ve nurtured it, loved it and been there for each other through all of life’s blessings and trials. And, today we stand by each other, not regretting one single thing.

10 years ago back in 1998.

This is us in 2008.

Mr Rezandt was there, he gave the opening speech and afforded us a trip down memory lane… now that’s a story for you. He was my class teacher in Matric… and I certainly had my moments with him. Never appreciated him much at school… but as I entered the working world, I realised how big a part he had played in my life and how thankful I now am for what he taught me… and the times he drove me completely crazy was really a blessing in disguise. Funny how life works hey… only after do we see the method in the madness.

Ms De Waal… oh how thankful I am that she was there. She was my typing teacher. I remember her standing behind me in class while I typed and once my hands got a bit lazy, slouching over the keyboard, she would hit my fingers with a ruler! Ouch! That hurt! But, I remember it. She also wore this very distinctive perfume… Angel by Thierry Mugler… ooh now that stuck! Whenever I smelt it thereafter, I couldn’t help but think of her. My fondest memory was when I was late for class and she knew it, so she locked me out. LOL! I wasn’t bothered, gave me an opportunity to rest, but I ended up in the Woodwork room with the boys. Also, who could forget when I made up my own concoction of ‘lip stuff’ (Vaseline & red food colouring) and just before we entered the class, I put some on… then I offered each and every single girl some and they all obliged. When we got into the class, by this time, everyone had ‘rooi lippies’ and looked like little made-up dolls – she wasn’t impressed. When asked why all their lips were red, everyone answered: “Shaheema”. Oooh I was in for something… that was a story in itself. Oh… and I never forgot to say thank you to her for instilling in me my typing skills, something very valuable to me today.

We enjoyed a three course meal, by this time I was so full I could barely move… but I didn’t let the night go by without kicking my shoes aside and dancing the life out of me! I thoroughly enjoyed it and the aura around was filled with nostalgic memories, lots of laughter and great company. What better way to reminisce!