Questions to Self.

Kids, work and home is mad busy as always. There are days when I feel so unsure of everything — and days when I feel things are finally falling into place. There are dreams, there are aspirations, but most of all there is a realization that time is running out.

Days turn into weeks, weeks slip into months and a frantic sense of urgency surrounds me. The girls are growing up, I’m growing older. Am I becoming a better person? Have I brought them up the right way? Would Allah be happy with me if I died right now? Have I even made a sincere effort to do my job in this world right? Am I getting lost in petty ego battles and politics? How did I become a better human being than I was yesterday? Will I change the world someday? Am I making a difference in the lives of those around me, and those near and dear to me? As a human being would I inspire anyone in positive way?

My intentions. Only the Lord knows my intentions. I wish they were always clean and pure.

I’m here in this world for a reason.

Art of dealing with exam agony

Originally published in Gulf News “Off the Cuff” on 26th August 2013. Late upload… sorry guys

Gladly, my exam papers wren't quite so blank !

Gladly, my exam papers wren’t quite so blank ! :)

There are some moments in life when you feel an overwhelming sense of relief. In particular, the relief felt after you finish your last exam is something special.

As I exited the examination hall after being done with my finals at last (smirking as I walked past the invigilators who had looked so intimidating only hours earlier) all I could think was: “I am a free human being again! It’s over!”

I relate the experience to the culmination of a long and demanding pregnancy, at the end of which the baby, which had hitherto been a happy and active resident of your ever-increasing belly, finally decides to make a move. It’s another matter that raising the child itself is another, even tougher exam, but I suppose you get the gist.

The weeks after the exam — when one is waiting for the results — are pure agony. Sometimes, the results are more distressing than the waiting period, whilst sometimes the grades one gets are a big relief.

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For me, Maths was consistently a leading cause of pain (calculus, my teacher and the thick textbook were all beyond my comprehension), whilst subjects such as English language, literature and Urdu made my school life look somewhat respectable.

I was in awe of my more able peers who were completely disappointed with their results: “Can you believe I got 91 per cent in Maths? There’s no way I lost 9 per cent! There has to be a problem with this!”

Statements such as this would come from those scholarly souls who would have, in a most frenzied air, claimed right before the Economics exam that “I studied the Macro chapters only twice! I read all the others three times, hopefully we won’t get a question on macro!”

This statement, said to someone like myself, who had barely gone through the book not too long ago, over strong, black coffee, was hardly comforting.

I’m recounting all this because I recently went back to school after a long break, and took my teacher training exams, and attempted to do a Bachelors as well.

Weeks before the exams I was filled with a strange anxiety. The stress was so great that after every 30 minutes of studying I would require roughly 25 minutes of entertainment to compose myself and stave off a nervous breakdown. That Sigmund Freud’s notorious stages of infantile sexuality were punctuated with an episode of Friends was not merely coincidence, but a careful plan, which I am sad to admit, did not work particularly well.

I suppose I should pass, (hopefully!), but I am sure I could have done a better job if Chandler, Ross and Co hadn’t eaten into my limited time available for studying. I told my father about my unique studying plan after the papers and I found him chuckling with delight because apparently, I had carried on the family tradition. Pray what, Dad, is this family tradition? I asked.

It turns out that dad was to appear for his Chartered Accountancy finals. The past four years had been enjoyed thoroughly by a young man with an insatiable appetite for fun, who was busy discovering the vibrant city of London and beyond. Studying, predictably enough, was rather low in his list of priorities.

Right before the finals he enrolled for an exclusive crammer course during which students were directed to take classes for the subjects they were weak in. Looking into his syllabi, he realised he needed to revise every single subject.

To give himself some peace of mind at such a nerve-wracking juncture in life, he indulged himself by smoking heavily, reading a multitude of Agatha Christie mysteries and taking whatever classes he could. And finally when the crammer course was done, he decided he needed to “let the dust settle down” (Dad, was it the lessons or was it Agatha Christie?) and for three days straight, he watched movies!

Then he took his exams and surprising managed to clear the finals in his first attempt. He wasn’t the only one wide-eyed. On the day after the results, he received a letter from one of his professors. It read:

“Dear Mr Rehman,

In the list of candidates that have successfully passed the examination there appears to be a name very similar to yours. Could it possibly be you?”

Dad wrote back with a response that was characteristically tongue-in-cheek and somewhat audacious.

I’ll sign off with a little prayer that I will clear my exams too, content in the knowledge that my study habits are but a genetic hand-me-down, that will, hopefully not pass on to my girls!

Knock! Knock! Who’s there?


Mehmudah who?

Mehmudah who used to blog so often but doesn’t have a waking moment free anymore!

Whew! A preschool teacher who’s a full time mom? No wonder I can’t blog, write and do photography as often as I would like to. But it’s all good. Guess I get stressed and exhausted but that’s just part of life. Gotta breathe! Gotta be thankful!

Some readers felt I was a bit sharp and not-so-decent in my last couple of blogs — I apologize for that and I’ve removed any offensive words.

I keep having moments of the writers rush (times when ALL I want to do is write and then instead I’m soothing crying kids or cooking or making lesson plans and the moment goes away). So when I finally come here and blog, all I do is beat about the bush… lol

Also, I LOVE comments and likes and visits. I’m just sooo caught up with the new academic year, I haven’t had a chance to respond. But really, they touch my heart. Each and every one of your likes, comments and visits. So please continue :)

At Khorfakkan, UAE

Khorfakkan has a gorgeous beach and the boat ride’s lovely too.  I hope you like the photos!

Where the mountains meet the sea

Where the mountains meet the sea

The island at Khorfakkan

The island at Khorfakkan

So lovely when the water touches my toes...

So lovely when the water touches my toes…

I added a bit of drama to the sky...

I added a bit of drama to the sky…

Yes, I edited this a bit...

At the beach

Why we sometimes act mean (sequel to the last post)

Ok, first things first. A rant is a rant (my last blog was a rant) and may not be taken in the literal sense. This one however is (hopefully) a level-headed blog, and I hope to write something worthwhile, Insha Allah. I had no business judging anyone or calling them mean. My bad. Sorry. Mean it.

Mostly ‘cause at many points in life, I’ve been a completely unbearable, unpalatable human being, who would, in anyone’s book, qualify as “mean” so it all goes horribly wrong when I start sounding holier-than-thou and like I’m some kind of saint. I was mad, and I was hurt. So the blog was a way of therapy, get it? That doesn’t make it right, though. I know I have some wonderful loyal readers and followers and I don’t want them to run away now, do I? ;)

I’ve been feeling so guilty since I wrote that last blog. This one’s been brewing in my mind all this time, but I did not have the time to write it. Crazy weekends, you know? So if we look into people’s behaviours, there are usually a number of factors controlling them. Let’s get to the days when I become a monster. I’m deliberately using myself as the example so I can freakin’ get off my high horse (I’m sure that’s what it seems to many, but on that day, I was pretty mad).

I may be PMSing, something huuuge may be on my mind that I can’t even share, or maybe someone just made a thoroughly disparaging remark about my personality, my weight, my family, or all. Or maybe something that completely shamed and embarrassed me happened (May Allah protect me from it all, Ameen). So if I get annoying, would I like it if people judged me? NO!

image via source

If I call anyone a bitch I am in effect judging them. I HATE judgemental people. I don’t wanna be one of them. I slipped up. We all do. I just feel like I shouldn’t have shared the toxic thought on my blog, because I know people are reading. Ugh.

We need to put ourselves in the others shoes. More often than not, their behaviour will seem legit. And hey, isn’t it a test of love? We need to feel what they’re feeling, we need to be empathetic, and we need to stop writing blogs when we’re mad. Enough said.


Image via source

When human beings get mean…

Excuse the title, but I’m not here to mince words. Before you get started, know that this is a rant. I haven’t ranted on my blog for … it seems like ages! But there’s a lot I need to analyze right now in my mind. I need to ask a lot of questions – aloud, or with a digital pen, if you will.

Right, so, let’s get into this without further ado. As I see it, one of the most wonderful things that a person in life can have is good manners. It’s gentleness, it’s a good character. It’s knowing how not to hurt people, yet doing what you believe is right and it’s being confident, knowing how to carry yourself socially in an upright and yet non-offensive way.

I’ve always valued the nature of a person highly. I’m someone who hasn’t been known for her gentle speech, but I’ve always wanted to acquire it. In the same way, my social etiquette and dealing other people leaves so much to be desired yet, I do crave for that perfect mix of humility and confidence that pleases Allah, inspires people and keeps my feet firmly on the ground.

I love humble people. I like being with them, I like their mannerisms and I read that some of the greatest people in the world were humble. On the other hand, I do not feel comfortable around people who are too full of themselves, too sure, and too confident about their opinions. That’s when something called dignity and showing others respect takes the exit.

Image via source

And I find that there are many people like that. You ask them something, or you get into a conversation and offer your own opinion, and then they turn into bitches. They suddenly attack you and diss you, and you wonder about social etiquette. Yes, you learn to shut up around those people and you almost never willingly meet them, but they get everything done.

It’s a survival of the fittest. These people think that they’ve finally learnt to deal with the world. They talk back at anyone – they tell off their family, and husbands, they’re short with the hired help and they act a bit too assured about everything they do. They get by, they get by swimmingly well.

They have the world in the palm of their hands. They get things done. No one argues with them, and everyone is off limits. Truth is, in a shallow worldly way, these people become successful in everything they do. They develop a skin as hard and thick as an elephants and they do not care about what you, or for that matter ANYONE might want to say. These people live on their own terms and they don’t care if they destroy friendships, hurt people, and they don’t care about how they make others feel.

See, the weird thing is, that this crazy strategy works, at least in their opinion. They’re finally happy. They don’t give two hoots about anyone thinks. They think they’ve found strength.

And hey, I’m not voting for the doormat strategy, okay? Do not get me wrong! In life, you need to have a bit of a hard skin, you need to have a certain amount of self-belief in order to get by. And you need to get your point across too! But there’s a fine line between being confident and being plain obnoxious that needs to be determined and thereafter respected.

Humility is a great thing, and humble people have historically been loved and respected by people. I am in no way suggesting that one becomes a little too humble and loses one’s sense of self. It’s easy to be humble when I remember Allah, and His countless favours on me, and how it’s by His command that I work on this article, the fact that I see, that I breathe. I want to be a humble person because our beloved prophet Muhammed (May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him) was a humble person, and he is the best, most perfect example for us to follow.

He accomplished the insurmountable task of transforming an aimless nation buried in ignorance into a one with a strong one with purpose and goodness, in a little over two decades. Allah gave him a divine message and divine help too. But Rasool Allah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam remained humble. So who am I to get all big-headed?

Rant over.