Category Archives: Laugh out Loud

How (NOT) to Teach Your Children to Play Ludo

By Rahila Ovais

IMG_2975

I am sure all moms from South Asia are pretty familiar with the board game Ludo; the beloved family amusement in life before internet and computers. It was our favorite entertainment during  summer breaks, family sleepovers or power outages through long winter nights; where everyone is an expert on the rules of the game, always bending the rules to favor their own move. For those of you who don’t know what Ludo is please refer to the game rules here.

Over this past winter break in an effort to keep the kids entertained with a new activity every day and after ruling out Scrabble and Taboo, we decided to have a game of Ludo one night with my kids; MJ 19 years old, MJ2 13 years old and DJ who is 5 years old. You all can probably already imagine how the night went given the ages of the players.

As per the rules, the one who rolls the highest number on the dice goes first and you need to roll a six to get your pieces out of their giant square boxes. Well lo and behold, the little one rolls a six, talk about beginner’s luck!  Not just one six but three times! At this point MJ2 claims DJ must have a trick up his sleeves to be able to roll out sixes every time; she is now determined to find that out by hook or crook. After several cheating attempts she gets her way. Meanwhile MJ still hasn’t been able to roll a single six! She claims that she does not cheat like MJ2.  This in turn makes MJ2 furious and an argument takes place which requires referee intervention. (Kindly note: a normal Ludo game does not require a referee) MJ makes MJ2 lose a turn as payback for cheating; there is another argument and intervention where DJ then draws a map on a paper outlining the order of each player’s turns.

Another rule of the game is you must take out one of the opponent’s pieces in order to enter the pathway to your corresponding “Home”. You can do this by landing on top of an opponent’s piece.  The piece that is taken out goes back to the corresponding player’s giant square box and the player has to roll another six to get it out. For example, if you roll a four and your opponent’s piece is 4 squares in front of you then that piece goes back in.  Again DJ having beginner’s luck is able to keep taking his sister’s pieces out! In fact at one point, he rolls a four and MJ2’s piece is one square ahead of him and he insists that the piece needs to be taken out as it is in his way!  MJ loses her patience at this point. This time, along with intervention there is a lot of begging and babying to get them to continue to play.

By this time the beginner’s luck for DJ has worn off and MJ2 rolls the dice where now she can take his piece out.  DJ does not accept it, claiming she can make one of her other pieces go and leave his alone; MJ2 insists she has to take his piece out to enable her to go “home”. (Rule: if you cannot take out an opponent’s piece before reaching your corresponding “Home” section and you have no other moves available, you will have to go through the entire board again).  We are all at the height of frustrations, trying to explain the rules to a 5 year old and 13 year old (over their yelling and screaming, between fits of laughter). MJ and MJ2 still argue about the rules and little DJ pitching in where he could.  Emotions running high and voices even higher to the point where nani has to interrupt her prayers and come back to intervene.

 In the end, DJ having his patience maxed out, simply messes up all the pieces on the board, claiming the win as he was the only one who had all his pieces out (while all others had only one or two or no pieces out); a full ten minutes of entertainment!

I couldn’t help but reminisce this is exactly how the games used to turn out when we used to play during our summer breaks, family sleepovers or power outages through long winter nights where everyone is an expert on the rules of the game, always bending the rules to favor their own move.  What mattered most in the end was the laughter over ice cream with chocolate sauce after refusing to speak to each other for two hours.

About the Author

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

39 Things I Learned in My 30′s

By Rahila Ovais

Picture 7

2015 marked the year when I celebrated the last of my birthdays in my 30’s.  Besides the fact that I still cringe and cry every time I discover a new grey hair; my 30’s were the years when I really embraced aging.  Being a young mom, I spent my 20’s in child rearing and career building. Now that I approach the big 4-0, I can honestly say that my 30’s were the learning years. Here is a list of things I have learned……

  1. Allah has perfect timing; never early, never late. It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith. But it’s worth the wait.

  1. Believe in the power of prayer with conviction.

  1. Before you judge other people’s actions, ask yourself “Have I been in this situation before?” If not, don’t judge!

  1. Learn to always mind your own business.

  1. Hurt me and I may forgive and forget, I may even turn another cheek, but if anyone hurts my family I will turn around and bite.

  1. Don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t”.

  1. I am not a morning person but oh the wonders you get to see when you wake up early.

  1. “Kill them with kindness; bury them with smile”.  Smile when taking a compliment; also when being criticised. Smile when you don’t have an answer.

  1. Worrying doesn’t improve anything.  Most problems get worse if we take them too seriously.

  1. Don’t undermine yourself by comparing with others. You are in no competition with anyone.

  1. Envy is a waste of time; you already have all you need.

  1. Do not change your own hopes and wishes to make others happy.

  1. A handwritten greeting card, a handpicked wildflower bouquet or a home-made cake; these are the things that matter.

  1. Take lots of pictures of your kids when they are young, they grow up too fast but do not forget to make memories in the process.

  1. It’s never too late to do anything you want.

  1. Life would be boring if everything was perfect.

  1. Patience is needed with everyone but most importantly with ourselves.

  1. Men are from earth, women are from earth; just deal with it!

  1. Before making a choice, always ask yourself the most basic question. “Can you sleep at night with the choice you made?”

  1. Spend as much time as you can with your grandparents. You will miss them a lot when they are gone.

  1. The best person who can help you out of your problems is the one you see in the mirror.

  1. There is nothing wrong in being the first to apologize. It is equally important to accept an apology wholeheartedly.

  1. Nothing should stop you from standing up for what is right; sometimes  being kind is more important than being right.

  1. “Honesty is the best policy”. Never cheat or lie.  My mom did a fine job of teaching me that, now I can not lie to even save my life.

  1. Express gratitude. Be the first one to say “thank you”; people will always remember that about you.

  1. Keep your sense of humour.

  1. Age is just a number and grey hair happens; this is your time to be creative with it.

  1. If time permits, volunteer you time for others.

  1. Holding on to grudges takes a lot of energy.  Forgive often and wholeheartedly.

  1. The key to being happy is to expect nothing from others. You are in-charge of your own happiness. Go buy those goddamn 4 inch heels if that’s what will make you happy!

  1. Teach your kids to enjoy the wonders of life. Spend time outdoors in nature and marvel at the sunsets and full moons together.

  1. When life gets crazy, do something normal. And if life gets too normal, do something crazy.

  1. You children will become who you are; so be what you want them to be.

  1. Write down all the funny things your kids say when they are young. They will be all grown up in the blink of an eye.

  1. Save that last piece of chocolate for yourself.  Sometimes there is nothing wrong with being selfish.

  1. You will eventually become your mother, be proud of it.

  1. Take all the learning opportunities that arise when you are trying to teach your kids.

  1. Keep your promises.

  1. Life is a circus; It’s a balancing act and a juggling routine. Have fun!

 

Share the lessons you have learned as part of growth?

About the Author: 

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

Winter; Lost and Found

By Aaisha Zafar Islam

Lost-and-found

We waited and waited for Winter to announce it arrival till the end of December last year. However much we like to complain about the weather, snow, wind chill and snow storms, truth is we do miss our Canadian winters. The first snow of the season made a late entry this season, at least in the GTA, well after Boxing Day. Basically we are saying that winter went AWOL in Ontario, till El Nino sent the first storm our way. It’s predicted to be a mild winter this year. However you can catch up on your weather report on other places, today we bring you a list of things lost and found in winter.

Lost:

Winter wear

Snow gear, mitts, hats, scarves and snow pants. Are you one of those moms who has to inventory their child as soon as he returns from school? It doesn’t matter how many snow mitts I stock up on, my son will lose his things at school. Before the winter break he had managed to lose two toques, two pairs of mitts and a couple of sweaters. Trips to the school Lost and Found were not fruitful. It wasn’t winter proper till early December here, so I sent him to school with a mismatched pair, both for the right hand. I am hoping the awkwardness of it all instills in him a modicum of responsibility towards his things. When he was younger I would crochet a three way string; one attached to his winter hat, the other two to his mitts. The base of this trifecta was then sewn onto his snow jacket. I thought it was quite a fool-proof arrangement till he came home one day with a huge gaping rip in his jacket were the strings were sewn, mitts and hat missing. School yard play’s gotten rough lately!

Topping our list of things lost in the winter is accessories you buy for your child to keep him warm. Always have spares handy, even for snow pants and boots. Last year my son got off his school bus sans his snow pants, it was the dead of winter and I near but fainted at the sight of him alighting dishabille.

Daylight and cheer

Grey overcast skies, we all miss the sun come winter. And when it does come out, it is such a half-hearted attempt at being sunny you want to tell him to go back right away! A lack of sunshine means a definite loss of sunny demeanours. People who are usually chirpy tend to get easily irritable.

Sleep

Come winter all I want to do is sleep. If it were up to me I’d burrow myself deep into the blanket and not wake up till the groundhog comes out and announces an early spring. Becoming a mother has changed that. I get no off days, a full night’s sleep is a distant memory as are the thoughts of running a warm bath. So, sleep, already a distant memory goes completely AWOL, at least in the mom world.

Monies

Winter is also the time for crazy sales. We may not celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and the likes but we certainly get into the Holiday spirit and spend away more merrily than the health of our bank accounts allow. Yes, I understand there are major deals to be scored and discounts that are too good to be missed, but stocking up at the same time instead of spacing them out through the year can make a significant dent on one’s budget. True story.

Found

Not all is lost during cold weather. One of my annual favourites is excess pounds on my person, my true friends that come a-visiting every year. When you find your inner sloth and are less likely to move and more often than not found lounging in front of the TV in your most comfortable PJ’s digging into a bowl of your favourite snack, don’t blame the scales when they creep up. There’s a reason weight loss is high on everyone’s New Year Resolutions list; new year, turning a new leaf and getting more active, we set goals for ourselves. Some we meet, some we fail at. Another thing we find in abundance at the end of the year is resolve, again the end of another year in our lives makes us take stock of what we’ve  been up to and promise to be a better (and leaner) versions of ourselves in the coming year.

 

How has your winter been so far? What have you lost and found through this season?

About the Author:

Aaisha Zafar Islam is the Executive Editor of MuslimMoms.ca, every winter she visits her childhood fantasy of being a frog and the ability to hibernate the chilly weather away. No luck thus far.

 

10 Ways to Know You’re a Canadian in the Winter

 By Mona Ismaeil

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA 

1. You know what a toque is: 

Ice cap, beanie or winter hat; none of that means anything! It’s all about the toque! Fur, fleece, knit, whatever it is, we all have them (multiple of them) and cannot live without them!

2. -15 degrees is a mild winter day

Winter hasn’t truly hit until it’s -30 degrees, your eyelashes freeze the moment you step foot out of your house, your car doesn’t start. Your car not starting doesn’t even matter because even if you get it started, you won’t be able to drive it out of your garage since you’re trapped by 5ft of snow!

3. You’ve tried maple syrup on snow

Anyone else may find this to be strange but really with the amount of snow we get, we would be foolish not to make the most of it!

4. Your kids have been dared to lick a metal post 

If you grew up in Canada, you know that it may be against your better judgement but you cannot turn down a dare to stick your warm wet tongue on that cold, frosty metal post. If you haven’t grown up here, then be ready for the day your son/daughter comes to tell you all about it!

5. It takes longer to get ready 

It takes longer to put on your protective gear before stepping out for your daily battle. Two pairs of socks, long john’s, boots, sweater, scarf, toque, gloves and jacket. That’s an extra 5-7 minutes you could have slept it in back in the Fall.

6. Errands and visits are decided upon by necessity

Nonessential= NO! If your family is not eating cereal for dinner, you can go another day without groceries.

7. Your home is filled with a plethora of hot beverages

Black tea? Herbal Tea? Green Tea? White Tea? Chai Tea? Hot Chocolate? You have them all! Too hot? No problem, just stick your mug in the giant freezer everyone calls “outside” for a moment.

8. Parking lots seem to shrink 

A parking lot that once held 200 cars, now accommodates no more than 50 cars. I’ve heard of Winter Magic but seriously, this is NOT a good trick! Holiday shopping lines, waist lines, snow piles, etc. can shrink, not parking lots!

9. Gestures become confusing 

A friendly wave or a not so friendly finger gesture, these two can be super confusing with mittens and gloves on. Just pretend everyone is happy, kind and being their friendly Canadian selves!

10. You’ve experience the DIY leg snow shovel 

Too cold (let’s be honest, you’re too lazy) to shovel? Need to create a pathway to your car? Need to clear the huge snow pile behind your car so you can get out the of the driveway? All you have to do is drag your boots through the snow to create an instant pathway! Easy, breezy!

How else do you know you’re a Canadian in the winter?

About the Author: 

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

 

Social Media – Just Don’t Overdo It!

By Khaula Mazhar

Social Media Dos and Donts

Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Really depending on how you use it, social media can be a trustworthy tool to advance or enhance whatever it is you need to do. Or it can be an enormous time suck that results in turning you into a narcissistic monster that no one likes, but everyone likes to talk about.

Mr. Hyde is not exactly everybody’s favorite person. Don’t be a Mr. Hyde on social media. In fact don’t be a Mr. Hyde off of social media either.

How do otherwise normal people get duped into downing that obnoxious concoction that turns them into annoying health hazards? The same way charming Anakin Skywalker turned into Darth Vader, Tom Riddle turned into Lord Voldemorte, adorable lion cub grows into hateful Uncle Scar etc.- they had too much “me” juice. As in it’s all about me, listen to me, look at me, it’s not fair to me, me is all me is concerned about.

Some do’s and don’ts to think about while cruising the social media road:

Do post pics of last night’s dinner that you made yourself! (or that mom made for you):
Yes we all make fun of each other for posting dinner pics, but we all really want to know what you had for dinner. It gives us ideas for what to cook tonight. And the next night.  And the next. Keep those dinner pics coming ladies!

Don’t post pics of a ridiculously expensive restaurant dinner that you spent half your life savings on.
That is too much “me” in a selfish way. There are actually people who even after working two jobs are still struggling to pay bills. Don’t be an inconsiderate show off.

Do post the recipe to that dinner you made from scratch.
We all really want that recipe.

Don’t post pics of yourself waiting in line to by the latest iPhone.
Especially when the last present you gave cost only $10. Seriously.

Do post the latest DIY project that you successfully completed.
We all need some inspiration. And we have so much stuff to recycle we could build a castle out of it.

Don’t post statuses complaining about how much housework you have.
Newsflash: we all do. No one wants to know how tired you are because you had soooo much laundry.

Do post pics of the mess your two-year-old made with the spaghetti dinner you cooked.
That is an all time classic.

Don’t post your very negative comment on someone else’s status!
I really feel this should be number one on everyone’s don’ts list. A status is something personal, it’s the right to freedom of speech. If you call someone a bigot just because they expressed their opinion or belief, what does that make you? Exactly!

Do scroll down and ignore if there is a status you don’t agree with and can’t make your point politely.
In fact of those 500 “friends” there will only be handful that you can be frank enough to talk openly with, only a handful who respect your opinion and only a handful that would actually care about your opinion.

Don’t ignore cute animal videos.
Spend a couple of minutes watching, liking and then sharing. Anything that makes you smile is not time wasted, it is time well invested. Share the investment of happiness brought on by furry, purry, fluffy innocent creatures.

Do turn off that infuriating auto update thingy on your phone.
No, we don’t want to know where you are and what you are doing every second of the day. Not the coffee you drank, the shirt you bought, the feeling annoyed at your boss/husband/brother/kid/mother-in-law emoticon etc. If you are really aggravated please phone up your bestie and have a good rant. If you had a nice cup of coffee thank your boss for the coffee break.

Don’t post graphic videos without a warning.
Not everyone has the ability to watch some random guy eating a squirming live squid dipped in soya sauce. Warning the viewer is the proper thing to do.

Do post petitions of issues that concern all of us, but don’t badger everyone to sign.
The post will let us know, that this is an issue we can do something about. Whoever feels they need to get involved will.

Do NOT post pics of your kids without making sure your privacy setting are on friends or family only.
Don’t post pics of them on public platforms that don’t allow you to change the settings.
Not everyone out there is your friend! You don’t know all of those people personally, you don’t know who they are “friends’ with. Your kids, your family, they are your treasures. You don’t put them on display for the world to ogle at. You keep your treasures safe.

Do categorize people into lists on places like Facebook.
Make sure the random friends of friends or people you don’t know that well are on the acquaintance list. You don’t need to put your personal stuff on display for everyone. Take care of your privacy! Can’t stress that enough!

Don’t accept every friend request on Facebook!   
Facebook is not a competition to see who can get the most friends.  Places that share an interesting hobby like instagram and flickr where you don’t post personal stuff are fine to have lots of friends. But not Facebook.

Don’t post pics of those duckfaces.
No. Just no.

Do post pics of beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Yes, just do it.

Don’t be mean and rude when commenting or posting an opinion.
Your words are a reflection of you, your upbringing. Don’t let people think you are a Mr. Hyde if you are not.

Do get involved with worthy discussion.
Don’t argue if you don’t know about something.
Unless you have a solid argument and knowledge  on the issue don’t get involved in arguments, you will end up looking silly. Don’t let the argument or discussion become an ugly brawl with insult hurling. Don’t be the one hurling insults, be the one to say “name calling just means you have no valid points and I am right. I put my case to rest.” Then stop. Walk away, never argue with idiots, they just drag you down and waste your time. Be above that.

Lastly always remember …

social media

About the Author:

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

Adventures Of The Travelling Muslim Moms I

By Muslimmoms.ca Team

suitcase_2368665

Travelling is probably one of the most exciting things you can do in your life. Going out to experience different landscapes, cultures, foods and traditions really opens your eyes to how much the world has to offer. Now travelling with a family is where the adventure really begins. The Muslimmom.ca team are excited to share with you their travel stories. Funny now, not so much when they happened!

Kids and Marriage?

When I was travelling with my daughters to India. My husband was not with me and my daughters have their father’s surname while I use my maiden name. The lady at the airport raised some routine questions……’How are you related to the girls? ‘Do you have a letter from their father’ etc. In the end she asked me ‘Are you married?’ which made my daughter turn to me and ask ‘Why is she asking that? Can’t she see you have kids’? I didn’t know how to explain to my daughter that one doesn’t necessarily have to be married to have kids.

-         Sadaf Afshan

The Cries That Never End!

We were traveling to Pakistan last year in December by KLM. The first leg of the journey to Amsterdam was absolutely great. No problem with customs, no issues with the air crew and definitely no crying babies on board. The Amsterdam airport was simply beautiful so no issues there as well.

The second leg started with us boarding for Abu Dhabi. This time it was totally a different story with toddlers and crying babies. Anyway, there was a family of five; father, mother, grandmother and three children ages ranging from 8 months to 3 years.

The middle child cried continuously for six hours until we reached Abu Dhabi. The whole time passengers were getting irritated but couldn’t do anything. And so were we. The mother was busy with the youngest, eldest was sitting with the grandmother so the father was looking after the middle child, but was a total failure in handling him. Even the flight attendants were visibly irritated as they tried doing so many things to make him quiet. We got off in Abu Dhabi with our heads spinning and air drums still echoing with the cries but thanking our stars that we would not be hearing the cries again. We were so wrong! The last leg to Lahore, the family sat right in front of us and the toddler started crying again. This time I glared at him and guess what? He stopped and went to sleep! Lo! And we were at Peace finally!

-         Aruj Saleem

But I’m Canadian!

For our honeymoon we wanted to go to India and we were so excited! After our wedding in Egypt we headed out the next day to the airport.  All is good, that is until we get to Abu Dhabi and realize we needed a visa to go to India! We were horrified! How could a CANADIAN need a visa to go anywhere?! We searched for any other country they could re-route us to but they were all so expensive! After pretty much an eight hour wait, we found ourselves back where we started… Egypt. We spent a week in a resort town on the Red Sea and it was amazing! We were looking for an adventure but not quite what we had in mind.

-         Mona Ismaeil

Illegal What?

I was all packed up with thirteen huge boxes and three large suitcases, two bored but nervous teens, one sniffling seven year old and a pair of bawling four year old twins. My husband hadn’t gotten his visa (he wasn’t a citizen we all were) so he wasn’t coming with us to Canada. This was not a visit, this was us moving to Canada. I was against it from the start, I did not want to leave without him, but he bought the tickets and said he would follow.

I had a bad feeling but he wouldn’t listen. My three younger daughters started crying nonstop the second he left us at the airport. There I was with the kids and the luggage oh and yes, six large handbags, my stuff was all over and I was trying to keep an eye on everything while standing in line, weighing in the luggage, consoling my crying kids, etc. When I went to the desk where I would show my documents I was told I didn’t have NICOPS. I had no idea what those were. They questioned how I had stayed in Pakistan without getting my visa renewed and they wanted to know how my kids got into the country without any visas on their Canadian passports. I informed them my kids were born in Pakistan. It turns out I was an illegal alien all those years in Pakistan and the way the guy talked to me and then called in the head of security I thought they were going to lock me up for illegal residence!

In the end after much talking, and calls made to people nothing could be done. I had to go back to my aunt’s house with my family. We couldn’t go to our house because we had sold our house. I was an illegal alien with five illegal alien kids being given refuge by my aunt. About a month later we travelled to Canada with husband in tow and NICOPS made. The moral of the story? Husbands should always listen to their wives’ sixth sense!

- Khaula Mazhar

 

Stay tuned for a sequel!

In Sickness And In Health

By Rahila Ovais

In sickness and in health

Parents are partners in crime (of sorts). There should be a mechanism whereby both parents can never fall sick together, because if they do, this is what happens:

Day 1

Wake up by a loud thud around 3 a.m., determine that the noise came from the washroom and hubby was there. Bring hubby out of the washroom and he falls again in the bedroom. Panic sets in, place a call to 911. Paramedics arrive, assess and take hubby to hospital. I follow in my own car. Notice that during this entire hullabaloo the kids are still sleeping. I later learned that daughter thought it was ‘just a thunderstorm’ *Sigh*

At the hospital, hubby is given a dose of Percocet, he becomes very delusional and wants to know if his hair (whatever remains of it) looks okay and is reciting love quotes publicly. Yes, a definite sign that the meds are working.

Day 4

Hubby’s pain returns, another trip to urgent care center discloses cracked ribs on his left. Pampering hubby with pain meds, ice and hot packs and lots of rest.

Day 6

Wake up with chills and fever and thinking this is SO not a good time to be sick myself.

Day 8

We establish ‘to each their own’; he can take care of his ailments and I will take care of myself. My daughters don’t even realize that I am sick; for them mommy is always miserable when asked for food and at least once a month!

Day 10

Diagnosed with Strep, ask hubby to pick up my prescription, some oatmeal and yogurt. He returns with the meds and cat food! Sigh and thank God that at least he remembered to get the meds.

Day 12

Baby decides he wants to sleep with ammi abbu because ‘he wants to take care of us. (Mind you baby is soon to be 5 years old but he is still baby of the house). I would be darned if I let him sleep with us and I will be darned guilty if I don’t. In the end he is sprawled between us on our queen sized bed and in the middle of the night, he is laying horizontally between us with his legs poking his dad’s injured ribs and his little arms on my sore throat. We are doomed, but we will survive!

Lessons learned

As parents, one never stops caring for their kids. As partners too you just can not stop caring for each other even if you feel like you don’t care anymore. Most importantly just because you vowed to be always together, never ever, ever fall sick together again!

Vive Les Parents!

About the Author:

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy

Image: 123RF

Me Want Bahu

By Khaula Mazhar

Me Want Bahu

Note: This will work best if you imagine this lady rapping to Apache Indian’s “Arranged Marriage.”

The time has come for this Amma,
To find one larki for her Shehzada.
Now listen when me talk tell everybody,
Me want me a bahu perfect as can be.

Chorus
Me want bahu, from Karachi City
Me want bahu, say a sohni curi
Me want bahu, bhai  to look after me
Me want bahu, with a doctor’s degree

Now I look in the neighborhood, there’s a lot of girls,
And some of them seem like perfect pearls.
Me go to all their houses, just one masla,
They all say me son is a no good larka.
So now it’s time for matchmaker lady,
To come and help find that Hoor Pari.
So I’ll send her to the East, then to the West.
I’ll send her North and South to find which girl best,
I can’t lie, I must confess, this Amma she wants a princess.

Chorus
Me want bahu, to cook the roti.
Me want bahu, that cooks good nihari.
Me want bahu, to clean up the house.
Me want bahu, meek like a mouse.

Now some girls are fat and some too thin,
Some just have too large a kin.
She can’t be too dark, or even too fair.
And she must have long, long black hair.
Engineer is good, doctor is too,
MBA is fine, nothing less will do.
What you mean does my son have job yet?
My boy is perfect, the best you’ll ever get!
Now you be fussy, then don’t cry to me,
I have long list of girls as you can see.

Chorus
Me want bahu, to massage my feet,
Me want bahu, to cook lots of treats.
Me want bahu, who will respect me.
Me want bahu, to give me potha, pothee.

So the time has come for my son to marry,
I look for a girl from a good family.
We on the rounds, to visit all the places,
Of eligible girls, with very pretty faces.
So have lots of food on your tea trolley,
You’ll have to work hard to impress me.

Chorus
Me want bahu, as sweet as can be.
Me want bahu, that don’t talk back to me.
Me want bahu, to show off to my friends,
Me want bahu, that will make amends.

Now the time has come for me son to marry,
For people to bring mithai, like luddoo n barfee.
I found perfect girl, sorry I only have one son,
Nothing I can do, the date is done.
But is okay, don’t be so blue,
Your daughter can always be wife number 2!

Chorus

Me found bahu, from Toronto City.
Me found bahu, with MBA degree.
Me found bahu, why she no look after me?
Me found bahu, she works at office all day!
Me found bahu, she does not give me her pay!
Me found bahu, her family trapped us,
Me found bahu, now my raj is over bus!

About the author:

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

The Nature of Things: Appreciate Grass On Your Side Of The Fence

By Khaula Mazhar

he Nature of Things: Appreciating Grass On Your Side Of The Fence

Being a nature geek I often find it hard to fathom the general population’s complaints about the weather, their distrust of large animals, and extreme opinions regarding naturally occurring edibles for example, vegetables. Allow me to elucidate this for you.

Let it snow

Hello, we live in Canada. What were you expecting? Snow is great, yes I admit I don’t shovel the driveway and I don’t have to commute for over sixty minutes to get to work in the cold and dark. I stumble to the table with a hot cup of tea and flick on my laptop. Honestly, I do sympathize with the people who face a certain amount of turmoil when Mother Nature decides to dump three feet of snow on us, but snow is awesome. Next time it snows, bundle up the kids and go sledding. It is so much fun! Besides it is a great way to get some exercise and work off those extra calories that have started showing very visibly around the waistline. Look at it this way, what if you lived in Nagano, Japan?

Nagano, Japan

Aren’t you glad this isn’t your street?

Who let the dogs out?

Most desi people are not big fans of dogs and that is fine. Except when they jump off the sidewalk and into traffic to avoid a canine walking by. People get a hold of yourselves! No matter what you believe, that dog is not out to get you, dogs just have HAS (hyperactive affection syndrome).  They are naturally overly affectionate creatures who believe that it is their duty to shower love on everyone they pass on the street. If you don’t want to receive this affection, rather than leap to certain death on a busy lane, I suggest you don’t make eye contact with the dog. Ignore them completely, most dogs will be dejected and that puts a damper on their mood, subduing them considerably.  Unless of course you live in a neighborhood with dogs like this….

giant dog

…in which case I suggest you move without further ado because it’ll be kind of hard to ignore something that gargantuan.

BIG bugs, why Mother Nature, why?

Butterflies? Beautiful! Moths? Like little fairies in the night. Ladybugs? Adorable. Bees? Ummm honey.  Ants…well ok, as long as they stay outside. Spiders? Get my shot gun.

Nature lover or not, even I draw the line here. Dang Girl could you not have created something less ….leggy? Go forth all of you with dusters and vacuums and rid your house of these critters! Keep them from coming back by spraying with this handy and (mostly) natural repellent:

DIY Natural Bug Repellent

  • 5 drops of citrus, citronella, tea tree or lavender oil
  • 5 drops of dishwashing liquid (the lemon scented one is supposed to work best)
  • 1 quart water

Mix it all up and keep it in a spray bottle.

Spray in corners etc once a week or as needed.

That being said we should still look on the positive side. This is not Brazil, home of the Brazilian wandering spider…

Spider

Oh I’m sorry, did I just insure you will never be able to sleep again?

Produce of the land

Greasy, meaty ethnic food are all great. If, however, you want to live past 45 you really need to start integrating green stuff into your diet. Here the guilty party is comprised mainly of the male species who think that coriander or some other fresh ‘green’ herb used as a garnish, sufficiently covers the vegetable department. Well gentlemen, it doesn’t.

This section of nature is highly under appreciated. Vegetables are so versatile, so light and fresh, so delicious.  The fact that loki ki bujia doesn’t exactly bring joy to anyone’s heart can be overlooked as Canada has such a wide variety of veggies.  Salad is the best thing that can happen to your dining table. So is steamed broccoli with melted butter. Or corn on the cob. Or creamed spinach. I could go on forever, don’t even get me started on celery! Besides that you can still find all your traditional favorites at the local store.

stir fry

So really you have the best of both worlds. You just have to open your eyes to see that the grass is pretty green on your side of the fence.

About the author:

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

Images: 123RFShinshusnow.comBBC.Co.UKDeviant Art

The Man In My Life

By Shazia Afzal

tea-cup--glass_19-135716

So he is the man in my life. My whole universe revolves around him.  He is late from work and I worry to death. All the bad news that I’ve ever seen on TV flash in my mind and I say every prayer that comes to my mind. I heave a sigh of relief when I hear his familiar footsteps at the doorstep.

There was a time when I thought I will never get married. I was a free spirit. I wanted to do something with my life. I had big dreams and I used to think that I would never sacrifice my dreams for marriage. Then he came and made me change my mind. No, it did not happen as it does in movies. I did not bump into a tall, dark and handsome stranger in the street who helped me pick up my stuff. No, no!

It just happened. He could make me laugh and that was it. This is not fair for us women! We have a tendency to like people who can make us laugh. It’s not us actually, it’s our hormones and other stupid chemicals in our body that make us fall in love with a man who can make us laugh and at the same time  make us completely oblivious to everything else that is part of the package.

So what was I telling you? Oh yes, that the man in my life is the love of my life and I completely freak out if he is late from work. But the moment he is home a little shift in the emotional drama occurs. He takes off his shoes and leaves them at the door, throws his socks on the floor and his coat on the couch. He opens the fridge door just out of habit, takes out the juice pitcher, empties it into his glass and to my utter shock puts the empty pitcher back in the fridge. The hormones that start running through my blood stream when he gets home are a bit different from the ones that were making those knots in my stomach or the ones that made me fall in love with him in the first place.

These are few of the things that drive me crazy. Let’s see if they drive you up the wall too.

Kill the guy who discovered tea?

Yes, I really want to! The sad part is that this guy is already dead depriving me the pleasure of killing him. Legend says it was a Chinese emperor who discovered it by accident. Now just imagine how easy our lives would be if there was no tea.

‘Make me a cup of tea!” Hearing this phrase countless times makes me grind my teeth. It could be a plea, a request, a demand or an order depending on my mood and his.

Most of the time I say, “In a minute” with a smile and punch the air in the kitchen before I put water in the teapot.

Laundry – the bane of my existence

Believe me I am a very cool minded person. My blood pressure is usually on the lower side, but an innocent question from the man in my life is enough to make my blood boil. ‘When will you do the laundry? It’s been days.

Even if I do it weekly or daily it is never enough. Even if I wash, iron and hang all his shirts and trousers in his closet like a perfect wife, he wants that one particular shirt that was left unwashed.

To shop or not to shop …with you!

Shopping with men –bad idea!   My man starts by laying out a battle plan. He starts with a list of things we ‘NEED’.  We go straight to the mall, shop from the first store picking up the first things that are on the first shelf and voila! Mission accomplished. Time to go home.

Man! That’s painful! Women are hard–wired to browse. In the prehistoric era, human beings lived like hunters and gatherers. Men hunted, so they went out with their batons, devised a strategy to kill and brought back a deer. Women on the other hand would go in the woodlands, walk for miles, going from bush to bush browsing and collecting the ripest berries.

So no matter how hard we try our collective unconscious tells us to browse and browse we shall.

Honey, Can you turn the T.V down?

Obviously he won’t reply because he cannot hear me. Why do men watch movies so loudly? This is a question that needs to be answered. I want my home to be calm, quiet and serene. On the other hand what I hear all the time is bullets being fired, cars crashing, buildings being blown up and police sirens wailing.

The list of  my pet peeves is extremely long without a doubt but sometimes when I am really annoyed, I close my eyes for a moment and imagine my life without him…I open my eyes, take a breath and scold myself.

He can watch the TV as loudly as he wants, he can criticize my long phone calls, and the soaps that I watch, he can ask me to make him tea as many times as he wishes, he can scream about the credit card bills or the lost pair of socks, I just want him to be safe and be always be there for me like a shady tree.

I am like an ordinary droplet of water. He is the Sun. Without him I am just a colorless droplet of water. But together we create rainbows.

Excuse me, I have to go and make some tea!

About the author:

Shazia Afzal is a happy-go-lucky person who enjoys little things in life. She grew up in Pakistan in a large family with a great sense of humour. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature and a Post- grad in Fundraising and Volunteer Management. She is currently working with an International development organization that works for social justice for children in developing countries. In her spare time she loves to – correction – she never has any spare time!

She lives in Mississauga with her tall, dark handsome husband, two lovely children and a pet bird named Buddy who flies around the house and loves pizza.