Monday, March 26, 2007

Greg Mortenson

Central Asia Institute is an NPO that supports community-based education programs in the remote rural regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. There are over 145 million illiterate children in the world, and CAI is committed to the UN mandate to achieve universal literacy by the year 2015. For 14 years Greg Mortenson has seen the transformative power of education which reduces infant mortality, diminishes the population explosion and dramatically improves the sanitation and health of the rural communities.

CAI is honoring Greg on April 21st with a fundraising dinner. Funds will go directly to Greg's cause. This man has dedicated his life to helping children from the poorest regions of Pakistan; he's already built 58 schools through his entirely grassroots organization.

It is inspiring what one man can do; when hundreds of people assemble themselves behind him, I can only imagine what is possible.

Check out for more information.


brainy day

yesterday, sunday, was a day of discussion.

we had a talebaat event at 11 am; it was one of our Women in Islam series. a panel discussion about the balance of family and career, as well as other relevant issues. the discussion went very well and it was pretty lively; i was very happy with the way things turned out.

i am happy with the direction in which talebaat is moving lately; we are banding more tightly together and with a more specific focus, and i find that talebaat has a character/flavor of its own. we are using the organization to help our jamaat, and at the same time learn more about one another and grow as young american bohra women. i feel inspired by the things we've accomplished through this org, and by the potential for accomplishing even more.

after the event was over, i went to an AMWA meeting. this stands for american muslim women activists, an org i have gotten to know since i contacted one of them about the book i am working on with maria. i went to my first meeting yesterday and i found a group of diverse, strong women who epitomize the way one can be empowered and religious and traditional and bold, all at the same time.

AMWA has many causes, one of which i will elaborate upon in my next post.

i got home feeling mentally exhausted from all the talking that had gone on all day! at that point h, s and baby r came over and we went and got some dinner and then some ice cream and the day ended on a very relaxing note.

ice cream has that power :)



on saturday night we went to Too Much Light for the first time in a long time. it was one of those flawless evenings that seem to go right from beginning to end.

taher and i were joined by two good friends, m and m- we went to a diner first and had a fun dinner. ate slowly, laughed a lot, ate off of each others' plates, played dominoes once the plates were cleared.

after this we made our way to the show and got in line at the perfect time; found a good parking spot; made our way to the front of the crowd; got excellent seats; laughed uproariously at almost every play. it was great fun.

i felt nostalgic for college when we were standing in line; i remember standing in that line with my college friends and i think i will forever associate this show with that group of people. and yet on saturday night the company i held made the evening quite lovely and i love it when that happens.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

neat link

check this out! i have done it four times already, choosing different options each time. it's fun:

(thanks to baraka for this link! i can always count on your blog for interesting links.)

they don't make 'em like they used to: a tribute

the summer before i began junior high, i went out with my mom to buy my first alarm clock. it seemed so exciting that i would need an alarm clock from this point forward. it made me feel very adult, having a "busy" schedule and being responsible for getting myself to the bus.

after some searching, we found the perfect alarm clock. a little red digital by conair with a snooze button on the top. this snooze button would become as familiar to me as my own hand over the years...

we brought it home and i put two Little Mermaid stickers on it and plugged it in. i loved it. it served me faithfullly throughout junior high and then did not break down as most alarm clocks do. so i kept using it through high school; it still performed well and showed no signs of breaking down.

when i left for college, the little red alarm clock was with me. the Little Mermaid stickers were fading a little but still firmly stuck in place. the alarm clock saw me through four different apartments in college and faithfully made the trip back home with me every summer. it never failed.

i tend to set the alarm for an hour before i need to be up, and then i press the snooze button five times before surrendering sleep. i have dropped the alarm clock on the floor on more than one occasion; senior year i actually duct-taped the alarm clock to the foot of my bed, since i didn't have a nightstand! when we moved out of that apartment i ripped the clock off the bed and ripped the duct-tape off the clock, and still the Little Mermaid stickers held on firmly.

i moved off to egypt, moved back, set the alarm clock to wake me for graduate school, for this job or that job. the morning of my wedding, it was this red alarm clock that woke me and helped me begin that amazing day. we moved home from thailand and this alarm clock helped me usher in my first morning in our new apartment.

every morning, every single morning, for the last seventeen years, the alarm clock has faithfully beeped and snoozed and beeped and snoozed. this morning, suddenly, the 17-year-run was over. it didn't go off, and when i looked at it, it was dark. i was able to bring it back to life for a second but it elapsed back into darkness within a few seconds.

this little red alarm clock; i have taken it for granted for 17 years, and now it won't be at my side every night and every morning. it's a strange thought.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

happy anniversary

five years ago today, taher and i exchanged three little words. three years ago yesterday, we got married.

at times i feel startled that time has flown so quickly. other times, i think about how much we've both grown and think such changes could only have taken place over a long period of time...

it's nice to take stock and realize that we have been paying attention to what the other says, and what we have to show for it is a relationship that is exponentially better than what it was in the beginning. and don't get me wrong; in the beginning i thought it was pretty nice already.

before we got married, i thought that the only thing we would have to master would be the art of compromise. turns out it's more like the art of communication-balancing priorities-mind reading-being patient-letting loose-genuinely listening-fighting nicely-etc. in the midst of learning all of this, i find myself very, very happy.

so taher, happy anniversary :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

around the world

this is a map showing countries i have visited in red. i have traveled to 33 countries, but on this map that doesn't look like much. there is so much more to see!


Wednesday, March 07, 2007


a poem by su'ad abdul-khabeer. i couldn't find any way to contact her to let her know how much i loved this poem.

some of my sisters
are in combat
with ideas newly born and words older than the world;
yet, to cover or not to cover
Is not my battleground.

among His signs is
watching your sista
the painstakingly smooth way
she pins, wraps, folds, tucks
her crown into place.
Because I wear it well,
this divine design.
whether wrapped high
or draped low and wide,
what better garment
for a Queen
than her crown?
And a beautiful person is a Godly thing.

To cover or not to cover
Is not my battleground.

They’d like to paint me
with a veil gagging my intellect,
while in truth the whole world is clocking
this invisible woman.

Young men in fitted caps
deep in sly glances,
Others offer courtesies in appreciation.
Women honor us openly or
with their arrogance,
And the press
can’t get enough of us.
See, clothes do not hide the woman
They announce her.

To cover or not to cover
Is not my battleground.

...And which of the favors of your lord will ye deny?
Not a one.
I am the world’s most visible creature
And His most beautiful.


Friday, March 02, 2007

grace period

as we begin to get more contributors for our book, i find my thoughts turning to my own essay; what will i write? i feel, as i have mentioned before, a sense of responsibility towards the hajj i have recently performed. we are taught that after completing hajj, we are given a 70-day period in which none of our deeds are written. we have blank slates after the day of Arafa and that blank slate remains for 70 days.

i knew that i would use those 70 days to form new habits. to figure out my ideal and work with dedication to reach it.

the grace period ends in seven days. 63 days ago, i stood before khuda t'aalah and i prayed and asked and vowed. i walked out of arafa and i felt genuine renewal. and now i feel like my entire life has changed.

i doubt anyone would detect a difference; only the ones who are closest to me even know what i learned about myself during hajj. but i know that nothing is the same, and i want to write about this in my essay for the book.

it is the only thing on my mind and yet it is so abstract and so intangible that i don't know if i can put it into words.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

beneath the surface

on tuesday i had both an x-ray and an MRI performed on my ankle; i sprained it badly about two months ago when we were on hajj, and i finally had it checked out last week.

lying there with my foot in the MRI machine, i had 45 minutes during which i had to keep my leg perfectly still and just wait for the imaging to be over. i began thinking about how amazing tools such as MRI's and x-rays and ultrasounds and CT scans really are. something is wrong with my ankle and like magic we can see beneath the surface and find the problem. we peel away the disguise of skin and see the hidden.

isn't it amazing?