Friday, February 26, 2016

Blogging Inspiration

If I had an editor for this blog, it would probably be my brother. That's right, as sarcastic and mildly annoying as he could get, he's the one who occasionally asks "So how are your page views going?" or "Did you get any new followers yet?". When I give him an often disappointing answer, he takes it upon himself to educate me about how to properly blog.

Despite not being a blogger himself.

Among the questions he asked me, in order to find out why my blog was fluctuating so much in terms of stats, was "Why do you blog? What's your end goal?". At first, I was stumped. I said "Because I like blogging!"

That was a scattered answer, according to him, and motivation like that deserved scattered views and follows. The longer I tried staying offended, the more sense it made. What kind of pilot was I for the Lunar Descent if I didn't even know where I was headed? Or what kind of painter was I if I just mindlessly threw paint on the canvas? Sure, I might end up with discovering new islands or create a masterpiece, but is that really what I want to be doing the rest of the time? Just wandering and discovering aimlessly? Even getting lost and losing a lot of other things in the process?

In times like this, it's a great idea to turn to the other great bloggers out there and see where their compasses are pointed at. Here's the question I put forth to everyone: 
Why do you blog? What is the goal you are working towards?
I blog because it makes me happy. It's fun, and I love to entertain others.
To be honest, the goals I have for my blog could be a never- ending list. 100 followers. Designing loads of other blogs.
To expand my blogging community. It's very on - going XD.

I've always seen blogging as a mean of sharing: sharing your thoughts, your opinions, your experiences, the new recipes you try, or a DIY project... It really is all about sharing, and I thought it would be nice to join this community and add my bit of sand to this infinite sharing platform.
Of course, we all get worried about the numbers at some point during our blogging careers but, it really is not that important. I know it would be nice to have a lot of daily views like those successful bloggers but, as long as someone finds a post of mine useful, helpful, or enjoyable, I'm happy.
I joined the blogging community to share my experiences, my thoughts, my advices - and I'm going to keep it that way. I want to share with my readers, some of them who have become blogging friends already, all of my knowledge so they can benefit from it, as I'm going to benefit from theirs by reading their blogs.
I haven't yet set a quantifiable goal for my blog. In the mean time, I'm just going to keep working on it and see how things go. Until then, let's keep the knowledge flowing :)

I'd be lying if I told you that I had any actual intentions when I began to blog. My blog started off as a bit of a silly schoolgirly hobby - if you read my oldest posts, you'll see that I liked to basically just ramble about whatever I could think of. It was a tiny outlet, like a sort of virtual diary to rant to.
After a year or so of slowly blogging a few times a month, I discovered that I could write. No, it wasn’t like I had a sudden realisation of the fact that I’m literate, but instead, I sort of found that writing prose poetry and short stories was something that I enjoyed. When I began to receive comments from other people – ranging from my parents to strangers across the world – I realized that other people enjoyed reading my words as much as I enjoyed writing them.
I suppose that this mutual enjoyment is why I blog. Writing online means that I can receive honest feedback from people, and give them honest feedback on their work too. I like this give-and-take system. It spurs me on to read and write more.
My blog has let me practice writing more than I would've done if I didn't have it. It's given me the confidence and the links to submit to some online magazines. I'd like to think of my blog as an online portfolio so that I can look back on my writing and see how much I've improved. Who knows, I might even pursue writing later on!

A really important that Salha and Cia mentioned was sharing. While Salha talked of sharing new ideas and experiences, Cia talked of sharing writing so you could get feedback and improve. A lot of the things I write in my blog are ideas and events that I feel would be interesting to share with people who don't ordinary live the kind of life I do. I mean, really, how many of you decide to take a break from school every now and then to go out to eat gol gappay? You might not have ever even known about gol gappay, but you certainly do now!

I also aspire to be a writer. While I did promise to share some of my writing here (writing which ironically doesn't exist yet because I haven't had time to do anything) it was mostly for your feedback, and I certainly do get feedback, which I am grateful for.

To sum up, I think it can be aptly said that a lot of us blog for our personal growth, whether it's by being helped by fellow bloggers, or helping out fellow bloggers. Isn't that a really great thing to keep on blogging for? So what are your views- why do you blog?

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Mind Over Matter

This past week my class had been assigned a patient case to study and make sense of. The gist of the case was that a bus driver had been shot in the back and as a result, his spinal cord had been severed. Further descriptions revealed that he had lost control of his legs, leaving him as a paraplegic. Everyone came up with presentations about different aspects of paraplegia, the physiological, emotional and psychological effect such a crippling injury would have on a victim. Depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, suicide, dependency were all part of the themes discussed.

But that's not what I'm going to tell you about. I'm going to tell you about Muniba Mazari.
Muniba Mazari: Pakistan's first wheelchair bound model and tv host.
Muniba Mazari is a writer, an artist and a singer, not to mention various other roles she's also playing as a motivational speaker, brands ambassador and tv host. Having been in a traumatic car accident when she was 21, the video below talks about the various hardships she went through which in essence, are pretty terrifying. Muniba talks about how the car accident fractured half of her body, leaving the other half paralyzed, that it took an hour trying to find an ambulance and that when she finally did reach the hospital, it was only to be thrown out since there were no facilities available that could possibly cater to her.

When she finally did reach a hospital with the proper equipment to handle such a serious case, it was in Karachi, where she underwent various surgeries before being shifted to Islamabad and confined to her hospital bed for two years. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like, to be in such pain, physical, psychological and emotional, all of which Muniba went through and then decided that she was the only one who decided that she could feel this way, and that's how she turned to art to help her recuperate. No wonder Muniba is on BBCs 100 Inspirational Women of 2015 series!

Her official website, called Muniba's Canvas can be found here where her artworks are displayed, along with other relevant social media.

Here's another really nice video I found of Muniba singing "Ye Watan Tumhara Hai", which she sang for the APS Peshawer incident. She's a really inspiring person and when I found out about her, I think I can do a lot of things I thought I couldn't do before either. She talks of being caged, but the only person doing the caging is yourself :)

Are there any inspiring people you have come across lately? What about them inspired you? Share your views in the comments below!

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Why I Don't Like Cats or Dogs

Pets are something that are often considered a part of childhood. A lot of the people reading this have probably had a pet at one point in time, whether it was a stray cat who ate dinner scraps or a frog you caught outside after the rain. While I personally like the idea of pets, there is no animal that I would like to keep as my own. None.
The very first pet I had was a fish. I remember my dad calling home one day and asking what my favorite color was. I don't remember if he mentioned the fish or not, but it was a red Siamese fighting fish, the first of four or five that would live in our house. The thing about Siamese fighting fish is that, well, they'd very much like to kill each other. Therefore, separate bowls for each. Now there weren't four bowls- just two. Whenever one died, another came in. I don't even remember how they would die- the fish were part of the 5-10 year old period of my life that I spent in Florida.

Now when it came to cleaning the fish bowls, I would back out and my brother would be the one cleaning the bowls, and he really liked picking up the fish and holding it. Being a fan of Finding Nemo, I could literally hear the fish gasping for air- I mean, water- and that's when I decided I couldn't possible clean a fish tank.

During the whole fish episodes, we also had little froglet episodes. Now the thing about Florida is that during the summers, it would rain on a really tight schedule. As soon as the clock struck 4, you knew it was going to rain and it was going to rain hard. Lasting for an hour or so, the sun would come right back out and it was back to looking like a sunny beach day.

The Florida house. We call it "Blue Home" because well, it's blue and it's home :)
So our house had a little depression of sorts in the lawn where the water would pile up and there were a bunch of small teeny tiny tadpoles. Can you guess what my fish holding brother did? He got a yogurt cup and filled it with tadpoles and kept it in the garage, wanting to see how they would grow into frogs. Not surprisingly, they didn't.

The dog incident happened after the fishes and before the tadpoles. I think I was 7 or 8 and we lived in a different house which had a cul-de-sac ending to the street and we lived right at the end. So outside the driveway, there was a perfectly big circle of tarmac, great for riding your bike around and not getting dizzy, which was exactly what I was probably doing when the neighbor's dog decided to join me. Oh, how I screamed and pedaled for my life! Their dog was really big, and much faster but it thought we were playing so it would run fast enough to snap at my heels and bark. I pedaled all the way up the driveway where my father was and literally jumped into his arms in terror. I think the dog wanted to jump too but then its owner made their appearance and apologized. Nevertheless, traumatized for life. I can not handle dogs at all.

When we came to Pakistan, the first pet we got were a pair of chickens with feathers on their feet. I'm just going to call them feather feet chickens. So at first, they were really small and we used to live on the first floor, so we'd keep them in their cage and let them out occasionally on the terrace. It was fun catching them and everything but it certainly wasn't fun when they'd poop on the floor. One had yellow-orange eyes while the other had greenish blue ones. When they got really big- too big to fit in their cage, we had to give them away. I wasn't too sad to see them go, those chickens really had scary looking talons under their feathers >.>

A feather-foot chick. They look cute now, but see them when they're all grown up.  Source.
I spent two years in Karachi and during those two years, there were occasional visits to my cousin's place. They had adopted a street cat and called it 'Momo'. Momo was the kind of cat who frolicked in and out of the house and had an uncanny tendency to slip in and out from between your legs or into your lap. The whole feeling of something brushing you was so foreign to me that I usually took it as a bad stimulus, often jumping a foot high and darting out of the place. It didn't help that I've been scratched by a cat before, so I'm generally not okay with cats either. Being a cat lady is totally out of the question.

The only conclusion I've reached is that perhaps I should just settle for a turtle. Turtles sound great- they won't escape, like snakes, and they won't be hard to catch, like lizards. Yes, perhaps I should be a turtle lady- just like the guy in Esio Trot!
Do you have any pets? What do you like about keeping an animal friend?

On a side note, TBC is open for submissions for the February newsletter. The theme is #hashtagoverload, which basically refers to the vast theme of social media. Send in old blogposts or write up something new and send it here to have it published in the TBC Reader! Have a nice day!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Magic of Gol Gappay

There are a couple of things that you need to do for Pakistani's to say "Yeah, you're definitely a Pakistani". On the list are various things like
  • interest in cricket
  • extreme interest if it's a Pakistan vs India cricket match
  • loving biryani
To be very honest, the only trait I have from the above list is loving biryani, because honestly, who doesn't love biryani? For those of you who don't know, biryani is a boiled rice dish with chicken or beef, often colored red or orange and eaten with chili sauce or yogurt. It can be spicy or not very spicy, but it's often delicious nevertheless. If you want 100% delicious biryani, come to my place. My mother makes the best :)

Another very popular trait is eating street food. You heard it- buying food from vendors on the streets. Now until very recently, this was also a trait that I didn't have. My friends did not know this, but when they suggested going out to buy something, I went along interested in seeing what it was that they intended to eat.

"We're going to eat gol gappay"

"What is that?" I asked curiously. "I've never eaten those before"

Cue a shocked silence and everyone stopping right where they were before turning around in my direction.

"You've never eaten gol gappay before? What kind of Pakistani are you?!" was the torrent of insults I received, along with the ever popular 'burger bachhi'.

Now to be honest, my parents always told me not to eat things from street vendors and as a result, I had never eaten any sort of snack from them before. With everyone dragging me over to taste what I had been missing all my life apparently, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try, right?

So gol gapay are these little bite sized- more like mouth sized actually- little cups. According to Wikipedia, the contents can include tamarind chutney, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion and chickpeas. There's a whole plate and a small container of flavored water that contains spices. What you have to do is dip your little cup into the water and stuff the entire thing in your mouth as fast as possible. 

It's quite the impossible sounding feat.

The first time I did it, I managed to fill the cup half-way with flavored water before saying "What do I do next?" in confusion. I did not know how to eat it- should I bite into it? Wouldn't the water leak out? While I was busy contemplating the science of eating gol gappay, the crisp cup had gotten soggy and started dripping at the bottom while my friends yelled at me "PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH RIGHT NOW"

Panicked, I shoved the entire thing in and oh wow, it wasn't anything like I imagined. I can't even describe how amazing it was. My friends stare at me and ask "How was it?"

It takes me a while to finish savoring the flavors before saying "THAT WAS GREAT! I want more!"

And that's the story of how I ended up jumping at every chance we could get out to buy more gol gappay. Despite getting stomach cramps the first time I had them, I figured my stomach would probably be alright the second time around and so far, it's been good. My stomach doesn't get upset anymore and I get to enjoy eating this traditional snack dish. Win!

What kind of snacks are considered part of your culture? Has there been any dish that you have recently tried for the very first time? How comfortable are you with trying something new?

Have a nice day!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Endocrinology and Reproduction

At first, when this year started, I was so pumped, you wouldn't even believe it. It hadn't even been a month since I'd given my first year exams and a week after the new year, I'd gotten my outstanding result. So imagine me, with these really cool shades on, standing on the bloodied pile of my slain enemies as I relish on my achievements and gloat over my accomplishment while shaking my sword at the onslaught of second year of med school-

Yeah that's actually pretty accurate....

The thing was, I was so sure I could handle everything. I'd dealt with LMS and I'd slaughtered CVS while vacationing in the States but that's the thing about med school. Whether you know it or not, you're always drowning....

This module lasted for about 2 months, the first month being all about endocrinology which included all the hormones like growth hormone and insulin, except for epinephrine and norepinephrine. The second month was all about the other hormones, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone.

Nothing very interesting happened, but here's a wrap up of things that did:
I passed first year!
I wrote out my resolutions.
I went to Karachi!
I read a few books! Like, two!
I wrote this great post for people getting into med school.
I had gol gappay! (post coming soon)
I volunteered at SIST 2016 and got to eat lots and lots of cupcakes! (post coming soon)
There's a lot of other things that happened too that I could write about, like the earthquake or the exams I gave. I've also been thinking about dabbling into writing again too- and you must've guessed it right- my alley would definitely be the horror genre. I think I've mentioned this before, but I really want to read something that would terrify me and I haven't found anything like that yet.

I mean, there are definitely some great books out there that make me terrified for the characters, but I want a book that would come to life and plague me with nightmares. So I've been thinking up of a couple of ideas and things to mash together and maybe start crafting something. I'll think about sharing some of it here, if any of you would be interested xD

This post was meant to be about my module though!

I'll be honest about it, I lagged behind a LOT in this module and I have no idea how I raced around to cover everything up. There were moments where I would have an entire chapter- (the anatomy of the reproductive system for both male and females and I STILL haven't done female reproductive anatomy properly yet) just floating around and I'm busy trying to stay on track with the rest of my class. I managed it though, I have no idea how but I somehow managed it. Now the ability of my management will come to light when the result gets here...

As soon as this module was over, I thought I'd stay at home and relax a bit but it hasn't even been a day and I've got an email with all the details for the next module: Neurosciences, the seven headed hydra who is a legendary champion of slaying 50% of all medical students ever. In an effort to stay nimble on my feet, I have to make a choice: should I relax this weekend with impending doom shadowing my conscience or shall I polish my sword and make haste towards this enemy?

I just really love dramatizing my adventures in med school :D

Monday, February 1, 2016

What World Hijab Day Means To Me

So, today is World Hijab Day. It doesn't exactly mean anything to me, despite wearing a head scarf and an abaya but I realized it should mean something to me. So when this invitation went floating around the internet, I thought about going and seeing what it was all about.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to go. So instead of writing about that, I figured I should do my research and share with you guys what World Hijab Day is about and why it should mean something to me.

So World Hijab Day was started on the 1st of February, 2013. The main purpose was to get non-Muslim women to wear the hijab for a day so they could understand that it is not a symbol of oppression. Now I don't expect you guys to start wearing a hijab for a day to see what it's like (although that would be pretty cool) but I could tell you what wearing a hijab is like for me.

First of all, I can't even imagine going outside my house without something over my head. Telling me to take off my scarf is like asking someone to take off their shirt- they'd be very likely to give you deadpan stares and quite possibly end up punching you if you insist. The idea of walking down the street without this simple piece of cloth is simply impossible.

Secondly, I think I look better in a scarf. For real! Whenever I try taking a picture of myself, scarf pictures have only a 50% chance of being deleted while without headscarf pictures have a 90% chance of being deleted. Look at the stats, that's quite the difference!

Thirdly, wearing a headscarf makes you stand out. One day you might be wearing pink, another day you might be wearing blue, and maybe green another day. For the record, I have a lot of pinks. I should show you my pink scarf collection. And apart from the colors, there are so many styles and accessories you can add. I have lots of studded hijab pins and I bought a necklace specifically for a headscarf and I even keep a Pinterest board for everything.

There's like SO MANY styles of wearing a hijab! So many different kinds of ways to drape the scarf around and a variety of pins to use and other things you can add. So whoever says wearing a hijab is oppressive clearly hasn't seen the immense fashion potential this has!

Some other points to mention are that you don't have to worry about bad hair days. Alright, so you might have an occasional bad hijab day but those are really rare. As rare as perhaps, a bad outfit day. Which sounds pretty rare to me.

So what does World Hijab Day mean to me? It means I get to share with you guys how amazing wearing a headscarf is and to convince you that Muslim women are not oppressed by wearing this when they do so out of their free will! Do you have any further questions you'd like to ask? Leave them below in the comments!

Have a nice day!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...