7.2.13

"The more people tell me to change, the more I stay the same"


My theories on contentment, happiness, perhaps the meaning of life and those Godiva chocolate pearls 

Disclaimer: for the light-hearted. No philosophy backgrounds Descartes name-dropping required. 

I continuously once in a while read lists upon lists about how to live your life, scholarly articles and random people on twitter scholars' viewpoints on the meaning of life, happiness, contentment, finding purpose and how to be a better person to yourself and others.

I ask countless people of different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, mindsets as well. This includes but is not limited to the rentals, friends, colleagues, teachers, the garbage man, the dry cleaning lady, the gym instructor, even the honk honk barada man.

I'd like to first throw out the Positive Thinking, Laws Of Attraction, the Secret, Finding Purpose and other Theories of Life BS.

Living in the moment as if it's your last probably resonates the most with me.

And this is my own list for appropriate living (in your 20-somethings): 


1. Appreciate your visual surroundings, wherever you may be:

Social media has made us blind to all things around us, including quality time with people. Our attention span averages at 0 to -75*.  Experiment with this: Don't wear your contacts or glasses for a day; try walking around blind. Enjoy the blurry scenery. That headache may be just what you need. Seef highway side landscapes almost resemble the English countryside. Minus the cows.
*Statistics brought to you by Lbashmi research labs

2. Capture and document all moments of your life: 

Take more photos of yourself. You're only gonna look like this for another year. Eff the friends on FB and instagram who can't handle 10,000 uploads/second. They'll live.

3. Naivety and curiosity is the essence of growth, youth, contemplation, questioning, and if you're lucky further development, or a ticket to the mental asylum:

Be careful who you share your idiocy/simple thinking/ philosophical debates with (Why do people die? Why is the sky blue? Did we really come from monkeys?? Why is there still injustice in the world? Why are dogs better than people?).
It may lead to unemployment, or even worse, bumming out in Goa not so bad.

4. Don't forget to put your 11-year-old iPod on shuffle (yes, 11 years and counting and healthy if you must know):

That Majda Alroomi, Gypsy Kings, TLC or Peter Broderick will give you a good taste of what once was.

5. If you, like me, think or have way too much time analyzing how you could improve yourself, when you should be worrying about the people in Syria, Mali or the issues in your own country it's time to take a Chai Haleeb pill:

Studies have shown that dairy products can cause lethargic reactions, exactly what you need for a natural brain chill pill to make you lazy out on the couch.

6. Contrary to popular belief and the odd Samaritan (and those who tell you looks fade but brains stay, psssshhhh), appearance is VERY important:

Indulge only at your own risk. If you're fat, cover those lumps up with a bohemian cardi, a tribal scarf and hold a couple of books on social entrepreneurship or mags like the Economist and Wallpaper.

Side note: National Geographic may be interpreted as a little too eccentric. 

7. Aim for financial independence (or lack of): 

In your later twenties, you'll be moving from being a 100% fully-owned property by the rentals to a 50% semi-autonomous functioning company with stakeholder ownership (again, stakeholders likely to be mainly parentals and the odd partner). If you're really intelligent and have embraced your Arab culture fully, you may have also managed to equate marriage into the picture, therefore establishing a new source of funding in addition to your original source of funding, aka Baba (allah ykhaleek o ee6awilly 3umrik).

8. Stop comparing and competing, start giving back to others (two separate concepts, yet work well together; also known as selfless living or altruism):  

If there's one thing that yoga has taught me, it's to stop hating on comparing myself to those freaks very well-poised acrobats balancing on two arms while both their legs are lifted to the side and to remove all grudges energy blocks you find in your mind, body and soul.
Instead, choose to create your own personal realistic easy goals (grabbing your bent left leg with your right arm from the back, learning to ride a bike, jumping off a cliff, or simply, cooking machboos) and find ways to improve your presence around others by being confident, positive, pleasant through gaining satisfaction in achieving or getting closer to achieving those goals (ok, starting to sound too positive and actually useful here..)

9. Always have appropriate outdoor behavior: Don't grab your crotch while walking. Even if you're in little India and it's the only way to blend in with the masses. We're not in a zoo.

10. Fear may multiply as you grow; ignore it, it's just anxiety acidity. Some will tell you to harness fear to achieve your true potential: take risks, do it now, you might die tomorrow!! (way to encourage "seizing" the day), and all that other nonsense. Do it your way, create your own path, even if it takes you decades to get married set up a business havc kids go to the moon achieve the typical standards expected from you by society in that century.

.................

And if all else fails, the true bitter you will shine through regardless and is bound to find charm with some people somewhere! Right??

P.S. I've been continuously criticized for my naive writing (this criticism comes from a total of 3+ readers. Woot woot I have 2 more!) saying that it's an oversimplified analysis of the topic at hand. To that, I say learn to make machboos, then eat it too.
Aaaaand I hope you get fat :)

5.3.12

Ceramic Cairo







Moustafa Darwish. Ceramics. Gallery.





The friendliest old lady who currently takes care of the gallery of the deceased Egyptian artist was given a lecture by my dad on the importance of insuring all this man's treasures.






1.1.12

Top 10 Tips: How To Reconcile, Grassroots Style

Happy new years everyone! It's 2012, and on that note, let's aim to be a little more positive, starting with my take on how to reconcile - grassroots meets Letterman's top 10 list style.

These are very much generic suggestions that can be applied anywhere in the world and are not specified to any society or location. Feel free to share your own ideas.

Disclaimer: This is to be taken lightly. If you are likely to be offended by political incorrectness, I would suggest turning to another webpage, like the @thoughtcatalog.

Top 10 Reconciliatory Techniques (which may or may not be effective)

1. When you're offered a flower, say thank you, take it and put it in your hair. It gives off an "I've just come back from an exotic vacation" look, or better yet, gives our island a Hawaii-Rasta feel.

2. If you see a group of people walking around aimlessly with boards and flags in your neighborhood, invite them over for Chai Haleeb, watch 6ash ma6ash or ilcamera alma5shoosha, or better yet serve them some food - dates are pretty effective, but I would suggest heavier dishes like machboos and harees. Guaranteed to make you feel lethargic and alternatively choose to go home and sleep it off.

3. Alfonso Lingis once said, "Hornets get along with hornets, deer get along with deer, even predator species get along. It's not our nature that a man be a wolf to man." So if this is true, then, it's worth noting that..um..actually I had no point to make here. I just wanted to say 'hornets'.

4. When you see angry people, avoid. Wait for them to calm down, then splatter some lavender oil, mashmoom or rosewater. Rose water and lavender are both known to carry a calming, sensuous, relaxing effect on humans. They're probably the most utilized liquids in spas and relaxation spaces. I wonder how much people make just selling that stuff! (Hmmm, I'm sniffing a business venture)

5. Contrary to common belief, burning flags will not get anyone's attention. Burning tires, garbage, etc is unlikely to attract the appropriate sort of attention either. A quick suggestion would be to start a cupcake business and start giving them out for free. Better yet, bring Kim Kardashian for a cameo appearance.

6. That charity box you see in your local barada? For all you know, that money could be going to support the black market in making more fake Chanels, or even worse, cheap DVDs (sorry Zain DVD). A dime a dozen! Fight piracy. Choose to hand out that extra 100-200 fils direct to the source. You'll feel much better knowing where it's going..

7. A responsible citizen is a reconciliatory citizen. Pick up your garbage, distribute food to your neighbors, ring their doorbells, and ask to be invited in. Make sure you have a toothy weird 7ashra smile on your face when you're doing so. Guaranteed to be invited again. Hands down.

8. When all else fails, there's always sports. Buy a football, throw it at an angry mob and see who kicks it back. That would be the guy you assign as the captain. Make sure you have a big enough bus ready (Alnaql Al3am is quite spacious) as you'll be shipping that angry mob to the stadium. The national stadium. It's FOOTBALL TIME!

9. If you see some inflammatory remarks on walls - i.e. insulting graffiti, buy some paint from your local store and paint over it or do some weird scribble. We all have an artist inside us - just make sure they're PG-13 and relatively appropriate. Arabian horses, golden sun, sand (I'll clap for you if you can capture 'sand' through graffiti), pearl, boat, diving, palm trees, you know - the cliched Gulf identity symbols. If you're REALLY getting into it, hire an artist to do it for you. @Alriwaq have some good ones who can do it for cheap (Shameless promotion taking place as we speak).

10. Did I say there were 10?