Mona says

August 5, 2012

Ramadan Ramblings

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 10:18 pm

It’s been a really long time since I last wrote. I’ve been tied up with work, and prepping for Ramadan. I think that this might be the first time that I am able to appreciate, really and truly, the beauty and barakah of this month. I’ve always appreciated the month and the discipline and feeling of community it brings about but this year I am really feeling a bit more than the usual. A deeper connection to God, a deeper connection to the Quran and deeper love as a result. Warm and fuzzy feelings.

In fact when we were talking to the kids about Allah’s names this month, both Z and I picked al Wadud (The Most Loving). I hope that the kids are picking up on the warm fuzzy lovey feelings this beautiful month too. We have a Ramadan countdown calendar and we made banners and we’re doing half fasts as well around these parts.

My husband’s family is visiting us as well and though it hasn’t been easy, it has been fun. Loud and noisy and so busy. I love having people over, feeding them and having a full house. Not for too long, I suspect, but for now I am enjoying it. The kids are having a wonderful time connecting with their abba’s family too.

So far the month has been pretty productive, spiritually, and though I could have done better – I am grateful to have been given the chance to do what I did, alhamdolillah. I hope the rest of the month is productive as well!

Today, August the 6th is my beloved nani’s seventh death anniversary and I still miss her bunches. She passed away only 12 days before I got married. May Allah SWT forgive her and grant her a place in Jannah.

There’s so much more I want to write about but now is not the time. I will be back later.


June 25, 2012

On memories and reminiscing

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 7:51 pm

I’ve always said, to anyone who’d care to listen, that my bad memory is a sign that I’m going to be an Alzheimer’s patient eventually. I don’t think that I’ve always had a bad memory but I have noticed it getting progressively worse with time. This afternoon, I was freaking out because I couldn’t remember Noob’s teacher from last year – I mean I remember her first name, and her face but I just can’t seem to recall her family name!

At dinner tonight, as Z is often wont to do, he started reminiscing about his glorious childhood. I’ve always been a bit envious about how clearly he recalls his childhood when I can’t! I’d tell him, quite often, that he tends to live in the past but I’ve come to accept that it’s just that I wish I could remember my childhood with such startling clarity.

And while he retold some story of his childhood for only the 5467th time, I started to really think, to really push my brain to remember something of my own childhood and I was surprised but I started to remember some really random details – some were so faint, that all I remembered was the smell of something, the feel of something else and a glimpse of some stuff I didn’t even recognize.

My first tricycle, the feel of its seat with my dress bunched up around my thighs, the feel of my rocking horse at my nani’s place in India, and some such other things which I’m not yet sure I’m ready to share just yet. I think I just want to think about them some more. And maybe talk to my mom about them tomorrow. I’m just so glad these memories aren’t lost that at least a few of them are in there somewhere.

I am looking forward to curling up in bed later tonight, and maybe remembering some more stuff and mostly, just focusing on the tidbits that I did manage to remember.

I think I can finally see the charm in reminiscing. It makes my heart yearn, but I don’t really understand what I’m yearning for – the lost moments, my childhood, the purity and intensity of my emotions from that time, all of these things and more, none of these things? I just don’t know but it is a nice, fuzzy warm feeling that envelopes me when I think of these things…

June 8, 2012

seven years

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 7:07 pm

well almost, and Z still manages to surprise me.

There’s this cartoon doing the rounds on Facebook, a couple sitting side by side on a couch, reading the papers in silence and the wife thinks to herself, after a few years of being married, you can read each other’s thoughts and the husband thinks, no you can’t – I saw that a few days ago and I thought to myself, wow, we’re almost there. Except Z can sometimes read the thoughts I didn’t even know I’d had yet too 🙂

I have exams and loads of work deadlines and I was stressed but didn’t know it. Here I was coasting along thinking, I can do this, I’m not stressed. Mind over matter, you know. And then yesterday, Z picked the kids and me up, saying we’d go buy a printer except that I was dropped off at the spa for a very relaxing back and scalp massage and mani-ped. He took the kids to the beach and I can tell you this much, the kids loved their surprise as much as I did mine.

They came to pick me, tired and happy and I walked to the car, relaxed to the point that I was practically sleep-walking. The moment I got in the car, they gave me all the pretty presents (seashells) they got me and barraged me with stories about what they did, and how much fun they had. The car ride home had an almost dream-like quality to it.

This morning, I’m back to studying and working and doing the stuff that needs to be done, feeling relaxed and cherished and admiring my pretty hands and feet every couple of hours.

Seven years down the line and I don’t find flowers and chocolates as romantic anymore, it’s these little things more than anything else – making sure the fuel tank is full on days I need the car, (finally) buying me the work table I needed just before my exams, booking the massage I don’t know I need, taking the kids swimming the morning he knows I could do with an extra hour of sleep – these are the things that make my heart glow with love for my perfect-for-me husband.

Here’s to the next seven or seventy of togetherness.

May 9, 2012

growing older and food choices

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 7:38 am

In the past couple of years, I realized that I’m not craving unhealthy, fatty food anymore. Even though I consciously made the choice to start eating healthy and organic wherever I could afford to, I still wanted my junk fix. I craved it even when I chose not to eat it.

Over the last year, I’ve noticed that I don’t find this kind of food appealing anymore. The thought of something overly buttery, cheesy or sweet doesn’t excite me anymore. It could be that I’m more informed about what I’m eating so I know what goes in to that kind of food and it’s natural for me to feel this aversion. But I also think maybe it’s also my body’s natural defense mechanism against health problems. My body now knows it’s limitations so now I don’t feel like eating crap, and occasionally the thought of certain junk food even makes me a bit queasy.

Quite amazing, isn’t it? SubhanAllah!

February 16, 2012

All Grown Up

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 7:34 am

I am really enjoying the process of growing older. And it does sound like something someone in denial of aging might say, but I’m really serious.

I like having a good idea of what I want or don’t want, a pretty clear idea of who I am – values and all, and what I want out of this life. I love that I can stand up for what I want and say what I really think more often than not.

I’m not saying that I have all the answers and stuff, but I think things aren’t as blurry as they were, even two or three years ago.

And the thing that put this in perspective for me is, of all things, thinking about the decor I want for the living room.

I see other peoples homes now and though I might like them, think they are gorgeous but I’m more comfortable with what I like, what I want and it makes me feel all grown up.

February 2, 2012

the armchair of my dreams

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 2:14 pm

Now that I have the space in my room, I am on the hunt for a really awesome rug and armchair combination.

I’d always wanted one of those tiny tables and chairs in the bedroom but I realize that they would hardly be used so I’ve settled on a nice armchair instead.

Eventually I will get a work table too but for now, I’m really looking forward to working out of a comfy armchair, looking out the window occasionally, a mug of green tea at my feet.

January 23, 2012

The BIG move

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 3:03 pm

So we moved. To a bigger, airier and sunnier apartment. I loved it the moment I saw it.

We’ve been here since Saturday and I still think its pretty great except that it is just really big. I get tired walking from end to end! Now that we are almost done putting it into a livable condition, cleaning seems like a nightmare, one I’m not ready to think about just yet.

My thoughts often go to the previous tenants – did they leave because they ran out of space? I can’t imagine that if they did, just how big their apartment is now! And I can’t even imagine needing (or cleaning) an apartment bigger than this.

I love having the extra space though. I’m scouring the Internet for great organizational tips and ideas to really make good use of the space.

At the old place, I always felt that there was lots of space that I hadn’t fully utilized. But when we moved here, I realized that I’d managed to squeeze in quite a bit into the old place. Still, I’m always up for space saving techniques. So if you know any, point me toward them.

December 15, 2011

On romance and life partners

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 8:07 pm

Occasionally I like to revisit the decisions I’ve made so far and what I think the direct consequences of this have been on my life and on me, as a person.

And I remembered this article I read a long time ago. It gives me the fuzzies. And I know that at least regarding my choice for a life partner, I made a good decision 🙂


November 30, 2011

so seriously

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 8:03 am

i ran into this old friend, stuck in a bit of a time warp, and catching up was weird. i’ve left this person i used to be behind, and i mean that in a good way and we didn’t have much to talk about once we’d caught each other up.

funnily enough though, i’m not yearning or reminiscing for where i used to be or how things used to be, i’m happy with who i am and where i am now. i love this clarity. love it. a few years ago, i’d have been riddled with self-doubt after a conversation with this friend.

thirty rocks!


November 5, 2011

Notes from Hajj: Makkah, Mina and Arafah

Filed under: Random — by Mona S. @ 12:00 pm

It’s been exactly one year since we were at Hajj and I never got around to writing all about our experiences and the memories are starting to fade and curl around the edges.

Today’s Arafah, and I have this strange tug of war happening in my chest – one side, the peace and contentment from knowing I’ve done this, my duty, already and the other, yearning to be back in that sea of white, remembering and worshiping, living the true purpose of this life.

I’m going to try and finish recording what I do remember today. The last post stopped at our first night in Makkah, before we did our Umrah. I don’t remember much, except that we prayed maghrib at the hotel and quickly freshened up to head to the Haram. Our hotel was only a few minutes walk and as soon as we got there, we realized how crowded Makkah was starting to get with the pilgrims coming all corners of the world – the costumes, the languages, the colors and features were simply too much to absorb.

Being in the Haram itself after so many years was overwhelming, somethings I remembered, somethings were new. We hurried towards the center, eager for our first look at the Kaaba, and it was an emotional moment – no matter how many times in your life you are lucky enough to be at the Kaaba, I think the wonderment never ceases. There were gasps and tears and emotional exclamations. They say that any dua you make after you first lay eyes on Kaaba is generally accepted – so we raised our hands and asked, and asked, and asked. It was almost time for Isha then, so we headed upstairs to find a spot to pray. Before we could find a spot though, the prayer started and mercy of all mercies, Surah Rahman was being recited in the first rak’ah!

Right after Isha we did our Umrah, back on the ground floor, in the Mata’af and then went back to the hotel to cut our hair and officially be out of Ihram until the days of Hajj. The rest of our stay in Makkah is a bit hazy – mostly us walking to and back from the Haram, of always finding a spot in our favorite spot by Marwa, of being at peace as only being in Haram can bring, of discussing the the enormity of things to come and what was the best way of going about it and so on.

I remember hearing that people didn’t often get along with whoever they were allotted to stay with but we really lucked out. I remembered making dua in Ramadan that I wanted good company for us, in general, people who were good for us, for our deen and I feel that at Hajj, my duas were truly answered, I found people that even one year later, I’m very close to and consult often for everything. I think my Hajj experience was definitely enhanced because of the amazing company!

We left Makkah for Mina on the night of the 8th, after Isha. It was crazy on the streets, buses and honking cars and pilgrims on foot. By this time, we were back in ihram. I don’t really remember my first impression of Mina. I do remember Arafat though. I remember the bus ride, I remember the lines for the bathrooms, and I remember the comment that a fellow pilgrim made while in a queue for the use of the bathrooms. She said, that people world over are watching us on tv, wishing they were in our place and here we are, looking for bathrooms with relatively shorter lines.

I remember that as the time got closer to Dhuhr, getting nervous about everything, about having the du’as accepted, remembering that someday we would all be back on this ground, waiting to be judged. Scary. We couldn’t hear the khutbah so we just did dhikr to pass the time and then we prayed Dhuhr+Asr, qasr and jam’a. I remember after, standing and making dua like I’d never made dua before. It really was a sea of white around us. Some people were crying. I was missing the kids and my parents, my siblings, and my closest friends at that point so I did make crazy, fervent duas for them.

At the end of the appointed time, just before Maghrib, I felt immense relief that we’d got through Arafah, you know, because ‘Hajj is Arafah’. We got on the bus and headed out for Muzdalifah.

More later or I will miss this precious time to make dua!

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