Monday, April 28, 2014

This DIS-connected life

20140228-IMG_9368Our generation still remembers what it was like before this technology revolution. We saw it happen in front of our eyes and remember how it was when our landlines were the main connection with anyone. We saw when the first cellphones came and slowly became a necessity. We only had our desktop computers, if at all, and remember the days before the interne! We have lived through it and have gone from living without any of this to being totally dependent on our gadgets. In many ways it is amazing obviously, I could not have been able to live so far from my family otherwise. I find myself better connected with so many of my old friends like never before. I just love it and am so thankful. But we cant ignore the other side of this too!

Sometimes I cant help imagining my mom’s life when she was at the stage I am in today. My parents had moved to Kuwait for a few years because of my dad’s work and my mom was a stay-at-home mom of two under 3. Their families were back in Pakistan and calling back home to talk to them was probably a once-a-week kind of thing, and that too for not much longer than some minutes. Letters were the main source of detailed communication. With no text messaging, Skype, Whatsapp, Cellphones, Social Media to interrupt her thoughts and attention every little while, her focus was us and she tried to take out time for her art and her writing whenever she was able to.

And I compare that to my life. The time difference means that the best time to talk to my family is either morning or night, and so I check my phone first thing when I wake up to make sure all is well. Since my father’s death, making sure they are okay everyday is even more essential for me. We’ll catch up a bit on Whatsapp, share pictures, and then I’ll check my notifications from the couple social medias that I am active on. I am guilty of doing this as I make breakfast and even though I try to put my phone down as we eat, many times the notifications from my phone will take me away from the moment and I'll get to it to reply. Often I don’t realize my daughter is talking to me as I am busy with my phone and I have to force myself to look at her. Later on if I visualize this scene in my head, it is the saddest thing. My daughter telling me something excitedly, and me not even acknowledging as I am distracted with my phone. Of course it is normal sometimes, there is so much multitasking going on in a mom’s life, but when it starts becoming more routine, some thing is not right. It feels like we are losing those moments where we are fully present, mind and body, and enjoying the ones around us, and enjoying what we’re doing. It's like we are constantly living our lives in disconnect.

I have been thinking of this for a while and it is hard for me to write some of these things, but I look around me and I see many others doing the same. Its not even something we notice most of the time. It is becoming the common way for us to live our lives. Even though I cannot cut myself away from my phone, I really think we need to evaluate ourselves and be able to disconnect, physically and mentally and enjoy the moment. Whether we’re a parent, a spouse or a child, it is so important to focus fully on the people in our lives when we’re with them.  I’m sure if we didn’t change it, it would affect our relationships with our loved ones. And not to forget how mentally draining it is for our brains. Sitting with someone, talking to someone else, not being able to enjoy what you’re doing because your mind is just never there.

I wonder how our kids that grow up watching us and our devices that keep us connected to everything will be like when their time comes. Just how we wanted to be different from our parents generation in many ways, maybe after seeing us, they will want it different too. They will want their lives back, their privacy and to live in the moment more. They wont want to give the divided attention they got from their parents.


1: Keeping a gadget free zone in your house, for example your living area, or your kitchen where your family gathers at the end of the day. Alternatively you could also do gadget free hours, e.g: 7 to 9 pm

2: No phones on the dining table or at mealtimes.

3: Keeping an internet detox day for the whole family. I tried doing this every Sunday and it was harder for me than I'd like to admit.

4: Removing your phone from your bedside, so it is not the first thing you do when you wake up. Instead give your brain the space to think and thank God when you wake up, before you immerse yourself in the routines of the day.


Do you  have any thoughts to share? Would love to hear. Thanks for reading and lots of love.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

WHAT WE WORE in Pakistan: Exploring Islamabad



Anya wears: Tunic by Outfitters Junior, Knit Tights from Target, Cardigan by Osh Kosh, Coat and Boots from Old Navy

I wear: Kurta from Ethnic, Churidar Tights by Nisha from Nishat Linen, Coat by DKNY (which I wore pretty much all of my trip :p), Crossbody Bag by Steven Madden via Amazon, Shoes by Stylo

Location: Lok Virsa in Islamabad

For more in this series go here.

Thanks for reading. Lots of love.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

AROUND SEATTLE: Snoqualmie Falls


A quick stop at the Snoqualmie falls on way to some shopping on a typical rainy day a couple weekends ago. This almost 270 feet waterfall, is a tourist attraction 40 minutes from Seattle and on our list of places-to-show when anyone visits us. And so every time we go I cant help thinking of the times we were there with our families and friends including my father. So much that has changed in these last 7 years that we have been visiting these falls. Life’s like that though and I’m happy to have those memories :)

Thanks for stopping by. Lots of love.


Monday, April 14, 2014

WHAT WE WORE: Spring is in the air


Good morning sweet people. So I have to tell you this, I find it hardest to press ‘Publish’ on these posts. This is far from a fashion or style blog and I guess its still hard for me to fathom that me of all people is doing this series. I would’ve never in a billion years, when I started blogging, thought I’d ever do this. Hehe. But that’s the point of all of this, to push my limits and step a little out of my comfort zone. Also its hard to pose for these pictures, so please ignore our (mainly mine) awkwardness in these photos sometimes ;)


Anya wears: Dress from Target (a birthday gift from a sweet aunty), T-Shirt from Target, Tights from Joe Fresh at JC Penney, Boots from Old Navy

I wear: Top custom made by tailor in Pakistan, Pants from Gap (seen before here and here), Booties by Crown Vintage from DSW, Sunglasses from Gap

Go here to see more in this series.

Thanks for stopping by and lots of love.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Love like this.


My mom is an only child so we grew up without a khala or mamun1. Ever since we were little we felt that void in our lives as we saw friends/family being loved by theirs. The words khala and mamun were magical for us and many of our childhood make-belief games had a khala character in them. Our favorite self-invented game where we would make paper house plans and little families that lived in them; ended up being called 'choti khala' because of a khala character in many of these families we made.

When Anya was born, my sisters and I used to remember this game we had and how we finally got that wish when they became khalas themselves.  And what a joy it has been to see this khala-niece bond begin and grow. My sisters have changed dirty diapers, rocked her to sleep, stayed up nights while I slept and more than any of that, played with her those endless pretend games that only a khala-of-one can have the time and energy to do.

Where Skype is the only way we can be present in each others’ daily lives, most mornings are Anya-khala time. They play ‘Starbucks-Starbucks’ (Them: Can I have a cake pop and an apple pie?, Anya: Yes, Twenty Ten please)  become Raheem Uncle2 and cook food for each other, read stories out to her or those long conversations with one of Anya’s stuffies that she’s talking as. They babysit many times as I cook or take a shower or sometimes edit pictures or write for this blog. Initially I used to keep checking, worrying they'd get bored. Thinking how long can one play and talk with a toddler from across the world! but now I know they don’t get bored. They enjoy it as much as she does!

And its beautiful that even though we never got the khala we dreamed of, Anya got not one but two mashaAllah3, and I see them everyday and realize we were right. We were missing something amazing!

As I watch her with them, I cant help thinking about many such relations around us, that are strained. I’m sure most of these started with love too, but somewhere somehow it all changed. Some grew apart, some circumstances changed, and resentment, anger, hurt, even hate crept in. Relationships don’t just continue one-sided, they are work. We should appreciate and cherish them, value them, love them and make time for them. I hope and pray that nothing ever comes in the way of these bonds that Anya shares with her khalas, phupos, grannies, taya4, cousins and each of the relations that are a part of her life. It would be heartbreaking because I saw where these relations all began, in love! Even when she’s 20 or 30 or 40, I hope she will love them and they will love her equally back!

Do you have any special khala or other bonds in your lives? Would love to hear some stories.

Thanks for reading and lots of love.


1 Urdu has specific words for relations from the maternal and paternal sides. Khala is the word for mom’s sister, Mamun for mom’s brother.

2 Raheem Uncle is the cook at my parent’s house and has been with them since a long long time.

3 Masha Allah is an Arabic phrase that is used when one expresses appreciation, joy, praise or thankfulness. It is used in serving as a reminder that all accomplishments/blessings are by the will of God. In some Muslim cultures, people may utter this phrase in the belief that it may help protect them from jealousy, evil eyes, or jinxing.

4 Khalas: Mom’s sisters; Phupos: Dad’s sisters; Taya: Dad’s Elder Brother

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

AROUND ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Monument


Pictures from an evening at one of Islamabad’s relatively new landmarks, the Pakistan Monument. The drive to this place was beautiful and so were the views of the city once you get here. Also visited the adjacent Pakistan Monument Museum, a great place for history lovers with beautifully vivid displays on the creation of Pakistan and accounts of national heroes and historical events. It is also Islamabad’s version of the Madame Tussauds with life size figures of Jinnah, Fatima Jinnah, Iqbal and many others. We weren’t able to see one but have heard good things about the multimedia exhibits that take place in the museum too. Truly a great addition to Islamabad’s places to visit.


Thanks for reading. Lots of love.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Thoughts on why I don’t share her face here.


When a friend of mine had her daughter a few months before mine, I remember finding it interesting that she never put pictures of her little girl online. Being picture obsessed that I am, I thought I’d never be able to do that.

But when Anya was born, I don’t know what happened but it just didn’t feel right putting her face out there. I convinced my husband and our families to adjust their privacy settings so only the closest family and friends were able to view those pictures. We were overjoyed with her existence in our life, her tiny little body full of newborn fuzz, her loud cries and those focused eyes. To us she was beautiful and we didn't need the whole world's approval. In the moment, I don’t think I had enough time to think my thoughts through. I just knew that was what I wanted to do.

It was hard at times, but as time went by, the habit stuck and I got creative with her pictures. I realized that even though our faces are the reflection of our hearts, our stories can be told in many other ways. I want her story to be about more than just her looks. I want her personality to shine through, I want her thoughts and her words to be as important.

Even though I have this urge to write and share through this journey of mine, I want to protect her from the unfathomable types of predators that scroll the internet.  Maybe I am conservative or superstitious and I’m also not sure what the future might bring, or how my ideas might change in the days to come. But for right now, this is what feels right to me and I choose to stay true to that.

There is a fine line when you start to share parts of your life online, of what you share and what you hold back and I am treading that line right now.  At the end of it, blogging and sharing my pictures online is my choice, not hers and I don’t want to take it away from her.

Just wanted to share some feelings on this as I know many of you wonder about it.

Thanks for reading and lots of love.