Hang In There #CoronaDiaries

So Corona reaches Africa. Who would had thought a pandemic would bring the whole world come together. Rich or poor, this virus has spared no one and we all are battling a common invisible enemy.

In Nigeria, the official lockdown starts in few days but we have been social distancing for some time. Today , I managed to go for a walk within the compound that we live in . And IT.FELT.GOOD. I think this routine might keep me going until things get better.

I am getting overwhelmed by the Corona messages on whatsap and facebook. So I am zoning them out and later skim through most of the messages. I just cannot talk about the looming threat on us 24/7. Lets just take it one day at a time. It’s not like we have any other choice , do we ?

Lets try Social media distancing for a while . Read and watch less depressing things. We have to keep our morale up for our family .

Stay safe.

Home away from home #CoronaDiaries

Karachi is going under lockdown. This is a much needed step and I wish it was taken atleast a week back. Our people despite the media outrage and government pleas are not understanding the gravity of the situation.

While I am stuck in another continent, experiencing the initial panic of Corona , I am worried about my family back home . My mom, in-laws , uncles and aunts who are in a very vulnerable age bracket. My heads screams at the stupidity of our nation who have been brazenly socializing in spite all the warnings, and then feeling helpless about the state of healthcare of our nation . How are we going to overcome it ? May Allah has mercy on us . That’s all I can say right now.

The worrying thing being stuck in Nigeria is what If I get it ? The health care here too is very fragile and being in an unknown land, the thought of getting treated here seems like being sent off to jail.

I am trying to trick my mind and think positive but I just needed to express how I am feeling right now. I guess I should watch some Friends and life will be good again . It always does.

Staying Positive #CoronaDiaries

Amidst all the panic which has engulfed the entire world, hundred articles and thousand memes later , one is forced to take a deep breath and reflect. For me, at this point , all I can feel is gratitude.

I am indeed blessed to be able to stay home , work from home and have the luxury to stock up for weeks to come . This indeed in a privilege denied to many. Daily wage workers or people with limited resources have different struggles to which we cannot even relate .

Looking how businesses and economies have taken a hit just in a matter of weeks, forces you to think how unpredictable life can be. The saying, from rich to pauper or money comes and money goes cannot be more true. So hopefully this calamity will teach us more humility and generosity towards those in need and also how important it is to save for the rainy days.

At the end of the day, too much Corona related news does take a toll on you . So I would sincerely suggest social media distancing . Its good to be aware but no need to check and talk about it every hour. Binge on your favorite show , listen to songs , meditate or read instead. Keeping a positive mindset is important for you and your family . Make your life easy , this is not the time to be Martha Steward or super mom with 30 mins screen limit. Routine is important but keeping everyone happy indoors is more important right now.

So the silver lining to this is that I have a wonderful excuse to not go to the gym but I have absolutely no excuse left to avoid sorting those drawers which I have been procrastinating for 2 years!

#Stay Positive

Small World – Nigerian Expats give back

To be born in a rich family is a privilege. Similarly, being born in a rich country is no different. However, one thing is constant regardless what your circumstances may be, the love for your mother and your motherland.

When people go to the foreign countries for better opportunities, it is easy to judge and believe you forgot your home country or love it any less. Trust me, no matter where you are , the love doesn’t go away. You get happy when your country prospers, sad when a tragedy strikes, frustrated when you see hopelessness and ecstatic when you win in any international sport. One experiences these extreme emotions only when there is a deep connection.

Small world is an annual charity event hosted by expats in Lagos. There are over 30 countries participating. The proceeds of this event go to charity. I had an opportunity to experience this event and was amazed by the patriotism of all the people there. Small World gives opportunity to expats to represent their countries , their culture and most importantly showcase their cuisine. There are live performances , music, overall a lively carnival which stretches all evening till around midnight.

Sampling food of countless countries and drinks is a sweet deal especially when it is for a good cause. So once you have bought the ticket to this event, everything inside is free which includes your food , drinks and entertainment. I can proudly say I tasted brownies of at least 3 countries 🙂 and they all tasted great . My personal favourite was an Israeli Chocolate dough like ball.

What really amazed me, is how my friends representing Pakistan worked tirelessly to put our best foot forward. They spent money , time, sweat and utter dedication to represent Pakistan in the best possible light. They prepared food for 100’s of people, decorations that they started preparing weeks in advance and organized everything from A-Z. Their generosity and hard work is commendable to say the least. And this goes for all the other nationalities as well. They were all proud ambassadors of their countries.

Small world (Established since 1996) is a great initiative to bring people together . It reminds us that we are all global citizens and how wonderful diversity can be. So if you are in town around this time next year, do come and show your support. You will not be disappointed.

Don’t Judge a Samosa by its Cover

Cravings and expat life goes hand in hand. We all have grown up with a certain style of food and flavors that we like and associate our memories with . Wherever we go , we try to find places that hits closest to home. So please don’t hate me if my taste buds don’t agree to your version of it.

We visited a desi restaurant this weekend and was quite happy to see samosa on the menu. Indian samosas have peas in it which I don’t like but being greedy, I had even made peace with that. After all beggars cannot be choosers!

So the samosa finally comes. It is hot and crispy from the outside and accompanied with a coriander chutney. Sigh, It is so instragram worthy!! So I am officially salivating inspite of the green peas which I am expecting inside.

So the big moment comes, I dip my crunchy samosa in the green chutney and take a bite. I taste potato and something else …. It is sweet… it is mushy…it is a RAISIN! I dropped the samosa like a hot potato. (Pun intended). Taking another bite was unimaginable. Almost like a betrayal to all the samosas I have ever eaten.

What I experienced then, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. So next time you are causally snacking on a samosa or just grabbing it from a random bakery , please don’t take them for granted. It is a blessing denied to many.

Traffic Insanity in Lagos

Traffic in Lagos was always brutal . Unpredictable, lawless and chaotic . But for the past 2 weeks it seems to have reached hellish heights . Being a stay at home mom has always been the least rewarding roles, but now imagine a mother who spends nearly 4 hours doing school runs!!!

So what do you do all day ?

Me: I do school runs. Period.

Planning your activities around this insane traffic is a task on its own and you learn to be organized and not leave things for the last minute. Having lived in big cities all my life, I understand the concept of traffic hours but NO rules apply here. The traffic here has a beat of its own.

The middle class and lower get the worst deal out of this situation. They work all day, only to commute 2-3 hours back home , catch few hours of sleep and go back to work the next morning. Most of the domestic workers, leave as early as 3 or 4 am to make it to work on time. I don’t think most of them can even manage more than 5 hours of sleep. Some of them however do manage to share accommodation at a more central location to save time on commute, but for most, life is very very hard.

While the rich keep getting richer, there is no one to feel a common man’s pain. Public transportation and better infrastructure is desperately needed but there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

Meray Pass Tum Ho… The drama that broke the internet

This Pakistani drama broke the internet. Broke all records. The app of the channel crashed. The last 2 episodes were combined and showed in cinema. So if you have not seen this drama, let me share its key learnings;

1)Forgive men if they cheat to keep an upper hand. After all, boys will be boys. Their transgression is acceptable and forgivable.

2) However , if a woman cheats , it is a crime against mankind and entire motherhood. Quite similar to calling all Muslims terrorists but a white man with mental illness.

I enjoyed this drama until the dialogues became too theatrical and over the top and I couldn’t take any more hypocrisy. At the end of the day , it is just a drama, not to be taken seriously but unfortunately our society still operates by this sick logic . I just wonder when we will get free of this patriarchal mindset where women have to forgive adultery, expected to give up careers and if married, be treated like a house help/nurse instead of a partner .

We as a nation still has so many obstacles to overcome, and unfortunately, I don’t think education alone will solve this one.

Evolution of Education

Over the weekend I received an email from my daughter’s school. The starting of the email was so somber, words like ‘I regret to inform you…….’ that I embraced myself for the worst . Perhaps something happened to the teacher ?

It turned out that her teacher had to suddenly resign due to personal reasons. Over the next two days , there was discussion about smooth transition , finding a replacement which is best fit and most importantly emotional health of the children. And I found this so overwhelming. I am coming from a school which was very strict and rigid. We as students were mass produced like in factories. The constant strive for academic perfection. No one cared how we felt. It was all about the grades. I vividly remember in Year 10, a girl who got an A grade in her Board exam was treated like a pariah as the rest had passed with distinction. So even though she had gotten an A , it was just not good enough.

Education has evolved so much since our time. The focus now is on a well rounded personality instead only focusing on the academic aspect. There are many things which I feel were better in our times like simplicity and less materialism but the approach to education nowadays is hands down better and balanced.

Coming from Pakistan, things still get really competitive there. Imagine registering your child immediately after your delivery out of fear that he/she would not make it to the right school. And I am NOT exaggerating. Pakistani moms can only relate to this. I think we as parents should take a step back and ease off the pressure on our children. Learning to write your name at 2 and speaking a second language at age 3 is certainly not a benchmark for measuring intelligence.

We are becoming a country which is not going beyond the safety net of a Doctor , Engineer or MBA( that too as a compromise). We need entrepreneurs , artists, innovators and athletes . They are as important as any other field and our country direly needs them. Let the creativity flow and let your child explore and thrive besides academics as well. It is only when we shed our inhibitions or travel on a road less travelled, the most amazing things happen.

Harry & Meghan Moving to Pakistan

Not too long ago, news emerged of Harry and Meghan moving to Pakistan . Now we finally have more details coming forward. The family will be residing in Karachi. They have shortlisted posh Creek Vista as one of the options because of proximity to good schools and general feel of the place. Harry likes golf and Golf Club is 2 mins away. They don’t want the headache of electricity or gas load shedding , so Creek Vista seems like the perfect fit .

Though Archie is late for preschool registration but Preschool Plus has been very accommodating and have also assured the parents that Archie has a very good chance to get into Karachi Grammer school.

Harry has expressed interest to be part of Naya Pakistan and a position for Tourism Minister could be a possibility. With Pakistan being branded as top country to visit , this seems like a compelling strategy . Whereas, Meghan will be looking after Shaukat Khanam Karachi chapter.

The couple plans to spend summers in London or Canada because Karachi summers are horrible to to say the least and Meghan has no patience to get into the designer lawn frenzy which envelopes the country every summer.

Pakistan is very happy to host the royals . All the aunties have been hushed not to recommend whitening totkas/remedies to Meghan.

PS: If you haven’t had your coffee/Tea yet , this post is purely Satire .

Megexit. Meghan and Harry stepping down from Royal duties. Brexit Learn!

So the latest boiling story is that Meghan and Harry are stepping down from their royal duties. So no surprise there , this news has taken everyone by storm . #Megexit , #MeghanMarkle and #PrinceHarry are already trending .

During this fiasco, two extreme viewpoints have been emerged. Pro Meghan and anti Meghan. It is interesting to see that you don’t see Harry part of this AT ALL. It is almost like Harry does not exist or this decision has entirely been Meghan’s. Its either Meghan caused the divide or WAY TO GO Meghan! Hello , what about Harry ? He is ACTUALLY the one who is giving it all up .

I am trying to be as unbiased as possible . But I feel the same decision could had been taken in a less controversial manner. They should had consulted with the Queen. This seems too reckless. And also I have always admired how progressive the Queen has been to welcome Meghan into her family despite all odds. Meghan is bi racial , Divorcee, coming from a dysfunctional family & American. Clearly out of Queen’s traditional comfort zone. The same woman who initially refused Camilla Parker for her son , accepted Meghan Markle. Maybe because Harry was 6th in line to throne but still, I was pleasantly surprised by her open mindedness.

The Brit media on the other hand has always been invasive and cruel. Like a chameleon that changes color when convenient. Princess Diana , Kate and Meghan have all fallen victims to it. Remember when Kate’s nude pictures were published on a freaking newspaper or her oops moments made national headlines ? So yes Meghan , you were bullied but you are not alone there. It is not you , it is them . They spare no one. And expecting anything else from them is incredibly naĂŻve.

So this time around, we can say this royal couple had enough of the hateful media crap and calling it quits from their relentless harassment. Harry still has a luxury to make this decision and live life in his own terms, William however does not.

I wish Meghan and Harry all the best for their next adventure. Now that you have already taken the plunge, switch off your cells and hibernate for a month.

Some of the headline making waves;

So what do you think will happen now ? I am totally hooked.