Thursday, September 12, 2019

Stand for Kashmir

Kashmir has been under siege for more than a month now. I have been feeling helpless regarding the issue, because 'what can I do anyway to help?' If that is a thought you also are a victim to, realize that we can actually do something. We can raise our voice so the world notices. We can spread awareness on the issue. We can pray for Kashmir. I hope a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue is found, and the world realizes that it can not remain silent on injustice.

When you feel helpless,
Realize that you live in a day and an age,
Where you don't have to stand on the sidelines,
The most powerful weapon you can engage,
Is to raise your voice for the innocents,
Whose land has been turned into a cage,
Freedom shackled in their own homes,
Restrictions, curfews, an outright siege,
Kashmir now hauntingly shares,
Stories of horror, brutality and rage,
The world remains asleep,
Ignoring the atrocities happening backstage,
Raise your voice to wake up the world,
Let them open their eyes and themselves gauge,
Do they want their deafening silence on cruelty,
Be the story they want to leave on history's page?
Tell the slumbering souls of humanity to wake up,
Wake up world and stop this outrage.

By Amna Usman Chaudhry.

If you are unaware of the atrocities happening in Kashmir, please read my previous post here on some recommended international forums where you can find unbiased news regarding the Kashmir issue. Also note my emphasis on a peaceful resolution as soon as possible, because injustice should never be tolerated. Let us raise our voice to wake up the world on the Kashmir issue.


There comes a time when the option to stay silent is not an option anymore. In the ideal world, I would wish for world peace, no war crimes, no hate, peaceful living among all nations, especially Pakistan and India. Unfortunately the world is far from ideal at the moment, and though the intention is well, such a wish at this time might be considered wishful, bordering on naivety. I still stay persistent in my belief that all important matters are solved through rational dialogue, international intervention and not war.

The cruelty on Kashmiri people is something that the whole of humanity must stand up against. If you are unaware of the atrocities happening in Kashmir, please google Kashmir related articles on international forums such as NYTimes, the Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, the Guardian,  Reuters to name but a few. Those are all independent forums. Here is a great article written by Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan for the New York Times: The World Can't Ignore Kashmir. Please also spread awareness.

When you lay awake at night,
Unable to sleep,
It is because your Soul,
Can hear the screams of those innocents,
Whose only fault is they were born,
In a much coveted piece of land,
That looks like heaven,
With tales from hell,
There is not much you can do,
Except raise your voice,
So that Eternity can bear witness,
That though you felt helpless,
At least you tried,
Now is the time,
Let the world know,
What is happening in Kashmir,
Is wrong, a massive human rights violation,
An unforgivable crime.

By Amna Usman Chaudhry.

Let us raise our voices against all forms of injustice, particularly that happening in Kashmir. Let us also keep Kashmir and its people in our prayers.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

If Dubai was a Lady

Dubai is a fast paced, ambitious and relatively young city that despite its geographical constraints has been making waves in the international arena. Who would have thought that a desert city would become one of the top tourist attractions in the world? Dubai has managed to achieve that and in the process bagged many accolades such as having the world's tallest building 'The Burj Khalifa', the world's largest shopping mall 'The Dubai Mall' along with the world's largest indoor theme park, 'The IMG World of Adventures' to name just a few.

Dubai has a unique spirit and energy that captivates the imagination. I feel privileged to call it home for more than five years now Alhamdulilah. Being the poet that I am, Dubai's remarkable persona inspired me to ponder about how I would describe Dubai had it been a lady.

If Dubai was a Lady,
She would stand out from the crowd.
With her traditional features,
Draped in contemporary haute couture.

If Dubai was a Lady,
She would be a gadget girl,
One who loves new technology,
And delights in playing with cutting edge innovation.

If Dubai was a lady,
She would be modern, glamorous and ambitious,
She would have a multifaceted personality,
Colors of the many nationalities that made her.

She would be forever evolving,
Improving and working on herself, 
Aware of her weaknesses, 
Applying technology and knowledge to progress.

If Dubai was a lady,
She would be an enchantress,
Gloriously confident in vibrant attire.
Mesmerizing people with her eclectic ideas.

She would be feminine yet the epitome of strength,
Showing the world just how,
To walk in high heels over sand,
And overcome limitations using determination.

If Dubai was a lady,
She would be a visionary,
Always seeing the bigger picture,
Always thinking out of the box.

If Dubai was a lady,
She would be a symbol of hope,
That regardless of one's background,
Fearless resolve begets success.

Dubai has achieved a lot considering the facts that it is a desert city with no natural resources or oil. It is a beautiful, futuristic and visionary city. I know for a fact that if Dubai was a lady, it would be a lady everyone, including me, would want to be friends with.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Poetry and Social Media

It's been a while since I last blogged. A long, long while. Let's just say life got busy, I got swept away by distractions and leave it to that. I always believed I would get back in to blogging once I had more time at my disposal but ultimately I have come to the realization that as you get older, you get busier and waiting to find the right time may not be the ideal solution. That's the funny thing about time. As you get older, it seems to move faster and faster. Sometimes that's scary and sometimes it's a good thing. The ultimate paradox being that 'Time' is not real to begin with and is instead just an illusion. Go figure.

Although I have not blogged properly in a while, I have been quite active on social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram. My twitter feed had been getting neglected too but I have started to show it some love over the past few days. Social media is convenient, you can just post a few quick thoughts or pictures to convey your message or express yourself, all with the click of a button. I have actually been posting a lot on my Facebook page 'Keeping it Surreal' which you can easily find if you type '@amnamusings' in the Facebook search window. Ditto goes for my Instagram, where you can search my profile using the same name 'AmnaMusings'. I post a lot more stuff on my social media feeds compared to my blog so I appreciate any feedback and especially support because that's how we learn and grow.

Speaking of writing, I have been writing poetry on and off since I was a young girl. I have mentioned before on my blog that I had been hesitant to post my poems because they tend to be very expressive and emotional. I now have come to the conclusion that Art is expressive and emotional, and poetry is an art form. With that decision, I have started to slowly open up and want to share some of the poems I have posted on social media using the pictures in this blog entry.

I used an image from google images, and one that had the watermark of the artist on it 'Sniggle Wiggle' which obviously sounds like a psydonym. I tried to click on the 'go to page' option given next to this google image and came to a random pinterest account, one that clearly had nothing to do with the actual artist. If anyone can track 'Sniggle Wiggle down', please let me know as I'd love to add a link on my blog to give them credit and also so I can check out more of their art. I am sure I would enjoy it, this artist is clearly very talented.

If I don't get the luxury to blog properly (it seems like a luxury for me at the moment), I will make sure to at least update the blog regularly about my social media adventures.

This website is definitely a work in progress but then again aren't we all? As the saying goes, it's better to walk slowly than not at all. Thank you all for your support and may we all grow together in a positive way InshAllah. Amen to that.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pakistan L'Oreal Bridal Week (PLBW 2015) Favourite Looks

Pakistan L'Oreal Paris Bridal Week (PLBW 2015) has been the predominant fashion event making headlines this month. Designers catering to the high demand for exquisite bridal outfits and wedding trousseau by the insatiable fashionistas of Pakistan have not failed to deliver. Fashion enthusiasts were dazzled with a wide array of silhouettes, exquisite varieties of handiwork and embroidery, luxurious cloth materials and copious attention to detail.

22 brands showcased their collections this week, ranging from fashion heavyweights to newcomers launching their first bridal collections. I decided to make a list of few of my favorite pieces from the PLBW that took place in Lahore, Pakistan during the three day period of 16-18 September 2015. I will start with the collection which I think was one of the best of the week. That honor was bagged by Elan which showcased its collection titled 'The Jasmine Court'.

When it comes to wedding wear, I personally prefer bright colors but Elan is such a master when it comes to intricate details and ethereal craftmanship, it is as if everything it touches turns to gold and that is quite the complement.

Elan wanted to create a collection that would be a heirloom since a bridal outfit should be beautiful and timeless enough to pass on to the next generation. I believe it has managed to achieve that goal.

Ali Xeeshan also showcased his collection on Day 1 and titled it 'Tufaan'. There were some misses but some gorgeous pieces as well, which scream royalty and opulence.

Ali Xeeshan is known for drama and adding an element of theater in his shows, and he added it again to this one. The audience was in for a surprise when Mickey and Minnie showed up in traditional outfits during the fashion show. Below is another gorgeous piece by Ali Xeeshan, fit for a princess.

Fahad Hussayn named his collection 'Matam' which I was surprised to hear, since Matam in the Urdu language means mourning. I mused about why a fashion designer would name their bridal collection 'Matam'. It turns out that he was inspired by how intense the act of matam is and so that intensity along with Chinioti craftmenship was the inspiration behind his collection. Two of my favorite looks from Fahad Hussayn's collection are shown below.

Kamiar Rokni is one of my personal favorites and was the best on day 2. I love how the outfits of the House of Kamiar Rokni are so vibrant and colorful and at the same time have such beautiful intricate details. The designs are a beautiful marriage of traditional and modern with unique color combinations and artistic silhouettes. My favorite piece from the collection titled 'Alchemy' is shown below.

Nomi Ansari held to his trademark style of vibrant colors in the clothes he designed for the PLBW collection titled 'Oudh' and was inspired by the boldness of the fragrance itself. It was a stunning collection, colorful like an artists palette and at the same time embellished with intricate detailed embroidery to make heads turn.

Another picture showing more clothes adorned by the models of the Nomi Ansari fashion show is given below. 

A noteworthy mention would be fashion designer Ammara Khan whose collection titled 'Memoirs from a Moonlit Garden' had stunning details and cut-work on it. The colors were a bit dull but the handiwork and craftsmanship was brilliant as can be seen from a close up picture given below.

Overall I would say that PLBW 2015 was indeed a success. In fact it would not be an exaggeration to say that PLBW 2015 has shown that when it comes to fashion and luxury, the Pakistani Bridal fashion market can indeed be amongst the leaders of the world.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fashion Week 2015 Inspiration

September hails the start of Fashion weeks around the globe and also on the national front, with L'Oreal Paris Bridal Week taking place in Lahore, Pakistan from 16-18 September. International trends for Spring/Summer 2016 are making waves at the New York Fashion Week in NYC from 10-17 September. Then there is London Fashion Week from 18-22 September followed by Milan Fashion Week from 23-29 September. The month will end on a high note for fashion with Paris Fashion Week commencing from 30 September and lasting up till 7 October.

Anyone who loves fashion can't help but get caught up in the excitement of fashion that is taking the international arena by storm. I have also been tickled by the fashion muse into blogging about some sophisticated style. However instead of discussing SS 2016 trends, I decided to do a more practical and time appropriate fashion blog. This is a time when there are loads of weddings going on in Pakistan, especially as we approach the cooler months. Hence I decided to do a fun fashion blog about how you can make a glamorous and sophisticated fashion statement at a wedding soiree.

I will start putting the look together with the outfit. The cloth material that is the most popular these past few months has been Organza.  The designer whose outfit I chose is Saira Rizwan. Saira Rizwan is not as well known or established as some of the other Pakistani brands, but her clothes have won her a pretty sturdy fan base. She started initially working for Karma in 2004 then ventured out to start her own brand in 2007. The outfit I chose is shown below, and is from her mid 2015 Bridal Collection titled 'Gul Mohar'.

A picture showcasing the front and back during the fashion show is also given below to get an overall idea of the ensemble. Though there is a fad of wearing embroidered light jackets at wedding functions, I prefer this short shirt with straight pants style in hotter weather. Jacket style is more suited for winters where a layered look is not only fashionable but also practical.

Now for my favorite bit, the accessorizing. I always love accessorizing, for me it is actually more fun than choosing the outfit itself. Let's start from the top. A hair updo would look sophisticated and leave you feeling cooler during these hot summer months. For the earrings, I would choose these very trendy and chic ear cuffs by Amrapali Jewels from Jaipur, India. A well established brand in India, it is also being launched in Pakistan soon. With the hair in a simple, classic up-do, these would be very visible and make a great fashion statement. The picture below was taken from the Instagram page of Amrapali Jewels and shows the earcuffs being modeled on a woman.

Every fashionista has heard about Christian Louboutin. Famous for their trademark red soles and stunning designs, Christian Louboutin shoes have adorned the feet many fashionable women in the world. For this look, however I will choose the Christian Louboutin Lipstick, which have just been launched this very month, September 2015. With three different textures (Velvet Matte, Silky Satin and Sheer Voile) and 38 shades, along with a bullet amulet design which doubles as a necklace, these are as iconic as lipstick gets. For this particular look, I would suggest using Rouge Louboutin in Silky Satin texture.

Since we are talking about Christian Louboutin beauty, I would also suggest using their Rouge Louboutin shade on beautifully manicured hands. The color 'Rouge Louboutin' is a highly pigmented and glossy shade of red.

When it comes to shoes, Manolo Blahnik is another name whose shoes have enchanted fashionistas around the globe. Manolo Blahnik has also forayed into a new department different from shoes, launching his new bag line in end July 2015. Capitalizing his love for ornaments and jewels which is apparent on his shoes, he has created six beautiful classy clutches in satin adorned with shiny embellishments. These are quite similar to some of the most popular Manolo Blahnik shoes, so paired together they would look gorgeous also. For this particular look, I have selected the new deep red Manolo Blahnik Okka clutch pictured nested in the artistic capture below.

Adding this dazzling Ruby and Diamond geometric bracelet by luxury brand Cartier would add the perfect bling factor.

To complete the look, I have chosen red Lilyth stilletos, with its gorgeous red tulle bow, from iconic shoe brand Jimmy Choo's Autumn Winter 2015 collection. The red tulle bow would look really beautiful under the pistachio green straight pants of the outfit.

You now have the complete look. The gorgeous pistachio green outfit in shimmery organza accented with deep red flower embroidery and sequins, along with contrasting red accessories will enable you to make a fashion statement and guarantee you enjoy any wedding reception in sophisticated style.  Just finish it off with the most important accessory of all: A Smile, and you are good to go.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Pakistan Independence Day Fashion Statement

Today marks the 68th birthday of my beloved country Pakistan. Pakistan has come a long way from the day it gained independence on 14th August 1947. It's been a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, but that is a part of an evolutionary route that majority of countries have to partake. The past year has been tough when we look at the certain issues such as the APS Peshawar school attack and the utterly disturbing Kasur scandal. We have also made some leaps forward as can be seen from the expected $40 billion influx of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from China, improved credit rating by Moodys and Standard & Poor showcasing economic improvement, more security after the Zarb-e-Azb Army operation against extremist militant groups and the improved stability in Karachi after the Rangers operation.

One should pray and do their part to ensure that the next year and those more ahead would bring increased prosperity and peace to our nation. Today however, in the spirit of jubilation, we will focus on celebrating all the uniqueness and beautiful qualities that identify with the Pakistani nation, from the stunning landscapes, scrumptious food, generous people, colorful cultures, beautiful handicrafts and more. In order to do so, one must dress the part, making a positive and bold Pakistani fashion statement.

The Pakistani Fashion Industry has evolved beautifully over the past few decades. It is also celebrating the birthday of the nation by putting out independence day inspired pieces. This blog post in particular was inspired to create a bold fashion statement with everything from Pakistani designers and shops, in order to celebrate Pakistan's Independence Day in a fun style.

I have picked some of my favorite pieces and put them together to form a head to toe Independence Day statement attire. Living abroad, I haven't had the luxury to check shops in person so all the pieces featured were picked online. First of all, I would like to start with a nice kurta. I saw Beechtree and Sapphire Lawn both have some good choices for Independence Day kurtas. My pick given below is for this particular Sapphire Lawn Kurta the female model is wearing, which can be paired with simple white straight pants.

Now to accessorize the look with some jewellery. I love how these REMA luxury jewellery, also known as Remaluxe, earcuffs look. They would go perfectly with the Sapphire Kurta.

Earcuffs are statement pieces, and should be adorned with usually little or no other jewellery. If however you are feeling particularly festive, you can add this beautiful emerald and diamond ring designed by high end Pakistani jewellery designer Reama Malik. The picture below was found on the instagram account and is worn by one of the clients of Reama Malik's jewellery.

I like adding this Mahin Hussain funky and patriotic clutch shown below to make a bolder and funky statement.

Lets finish the look with some Farah & Fatima shoes.

This was my take on creating a fun and bold fashion statement on Pakistan's Independence Day. It was just a fun post I felt like doing to bring out the patriotic fashionista in all of us. I wish all my fellow Pakistanis had a lovely and festive Independence Day today. Let's keep Pakistan in our prayers and do our part to make it a brighter and more prosperous country InshAllah. Pakistan Zindabad!