Tuesday, January 31, 2012

True Beauty

There is sometimes such a huge misconception about what true beauty really is. People often forget to look at the inner qualities of a person.  I came across a lovely story some time back which illustrates this point aptly. I do not know the origins of this story. I did not write it, yet I believe it is definitely one that should be shared.

'One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley.

A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect.

There was not a mark or a flaw in it.

Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen.

The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart. Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, "Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine."

The crowd and the young man looked at the old man's heart. It was beating strongly ... but full of scars. It had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in ... but they didn't fit quite right and there were several jagged edges.

In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing. The people starred ... how could he say his heart is more beautiful, they thought?

The young man looked at the old man's heart and saw its state and laughed. "You must be joking," he said. "Compare your heart with mine ... mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears."

"Yes!" said the old man, "Yours is perfect looking ... but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love. I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them ... and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart ... but because the pieces aren't exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared. Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away ... and the other person hasn't returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges ... giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too ... and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting."

"So now do you see what true beauty is?", said the old man.

The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands.

The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man's heart.

It fits but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges.

The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man's heart flowed into his.'

Surreall Jewellery

I love jewellery and accessories. I always have. I inherited this from my mother, who was quite the fashionista back in the day. Everyone who sees old pictures of her has a 'wow' moment. Her style was modern and sophisticated, very decent, and evergreen meaning she continued to style gracefully according to her age. It was only during the last few months of her life in 2010 that she was in so much pain that clothes and accessories did not matter. However I still have fond memories of how she would wear some simple jewellery and take her nice shawl when visiting the hospital.

I am honored that I have inherited a bit of that fashionista gene from mom. I have MashAllah been complimented quite a lot on my taste, even stopped randomly by strangers on many occasions and asked where my clothes or accessories are from. However not as much as my mother, and my brothers along with myself agree that my style is not even half as good as moms. Thankfully though, I appreciate and respect that. Mom is my role model, in every way and also in style. I aspire to one day be such a natural at chic, grace and sophistication as mom was.

What remains now about her style are precious memories, old photographs and some jewellery. Mom's taste in jewellery has always been exquisite. I wore her jewellery on my Nikkah and also on the day of my wedding reception (Rukhsati). Everyone went gaga over the jewellery MashAllah. Some people requested to borrow the jewellery to have it copied, which honestly I am not very comfortable with in case it gets God forbid misplaced or tampered with. Anyway at the end of the day, it goes to show that mom was a fashionista whose classy sense of style has outlived her because it is evergreen.

That said, there are many precious memories of mom, such as how caring she was, how independent and strong she was and how strong her faith in Allah was, being a 5 time namazi since her childhood MA. The reason I brought up the whole jewellery thing is because it inspired me to start 'Surreall Jewellery.' Her sense of style and knowing I have inherited it gave me the courage to start something about what we love, Jewellery.  I believe there are so many fashionistas out there, looking for just the right piece of jewellery. Something that is unique, beautiful, traditional and uniquely reflects a little of that fashionista.

However considering the escalating value of gold nowadays and honestly the fact I did not have so much capital to invest in gold jewellery, I decided to make an investment in silver and imitation jewellery. So that fashionistas can be fashionable without breaking the bank.

Majority of the jewellery is very economically priced. We at Surreall Jewellery believe that each beautiful jewellery piece is destined for a fashionista. We play a little part in fulfilling that destiny by collecting unique jewellery pieces from around the world on a single platform. So it can help reach that special fashionista out there a little bit faster.

We are based in Lahore, Pakistan. However we are taking orders from around the globe, provided small delivery charges are paid.

If interested, we can be reached at the following email address: Surreallist@gmail.com.

If you like a glimpse of what Surreall Jewellery has to offer, please take a look at more details and also like our Facebook Page: Surreall Jewellery.

This is a small history of how and why Surreall Jewellery came in to being. Thanks for reading. God bless.

Dancing to the Symphony of Stars

I believe that dance must be as old a practice as is our human existence. Dancing is an innate ability of us humans. I personally feel that dancing is not just what is portrayed by popular media, but there is so much more beauty and depth to it.

People who feel awkward when dancing should find solace in the fact that they are actually just self conscious of their body image, of what people may think or maybe their soul dances to a different tune to that of other people. In order to understand this better, lets compare dance to art. Art can be of two types, abstract which other people may not understand properly but which is nonetheless the creative expression of an artist. Or it can be highly mastered art, where you can paint portraits with near perfect resemblance to the subject, a painting which everyone can understand and appreciate. This can be compared to the second extreme of dancing, with highly coordinated steps following the beat, which is an amazing and fun way of dancing in itself. However I shall not limit dancing to definitions and explanations. There is SO much more to it than limiting to explaining it using mere words.

The above video contains a beautiful poem by Rumi, with the background of Iranian music. The poem also delves deeper into the multidimensional activity that is dance, treating it as a way to bring us closer to Allah. Although I have tremendous amount of respect for Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi, and love his poetry, the dervish way of dancing shown in the video doesn't appeal much to me. Everyone is different. However Rumi's view and perception of dancing is beautiful, and he has managed to capture the essence of dance in his magnificent poetry.

'I dance to a silent tune. I am the Symphony of the stars.' Rumi.

Life is not straight forward, sometimes we have difficult times and sometimes we get lucky and things get smoother for a while. Dancing is something that accompanies us throughout our life, not just in happy times as portrayed by popular media. Rumi puts it best: 'Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning how to dance in the rain.'

God Bless.

Friday, January 20, 2012

If You Care to Find Me

January has not started with the most upbeat of posts from my end, understandably because I had been mourning my mothers first death anniversary. I now believe its high time to blog about something more optimistic and inspirational. I am going to share a piece from the popular musical 'Wicked', known as 'Defying Gravity.' I haven't seen the musical yet, though I have heard raving reviews. I came across the piece via a friend, and definitely believe it is worth sharing on my blog.

Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules
Of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!
It's time to try
Defying gravity
I think I'll try
Defying gravity
And you can't pull me down.

I'm through accepting limits
‘cause someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try, I'll never know!
Too long I've been afraid of Losing love I guess I've lost
Well, if that's love It comes at much too high a cost!
I'd sooner buy Defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye
I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down.

So if you care to find me
Look to the western sky!
As someone told me lately:
"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who'd ground me
Take a message back from me
Tell them how I am Defying gravity
I'm flying high Defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down.

I love the idea of flying. So much freedom and joy associated with that simple action. I hope you enjoyed the poem like I did. God bless.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nothing Lasts Forever

The eve of the new year represents a dawn of hope, the opportunity of new beginnings, and a feeling of starting anew. Humanity has managed to set measurements on something Quantum Physics has claimed has no beginning and no end i.e. Time, and used it as a relative measure of life passing by. Contrary to previous hour glasses in eras long gone, now the popular measure of time that is celebrated globally is the year passing by.

I used to enjoy these celebrations. Despite some people trying to rain on the whole new year parade by saying Muslims already have had their new year in Muharram or that new years are over rated, I preferred to join in the festive mood. The people of the world united in a global celebration to welcome a new year, a new chance, an opportunity to start afresh.

There is a famous saying: ‘The only thing constant in life is Change.’ Things have definitely changed for me on the whole new year front. I tried to keep positive and cheerful but now the main thing running at the back of my mind is that close to the new year I had lost my mother last year. And from now on the new year would enter in to the month when my mother would have her death anniversary on 12th January.

In a few days my mother’s death anniversary would be coming up. For those who have read my previous posts this month, to say I have been in an upbeat, celebratory mood would be the epitome of sarcasm. The fact that I have somehow caught an annoying flu doesn’t help either. However after days of being sick and depressed, I have decided it is time to wipe off the sadness and prepare myself for the 12th.

Thank God for Rumi. There is something in Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi’s poetry that soothes my soul. I know it played a strong role in helping me heal last year and so I turned to it again.

My elders wisely suggest the best thing for me to do right now is instead of focusing on why my mother was taken so early from me, I should thank God that at least I had the opportunity to be with her while growing up and till last year. Some people sadly do not have the chance to spend time with their mothers at all, losing them God forbid at childbirth or tender ages. It is painful for me to accept, I am human after all but I shall try. After all, nothing lasts forever and God knows the best time and reason to take one from this human existence.

Enjoy below a beautiful poem by Rumi on the same subject 'Nothing Lasts Forever.'

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Kiss from a Rose

She decided to take a walk on the grass in the lawn of her house. It was a cold winter day, and she had her warm coat on. Yet she was still shivering. However somehow she wanted to stay in the garden instead of going back in the empty house. She sat and observed the plants around her. Due to the harsh weather, most of the plants had withered away. Except for a beautiful red rose in full glory, dancing in the gentle breeze as if to get her attention.

The young girl went to marvel the flower from up close. What a vibrant red color it was, and how lovely it smelt. It stood out in the otherwise plain garden.

‘How beautiful you are,’ the girl complimented.

‘Thank you my dear,’ the rose smiled.

The young girl did not appear alarmed. It was the first time she had stumbled upon a talking plant but it just seemed right and meant to be.

‘How does it feel to be a rose?’

‘It feels nice. I like to dance in the wind, and eat the soil. Yet due to the harsh weather, I miss having company,’ the rose replied.

‘Is that why you are talking to me?’ the girl asked.

‘I talk to people all the time. All of us plants do. Few decide to listen to us,’ the rose said.

‘I did not decide to listen or not listen,’ the girl mumbled confused, ‘I just heard.’

‘I am glad you heard,’ the rose said simply, not explaining further.

The girl was hardly 8 years old. Some questions arose in her mind out of curiosity, but she was sad. She dismissed them and went on to talk to the rose.

‘I am lonely too,’ the young girl confessed sadly.

‘Why is that?’ the rose asked.

The girl plopped down on the grass next to the rose, sat cross legged and rested her face in the palms of her hands, pondering sadly.

‘We just moved to a new country, and I do not understand the language the rest of the people speak,’ the girl explained.

‘So what are you going to do about it?’ the rose questioned.

‘My parents have hired a governess who will tutor me the new language so I can join school in a few months,’ the girl replied.

‘Then it is only a matter of a few months,’ the rose reassured, ‘after that you will not be lonely anymore.’

‘I hope so,’ the young girls’ eyes became hopeful, ‘I hope so. The kids I have met so far seem very different from the kids back in my country. But yes I hope soon everything will be back to normal.’

‘Till then we can become friends and cure our loneliness,’ the rose beamed.

The girl cheered up. Every day the girl would go sit in the garden and the rose and she would talk. The rose seemed to understand her completely. They became the best of friends. The season changed, and slowly the rose became old and started withering. The girl tried to help but nature had its course. And as if too soon, the rose quietly died.

The young girl went to sit in the garden and stare at the dead rose. Tears quietly streaming down her cheeks, she realized that she had lost the only true friend who had ever understood her properly. She had never told the rose how important it had been in her life. And now it was simply too late.

Playing with my Imagination

She walked quietly on the surface made up of billions of hard, glittering diamonds. Beautiful, sparkling and sprinkled everywhere like sand on the beach, they glittered beneath the pale sky as far as the eye could see. Barefoot, clad in a loose pure white flowing gown. A lazy breeze naughtily pulled her luxuriously thick and soft long white curls. She was a young slim girl, pale like the pastel background she walked upon. Until you saw her eyes. Beautiful big almond shaped eyes, warm and loving, the color of mahogany brown. Her gaze was usually lowered, lost in her thoughts, wondering how despite the frequency of pain, she still hadn’t gotten used to it.

She looked at the desert of diamonds around her. The diamonds glistened underneath the sun as far as she could see. She lifted her long curly lashes to gaze at the sky. The sun tenderly kissed her on her cheeks. She allowed herself to relish that precious moment. Before closing them again and smiling sadly. It was that time again.

Slowly she turned around. Her eyes sad, she looked at where she had been walking. The diamond desert looked deceptively the same from everywhere. Yet she could always make out her footsteps. Her steps were painted with the trail of bright red blood that was left on the diamonds that cut through her bare feet, demanding her to stop her journey.

She did not want to leave behind evidence of the pain. So after a certain length in the journey had passed, she would stop, turn back to ponder at how her bright red blood brought life and color to the otherwise dull desert. Only then would she allow herself to feel the pain in her blood and let loose her tears.

The universe loved her. It did not like to see her cry. The sun adored her. He could not watch her cry. He tried to console, but then could not bear the sight. He went and hid behind the clouds. Gathering more and more clouds to come in front until he was fully covered and far away.

The clouds had never been to the desert before. They had short lives and the diamond desert was a new thing to them. They looked at the same white glittering background everywhere. Until they see the silhouette of the young slim girl with tears running down her almond shaped eyes quietly. No sobbing, no expression. Just tears flowing on her pale white skin quietly, as if each was an elixir of pain.

The clouds fell in love with the young girl with the long white hair. They wanted to give her company. So they started crying too. They could not cry silently. The sobbed and screamed in anguish, pelting down their tears of rain.

The young girl looked up and smiled sadly at the clouds who were giving their lives away for her. They cried together. Until her tears had run dry and so had the clouds. She sighed and looked at how her passage of blood had been washed clear. The desert was now the same all 360 degrees around her. She turned back to where she was going. She took a deep breath. She took a step, and winced in pain as diamonds again pricked her soft feet, causing fresh blood to flow again and mark her trail. She held back fresh tears, knowing she would eventually get numb with the pain and find time to cry later. When it was time to clear the evidence of pain again. The sun again came to light her way, shining brightly, happy to see she was crying no more. And a new trail of blood started, which too would eventually be washed away by the tears, and no one would ever know because it would all look the same. The only evidence that would remain would be the pain in her heart and the scars on her feet.