See That Mountain?….

‘See that mountain?’ My husband asked while leading me out to the rustic balcony of our room in Kintamani, Bali.

‘It’s beautiful!’ I exclaimed.

‘We’re climbing it in the morning,’ his voice was calm.

Climbing a mountain?! Ghostly clouds crept around its summit as I watched from miles away. At first, I thought he was joking but there was something serious yet serene about his face that said otherwise. We had attempted to climb Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka once and had to turn back from the halfway point. And now, here we were, in the middle of a ‘relaxing’ holiday, attempting to climb another mountain? The past few days prior to that day, we had been eating our way through Bangkok and other parts of Bali. I’d put on weight from all the experimenting and lack of gym workouts. How was I going to climb a mountain; that too at ridiculous-o’clock-in-the-morning?

But it was booked. Too late to moan or back out. Assuming we would simply walk around the base of it, I put my reservations aside and helped Irfan light candles on the balcony. We set up our scrabble match and cameras, ready to play and watch the sunset put on a show…

I’d deal with the mountain in the morning.

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See That Mountain 2

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Images: Mount Batur, Kintimani, Bali © Rabia Bashir & Irfan Siddiqui June 2013

Standing in Dad’s Shoes

Background: I love to cook and have started a small catering business here in Riyadh.  During the month of May 2013 I took over the restaurant in the compound I live in – to offer Curry Nights once a week.  This is what I wrote (and later told my Dad over Skype) after I hobbled home and fell onto my bed:

I stood in my dad’s shoes for a mere 9 hours today…something he’s been doing for longer than I’ve been alive.  My throbbing feet force my mind back to my childhood when he would finish a stint at the restaurant in the early hours then get up to take us shopping for Eid clothes.  I always wanted matching jewellery with my outfit and back in those days, Asian fashion shops were scarce.  So my dad took us out for hours – hunting for new clothes (and my matching accessories).  As  I would insist on finding the right shade of bangles, I don’t remember him ever complaining – not about him being tired and not about him spending his hard earned money.  His feet must have throbbed from the night before, or at least felt heavy with the anticipation of doing it all over again after our shopping trip.

It’s amazing how parents have the capacity to put their needs and wants aside to make their children happy.  I’m truly blessed to have such parents.

-Rabia Bashir

It’s My Hijab – It’s My Choice

I recently began practicing hijab (wearing a headscarf, dressing and behaving more modestly).

Women wear the hijab for many different reasons: to show devotion to Allah (swt – the exhalted), to be identifiable as a Muslim, to make a fashion statement, to hide their hair/skin problem, to keep others happy, to show obedience to their husband/parents/government, to fit in with their friends/family/culture/community, or to …… (the list can go on). Continue reading “It’s My Hijab – It’s My Choice”