Have you ever wondered what would happen if we suddenly lost the moon?

Sometimes, I just want to sit outside and look at the moon.

It’s mesmerising.

The moon is a vision at night – there’s no doubt about it.

But have you ever thought that there is more to it than just providing romantic views at night?

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My 6 year old was curious enough to ask and I thought to myself that I did read something about it in school but my mommy brain could not remember!

And so I started reading and remembered that the moon controls the tides of the ocean. There’s more to the moon than just that though and the haunting effects of losing it can only be fully appreciated if we dig deeper into what the moon does for planet Earth.

And then that little monster came up with another question?

What if the moon suddenly blew up?

This time i was well prepared. So I told her that the tides would go low and the oceans would become calm. While this might apparently seem like a benefit, it will drastically affect the mobility and transportation of aquatic life. This would lead to the inevitable extinction of thousands of underwater species.

But that’s not all! If the moon no longer stayed with us we’d become much less stable. The Earth-Moon mass system keeps the Earth stabilized in its orbit. Without the moon we’d lose this balance – the Earth would wobble more and the changing seasons will be thrown into turmoil.

We’re not done yet. Let’s not forget the craters on the moon – where did they come from, you ask? These craters result from the meteorites that directly hit the moon, protecting the Earth; without it, these meteorites would shower on our planet destroying life and becoming a frightening natural disaster.

So, the next time you gaze at the full moon with awe, remember that there’s more to it than just its striking beauty.

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Who’s your City?

 

Quite a few people have asked me this question in the last year, ‘what is your home town?’ or `which city do you come from?’. An innocent enough question, very simple and obvious when you meet a new person, but not for me, I could find no easy answer to this seemingly straightforward query. Should I say Abu Dhabi, the beautiful island city where I grew up and lived in the longest, who’s geography is still etched clearly in my mind but whom I left a long time ago. Or should I say Multan, which is my city by paternal rights, the city which I can never get tired of, the city I got married in and remains my husband’s home city, but I have never lived in it for too long. Should it be Sargodha, a city I have never really liked but still holds a year’s worth of precious memories for me one of which is it being the birth place of my firstborn. Should it be Lahore, the city in which I was born and in which I gave birth to my daughter and in which my parents currently reside, a city worth its name but unbelievably crowded, a city which is mine and who’s alleys I have walked and walked until my shoes became worn and yet once again I have never really resided in it for long. Or should I say Kamra. Kamra is not even a city, just a collection of ugly commercial plazas on the either side of the incredibly long Grand Trunk road almost half way between Rawalpindi and Peshawar, with a strange Dove shaped gate somewhere between the noise and the bazaar, from which one can take a road towards the city of Attock, formerly known as Cambellpur, and along this road now closed off from the general public are a collection of gates. Each of these gates leads into either a small town like colony of its own or an aircraft factory, several of which along with an Air Base make up an aeronautical complex. This was my home for thirteen or so years, from when I was no longer a carefree innocent girl and yet had still not been really exposed to the world at large, because Kamra was not really a city it was a world of its own. In between there is Sahiwal which was formerly known as Montgomery, my maternal grandparents lived here and it remains my most favorite city ever, home to one of the most beautiful houses ever, a house that still holds my best childhood memories and quite a few after I had grown up, it was a place for refuge for a little more than half a year after a sudden move from the UAE to Pakistan. Or should I say Ahmedabad, not strictly a city but the home of my grandfather and many generations of Majoka’s before him, the place where blood takes us every time, the once tiny village on the banks of the River Jehlum, it has kept changing its locations over the years with the flow and ebb of the river and whatever the weather brings with it. Situated  some twenty miles west of Khushab, in this village is our farmhouse and has been our home for quite a few odd months and a holiday home for the last eighteen years,  as well as my father’s retreat from where he runs his farms.  Or Toronto, where I have lived sporadically in bits and pieces and where I find myself once again, a city that holds my own youthful memories and is slowly becoming memorable for my own children.

So where does a body belong to? What actually is a hometown anyway? Is it a town, a city, a collection of houses and roads or just a place in which your heart or body resided for a while so when you move away it is carried in that heart and body forever? Do I have a single hometown or am I destined to find a new one in every phase of my life, but which one should I really refer to as my hometown, my city, the one I have lived in the longest or the one that lives in my heart the most; or all of them. So I just say the name of the city which comes up the quickest on my tongue, people around me still don’t know for sure where exactly I come from but then I myself am not sure which is my city, or rather which is not my city.

 

 

 

On Writing, and Writers Block

Sometimes it comes to me as flowing wind, not too fast, gentle but forceful, naturally, fluently pouring out of my fingers on to the keypad or into a paper. And sometimes it just stalls, behind a frosted glass window; I can glimpse it but not actually see it, it leaves me entranced and at the same time frustrated. Just like the frosted glass door in my high school. My class was upstairs and one day a few months after joining I exited the principal’s office (some mischievous errand I am sure) and about to climb the stairs when suddenly my eyes beheld a strange thing in the otherwise squalid and ugly building, a thing of absolute perfect beauty enhanced by the drab surroundings. It was a silver framed door of frosted glass, and since the sun shone extremely bright in the desert island city I lived in, it was lit up bright, a glimmering silver light filtered through giving the dusty innards of the building a cool luminosity. Outlined in the bright frame was a single branch of bougainvillea, dark green and bright red, at once visible and not clear. I stood transfixed staring at this improbable beauty, it was like a beautiful dream which overshadows your mind even after awakening, but you can never quite completely figure out what it exactly was and wonder about it for days. Its sweet aftertaste lingers on but clarity is forever eluded. I stood transfixed unable to digest what this was, was it a sign from up above that there is escape yet from this dreary world or was it just a distraction, was it a door into the occult; there I stood until the jarring sound of a banging door in the corridor brought me back to the drudgery of the world coming back to life around me. But a nagging doubt often came to me sitting in class, walking to the library, back home in bed what was that, why didn’t I touch the door or try and open it, was there even a real plant there outside, why couldn’t I see what was it exactly on the other side. That is often my situation, the frosted glass intrigues me but at the same time haunts me, I cannot manage to open the door. The worst times however are when a dark shadow falls across the door, no light shines through and I feel claustrophobic, walled into grey corridors lit up by lurid white tube lights, no fresh air comes through. So it is that I pray for all my friends who write, my the door always be there, may you be able to open it at the right time and may the light always shine through.

Girl Crush of the month: Hania Amir

In recent times, new faces have popped up in the Pakistani media industry. Naturally, the millennials are now taking the spotlight. While big names like Mahira Khan, Imaan Ali and Shaan are still relevant and will be for a while, I anticipate a lot of the new comers’ time in the limelight will be short-lived.

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Enter Hania Aamir. This young woman of only twenty years of age has quickly rose to fame not only because of her adorable dimples but her incredible debut performance in the blockbuster Pakistani film, Janaan.

Being one of the younger A-list celebrities, Hania also knows her way around social media quite well and has a large fan base on Instagram that constantly keeps her relevant. I, personally, find at least two or three pictures of her on my Explore newsfeed even though I haven’t even followed her!
There’s just something about Hania that makes her special and is my Girl Crush for the month of December. The girl always seems so full of energy and vibrancy. She’s always on her feet and is now in the process of shooting an upcoming film Parwaaz Hay Junoon in which she is set to star besides big names like Hamza Ali Abbas and Kubra Khan.

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Fun fact: for those who have been avidly following Hania even before her inception as an actress (even before her small role in the Sunsilk commercial!) know that she was popular on ask.fm and had a large following¬ based entirely on her witty answers – what an all-rounder!

Singapore – From my eyes II

In the past 5 decades, Singapore has come really far. From a small island expelled from Malaysia in 1965, giving it an unwanted independence, it has become one of the world’s most successful countries in merely 52 years. If you sit and chat with the elderly, they will tell you about slums they used to live in during the earlier years of independence. Today, Singapore has the highest home ownership in the world. Almost 90% of all Singaporeans live in their own homes. A huge success on its own. It has grown from a third world country to a first world country faster than any other in the world.

Tourism is one important factor in the massive economic growth of Singapore. So a country a lot of people did not even know about in the 90s is now one of the favourite tourist spots in the world. It welcomes the fourth largest number of tourists when compared to any other city in the world. Although it has no ‘rich’ history or heritage to boast about as its a new country with no mountains, no desserts and no changing weathers through out the year, nearly every thing had to be built from scratch to attract tourists.

So if you are planning a short trip to a city in Asia, do consider Singapore.

I will be doing a series of posts with a few recommendations of must see/visit places and things to do while here in Singapore, starting with Sentosa.

Why?

Because its Sentosa 🙂

I don’t think anyone who visits Singapore leaves out Sentosa. It’s a must!

The itinerary I’m sharing with you will need to 2-3 days. You can stay at one of the hotels at Sentosa for the best experience.

You can reach sentosa in a cable car and start by paying a visit to the mythical 37 meters high majestic Merlion and see for yourself how it safeguards the shores of Singapore as the legend goes.

Then move onto the luge. They claim no one does it once and they are not wrong. We go to sentosa almost every month and we buy a 3-time ticket per visit. Its just a lot of fun.

You can then visit IFly and experience skydiving in a especially designed air tunnel while never really jumping out of an air plane. If you acrophobic like me, this is for you as you would never actually be flying too high up from the ground. 

If you are still not tired and adventurous enough, you can zip across South East Asia’s steepest zip wire, do a treetop obstacle rope course, do wall climbing or a 15 m free fall. And then you can end the day with the majestic light, laser and water show ‘Wings of Time’.

If you are travelling with kids, let the kids spend the day at Kidzania while you can have a snooze at one of the beaches or experience flow boarding at the Wave House. If that’s not enough, there is also The Butterfly and Insect Kingdom to explore the various different kinds of beautiful butterflies. And dont forget to drop by Madame Tussaud to meet your favourite celebrities. 

*The pictures are not mine, all taken from official websites of the respective attractions.

But life goes on…

Written by Kanza Naseem

Death is hard. We have lived to see people in pain, and watched them deteriorate into nothing. In the end all we are left with are memories, like deep cuts in our skin which scar so horribly, every time they are touched they bleed, seems as though the cut becomes deeper, similar to how we fall so far deep, in to water. The fear of it all takes over. Suddenly you can’t seem to breathe, somewhere, somehow we are supposed to learn that its just life, and this is the way it works. We never do, there is no time, ‘bury heads in sand, but our future’s in our hands, it means nothing, if I haven’t got you’.

A persons touch can leave you breathless. Every aching moment when they pass away makes no sense. For a while you just want everything to stop. You want to stop zhurting and feeling pain, just until everything is over, so you don’t have to deal with it. It’s natural. ‘That’s enough for now’

Everybody moves on, it be too soon for some. We like to hold on, clutch onto hope, so tightly, that we forget what people meant to others. We went slowly we took it easy, we stood still. Somehow we forget that others didn’t, they did not stop, and wait for emotion. They persevered, their grief is over, ours has just begun. We mourn what we have lost, on our own, sometimes its better this way, no body understands now. Grief meant their problems have disappeared (not), they let go to soon, we were not ready. Now we are. ‘And I’ve been knocking but no one answers
And I’ve been knocking most all the day.’

Time is a healer, we are supposed to understand, not forget. We never do, its easier to forget to get caught up, with other things, to bury ourselves with work, tasks things to accomplish, goals, a light to chase. Its all fear of some sort, how can we understand it? For it takes over everything, its seeps in to every empty crack, there is no balance, no way, or one to stop it. In summer we plant our seeds and hope to watch them prosper in to something beautiful, a sweet pear, and oozing ‘tamato’ 😉 a flower, we are consumed in their beauty. We forget come autumn they will fall, and disappear, in to the winds they blow, where they end up nobody knows, everything is meant to fade. ‘He must have been a gardener that cared a lot. Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop, Now we pray for rain, and with every drop that falls. We hear, we hear your name’ ♥ We are blinded by lights, which make things look easy. Feelings are not. They take over. They don’t make sense they make things difficult.

This is reality, it’s your grief, and it’s allowed; this is your life. It hurts and sometimes it’s supposed to, it bruises but somehow you have to feel it, you have to deal with it, fear is uncontrollable, but it always will be. Use your pain to come out the other side stronger and always remember someone’s watching over you.

Singapore – From my eyes I

Those who know me personally, know quite well that I love and respect Singapore a lot. Although I am not a citizen myself, I find myself defending Singapore every where I go and with every one I speak to.

I first visited Singapore in 1995 as a tourist and while travelling back from Singapore I made a little innocent wish of being able to visit Singapore again. I never knew that I will get married to someone 4 years later who lives in here. I moved here in 2009 after I got married and 8 years later, its become home now. Yes, I love pakistan but I respect singapore deeply.

In this post I will only speak about cultural and religious freedom that I have here.

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Singapore is a multi cultural country with people of all religions living with harmony. It’s main languages are English, Chinese, Malay Bhasa and Tamil and the citizens comprise mainly  of Chinese, Malay and Indian origin. The main religions here are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism and there people from all religions are allowed to practice their own religion in their own way as long as they do not interfere in any one else’s practices.

I have spent a chunk of my childhood in UAE and some time in UK for my studies. Although I have never really faced serious bullying in my life directed particularly towards me but I have been called ‘Bloody Paki’ and treated as an inferior muslim for being a pakistani Muslim rather than being an Arab. But a lot of people might be unaware but I’m protected by law in Singapore against such discriminations. No one can call me names due to the way I look (the color of my eyes, my hair or my height can’t be commented upon), I can roam around in shalwar kameez the whole day without being worried about someone being judgemental,  I can sue someone if their dog touches me (yes, this muslim sensitivity against dogs is highly regarded), halal food is readily available and I can even pray publicly in a park without being stared at. Also, the Muslim laws of marriage and inheritance are being looked upon by the Sharia courts of law.

And the best thing about living in Singapore is that we have lots of public holidays too: 2 each for each of the 4 main religions which also ensures that we do not have to worry about going to work on Eid day 🙂

* the beautiful picture of Sultan Masjid is not mine but taken off the Internet. Sultan Masjid might be the most famous masjid of Singapore as it’s a popular tourist destination but there are lots an lots of masjids and some of them very beautiful and majestic in terms of their architecture. The Islamic schools (medrasaa) are in abundance too masha Allah.