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.

 

 

 

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5 Things You Should Never Google

The power of Google search is indispensible in this time and age but is it really safe to search for all your answers online? Not really.

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Google is a gateway to breaching your privacy or even supplying the wrong information; with certain things, this web search platform may not be the best way to find your answers.

1. Don’t Google your symptoms!
Have you ever had a mild fever and cough and Google told you that you might have a nasopharyngeal cancer? Not only is Google a highly unreliable source to diagnose your clinical symptoms but it can also be a major source of stress. Instead, go to your physician the normal way!

2. Don’t give off your location
When you use Google you’re automatically giving it access to your private information including your location. This can be pretty risky and breach your privacy. The best way to deal with it is not to search for things that give a clue to where you’re living.

3. Don’t give off your true identity to Google
As with the location, you shouldn’t be giving Google too much information about your real identity. Making obvious searches that clue into your identity can be dangerous.

4. Don’t Google your insecurities
The internet is notorious in making you feel bad about yourself and asking Google questions about your insecurities will only feed into the issue at hand.

5. Don’t search for shady items
“How to make a bomb at home” might sound like a fun search to do but it’s also pretty suspicious and can land you in serious legal trouble. Steer clear from shady Google searches like these because curiosity killed the cat. Besides you really don’t need to know the recipe of a bomb!

Egg muffins breakfast

High on protein and low on carbs. If you are planning to avoid carbs, then these little beauties willwbe your best friends for a really long time.

They are not only easy to make, they can be simply popped into your freezer and then microwave them for less than a minute to enjoy them later.

Ingredients

  • Pretty much any vegetables that you have in your fridge. I had spring onions, spinach, garlic and tomatoes.

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  • Salami, sausagesor chicken chunks, depdepend on what is available at home. I had turkey salami.
  • 4-5 eggs

Instructions

  • Chop all the vegetables
  • Heat a frying pan and add in a table spoon of olive oil

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  • Add in all the vegetables and sauté for 2-3 minutes
  • In a bowl, beat the eggs with salt and pepper
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  • In a cupcakes baking tray, put in equal amounts of vegetables
  • Add small pieces of salami equally DSC_0007.JPG
  • Pour in egg

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  • Put the baking tray inside a preheated oven at 180C for 15

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  • Enjoy 🙂

Do let me know if you try this recipe.

 

 

DIY Mid Autumn Moon Festival Lantern

Schools these days expect kids to complete projects that are extremely difficult for their age. So, a lot of times, parents end.up.doing those or they hire someone to do it for them.

Last week, my 5 year old.daughter was asked to make a lantern for the Mid Autumn Moon Festival celebrations at her school. As the lanterns started coming in, I noticed the lanterns to be extremely compliand probably too difficult for my 5 year old tpanage even if I helped. Choosing any of those designs would have meant that in fact I would have to do most of the work. That was not something I was willing to do because I wanted my daughter to contribute in a meaningful way in this project.

A search on the internet led me to am extremely simple design which only required paper of different colors, glue stick and scissors. Thats it.

Steps to follow:

  • Take a colored piece of paper, make some design on which woud be easy to cut.

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  • Once done, roll the paper into a cylinder and stick the ends with glue stick.
  • Take another paper, draw parallel lines on it (I drew the lines) leaving a little space on both ends and cut along those lines (my daughter did all.te cutting). We also made holes using a punching machine. My daughter had a lot of fun doing this.

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  • Roll up this piece of paper on the cylinder.

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  • Cut and paste the handle to enable easy holding.

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Actually, I was quite happy with how it turned out and it only took us around half an hour to get it done.

I think I will be making more of these lanterns with the kids, especially for Eid celebrations at home.

Do try these at home with kids and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

So I made a birthday cake…. First time ever

And surprisingly, it was edible!

I have never been a cooking and baking enthusiast. I am a stay at home mom and do all the cooking myself but kitchen is definitely not the place where I feel home.

But last week I decided to make a birthday cake myself. All I have ever done (and also messed up) is bake cakes using boxed cake mixes.

So, of course, I started with watching a million YouTube videos and seeing how complicated the whole procedure was, I decided that it would be best to keep the budget minimal (but realistic), make use of the utensils/tools I have already and buy ready made stuff as much as I can to ensure the process can be simplified as much as possible.

A day before I was supposed to have the cake ready, I decided to drop by a supermarket nearby to get the boxed cake mix. I chose chocolate because I know that chocolate hardly ever goes wrong. However, I was not able to find many other stuff which I required. I then headed off to another shop that I thought would have most of the items I required. I decided against buying expensive tools like Cake rotating stand or the cake leveler. I was just unsure how the cake would turn out and whether I would be making another cake ever in my life. But I did buy ready made fondant and some reddy made gum paste flowers.

That same day I decided to get the cake baked with the help of my kids. That was such a fun activity as the kids got to crack and eggs themselves and they helped me stir all the ingredients together.

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As I didn’t buy a spatula or a new cake pan, I just used the cake pan I already had and poured in the batter with a simple spoon. Thankfully, the cake came out perfectly.

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I left it overnight in the fridge so that I could get down to decorating it the next morning.

So next morning, after dropping off the kids to school, I took out the cake and cut it in half to put in the icing. Meanwhile, I had kept the butter outside so that it would melt. Then I made my first ever icing.

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It was actually simpler to make then I had anticipated. I put it on one layer of cake, put on the other layer and covered the whole cake with the icing.

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Next, was the turn to cover it with fondant. Now as I mentioned earlier, I had store bought fondant, which apparently I only had to roll and put it in the cake.

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I started by dusting off my counter with corn starch and started rolling the fondant.

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It was all white and a little boring and so I added just a few drops of red food color… Which turned it into pink.

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I then rolled on the fondant onto my rolling pin and stuck it onto the cake.  As my cake was not exactly high, it didn’t prove to be as difficult as I expected.

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Now I just needed to stick my decorations to the cake but I realised I didn’t know how to do so. A quick Google search helped me find out the easiest and the most economical way… Just use a little water. The kids were back from school by then and they helped (added on) with the decorations and they were quite proud of it.

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So the cake turned out OK. It didn’t look awesome but hey, it was just my first attempt. I made a few mistakes and I will be sure not to do the same in the future. Of course, next time I will try and bake the cake from scratch as well just to challenge myself a little further.

Neurological disorders explained: Cerebral Palsy

Statistics have shown that about 500,000 children in the US alone are victims of cerebral palsy – a debilitating group of neurological disorders that keeps a child from leading a normal life. The prime manifestations of this disease are impaired muscle movement and motor skills along with secondary disabilities that affect vision, mental health, learning, hearing and speech.

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With such a high prevalence rate of cerebral palsy, it’s important to illustrate the true cause of this disease. Most children with cerebral palsy have undergone some sort of brain damage. This could have occurred during birth or in the first five years of his or her life. Brain trauma is, thus, the main etiological cause of cerebral palsy. Premature babies, lead poisoning, and meningitis are other causes that may result in a case of cerebral palsy.

Without getting into too much detail of the different types of cerebral palsies, it’s more important to know what you can do if your child has been diagnosed with it. It’s important to approach this disease and its outcomes with a strong, open mind since it is a lifelong impairing disease.

Currently no cure for cerebral palsy exists but the symptoms of this disorder can be minimized by the appropriate medication. Children with cerebral palsy commonly require special equipment and therapy to improve their quality of life.

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How To Recognise & Deal With Toxic Friends

The word toxic means “poisonous”, a condition that is particularly used to describe anything that causes a lot of harm & unhappiness over a longer period of time. Similarly, the term toxic friends are used to describe such friends who are not your well-wishers & at points they cripple you from inside hence putting your life on the verge of troubles.

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Here I am going to share some signs that will help you to identify your toxic friends.

How to recognize Toxic Friends?

Have you ever wondered what might be the immediate cause of your failure or a decrease in your self-confidence? Are your friends repeatedly taunting you or making fun of your abilities in front of others?

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If yes, then this is the best time to recognize your toxic friends & deal with them smartly.

  • Think about a situation in your life where your friends have conveyed such criticism to you that made you feel smaller & even embarrassed in front of others. This is the biggest sign of a toxic friend who leaves no room for your praise in crowds.
  • They play with your weak points & disclose your secrets for gaining other people’s sympathies.
  • They are self-centered and bully you repeatedly. This condition can psychologically affect your mental & physical abilities.

How to deal with Toxic friends?

Dealing with toxic friends is not as easy as you might have thought. The key rule here is to never let the negativity of your friend to enter your mind. Take their gossips and criticism lightly as their ruthless nature will never go away. Always try to keep your good news with yourself.

The next step is to find humor in smaller things when you are with your toxic friends. Although it might not be an easy task but you can still laugh at your silly mistakes & crack a joke about it with your friends. This small effort will change your attitude & you will develop the capability of facing the challenges with a good behavior.

“If they do it often, it isn’t a mistake; it’s just their behavior” By Dr.Steve