Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lunch Hour Ravings of a Frustrated Mind :/

This is a warning issued to all young women out there. It is also one warning that I'm sure you've heard a million friggin' times over and over again, and yet have never paid any attention to. I don't expect any change this time over either.


There, that's done with. That's all the advice/warning I have for you.

However, if you want to know why I had this sudden strong urge to share that age-old bit of caution, you're welcome to read on.

The world, as it goes on, does not adapt to your way of living. Rather, it moulds you into unthinkable forms to suit itself. You need to make a claim on your life, to work and toil to shape it as you want it to be. A happy life rarely presents itself on a silver platter.

I personally feel that a life which is complete and gratifying is a life with a harmonious balance between all the contributing factors. Independence, freedom, career, love, ambition, family. Too much, or too little of any, and contentment will be swift to avoid you.

Of course, at the time when you do make the decision to dedicate a whole lot of time, time you'll never be able to reclaim,  to one factor, you yourself may feel it to be a decision well-justified. It's only when things go wrong that you spare time to reflect.

However, as pessimistic as I am, I do hold this perhaps naive belief that it is seldom too late for a fresh start.

As you live on, time gives you new burdens to carry upon your back. Experience, on the other hand, guides you through the wisest ways of reaching your goals regardless of life's burdens and other barriers crossed in your path.

If you are unhappy with the path your life is taking, stop now. Think of where you are, where you want to be, and how best to get there. To hell with societal norms and what not. If you need to, then break-free from those monotonous daily rituals. Stop existing and start living. Be who you want to be. Do what you have to to have your ideal life.

For me, the arrow points in the direction of education. Coming from an average family, being married and expecting a child, having a rather unstable job makes the prospect of further education rather daunting. Yet so be it. As much work experience as I may have, it's all rather useless in the job market without a piece of paper which certifies that I have certain academic, professional qualifications.

I'm looking forward to leaving behind whatever unnecessary weight I carry in my mind, and focusing on reaching where I want to be.

After all, obtaining the less attainable is a challenge, and you know me, I never could resist one :)

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Biggest Annular Solar Eclipse of the Millenium, and I'll miss it :/

This sucks.

On New Year's Eve, we had the opportunity to see a lunar eclipse and the second full moon of a calendar month, otherwise known as a 'blue moon'. I missed it.

On the 15th of January, we shall see the millenium's longest-lasting annular solar eclipse. As per the article (http://www.sciencemaldives.org/2009/12/ten-minutes-of-perspective) on the Maldives Science Society site, the Maldives is the best location to watch the eclipse as it will be visible for close to 11 minutes! Furthermore, they say this sight will be a feast for the eyes. Apparently if we are to choose to see just one eclipse within our lifetime, we wouldn't regret making this the one! And yes, I'll miss this too.

What can be more heartbreaking than to be in the right place, at the right time in two consecutive eclipses and yet have to miss out on the wonders, especially when it has to be so due to the beliefs of other people, none of which I myself share?

I am neither superstitious nor highly religious. And yet, the sole reason that I am not to see either of the eclipses is that there is a belief that when a pregnant woman sees the eclipse, it somehow results in the baby having some form of deformity. 

Whenever there is an eclipse, I have to remain indoors upon the insistence of family (mine and my in-laws), who I respect, though I cannot disagree more with these customs and beliefs.

And that's not all. It doesn't just end with me staying cooped up at home. I have to lie down straight on the bed and not move a muscle. I have to refrain from touching any objects (especially knives, glass and other sharp-edged objects) or speaking or eating or drinking. At all costs, I should avoid mirrors. And the list goes on.

I did put up with it once, and stayed home on New Year's Eve. Admittedly, the fact that there was nothing much going on in Male' that night was of immense help! I have to confess though that I couldn't be all-abiding. I ended up curled up in bed reading a good book.

But what about the mid-January eclipse? Am I going to give that up too to pacify someone else?

I haven't decided yet, but I probably will. Although I feel the superstitions are doubtlessly stupid, I don't think it's worth insulting my mom and my husband's family by openly rejecting them.

Sigh. As I said, this sucks.

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 Reflections

Here we are, at the end of a decade and the beginning of a new one. How many of us were tempted to take one more look back as we crossed the threshold into 2010? How many of us were taking our most eager step forward of this ending year? And then again, how many of us were as indifferent as a person could possibly be?

Like any year, 2009 came with a myriad of unexpected surprises, not all of them good.

Let's take on me and my life first. 2009 has, personally, been a year of positive change for me. Started out as a single woman and ended up being married and well into the second trimester of my first pregnancy ;) Now you guess just how interesting my year would have been. I've been building my career in an, if not new, extremely challenging area. I do feel I could have achieved more in this field, but I do appreciate that I did well in overcoming a web of hurdles and challenges thrown my way. I won't bore you with more stuff about me.

Next priority is my country. It's been a year of constant changes, not all of which I support. The elected president has definitely lived up to some aspects of his campaign promises, but his unquestioning lending of power to less democratic, less civilized parties have often had me, and others, pondering if we had really voted wisely enough.

Hopes to see a more developed Maldives with better and more accepting attitudes towards modern living and equal rights/opportunities regardless of gender, social status and other factors have been rather dampened within the year 2009. Instead, what we witnessed was certain bodies working to spread exactly the opposite ideas. Women were being more openly oppressed and less empowered. It didn't help that the voices which few, if any, people used to listen to was now given open authority in the form of a separate Ministry.

As these bodies worked to spread more fundamentalist ideas within the country, we saw more and more people questioning the ideologies that were being brought out in a consistent stream regardless of any criticism in the media or more commonly, in personal blogs, etc. The country became a nest of hypocritical statements and claims which, if investigated, would prove to have no roots.

We are seeing a Maldives with an alarmingly low tolerance level for freedom of expression. We are seeing a country move not forward, but making a slow retreat into less developed beliefs. I shall not say anymore.

Over all, this wasn't the best possible year. A year not completely wasted, but somehow spent focusing more on trivialities.

The beginning of this ending decade, back on New Year's Eve 2000, I witnessed a Maldives full of energetic people gathered together to mark the beginning of new opportunities, ready to take on new challenges. Ten years into the future, where are those people?

Maldives is no longer what it was then. Exactly a year ago, the newly established Ministry of Islamic Affairs declared that New Year's Eve was not a day for celebrating, but rather a day for repenting. A huge number of pre-authorized, pre-planned events were cancelled, or forcibly closed down by authorities. This may have contributed to the lack of events this year. Apart from small private celebrations held by individual groups, I gathered that the only event in Male' was a countdown show at Olympus.Certainly not exciting enough when it's not just a new year, but a new decade that we are stepping into.

My sincere wish is 2010 brings development to our country, a better state of mind for Anni (I've had it with being vague: the year could have been so much better if Anni hadn't let Adhaalath eat into his brain! I appreciate everything else you've done, Mr.President, but that makes me rethink about voting for you/MDP again) and fresh starts for Maldives and for all of us :)