So yeah… I graduated, and I’m back, baby!

This blog is now back online. After a long hiatus, during which time I com­pleted my under­grad degree, I am back in busi­ness! Also, I have had exceeding requests from friends and family mem­bers that I restart my blog and get back in to writing seri­ously. Truth be told, aca­d­emic writing (papers, essays, exams etc.) took a toll on my muse. I basi­cally stopped writing (for fun) during the last year and a half or so, as my classes became more com­plex and the assign­ments became harder and harder. But! That’s all done now :) I have grad­u­ated with high dis­tinc­tion from University of Toronto, majoring in Sexual Diversity Studies and Social-Cultural Anthropology. I am plan­ning to go back for a Masters soon. But in the mean­time, I will be writing reg­u­larly here.

I graduated!

And now, the gloves are coming off… rather, I should say, I will be writing about some pretty heavy duty topics here that may not be everyone’s cup of oolong tea, if you know what I mean. I’ve been pretty active on other sites, dis­cussing topics having to do with gender roles, sex­u­ality, pol­i­tics, reli­gion, animal rights and other issues. These are the types of things I will be writing here about a lot.

I will also be putting up funny memes, videos and other stuff I want to share and/or keep here for posterity.

If you are fol­lowing this blog, I hope you like what you will see. I would love to read your comments/feedback on any­thing I have posted here.

Oh, and there will be some cos­metic changes coming up. I need to update my blog’s theme to make it respon­sive, and just better. So, watch out for those changes. It’s good to be back. See you around here!

Colours everywhere.

Colour is one of those aspects of life that everyone expe­ri­ences, or at least most humans, and many other ani­mals do, and most of us expe­ri­ence it without much con­scious thought.

I have always had an unusu­ally intense rela­tion­ship with colour. From a very early age, I noticed colours, and talked about them with anyone I could find. I remember the colours of many things and envi­ron­ments that were around me. Sometimes, colours are all I remember about an expe­ri­ence. The colour of the car of my first love; the colour of the wall in my second love’s bed­room. The colour of the dingy carpet in my first apart­ment, before I removed it. The colour of an eccen­tric purple and orange house in a Massachussetts suburb. The colour of tea with milk that would be the per­fect cup of tea to my mother. The colour of my baby’s brother’s favourite stuffed toy fif­teen years ago. I even remember the dark blue tint of my own first pram, which I must have been in between the ages of two and four.

Last year, I joined a web­site called ColourLovers. This addic­tive site allows mem­bers to create palettes of any com­bi­na­tion of up to five shades of colours. There are also mil­lions of seam­less pat­terns, many of them incred­ibly beau­tiful, that mem­bers can use to colour with any palette. There are lots of amazing, tal­ented people on this site, who create these pat­tern tem­plates that others can colour. I have ended up using a few of my coloured-in pat­terns on some of my other sites.

I will be fea­turing some of my work from this site on my blog. All these will be avail­able under the Colours cat­e­gory here.

If you like colour, or have any com­ments or ques­tions, I would love to hear from you! Share your thoughts as a com­ment here. :)


National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women

Today is National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which also com­mem­o­rates the anniver­sary of the Montréal Massacre in 1989. I am hon­oured to have been asked to read one of my poems at the Toronto Candlelight Vigil to mark the anniver­sary of this tragic event.

The fact is that vio­lence against women is an everyday reality for mil­lions of girls and women around the world. There are many kinds of vio­lence. The word “vio­lence” is related to the word “vio­la­tion” — and each time a woman’s right to be a full, self-determining human being is vio­lated because she is a woman, vio­lence against women is com­mitted. From media and adver­tising depic­tions of women as vapid damsels in dis­tress worthy of little more than objec­ti­fi­ca­tion for men’s plea­sure, to domestic abuse, work­place sexual harass­ment, date rape, mar­ital rape, the misogyny of reli­gious fun­da­men­talisms, and sexual assault and gender-based vio­lence, women, girls and trans people are still much more likely to be at the receiving end of vio­lence and vio­la­tion. These prob­lems are usu­ally worse for women who are not white, not from the upper-middle classes, and those of us who straddle mul­tiple social-cultural iden­ti­ties as immi­grants and chil­dren of immi­grants. read more »

Voilà Dhokla!

So, I’ve been exper­i­menting with cooking with new recipes. Here are some photos of a Gujrati Indian snack I made for the second time today. It’s called Dhokla.

If you’ve never tried it before, Dhokla is a spongey cake-like snack but it’s salty and spicy instead of sweet, and while there are mul­tiple ver­sions of it, this par­tic­ular kind is made with Semolina flour, yoghurt and herbs and seeds, all mixed up and steamed together, then sea­soned with mus­tard seeds and sesame seeds. The Chutney in the middle photo is a simple Tomato and Tamarind chutney that I impro­vised, and it came out delish! There’s nothing quite like having this rich, multi-textured Dhokla with a cup of hot Chai! Oooh! Everyone who’s tried this so far (espe­cially yours truly) is HOOKED!

This is all part of my new found love for cooking, some­thing I never got into before, but lately have been exploring more and more. Experimenting in the kitchen is some­thing that seems to run in my family. I only just decided to flex those mus­cles. Along with working out reg­u­larly and trying to eat healthier, I’m also going to be exper­i­menting with and trying out recipes of var­ious cuisines from around the world. One of my other spe­cial­ties is Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp, Broccoli and Mushrooms. Wait for those pic­tures in the next week!

So what have you been cooking/feasting on lately?

Pretty” ~ a poem by Katie Makkai

This spoken word video has been going around the social net­works. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, here it is:

Coke Studio

It is the most amazing thing to come out of Pakistan in recent years, IMO. Here are my favourite songs from this show, pro­duced by Rohail Hyatt:

To see more videos, check out Coke Studio’s YouTube channel, and offi­cial web­site.

Dancing around the world

Came across this sweet little video recently. Check it out for your­self :)

Bicycling in Toronto ~ Lovin’ the ride

Earlier this summer, my partner and I bought these cute, func­tional, folding bikes that have already become our pri­mary mode of trans­porta­tion. I used to bike when I was a wee teenager, growing up in New Jersey, while my partner had never biked before.

So lately, we have been going out biking almost everyday, get­ting used to the rules and routes of the city, it’s a whole other world when you’re on a bike. I noticed that when I first started dri­ving years ago too — your per­spec­tive of the space you inhabit changes based on your mode of trans­porta­tion — sub­ways make me con­sider the under­ground routes to get from one part of the city to another, cars make me con­sider the high­ways, the one-way streets, the alter­na­tive smaller streets I can take to avoid heavy traffic. And now, biking is teaching me to notice even more things like where the ramps are, where the road is most uneven, where there are long blocks versus short blocks, and where the road is on an incline and where it’s on a decline, where cars tend to cluster and where there are bike lanes in the city.

I love noticing this shift in per­spec­tive, and I would encourage everyone to try dif­ferent modes of trans­porta­tion in what­ever area you’re in, to get an idea of the per­spec­tive shift — try walking around for a week instead of dri­ving to wher­ever you nor­mally go in your neigh­bor­hood. Or take the train or the bus, instead of dri­ving to a dis­tant des­ti­na­tion. Most of us are so hooked on cars and high­ways and parking lots, that we rarely just walk, or bike any­where. I urge you to try it some­time, espe­cially if you live in a part of the planet where it’s the later half of the summer season now. Just go, go out, and walk, or bike if you can get a bicycle (hint: they’re also a lot cheaper than cars!). You’ll love it!

On a related note, check out this site to see how Toronto is becoming more and more bike-friendly.

Tragedy in Pakistan

My heart goes out to the fam­i­lies and loved ones of the vic­tims of the Margalla Hills plane crash in Pakistan. It’s always a tragedy when some­thing like this hap­pens, but I’m sure that’s no relief to those who lost someone they love among the 152 who died in this tragic inci­dent. May they rest in peace, and may their loved ones find the strength they need to sur­vive this awful event.

The Burqa/Niqab ban controversy

This was written as part of a response to Martha Nussbaum’s opinion piece found here:

I’d like to share my per­sonal view on the burqa (face mask) con­tro­versy. My views are not based on the black-and-white, binary, false dichotomy pre­sented too often by both sup­porters of the face-mask ban and those who wish to defend the garb.

read more »