Saturday, 18 March 2017

Blood Is Red


It's been 69 years since Israel began their brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestine, and the world still doesn't blink an eyelid

Over the course of these years, massacres upon massacres occured, generations of children were left without the opportunity of education and the apartheid has heightened to a point where it has made us desensitised to the disaster.

It is when someone defends Israel that I begin to doubt whether humanity exists. Anti-zionist does not equate to anti-Semitic. Zionists and Jews have, in fact, no connection. How can anyone defend an army that invaded another country, forcefully stripped the citizens of their land, built an Apartheid Wall, and left them penniless and many lifeless.

To show our solidarity with Palestine, TTE decided to wear the Palestinian colours, green, red, white and black, for Israeli Apartheid Week.

The abaya is a simple and convenient outfit. It is paired with a patterned Hanayan hijab. The white pumps are a popular choice for simple occasions, and are from MRP. I simply love the back of them and they totally suited this setting.

To sign off, let us remember Palestine in our prayers and as South Africans remember that our freedom is not complete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

Au Revoir
Sumayya

Photography: Mahnoor Ganatra
Editing: Fathima Essack





Saturday, 4 March 2017

The Bookshelf: Nervous Conditions


Set in Zimbabwe, this book transports the reader into an unfair, sexist world where men are entitled to everything whereas women are not even given the right to ask for such 'priveleges.'

Tambu is a girl that yearns to be educated in a time and place where education for females is considered a waste of time. She speaks about the unfairness of her brother being allowed to be educated when she cannot be, even though she volunteers to work and pay for it herself. A woman, she realises, is nothing more than a possession, and she strives to be as independent as her aunt and cousins who are products of a missionary school. She believes that their Western mindset will free her from the shackles of her oppressive society


The quotes that particularly stood out for me were, "(He made) her a victim of femaleness. The victimisation, I saw, was universal. It didn't depend on poverty, or lack of education, or tradition. Men took it everywhere with them." and "What I didn't like was the way all the conflicts came back to this question of femaleness. Femaleness as opposed and inferior to maleness."

From this we see that Tambu realises that female victimisation is a universal truth. No matter which country you are in or what cultural background you are of, a female is made to feel inferior.


While I am, personally, not a feminist in all regards, because I don't believe a woman should be given equal rights and responsibilities to men, I do notice this recurring victimisation and am, quite obviously, opposed to it.

Although the book is a tale of a girl brought up in a time where every man has a superiority complex and the majority of females are deprived of their rights, as well as having a family that believes that this system is correct, I can somewhat relate to the inner meanings of this book.

Coming from a place where female education is considered unimportant and males are told to acquire an education, as well as many other rights such as "A woman shouldn't be morw educated than her husband" are acceptable, I have seen what it means to have females become subdued people with a lack of personality or interest. I am, by no means, a huge fan of education, due to religious implications, yet I cannot stand to hear, "Girls must stay at home, boys need an education" I believe that if there is harm in education for girls, there is an equal amount of harm for males, and by telling me that boys 'are hormonal and we expect this of them' you aren't going to justify your idealogies, simply because their hormones require a female. A male is by no means superior to a female when it comes to what is right and wrong, and equality on this basis is something I would fight for regardless of what others think.

As the story progresses, we notice that although Tambu shifts from a very rural to more and more urban, modern environments, she is still exposed to the same level of victimisation, just on different scales. This speaks millions with regards to feminism across the globe. Though the Asian or African continent may be considered oppressive in their mindset towards females, first world countries experience these problems too. No one is left out of the female=inferior equation.

Other than the deep and riveting message behind the story, I feel as if it was rather badly executed and conveyed.

If you're looking for a monotonus, long winded and extremely boring book, Nervous Conditions is perfect for you. Yes, the plot could potentially be a great one, but the lack of action and development, albeit Tambu's achievements, throughout the story makes it a book that could very easily be put down.

The writer tends to stretch an event in order to describe to you the intricate details of it, and therefore ends up over describing as well as over emphasising on the situation. What could have been condensed into a page is instead spread over an approximately ten page chapter. The sentences too, are rather long, and if you had to read it out loud, would require many pauses where there isn't punctuation for it.

All in all, it could have been a #storyoftheyear if we had looked at the plot alone, but from an overall perspective, it isn't a grand book and not one I'd recommend others to read

Au Revoir
Sumayya


Sunday, 5 February 2017

Carousel







Growing up.

It's one of those things that we as children strived for, yet resent now that we've tasted it. When you ask a little child what they want to become, they respond with all sorts of ambitious and ridiculous answers, like a rich man, a supermodel, and the adorable, "I want to be a daddy!" Ask a teenager the same question and you'll be surprised by the casual shrug of their shoulders or a rather plain response.

As we grow up, we lose our ability to dream, to explore, to seek adventure and to solve mysteries. Instead, we take life itself to be a mystery that we cannot solve. We lose the light that used to one spur us on as children and replace it with the dark, gloomy reality.

I contemplated all of this as I stressed over my subject choices that loom before me in August.

When I was little, I used to believe that I would be a bestselling author by eleven. I'd written so many books that I thought were worthy of being on the shelf, and believe me I was actually prepared to send them to a publisher had my parents not been sensible, that I would never have dreamed of being where I am today. I no longer aspire to be an author, let alone pen a short story. Reality finally struck and I realised that I had to choose sensible, "gateway" subjects so that later on I could study anything I liked.

Still, I hated accounting. I hated it with a passion. I still do. I was going to take it though, because "The Bollywood Set" was meant for Indians, and I was one. I had to do it. I knew that I could fall back on accounting if my dreams failed. Yet the niggling question at the back of my mind was "Why can't I take history if I like it?"

The answer was quite simple - history just won't get you anywhere in life.

Only quite recently did I contemplate thoroughly what I was doing to myself. I was becoming just another puppet of the Indian Dream - a doctor, lawyer or accountant that can manage to handle her six children, demanding husband, house work and annoying mother in law. Okay, I didn't even make half the cut but I knew that I would one day, if I continued the way I was; living up to the perfect Gujurati girl role. Those long nights awake and daydreaming in class are what set me right in terms of my priorities. My priority was my dream. And my dream could become a reality.

I wanted to be an entrepreneur with a successful firm and many successful social entrepreneurship initiatives. I wanted to be one of the greatest helpers to mankind and uplift humanity. I wanted to make my mark in the world by making a mark on the hearts of people. I wanted to be what Millionaire Mentor describes as odd - Number One.

Yet tell an adult that one day you hope to own a McClaren, have as many homes operating as Oprah Winfrey does, and be a success story - because you want to work for it and not have it handed to you on the plate - they'll laugh in your face.

Sure, it is difficult to actually achieve these ambitious goals, but it is far from impossible. Whenever someone says that you want to be Bill Gates, in a sarcastic tone of course, tell them that if Bill Gates could do it, so could you.


The difference between success and mediocrity is that those who succeed dared to dream beyond the barriers that society creates.

Your dreams are yours to own. Don't follow your dreams, chase them. Don't lose your childhood belief that anything is possible, because even if you aspire to be a genetic engineer and clone people, or find the cure for cancer, all of which are highly "unlikely" to happen, trying won't create any sort of loss. If the cure for HIV lies in the mind of a child who believes she can do nothing to better the world, the world has failed her. Don't make other people's doubts your downfall.

My favourite motivational quote (from Millionaire Mentor of course! Follow him on Instagram @millionairementor) is "They used to laugh at my dreams, now they ask how I did it." Be the kind of person who achieves what is beyond possible. You can.



These and more rather complex issues left me puzzled as I watched children ride gleefully on the carousel at the Al Ansaar souk, travelling to nowhere - the place where every dream that you dare to dream really does come true. Little did they know that later on in life they would learn that life isn't as simple as the fair ground. Though the carousel of life does keep turning, you start losing hope in your destination. The knife that will be plunged into a child's candyfloss heart in the future will cause the sugar of hope to seep out in pink, bloody droplets.

But it doesn't have to be that way.

With these thoughts whirling through my mind, I'll be choosing subjects later on in the year, and while I still am uncertain, I know that my childhood hopes and dreams should never die.






Saturday, 28 January 2017

Approved! Part 2 - Collaboration with Lifestyle Online


Hello there readers!

Many of us turn to Instagram, Twitter and most importantly, Pinterest when it comes to trying to find easier methods of getting that perfect look! Yet every so often we are disappointed by the terrible turnout and feel despondent about how foolproof these hacks really are. So, for the convenience of the readers, I've put together a foolproof list of three, simple hacks, or better phrased, hack ITEMS, that will leave your skin glowing, your make up on fleek and a longer lasting look.

1. The Spoon
After looking up this hack on Pinterest, I now have a spoon stored in my make up back as just another one of my make up essentials. The magic that this one, simple item from your kitchen drawer contains is amazing. For all of us who struggle with the following three things: a lack of being able to wing your eyeliner properly, a badly shaped brow and messy mascara, you'll find "The Spoon" to be a make up weapon. To get a perfect wing, all you have to do is hold the spoon facing downwards on your eyelid, just below where you want to draw your wing, and draw the eyeliner line using the curve of the spoon. The end result? A neat and pretty wing! If you're attempting to fill your brows and make them look somewhat stylish, every girl knows that it has to be the right shape. No one wants two thick brown lines on the forehead, do they? I found it extremely handy to use a spoon in this case because the curve of the spoon gives the perfect brow arch. Again, just hold the spoon downwards below your eyebrow, and fill in the area above it.

2. Baby Powder
Talcum powder is said to be the ideal make up product, but for many lazy and broke people, the bottle of Johnsons Baby Powder will have to do. I used this simple product to give my make up a vamp up and to keep it 'secure.' One of the hacks was to use baby powder between each layer of your mascara to make it thicker and fuller, and it does work. However it is extremely difficult to actually apply it bevause it doesnt work if your mascara isn't wet, and if it is, it creates a huge, sticky mess. Instead, I let it dry and then take a tissue and dust the powder over my lashes using it, and after that apply another layer to keep it wet. Another hack that I found particularly useful is usinf the powder to keep your make up on. With lipstick especially, your lips tend to lose it's colour during an event or meal, and this can be especially annoying when you are trying to showcase your beloved lippie. This can, however, be easily solved with baby powder. Apply your coat of lipstick and then press a tissue between your lips. Once that's done, take a powder brush, dip it in baby powder and brush your lips. It will help keep your make up secure for as long as possible. This can also be used for the rest of your face, but be careful, as a lot of the time, the powder shows and can create a mess.

3. Aloe
This is a simple, straightforward and obvious hack that Indian women have been using for ages. Little did we realise the actual beauty benefits until now, though, when Pinterest posted these easy hacks. Break a piece of aloe vera from the plant, slice it into two and squeeze out the jelly. Make sure not to touch the jelly as it has a terrible taste and smell that lingers for hours! Apply the jelly to your face to soothe your acne, treat your blackheads and make your dark circles invisible. Although this hack requires long term use to actually take effect, it really does rejuvenate and benefit the skin to the maximum. It's a simple home remedy that none of us lack the means to do, and that makes it a perfect fix for those of us too stingy with our money to invest in a Body Shop product that is a processed version of aloe anyway!

Scrolling through Pinterest, it surprised me to see that so many products that lie unused in our homes are actually rather beneficial when it comes to beauty and make up. If you have any hacks that you'd like to try out, drop a comment below.

Au Revoir
Sumayya







Sunday, 22 January 2017

Make Up Hacks Gone Wrong - Collaboration with Lifestyle Online

Safiya Bhamjee is a 17 year old South African blogger who uses Lifestyle Online, her blog, as a place to speak about what she is passionate about, lifestyle. Lifestyle Online has no borders, and explores the territories of food, fashion, travel and religion. Lifestyle Online has continued to grow as a blog and has gained a solid following of many equally passionate fashionistas. 

Check out her blog Lifestyle Online on https://myinspiredlifestyle.wordpress.com 
Follow her on Instagram on @safiyabhamjee_blog for more amazing content 

We are suppose to be moving into the ice age but global warming is winning which is causing temperatures to reach a higher degree and those who will not be able to adapt to the heat will eventually die. Fresh water will be scarce because the poles will melt and become undrinkable water which will increase the sea levels causing the coastal areas to be flooded.  But excuse me, the world has bigger issues than just the normal 'The world's coming to the end' scenario. Double excuse me, but makeup is our first humanitarian crisis. Forget Trump, forget the silicones Kardashians and just take the rest of your life to ponder about how you will never be able to take pictures without makeup anymore. Plus what else is there to think about, I mean South Africa already has a SpongeBob for a president, water shortages and no electricity for 20 hours of the day, so what do we have to lose?
Why waste thousands of rands on luxurious branded makeup and tools when you can just make life much easier by being a cheap skate? It's ridiculous how expensive makeup is and to all South Africans dismay- we have to be selling the fake products for quarter of the original price just to make some pocket money. And if that little amount does not allow you to purchase one Huda Beauty eyeliner at a local trade fair then you just wait and hope that this valentines you get a bouquet of original makeup (as cliché as it seems) *hint hint*
But I have to ask... What's the new craze with women using blades on their faces? Just because one famous artist said she uses it, does not give you the incentive to as well.  I know the world is falling apart and women want to be equal to men, but does it really come down to shaving your face ? Come on, you don't want your face to become prickly, turn green and have razor scars! Eww!
But nonetheless, I can't believe that majority of makeup hacks still do not work. And after spending endless amount of time researching and looking at hacks which I thought would be easy enough to at least get me through a '5 makeup hacks tried and tested' post, the realization hit me- well more like fell on my head- but anyways... I would much rather prefer calling it 'The fails of 2016!' Now don't be disheartened and stop reading because maybe you'd learn something and perhaps not pull your teeth out- if it turns out to be the new style in the future.
Are these makeup hacks fails?
  • Use your lash curler to get the perfect eyeliner sitch- FAIL
Ok, the reason this was an epic fail beats me. This was actually more messier than a teenage boys room. Unless you have a fetish for drag pandafide queens, I would not suggest using this. But when you do get set up on a blind date with someone out of your league and you want to look as if you just came back from a haunted house on Halloween- then go for it.
  • To make your lipstick last all day, hold a tissue over your lips and dust them with translucent powder- PASS
Surprisingly this worked so I can't complain but since I went to school with really red lips the following day after testing this out- I would suggest that you order yourself some really powerful makeup wipes. Though, you might just taste powder if your tissue some how gets torn between your lips. (NB. I WAS NOT CHEWING ON THE TISSUE, JUST SAYING)
  • Place the eye stencil on your eyelid and colour on the empty spaces with mascara- FAIL
Really now! How on Mars are both wings suppose to be the same size with the same pointiness at the same angle. If I can not perfect my eyeliner with a stencil, how on Jupiter does everyone else manage to wing that butcher knife eyeliner. I find it so astonishing and hell of creepy at the same time that makeup hacks have come down to this. 
  • Brush your teeth with turmeric powder for whitening- PASS
Mind the taste and the yellow stains left on your toothbrush because this actually works. It's definitely different from those masks that leave your face looking yellow as if you enjoyed a holi fight or went to a colour run with staining features. This is probably my favourite hack from all because who would not want to have flawless white mealies?
  • Mix corn flour and coco powder together and apply to your oily hair as dry shampoo.
 A few weeks ago, a hairdresser advised me to use this as a healthy option instead of dry shampoo. And since my hair becomes oily over night, it would also be a cheaper way out, though it did cover up my baldness. But it made me look as if I had poured a bucket of sand on my head- yes, that rusty shabby hairdo was not working. So I guess I'm stuck to washing my hair everyday to avoid being Ms Over Indian Oily Head. 
Well that's all I have for you today... 

Saturday, 21 January 2017

#Girltopia - Validation (Episode 2)

The 21st century has brought with it the rise of feminism, and females can be proud of the fact that we have made our mark in every sector possible, be it politics, sports, social work or the corporate world. Yet even though our achievements have far surpassed our expectations, it is a shame that every women still needs a closet full of cosmetics and cannot begin her day without the perfect, natural make up look.

Although many women, including myself, will immediately become defensive and deny that this is the reason behind our constant need for perfection, it is a matter that can no longer be brushed off and needs to be addressed as a problem that has seized the female population.

Every women feels the need to be validated, and that too, not by their female family, friends or colleagues, but by men. Many women will confirm that they are comfortable leaving the house without make up to attend an exclusively female party, yet a quick trip to the grocery store requires at least fifteen minutes prior notice, because she has to look the epitome of stunning but casual as she may run into a 'potential.'

As a member of one of the most superficial and shallow generations, I can confirm without hesitation that the majority of our conversations revolve around boys and what exactly they like or dislike. Every girl has been a victim to trying to change who she is, solely for the approval of a boy. The hours of preparation,  the aching feet or the price tag is considered to be worthwhile if the girl receives even one compliment from the boy she fancies.

While changing her outward appearance is quite common, what generally goes unnoticed is her change in personality, which varies from discarding old hobbies to totally forsaking her old self. Many girls become interested in sports, video games and other activities which they would otherwise consider boring, all because they wish to impress the boy of their choice with their knowledge on the subject. Lots of girls become softer, more feminine or more boyish, simply because "he wants a girl like that, so I will be that girl."

While these changes might seem fine and even good at times, such as if she begins to diet and exercise, the problem arises when one realises how emotionally taxing it is on a girl to keep up this false pretense up and to always be the best version of herself that she can be. Many people do not understand how difficult it is to have to be aware of the way you laugh, and to have to think before you speak in case a boy will be repulsed by it. They do not understand how difficult it is to have to spend hours in front of the mirror perfecting your contouring because you want to enhance your cheekbones so that you look more appealing. They do not realise how difficult it is to be a girl because you're constantly bombarded by magazines filled with girls who look more beautiful than you could ever wish to be; girls that set the standards too high that it may be unachievable. They do not understand how difficult it is to tell your friend that she is beautiful after a boy said to her that she just isn't what he wants. They do not understand how difficult it is to be a puppet of the male population, and having to dance to their tunes because you feel like that is to the only way to show that you are worth something.

It does not matter whether you have a Cambridge degree if you are not complimented by a man on your intelligence. Your beautiful mind that you express on paper or canvas does not have any worth unless you are told by a boy that he envies your skill and thinks that your work is amazing. The feeling that these comments create within a female is fascinating to watch, because these are the remarks that spur her on and encourage her to achieve more, be greater and in essence, confirm her worth. On the other end of the spectrum, when he does not compliment her, or instead insults her, she is left heartbroken and feels as if she is useless and unimportant. If, for example, she dresses up in a particular outfit that he likes, and he simply ignores her, she is left heartbroken because the hours of YouTube make up videos, hijab tutorials and her expensive perfume was not given any consideration. Very often the man does not even realise his error, but the woman's constant need to be validated takes priority over the known fact that she is looking gorgeous and everyone around her thinks that. Here too, we are faced with the situation where a man can just hint at an aspect of her that does not suit his fancy, and she will then be in a state of despair for the rest of the day or week. An irrelevant comment such as, "You're looking tired today," could completely ruin her mood and mascara, because she automatically assumes he is saying she looks like a tramp, rather than the truth, which is that he is just commenting on her drooping eyes and constant yawning that is a result of waking extra early to make time for her extremely long make up routine.

Women feel as if they are only worth as much as a man says that they are. They do not believe in their own beauty and instead depend on others to tell them that it exists. It is no wonder that the malls these days are filled with clothes that can barely fit into the category of clothes and are much closer to pieces of cloth, because baring their bodies are the only way to gain male attention. Cosmetic surgery is at its height, because in order to be one of those 'cover girls,' she must have Kylie Jenner's lips, Gigi Hadid's body, Cara Delevigne's eyes and not to forget, Kim Kardashian's figure, with a great butt and boob job to ensure this. The costs ensued and the pain endured in the process is worth it in the end, because she will finally be sought by every boy within a 3 km radius.

Regardless of how far we have progressed over the ages in terms of feminism, we will always be the weaker gender if we allow every aspect of our lives to revolve around what men think of us. It is of no use for us to expect our teenage daughters to just know their self worth, or our sons to make a girl feel special just the way she is, because we have failed to teach them this during their childhood. We have not taught them that they do not have to change who they are to be a Disney Princess, nor do they have to have a Ken to be a Barbie doll. By reading our daughters fairy tales such as Aladdin, where Jasmine required a boy to save her and soar with her, or Snow White had to be kissed by a prince to live, we are indoctrinating them into believing that a man is there world and the greatest achievement in life. Had Snow White not had her Prince, she would have not lived the rest of her life. Had Rapunzel not been rescued by Prince Charming, she would have lived till old age in the tower. Had Cinderella not found her Prince, she would have worked as a maid all her life. If we read these tales to our children all through their childhood, do we expect any less than for them to assume these roles?

Let us teach our daughters that romantic love is not the only love that exists. Let us teach them that they are masterpieces, and that artwork does not have to be perfect because its beauty lies in its brutal imperfection. Let us teach them that their gender is an asset, not a setback. Let us teach them that they can conquer the world regardless of what a man says. Let us teach them that the true meaning of love is self love, and that the only validation they need is their own.



Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Home Is Where The Heart Is


Bonjour Mes Amours

As many of you know, I love my hometown more than any other place in the world. I've never lived anywhere besides there and it is a pretty close knit community where everyone knows and is concerned for one another. This being the holiday season for schools, but not the holiday season for most of our residents because the Darul Uloom closes at different times, it was obviously the most suitable time to have a lunch get-together.

Although there were a lot fewer people than we generally invite, we still got along quite well. Being as extra as I am, I just had to dress up. After much debate, I settled on this beautiful abaya that gave off a formal and elegant look as well as managed to make me look taller, which is something I desperately needed.

This season I've been obsessed with shades of coral, salmon, and peach after seeing pink make its comeback (as mentioned in my post "Pretty In Peach.") I originally assumed that by making something black and coral I could pair absolutely any hijab with it, but lo and behold, I was only capable of pulling out about 3 suitable hijabs to wear.

In this outfit I wore a Hanayan hijab that many of you will be familiar if you've read my previous posts, and the nude heels mentioned in the post "Looking for Rainbows." Many, if not all, of my abayas are made to my exact fit by my local dressmaker. If you seriously love the looks, take them to your dressmaker and have them tailor made, because I always find this to be the best option. Albeit the cost of the material, time and sewing, the end result is a perfect fit that requires absolutely no alteration as well as the exact pattern you desired.

The make up look I wore with this was a completely nude face with the exception of the red lipstick, although I would love to invest in a Huda Beauty, Swiitch or Kylie Jenner natural lip coloured one sometime soon. If any of you know of similar brands that cost less and give a nice finish, drop a comment below or DM me. I'll be sure to buy it and even do a product review on it.

The one thing I've realised time and time again over the years is the love that we as a community share. If I could choose to live anywhere in the world, be it NYC or the Maldives, I'd choose here, in my tiny, farm corner of the world, because of how massive the hearts of the residents are. My entire history lies here - this was the land on which my great grandfather started his first business, the town that my grandfather had once been the mayor of, the place where I could always rely on an Aalim to be at the exact location where I would contemplate sinning just to correct me gently, and most of all, the place I call home. It struck me that sometime in the future I would have to leave my hometown to live where my husband did, unless he himself decided to stay here (which in all honesty would just prove that he has great decision-making skills). That will probably be the most difficult part for me, because I am attached to this town. I was born, bred and wish to die here if I die in South Africa. The memories of created on this very soil are innumerable and the friends that I've made on every street are priceless. Regardless of whether we interact with or simply know of the people here, we are extremely close, and I know for a fact that I can rely on them for anything and everything. They're more like my family than my own family is, and I love them and this town greatly. Sometimes I wonder if this is the reason why events like WW1 took place, because of nationalism, sparked by this great love for your homeland. Most times, I choose to ignore these weird thoughts and enjoy the warmth that thinking of home fills me with.

I've always wondered whether I'm the only person with an unhealthy attachment to their hometown, and I've been wanting to ask you guys this question. Drop a comment below if you're attached to your hometown too, in this ridiculous way that I am.

That's it for now

Au Revoir
Sumayya